A group of dedicated CBC listeners made their way to city hall last Monday night to express their disappointment with what they consider a lack of local programming on the federally-owned broadcaster.
In making the presentation, Kathleen Palm referenced a CRTC hearing that took place in Prince Rupert back in August of 1988 when the broadcaster sought to change the source of programming for the station from Prince Rupert to Prince George while reducing the number of people at the Prince Rupert location from 14 down to two. The federal regulator denied both of those applications.
“Should the corporation be permitted to eliminate entirely its programming originating from CFPR, residents of the northwest part of British Columbia would lose an important and valued service and be deprived of programs which, due in large part to their source, reflect the unique interests, concerns and demands of the many listeners living in the more remote and under-served communities in the area,” read the CRTC ruling.
“The commission … expects the CBC to maintain a level of staffing which will be sufficient to ensure the provision of an adequate amount of locally-originated programming. In terms of an appropriate level of staffing and programming, the Commission notes that the CBC intends to staff its Prince George and Kelowna storefront production bureaus with four persons each in order to produce a three-hour weekday morning program.”
However, Palm said the CBC simply isn’t adhering to that ruling and the result is a lack of quality local programming.
“There is not much programming for us here in the Northwest … what we are concerned about is that when you listen to the CBC programming, you will hear ‘you are listening to’ such-and-such a frequency in Kispiox or Ocean Falls, but that is all you will hear about Kispiox or Ocean Falls until something bad happens,” said Palm.
“We say Daybreak North is not enough and two people are not enough to provide adequate news and programming. It is time to ask the CBC to do the right thing … with four people we would get discussion of emergency broadcasts and all kinds of news and programming that links our communities together.”
Along with her presentation, Palm included a letter from New Hazelton council expressing their desire to see improved coverage of the region.
“CBC’s mission is ‘to provide Canadians with information when and how they want it’ and we want CBC to deliver the news of our region in Northwest B.C.,” wrote then-mayor Alice Maitland last August.
A representative for CBC did not respond to a request for comment by press time.