If you've been to downtown Kitchener lately, you can't miss the large, bright red "Coming Soon" sign prominently displayed in the window at 117 King Street West. The construction in an historic Kitchener landmark and promotional signage announce CBC's plans to offer the residents of Waterloo Region their own new local CBC news offering.
On March 11th - the CBC Kitchener-Waterloo station will officially open its doors with the launch of a new and innovative radio and digital station. The audience will hear their own local radio morning show - that is matched by an interactive digital presence that offers local news, weather, community information, commentary, local guest columnists, traffic and more.
"Canadians have long told us they want local service. We have been looking forward to connecting with the community and sharing their stories," says Susan Marjetti, managing director, CBC Toronto and Ontario region, "We made a commitment in our 2015 strategic plan to include the Waterloo Region and we're proud of what our small but committed team will be able to provide by way of coverage on the ground."
Starting on March 11th, on weekdays at 6:00 a.m. the Region of Waterloo will wake up to the familiar voice of Craig Norris on their radio.
Craig Norris has just been announced as the new host of the local morning show on CBC Radio One 89.1 FM. Craig is known for his work as host of the popular Radio One comedy show Laugh Out Loud, Radio 3's The R3-30 and The Craig Norris Hour. Radio audiences will also remember him as a guest host on CBC Radio 2 Drive and As It Happens. Craig's connection and knowledge of the community runs deep. He was born and raised in the Waterloo Region and has lived in the area since 1975.
"While I will miss the music community I have connected with at the CBC, I'm thrilled to be part of a local station where I can grow a new CBC family," says Craig Norris, "Being part of this vibrant community and to be able to tell our local stories is important to me."
The morning radio show will be accompanied by an online service that features the story or guest of the day, led by curator-producer, Andrea Bellemare, host of the station's new digital service www.cbc.ca/kitchener-waterloo. This interactive component of the CBC service will allow the community to ask questions and have their say on the topic of the day through social media and on-line community discussions. The result will be an in-depth community-focused experience for residents of the Waterloo Region.
The digital service will be accessible through smartphones, desktop/laptop computers and tablet devices. The local digital experience will give the audience both breaking news and coverage of local issues - along with local news, weather, events and other "need to know" information seven days a week. "It's exciting to be announcing the upcoming launch of our unique Kitchener-Waterloo service, establishing a new era in the way Canadians can connect with their community and each other," says Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president for English Services.
"Just as CBC was an innovation leader in the earliest days of radio and television, we're continuing to lead the way with this distinct service that will connect the residents of the Waterloo Region to their neighbourhoods, their cities, their country and CBC whenever and wherever they are in a way no one else is doing in Canada."
The remainder of the team will be executive producer Pras Rajagopalan, associate producer Amanda Grant, associate producer - technician, Jackie Sharkey, and reporter Colin Butler. Local reporters Mike McCulloch, formerly of 570 News and Matthew Kang of CTV Kitchener will be joining the CBC Kitchener-Waterloo station.