Abbotsford, BC — CIVL journalist Surjit Atwal is among the Abbotsford residents receiving the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medallion, presented by Member of Parliament, Ed Fast, Friday at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, for ‘tireless service to our community and country.’
Atwal has volunteered with CIVL for nearly a decade, and since 2021, has been employed as a regular newscaster and radio show host, airing interviews on 101.7 FM weekly, and posting at www.canada-info.ca as part of the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC). Atwal and CIVL LJI journalist Stephen Munga, who also hosts Canada’s weekly national music chart program Earshot20!, form the region’s primary local FM news and current events broadcast team.
After engaging with CIVL, recruiting interviewees and making community connections, as far back as 2014, Surjit began volunteering regularly as an on-air host within the year before the pandemic. The UFV alum, at one point employed by then-Abbotsford MLA Daryl Plecas’ constituency office, was eventually awarded the LJI position, and teamed up with Kwantlen University alum Aly Laube on the weekly program Eye on the Valley with Surjit and Aly.
After that program’s run concluded, Surjit continued to volunteer in between LJI rounds, participating alongside Laube and student staff in producing local elections content for the 2021 Federal election, following up on the work they did during the 2020 Provincial election.
Since signing on for his second round of LJI funding in March 2022, Atwal has hosted MLAs and MPs from each of the major political parties, as well as city councillors, activists, academics, and even an exclusive interview with BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, in what may have been her only broadcast produced directly on campus radio to date.
In Fall 2021, Surjit’s work was highlighted in CIVL’s winning Campus Station of the Year nomination, awarded by Broadcast Dialogue. This week’s recognition underscores his impact. “It’s such an honour and a privilege,” says a humbled Atwal, of the prestigious award. “Thanks for all of the support.” Surjit can be heard on CIVL 101.7 FM and www.civl.ca weekly on Fridays at 3 pm with guests from across the political spectrum. Photos are available here.