CBC on-air personalities say expansion is great

(Right-left) CBC on air personalities Chris Walker, Marion Barschel and Alya Ramadan can
(Right-left) CBC on air personalities Chris Walker, Marion Barschel and Alya Ramadan can't show you their new studio just yet, but the Leon Avenue-office space is under construction to make room for an expanded presence in Kelowna and the B.C. Interior as a whole.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

If waking up to CBC radio personalities Marion Barschel, Alya Ramadan and Chris Walker has become as intrinsic as making toast and coffee in your morning routine, get ready to shake things up.

This week the public broadcasting service announced it will be expanding local content in the B.C. Interior, adding an afternoon show to Kelowna following the Thanksgiving weekend and a new morning show out of Kamloops next spring.

“I just think it’s so exciting to have more people working in our community,” said Ramadan, whose been with the Lawrence Avenue-based satellite for four years.

Staff at the office found out about the changes two days before it was announced publicly and were in meetings Friday to discuss future opportunities.

Daybreak South host Marion Barschel, who moved to the region in 2000 to take the position, said she doesn’t know exactly what this means for her at this point, but that she would not be out of a job either way.

“I’m open to maybe a change, but we’ll have to see what comes about,” she said.

“I’m more than happy to continue in my role as host of Daybreak—which I love.”

The move is part of a country-wide restructuring plan revealed in 2010.

“Last year the president unveiled what he called the 2015 Strategy, which was really looking forward and trying to figure out what should be ahead,” said Lorna Haeber, program director for B.C.

Among the critical pillars of the strategy was a return to hyper-local content, or more focus on the news on the ground.

As such, Haeber said the changes in Kelowna have been in the planning stages for quite some time and would be financed by adjustments already underway throughout the organization.

Both retirements and technological changes which already eliminated positions country-wide, are financing the restructuring for the public broadcaster which operates of government funding.

Improved video and editing equipment now allows television reporters to edit their own footage, for example, and CBC as a whole has been centralizing its master control in Toronto.

“I just think it’s fantastic news for Kelowna that the CBC is able to expand here,” said Haeber.

“We’ll be able to hit people closer to home.”


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