Cornwall ON – Apparently our MP, Guy Lauzon upset a radio station this week and made one happy.
Mr. Lauzon seems to be the controller of the Canada Day festivities in Cornwall and radio station manager Mike Guimond received a phone call from Mr. Lauzon personally stating that his station was not welcome to set up in the park as they did last year for this year’s festivities.
We sent emails to both Mr. Lauzon and his executive assistant asking for comment before publication.
If Mr. Lauzon or his offices wish to reply or respond to this we’re happy to publish after as well.
Mr. Guimond sent in the following for publication and we are posting it unedited and in its entirety.
Last year Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox were thrilled to be invited to help celebrate Canada Day in Cornwall by Dave Runions. (Great guy!). As a service to the community, and free of charge, we promoted the Canada Day events and broadcast live on both stations from our booth near the stage in Lamoureux Park.
It was a great day filled with great local entertainment. We called Dave to do the same thing again this year…and no problem. Promos go to air, web promos up (again all free of charge).
Then I get a call from Guy Lauzon. He informs me that the Canada Day committee has signed an exclusive deal with Corus and they don’t want any competitors on site. Sorry, maybe next year. (Sounds like CBC Ottawa…but wait…this is Cornwall.) He should have filled poor Dave Runions in on that one. Dave does so much work for this event lining up the great local entertainment (and kudos on a great job) one would think he would be privy to any exclusive vendor agreements. But we aren’t vending anything.
Just trying to promote this great community event and keep people in Cornwall. (I remember last year all the lanes of traffic heading into the US were full and backed up on to the bridge. But I digress.) I thought Canada Day was about celebrating Canada’s birthday. And the ideals of patriotism, heritage and freedom. Seems its more about exclusive agreements.
With all due respect to Corus and Mr. Lauzon, what is Corus so afraid of anyway? And why hide behind exclusive contracts for community events? If anything, perhaps last year was a wake up call for Corus. And by the way, where was Corus last year? Oh that’s right they didn’t show up to the Canada Day Celebration. Our stations are here to stay…we’re not going anywhere, and we thank our thousands of listeners and fans we have in Cornwall and SD&G for tuning in. Happy Canada Day! Be safe!
Oh, and by the way…Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox will be live from Canada Day, in a safe legal spot!
This is not a unique situation apparently. Going back to when Scott Armstrong was the head honcho of the Corus stations in Cornwall predatory practices have been the norm with several area events granting exclusivity even while in many cases still paying for advertising.
In 2010 we ourselves were sponsors of the Lift Off and this year; after founder and president Chris Savard resigned, and then his successor Rick Shaver shortly resigned thereafter, we received this answer from Candy Pollard from the Lift Off team.
as you know Corus has exclusivity
I am not involved in the sponsorship sales
you would have to discuss that with Judi Auger
who is our Chair
That being a bit of an odd response as I was especially directed to Ms Pollard by Jason Jesmer.
That’s business, that’s fine in a way; but when the events are supported by public monies with the purpose to promote our community does it make sense? Lift Off being the perfect example. In 2010 Lift Off received about $75,000 from the Ontario government alone; nearly as much from the City of Cornwall in kind and services as well as some of it in cash. They received monies from the DBIA; Akwesasne, and other locations, but were in the middle of a three year exclusive contract granted by the Lift Off board which has Rob Seguin, a Corus employee on its rolls.
Lift Off is the keystone event for this city of nearly 50,000 people. It’s a non-profit corporation. While Lift Off’s origins were organic and it’s been a tremendous success at some point organizations grow past being able to be run on the back of a few people that throw bones to their employers and friends surely?
Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off is a not-for-profit organization and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, consisting of 19 community leaders. Our goal is to see the festival annually break even and should there ever be any operating surpluses, these dollars will be invested into the following year’s festival.
The more dollars we raise…the higher caliber event we can deliver! (from Lift Off website)
And surely the main goal is to attract positive attention to the city and the event and what better way to do that than have all of the area and regional media lend their special skills and talents to help promote the event and our wonderful city?
From Frank Holiday:
94.7 Hits & Wild Country 96.5 would welcome an opportunity to work as one of many radio partners with Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off. With Wild Country 96.5’s over 32,000 Canadian listeners,(over 7,600 in Cornwall) and the power and reach of 94.7 Hits, Cornwall’s #1 station for 12-17, 18-34, and 18-49 year olds…Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off could be taken to a whole new level as we invite our over 280,000 weekly listeners to come and join the festivities in our beautiful city.
Again; I’m not attacking Corus or Lift Off. I am asking why decisions are made regarding certain aspects of how things are done at times as have many others who were interviewed for this story. Our site draws in over 50,000 viewers per month with Ottawa being our number one city. We’re also the only Cornwall area media that does TV quality commercials produced in house even. Surely an export event would benefit from our support and sponsorship as well?
I spoke with the organizers of the Corn Stalk event a few years back who were told to drop one of their radio sponsors and go exclusive with Corus and still would have to pay for advertising.
Winterfest, Waterfest; again more of the same practice.
Andre Rivette was very clear about his position as the Lift Off board via city management requested and were given a $30,000 interest free and unsecured loan by the city for this years event and a special meeting of council was created where city council voted near unanimously even though the books of Lift Off were not opened or examined. Again, would this be available to other groups that wanted to do things in Cornwall?
