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Znaimer connection ends at Chum TV

Restructuring includes axing of 17 employees

TORONTO — It’s the end of an era at Chum Television.

Moses Znaimer, co-founder of Chum’s originator, CityTV, is quietly ankling after the restructuring of the Alberta TV operations. The move, announced Thursday, leaves him without a job there for the first time in 32 years.

Znaimer, a charismatic and tireless self-promoter, ankled his executive post at Chum in 2003 to become a board member and creative director of Access Media Group, the Alberta company that owns several of Chum’s specialty channels, including Access, Canadian Learning Television, BookTelevision and CourtTV Canada.

Znaimer’s Olympus Management owned 20% of Access Media, Chum owned 60% and other individuals held the remainder.

Earlier this week, Chum bought the part of Access Media that it did not already own, meaning Znaimer will no longer be involved with the company in any way.

Znaimer was unavailable for comment, but ubiquitous “Moses rumors” say he is working on a play, a book or perhaps “something completely different.”

The restructuring includes the pinkslipping of 17 Chum employees in Edmonton and Calgary.

The cutbacks follow Chum’s acquisition of Craig Media and its four terrestrial and several specialty channels.

Some of Chum’s Alberta-based specialty channels, including Access, Canadian Learning Television and BookTelevision, will be integrated with operations of Craig’s A-Channel Edmonton, and master control and traffic for these channels will be moved to the offices of A-Channel Calgary.

Master control for specialty channels MTV2 and CourtTV Canada will be moved from Calgary and Edmonton, respectively, to Chum’s Toronto HQ.

The restructuring will result in one-time charges of C$440,000 ($325,600) and the addition of four positions in Calgary. Annual savings are projected at about $732,500 and will cut future capital costs by $1.6 million, as a planned upgrade is no longer needed.

This is the second consolidation at Chum in as many weeks. In early February, Toronto-based Chum laid off 27 full-time and nine part-time posts in Ontario.

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