Defontes To Cease Operations, 19 Staff Affected

August 31, 2015

Defontes Broadcasting Company will cease operations effective September 30, 2015, and 19 staff — 5 of whom are full time — will be affected.

A statement from the company said, “After more than three decades of supplying the Bermuda community with radio and television broadcasting, Defontes Broadcasting Company Limited will cease operations effective September 30, 2015.

“Some 19 staff, 5 of whom are full time and 14 sub-contractors and freelance staff will be affected.

“In a letter given to the staff today, Mr. Defontes offered his heartfelt thanks for all their hard work and loyalty throughout the past 34 years.

“He also said, however, that the broadcasting landscape over the more recent years has created a major financial challenge and he wished it could be otherwise, but it cannot.”

In August 2014, the company announced they would cease to broadcast their television channel, VSB Channel 11, however they had been maintaining their radio and online presence over the past year.

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Category: All, Business, News, technology

Comments (61)

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  1. I heart 441 says:

    Please no one blame the current Government or the PLP. This like many other business have fallen victim to the advancement of technology.

    • Truth Teller says:

      You are right. However, if this had happened four years ago you probably would have had no problem joining in with the Bermuda tea party chorus and blaming the whole thing on the PLP !

      • Jus Wonderin' says:

        tea party chorus…lmao! If anything the PLP is more aligned with the tea party. get ya game up bra!

        • john galt says:

          tea party people want lower taxes and less govt spending and smaller govt workforce
          the opposite of plp actions fyi

          • hmmm says:

            You are saying the PLP want a bigger govt workforce !!!

            WOW. Can’t afford the current sized.

            Why did PLP seek privatization of TCD testing, why did they Burt speak of privatizing some areas of Govt?

            • jt says:

              Why are they against it now?
              They don’t care what they’are’.
              They used to. But not for a decade.

    • oh dear says:

      This closure has nothing to do – or at least very little – with technology. Many local businesses are struggling and some have decided to downsize, merge or close – the reason being…’it’s the economy stupid’. Sadly this trend will continue as too will the reduction in population and collection of taxes, with the costs of living increasing – and a decline in revenues circulating.

      • Bobby says:

        I disagree actually. Traditional radio is a dying industry. With more digital/internet alternatives popping up on the island, marketing/advertising probably slowed down and was invested in alternative venues.

        • Lois Frederick says:

          It was actually a combination of both.

        • frank says:

          Radio is not a dying industry it just that people are afraid of change in bermuda
          They should have shut down the television station a long time ago.

          • Kayla says:

            How is traditional radio NOT a dying industry? I’m in my mid 20′s and I don’t know anyone my age who listens to radio, in their cars they stream their personal music collection and if they want a radioshow they use podcasts.

        • jt says:

          There’s only one way to be profitable in radio in Bermuda. We all know the required content. It’s not music.

      • Felix says:

        It’s all about technology. A low quality product delivered in an age where consumers have more choice from streaming internet services . A sad loss as local radio can be great, but it’s hard to execute when advertisers can get better results elsewhere.

    • Onion Juice says:

      OH, NOW you want to sing Kumbaya now that the S!@# is falling on your watch, sound like the statement I heard on the news by a police officer after one of his own got killed that ALL LIVES MATTER, which I agree, but where was that outcry when Blacks have been systematically being killed by law enforcement for decades, now the chickens have come home to roost……………………………………………
      The GOOD news is they can be a part of the 2000 future job recipients that was promised.

      • Person who knows a little says:

        It must be something extra in your juice.

  2. PBanks says:

    That’s terrible news. Aside from another batch of job losses, it’s another kick in the gut to local media outlets.

  3. Unbelievable says:

    That’s a real shame. I hope the staff get through this period ok.

  4. Tank Rain says:

    I am going top miss those high end news broadcasts…

  5. Vote for Me says:

    Roy Richardson, Keeble ‘the Captain” Burgess, there enteire news team and DJ group will be a miss. They may have been a smaller outfit but the quality of their broadcasts were second to none.

    And to Ms. Dill – your Sunday morning show, although having a political bias will be a miss.

  6. WIll miss you says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I ‘ll miss listening to Captain mornings. VSB is how I time my day. I’ve been listening since day one.
    God bless you my dear friends.

  7. J Starling says:

    Really sad to hear this. Man.

