VSB To Cease Channel 11 TV Broadcasting

August 29, 2014

1424506_620427484669529_823432512_n[Updated] Saying they “cannot continue to operate with continued losses,” DeFontes will cease to broadcast VSB Channel 11 effective August 31, 2014.

The decision will leave result in three full-time staff, and eight part-time workers, all Bermudian, losing their jobs.

A statement from the company said, “After considerable thought and a full review of its operation, DeFontes Broadcasting Co. [Television] Ltd. announces that it will cease to broadcast VSB Channel 11 effective August 31, 2014 until further notice.

“This decision by Management was not made lightly. In spite of their best efforts, advertising revenues continue to decline and there is little reason to anticipate that the current economic situation will be improving substantially in the near future. The station cannot continue to operate with continued losses, which losses to date have been subsidized by Mr. Kenneth DeFontes personally.

“While it is not the intention that the shut down be permanent, it will enable the operation to be re-evaluated and reorganized in an effort to minimize losses and find innovative ways to enhance content, productivity and control spiraling costs, while offering advertisers value for dollars spent.

“In addition, updated technology is needed to bring the station to the expected standards of todays’ viewers, which will be a very costly venture for a business that is already showing losses.

“It is the hope of Management that the Group will be able to partner with or sell to investors who have the vision and foresight to see that Television Broadcasting with local news and programming is much needed in Bermuda; in part to strike a balance in fact gathering, reporting and viewer choice. In that way VSB Channel 11 will be able to return stronger, enhanced and with better content in the future.

“Over the past several years the staff have worked hard on a daily basis to provide television news and services, despite cost cuts and difficulties with equipment, Management is most grateful for their hard work and dedication and for a job well done, under stressful conditions at times.

“It is Management’s deepest regret that 3 full time and 8 part time Bermudians will be displaced by this decision, but there was no other choice other than to suspend operations until viable alternatives are explored at this time.”

This follows after the closure of the Bermuda Sun, which ceased publication after 50 years, and printed their final issue on Wednesday, July 30.

Update 1.33pm: DeFontes Broadcasting Company’s radio stations [such as Mix 106 and 1450 Gold] will continue to function as normal, and the company also hopes to add new radio programming.

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Comments (63)

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  1. MB says:

    Does that mean the radio station 106 as well?

    • Bernews says:

      @MB, 106 is staying on the air…

      • Kunta says:

        Vote for change
        Vote for jobs
        WTF

        • Kangoocar says:

          @kunt a, you are an idiot!!!! Why not put the blame were it really belongs??? And this time it has everything to do with the plp, and to a smaller degree Bermudians in general!!!! The plp chased out of here 5000 foreigners who were spending a good amount of money in retail stores and restaurants and other services, when they left and no longer did that along with Bermudians needing sky caps to carry all their purchases from overseas out of the airport on a daily basis, what the heck to you think would happen???? I will tell you, the retailers and service providers no longer had the money to advertise!!!! Now all we have is another group of people looking for a job!!!! The plp should be very proud of themselves!!!!!!

  2. outkasted says:

    …Damn

  3. San George says:

    Thanks VSB and best wishes!

  4. Man says:

    VSB has been an asset to the community since the days when it was the only station. Today with so many more media outlets, there’s much more inventory of advertising space and thus lower rates. Meanwhile the costs for digital and HD upgrades and equipment replacement continued to build and con-men distracted management. As I understand it, unlike the Bermuda Broadcasting, VSB never got a subsidy from CableVision for using their signal. Fortunately it appears the radio stations are still viable, probably because the cost of radio is so much lower.

  5. sml says:

    That is very unfortunate. I quite enjoy VSB. What will happen to all the NBC programs that they now show? This really sucks.

    • PBanks says:

      you’ll have to get a cable package then. Don’t know about WOW but CV carries an NBC affiliate.

      • animallover says:

        Yes, so does WOW, I have it on HD chancel 729, or 728. I love NBC news. The absolute best. What a shame for VSB.

