CTV bureau to stay open

The demise of CHCA-TV has prompted CTV Edmonton to reverse a decision to close its Red Deer bureau.

pted CTV Edmonton to reverse a decision to close its Red Deer bureau.

The CTVglobemedia Inc. station includes in the local feed of its 6 and 11:30 p.m. newscasts a segment devoted to Central Alberta. This content is provided by a video-journalist based in Red Deer.

Earlier this year, CTVglobemedia obtained approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to discontinue its Central Alberta news broadcasts — as well as similar segments dedicated to Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. These changes were scheduled to occur at the end of August.

On Tuesday, CTV Edmonton vice-president and general manager Lloyd Lewis said his company will continue to carry Central Alberta news.

“This decision was just sort of announced here internally yesterday,” he said, adding that the pending closure of CHCA was a key consideration.

“There is an opportunity there now for us which wasn’t as good before with the competition that existed in that market.”

CTV Edmonton, which is also known as CFRN TV, still plans to close its Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray bureaus.

“Strategically, Red Deer has always been a good place for us to have a bureau,” said Lewis. “A lot of news comes out of Red Deer, and we would have had to find other ways to cover that news.”

He added that CTV Edmonton’s coverage of Central Alberta will not change with the closure of CHCA.

“We always review these things on a going-forward basis to see whether or not we might be able to make it better and do things differently, but at this point status quo is the plan.”

Other broadcasters have said they are contemplating increased coverage of Central Alberta, with Global TV and CBC Television both considering the use of freelance journalists here. Citytv already has a full-time and a part-time video journalist based in the city.

CanWest Global Communications Corp., which owns CHCA, announced in July that it was closing the Red Deer and Victoria stations in its E! network. The E! stations in Montreal and Hamilton have been sold, and a fifth in Kelowna is being converted into the Global network, which is owned by CanWest.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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