Community TV goes for the gold

In February, those tuning in WHTV’s community channel to take a peek at Main Street are going to be in for a surprise.

In February, those tuning in WHTV’s community channel to take a peek at Main Street are going to be in for a surprise.

The community broadcaster is wading into the media fray at the Canada Winter Games.

And WHTV has an edge on its national competitors, which include CBC, TSN and APTN.

 They all have to fit the Games coverage into their regular programming.

But WHTV can run Games footage 24 hours a day — assuming city council doesn’t sit, said WHTV’s Wendy Tayler with a laugh.

 “We are going to make every effort to have something on Channel 9 that relates to the Games excitement continuously,” she said.

The broadcaster donated $40,000 in advertising to the Games and will be providing free cable to various Games venues.

But WHTV’s main focus is Games coverage.

“That’s what we’re excited about,” said Tayler.

The local broadcaster doesn’t have the extensive infrastructure of its larger counterparts, but it plans to get static cameras in as many Games locations as possible.

“As a small community channel we don’t have a lot we can offer in the way of multi-feeds and playback apparatus,” said Tayler.

“But we can supply static feed and just try and give a taste of the Games to those people that wouldn’t get them any other way.”

Most Yukoners are going to be taking tickets, driving a vehicle, or be running around doing security, she said.

“And they’re going to have breaks where they’re going to turn on Channel 9 and watch 10 minutes of an event, and then off they go, back to work.

“So we want to make sure that every Yukoner gets the opportunity to see some of the opening and closing and some events, like boxing.

“And, hopefully, through a national broadcaster, some of the hockey games as well.”

WHTV is counting on national broadcasters to share some of their footage, although it hasn’t had time yet to discuss this possibility with them.

“We really need to work with the national broadcasters, because we’d like to be able to play back men’s gold, for example, which is already sold out,” said Tayler.

“So, we want to try to talk to them about developing that relationship.

“I certainly hope that because we’re the local community channel they’ll be gracious and give us that opportunity.”

WHTV’s static cameras won’t be able to cover events like women’s hockey. And figure skating will also be tough.

“If we can get figure skating through a national broadcaster, then we’ll do that,” said Tayler.

“But if we can’t get it any other way, then we’ll look at it with static camera, because it’s so important.”

There are also a number of venues where a camera set up in one spot will do the trick, added Tayler.

“We just need to define the venues where we can adequately get a good quality picture with a static camera,” she said.

“And get a feed that’s entertaining for the community.”

Boxing, squash and short-track speed skating are just some of the possibilities, she said.

And WHTV should be able to pick up sound in some venues as well, although events, like speed skating will probably have music playing over the picture.

Once the cameras are set up in the various venues, WHTV can turn them on and off from its downtown headquarters.

The local station plans to have at least four hours of live Games feed a day, including live footage of activity in the Canada Games Centre foyer, said Tayler.

“Even if we have a static camera in the Games centre, just showing the people leaving, again, let’s just use that channel so people can tune in,” she said.

“You’ve got people in seniors’ facilities, or possibly in the hospital that don’t have access to the Games, so even if we can just give them a flavour, I think we’ve accomplished something.”

WHTV is also hoping to see the Whitehorse community become involved in its broadcasting.

Tayler has been looking for volunteers interested in learning how to use a camera, to do some local interviewing for the station.

“I’ve tried really hard to find a group of people to interview local athletes,” she said.

“We can train people how to use a camera and how to edit, and I think it’d be fantastic if we could get some community channel footage of local athletes prior, during and after their events — so if those people are out there, give me a call.”

WHTV is also planning to put together a Canada Games compilation, after the fact, using its footage.

To learn more about using a camera and volunteering for WHTV during the Games, call 393-2225.

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