WCGtv, the community access provider, has ended its Virden programming and told its local production coordinator, Lindsay White, to stop producing programs. White got the news Tuesday morning, March 26.
He says he was surprised by the decision.
“It was a shock to me, but not totally because there are other communities in trouble with their (community access) stations. Killarney, in particular. They have no local committee. Each town needs to have a volunteer committee.”
Virden once had a community access committee to work with content producers in the Virden area, but it no longer exists. White cites a lack of interest among volunteers and the popularity of social media, which has dramatically changed the broadcasting landscape.
WCGtv helps local volunteers produce programs by providing them with equipment and training. It airs what they create, both live and recorded programs. That content often consists of sporting events, church services, local artists and musicians, council meetings and interviews. It also offers free public service announcements.
The broadcast schedule for Channel 12 (which also airs On Demand! for digital subscribers) contains content not just from Virden but other towns across the network’s south region: Killarney, Boissevain, Deloraine, Melita and Souris. White says those programs will continue to air on Channel 12 in Virden minus the Virden content.
It’s not known if the end of local production will be temporary or permanent, or if the creation of a volunteer committee could reverse the shutdown. WCGtv did not respond to a request for information by our deadline.
White, who has worked for the station for about a dozen years, believes the situation could be turned around.
“I was told this (production halt) will continue at least until the end of summer, maybe longer…. It can be salvaged, it’s not a shipwreck yet.”
Meanwhile, Virden Town Council passed a motion at their regular council meeting last Tuesday evening to send a letter to WCGtv expressing concern over the decision to end local production. White has been video recording Virden council meetings for many years for the station.
WCGtv is operated by Westman Communications Group in Brandon.