  8. swing voter says:

    when a certain calibre of busnessmen give up……then we’re all in trouble from point-shares to pond hill, from tuckers town to middle town….Bermuda is doomed, just kicking the can a few feet down the road running from the IMF boogyman ;-(

    Thanks to our political system that breeds greed and incompetence….The UBP had the extra bucks to cover their goof-ups, the PLP simply borrowed to feed the machinery (not the beast) and the OBA are just kicking the can …… all us down the middle poor gullible ex-believers getting *&^%$#!

    • Hmmmm says:

      Swing, I agree somewhat, Kenny is not a young man, he has tried to sell the business on a number of occasions without success… Yes I believe VSB was on a downward spiral, but I believe Kenny just wanted out…

      However, the PLP didn’t borrow to feed the machinery or the beast, just their own ego’s. Sir David told me years ago, whether business, government or at home, always keep something on hand for a rainy day… Trust me, that rainy day will come. he problem is that the OBA inherited a massive debt, the only way they can get us back on our feet is to increase tax (significantly) or reduce spending (reduce size of government and their own pay)

      • Raymond Ray says:

        Those are the only two options for Bermuda to make any comeback. And yes, Sir David Gibbons was / is correct in stating, “whether business, government or at home, always keep something on hand for a rainy day…”
        I thank God that my wife and I and our dogs will be re-locating to our retirement home overseas…

  9. Coffee says:

    This news is horrible !! I can’t wait to see what the government has to say .

    • Family Man says:

      I’ll bet its something a little more sympathetic than the last government who made the comment “one down …”

      • Coffee says:

        Family Man’s gloating over the loss of my favorite Sunday morning talk show host . How sad is that ?

      • oh dear says:

        Sadly one more media outlet down. How about a march?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Well ‘He who must not be named’ must be celebrating tonight.

  10. frank says:

    defontes closing has nothing to do with no political party
    maybe a buyer with a new direction may step forward and turn things around

  11. Ameboa says:

    Add this to the list of 2000 jobs lost and not gained. With the years of experience they have I hope that they can continue on on their own or even form a new news broadcast outlet perhaps.

    • Varied says:

      A shame – it wasn’t that long ago when some of the news crew were looking to provide content using online channels.

  12. Loquatz says:

    No more BBC World – and there goes our last “pop” music station – never mind another piece on news reporting diversity. Sigh.

  13. Rick Olson says:

    No one can continue to lose money year after year hopefully BBC will take advantage of this opportunity and secure their own future by starting to turn a profit. Technology has put a hurt on TV,radio and the print media and advertisers are looking for value and results we are in a new era and need to embrace it.

  14. Bonnie Blue says:

    I will miss Mix 106 in the morning when I am driving to work. So sorry to see people lose their jobs.

  15. Tony Brannon says:

    BBC too has lost money for several years….. Combine that with DeFontes and you have to look at the very model itself…. collectively they both were losing over ONE MILLION a year….

    if it wasn’t for deep pockets Perry or Kenny subsidizing the business they both would have closed years ago.

    People now have Sirius satellite radio etc in their cars….
    Cablevision will also struggle with internet TV etc….

    As DYLAN sang ” the times they are a changing”….
    radio programming has been dire in my view for way too long. No program directors, crap commercials, ripping off music from established artists to advertise shoes, etc…. who CARES about what the salad of the day is at the marketplace ??…. Damn that drove me nuts…. had to switch off the radio…..

    SAD for the employees…. but the programming was out of sync etc….
    DeFontes had their day….. and times have changed it really is that simple….
    Good luck to all…

    • Raymond Ray says:

      @ Tony: It appears Bermuda has had its day bie’ Sad yes, but true :-(

      • Raymond Ray says:

        In quoting the Minister with reference to Commercial Immigration allowing individuals to gain certain residential and citizenship rights in another jurisdiction that they invest in. The concept was broached in the One Bermuda Alliance’s 2013 Throne Speech as a potential means of creating jobs and stimulating investment in the Island.
        More than 20 countries have implemented some form of commercial immigration including St Kitts, Antigua and Barbuda, Britain and Canada.
        “There are any number of different models of commercial immigration in jurisdictions,” Sen. M. Fahy said yesterday. “In some you just buy a passport, which is in my view dangerous, and there are others where you have to have a certain residence that never attaches any voting rights. That was the model I repeatedly said we would be more inclined to look at.”
        I do believe he and the O.B.A. have made a good move by placing it on the backburner…for now.

