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Mountain FM news now coming from Vancouver office



Two reporters still based n Squamish after restructuring

A recent shake-up in Mountain FM, the only local radio station serving the entire Sea to Sky corridor, has left some staff out of a job and others relocated to Vancouver.

Former news director John French, a familiar morning voice, has been left without a job as the company restructured its operations over the past few weeks.

Gary Barnes replaced French as news director and moved from Chilliwack to Vancouver.

"With restructuring we centralized all of our news operations in our Vancouver office," said Ken Geiger, the GM and program director of Mountain FM and Star FM in Chilliwack.

Rogers owns both radio stations.

"We can use the strength of the 65 people that we've got in our news offices in Vancouver to help us develop stories for all of the Sea to Sky corridor."

Geiger said the move to Vancouver will not take away from local news stories in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, rather it will enhance it.

"We still have two news reporters based in our Squamish station and they will use the resources of our news offices in Vancouver.

"Our commitment to the whole Sea to Sky corridor is not lessened at all by moving our news director to Vancouver."

The creative and production teams were also consolidated and moved to Vancouver over the past few weeks.

Bryan Raiser, the creative writer for Mountain FM, was also left without a job after this consolidation, when a new nine-person team was formed.

"You never take anyone's livelihood lightly," said Geiger.

"We absorbed a couple of people form our Chilliwack office into the Vancouver operation but unfortunately there's just not enough room for everybody."

Now the Squamish-based station has 15 full or part-time staff.

The restructuring was partly as a result of listener feedback as Mountain FM attempts to respond to public demand.

Some of those improvements are better road and weather reports, with over 100 reports broadcast each week.

"Most of our full-time and part-time staff are actually working dedicated shifts to compiling and gathering road and weather information," said Geiger.

"That was one of the areas that we certainly felt we could do a better job."

To help with the weather-reporting, meteorologist Russ Lacate will guide Mountain FM staff. Lacate works for CKWX AM 1130 in Vancouver, another radio station owned by Rogers.

"His credibility with weather reporting is second to none and we are going to use his services a lot more throughout the day on mountain," said Geiger.

Listeners may not hear the recent changes on the airwaves because the music will stay the same. But overall, the product will be better as a result of these new moves, said Geiger.

"The overall packaging is going to be a little more 'big league' for want of a better term," he said.

"There is going to be a lot of attention focused on this area with the Olympics and with the new university coming to Squamish and we just really wanted to get our house in order and get the best possible product on the air."