Employees raising money to buy Victoria TV station from Canwest

Employees at CHEK-TV in Victoria are raising money and looking for backers in an attempt to buy the station from Canwest Communications Corp.

Canwest plans to close the station, along with CHCA-TV in Red Deer, Alb. before the end of August, but employees are trying to stop the closure.

According to a Canadian Press report:

“Richard Konwick, assignment editor in the Victoria newsroom and the
local union president, said about 45 staff members have together
pledged more than $500,000 of their own money to save the station…

“Konwick said the plan is to give employees a 25-per-cent stake in a new
company that would buy the station, inviting private investors to pick
up the rest. Full-time employees are being asked to contribute $15,000
each, while part-timers would pay half that.”

A Canwest spokesperson said:

“We wouldn’t want to pre-judge anything, but at the same time there
are significant hurdles when you look at putting together something
that is at the last minute. It’s really important that the community understand the challenges that are in front of them at this stage in the game.”

CHEK news director Rob Germaine told CBC News:

“We have a number of investors — potential investors who are business operators on Vancouver Island — that see the value in CHEK news as a community station. It’s a heritage station, the first TV station in B.C., and they want to see the continuance of CHEK and CHEK News, as do the employees here.”

Germaine did not release the price they were offering.