Sometimes it feels like this region and its goings on aren't even part of Newfoundland. Well there may seem to be some justification for this frustration by us on the West Coast.
The problem did not really exist back in the 60’s and 70’s when there were very few TV sets in the area. We usually got our news from a local source, the Corner Brook radio station, which eventually expanded to the Port-aux-Basques station. In fact, my late mother-in-law won one of the first colour TV sets in a raffle in 1969.
But as the use of televisions became more and more the go-to source for the news of the day, residents of the west of the island soon had to come to the conclusion that if it did not affect the St. John’s area, it did not warrant a mention. And to compound the problem, lack of advertising revenue soon sounded the death knell for the local radio station. With little choice in the matter, people from the Southwest corner, from Stephenville to Rose Blanche, from the Codroy Valley to Burnt Islands and through Port Aux Basques, were reduced to get their national or international news from the St. John’s TV station. Sadly the reality of years ago is still the same.
If it does not directly or indirectly impact the capital city, it seldom warrants a nod unless there is a major disaster, such as recently happened when the TCH was washed out. Otherwise we never see a reporter in the area. And even then, the coverage of the event was more focused on the disruption of the supply chain then the hardship to the citizens of the area. To be fair, it would seem that NTV has now expanded its area of coverage to the Grand Falls-Gander line. That's little comfort to the rest of us.
The difference in coverage between the St John’s and Deer Lake airport problems resulting from the pandemic was striking. As a further example, should some mechanical failure or other issue affect either the Bell Island or the Fogo ferries, it becomes a prominent news item. But in the week preceding Christmas the Marine Atlantic fleet was tied up for three full days, thus stranding hundreds of travellers and truckers just before the holidays. But nary a word on TV.
And what can we say of the weather forecasters? I’ve no doubt Eddie Sheerr is accurate in predicting what’s ahead for Eastern and Central region. He is certainly well liked there. As for this part of the island, I’d rather depend on the weather network to get a more than 50 per cent chance of accuracy.
Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Not unless the TV station suddenly finds it more profitable to have more then one reporter to cover one half of the province. Meanwhile, at Wreckhouse Weekly, a small team of dedicated reporters are, thankfully, always here to help try to fill the gap.
Gerald J. Roy,
Channel-Port aux Basques