Philip Mcleod

The McLeod Report - London, Ontario

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Cutting the tie that binds

REPORT #1,141: What happens when you ditch the cable company? Well there are recriminations, promises to do better and try harder. But at the end of the month, when all is said and done, you’re ahead about $100.

Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 – LondonOntario

Last week, after decades together, my wife and I got divorced – from the cable service and the landline telephone.

Oh there were the usual recriminations, the promises to do better, to try harder, anything to make it work. But really, too little too late. The relationship was over.

We couldn’t be happier.

Not only are we saving money apart, the house is quieter too. No more noisy commercials, no more stupid jokes, no more shallow and repetitive stories. Gone is that endless rotation of nonsense disguised as information.

At the end we had access to about 250 channels. More often than not we couldn’t find anything worth watching on any of them.

Okay, in truth we did have a few favourite times. Downton Abbey, Castle, Bones, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory and, more recently, You, Me and the Apocalypse. It turns out those happy hours are available for free via the internet – which means we can, you know, do it wherever we want anywhere in the house and whenever we want using our laptops, tablets or smartphones. 

I’m a news junky and baseball fan. But there is so much news available by other means these days that the TV news programs had become background noise – out-of-date background noise much of the time at that. And it turns out I don’t so much watch baseball as listen to it. I think that’s called radio.

My wife, well she cheats occasionally, living a ‘different life’ in other countries to pursue her passion for super heroes, vampires and zombies. I pretend not to notice, although I must confess to peeking on occasion when she’s watching something particularly arousing involving some strapping dude in Genoa City. I suppose that labels us as kinky.

Of course there’s a lot of finger pointing about who or what is to blame. Any day now the president of CTV or Global or the CBC will once again be whining to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission about how they need a slice of cable fees to keep their stations afloat.

One wonders whether these people ever look at what their stations offer. Really, would you pay more to watch the truncated local programing provided by CTV London? 

In its heyday CFPL-TV – that’s its official birth name – offered live local news and public affairs, sports and entertainment programs. Today local programing consists of two newscasts a day – one of 60 minutes, the other of 30, during which there might be 15 minutes of what you could actually call local information, and much of that in fact already known by anyone with internet connections. 

But it’s the same everywhere. The media moguls cut back on staff, then express amazement when they lose customers. 

Every day, it seems, on the newscasts offered by the CBC, Global or CTV will run some cute little clip they’ve ‘discovered’, usually as the brightener at the end of a dull newscast. Have a look, they’ll say, as they proceed to run an amazing car crash or a very amusing cat or an awesome kid or an angry politician, and afterwards they will happily announce five million people have already downloaded this.

As my wife usually says, “I saw that on YouTube, two days ago.” And you wonder, do the broadcasters ever listen to themselves?

Not that print is any better; actually often far worse. Hands up anyone who can find more than three relevant stories in the morning London Free Press you didn’t already know. 

Yes, these are very tough times to be in the traditional media business. As a consumer of the news and entertainment they pump out, that is not my problem. It’s theirs. And they can’t solve it by giving us more of less, or in trying to do more with less. 

As they teach in marketing classes, better is better. And these days we’re just not getting better from the likes of our mainstream media. I mean, just how many iterations of CSI are there?

Now this is not to argue life without cable or a landline telephone is nirvana in our household. We’re still putting our pants on one leg at a time, along with all those other little inconveniences of coupled life.  

But we are saving $100 a month, money that can now be directed towards pursuits more, ah, stimulating. You know, like Netflix.


# Enjoy hanging on to old habitsTucker 2016-02-29 02:55
Philip please, drop your spot on the radio, very hard listening too liberal……

May we suggest interviewing Mr. Kevin O'Leary on your last radio show for one hour?

Please, return to “The McLeod Report” full time.

PS: We enjoy Execulink high-speed cable internet and land line phone.
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# BlowhardJ. David Scott 2016-02-29 08:53
Listening to Phil is "very hard"? Then you suggest O'Dreary? You've just gone from "very hard" to "bloody painful"! An hour of dead air would be more enjoyable...and certainly more informative.
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# Enjoy hanging on to old habitsTucker 2016-02-29 17:13
J. David Scott, thank you for your comment.

