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September 17, 2021 9:33 am  #1


Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

In all the years I've worked in TV, the night I always dreaded the most was covering a federal election. It is, literally, a non-stop broadcast. It usually starts at 8 PM Eastern and when it ends is anybody's guess.

A lot depends on not just who's running - but where. The one I remember best came in 1988, when the Liberals' John Turner was running against Brian Mulroney. The problem? Because Turner was based in B.C. (I still remember the riding - Vancouver-Quadra), we had to wait for the polls to close there to be sure of the results. And because they're on Pacific Time, that meant after 12 AM on this side of the country. 

But even when the results were certain, there was the interminable wait for the inevitable concession and victory speeches, with the winner always going last. If memory serves, Turner didn't come out until close to 3 AM our time and yep, we were still on the air. That meant 8 straight hours of coverage - and that didn't count the 6 PM newscast we had to do that essentially set up the coverage that would follow. Now THAT was a very long day (and night!)  And you had to be back the next day for the follow-up six o'clock news. 

Ironically, I'm pretty sure all but the most rabid political junkies had long since gone to bed. Good thing I was young and foolish back then. (Now I'm just old and foolish, but that's another story...)

So why am I predicting that this may be the strangest election night broadcast in Canadian history? It's because of the pandemic-driven mail-in ballots. Even if there were fewer of them than expected, there's a chance they won't all be counted by the time the polls close and that means you could be watching this thing all night - and never learn who actually won. Depending on the turnout, and with pundits predicting a too-close-to-call race, you may not know for days. 

Which leads me to wonder - if that scenario plays out, how long will the networks stay on the air? If they can't call a winner, is there any point to just endlessly regurgitating the same half-results over and over and over again? Having to sign off without being able to declare a winner would certainly make it the most unusual election night for media ever in this country. (Although I have heard at least one pundit predict the mail-in votes won't be an issue and we will know late Monday/early Tuesday. I hope they're right.)

I would, however, suggest that all the correspondents covering the leaders bring their dancing shoes. They may be tap dancing all night. 

 

September 17, 2021 10:00 am  #2


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

I was just looking at who's doing what on Monday night and it's not quite what I expected. The all-news channels will be going non-stop, of course. But over-the-air stations have a different set-up. Both CTV and CBC will start their coverage at 7 PM. The polls don't close in the east this year until 9:30 PM. That's two and half hours of filler and analysis, without actually being able to report anything that matters. 

Then there's Global. They'll have a half hour special at 7 PM, before going to regular simulcasts of American shows (it happens to be fall debut week, so all the shows are new episodes.) Their wall-to-wall special won't start until 10 o'clock and is scheduled to run until 1 AM. (I believe this will be simulcast on GNR640, so they won't have to call in separate staff members.)

CHCH promises a local-focused "Your Home, Your Vote" show from 9 PM-midnight. 

Perhaps the saddest thing, but not the biggest surprise, is on City TV. Outside of their regular 11 o'clock newscast, they won't be doing a single special broadcast during primetime on election night. I say sad because many here will remember the unusual City election shows of years past, when they did their "Party Politics," holding an actual party in the newsroom, complete with a piano player and copious amounts of "refreshments." (Not to mention a series of T-shirts for the crew, like the one depicted below.)

By the time they got to the end of the night, many of those taking part were - shall we say - well relaxed and that made for a sometimes-unpredictable broadcast. That's obviously not the Rogers way, since they'll be sticking with a night of all U.S. primetime programming. (It's possible they may do cut-ins with updates, but nothing major.) They do, however, promise an 11 PM-2 AM wrap-up called "ELXN 21: What's Next?"

TVO has no planned coverage, but Steve Paikin's The Agenda will almost certainly deal with the story, although at 8-9PM, there's not much they'll be able to say. 

https://i.ibb.co/RSTZZCk/Citytv-Election-Night-T-Shirt.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2021 10:09 am  #3


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

I think this could easily end up like last year’s US election, where we don’t know the final seat count for several days. Because of how close the Liberals and Conservatives are polling, this could have very real effects on how long it takes to declare a winning party.

I doubt we’re going to see days of 24-hour coverage of John King and Phil Mattingly playing with a big map though.

 

September 17, 2021 10:26 am  #4


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

You are absolutely correct...  the mail-in / special ballots will be the point were the results start to drag or slow down.

I saw a guest/pundit make a statement of a politico show on one of the news nets a few weeks ago...  expect five million mail-in ballots for this 2021 election.  About a week later I heard on a radio story that the number of mail-in ballots could be a many as six million. 

