The morning radio broadcasts from both regions are amalgamating into a regional program with CBC’s Corner Brook studio, to be titled “CBC Newfoundland Morning”.
Both the Corner Brook and Gander studios will remain in operation, with Martin Jones co-hosting from Gander and Bernice Hillier co-hosting from Corner Brook.
Percy Farwell, Gander Mayor and daily listener to the Central Morning Show, says there is concern that this new single morning show may lessen the amount of content in each region. But Farwell is hopeful this will not be the case.
“The value for communities in having local media coverage is not to be underestimated," he said. "...The broader you stretch out that reading or listening area of coverage, the less focus there will likely be for the local areas individuals are most interested in. But from (CBC’s) perspective, having to put together only one morning show may give their people more time to delve into stories in their region.
“The proof will be in the pudding. I’m a listener and I certainly will be listening.”
In an emailed response from CBC’s communication officer Amanda Molloy, the broadcaster will be keeping its same staff in both the Gander and Corner Brook locations. Molloy says the change was brought about to offer more in-the-field time to the reporters in these areas.
“There will be more time and increased capacity for staff to deliver comprehensive and in-depth news, stories and information to listeners throughout the region,” the email read.
While he is hopeful for the potential with this new morning show, Farwell says one major worry is that the regionalization of local media will only increase in the future.
“There is concern that this is the first step in a slippery slope, such as seeing a single morning show for the whole province based out of St. John’s, or a single morning show for the Atlantic region out of Halifax,” he said. “So you see where this could go and we’ll be keeping an eye on it.
“We’re understanding at this point but we’re probably approaching the point where any further centralization will not have a such a positive spin.”
With CBC’s taxpayer-funded base and mandate as the nation’s public broadcaster, Farwell says people should certainly put the pressure on the CBC to ensure that their mandate is fulfilled and they have the proper resources in each area of the country.
CBC Newfoundland Morning will be broadcasted across western and central Newfoundland, as well as the Labrador Straits. Its first broadcast is Monday.