  6. Disappointed says:

    That ao such a shame! What does that mean for all the NBC programming?

  7. I will miss "Good Evening, I'm Peter Katell" says:

    Sad news.

  8. Jeremy Deacon says:

    The radio stations are staying and the radio news will stay as well

  9. Watcher says:

    wait! what about my Monday night football???

  10. Mark Orchard says:

    Sad news indeed. The economic down-turn continues to bite hard.

    • OpenMind1609 says:

      Bermuda is sadly in the throes of a terrible technical depression (defined by Wikipedia as:)

      a decline in real GDP exceeding 10%, or
      a recession lasting 2 or more years.

      The danger is that unless we make huge and drastic changes, “economic downturn” may become the new normal and may still take years to even bottom out. Translation? More pain without drastic change.

      The ONLY way to fix what ails us, is to LISTEN to Larry Burchall. We must ADD at least 5000 consumers LIVING, WORKING AND SPENDING, back to our island. If we don’t, the supply will only keep shrinking to meet the demand, which will cause an ever spiraling downward cycle that will take a very long time to find equilibrium. GDP growth through greater population is our only hope of saving jobs and businesses. The facts are unequivocal and speak for themselves, sadly one lost job and one closed business at a time.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        You’re quite right .

        I do feel for the staff that will be let go. Like myself ,who lost my job 3 years ago and is struggling to keep my head above water , they will now come to the hard realization that they will have no spare money at all while everyone else , who can , will be trying to gouge every last cent out of them and prices continue to rise as if everything’s ‘normal’.

        This is our new reality and unless we get a huge and quick influx of guest workers here we’re going to all have to adjust our expectations and standard of living downwards.

        The bottom is nowhere in sight yet .

      • Tony says:

        Yep, simple, basic economics, which the previous administration failed to grasp.

        It is my sincerest wish that this administration throws it’s doors open to all, until we get the population back up to where it once was. If that means granting PRCs to people to have committed themselves to the island for the past 5 years, then so be it.

        The PLP may not like it, but sure as eggs are eggs, each and every member of the population will benefit from it.

  11. Boston Baked says:

    Hoping that SOMEONE will answer the question regarding NBC programming. Don’t mess with the Monday night football !!!

    • Know it all says:

      Assume that Chan 98 will continue to operate just fine.

      • sml says:

        True, but that is news out of Florida not New York. I guess the Monday football will still show.

    • lifetime says:

      Cablevision has Nbc affiliate channel 98. Not sure about Wow.

    • Common Cents says:

      You’ve got several options:

      1. Get a cable TV package or maybe WOW
      2. Watch it online over the internet
      3. Get an Apple TV or Roku

      Since VSB TV will be off the air, and ZBM/ZFB carry the CBS & ABC networks, you’re not likely to see it OTA in Bermuda.

    • Come On Man says:

      Monday night football is on ESPN Sunday night football is on NBC Channel 98 on CV.

  12. St. D says:

    Wow. Now we have one local newspaper and one local TV news. :(

    • Tough Love says:

      Very disturbing news. I’m sorry for the staff and company, but I think the community loses much as well.

      One newspaper and one local news channel, one very dangerous road we are on.

      • Devil's advocate says:

        To play devil’s advocate, why do we need any newspaper or TV? Honest question. Now anybody can publish news or opinion pieces on the internet, just as this website does.

        Unless people step up to support local traditional media by subscribing to the paper and buying advertisements, the traditional media will continue to decline.

        • Then maybe! says:

          Its time the media and TV stations came of age and use social media , internet and whatever means possible to survive. I have been in business for 34 years, you must adjust,adapt and sometimes make due with what you have and of course sacrifice plenty. Don`t ever recall VSB TV offering AD deals to me. Maybe the passion wasn`t there, who knows. Hope someone picks it up.

    • At St.D: Along with an Opposition seeking a one, (P.L.P.) Government. Sad yes, but true:-(
      I would also like to take this opportunity to thank V.S.B.T.V. for sharing my pictures with the world.

