The NCRA/ANREC has issued guidance to stations related to COVID-19. Starting March 11th we have provided in-station posters around and provided an English and French langauge PSA promoting proper hand washing and other information.
In addition, the NCRA/ANREC provided our members with information about how to minimize risk at their station such as new sign-in features and much more.
The NCRA/ANREC has been informed that several stations have now closed their doors and suggesting programmers provide programs recorded at home.
A few stations have expressed concern about meeting the CRTC minimum requirement for 15% locally produced spoken word content during the COVID-19 isolation period. We have notified the CRTC that some of our member stations will not be able to meet the minimums if their station is shut down or their programmers don’t have regular access to the station. We received the following response from the CRTC:
We understand the situation and we are counting on you to deliver the information to the communities.
Do not worry about the spoken-word minimums. For now, the security of your people and of your communities is essential.
That said, the CRTC does still expect you to try to meet the minimums where possible. If you cannot broadcast new locally produced spoken word content, we encourage stations to re-broadcast archived locally produced spoken-word programming as appropriate rather than broadcasting only music. Although it won’t count toward your local spoken word minimums, you may also wish to broadcast spoken word content downloaded from other non-local content producers (e.g. from the Community Radio Exchange, or other sources) that is relevant to your listeners.
We want to highlight part of the CRTC’s response, which is that they are counting on us to provide vital information to our communities. We understand that this might be challenging where you have a lack of resources and people to produce content, but we hope you will continue to make every effort to share accurate and timely information about COVID-19 with your communities.
We understand that a handful of stations are ramping up their spoken-word programming in this time of need, especially in remote communities where they are the only source of local information. Some stations are also broadcasting programs produced by volunteers at home. If that’s not possible at your station, you may wish to consider having one staff member or volunteer connect with local health and municipal authorities and broadcast one or two daily updates with locally relevant information at a particular time each day, which you can promote on the air. That way listeners will know when to tune in to obtain this vital information.
If you have to shut down your station completely and can’t broadcast anything live, please ensure that you have something on the air at all times, even if it’s just an automated music playlist (with 35% CanCon and station IDs built in). Please also do your best to ensure that some type of log is kept of the content broadcast between 6 am-midnight. You may wish to include a repeated announcement in your playlist that explains that the station is temporarily not broadcasting live but will return to normal programming soon.
Please let us know if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them. You can email or phone NCRA staff at the usual addresses and phone numbers (they are working remotely from home) or email me (Freya) directly.
Good luck and be safe,