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Update: Council to ask CRTC for CBC Kelowna back

Are you OK with the decision to switch Revelstoke to the new CBC Radio Kamloops bureau? Or should Revelstoke lobby to go back to the closer Kelowna bureau that broadcasts to other communities in our area? - CBC Radio image
Are you OK with the decision to switch Revelstoke to the new CBC Radio Kamloops bureau? Or should Revelstoke lobby to go back to the closer Kelowna bureau that broadcasts to other communities in our area?
— image credit: CBC Radio image

(Original story follows below this update)

Update: Council to ask CRTC for CBC Kelowna back

At their Nov. 13 meeting, Revelstoke City Council decided to write the CRTC and ask that Revelstoke be put back into the CBC Kelowna bureau's broadcast area, instead of the recent switch to CBC Kamloops.

"We've had a flood of emails today," Mayor David Raven told council. "We're probably up to about 50 emails right now and they're still coming in."

Raven said about 80 per cent preferred Kelowna, while 20 per cent wanted Kamloops.

In a short discussion, councillors Steve Bender and Chris Johnston agreed with petitioner Bob Bellis' points, saying CBC Kelowna is a better fit for Revelstoke.

Council will now write a letter to the CRTC; what the CRTC will do is unclear at this point.

(original story starts here)

By Alex Cooper & Aaron Orlando

With its unique, isolated geographic location, Revelstoke is a perennial stepchild whenever a chap with a map sits down to plot it into a riding, jurisdiction or service area.

Our Kootenay–Columbia–Shuswap town is often an awkward fit, and even more so when it came to a recent decision to take us out of the Kelowna CBC radio bureau’s broadcast area and plunk us in with the new CBC Kamloops bureau.

As it turns out, Salmon Arm has remained with Kelowna, as have Kootenay towns to our south.

So why is Revelstoke lumped in with Williams Lake, Lillooet, 100 Mile House and Clinton?

CBC spokesperson Lorna Haeber said a team of “senior editorial leaders” sat down to hammer out a new broadcast area for the new bureau.

They originally started with a long list of Thompson-Nicola towns, and also included some from the Shuswap – like Salmon Arm – and Revelstoke over in the Columbia.

After a bit of a controversy, the City of Salmon Arm objected, requesting they remain with the CBC Kelowna bureau – saying they were more naturally connected with their neighbours to the south.

When the matter went before a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) panel, they agreed with the City of Salmon Arm’s request.

At this point, CBC actually tried to cleave Revelstoke out of the deal and keep Revelstoke with Kelowna.

However, in their decision made at a March 30, 2012 hearing in Miramichi, New Brunswick, the CRTC noted the City of Revelstoke’s silence on the application: “This request was made during the intervention reply process and was not triggered by anyone from the City of Revelstoke,” they wrote. Therefore, the CRTC turned down the CBC’s last-minute request to avoid making Revelstoke an awkward outlier of the CBC Kamloops bureau.

So, why was the City of Revelstoke silent?

“We certainly tried to get the word out through news releases and through our airwaves,” said CBC spokesperson Haeber.

“We used our airwaves to let people know it was going to the CRTC for an application. We tried to reach out to as many specific communities but given the vast number we didn’t actually go into every single community.”

Revelstoke is one of the communities that wasn’t visited. The Times Review never received any press releases from the CBC on the matter, nor was the change advertised in the newspaper.

Alan Mason, the City of Revelstoke’s director of economic development, who normally handles issues like this, said he didn’t remember receiving any correspondence on the change.

Haeber said the change doesn’t mean we won’t get any South Okanagan, Kootenay or Kelowna news: “For example, a story involving the Shuswap may be of interest to both the Kelowna morning show and the Kamloops morning show. They both might do that story just as a story done from Vancouver, if it’s of regional interest, it would also be shared.”

She pleaded for Revelstokians to wait and see: “What we hope is that people will give the show Daybreak Kamloops a chance and hear whether the coverage of the station actually improves for them because that’s certainly the intention,” Haeber said.

Revelstoke resident Bob Bellis has heard enough of Kamloops and wants it changed back. He’s lobbying Revelstoke city council to do something about it.

In a letter to council, he cites Revelstoke’s social, political and cultural ties to the Kelowna broadcast area. “Many people in Revelstoke rely on the community news from the aforementioned communities for business, cultural and pleasure activities,” he wrote in a letter to council to be considered at their Feb. 13 regular meeting. He also notes Revelstoke’s federal and provincial electoral ridings don’t align with the new Kamloops bureau. Bellis requests council ask the CRTC for Revelstoke to be reverted back to Kelowna.

So, can we be changed back to Kelowna if we wanted? CBC spokesperson Haeber thinks so, but hopes not. “Revelstoke as a community can apply to the CRTC – that’s always an avenue open to them,” she told the Times Review.

“But what I would hope and encourage is for people to listen to the show, get a taste of what kind of stories are going to covered by it and I would hope they will actually find the show more relevant to them and won’t really be losing what they fear they’re going to be losing.”

***

What’s your view? Prefer Kamloops? Like Kelowna? Want to make it heard? Write an email addressed to Revelstoke city council and send it to mayor David Raven at david.raven@revelstoke.ca

Revelstoke city council will consider the issue at their Nov. 13, 3 p.m. meeting, so be sure to fire off a quick email before then. There's no need for any formality – just your plain view in a sentence with your name below. An address and telephone number wouldn't hurt.

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