Yes, enjoy your comment as you have stated, full of “dead air…………and certainly more informative.”

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# YawnJ. David Scott 2016-02-29 19:55
Trite come-back, at best.
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# Made the Switch!KC 2016-02-29 03:50
I can't remember the DECADE that I last had cable for TV. I found it overpriced with stupid programming a long, long time ago. The CRTC bringing in the pick-and-pay rule is too little, too late, I think. The cable is hooked to the computer for internet through a re-seller, and we gave up the landline phone for cell phones many years ago too. Haven't missed it at all. Netflix is inexpensive. The only old-style broadcast technology that I still use everyday is radio.
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# Going...going.. .J. David Scott 2016-02-29 08:47
I gave up my landline phone years ago. The Free Press has only been fit for lining the bottom of a litter box since Berton dumbed it down ages ago, so it has been long gone. Now, I've been reluctant to give up cable tv, but, this new format of a "skinny bundle" and then different packages is going to be the "make or break" of my cable use. We'll see....As Ernie Harwell used to say- " Going... going...(will it be) gone!"
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# Almost Therewalter 2016-02-29 14:55
After numerous views of our Cable, Phone and Internet bills I cut the cord on Bell several months ago and went with Magic Jack saved +/- $500 dollars a year give or take a few dollars. Persuaded Rogers to allow us to go to Skinny Digital and now have increased our Internet to Unlimited. Overall Savings: $1,500.00 per year. Satisfied Customer...You Bet. Only reason we still have TV is to 'watch' CBC and the odd Leafs and Jays game which cannot be streamed live otherwise...sni p snip
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# very hard listeningElaine R 2016-02-29 15:33
Tucker. Pretty sure you used the handle Tucker Not Sucker in the bad old days of the Free press comments section. Now that those are closed you have turned up on Phil's blog. Why don't you start your own blog. Then you can pour out your right wing reactionary hatred. Invest your own time and money and build your own platform. Phil is kind to allow you to post here.
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# RE: very hard listeningTucker 2016-02-29 17:34
Elaine R, thank you for your comment.

Elaine, have used MANY handles in MANY newspapers over MANY years.

So sorry, to read you have no problems with greedy, politicians / governments that steal, lie, mislead, etc, etc. from you, your children, grandchildren and your fellow Canadians.

Elaine, lfp are not closed, they have changed how to leave comments, use facebook. Lfp is running scared…….to their end…….so sad.

As for Phil, yes, he allows all to post just like all newspapers. He and newspapers have an open mind unlike some people.

PS: Yes, I do HATE politicians / governments that are greedy, lie, mislead, don’t care about Canadians etc, etc.

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# Old Habits Die HardDave 2016-02-29 18:08
“I saw that on YouTube, two days ago.” This is said (by me) at five times every morning. My wife gets her daily Free Press at the door - and for the next half hour, reads the news to me. Of course, it is old news. We have talked about getting rid of the LFP, but my wife would "miss it".
Then there's the land line. Love to get rid of it, but wife would be lost without it. Especially the 15 or 20 advertising calls that we get every day. (no, I don't need my eave troughs cleaned, I live in an apartment) Even though we both have cell phones, the land line is "essential".
Cable TV is still big here. My wife has to watch all the reruns. She gets annoyed when I point out that we saw that one yesterday. Seems that cable, too, is "essential".
Yes, everything is on the computer But I have a wife who is afraid of it. She thinks she will accidently do something that will bring the RCMP to the door.
So, we are stuck in near bankruptcy while Rogers' execs have another lunch martini at our expense.
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# RE: Cutting the tie that bindsGord Drimmie 2016-02-29 18:23
Maybe I AM a dinosaur....but I have my cable; internet; and land line. I love the choice; the ease of access; and the ability to add/subtract to my subscription at any time. I know people with Netflix (and other services) who pay twice what I pay for Internet. But I'm just fine paying for what have....a contented customer.
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# Netflix is only $7.99/month.Leila Paul 2016-02-29 21:21
Unless people are subscribing to multiple specialty video services I don't see how it's possible to pay twice what you pay for the internet. But if they are using multiple subscription services, at least they're paying for what THEY want and what they will actually see rather than subsidize others who take whatever is handed to them.

