Marketing Education Pt. 8

Marketing Education Pt. 8

A Brief History of Media in Grand Falls-Windsor:

Radio: Shortly after World War I, VO8C became the first radio station to operate in Grand Falls-Windsor. In 1933, VOGF began operating as radios became commonplace but reception from distant stations was available only at night, and were dependent on both atmospheric conditions and a high-enough aerial. Reception of St. John’s VONF, which also went on the air in 1933, was equally sporadic. VOGF became a showcase for just about every local orchestra, musician, singer and storyteller, with a few local commercials thrown in.

The CBC began broadcasting in Grand Falls-Windsor on July 1, 1949. In 1962, CKCM, which was a part of the VOCM network, began local broadcasts. A few years later, the Newfoundland Broadcasting Company went on the air here with CJON, which, through a series of mergers evolved to the present K-Rock.

Television: Television was just emerging in the United States when the Second World War put a halt to most research and development. It was not until 1952 that TV went on the air in places like Toronto and Montreal and by 1955, television came to St. John’s when CJON hit the airwaves. In 1959, CJON-TV went on the air in Grand Falls-Windsor, broadcasting from the former Royal Stores building on the lower end of High Street. Today, local residents have access to hundreds of channels but local sources are limited to CBC, NTV, Rogers Cable 9, and the real estate channel, 56. The most recent trend that is damaging local advertising is satellite reception; many residents with such reception cannot watch Rogers Cable 9.

Print:    The town’s first newspaper, The Grand Falls Times, had an inaugural issue of May 18, 1933. The first issues were printed at the shop of James Lind, with subsequent editions being transported to St. John’s for printing. The latter arrangement proved impractical and the paper was short-lived and ceased publication within a few months. Mike and Walter Blackmore became interested in printing as a hobby in the early 1920s. On a smaller scale, Morgan Printing of Bishop’s Falls began operations in 1929. For the Blackmore brothers, the acquisition of a flatbed printing press necessitated an expansion to their building and spurred them in the direction of publishing a newspaper. On April 8 1936, the first issue of the bi-weekly Grand Falls Advertiser hit the streets. It was printed with a linotype machine that was invented in the late 1800s and was the mainstay of the printing industry until its obsolescence during the electronic revolution of the 1970s. In 1948, a new linotype cost $14,000 – at the time about the same price as three cars. By the late 1960s, they had four of these machines.

In 1968, the Blackmores sold their interest and even more newspapers were added, necessitating another move, this time to the present site on Harris Avenue in 1977. By 1990, a substantial expansion was made to that building, becoming home to eight community newspapers, as well as a commercial printing plant. By this time, the computer and digital imaging had supplanted the laborious mechanical aspects of printing. Earlier this year, printing operations ended in Grand Falls-Windsor and all of their local advertising is now being printed in Corner Brook or St. John’s.

Signage: One negative note for the local community is the antiquated signage laws that the town’s council enforces. The current laws have changed little from when the town was a built around the model of British etiquette – something hopelessly outdated.

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