Surrey/Fraser Valley – As the mid-November flood waters swamped the Fraser Valley, getting accurate information was essential.
And on local radio, nonexistent.
That is the claim of many in the Valley that wanted updates, only to be given that information from Vancouver Broadcasters.
That has raised major concerns.
Surrey-Fleetwood-Port Kells MP Ken Hardie, a former broadcaster himself, is taking the debate to Parliament Hill on Tuesday.
Will be making a statement in the House of Commons today, questioning the performance of local radio stations during the flooding in the Fraser Valley. I intend to ask the Heritage Committee to study the issue, call witnesses and provide parliament with recommendations.
Brian Antonson, Former Valley Broadcaster, Past GM of the now defunct Abbotsford Radio Station CFVR/Radio Max, Former BCIT Dean for Broadcast and a Mission resident, defended Hardie.
With a license goes ‘responsibility to the community served’. I applaud this! In similar flooding in 1990, half our CFVR/850 staff were in the station at midnight on a Saturday, handling phone calls, providing on-the-scene coverage of floodwaters, working with police to provide on-air directions for farmers on where to move cattle, etc.,…a huge effort for a community radio station that helped immensely. That kind of commitment SHOULD be a ‘condition of license’.
The valley radio stations were all on evening/weekend automation during the initial flooding event. Vancouver broadcasters CityNews1130, CKNW and the CBC relied on not only social media for updates, they also touched base with independent media in the Valley including FVN and chillTV.
The major radio players in the Valley are Pattison and Rogers. Praise 106FM in Lynden, Washington is under no legal obligation to provide Canadian information although the bulk of their listeners are in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.