Those who follow me on social media already know my personal views with regards to the recent layoffs at Bell Media. As program director and general manager of CJIM I would like to offer an official response. To begin, on behalf of everyone at CJIM I wish to express my deep sadness for the loss of many talented voices and personnel from Montreal radio. For some, more established on-air personalities, there will no doubt be other opportunities that will quickly present themselves, but for many others, particularly those who work tirelessly behind the scenes, the challenges will be much greater.
We have always believed that what makes great radio is great people. Many of the most successful business models come from investing in the quality of the product, and in radio that means the voices and staff that strive to entertain, inform and connect listeners with their community.
The relationships that on-air personalities develop with listeners is one of the most valuable assets a radio station can have. This week, Bell Media put the bottom line ahead of its audience. It should be noted that these cuts came after Bell Media posted a significant profit last quarter, and has done so for some years. Rather than investing a portion of that profit in the development of a superior product, they chose to pocket the cash and slash even more spending to widen the margin of profit.
There are many frustrated and angry listeners in Montreal who have now pledged to tune out Bell Media stations and switch to alternatives, including CJIM. Believe me, we understand that frustration. It was a similar disillusion that was in part the catalyst for launching CJIM five years ago.
That said, I want to make clear that there are still many talented people in mainstream radio who have worked extremely hard to earn their opportunities. I have the utmost respect and admiration for their success and in no way do I wish to diminish this by undermining their audience. I know they too are deeply upset by these cuts, but speaking out would put their livelyhood at risk.
To our loyal listeners and those that chose to discover CJIM for the first time, I want to assure you that we are fully committed to providing the highest quality radio with the resources we have available. Yes, we are a small station, but with the help of our audience and the incredible energy and enthusiasm of every member of the CJIM family, we believe that we can become more than an alternative to large-scale corporate media.
In the coming weeks I will be discussing why radio continues to be a powerful medium and how the Internet has and will revolutionize the industry. In the meantime, I encourage you to discover CJIM for yourself, not out of anger and frustration, but simply for the love of great radio.
- Graeme McDonald