Member News/Nouvelles des Membres

This part of our web site is for news and stories from our producing members. To add your own story, click "Create Content -> Member News".

Meet Geoff Scott and TriCities TV

Geoff Scott is the founder TriCities TV in Port Coquitlam, Port Moodie and Coquitlam, BC. TriCities produces content that airs on Shaw's Vancouver-area cable system. TriCities hopes to be carried by Telus in the near future as well.

A big project for TriCities this year was helping high school students tape 40 interviews with senior citizens recollecting how Coquitlam was in th 1930s through 1960s, as part of the city's "Oral History" project.

Some of TriCities supporters and partners include: The Coquitlam Foundation, Coqitlam Heritage Society, la Société francophone de Maillardville, The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, PoCo Heritage, Leigh Square Arts Village (PoCo art centre), the Port Moody Art Centre Society, the Port Moody Historical Society, the Minnekhada Park Association.

(Note from Cathy Edwards, CACTUS' Executive Director: My favorite community TV clip of all time was shot by Geoff Scott as part of a project working with Aboriginal children. In it, the kids are encouraged to write and tape video fantasies. In one scene, a diminutive grade 4 child says, "Let's get the grade 2s to be mice" and then there's a cut to even more diminutive grade 2s saying, "No way. We don't want to be mice. We want to be SuperHeroes" and you see these pint-sized would be SuperHeroes jumping off pic-nic tables with their superheroe capes fluttering in the breeze above them. It has somehow always captured for me the essence of community media in enabling self-representation.)

Csur la télé, une télévision à l’image de sa communauté!


CACTUS has been pleased to welcome CSUR La Télé as a member. CSUR is the first community production group in Quebec to join CACTUS.

CSUR is available to Videotron and Cogeco cable subscribers in Vaudreuil-Soulanges (the southwestern part of Montreal) as well as live over the Internet.

CSUR's parent organization (organized as a co-op not-for-profit) also offers rural highspeed Internet.

To check out CSUR's programming and activities, click here:

CSUR La Télé.

CSUR sent us the following update in April:

"Fondée depuis le 14 mars 2010, la Coop de solidarité Csur la télé est en opération dans la région de Vaudreuil-Soulanges à l’ouest de Montréal dans la province du Québec.

Notre mission ; produire des émissions POUR PAR et AVEC la communauté. Comme son nom l’indique, Csur la télé est une coopérative de solidarité de télévision communautaire sans but lucratif. Une première au Québec!

Diffusée sur deux canaux; Vidéotron et Cogeco, Csur la télé a parié d’investir dans les nouveaux médias et de prendre d’assaut les réseaux sociaux tels Facebook, YouTube et Twitter et d’être compatible avec Apple Airplay. Vous pouvez voter sur notre site web et y laisser votre appréciation. On compte déjà plus de 400 000 visiteurs!

La région de Vaudreuil-Soulanges vit un boom démographique époustouflant et fait face à plusieurs défis, entre autre reliés à la langue. L’une des particularités de la région est la cohabitation entre francophones et anglophones.

*Nouveauté* Csur la télé a mis sur pied un projet pilote d’un bulletin hebdomadaire bilingue qui traite des nouvelles locales. Les sujets traités sont des exemples authentiques démontrant à quel point la culture vibre sous toutes ses langues.
En effet, le respect mutuel et amical s’étend au-delà de toute plate-forme politique.

We're very pleased to be a member of CACTUS and look forward to sharing with the rest of the country what it's really like for the 'two solitudes' to live together."

Get to Know Your New Board Member

Karen Wirsig.jpg

Karen Wirsig from Toronto joins Patrick Watt (St. Andrews, NB), Ivan Traill (Neepawa, MB), and Richard Ward (Calgary) on CACTUS' board.

Karen Wirsig has worked for the Canadian Media Guild since 2005, first as Communications and Policy Co-ordinator and now in an organizing role for the national union, which represents 6,000 media workers across Canada. Prior to joining the Guild, Karen was a municipal reporter in Toronto. As a student, Karen was involved in community radio in Montreal and helped launch a community newspaper in London, Ontario.

Partnership with Karen and the CMG have been critical for CACTUS’ survival in its first three years, and in developing and promoting The Transition to Digital Over-the-Air Television: New Technologies. The CMG has also been a key partner in the push to salvage CBC infrastructure for community use, and partnered with CACTUS’ Executive Director in authoring and presenting the paper Public and Community Partnerships to Improve Local Media, presented at the Journalism Strategies conference in April of 2012, and at UNESCO’s International Association for Communications and Media Research in Durban in 2012.

Karen brings to our board representation from central Canada that has been missing since Cathy stepped down.

Welcome, Karen!!