I've got unlimited, 100megs download (and, yes, i test it regularly) and pay less than I ever would have just for cable.
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# Ad revenue used to pay for higher quality media and newsLeila Paul 2016-02-29 21:30
What we may not want to acknowledge is that advertisers were actually paying for the costs of producing entertainment for BROADcasting as well as for more staff in newspapers.

We complained about ads interfering with content but in truth, if not advertisers, then lobby groups dictate content.

There are many factors for the diminishing choices we used to have - but somebody has to pay for anything that is going to operate. That used to be advertisers from companies who have now run away from Canada. I've begun to watch foreign movies for that seems to be where advertisers,i.e ., corporations, are now investing in programming. I still speak enough Spanish, French and a couple of other languages to be able to benefit.

Another factors is that I stressed BROAD casting. That requires consumers with similar interests and cultural context. We celebrate the joys of diversity but that fractures the viewership and readership. Instead, now producers have narrowed their target audiences. So the now-fractured homogenous market of the past is no longer the focus of producers or suppliers.
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# Cable, phone savings can be donated to emaciated refugeesLeila Paul 2016-02-29 23:50
Are we really doing enough for refugees? While we count our savings on infotainment, there are millions clamoring for money, housing and jobs. Maybe if we bring a million more refugees here, they'll motivate the production of more options in cable content.

The UN agency responsible for refugees states there are nearly 60-million registered refugees. If we guesstimate those not registered there must be billions who'd benefit from whatever we save in phone and cable bills.
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# Does no one question UNHCR's refugee numbers?Leila Paul 2016-03-03 19:58
UNHCR puts out an outlandish figure for refugees which would require an army of canvassers to record who they are, where, and if they meet a DISCLOSED criteria of how they define the needs of those in the database. Just consider that the entire UN's survival depends on the existence of "refugees" and DPs or IDPs.

If the figure of 59.5 Million in late 2014 is accurate and the projected >60million now, then imagine how the 59-Million,975- thousand people feel about the 25-thousand Canada has laid out the red carpet for. Instead of correcting domestic issues, the feds are putting out a constant drumbeat of how big hearted they are with our money - for a miniscule fraction of those UNHCR claims are dying in desperation Trudeau's Libs get bragging rights that are hollow and actually offensive....1
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# The devil is in the details...AnotherView 2016-03-01 16:37
Just a couple of counter-points. I would assume folks that have cut their land line are now using a cell phone full time -- which is likely costing them more than the land line ever did.

And anyone whom cuts cable in favour of Netflix or Kodi will soon find they have to bump up their internet package to unlimited.

There's no free lunch.
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# maybe you have not shopped arrow ndLeila Paul 2016-03-01 18:52
I'm with Execulink and have unlimited with blazing speeds at a LOWER cost than ever with Rogers or Bell. I've also never experienced any downtime and when I call in I ALWAYS get someone who speaks English and knows how to correct any problems.

As for cell phones being more expensive, I've got three cell phones and, all together, am paying less than I'd pay with a land line. I can email, check weather and keep one in the car for emergencies.

The only details are to avoid being conned by someone who's on a quota and will say whatever is needed to convince a prospect to guy an expensive internet package. Shop around.

Now if only we could do that with our governments - but they're a duopoly, soon to become a monopoly. Apply the same critical analysis and the rejection of contracts that do not allow you to change your service provider.

City hall managers have lifetime jobs and we have no say in how they operate. Instead of committing to greater debts for a LRT or even BRT they should be forced to prove the need and prove their preference is better than lower cost alternatives.
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# Really?AnotherView 2016-03-02 22:31
Quoting Leila Paul:
I'm with Execulink and have unlimited with blazing speeds at a LOWER cost than ever with Rogers or Bell...

As for cell phones being more expensive, I've got three cell phones and, all together, am paying less than I'd pay with a land line.

Nothing wrong with Execulink, but their savings over the big carriers isn't that significant when you dig into the details.

