Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will debut a new call-in radio show this weekend.
The show will be broadcast in Calgary on 770 CHQR and in Edmonton on 630 CHED.
John Vos with Corus Entertainment told CBC News that the show was a long time coming, and that they first approached Kenney with the idea in June 2020.
“It was a function of making the elements come together,” said Vos.
The program will continue to air up until the next provincial election, but will not continue through the campaign period. Vos also noted that they will revisit the show if Kenney loses leadership of the United Conservative Party in a vote set for April 9.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist with Mount Royal University, said he was surprised to hear about the show’s launch.
“This is quite the development.”
He questioned both Kenney and Corus Entertainment’s motivation behind launching the show, and where funding for the segment will be coming from.
Vos, with Corus Entertainment, told CBC News that the show was not ‘paid-programming’ and that no money had exchanged hands.
Bratt said it’s difficult to view the premier’s new call-in program as isolated from the leadership vote just around the corner.
“Everything that has occurred over the past several weeks you have to view with the lens of April 9. The budget, yesterday’s announcement on the gas tax, rebates, you’ll notice those all kick in on April 1.”
The decision to go ahead with the show marks a break in the premier’s recent mediums of communication, said Bratt, which have typically come in the form of social media videos or live streams.
While communication with the public is typically a good thing, said Bratt, he expressed concerns regarding the screening of the show, and what kinds of callers would make it to air.
“Are we talking about the premier of the province communicating with the people of the province, or is this a leader of a political party trying to defend his record in advance of a leadership review?”