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Three interesting developments on local scene

Unless you lived in Labrador, CBC Radio Noon was never that it was CBC Radio Half-past Twelve.

On January 12, that will change, as the program moves up 30 minutes, starting at 12 noon and ending at 2:00 pm (instead of 2:30).

Host Ramona Dearing is thrilled about the change.

"I think it's fantastic," she said, in an interview. "We just think it fits a lot better with what people are doing at that time of day. We know that people jump into their cars, when they get off for lunch break at noon or 1:00, and turn on the radio. 12:30 is not when a lot of people are getting a break."

I have to agree the change makes total sense. Many times, I have switched on the radio at 12:15 and been disappointed that programming is still national, not local.

"We had a little show review this summer," Dearing explained, "about what's working and what isn't, and one of the people said Why does this show start at 12:30 on the island?' Everyone said, That's a good question'. It's just the way the national radio schedule works, that it had to fit in at that time."

However, there are also "strip programs", Dearing explained, shows like Afghanada and White Coat, Black Art, which run between 12 and 12:30, that have some flexibility. They consulted the network programming people, who were happy to accommodate the change.

Of course, this means that hour-long call-in show Crosstalk will start at 1:00 pm instead of 1:30, another change that Dearing is pleased about. Radio Noon has been experimenting with occasional, shorter call-in segments during the first hour, she said.

"And we are getting a different audience at that time. It signals to us that, in our second hour, there are probably fewer people available to take part in the show, simply because of the time of day 1:30 to 2:30 is really taking you into the mid-afternoon. So we are really, truly excited about it."

The show is also going to ramp up its news coverage, Dearing said, with three full-length local newscasts in the first hour, at noon, 12:30 and 1:00 pm.

Westcott returns to CBC Radio

Back on December 10, I discussed the question of whether or not CBC Radio will ever put Craig Westcott's commentaries back on the air, after his failed bid as a Conservative candidate in the federal election.

I now have an answer, and it is yes.

Westcott will return to the Morning Show tomorrow, at about 7:45 am, with a commentary on life after an election run, and trying to get his business back on track.

I, for one, will be tuning in to see if his brief immersion in politics has changed his outlook in any way.

Cleary will host Nightline

Finally, according to Polemic & Paradox, unsuccessful NDP candidate Ryan Cleary is going to be replacing Linda Swain on VOCM's Nightline. I don't refer to Cleary as former journalist' because I think he surrendered this role long before The Independent folded which may indeed be why it folded.

Interestingly, the above blog item refers to Cleary as an "award-winning journalist" and makes no reference to his foray into politics.

That said, journalistic credibility is not critical to success as a talk radio moderator (although it helps). However, an engaging presence on radio is essential, and I am not convinced that Cleary has this. In some radio interviews, he has been listenable and charming, but in others, halting and grating on the nerves. This may be something that improves with practice.

The question is, will Cleary put on his separatist/nationalist cloak once again, having denied these beliefs so adamantly during the election campaign?

If this is all true, I don't think VOCM has gained a lot here, and has lost an engaging, highly competent host in Linda Swain not to mention a strong female voice.

Does VOCM now stand for Voice of the Chauvinist Males?

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  • W
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    I'm not so sure a lot of Labrador (Black Tickle and north) listeners will be quite so ''thrilled'' with Radio Noon becoming Radio Eleven-Thirty.