Elaine MacDonald explained to me that she would still vote to give Lift Off the funds because of its marketing importance to the city. Maybe it’s simply time for the city to consider that if Lift Off is that important to Cornwall and region and if they are going to invest as much money as they do that some sort of management team be in place and perimeters be in place as well to focus on the goal of promoting the city and the event so that it draws in the most people possible in a positive manner?
Right now Lift Off seems to be an event about promoting Corus radio and its local stations in Cornwall. Again, that’s fine as long as Corus writes the cheque. The fest only features bands that are of the same radio format as its stations? (LIFT OFF SCHEDULE LINK ) Would not Country Music, Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop, and other formats not pull in people? And can a festival grow with acts like Kim Mitchell and Collective Soul being paid thousands to attract people while Jazz fests go on in Montreal and Ottawa? The Tragically Hip from Kingston play Water Town NY; why not Cornwall? Willie Nelson plays Burlington Vermont; why not Cornwall?
And Lift Off is an opportunity to support local bands. As of this writing there is no mention of any on the Lift Off Site. There are over 12 references to Corus brands on the schedule page including this notice:
Surely if people wanted updates on Lift Off there should be a multitude of options including the Lift Off website which for the most part still hasn’t been updated with less than three weeks to go to show time? Again, for a community that is focusing on Arts and Culture for its future and spent thousands of dollars on a report that recommends the creation of an Arts Council and Arts Centre this event would be a prime opportunity to help local bands get exposure on the backs of those that came to see Kim Mitchell and Collective Soul?
One band sent in the following that they received from Rob Seguin of Corus radio who’s in charge of the music for Lift Off and whose own band, Rub Salt, seems to play the event nearly every year.
One of the approved acts may be backing out. This would leave a spot for one of the three bands (including yours) on our stand-by list. Here’s the deal. None of our local opening acts are being financially compensated. Each has agreed to donate their 45 minute performance to the festival. Each band member and a guest will get a weekend pass to the festival. Please let me know by Monday at noon if you’re interested. We will then determine who gets the vacant slot via ballot. Thanks. Rob.
So last year the Province kicked in $75K and we couldn’t afford to give a local band $750?
I sent in requests for comment to many city officials; but have yet not been given any comment “on the record” other than by Councilor Andre Rivette. I also sent in requests to most of the Lift Off team. The current Chair; Judi Auger sent in the following:
There is a two part answer to this 2 part question. Corus DOES NOT have exclusivity to all media output. We have for many years had a relationship with Le Journal, Seaway News, the Standard Freeholder, Cogeco Cable and others from time to time and continue to do so. CKON is another media outlet who regularly broadcast news and information about the Lift-Off Festival activities and offer listeners promotional contests and prizes. The affiliated papers of the above sponsors are sent press releases so they can inform readers in all our surrounding areas regarding the bands, balloon rides and other weekend events.
Our goal is to co-operate with media to ensure Cornwall has a successful Festival and to encourage out of out of towners to visit our city and support our local hotels, restaurants and retailers. It also is a highlight for thousands of our local residents throughout S.D & G.
You also have been sent information about the festival and have been invited to interview Collective Soul.
Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off does have a partnership with Corus Entertainment who has offered unprecedented support to this festival since its inception. Over the past five years alone, Corus Entertainment has provided the festival with over a half million dollars of in-kind marketing support and thousands more in cash donations. The specific details of our agreements with any of our sponsors and community partners are strictly confidential.Secondly, Corus Radio does not receiving funding of any sort from any level of Government. On the other hand Corus Entertainment pays millions of dollars to the Government and Government regulated bodies for broadcasting licenses, SOCAN and FACTOR fees, etc.
Corus Entertainment does not receiving funding of any kind from the community. All revenues are generated via paid advertising. With that said, in 2010 Corus Entertainment’s Cornwall brands contributed more than $925,000.00 in charitable donations to Cornwall and area including cash donations and in-kind marketing and support services. Corus Entertainment gives back to our community.
Thank you for this opportunity to reply to your questions.
Judi AugerKinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off 2011 – Board Chair
There was a children’s story by Hans Christian Anderson about the Emperor not wearing any clothes. I think it’s time; especially as we start to focus on Arts and Culture in the area that we reconsider how we do things at various levels if our goals are to help build and grow our community. I think it’s time that those that sit on boards like Lift-Off and vote for giving exclusivity to any single company without truly being compensated maybe find something else to do with their time?
As someone that has worked in events I also would seek exclusivity for the company I worked with. We generally had to pay a fee for this as the events had to balance the loss of broad support vs that of a single sponsor. For the Lift Off board to go hat in hand to borrow money from the City of Cornwall; who have already given so much; means that decisions were made by its board that led to less funding and support and much of that lack of support stems from alienating people by these types of exclusive decisions.
The DBIA in Cornwall pulled its financial support of Lift Off. I spoke with one beer company that said it’d offered more than Lift Off has currently been receiving and has been rebuffed numerous times as well.
Lift Off will survive. It is the keystone event for this city and a tribute to the spirit that helped built it and support it. It has hundreds of volunteers that put in tons of hours to make it the show piece that it is. And from what I’m hearing things are going to change and hopefully for the positive and that the people that voted to give such a contract that favored a company over the community will not be back.
Cornwall is a great city with wonderful opportunities for growth. We just need to change our “culture” and some of the practices and start truly working together to make things even better than they are. Hopefully next year’s Lift Off with hopefully some new blood on the board of the Non-Profit Corporation that runs it embraces that challenge and reaches new heights.