By contrast,  the 2015 general election had just over 600,000 "special ballots" *  and Elections Canada indicated that the 2019 general election had just over 34,000 mail-in ballots. 

* the Special Ballots would have included mail-in and advance balloting in the local Returning Office separate from the general Advance Poll dates/locations.  And the 2015 Election was longer than most in recent memory,  it was approx 9 weeks in duration iirc.

So ya,  we might not know the actual outcome for until Wednesday or Thursday  https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/cwy.png


 

 

September 17, 2021 11:54 am  #5


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

Hi RA,
I've got a closet full of these shirts that brings back memories of election night yelling in the control room, political hacks drinking beer from plastic cups, so the sponsors wouldn't see the logos, and the post election blues question of why did we take on the networks for federal coverage?  CityVote, municipal style was the very best.  

 

September 17, 2021 12:00 pm  #6


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

I saw a CTV/Nanos regional poll taken Sept 18-22. As in most Federal Elections, sadly only Ontario and Quebec matter. In Ontario, the Liberals had a lead over the Conservatives of 40% to 30%. In the GTA, the lead was 47% to 27%. These numbers kill any chance of the Conservatives forming the next government. In Quebec, the Liberals were leading the Bloc 32% to 28%. That should be enough to keep Justin from getting his majority.

 

September 17, 2021 12:44 pm  #7


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

Our media has really dropped the ball not talking about the P.C. leader and his current views about bringing up the abortion question.

I saw this in passing and considering what's going on in Texas, am surprised and disappointed Canadian radio, newspaper and television didn't take much notice.

If nothing else it's a story that could influence the undecided voter.

Last edited by betaylored (September 17, 2021 12:50 pm)

 

September 17, 2021 12:51 pm  #8


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

The Foxer wrote:

Hi RA,
I've got a closet full of these shirts that brings back memories of election night yelling in the control room, political hacks drinking beer from plastic cups, so the sponsors wouldn't see the logos, and the post election blues question of why did we take on the networks for federal coverage?  CityVote, municipal style was the very best.  

I've heard about these T-shirts/sweat shirts that came around every time there was an election - municipal, provincial or federal. Here are a few that I've managed to collect over the years. Don't know the dates for some of them (besides the ones that are displayed) but I'm betting you'll remember all or most of them. (My favourite has to be "Mike Check," which was the campaign on the re-election of Mike Harris. A great play-on-words.)

https://i.ibb.co/3WRhYWT/image.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/hsks2N3/Citytv-Dynasty-On-The-Line-Election-Night-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/103Mf9q/Citytv-Election-Night-T-Shirt-1.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/VLtWC5v/Citytv-Mike-Check-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/g60f61Y/Citytv-Toronto-City-Pulse-Everywhere-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/02P0szy/Citytv-Toronto-Cityvote-1985-Crew-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/sFFL3th/Citytv-Toronto-Election-Night-1997-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/dtWpLRb/Citytv-Toronto-Election-Night-2000-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/GJP9Gjr/Citytv-Toronto-Election-Night-T-Shirt.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/vQ2qzbZ/Citytv-Toronto-Push-For-Power-Election-T-Shirt.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2021 1:36 pm  #9


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

It will be the most rigged election ever.

SAD!!!!

 

September 17, 2021 1:47 pm  #10


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

Was the T-Shirt above, "City Vote 85  /  Crew"  from the May 1985 Ontario Provincial Election?

If I remember, this election had a re-alignment of some ridings, and one of those re-alignments pitted Ian Scott (lib.) against Susan Fish (pc)...  Scott won handidly...  the best part was Andy Donato's front page editorial cartoon in the Sun the next morning...  "SCOTT GUTS FISH"  


 

 

September 17, 2021 1:55 pm  #11


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

Glen Warren wrote:

Was the T-Shirt above, "City Vote 85  /  Crew"  from the May 1985 Ontario Provincial Election?

If I remember, this election had a re-alignment of some ridings, and one of those re-alignments pitted Ian Scott (lib.) against Susan Fish (pc)...  Scott won handidly...  the best part was Andy Donato's front page editorial cartoon in the Sun the next morning...  "SCOTT GUTS FISH"  

Not sure of the specific election on that one, since they churned these things out every time there was a vote. A former City TV worker told me they always tried to come up with a fancy name to hang the coverage on, just to differentiate the station from everyone else, who inevitably called themselves "Canada Votes 1985" or something equally dull. 

