Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CBC LOCKOUT CONTINUES; PEOPLE FED UP

The CBC lockout is still on and for the latest you can go to those two CBC Lockout Blogs that I have links to on the side. Because they tell you all you need to know.

All I will say now is that management is really feeling the heat more than ever in this dispute. It's been nothing but bad news. Don Cherry says to the media he will not cross picket lines to do Coach's Corner. Michael Moore complains about the CBC's plans to run his docs during the lockout. Saturday night's CFL game broadcast from BC Place had to be scrubbed because BC doesn't allow replacement workers. And the installation of the new GG is going to be scrubbed, too, unless they can get a feed from somewhere else.

Ratings are going rapidly down the toilet as viewers switch off the CBC's pathetic lockout programming in droves to watch the Global and CTV News, and in Toronto they're switching off Newsworld to watch CP24. The backlash has started, folks, as people are finally fed up with the CBC and this lockout. The press has become universally hostile. Several papers are blasting management's handling of the lockout, and the usual CBC-haters are still at it. People are starting to call for the CBC to refund their cable fees for what's happened to Newsworld. Nobody seems to be going after the union members, they're getting off scott-free. But I've seen calls for management resignations and other stuff out there from people.

As for the rebel broadcasts, they are losing steam quite rapidly. The big news is that Andy Barrie's rebel show is going off the air this week. They've had enough of working for free, I think.

Meanwhile listeners are all fed up with lockout radio. Lockout radio is lousy. The complaint is they consist largely of union rants, many of them, anyway. They seem to consist of people singing "Solidarity Forever" on their podcasts. Just kidding. But you get the point I'm making. People hate rebel radio and the podcasts and want the CBC situation resolved, and therefore are putting pressure on management to solve the crisis. But the negotiations continue to go at a SNAIL'S PACE.

The next big deadline, if you could call it that, is the date of the first Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in October, and nobody knows whether it is a real deadline or not. It certainly is a significant date. Supposedly, advertisers are threatening to bail out which would cost the CBC millions in revenue, but the CBC supposedly has some plan in place to cover these games and keep the ad money flowing in. What their plan is, we do not know. I still think they're going to pick up US feeds, but they might well pull off that CFL stunt of announcerless hockey games, which would be an even more complete disaster than what they are doing now with football.

I think the CBC will definitely find out the hard way how important hockey is to this country if this lockout starts messing up Hockey Night in Canada. Even if they import some Fox Sports or Comcast feed from the 'States for their games, which would be half-decent to watch, that won't stop Canadians from getting mad. Because they'll still have no Coach's Corner to watch in the first intermission! I happen to know for a fact that Coach's Corner is the most important part of the show. I've seen people in sports bars across the country stop what they're doing to see and hear Ron and Don rant and rave in the first intermission. When I was at Headline Sports, people would stop what they were doing so they could hear Don Cherry. That segment of the show is HUGELY influential in the sports world. Look what happened when they tried to get rid of Ron MacLean when his contract expired: people all over the country went nuts because Coach's Corner was going to get ruined. So he got to keep his job. There you go.

If Hockey Night in Canada and Coach's Corner get disrupted in any way, shape or form, there will be hell to pay in this country. There will be violence in the streets. Seriously. I am not making this up. People will be furious that the first Hockey Night in Canada in a year-and-a-half of NHL lockout will be some half-baked effort by CBC management. It will be a national crisis and a total fiasco and that's why this may be the thing that gets this CBC mess settled in the end. Whether they want to admit it or not, the most important show on the whole CBC is Hockey Night in Canada.

If they ever get rid of that show they might as well shut CBC down forever, because there won't be a reason to watch. It's the most relevant show they've got.

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