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Thursday, 16 July 2009

CKX Rescued by a Toronto Ad Exec !

It's official. CKX Brandon has sold, again. For $1, again. This time it's to a group called Bluepoint Investment Corporation.

Shaw purchased CKX, a CBC affiliate owned by CTV (along with stations in Windsor and Wingham ON), back in April but, according to Shaw, once they got a peek at the equipment under the hood decided that a loonie was too steep a price for the three ugly stepsisters. It was assumed in the industry that the purchase, and subsequent reneging, was merely a game of corporate poke-in-the-eye over the fee-for-carriage debate brewing between cablecos and terrestrial broadcasters.

Either way, CKX has a new owner.
In CTV's press statement they say Bluepoint Investment Corporation is "...a Canadian investment company headed by Bruce Claassen, an individual well recognized for his contribution to the Canadian media industry".

Claassen, (brief bio
), comes from the advertising side of media. He was head of McKim's Toronto office then CEO of Genesis Media, another ad agency, beginning around 2000. In Autumn 2007 Genesis merged with another ad firm Aegis Media. Claassen remained CEO of Genesis-Vizeum and Chairman of Aegis Media Canada.

So, what can a Toronto ad exec do with a local tv station on the prairie ? Well, such stations are where both Izzy Asper and Stuart Craig got their start !

Stuart Craig

Actually, it was CKX that gave birth to the Craig Broadcasting empire that once included the A-Channel franchise. CKX, along with sister station CKY in Winnipeg, were MTS radio stations that began broadcasting in 1928. In 1947 CKY was bought by the CBC and CKX by J.B. Craig and some associates. TV came along in 1955.

Bluepoint, being in a small market, could access the Small Market Local Programming Fund and more than likely the additional monies the CRTC recently pumped into the Local Programming Improvement Fund after their fee-for-carriage decision. For the latter, the rules are not worked out yet. As Alan Cruise, CKX Station Manager, told the Wheat City Journal earlier this month, he is not sure what strings are attached to the new funding - for instance, whether it can be used to purchase equipment
“They (CRTC) wouldn't tell us that if you got new news equipment, would it help cover the cost? They didn't know.”

Today, Cruise was more upbeat telling eBrandon that it was
"a bit of shock, a whole lot of relief and a lot of joy. If you'd had your car window open in the area, you'd have probably heard them cheering"

Good for CKX and the 39 people that work there. Also good for the folks of Brandon who have another shot at being in the local tv game.

Update: Claassen to visit Brandon

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