Another ‘voice’ for Kitchener-Waterloo

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Local politicians and community members gathered in Kitchener for the official launch of Kitchener-Waterloo’s CBC radio station. (Photo by Nick Lachance)

Through radio waves and online reporting, CBC is finally coming to Kitchener-Waterloo.

CBC’s new morning radio show, named The Morning Edition, launched on March 11 in Kitchener after months of planning and negotiating. The station is a unique union of radio and digital works, acting as the first of its kind.

A launch party was hosted at its new location in Kitchener. Politicians including Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran and K-W’ Progressive Conservative (PC) Party of Ontario candidate in the 2012 byelection, Tracey Weiler, attended the event to show their support.

Guests were able to mingle over cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and music before CBC officials such as Jenny McGuire, the general manager and editor-in-chief for CBC News and Centres and Kitchener mayor, Carl Zehr, made speeches.

“We are now being known as the startup region,” Zehr said. “In terms of the new services that you are providing to the regional network, I think this radio launch is most appropriate and I am looking forward to it.”

Radio host Craig Norris had been working for CBC for over 13 years in Toronto. After being offered the position to host in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, Norris excitedly took the opportunity.

“It’s a dream come true for me because I lived in this neck of the woods for a long time and I have been commuting to Toronto for almost 13  years,” Norris explained. “To shorten my commute by three hours everyday is incredible.”

Norris shared that The Morning Edition will be an injection of news and a lot more humour. Local arts and music will also be infused into the morning radio show, as Norris has experience in the music industry.

“We’re going to follow the Metro Morning model, it’s the CBC morning show model for the country,” Norris explained.“To reflect the community, it will be very local, so local that it will probably hurt. That is our reason for being: to be local.”

In addition to Norris, Andrea Bellemare will act as the online host. This differs from Norris’ role as host, as she will be conducting online chats while Norris is on the air.

“I’ll be moderating and hosting that chat,” Bellemare explained.

“Then I will also be going onto the radio and chatting with Craig, doing updates and telling people what I am seeing and hearing and also asking people to contribute.”

Bellemare also acknowledged that The Morning Edition would be incorporating online features such as videos, interactives and a plethora of other features for viewers to engage in.

Both Norris and Bellemare credited their team at CBC has worked very hard and they are proud to have gotten to where they are now, especially since their team consists of only seven people.

“We have a good startup attitude. We’re a small and young team. I think our energy and curiosity and excitement for the area is what makes us unique,” Bellemare said.

“No one is going to agree with our story choices every time, but we are going to work very hard and I hope that we reflect that,” Norris concluded.

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