Thursday, February 24, 2005

SAD TIMES AT CBC SPORTS

Is there a worse place to be than CBC Sports? Is it ever a MESS OVER THERE!

It now looks as if the union is going to go to bat for Chris Cuthbert and file a grievance, and all I'll say about it is: way to go. This is the reason why there's unions, folks. And Steve Simmons has a story on the callous way the CBC handled this firing/fiasco.

Seems like nobody in charge over there bothered to watch their own hockey broadcasts, like the one between Washington and New Jersey at the Capital Centre years ago. You know which game I'm talking about. I'm talking about the night of the big blackout in Montreal, where the entire CBC crew in Montreal lost their power. Chris Cuthbert had to call play-by-play, from scratch, from Washington just to bail out the CBC and rescue that night's Stanley Cup broadcast. It was the most amazing fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants hockey broadcasting anyone had ever seen.

And it seems to me that these are people in charge who really appreciate its star employees, not. These are the same people who were ready to let Ron MacLean go and only took him back when the entire Canadian public complained. Word of advice to Chris Cuthbert: CBC doesn't deserve your talent. You are better off without them, but unfortunately the CBC isn't going to be better off without you.

On another topic the CBC is getting absolutely clobbered for its coverage of the Scott Tournament of Hearts. Terry Jones is one of the people reporting on all the complaints. They are only covering the afternoon draws, and they're putting the other draws on the Score and Country Canada, two channels that a lot of people can't get. Country Canada is stuck in the nether regions of TV land, digital cable, which hardly anyone in Canada has. Really, the audience for curling consists mainly of people in rural areas who don't have the money to shell out for digital cable. So they're all screaming about this, and some of them are mad because they have to change the channel to find the draws.

Really, though, it isn't all CBC's fault. This is the fault of the Canadian Curling Association for botching the job and coming up with the worst setup ever for curling coverage. Who did their negotiations?! But you know, TSN was going to cut back anyway to two draws. So the curling coverage this year was going to be lousy anyway.

But still, the CBC can't win. Jones quoted Randy Ferbey as saying that with the hockey lockout the CBC should be doing 12 hours of curling a day. Well, why aren't the people at CBC putting on 12 hours a day on their main network? People would tune in! They'd get great ratings! I used to live out West and people out there would be glued to the TV sets watching curling championships. But the management at CBC doesn't seem to want their viewers to be happy.

True, a lot of the mess over there at CBC Sports has a lot to do with things beyond their control, like the Olympics being too expensive, and the NHL locking itself out, and the CCA making stupid, boneheaded broadcasting decisions. But still, the CBC could have still held a Hockey Day in Canada, could still have aired some classic games on Saturday nights occasionally to keep their miserable hockey fans happy, and they should have kept around Chris Cuthbert for football and the other stuff they were doing. Seems to me that the CBC and the NHL have one thing in common: they don't care about the fans.

Not one bit.

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