BY ROB MENDONSA
For those accustomed to starting their day listening to the radio in Kitchener-Waterloo, a new sound will hit the airwaves on March 11; a new CBC station will begin airing at 89.1 on the FM dial.
Hosted by Craig Norris, the new station will provide listeners from 6 to 8:30 a.m. with all the things that people expect from CBC but with a local twist. Norris, whose roots are firmly planted in the region, grew up and still lives in Guelph and has been with CBC for eight years.
“I’m so happy to be coming back to the area, it’s unbelievable and truly is a dream come true,” said Norris. “Starting this has been really liberating, it gives us an opportunity to really put our own stamp on things.”
The station, which is situated in the middle of downtown Kitchener on King Street, will offer the hosts an opportunity to really interact with people on the street.
Along with the radio show, there will be a huge web presence, led by producer, Andrea Bellemare, host of the station’s new digital service atwww.cbc.ca/kitchener-waterloo. Everything they do on the radio show will be simulcast on the web, giving those with access to a computer an opportunity to interact with the guests and the hosts via their keyboards. It will allow the residents in the region to ask questions and have their say on the topic of the day, resulting in an in-depth community-focused experience for the people of Waterloo Region.
“It will be a very symbiotic relationship. The show will feed the web and the web will feed the show, giving listeners a whole new experience,” Norris said.
The new service expansion is part of CBC’s five-year plan, “Everyone, Every Way,” which was launched in February 2011. Its goal is to better connect more than six million Canadians over the next four years, in areas that they have identified as being underserviced. Included in this was the recent launch of the Hamilton station.
“Just as CBC was an innovation leader in the earliest days of radio and television, we’re continuing to lead the way with this distinct service that will connect the residents of the Waterloo Region to their neighbourhoods, their cities, their country and CBC,” said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president for English Services, “whenever and wherever they are, in a way no one else is doing in Canada.”
It’s all part of what Norris says makes this unique from just another show that’s broadcast from CBC Toronto. He said this satellite station will bring an extremely local viewpoint that just can’t be done from Toronto.