Local television’s longest running TV programme, the Daybreak morning show, will bid farewell to viewers in February.
Television station Cayman 27, which is owned and operated by Hurley’s Media Ltd, will replace the morning show with a television version of radio call-in show Cayman Crosstalk, currently airing on Rooster 101.9FM.
Hurley’s Media Managing Director Randy Merren said, “Although we are sad to see Daybreak go off the air, we feel this is a better utilisation of our assets as we leverage the combined strengths of our TV and radio stations.”
In place of Daybreak, Cayman Crosstalk will be broadcast live on both Rooster 101.9FM and Cayman 27 from 7am to 10am from Monday to Friday, thereby extending local content by two hours. Current Cayman Crosstalk hosts Barrie Quappe and Woody DaCosta will remain in their chairs, and the Rooster FM studio will be fitted with cameras to broadcast live.
Mr. Merren cited the high production costs of the Daybreak morning show as a factor in the company’s decision, as well as the failure of the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) (now referred to as OfReg) to establish Cayman 27 as a “must-carry” station on all local cable TV provider’s networks. He noted that the market is a changing and dynamic one, and Cayman 27 has to find ways to adapt and thrive, all while conforming to the requirements mandated by its broadcast license.
Mr. Merren said, “Cayman 27 is the Cayman Islands’ only free over the air station producing quality local news and content in line with our broadcast license issued by the ICTA (now referred to as OfReg). Under the terms of their licenses to operate in the Cayman Islands, all cable operators must carry a local station. At the moment, not all cable providers are compliant with this requirement. In addition, since Cayman 27 is not mandated by the ICTA as a “must carry” station, the cable providers expect us to pay them a subscription fee to distribute our content.”
He continued, “We urge the public to contact their elected representatives to ask why their cable providers don’t carry Cayman 27, the only Public Broadcast TV station serving the Cayman Islands. They, in turn, can contact the Ministry with oversight of OfReg to further resolve this matter.”
Mr. Merren noted that Hurleys TV bought Cayman 27 in July 2015 and this matter has still not been resolved.
“The silver lining in this situation is that we are increasing local content on Cayman 27 in the morning from one hour on Daybreak to three hours on Cayman Crosstalk,” Mr. Merren said.
However, he emphasised that the underlying issue is far from resolved.
“As long as OfReg does not require that Cayman 27 be carried on all cable providers this puts an added burden on the station. This is what happens when you do not act to save local TV,” Mr Merren said.
Hurley’s Media says it will make every effort to re-deploy staff currently employed with the Daybreak morning show to other positions within the company.