Friday, August 20, 2021

Bad Format.

 Last night I decided to listen to the B.C. Lions-Edmonton Elks game online.  I picked the Lions radio feed to listen to.  While finding out what station to listen to I learned that the TSN station in Vancouver, 1040 khz AM, had switched formats and branding.  It's now Funny 1040, a comedy station.

I think it's possible to have a good comedy format on a radio station.  After all CBC has presented radio comedy shows forever.  But the Funny 1040 format isn't.  It consists of clips taken from the acts of various stand up comedians.  The longest seems to be about 2 minutes.  They're preceded, and sometimes followed, by the name of the comedian.  "Joe Rogan," the canned identification will say.  When the next clip comes along the canned ID will say something like "And here's Bob Newhart."  It's a presentation that strikes me as rather amateurish.  

Other than the requisite station IDs, and commercials, there is apparently no other programming other than these clips.  There isn't even an hourly newscast or indication of weather conditions.  Bell Media, the owners of the station, and the owners of TSN, have gone for as cheap a production as possible.  Once someone chopped enough bits out of recordings of those comedians all they had to do is make sure their randomiser doesn't repeat anything too frequently, which probably isn't hard with enough clips on the library.

I'm not familiar enough with the current comedy scene to confirm this, but one commenter noted that there seemed to be no Canadian comedians in their initial offerings, bringing up the questions of how they meet Canadian comment requirements.  I can think of ways around this, as much of the material may count as "industrially Canadian" depending on the source, even if the comedians aren't Canadians.

How this went down certainly wasn't funny.  Staff at TSN 1040 were given no warning of the switchover.  They, and the rest of their listeners, found out when head office in Toronto remotely cut off the morning show at 9 AM on February 9th.  It was replaced with half an hour of an ESPN feed, before a recorded announcement stated the demise of TSN 1040 due to supposed market conditions, and announcing a new format was imminent.  To add insult to injury Green Day's "Good Riddance(Time of Your Life)" played immediately after the announcement.  The staff was then given 30 minutes to clean out their stuff and leave.  Everyone was let go, not even apparently being given a chance to work at other Bell Media stations in Vancouver and area.

The responses from former TSN 1040 listeners was largely negative.  And it\s probably telling that the official Funny 1040 Twitter account hasn't been updated since April.  Bell Media seem to have little interest in the station themselves.  Perhaps that's because the format been a ratings loser elsewhere.  1060 khz in Calgary has been Funny 1060 since 2013, and consistently sits at the bottom of the ratings. 

The Winnipeg TSN station also suffered the same fate, and is now airing as Funny 1290.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Oldies and Oldies.

 You know you're getting old when songs you heard as a teenager when they were released are used to advertise an oldies show.  An example is Hall and Oates' "I Can't Go For That."  Ironically that song is older than what were labelled rock and roll oldies when it came out.  In 1981 Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" was only 27 years old.  As I write this "I Can't Go For That" is 40 years old.

I suppose to a long of younger people it does sound like an oldie, with its early '80s production.