MOSES Znaimer is bringing some zip to the Boomer-focused programming of the Lower Mainland's Joytv10 television station.
The Toronto-based media pioneer, best known for launching MuchMusic and Citytv, spent the day at the station's Surrey studios in November to meet with staff.
Znaimer's trip to the West Coast also involved preparations for the launch of national distribution of Joytv10 programs via Bell Satellite. As of Nov. 29 two million additional homes in Canada have had access to the "family-friendly, culturally diverse" shows for which the station is known - everything from The Simpsons and Heartland to oldies I Love Lucy and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, plus weekend offerings that explore the world's faiths and spiritual traditions.
"It'll be kind of a super-station that will be conceived in this hybrid way, as a combination of multi-faith, multicultural and local content," Znaimer says.
Joy, known as an "over-the-air" TV station, was acquired in 2009 by Znaimer's ZoomerMedia company as part a deal to own and operate VisionTV.
"I've begun to implement my plan with Joy - I've turned my attention to it to spiff it up and make it a more watchable experience," Znaimer says.
Among the first initiatives, videographers have been hired to cover local events for Joytv10, including many in ethno-cultural communities, he says.
As part of the ZoomerMedia family, Joytv10 has a sister station in Winnipeg known as Joytv11.
ZoomerMedia was founded in 2008 by Znaimer as "Canada's only diversified multi-media company uniquely devoted to creating information, entertainment and experiences to serve the world's largest and most affluent generation": those age 45 and older. ZoomerMedia's holdings include TV and radio stations, a magazine, consumer shows and "affinity programs" with Canadian Association of Retired Persons, a Canada-wide association involving people of that older demographic.
The company name combines the words "Boomer," as in Baby Boomer, and "zip."
"I felt I had to coin this new word," he says. "I've written a couple of good slogans in my day, but I've never seen anything be so quickly absorbed into the language. It is a 'Kleenex' word and people use it freely and know exactly what is meant by it, and that is a new vision of aging."
Znaimer, 70, says the fact that Canada is aging isn't a bad-news story.
"It's good news compared to how it's treated in the popular press and political class," Znaimer says. "We've gained this astonishing amount of extra longevity, about 20 to 25 years over the last 60 - it used to take a thousand years to do that, and that's a miracle in my opinion, and cause for celebration. We all strive for longer life, and that's been done through better nutrition, better medicine and through peace. All those things lead to extra life.
"We finally have achieved what people have been seeking - longer life - and instead of clapping hands, we have people giving this false portrayal of streets clogged with frail, decrepit, destitute old people who will break the national bank. It's bizarre to me."
Znaimer, who calls himself "the prophet of this new old demographic," says the philosophy behind CARP clicked with him the night he launched MuchMusic, in 1984.
"I remember thinking, 'Well, what happens in 10 years? What happens in 20 or 30 years? Can you run a rock station at age 60?. I'm still with my gang, but the culture got stuck, the ads got stuck and the politicians got stuck."
Znaimer intends to return to Vancouver next February for the annual ZoomerShow, billed as the largest consumer/ lifestyle expo for the 45-plus crowd. email@example.com