Bell cancels all-sports radio format on channels in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton

Bell is cancelling its all-sports format on radio stations in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton, barely a week after announcing hundreds of job cuts at media properties across Canada.

TSN 1040 AM in Vancouver, TSN 1290 AM in Winnipeg and TSN 1150 AM in Hamilton will no longer be all-sports stations, Bell announced on Tuesday.

In a media release, the conglomerate said Hamilton’s 1150 AM will become a BNN Bloomberg station, covering business, innovation, technology and sports.

In Vancouver, the morning show cut away during a commercial break Tuesday before it was announced that the station would be “reprogrammed” as of Friday without elaborating.

Bell Media president Wade Oosterman told all staff in an email Tuesday that the Vancouver and Winnipeg channels will be converting to a “funny format, which has already proven highly successful in markets like Hamilton and Calgary with its stand-up comedy content.”

“While these are relatively modest changes to our overall radio business (we have more than 100 stations in 58 markets across the country), they align with our strategy of focusing on serving the largest possible audiences with the content they want the most while leveraging the efficiencies of our broader organization,” Oosterman said.

Bell still has TSN radio stations in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. Neither the employee memo nor a media release from Bell Media announcing the change in Hamilton made any mention of job cuts as a result of the move.

The moves come in the aftermath of layoffs by Bell across multiple platforms last week. TSN television reporters/anchors Dan O’Toole, Natasha Staniszewski and Brent Wallace wrote on social media they were among those to lose their jobs.

The move also comes barely a week after the company’s highly touted #BellLetsTalk day, which raises money for mental health initiatives.

Last week, parent company BCE announced its quarterly profit rose to $889 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from $672 million the year before.

As a result, the company hiked its dividend to shareholders by 5 per cent to 87.5 cents per share, up from 83.25 cents per share previously.


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