But back to my original question: if it becomes clear there won't be an actual result on Monday night, and you're the guy or gal in charge: how long do you stay on the air? Remember, unless you're an all-news channel that's on 24-hours a day and have people on shifts, you're paying the staff overtime for the extra hours they're spending during the late hours. So this is not cheap. Done after the vote comes in from the west coast? Or do you just keep going until 3 or 4 AM?

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2021 2:04 pm  #12


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

City's election coverage was the best.  Live music, open bar, depending on the time of year outdoor set up with a tent, casual chats with candidates and past politicians.  I always thought that they and Much Music made it more of a celebration or party for the viewer watching. Because good, bad or ugly, democracy is worth celebrating. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/wink.png

 

September 17, 2021 2:07 pm  #13


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

paterson1 wrote:

City's election coverage was the best.  Live music, open bar, depending on the time of year outdoor set up with a tent, casual chats with candidates and past politicians.  I always thought that they and Much Music made it more of a celebration or party for the viewer watching. Because good, bad or ugly, democracy is worth celebrating. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/wink.png

Plus, they tried to get younger people to vote, something stats regularly show those in that demo all too often blow off. Was Much part of the "Rock the Vote" campaign? MuchMusic is certainly a shadow of its former self. I'm frankly surprised it's still around on cable in any form.

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2021 3:03 pm  #14


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

If the lower number of Mail-In ballots requested (than anticipated) is a sign that more people will show up in person to cast their ballot;  then it will be a busy day and especially in the final hours.  Advance voting was up 18.4% from 2019.
 
Schools are not being used as polling locations and according to media reports some private facilities (banquet halls etc.) that are usually rented for this purpose, have declined to open up for the vote.  Also for the first time,  university students will not have polling stations on their respective campuses.

Given these factors and Covid restrictions on the number of people allowed in at any one time, there likely will be more polling stations than usual remaining open after 8:00 pm.;  to allow those still in line to vote.
 

Last edited by Media Observer (September 17, 2021 4:02 pm)

 

September 17, 2021 3:44 pm  #15


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

RadioActive wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

City's election coverage was the best.  Live music, open bar, depending on the time of year outdoor set up with a tent, casual chats with candidates and past politicians.  I always thought that they and Much Music made it more of a celebration or party for the viewer watching. Because good, bad or ugly, democracy is worth celebrating. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/wink.png

Plus, they tried to get younger people to vote, something stats regularly show those in that demo all too often blow off. Was Much part of the "Rock the Vote" campaign? MuchMusic is certainly a shadow of its former self. I'm frankly surprised it's still around on cable in any form.

Much Music actually had reports from the Progressive Conservative convention in 1993 with Master T.  I remember interviews with Jean Charest when he was Minister of State for Youth and they did have coverage on some federal elections, somewhat similar to City which makes sense since they were in the same building.  Also they would have musicians occasionally interview the politicians.  Barenaked Ladies took part in a couple of these.  Yes Much, along with MTV is pretty much relegated to youth oriented reality shows and sitcoms on cable.  But the original format was brought back this past summer with Tik Tok.  Apparently they have VJ's and have brought back new versions of some of their old shows like Video on Trial.  Never seen it, and likely never will, don't know if the younger demos are watching or have discovered it. 

 

September 17, 2021 7:10 pm  #16


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

RadioActive wrote:

Perhaps the saddest thing, but not the biggest surprise, is on City TV. Outside of their regular 11 o'clock newscast, they won't be doing a single special broadcast during primetime on election night. I say sad because many here will remember the unusual City election shows of years past, when they did their "Party Politics," holding an actual party in the newsroom, complete with a piano player and copious amounts of "refreshments." (Not to mention a series of T-shirts for the crew, like the one depicted below.)

City TV will air ELXN 21 from 11 PM until 2am (TORONTO TIME)
OMNI 2 will air ELXN 21 in Cantonese for an hour @ 9pm but then it goes Mandarin at 10PM and TAGLOG  11PM until 1am.
Various newscasts air every 30 minutes after that, but I can not confirm live or "encore presentation". 


When CityNews was owned by CHUM Group they did not need to spend any money on other languages.  Rogers today has to maintain both City TV & Omni, so good for them and the efforts they've made.  



 


 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

September 17, 2021 8:17 pm  #17


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

& being a FEDERAL election, maybe it's just as well that 11PM on City is indeed 8PM in other parts of Canada that also have a CITY TV and are 3 hours behind Toronto time.

Last edited by Radiowiz (September 17, 2021 8:19 pm)


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

September 19, 2021 10:28 am  #18


Re: Why Monday May Be The Oddest Election Night In Cdn. Broadcast History

City TV will begin streaming coverage @ 9PM and go live on Television @ 11PM


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.