A TV station is going into to bankruptcy and dropping a number of newscasts and letting go over 100 people.
CHCH across the border in Canada is cutting back on their newscasts starting Today as part of a massive restructuring of local news at the station.
The 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts will now air only Monday to Friday and the 11 p.m. news will be slashed to 30 minutes from an hour, Chris Fuoco, vice-president of sales and marketing at Channel Zero, CHCH's parent company, said Friday night.
A handful of other programs including the Noon News, Morning Live First Edition, the daytime rolling news program News Now, Square Off and Sportsline are also being taken off the air, he said.
Staff learned Friday afternoon the entity that created local news for CHCH TV – Channel 11 L.P. – had filed for bankruptcy. Newscasts were cancelled for Friday and the remainder of the weekend.
All 129 full-time employees and 38 part-time employers were let go, Fuoco said.
Moving forward, positions have been offered to 58 full-time employees and 23 part-time employees, he said.
Fuoco said the offers made were for comparable positions and wages.
The offers of employment have come from a privately held numbered company that does not have Channel Zero as its parent company, Fuoco said.
"It has a management contract with CHCH to provide news."
Fuoco says employees have not been given a deadline to accept the positions, but they're being asked to make a decision on an "expedited basis."
But newsroom staffers said they were told they had until Sunday night to accept.
"We need to understand what our staffing contingent looks like on Monday," Fuoco said. "Our goal is to be back with news on the air with news by Monday."
Scott Urquhart was off Friday, but came in after getting calls from the station.
The 60-year-old who had worked there for 35 years was one of the ones not offered employment.
He said he left with his belongings in his arms.
"I've come to expect that's the way it is these days," he said. "There's no golden parachute. It's pretty hard: 'Get your marching papers and goodbye.'"
"There was a lot of shock," he added. "People weren't really showing a lot of hurt or sadness. There were a few tears, for sure, but most people seemed pretty resigned."
Most staff left with only their belongings and were escorted out by security guards. They were told not to clean out their desks because they would be allowed in later to do that.