  13. James says:

    Maybe we can get some HD feeds on CV for NBC and who knows one day CBS as well!

    • Tough Love says:

      The HD channels for CV are in the 400s. You have to pay for them.

    • PBanks says:

      Wouldn’t be surprised to see an HD package featuring NBC sometime soon.

      As for CBS or ABC, well as long as Bermuda Broadcasting owns the rights we may be stuck for the forseeable future, unless they come up with an unexpected influx of cash.

  14. campervan says:

    6000 less people in Bermuda = less local retail spending = less advertising $$.
    Listen to Larry peeps. Don’t get side tracked by politicians with agendas and no hold on reality.

  15. San George says:

    THIS ECONOMY IS IN A DOWNWARD SPIRAL AND THE OBA GOVERNMENT APPEARS TO HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO. IT IS NOT ANY PARTICULAR PERSON’S FAULT, BUT IF YOU WANT TO GOVERN YOU MUST SHOW LEADERSHIP AND PRESENT SOLUTIONS. THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE AND SOCIALLY DANGEROUS.

    INTEREST RATES MUST BE CUT OR TAXES HAVE TO BE CUT. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE TO GIVE EMPLOYERS A FIGHTING CHANCE.

    • Anon says:

      The OBA are doing everything they can but the turn around is going to take a very long time and meanwhile any progress they ,ight have made gets damaged by all the PLP antics, marches, boycotting parliament and daily faux outrage. The number one that needs to be done is to reduce the civil service by 20-25% and privatising some of its services. Tell me how you think that’s going to play out.

  16. Sigh... says:

    Sad. I will miss VSB for the best news on TV. I’ll still have them to wake up to on the Mix 106 Radio.

    • Come On Man says:

      Yes the do have a better produced news. Now we stuck with BBC

  17. ella says:

    Darn! Feels like we are going back into the dark ages.

  18. ella says:

    And I always chose VSB over Bda Broadcasting every time especially when it came to the local news. Im going to miss VSB TV 11

  19. Yuh huh says:

    CableVision should be on this purchase like a fat kid on a Smartie; the opportunity to own content rights is what turns mediocre single stream cable providers into successful ones. Buy VSB, own the content rights and strengthen CableVision’s VOD offering by selling on-demand NBC content in addition to selling the delivery method. Throw in an island-wide WiFi network for CableVision customers to access their content on any device and now you’ve got something worth selling.

  20. Coffee says:

    In my lifetime I’ve seen three T.V. Stations shut down under the UBP/OBA government . In the eighties ZFB/ZBM and now VSB . What is it with this party that T.V. Stations find it difficult to remain a reliable source of news and entertainment ?
    Now It’s just an observation , not a blanket indictment on the current administration , but it’s worthy to consider the coincidence !

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Silly comment. You actually mean 2 stations. ZFB and now VSB. ZBM are still hanging in there….

      • Ringmaster says:

        @Coffee. Typical ridiculous comments that only a non real Bermudian male could make. Just like saying “what a dreadful man” on another story. What real Bermudian male uses the world “dreadful”?

    • Common Cents says:

      I worked at Bermuda Broadcasting in the early 80′s. The shutdown had nothing to do with the party in power. ZBM was non-unionised and ZFB was unionised. When they merged the inevitable occurred – the union wanted everyone at the combined operation to be union members. There was a strike, the owners didn’t give in, and all the BBC TV and radio stations were shut down for an extended period. At the time of the merger, over 100 people were employed by BBC. Now they employ – about 30? If you want to blame someone, blame union shortsightedness, not a political party.

    • Kangoocar says:

      @coffee, really??? How many more lies are you going to spread??? First off, the number of stations that went off was TWO NOT THREE!!!!! And you may have noticed that channel 7 has been on air for many many years, and secondly, the shutting down of ZFB, in the 1980′s had absolute nothing to do with the UBP!!!! I will give you one chance to be honest for a change ( if you really know the real reason back then why they went off the air ) and for once give a truthful reply???? Yeah right!!! Like that will happen?????

