March 5, 2024

NWBroadcasters

Radio and TV news

Sam Borsato speaks out about her time with Vista Lethbridge

3 min read
Sam Borsato has decided to discuss what happened to her in Lethbridge when Vista radio took over her station

Good evening, Brian!

Hoping you could post this to NWBroadcasters to try to help spread my message:

Good evening!

I’m reaching out far and wide to anyone considering working for Vista Radio, 94.1 CJOC FM and 98.1 2Day FM in Lethbridge, AB. If you’re able to post what I’ve written below, my hope is that websites like yours can provide insider perspective to potential applicants:

I’m not writing as simply a disgruntled former employee watching from the sidelines, but in an effort to make my opinion known about what I consider to be a hideously toxic work environment.

I started with Clear Sky Radio in Lethbridge, AB at 94.1 CJOC FM and what is currently known as 98.1 2Day FM in mid-2017 as a journalist/morning show co-host. Both stations were taken over by Vista Radio in early 2019. In just three years, the two stations combined have lost nine talented, long-term employees.

General management did invite all employees for individual chats about the business in the beginning. In hindsight, it felt like they were talking a majority about themselves and not exactly making an effort to learn about the employees or their ideas from their previous years with Clear Sky, or about Lethbridge and its surrounding communities. I later found myself subject to what I consider unduly harsh treatment when I was given a performance review by general management that didn’t result in any helpful advice, to then find out I was demoted from the morning show two weeks later in a meeting with my program director that general management did not attend. I don’t feel like I was given an adequate chance to improve.

In my personal experience, general management tends to demand a chain of command up through subsequent managers/directors in order to bring forward concerns about systemic issues, but then often fails to listen or take action when you can finally reach them. I can recall various name-calling and insulting remarks over the years instead of addressing the core issue. It seemed especially difficult to get the attention of general management during the beginning of COVID when a number of essential staff that were required at the office requested more to be done, like keeping non-essential staff to a bare minimum in the building, to protect our health.

Trying to address issues with corporate news management became increasingly challenging, too. I had questions at one point about copyright after finding some information that contradicted Vista guidelines, and was swiftly told through my news director from corporate news management to adjust my negative attitude without further discussion about my questions.

After months of what felt like near constant yet vague criticisms leaving me defeated and in the lowest morale of my life, I took two months off for stress leave in early 2022, feeling on the verge of a mental health crisis. This move was not supported by Vista’s benefits package at the time, stating in a letter denying my short-term disability claim that it was a workplace conflict that was my responsibility to correct. Two months, unpaid and depressed. I scheduled a meeting with general management and an HR representative at the end of those two months to discuss returning to work and making some changes going forward only to feel like I was being talked over. Not feeling heard or respected, I gave my immediate resignation over the phone. To be clear, it was never my intention to resign, I was seeking a compromise with general management to get more support for myself at work.

Long story short, my opinion is that Vista’s top management has had a hand in failing a well-respected Lethbridge radio legacy with what seems like little consequence.

-Sam Borsato

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