Dispiriting News for the Spirited Season from CHCH, National Steel Car

by Billy Martell on December 15, 2015

It’s been a tough December for the Hammer.

On December 11, Channel 11 LP, the corporate entity that creates local news for CHCH TV and bankrolls the Hamilton station’s news employees, filed for bankruptcy.

In turn, CHCH has announced drastic cuts to its news service and released 129 full- and 38 part-time staffers (including such well-known local news personalities as Donna Skelly, Matt Hayes, Scott Urquhart and Elise Copps).

“It’s a bloodletting,” Skelly told the media.



The network launched its broadcasting tradition in Hamilton 61 years ago and has expanded its news coverage ever since. Up until last Friday, the station produced more original news programming than any other local television station in North America, according to its website.

Channel 11 LP has created local news for CHCH since it acquired the station in 2009.

“Business decisions like this are hardest because they impact the personal lives of colleagues that we care about,” Romen Podzyhun, CEO of parent company Channel Zero, announced on air on Friday.

In its revised state, CHCH will broadcast 17.5 hours of local news every week, down from 80 hours. Its new schedule will include an hour-long 6pm weekday newscast and a half-hour 11pm weekday newscast.

The channel Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger calls “one of our institutions” traced the cuts in part to the demise of the federal government’s subsidy for smaller TV channels.

The bankrupt company listed $59,936 in assets and almost $4.5 million in liabilities, according to documents filed with the federal government’s Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

Shortly after the announcement, the new company that will provide news service to CHCH TV offered 58 full-time and 23 part-time jobs to some of the former CHCH news employees.

National Steel Car

Meanwhile, National Steel Car, another Hamilton institution, announced on December 4 that it would be laying off 500 or 600 employees (the exact numbers have yet to be finalized) before Christmas. Among the layoffs are, reportedly, workers whose seniority dates back to 2011.

Citing slumping demand for rail tanker cars and a consequent shift in production lines, National management has said that most of the affected workers  should be called back in January when work starts on two new lines of cars.

The company will continue to employ the balance of its 2,400-member workforce operating three production lines and, over the next few weeks, retooling other lines’ shift from manufacturing tank cars to gondola and hoppers for transporting commodities.

National Steel Car is a prominent North America railroad freight and tank car manufacturer that has called Hamilton home for more than 100 years.

Billy Martell – who has written posts on Bankruptcy Hamilton Ontario.

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