New Station Manager at VCTV Valemount, BC

Gord Peters  VCTV Valemount, BC

Gord Peters is the new station manager for VCTV, Valemount, BC. Most recently in Vancouver, he has been producing television, film, and video since 1997.

A graduate of Vancouver's Columbia Academy, Peters got his start working for BCTV (now Global), as a field producer for a weekly real estate show. He's no stranger to community television either, having volunteered and worked for Rogers TV Vancouver for 4 years on the weekly news/entertainment magazine show, Plugged In, among others. Peters also worked for City TV Vancouver as a news editor.

He went on to work in production in Vancouver, as a producer, director, editor, and director of photography on numerous film, television, and corporate video projects. Seeking a lifestyle change and a move to the mountains, Peters chose the picturesque community of Valemount, BC, located near Mount Robson, about an hour from Jasper, Alberta.

"The opportunity to produce local television and help make a difference in a small community really appealed to me.", said Peters. "Valemount is a beautiful place and the people here are really nice. And now that VCTV is on Bell and Telus satellite, we have an amazing opportunity to show Canada how great Valemount is. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Peters looks forward to meeting and working with CACTUS members and encourages everyone to drop him a line at:

CHCO-TV in St. Andrews, NB, Picks Up Content for Bell Formerly Available on Cable

(Condensed from original version in St. Croix Courier, March, 2013)

GRAND MANAN ISLAND-For close to twenty-five years the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Manan has operated a community television station, GMTV on cable channel 10. Village Council [stand-alone productions or publications take itallics; articles or segments within a longer production use quotation marks] on Monday, February 4th was the last telecast. Peter Sesplankis, the Boys and Girls Club manager, says the decision [what decision?] is due to lack of cable
subscribers on the island. "Most islanders subscribe to satellite," says Sesplankis. "We had to cancel our TV bingo last summer because we were not selling enough cards."

Rogers cable offers only 33 analogue television services--virtually the same service the company launched on the island in 1984--while satellite
offers hundreds of digital channels, many in high definition (HD). Rogers also failed to contribute funds allocated for community television to the Boys and Girls Club for their programming services.

"All is not lost for local television on the island," says Sesplankis. "We will continue production of local programs on Grand Mansn but we will now broadcast those shows on CHCO-TV."

CHCO-TV, also known as Charlotte County Television, is New Brunswick's only independent community TV broadcaster. CHCO-TV was uplinked by Bell TV (to satellite channel 539) on December 20th, 2012. "It was probably the best Christmas present any small TV station could ask for!", says Patrick Watt, CHCO-TV station manager.

Since 2010, with strong backing from county residents and local elected representatives, CHCO-TV has made repeated requests to Rogers Cable for carriage across Charlotte County. "We still feel it is a loss for cable subscribers to not see their own county channel" says Watt. "Rogers prefers to carry distant' channels from other Canadian cities coast-to-cost instead of an independent channel from right here in the county."

CHCO's partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will provide a greater variety of programs to all Charlotte County. "It is likely the world's smallest broadcast
television merger!" laughed Watt.

David Welch, Chairman of CHCO-TV, says it is these kinds of partnerships that will make the small channel a success. "We are a community channel, and local access for producers and viewers alike is paramount."

GMTV is not the only new partner for CHCO. Ed Christie, of Harvey Station, operated a community channel out of Harvey High School for 18 years. "Rogers Cable pulled the plug on us in 2009", says Christie. "Now with access to CHCO-TV on satellite, we are producing local programming from Harvey."

Welch says CHCO's focus will remain south-western New Brunswick. "Although Harvey is not in Charlotte County we share a federal political riding and many inter-scholastic events like last weekend's high school basketball tournament are being telecast."

TV Bingo has helped the station stay afloat for almost seven years, and has also grown in popularity. "What the public may not know" says Welch "is that CHCO-TV cannot access Canadian or local broadcasting funds like public and private broadcasters. We are left to our own means: direct fundraising, TV bingo and advertising."

"We are happy to help CHCO with TV Bingo here on the Island", says Sespankis. "It's a win-win situation; funds raised with bingo help make local programs. A portion of the bingo proceeds will also go to youth programs at the Boys and Girls Club." CHCO-TV will continue to present the annual Grand Manan Boys and Girls Club telethon in November. "It should be better than ever!" said Sespankis.

CHCO Television is New Brunswick's only locally owned and operated television broadcaster. It is now available province-wide on Bell TV satellite channel 539.

Manager of Valemount Community TV Elected Mayor

The station manager of Valemount Community TV, Andru McCracken, was elected to mayor in November of 2011.

He now splits his time between the TV station and the mayor's office. For the full story, see the Rocky Mountain Goat.