Letter to the Editor: CBC responds to concerns

I would like to first highlight the significant shift the entire media industry is experiencing. CBC is not immune to these changes

Editor:

Re: CBC listeners demand better, May 6 Northern View.

I appreciate the opportunity to address your readers on the issue raised by a community group around CBC’s presence in Prince Rupert and clarify CBC’s mandate and commitment in Northwest B.C.

I would like to first highlight the significant shift the entire media industry is experiencing. CBC is not immune to these changes and has had to re-imagine its business model and allocation of resources. We have not changed, nor will we ever change, our commitment to serving all Canadians with news and information that informs, enlightens, and entertains.

We recognize the importance of all our communities. CBC’s Prince Rupert staff was not part of our most recent budget reductions and continues to broadcast the No. 1 morning radio show, Daybreak North, in conjunction with our Prince George bureau. Together, they have served communities in Northern B.C. very well.

I would respectfully disagree with Ms. Palm’s assertion that CBC is not producing quality programming in the Northwest. Our team, though small, includes some of the best in the business and their commitment to reporting on issues that matter to the people in Prince Rupert is unwavering. Our recent programming in the region includes a two-day broadcast live from Haida Gwaii in June; an in-depth series by Daybreak North on the housing shortage in Northwest B.C.; our afternoon show, Radio West, held a three-day live broadcast in February, two from the All-Native Basketball Tournament; and this month, CBC marks Prince Rupert’s “Homecoming” with live remotes from Daybreak North and B.C. Almanac.

I appreciate the passion Ms. Palm and her group has towards the CBC. We value the opinions of all those we serve. However, the basis of this article and Ms. Palm’s concerns is around a CRTC ruling from 1988 regarding the level of CBC’s staffing and programming originating from Prince Rupert. This ruling (CRTC Decision 88-485) no longer applies to CBC’s service in Prince Rupert.

CBC is currently operating under the most recently approved broadcast licence renewal for CBC Radio One in Prince Rupert (CFPR) in Decision 2013-263. This current license term runs until Aug. 31, 2018. There are no specific requirements for the Prince Rupert station set out in the current decision around staffing or content originating from the station.

With respect to providing emergency information to Prince Rupert residents, CBC adheres to the CRTC’s requirement of the broadcasting industry to participate in the National Public Alerting System to enhance the safety and security of all Canadians. As of March 31, 2015 all of CBC’s radio stations and over-the-air television stations are equipped to be able to issue emergency alert messages to localized audiences.

I am confident CBC is serving the needs of Northwest B.C. residents well and will continue to provide the best in local news, as well as in depth and compelling stories to all residents of Prince Rupert.

Johnny Michel

Senior managing director, CBC British Columbia and Alberta

 

The Northern View