Three cell phones costing less than a land line? Please elaborate...I'm sure many of us would like the details...
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# MrBronte 2016-03-03 13:16
I use Rogers cable internet,unlimi ted,speed is up to 150Mbps.$73.44 ink charges $107.45 for same(only 100 Mbps).
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# You have to negotiate with ISPsLeila Paul 2016-03-03 19:35
Rogers is notorious for short term reduced rates where some who pay more subsidize those who pay less and use more bandwidth.

it's like being in the ancient street markets or haggling with caravan traders - you have to drive a bargain and be ready to end the conversation if they're not yielding. And that should not be the case in Canada, and it once was not.

Also be sure the person you're dealing with has the person you're speaking with has the authority to give you a better deal than initially offered.

There used to be a time in Canada when all clients paid the same for the same service. Now some are subsidizing others in all aspects of commerce but especially internet and phone service. There are so many alternatives and the fed govmt is negligent for allowing us to be so badly ripped off and under-served.

Are you aware you can use the internet for free outgoing phone calls as well as local. Use the Chat function in your Gmail account. it doesn't work with Chrome but it's great with other browsers. In the U.S. Gmail voice is free both incoming an outgoing.
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# RE: You have to negotiate with ISPsBronte 2016-03-05 21:25
Neither haggling or bundling was involved.Speedt est verifies download speeds of 120-140.
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# 100mbps or 150mbps is negligibleLeila Paul 2016-03-05 20:49
If it's Execulink then you're using Rogers cable anyway. The likelihod that you're really getting 50mbps more is not likely as you're using similar modems to access cable from the same source. it is not that clearly differentiated.

Further, if you're only a home user, and not a business with multiple users accessing your website or something similar, then the extra 50mbps you're told you're getting is merely a sales pitch.

Get the link for Rogers testing of your speed. You may be surprised at what you're actually getting versus what you're told in the sales pitch.
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# Execulink's price stays the sameLeila Paul 2016-03-03 19:45
At least I do not have to haggle for a lower "promotion" price and then be gouged when Rogers or Bell decide the promotion is over.,

i'd much rather have a price I know will not change and a service will be entirely reliable with tech support that actually knows their jobs.

Also with Execulink most of the money stays within our regional economy. Like other re-sellers they buy chunks of service from Rogers (cable) or Bell (DSL) but a good portion of that money remains in our regional economy.
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# RE: Really?Gord Drimmie 2016-03-03 19:47
Yes, I'd sure like to see how 3 cell phones are less than you would pay with a land line.

I love my land line - $28/mo incl tax - unlimited NA long distance; call display, call waiting, answering machine.

My Internet is 200 GB (I haven't a clue what the speed is but it sure works just fine) and it is $68 incl tax.

I have 4 Rogers services....giv ing me 12% "bundle discount". I think Rogers is a bargain.

You will always find someone or something that costs a bit less but there are always mitigating factors.
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# If you do not live life jabbering on your phoneLeila Paul 2016-03-05 20:23
Find out which cell phone companies offer a plan for $100 where that money is good for one year. Then you are charged by the minute. One the phone I keep in the car, I still have $96.00.

I have another phone with the same plan, but a different company which I keep as an alternate in case my main cell phone is misplaced or if I neglect the battery.

On the third phone, which is my main phone line, I give out that number as the incoming phone number. On that one, I have a plan with unlimited talk time and it is half of what Bell or Rogers have charged me in the past.

For most outgoing phone calls, I use the Gmail ougoing phone app. It is activated under Gmail chat; you download a plug-in and then activate Hangouts, and then click on the Chat preferences, and "revert to Old Chat" format. That gives you a keypad where you can dial numbers or use your keyboard.

Since I am not a jabbering teenager, and since I keep my phone conversations limited to relevant dialogue, I do not use much time even on the cell phone where I have unlimited talk.
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# Bundling is bait to become bound and tiedLeila Paul 2016-03-05 20:31
Bundling is such a scam. Rogers is even worse than Bell when it comes to multi tiered prices.

As for speed - I can't believe you don't know what you're actually getting and what Rogers claims you're getting. If you've been with Rogers for a long time and if you live in Byron, you're probably getting very low speeds.

