After six months

CBC Kamloops vs. Kelowna issue drags into sixth month

Six months after residents asked for their radio station to be changed back, city leaders and government bureaucrats can't get it done.

Six months after Revelstoke residents complained they weren’t consulted when the CBC radio feed was switched from the Kelowna bureau to the new Kamloops one, the issue drags on without a decision or resolution.

To recap, in November 2012, council responded to resident complaints about the Kamloops versus Kelowna issue.

“We’ve had a flood of emails today,” Mayor David Raven told city council at their Nov. 13 meeting. “We’re probably up to about 50 e-mails right now and they’re still coming in.” Raven said about 80 per cent of the emails preferred Kelowna, while 20 per cent wanted Kamloops.

In early April, the letter from the City of Revelstoke to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was officially ‘lost in the mail.’

After the CRTC and City of Revelstoke officials were reminded of the issue by the Times Review, the letter was discovered. A CRTC spokesperson said the letter was sent to the wrong department and lingered there.

In the following weeks, the CRTC responded to the City of Revelstoke. The CRTC said the decision does not lie with them; the decision is up to the licensee – CBC Radio.

So Revelstoke city officials wrote to the CBC.

As of May 27, CBC spokesperson Lorna Haeber confirmed they’d received the request to switch back and said the CBC would make a decision on the issue “shortly.” She declined to put a date on the decision, and said she couldn’t answer any further questions at this point.

Back in November of 2012, Haeber initially told the Times Review the decision rested with the CRTC, not the CBC, and advised the City of Revelstoke to pursue their complaint with the CRTC.

Revelstoke resident Kathy Bellis started the process with a letter to Revelstoke city council in November.

She noted the provincial election came and went without coverage of Revelstoke candidates in Revelstoke. “I am still perturbed that Kamloops did not interview our candidates,” she said. While the Kelowna bureau sent reporters to Golden and the East Kootenay to cover the Columbia River–Revelstoke riding, the same cannot be said for Kamloops.

A spokesperson for Columbia River–Revelstoke incumbent candidate Norm Macdonald’s office confirmed CBC Kelowna provided on-the-ground local election coverage, and that Macdonald had been interviewed for Kelowna bureau election programming.

Although CBC Kamloops did provide some coverage of Macdonald, it was related to his role as Opposition forestry critic, the spokesperson said.

Bellis said she feels the authorities are treating Revelstoke like “a little pea way out there in the middle of nowhere.”

She is concerned the lack of local election coverage will continue into the federal election if the situation isn’t addressed.

“I think CBC’s mandate is to provide people with the skills to make political decisions,” Bellis said. “It’s not right.”

 

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