Thunder Bay

CBC Thunder Bay cuts opposed by city council

Thunder Bay council unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting Monday night, asking for the CBC afternoon program, Voyage North, to be re-instated.

Local afternoon show cancelled, two jobs eliminated

CBC Thunder Bay's senior producer, Gary Rinne, reads the afternoon news in front of a live audience during the station's 40th anniversary open house. Seated across from him is Cathy Alex, host of the station's Voyage North radio program, which is slated to be cut by CBC. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

Thunder Bay council unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting Monday night, asking for the CBC afternoon program, Voyage North, to be re-instated.

As part of over 650 job cuts over the next two years, CBC announced last week the local program will be eliminated later this summer, with afternoon programming to come from Sudbury.

Coun. Andrew Foulds said the loss of Voyage North will especially be noticed in the arts and culture community.

Voyage North host Cathy Alex's familiar voice will no longer be heard in the afternoons when CBC pulls the plug on the program by September. A regional show will be broadcast from Sudbury. (Susan Rogers/CBC)

"What really bothers me is that what we'll be losing is something I believe is the cultural fabric of the northwest,” he said. “They simply will not have the same kind of opportunity now."

Foulds said the show coming from Sudbury will cover too much geography, and not be able to focus on local needs.

CBC listeners have also voiced their discontent with CBC’s decision.

Among the multitude of comments recently posted to Voyage North's Facebook page, Tine Schrijvers had this to say:

"Typical thought process for southern Ontario that Sudbury is northern Ontario.  North Eastern. They are only four hours from Toronto, two hours from Barrie. Their issues and the issues of northern and northwestern Ontario are not the same.”

Kristine DaSilva, who said she is originally from Sudbury, agreed that it is nothing like Thunder Bay.

“I listened to the afternoon program there while I was back in Sudbury recently for a visit and I couldn't help but listen with melancholy over not hearing my favourite personalities.  I'm so sad about this, even though it will bring me a reconnection with my hometown.”

‘A major issue for me’

CBC’s talk-back phone line also heard from listeners disappointed with the CBC decision to cut the afternoon radio show.

"I think CBC is one of the best things we've got in Canada,” said Kaministiquia’s Steve Mantis.

“The thought that we're going to lose a couple more staff and we're going to lose our afternoon show is really a major issue for me, and I just wanted to let you know you're appreciated by me and lots of folks in the community."

Josh Lynn is associate producer and operator for Voyage North. CBC Thunder Bay loses two positions when the program goes off the air. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

Thunder Bay’s Jason Turgeon said he was "sad to hear the news about Voyage North going off the air. I wish maybe more of us could do something to keep it on the air because Josh and Cathy are excellent hosts."

The senior managing director of CBC Toronto and Ontario Regions, Susan Marjetti, said “it is heartwarming to see the community support for CBC in Thunder Bay.”

“Unfortunately with a $130 million- cut to our service, we are facing a new reality," she said.

" CBC remains deeply committed to being in our regions. However, our financial circumstances have forced us to find new ways to do that, in this instance, with a consolidation of afternoon shows in much of the Ontario region.

“We can no longer afford to operate as we have in the past and that will, regrettably, impact two positions in Thunder Bay out of the 657 positions impacted across our service."

Marjetti added that, just as CBC's flagship show The Current comes from Toronto, and is expected to serve all of Canada, a new regional weekday afternoon show will be broadcast from Sudbury and will serve all of northern Ontario.

Read Thunder Bay council's motion below:

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