With high speed and unlimited bandwidth there is no need for cable or land lines. And cell phones can be cheap if you're NOT subsidizing others who are tied to their cell phones like an umbilical cord.
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# Phone with Rogers is NOT a land lineLeila Paul 2016-03-05 20:44
Your phone, if it's with Rogers, is based on a modem. If electricity goes out and the short-term back up battery dies, you've got NO phone line.

As a safety feature it's good to have a cell phone even if you don't use it much. I have three so that i can access two different phone towers in case one cell company's tower is damaged for any reason. Most cell companies rent space on either Bell or Rogers towers. Rogers tower is oversold and over-subscribed if you're in Byron or west of Byron.

Chances are if you call in and ask, the ones you talk to will not know or will simply tell you what you want to hear.
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# Text substitution distorts intended typingLeila Paul 2016-03-01 19:28
Some recent updates on browsers now include text substitution long with autofill. If you don't want a program to change your text you may have to turn off autofill or look for a third party extension.

Good demonstration is above in subject line and in "guy" versus "buy".

More and more "easy" things lure us into allowing mechanistic or collectivist actions to replace our individual choices.
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# Is the UN exaggerating to justify its budget?Leila Paul 2016-03-03 20:01
How is any of this reliably recorded or verified? What happened to critical thinking? Why do we turn our pockets inside out for the unknown while we begrudge homeless Canadians whose needs can be verified?

By mid-2015, the total population of concern to UNHCR stood at an unprecedented 58.0 million persons. This includes persons who are forcibly displaced (notably refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs), those who have found a durable solution (returnees), as well stateless persons, most of whom have never been forcibly displaced. This categorization is neither identical to nor synonymous with the global number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide (59.5 million by the end of 2014). It not only includes refugees and IDPs beyond UNHCR’s mandate but also excludes returnees and stateless persons.
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# Enjoy hanging on to old habitsTucker 2016-03-03 20:30
Oh, one last comment on our………services, did pay $81.51 tax in for satellite tv now pay $36.31 taxes in.

PS: Oh……this is my second squeeze in two years.

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# Enjoy hanging on to old habitsTucker 2016-03-03 20:33
Oops, have not changed, lost channels all these years.

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# Warren Buffet acknowledges humans are just "crop"Leila Paul 2016-03-05 21:14
For years I've been saying the elite ruling classes who own what we use also "own us" and treat us like crop to be harvest when needed and as needed.

Those who are kind hearted are most gullible to contributing to the power of the elite. Recently, Warrent Buffet was denouncing those who claim our economy is suffering and his quote is:

"That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history," Buffett said.

Note: the luckiest "crop in history". yes, they're very generous to us today.

Check on banking laws that now allow banks to withhold your deposits if it's in the interests of "the public good". Canadian banks are fully integrated with the global banking system. it's an illusion that Cdn banks are immune from failure. Your deposits do NOT belong to anyone but the global banking system and the local takers are Cdn banks. I don't yet know if credit unions are undermined by the same regulators as the banks.
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# Banks back-up of their failure is our depositsLeila Paul 2016-03-05 21:18
Leila Paul
7:49 PM (20 hours ago)

to Alexander

While banks in Canada are extremely unlikely to fail, each bank has developed “recovery and resolution plans” that would help the bank recover from financial distress or bring about an orderly resolution in the event of their failure.
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# Electronic money voids the need for precious metal - Canada now has only 70 ounces of gold reservesLeila Paul 2016-03-05 21:58
Gold is among the most easily liquidated assets in the event of a crisis. Yet just a while ago Canada's gold reserves were sold and only 70 ozs were retained, equally in today's money $130-thousand.

so where is the liquidity to be derived in the event of a bank's failure? Will the six banks pool their deposits and consider that as public property?

somebody must demand full disclosure from each of the banks to all of their depositors. How much of our deposits MIGHT be vulnerable to confiscation. Direct deposits into banks by those who issue pension cheques could easily be interpreted as part of the domestic agreement to ensure banks have assets in their hands from which to ensure they have the required retained assets.

Who really thinks that the ease and facility of direct deposits and online banking was intended for our convenience? Have we been lured into forfeiting ownership of our funds? But could a cheque be cashed even if it were not a direct deposit? A cheque would be worthless unless a bank were willing to honor the full amount.

Ask why Trump is being opposed while malleable JT was eased into power.
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