The shell of a studio that once hosted local television programming and news has become a piece of an international story.
It has been four and a half years since Red Deer lost its TV station, RDTV, but it and other now dormant stations could tell another nation what the future holds with fewer local stations.
A team of three television news journalists from the Korea Broadcasting System’s Washington, D.C., bureau visited Red Deer on Tuesday.
Hyunjin Hong, a correspondent and deputy producer, said they came to compare the loss of Red Deer’s station to the potential for the loss of local stations in South Korea.
“The influence to the community and the role as a cultural method, you have to keep these kinds of stations as a precious resource to the local culture,” said Hong.
The film crew got in touch with Dianne Finstad, an RDTV journalist for 25 years. She led them through the now-empty studio on Bremner Avenue. The lights for the old sound stage didn’t turn on, leaving the film crew’s camera light as the only illumination in the vacant room.
The green screen that was once used to broadcast the weather has fallen apart, the mixing board and production equipment are long gone, picked apart by other Global stations, of which RDTV was once an affiliate.
“When I heard Diane’s stories I felt the importance of the local television station is very big,” said Hong.
Hong once worked at a radio station in South Korea that shut down, before he became a TV producer. He said about 10 years ago a few radio stations shut down in his country and the cultural impact was significant.
“The situation is very similar to Korea,” said Hong. “The media market is very bad and the Internet always wants to defeat us.”
He said they researched the Canadian broadcasting situation and found several defunct stations. He sympathized with the loss of stations in Canada.
“Unfortunately the radio station I worked for has gone defunct as well,” said Hong. “At that time there was a movie about defunct radio stations called Radio Star.