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CBC assessing Whistler for increased service

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Whistler is a step closer to having three additional radio stations to choose from on the FM dial.

Robert Anderson, a Whistler homeowner and professor of communications at Simon Fraser University, has been lobbying for greater CBC service in the Sea to Sky corridor since December 1999. Since that time, Anderson has been joined by 550 members in the Sea to Sky Radio Society, with letters of support from the Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton councils and District 48 School Board as well as the Francophone Association of British Columbia.

"We’re asking for both French and English stations. If we got what we want, the area would have three new channels," explains Anderson.

"We’re also hoping for a letter from the 2010 Olympic Bid Committee. We think the bid itself would be greatly enhanced through development of a greater range of radio signals in the corridor. We would have an even greater number of international visitors during that time and we think this is the best radio in Canada and would be appropriate to have it here."

CBC Radio 1 has been available on FM in Whistler for many years, but it isn’t available throughout the corridor. Making Radio 1 available throughout the corridor and adding CBC Radio 2 and the two Radio Canada French language stations are what Anderson and the society are aiming for.

The regional engineer for the CBC recently visited Whistler to assess possible transmitter sites. His recommendations will be passed on to the directors of the CBC with whom Anderson will meet in the coming weeks.

Anderson would not speculate on how soon the stations could be operational.

"When I started this in 1999, I had hoped this might take a year, but it’s now 20 months later," says Anderson.

"CBC prefers to work at its own slow and steady pace. On the outside it looks less complicated but that’s not the case inside. I’ve been talking with the engineers and they need towers and frequencies and a number of things, all of which are expensive. The CBC’s budget is limited. But all our conversations with CBC are most helpful and courteous and very responsive."

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