A spokesperson for WCGtv, the community cable TV service in western Manitoba, has explained why programming from Virden was suspended last month and how they plan to get it back on the airwaves.
In late March, the service’s only Virden volunteer, Lindsay White, was asked to stop production of local programs. White said the problem was a shortage of volunteers; Virden once had a WCGtv committee but the other members left.
WCGtv’s Community Programming Team Lead, Vern Riddle, says that’s true but there’s more to it. He says programming was suspended because very few of the Virden programs that were recorded ever made it to air.
“The only programs we’ve received in the last two years are a few council meetings. It’s been a problem for quite some time.”
Riddle said Virden viewers would tell him that the cameraperson was often seen recording local events, sports, and meetings but, “We’ve been getting complaints from the community that there’s been no programming and that’s a concern because a community the size of Virden has lots going on.”
Riddle says volunteers are trained in how to record and edit events using equipment provided by the company and to send the programs to Brandon so they can be scheduled for broadcast. They also need someone to keep track of finances.
White says he had to do everything when the Virden committee “collapsed” about three and a half years ago.
“I’ll acknowledge there were problems on my end, but I reached out for help (to Brandon) and didn’t get it. They didn’t act as soon as the committee collapsed to return it to full strength.”
Looking ahead, Riddle says he and his team will be actively recruiting for a new group of at least three or four volunteers.
“I hope by summertime we can come to Virden, meet with volunteers, explain to them how easy it is. People are going to these events anyway, why not take a camera? Our goal is by fall to get enough people recruited.”
He urges those interested not to worry if they have no experience.
“We’ve found that students pick up editing within an hour or so. Young people or retired, it’s for all ages and we’re willing to come and do training workshops.” High school students can earn up to a full credit for volunteering.
Call 204 717-2611 for information or apply online at Westmancom.com, click on: WCGtv