  21. the correct facts says:

    Man Say.’
    You wrote ” and I quote:
    VSB has been an asset to the community since the days when it was the only station. 

    I beg to differ as ZBM and ZFB where around long before VSB.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Nice to see that someone remembers history correctly . I remember when ZBM was the only channel , black and white and only on for about 7 hours a day.

      Now can someone else seize the opportunity to correct our board history revisionist Coffee and tell him about the shutdown of ZBM/ZFB in the 80′s ?

      I hate being the only one who’s right all the time .

      • Ringmaster says:

        Coffee is not a “him” as usually defined. More likely a white British female since they refer to someone as “a dreadful man”.

        • Creamy says:

          No real Bermudian man that I’ve ever met would refer to someone as a “dreadful man”. I agree, coffee sounds like an english woman. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…..

          • Kangoocar says:

            @creamy, you are not correct on this one, coffee is nothing more than a plp troll, born and bread here!!!!

            • Coffee says:

              @kangoocar .. Bread here is it ? I tell you what , I’ve been here long enough to see General Bakery on North Shore Road and Bermuda Bakery on Pitts Bay Road fail under the UBP/OBA , and those were the good old days for some … But for others , not so much ! By the way Kangoocar , it’s a generally accepted fact that you are a UBP/OBA Troll , but I have it on good authority that you are in position to actually hire a few more good trolls , any idea who you’ll be bringing on board ? Let me suggest that you look at a few of the displaced workers above … Very good story tellers , well trained , professional an all !

              Come to think of it Creamy , remember Belvadere on Hermitage Road … Another failure under the UBP/OBA . Freeza Fresh bit the bullet also Ringmaster , all under the governance of the UBP/OBA …
              I remain still , Coffee , without your mental borders …

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Oh yes, the BBC strike. Remember that one. No TV. 9 months later there was a baby boom.

  22. Shell says:

    Very unfortunate to hear this news VSB. I hope something comes up to save this and the lost jobs.

    No more decent local weather broadcast that is actually based in Bermuda and not overseas like ZBM does.

    No more NBC Today Show with Lester Holt on weekends and thru the week no more Al Roker and Matt L.

  23. As long as 1450 stayz?radio is lovely and will always have advertising dollar.

  24. Cleancut says:

    Cat & Mouse game going on. Come up with the goods or else!

    • Trulytruly says:

      You are wrong. The mouse you refer to has been caught.

  25. UBP says:

    The PLP is scaring everyone out of here with their xenophobic comments.
    No future for our children if the PLP have their way.Watch and see!

  26. Common Sense says:

    Very very sad news. Thanks to Kenny DeFontes for providing us with an alternative to Bermuda Broadcasting for many years. Their coverage of local news has been excellent and offered a different perspective on the Bermuda scene.

    One other concern – if VSB radio closes down will we lose 24 hour a day BBC coverage on 1160? That would be a huge loss to anyone who wants world news from Stations other than those broadcast from the US.

  27. This is really quite sad …Mr. Defontes I grew up with you,watching and listening to your television and radio.I have a great many good memories of it all too.It is time …thank you for the memories,thank you for the music,and thank you for the news and casting

  28. mumbojumbo says:

    There is one clear solution…legalise mary jane….the money is bolstering the ecoñomies of two US states.If you have a failing economy legalise….prohibition ended and the hardship ended with it the ecomomy was bad then too!Drastic measures are needed and it will take bulls balls to fix it….my question is…who has the cahonesvto realise this added income both sales importation duty licensing fees and the influx of tourists from it?

  29. mumbojumbo says:

    Mr. D….could you not just go ahead and sell some tv like wow ,cable vision,there are people that would favour you because you are you.Your product has always been good your pretty much just a hop skip and jump frommit…but whatever you do decide …thank you for all these years…