Canterbury Television (CTV) returns to air today following Feb 22 earthquake in Christchurch...
Photo: The Press Day of grief: The CTV building after the February earthquake.
Emotions will be running high at Canterbury Television (CTV) today as it returns to the air for the first time since the February 22 quake claimed its headquarters and 16 of its staff.
The long-running regional television station has managed to secure itself new premises in the Mainland Press building and has rapidly fitted out a studio.
CTV presenter Rob Cope-Williams told the Sunday Star-Times it had taken a mammoth effort to get the station back up and running, but for the surviving staff there was no better way to honour the colleagues who lost their lives when the six-storey CTV building collapsed in the magnitude 6.3 quake.
"We had to do it for them," said Cope-Williams, who has been with the station for nearly 20 years and was out filming when the quake struck.
"Everyone is buckling in and working their hearts out to make things happen. I'm exceedingly proud of everyone involved. While they might have been doing two or three jobs in the old CTV, they're doing six or seven now. It's absolutely brilliant."
Cope-Williams said the entire Canterbury community had rallied behind the station since the quake and much of the equipment needed to resume broadcasting had been donated.
"We've gone to different companies for equipment and when the equipment arrives there's an invoice which says no payment due. The support has just been brilliant."
Former CTV staff had also come forward to help get the station back on air.
For example, Christchurch city councillor Sue Wells, who hosted the station's original shopping programme Susan Sells before she became involved in local politics, had volunteered to resurrect the popular show. "She is saying 'hey listen, I don't want any wages. I'm just here to help you guys get up and running'. That's the kind of tremendous support we're getting.
"It's very humbling that so many people are helping and it's also very exciting because we're doing something using the old pioneering spirit and that in itself is an absolute buzz. It's also very emotional."
Broadcasting resumes today with a news bulletin at 5.30pm.
In addition to its traditional programming line-up, CTV plans to roll out new programming based on the recovery of Christchurch.
Next month it will also screen a tribute to those employees who lost their lives in February.
CTV will be broadcast on the local analogue frequency 24 hours a day and will also be aired nationally on Maori TV from 8am to 10am and 1pm to 3pm daily.
Acknowledgements: - Sunday Star Times