Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – In the world of television, big budgets and flashy productions often take center stage, but sometimes it’s the community stations that can produce some of the most compelling and authentic content. Meet Gabriel Riviere-Reid, a Producer at YourTV Cornwall – Cornwall’s only community television station, which has recently marked its 50th year on the airwaves.
Born and raised in Cornwall, Gabriel first involved himself with the community channel in 2008 as a volunteer, quickly realizing that this was what he wanted to do for a living. In 2012 he was hired full-time and felt very fortunate to be able to do the job he loves in his hometown, helping Cornwall, South Stormont, and South Glengarry tell their stories.
YourTV’s truly local content is accessible to Cogeco subscribers. It is produced by and for the community with the help of a large group of volunteers and the station’s three staff Producers.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – Would you tell us about the two awards you received related to your work?
“Last year, I was really surprised and honoured to receive the Lew Stanley Volunteer of the Year Award at the United Way of SDG&G Annual General Meeting. I attended the AGM to cover it for our show Community Matters – and lo and behold, they announced my name as the recipient. I had no clue! And then, in November, I received a call from Angela Bero notifying me that I had been nominated for a Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award. I felt so much love and community support – especially at my table where we had several of our volunteers, my colleagues, my manager, my girlfriend, and my mom all cheering me on as I took home the Young Professional Award. It was an extraordinary evening.”
2 – What inspired you to pursue a career in television production?
“Community Television has always only been possible thanks to volunteers. I started in the YourTV volunteer program, and I just fell in love with the job and the industry. After four years of volunteering for almost every type of production, I was fortunate enough to apply for an opening and be hired full-time.”
3 – Can you walk me through your typical day as a producer, interviewer, and videographer?
“One of the best parts of the job is you never live the same day twice. One day you might spend editing, another in-studio recording interviews for Community Matters or any of our other programs, at the Ed Lumley for a Colts game, or out in the community covering events. Most days are a mix of all of these! I thrive on the variety.”
4 – How do you decide which stories to cover for your community television station?
“YourTV is all about the communities we serve. If a story has local relevance – we will do our best to be there. From fundraisers to politics to sports to local artists, authors, and musicians, we want to be the community’s lens to itself. We also heavily rely on ideas for the community. I always tell people it’s a two-way street. As much as we try to keep our ears to the ground, we need the community to reach out when they have an idea! That’s what community access is all about. Whether it be a story idea or even a show idea, it’s all about Cornwall and the area, and it’s really the people’s channel.”
5 – Can you share a memorable moment from your career in television production?
“Most definitely Boxing for Change 2019. My colleague Chris Rohde and I had the opportunity to produce a documentary on the fundraising event – a boxing gala for the Children’s Treatment Centre. Four legendary boxers were in attendance for the weekend – Larry Holmes, Gerry Cooney, Ray Mercer, and Michael Spinks. From picking them up at the airport, to a river cruise on the St. Lawrence, to Larry performing “Stand By Me” at a backyard party to the behind-the-scenes of the event itself – we were given once-in-a-lifetime access to these greats. It’s a weekend I will never forget.”