In response to the devastating wildfires in the Northwest Territories, Vista Radio is partnering with the Salvation Army to help raise funds for evacuees.
The staff of Vista’s True North FM 101.1 (CJCD-FM) and MyTrueNorthNow.com in Yellowknife, as well as a rebroadcaster in Hay River, are among those who remain evacuated with a phased return hampered by an anticipated acceleration in wildfire activity along Highway 1 this weekend.
Vista Radio has set up a national fundraising initiative to raise funds that will go directly to assist residents when they return to their homes. As of today, every Vista property will be promoting the initiative on-air and online with a goal of $20,000.
Scott Armstrong, Director of Operations for Alberta and the Northwest Territories, told Broadcast Dialogue that the Salvation Army will ensure funds are used to help people with costs related to getting back into their homes that are typically not covered by government agencies, like re-stocking their pantries.
“In situations that are unprecedented like this one, you can never be certain what kind of financial support will be coming from the various levels of government, and whatever does come, it’s usually not enough,” said Armstrong. “We thought that we would do our part as a company, across our Vista stations, to give people the opportunity to help.”
True North FM has a base staff of seven, which have been working out of Vista’s Grande Prairie, AB operation since they were among the last to leave Yellowknife earlier this month. Armstrong said True North FM remains on-air with its staff working on a constant stream of adrenalin since flooding in Hay River this spring.
“We’ve been going at it since spring, between floods in Hay River and then fires, and now threatening Yellowknife…it’s been a marathon for the group there to continue to provide that essential service. It’s been a haul,” said Armstrong, who added that technology is allowing the station to function remotely with the exception of reporters being able to take their own photos for the news portal.
While the station boasts two dedicated news people, Armstrong said programming staff have also been contributing to keep up with the workflow, although everyone is anxious to get home.
“This disaster of course directly affects the team at True North FM and My True North Now.com” said Bryan Edwards, President of Vista Radio. “This is Yellowknife and Hay River’s community voice and news source, and we are with the community at this time. We’re proud the entire company and country are coming together to support this cause.”
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