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Dear Editor Growing up in the Exploits Valley during the '70s and '80s holds many special memories for me. For many of those years, I recall my mother having the difficult task of getting me up for school, whereby I would linger for some time and, while fully awake, I would delay to the very end springing to my feet to seize the day. Since then, I have a better appreciation for two things: Being young and carefree and the daily frustrations of a loving mother. But one thing I remember through those years, is lying awake with my little radio on and listening to Bruce MacDonald informing me whether my beloved Expos won last night, or perhaps my Bruins fell victim to those dreaded Canadiens yet again. With perfect precision, Bruce would inform me how the Cataracts did this past week, or whether my brother Reggie was able to get a hit, or even a home run in senior softball action in Bishop's Falls.

Letter to the editor - Dear Editor

Growing up in the Exploits Valley during the '70s and '80s holds many special memories for me. For many of those years, I recall my mother having the difficult task of getting me up for school, whereby I would linger for some time and, while fully awake, I would delay to the very end springing to my feet to seize the day. Since then, I have a better appreciation for two things: Being young and carefree and the daily frustrations of a loving mother.

But one thing I remember through those years, is lying awake with my little radio on and listening to Bruce MacDonald informing me whether my beloved Expos won last night, or perhaps my Bruins fell victim to those dreaded Canadiens yet again. With perfect precision, Bruce would inform me how the Cataracts did this past week, or whether my brother Reggie was able to get a hit, or even a home run in senior softball action in Bishop's Falls.

This trip down memory lane for me is not possible without the presence of our CBC in both Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander. Both stations have given central and northeastern Newfoundland a true sense of identity by sharing our stories with each other. A person living in Appleton can sympathize with the frustrations of a shrimp fisherman in Wesleyville, or a teenager in Twillingate can hear the first-hand stories of how dangerous it was to be working as a logger on the Badger Drive. From Buchans to Clarenville, and all communities in-between, the CBC provided us a way to speak to each other in a large geographical area.

But now that resource is being threatened by budget cuts and a media industry that is becoming more centralized. The CBC recently announced it will keep both stations in Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander open, but the number of employees will be reduced. They are already running a skeleton staff in order to maintain our local morning show on radio, and reporters in both radio and TV to tell our story to the rest of our province and the world. With the retirement of Randy Larcombe, Leigh Anne Power is left to host the morning show on her own from Gander. The CBC say it will now run more reporting on our Central Morning Show from other parts of the province, which means stations in St. John's, Corner Brook, and Goose Bay will be integrated into our local show. I take no issue with hearing reports from other corners of our province, but this move does mean that our local show has been diminished, and considering our local stories get only three hours of attention, five days a week, it is alarming.

We are losing highly-qualified, good-paying jobs in a region that has seen more than its fair share of quality jobs disappearing. Yes, we are transitioning into newer opportunities but that does not happen quickly and now we need our voices heard through our public broadcaster.

While I praise our private media for the tremendous work they do through The Advertiser, The Beacon, VOCM/K-Rock, NTV, and Rogers Community Cable, the CBC is ours. And that is the most important point for us to remember. Although the decision to keep Gander or Grand Falls-Windsor is officially made at a boardroom in downtown Toronto, the CBC belongs to you. The Central Morning Show, the TV and radio reporters who tell our stories, and the technical and support staff who keep the show on the air are there for us (emphasis added). The key here is that although news stories from St. John's are interesting and have an effect on us, St. John's news is not local.

I commend local town councils and service organizations in our communities who recently have taken up the cause, and I ask all who are reading this to be vocal. Write or call the Prime Minister's office, and tell him you want to save the CBC of both Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander. Also, I want to congratulate Harry Mesh of the local CMG for urging you to contact CBC Audience Relations at 1-866-306-4636, or getting involved by visiting www.supportcbc.ca. Mr. Mesh brings forward some very valid points in order to save our public broadcaster.

Sincerely,

Scott Simms, MP

Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor

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