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Electrification -1950. Setting hydro poles in the Halbstadt area.

Credit: Jacob P. Friesen

With the increasing influence of the radio in Mennonite circles, the Manitoba General Conference set up a committee to study the best way of getting Mennonite and religious programming on the air. One of the committee members was A. 1. Thiessen of Rosenfeld who proposed the idea of starting a radio station in Altona. 81 A. 1. Thiessen, supported by a group of prominent investors that included: W. E. Kroeker (Winkler), D. K. Friesen (Altona), Peter Brown (Winkler), Jake Hooge (Plum Coulee), D. A. Fehr (Morden), 1. M. Froese (Winkler), G. H. Fast (Rosenfeld), and C. L. Neufeld (Altona), then established the southern Manitoba Broadcasting Company and made an application to the CBC for a 1000 watt station.

This was approved in late 1956 and by 1957 the station was on the air. Reflecting the original impetus behind Thiessen's idea, the station stressed religious programs, farm features and "good" music." The community had not only accepted the medium, but had adapted it to its own means.

After the war, Rhineland communities, like most other rural com­ munities in Canada, were faced with the consequences of the baby boom and a marked postwar trend of young people leaving for the city. In an attempt to deal with these problems community leaders turned more and more to sports and recreation as a solution. Not only were increased recreational facilities seen as a way to keep youths on the farm and instill a sense of their importance to the area, but they were also associated with town progress. 83 In 1948 the Gretna Board of Trade