by Marika Tselonis
On Thursday, September 28, IABC London hosted its first professional development workshop titled Going Behind-the-Scenes with CBC London. Bernard Graham, executive producer for CBC London, led an interactive conversation about who CBC London is and how communications professionals and the media can best work together. Graham brings decades of experience to CBC London, and was formerly the executive producer at CBC Calgary.
CBC London found its home in London on June 12th, 2017, at 251 Dundas Street, inside the London Public Library’s Central Branch. With an open-concept studio, reporters, editors, hosts, and producers are able to work collaboratively with one another. The 12 person digitally-skilled team was handpicked by Graham, and is comprised of a diverse and devoted group of individuals.
The station broadcasts two local radio shows – London Morning hosted by Rebecca Zandbergen and the Afternoon Drive hosted by Chris dela Torre. CBC London’s goal is to tell the stories that matter to the people who live in this community – from street preachers to fake Homecoming celebrations.
In only a few months of operations, the station is already reporting high engagement and strong digital numbers. Graham attributes their successful launch to knowing when and where their audience is. CBC London has taken a digital-first approach, recognizing the shift of media consumption in a digital world. “What we’ve realized is people aren’t coming to us anymore – we have to go to them,” says Graham.
This digital-first strategy focuses on social media and video storytelling, and recognizes when people look for content and on what platform. “We know that people love morning radio, and that at night people are on social media looking for more elaborate stories,” says Graham.
Graham hopes to shift the conversation to some of the underlying issues prevalent in London – like homelessness, drugs, and unemployment. Through constructive journalism, Graham and his team are focused on reporting solution-focused news and giving a more comprehensive portrayal of the issues at hand. “We’ve focused enough on the conflict and the bad, so it’s time to start focusing on the solutions,” says Graham.
At the end of the discussion, Graham opened the floor for questions and gave insight into the direction CBC London is headed. When asked what catches attention in a media release, Graham answered with three things – a captivating headline and first paragraph, having relationship with the reporter, and pitching later in the day.
More local and more digital is the leading strategy for CBC London, encouraging depth, discovery and fun in the Forest City. Going Behind-the-Scenes with CBC London was a lively and insightful kick-off event for the 2017-2018 professional development season.