Spaghetti bell

CHUM, the famously independent Canadian media mini-group (including the original CHUM radio stations, MuchMusic, CityTV and other outlets that share the CHUM/City characteristic of veering between mainstream and mad) is (if approved by the CRTC, the regulatory agency) on its way to the Bell world, after a takeover bid that became public today.

It’s Bell Globemedia that’s making the bid. They are the people who currently own CTV (the largest private network), the Globe and Mail (the grand old national newspaper), and a whole rake of cable and satellite channels, and bits of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors (hockey and basketball respectively).

BG itself is owned mostly by Bell Canada Enterprises (what was once upon a time the Canadian bit of Bell as in Alex Graham) and also by the Thompsons (long-time newspaper business). Though this too is subject to change. BCE are planning to get out of BG (i.e. to concentrate on telephones, Internet and so on) and sell most of their stake to the Thompsons and to Torstar (the Toronto Star group, which includes some TV as well as the newspaper).

There’s a great chart from the regulator that gives you an idea of all the links. It’s funny even just with visual impact alone. For now, BG are swearing that they will keep separate newsrooms in areas where they now own separate TV stations (most major Canadian cities, by my reading of it) but this is still A Big Story. Goodbye CHUM – or hello angry regulators?

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