This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 13, 2007

Surprise, surprise: the Hamilton Spectator's editorial board doesn't want the CBC to open a new radio station in Hamilton.

Yesterday's editorial by Kevin Cavanagh make some noise aobut operating costs and then drops the clincher:

[T]he first city on their sheet of potential new addresses is Hamilton. That's flattering, but we're all of 60 kilometres from the Broadcast Centre in Toronto - whose current signal booms into radios in Hamilton, Niagara and the southwestern tier.

Rather than seeking major gobs of cash for a new radio station so near the mother ship, private-sector companies would first try adding staff and adjusting programming to better engage a regional market that their signal already reaches.

Oh, those greedy public-sector mandarins and their outrageous plans to burn through taxpayer money! What Cavanagh doesn't mention in his paean to the superiority of the private sector is that no Toronto-based station is going to cater to Hamilton listeners, for the simple reason that their primary listeners absolutely don't want to hear about Hamilton.

Cavanagh pillories "the suits at the CBC" who "are only too happy to put Hamilton at the top of their wish list," but neglects to make the connection that the CBC is trying to do the same thing the private-sector stations do: give its audience what they want to hear.

The real issue, of course, is that a CBC station might actually break ranks with the media monopoly in Hamilton and provide news and editorial coverage that serves to undermine bidness as usual in a city long known for back-room backslapping and pernicious, self-defeating cronyism.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted September 13, 2007 at 10:17:47

I guess if those interested in the other side of the story have to fish for it from amateur sites like this one, it is not much of a threat to the Spec's ideology monopoly.

But the CBC is a bigger fish and quite rightly could take a bite out of their point of view.

They may say things about stealing business, but that is actually much less of a concern to them than stealing hearts and minds (re bidness as usual above)

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2007 at 10:18:10

hear, hear! i'm counting the minutes to the day i can tune my radio to cbc hamilton. if there were ever a city that needed this it would be us. bring it on!

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By Ross (registered) | Posted September 13, 2007 at 12:08:10

Come to Hamilton CBC!!

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By Skool? (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2007 at 23:42:53

Bidness as usual? So Right!
I would be interested in hearing local news, weather, sports, & traffic reports without all the local talent showcasing & the So What interviews.
I've all but given up on local Hamilton news sources. Once in a while the Spec. has something important to say, but sadly, not the rest of GHA media. The small local weekly papers are often more informative on area news & issues than the Spec., T.V. or radio news.
We need someone to cover the GHA properly & in depth.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 14, 2007 at 01:15:16

That had to be the most disingenuous Spec editorial since their big endorsement of Team Builder Larry. Let's wait for the ever-benevolent invisible hand of the free market to "add staff and adjust programming" to better serve Hamilton! Maybe they'll give us all a pony too!

If you want to take some action, go to the link below to send a letter to your MP. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting provides a template letter but suggests you personalize it so it will be taken more seriously. Bury David Sweet in CBC love!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 14, 2007 at 12:47:40

Good one Ryan and thanks. I'm a longtime supporter of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Here's what I wrote:

I have heard that the CBC is considering a new local radio station in Hamilton. Hamilton citizens have been woefully underserved by our public broadcaster to date. In spite of the Hamilton Spectator's suggestion in a recent editorial, private broadcasters have shown that they simply do not have the will or the resources to bring relevant, quality programming to our area. Canadians in similar markets across the country have had access to the CBC's quality regional programming, and it is high time that Hamilton area taxpayers did too.

I understand that the broadcaster's ability to extend service to our area is largely a matter of adequate funding. Please let me know what steps you intend to take to ensure that your constituents have access to the essential service that the CBC provides.

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By inwonder (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2007 at 16:37:31

Are people still actually reading the Hamilton Spec?

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By The other Rinky Dink news source (anonymous) | Posted September 15, 2007 at 11:03:21

From one of the "other" Rinky Dink News sources, Radio is not yet dead in Hamilton... if the more curious tuned into cfmu you would be hearing some alternative news that covers this particular area.... not all the shows on cfmu 93.3 fm are for the "kids" - it is also a community radio station.

For "the Other Side" of the news tune in on tuesdays at noon.

And for the record, there are some local reporters that do get news into CBC Radio one and CBC TV.

The only radio station that carried news out of the Red Hill Valley, was CBC one. When all reporters were banned from the area, grass roots independents were doing a fine job of getting behind the lines and sending the story to CBC. Some stories aired Nationally.

Grass Roots and independent media are the new media - just check out the affect YouTube had on our municipal election.

There are other sources of news locally besides web and paper, there is audio, that also gets posted Nationally.

the Other Side indeed...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 15, 2007 at 12:10:30

Radio One also had the best coverage of the Joanna Chapman story that I heard anywhere. They had a riveting interview with her on the Current, a national show. No wonder the Spec doesn't want the CBC in town. They far outpace local media on any local stories that they've covered. Imagine what they would do if they had a real local presence. They might educate people and elevate the debate! Horrors!

At least they printed McHattie's great rebuttal to their ridiculous editorial in this morning's Spec, so must give credit where it's due.

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By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted September 16, 2007 at 16:25:13

re: "Are people still actually reading the Hamilton Spec?"

not reading, staring and drooling.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2007 at 10:28:30

Thanks for the heads up. Letter sent:

Hamilton has been under the umbrella of a media monopoly for too long. Many of us have lost interest in so called "local" media which panders to the bottom line rather than reporting on meaningful local matters in a fair and responsible way.

I am looking forward to a brighter future which could start very soon with the proposed CBC expansion to Hamilton. This could be one of the keys to waking Hamilton up from its slumber!

Please let me know what we can do in order to make this proposal a reality.

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