Dear Vista Team
I am excited to announce some big changes at Vista.
Westerkirk Capital has (subject to CRTC approval) agreed to purchase all of the shares in Vista not owned by the founding shareholders.
In 2004, with the help of my brother Vince, Bryan, Paul, Jason, Barb and I founded Vista. Shortly thereafter, Terry joined us.
Since its inception, we have had a vision of Vista becoming one of Canada’s premier broadcasters. And we are so proud that with your help we have grown Vista from our first license in Duncan, British Columbia to 38 licenses serving over 50 communities in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The founding shareholders and Westerkirk Capital are committed to continue building Vista Radio into Canada’s leading independent radio operator.
To learn more about Westerkirk Capital, I encourage you to go to: westerkirk.ca.
I’m also pleased to announce that Vista is expanding eastward. Vista has entered into an agreement (subject to CRTC approval) to acquire Haliburton Broadcasting Ltd.
Haliburton operates 24 stations across Ontario including Timmins, Niagara and the Muskoka Cottage country. We have attached a complete listing of the stations owned by Haliburton to this announcement. Christopher Grossman founded Haliburton Broadcasting in 1997 and has built it into an impressive group of stations, which are well managed and committed to serving their communities with creative, local content, much like we do at Vista.
We are honoured that Christopher chose Vista as the company who will continue his legacy in these markets. And we take seriously the responsibility that that entails.
I look forward in the coming months to meeting the team at Haliburton, sharing ideas and learning from them. I encourage you to reach out to your counterpart at Haliburton and welcome them to the Vista Family.
In support of our expansion strategy, we have made some changes to our management team:
Terry Coles has sadly given us notice that he wants to retire at the end of 2012. Terry will therefore take on a consulting role with Vista, effective immediately. Until Terry retires he will undertake some special projects and you will likely see him visit our various markets between now and the end of the year. You will all therefore have an opportunity to personally wish him well before he officially retires.
With Terry retiring I will take on the President’s role concurrent with my role as CEO. I plan to visit with each of you in the near term and share our long-term goals for Vista as we continue to see consolidation and technology reshape our industry.
Bryan Edwards has agreed to lead our expansion efforts and has moved out of an operating role into full time business development, as our Senior Vice-President of Business Development. Bryan has already been busy in his new role, and we are pleased to announce that in addition to the Haliburton transaction, we have entered into an agreement for the purchase of CKAY-FM in Sechelt. This transaction is subject to CRTC approval, which we hope to obtain within the next couple of months. Stay tuned for more announcements in this regard!
To help me out on the operations side, Ross Hawse has become our Director of Operations, Vista West and will be responsible for the day to day operations of Vista Radio in BC and Alberta thus freeing up Bryan to focus on our strategic growth opportunities. Ross will report directly to me and will split his time between, Calgary and Courtenay.
Ross is committed to working closely with each of you, so expect to see Ross in your markets over the summer.
Gary Russell has agreed to take on the role of Director of Integration & Operations, Vista East. Gary will also report to me. Gary and his wife Fern and their son Sam will relocate to Ontario. We are grateful for the commitment to Vista, which Gary and Fern have demonstrated by agreeing to this life-changing request. Gary’s continually expanding and changing role in Vista, his longevity with Vista and his breadth of experience in our business make him the ideal candidate to help us learn from the way Haliburton does things and also help us share some of the Vista strategy and culture with our now extended family at Haliburton. Gary will be assisted in this role by other executives at Vista and Haliburton. Stay tuned for further announcements in this regard.
On the sales side, Paul Mann has agreed to expand his portfolio. In addition to his Senior Vice-President Sales role, he will take on the role of Training and Development. Paul recently spearheaded the development of our new Vista University program to help our team achieve the greatness that is within all of us. Vista is committed to ensuring we develop our sales team to the best of their ability and Vista University will provide our sales people with the tools and resources necessary to succeed.
Stay tuned for an expansion of this program to encompass best practices in programming with Jason’s help and management training with Terry’s input.
To assist Paul on the sales side, Tracey Gard has agreed to take on the role of Director of Sales, Vista West. Tracey will relocate to the Courtenay office.
She will be responsible for the day to day management of the sales portfolio and will oversee the performance of all sales personnel thus freeing up Paul to focus more on the training and development side of his role.
Jason Mann will continue in his role as VP Programming and Digital Media.
Please send Ross, Gary and Tracey a word of encouragement and support as they take on their new roles.
Finally, please join me in welcoming two new members to our team:
• Joining our senior management ranks as our Senior Vice-President, Finance and CFO effective April 15th is Christophe Lecomte. Christophe is a long time finance executive in the broadcast industry, and many of you will know him from his days at Telemedia and Corus. Christophe will join Barb Fairclough and her team in ensuring our financial reporting remains robust and our books are kept in order;
• Joining us in the corporate office in Courtenay is Anna Carter as our Executive Assistant to the senior management team and our Human Resources Administrator. In her role as HR Administrator Anna will be responsible for recruitment of operating staff.
With our plans to continue to expand, recruitment has become a top priority for us. We have a number of vacancies to fill and more will become apparent as we grow our business throughout Canada.
We anticipate being in a perpetual state of recruitment so if any of you know of any strong candidates who are hard working, passionate and interested in joining a growing and dynamic company like Vista please provide their contact information to Ross, Tracey or Anna.
It’s an exciting time for Vista and it’s an exciting time for all of you, as there will be lots of new opportunities for growth and development as we expand our business. I look forward to sharing our continued success with each one of you and with our newest team members at Haliburton. I’m proud of our terrific Vista team and I look forward to
working with you all for many years to come!
I also look forward to seeing each of you soon. If you have any questions or comments feel free to call on any of the management team or please drop me a line at Margot@vistaradio.net.
Margot M. Micallef
President & CEO
Vista Radio Ltd.