Good for CBC

Rolling Cab­ins of­fer up small so­lu­tion to a grow­ing prob­lem

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - BY PA­TRICK MUR­PHY

I re­al­ized back then that Byrd, a tremen­dously sen­si­ble and thought­ful man­ager, sym­pa­thized with my dis­gust at a dou­ble stan­dard, one that would bar com­mer­cials from na­tional jour­nal­ism pro­grams, but would per­mit their in­fil­tra­tion into lo­cal shows as of­ten as the ad­ver­tis­ers sought the time.

But we had no choice but to ac­cept the new CBC world, at least in the re­gions.

Grad­u­ally, as most of us are now aware, Canada- wide shows like “The Na­tional” were also forced to in­clude ad­ver­tis­ing, as one fed­eral gov­ern­ment af­ter an­other nailed the CBC with enor­mous cuts that re­quired the cor­po­ra­tion bosses to com­pro­mise its ide­ol­ogy of re­fus­ing to sell prod­ucts and ser­vices through its jour­nal­ism.

But now we’ve come full cir­cle, with the cor­po­ra­tion won­der­ing aloud once again about elim­i­nat­ing com­mer­cials from its tele­vi­sion lineup.

( CBC Ra­dio, of course, re­mains com­mer­cial free, de­light­fully so, if you ask me).

But, as I say, one of the is­sues that has raised its head dur­ing this lat­est de­bate about com­mer­cials on tele­vi­sion is whether the cor­po­ra­tion is ful­fill­ing its obli­ga­tion to pro­vide pro­gram­ming to Cana­di­ans that they can ob­tain nowhere else.

Ra­dio cer­tainly does. But tele­vi­sion? Well, that’s an en­tirely dif­fer­ent mat­ter. New­found­land as an illustration of whether that man­date is be­ing ful­filled, hands up if you be­lieve “Here and Now” is an al­ter­na­tive form of jour­nal­ism, that you de­pend on the near leg­endary sup­per­hour news pro­gram to tell you not just what’s gone on in the prov­ince on a given day, but to de­liver that in­for­ma­tion with con­text, with anal­y­sis, with a jour­nal­is­tic text not avail­able any­where.

One could ar­gue, I guess, that if “Here and Now” did not pro­vide com­pe­ti­tion for NTV, the pri­vate sta­tion would re­vert to what it was in the ’ 70s, ’ 80s and much of the ’ 90s: a poor man’s ( or woman’s) ver­sion of tele­vi­sion news.

But is that a good enough rea­son to main­tain CBC tele­vi­sion news and cur­rent af­fairs in its cur­rent struc­ture?

You may pre­fer Ryan Sn­od­don over Ed­die Sheerr or Deb­bie Cooper and Jonathan Crowe over Lynn Burry and Glen Carter, or vice versa, but such al­le­giances are not good enough fac­tors to be tossed into the mix of a fu­ture CBC sched­ule.

Per­haps it’s time to at least think about putting the jour­nal­is­tic and tech­ni­cal re­sources in New­found­land into real al­ter­na­tive tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming: doc­u­men­taries, town halls ( imag­ine if the lo­cal CBC had taken own­er­ship of the Muskrat Falls de­bate sev­eral years ago, and or­ga­nized one pub­lic de­bate af­ter an­other), or any other jour­nal­is­tic for­mat that could be found nowhere else.

So: if the cor­po­ra­tion ul­ti­mately trav­els the com­mer­cial- free route, and if its jour­nal­is­tic bosses are told not to con­cern them­selves with rat­ings, then per­haps that will be the time for lo­cal and na­tional pro­grams — even the iconic “Here and Now,” once the most pop­u­lar sup­per hour pro­gram in the coun­try — to be re­placed by more per­ti­nent, and much­needed, jour­nal­is­tic plat­forms.

And yes, I can hear my few friends left at the CBC say­ing it’s “easy for Wake­ham” to sug­gest such a dra­matic change in pro­gram­ming, he won’t be af­fected, and he’d have a dif­fer­ent view if he was still pick­ing up his pay­cheque at the Prince Philip Park­way of­fices.

Fair enough. But some­times it takes an out­side set of eyes to see the for­est for the trees.

In busi­ness the term “think big” is a com­mon phase gen­er­ally meant to en­cour­age suc­cess.

But there is a new trend spread­ing across this big na­tion. Sean Mercer of Grand Falls- Wind­sor is hop­ing it takes hold in this prov­ince.

So Mercer wants you to think small, maybe even tiny. As in tiny homes.

Mercer is the owner of Rolling Cab­ins.

He makes por­ta­ble, mini homes styled af­ter cab­ins, but with all the ameni­ties of home.

All packed into roughly 210 square feet of liv­ing space.

Mercer has been fol­low­ing the tiny homes move­ment that has been gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity over the years across Canada.

Mort­gage reg­u­la­tion changes made by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­vinced Mercer the time is right for the ven­ture.

There has been spec­u­la­tion from the mort­gage in­dus­try the new rules, which took place in Oc­to­ber aimed at mak­ing it harder to get a mort­gage, will likely have the great­est im­pact on first-time buy­ers and sin­glein­come fam­i­lies.

“Mort­gages are ty­ing us down and lim­it­ing what we can do,” said Mercer. “If you’re look­ing at a mort­gage in the city…, that’s a pretty big pay­ment.”

Low in­ter­est, high prin­ci­pal mort­gages are chew­ing away at the dis­pos­able in­comes of Cana­dian’s Mercers says.

Mercer says the units aren’t just for home­own­ers. They also make a great al­ter­na­tive to a tra­di­tional cabin or recre­ational ve­hi­cle (RV).

“Any­one that’s into the out- door life will en­joy it,” said Mercer. “Whether it be camp­ing out, or hunt­ing or berry pick­ing…, it’ll suit the needs of any­one from 18 to 80 I’d say.”

Mercer’s first de­sign re­quires about two months to com­plete con­struc­tion. The units can also be cus­tom­ized.

Mercer hasn’t given up his day job, yet. He still trav­els to Al­berta for work, hop­ing for a big re­sponse to his minia­ture homes.

Mercer says the tiny por­ta­ble cab­ins can also be de­signed to use so­lar en­ergy.

The units weigh ap­prox­i­mately 12,500 lbs., and have been ap­proved for use on roads in the prov­ince.

PA­TRICK MUR­PHY/TC ME­DIA

Sean Mercer is think­ing big and build­ing small. The Grand Falls-Wind­sor res­i­dent is build­ing tiny por­ta­ble homes for his new busi­ness Rolling Cab­ins. Mercer was in­spired to be­gin build­ing tiny homes af­ter watch­ing the trend gain pop­u­lar­ity across the coun­try.

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