Thursday, January 6, 2011

Newsnight 13's Northern Service will only be broadcast to Grand Bahama and Abaco

NEWSNIGHT 13's northern service will still be aired live and broadcast to Grand Bahama and Abaco, however the rest of the Bahamas will not be able to view it.
Michael Moss, chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB), explained that in addition to $80,000 per year in incremental telephone charges, consumer response indicated the national broadcast of the northern service was a "duplication of efforts".
National broadcast of the 6.30pm northern service has been discontinued and prominent local stories will continue to be highlighted in the 7pm national news segment.
Mr Moss said: "Given the cost and being responsive to the concerns of our audience, also given our mandate to become a public broadcast - we want in the national broadcast to incorporate more general news from around the Bahamas, as opposed to a Nassau-centric or a Grand Bahama-centric newscast."
The northern service was initially intended to serve Grand Bahama, Abaco and Bimini, however Mr Moss admitted the broadcast offered little coverage for two latter family islands. Going forward, Mr Moss said the northern team will operate as a satellite office, gathering news from the northern region.
Mr Moss added: "We're going to try in the first case for it to be Abaco and Grand Bahama - we're going to make a concerted effort. If it works, then we will bring Bimini back into the loop."
In October, the corporation commenced mass layoffs in the transition to make ZNS an independent public service broadcaster - as determined in the 2009 Communications Act.
The government received heavy criticism from the opposition party and industry unions over the downsizing, however Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the governement acted honourably, paying the laid-off staff more money than they were entitled to.
Following the layoffs, the board started a wide-ranging operational review aimed at securing a sustainable future for ZNS as a public service broadcaster.
After bringing its financial losses under control by cutting staff levels, it was reported that the BCB would work towards implementing a new business model - focusing more on community-oriented news, entertainment and information.
In the future, based on the success of efforts at the northern station, Mr Moss said the corporation would seek to implement a Southern Bahamas news service.
National Security minister Tommy Turnquest, who has responsibility for ZNS, refuted statements released by the Progressive Liberal Party over the weekend, which indicated the northern service news had been terminated completely.
Mr Turnquest said: "It's still going to be live, and it hasn't been cancelled. The only thing that has changed is that it will no longer be broadcast nationally. This is just part of the restructuring phase ZNS is going through. The news from Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini and elsewhere in the Bahamas will still be a part of the national news."

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