Revenues, staff counts down at Vancouver radio stations

Gregor at CKNW with Bill Good

Plus, Vancouver is unaffordable, and Urthecast buys some satellites

Radio star
Revenues at Vancouver’s 20 commercial radio stations fell 5 per cent last year, from $124 million in 2013 to $119 in 2014, thanks entirely to a $10-million drop in sales of airtime to local advertisers. Those figures come from the CRTC‘s annual roundup on the financial health of commercial radio in Canada—which, major caveat here, exclude the CBC. As for employment figures, the region’s 11 FM and nine AM stations had a staff count of 545 in 2014 down from 620 in 2010. All of the above figures cover the CRTC’s fiscal year, which ended August 2014.

Still unaffordable
Here’s something obvious: a house in the Lower Mainland is crippingly expensive. Now RBC has a study to add to the pile of affordability grievances: if a Vancouverite wanted to by a bungalow in the region, they’d have to spend 86 per cent of their pre-tax income each year on the downpayment and mortgage. If you want to buy a condo, that will require 39 per cent of your pre-tax income. That’s according to RBC Economics, which looked at affordability for home ownership across the country. But if you’re willing to buy a house in pretty much any other city in Canada, prepare to spend a lot less. In Toronto, residents must spend 57 per cent of their income on the costs associated with owning a home, and in Calgary, locals need only spend 33 per cent of their income if they want to buy a house. But heck, at least we spend less on heating.

Up, up and away
Mere days after Urthecast began beaming a live stream of Earth from space (i.e. its cameras on the International Space Station), the Vancouver company is set to acquire a Spanish satellite imaging business for $105 million. And to pay for it, the company is looking to raise $100 million in a stock sale on the TSX. Deimos SA, which provides services to the European Space Agency, has two satellites in space which beam down 5-million square kilometres of footage each day.