    • frank says:

      sirus radio don’t give you local content and no room for local spots

  16. Kim Smith says:

    I’ll be very sorry not to have Mix 106.1 to listen to. The DJs are so upbeat, positive and just genuinely nice people… and that’s rare these days on radio. And they play good music too.

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    There are just so many advertising dollars. We have how many FM stations, all of them playing a similar genre of music, some of us call it noise.

    There are how many other options to listen to & watch available? Don’t know what I’d do without my Sirius Radio.

  18. Ringmaster says:

    Very unfortunate but a symptom of technology. Many other private sector jobs have been lost for the same reason. This is a worldwide situation and it is not restricted to Bermuda, or caused by the PLP or OBA.

    What needs to be accepted by many is that the same technology and shift has replaced hundreds of administration jobs in Government. The difference being Government has not shed the jobs and the reduced private sector is paying for the same number. The longer it goes on the more painful it will be when the cuts have to be made, and they will have to be made.

  19. outkasted says:

    The age of ‘Technological Unemployment’ will eventually hit Bermuda. The next market to be hit maybe the purchasing of goods and services market. I.e groceries. Who will be the first to have check out kiosk where you scan your own items…

  20. Late But says:

    very bad news. our choice of local stations now sucks beyond belief. nothing but praise for 106.1 god bless you we will miss you and your GOOD music. Guess its satellite now because I refuse to listen to whats left.

  21. So sad says:

    Wow..this is such sad news. I will really miss hearing the voices of The Captain, Shelly and Eddie. Wishing all of the VSB family much success in the future.

  22. Edwin says:

    I wonder where Mrs. Dill’s two favourite people are going to spew their venom now.

    • Onion says:

      By employing large numbers of people locally and marketing Bermuda internationally to people who can afford to come here… among other things…

  23. SHD says:

    Going to miss Toni Bari in the mornings and Shirley Dill on Sundays – what a shame

  24. DONALD says:

    DON’T CRY FOR ME (Argentina) BERMUDA.

  25. Tony Brannon says:

    The shift in ADVERTISING $$$$$$
    Bermudian are on Social Media these days between Facebook, Google ads, Instagram, LinkedIn etc….old media is suffocating. The oxygen of commercial dollars has dwindled. Digital measurement of who has seen your ad, who has clicked on your ad, is not offered by a TV station, a radio station or a newspaper. Its all guesswork. People are spending their ad $$$$, # 1 on Facebook. At least the paper (After years of not really working the web) now have ad $$$$ from ONLINE news.
    Bernews (Bermuda’s 1st online news) were smart and got a leg up on the The paper

    It seems no one in the media business in Bermuda read the book “GOOGLED: The end of the world as we know it”. They should have.
    Mel Karmazin (Viacom) said to Sergey Brin of Google (when Madison Avenue and cable saw huge ad dollars going online), “YOU ARE F***ING WITH THE MAGIC”.
    My take: “No sh*t Sherlock” !

    A former GM of a local newspaper once said to us in 1999/2000,
    “The Internet is a fad” (boy was his head in the pink sand)…..

    The 21st century Digital Revolution is in it’s early years……
    The changes to come will indeed see the end of printed news almost everywhere.
    In the UK, my beloved NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS finally shut down its paper and tries to survive digitally.

    Staying relevant and edgy is about the only way to keep people interested in “local media”. To stay alive you need advertising $$$$ or sponsorship. This is the challenge for many.

    Good luck to those that are left. It is time for a real shakeup and for owners to really get smart about their programming, or else the dwindling ad $$$$ will vanish completely.

    I suspect others in radio and media in Bermuda are close to the line as well.
    For a small island there was just too many stations trying to get listeners in a country of declining population.

  26. Betty Rech says:

    not happy!!!

    Surly going to miss by good music

  27. stunned... says:

    RIP VSB. All of the show hosts will be greatly missed. So sorry.

  28. Christopher Dunne says:

    I don’t live in BDA but I did visit there in 2005. I thought that 1450 AM Gold was a great station. Is there anybody who can record for me (tape, CD, mp3) any of Gold’s last days? I can’t put my e-mail here, but you can contact me via my YouTube page—my “channel” is cd637299, thanks. —-Christopehr