Fredericton — After failing to find a buyer, Sun News Network went dark at 5 a.m. today.
Now, The Manatee is poised to take over the beleaguered news network in an effort to bring the New Brunswick-based satire site to the next level.
“Shauna and I have been looking at ways to increase our audience for a while,” said Alex Vietinghoff, Manatee co-founder. “And Sun News going tits-up is a win-win for us.”
Indeed, while The Manatee has become increasingly popular in certain New Brunswick circles, it has struggled to gain a foothold in the saturated news and satire industry.
“Sun News was only getting about 8,000 viewers,” said Shauna Chase, the other Manatee founding member. “But some of our stories, like the ones about the apocalyptic snowstorm and Survivor coming to New Brunswick, got us more 50,000 views. You never know; merging our website with their traditional news television could skyrocket us to fame and fortune.”
This Manatee reporter asked both Chase and Vietinghoff whether they were concerned about Sun News Network’s reputation as a “right of centre” broadcaster. “We will be changing things a lot,” said Vietinghoff. “We’re not going to be right-wing at all; we’re just going to be right awesome.”
Initial estimates indicate that the broadcaster, based out of Toronto, employed approximately 200 people.
“We’re moving everything to downtown Fredericton,” said Chase. “Alex and I are renting a cube van and hiring a couple of guys off Kijiji and we’re going to drive to Toronto and bring back all their cameras and stuff. We even have a roof rack for their satellite transceiver!”
“We’re aiming to create at least 75 non-call centre jobs once we get up and running,” Vietinghoff explained. “If we can pull it off, that’ll mean The Manatee will have created more jobs in 2015 than our provincial government.”
Stay tuned to channel 506 on FibreOP or channel 144 on Rogers for the launch of the Manatee News Network.