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Hits: 1978

40 years strong this year, Telemiracle has been a staple in Saskatchewan homes for as long as many can remember.

But has the decline in cable subscription hindered its development in any way? The answer would seem to be “no”, if the last four years are any indication.

According to a study done by Media Technology Monitor, from a pool of 4,002, nearly 1 in 10 anglophone Canadians say they get their content online exclusively.

Despite this, Telemiracle has steadily increased its funds raised every year since 2012. In total, Telemiracle has raised $111 million over the last 39 years. And they aren’t slowing down.

“We don’t break the mould too much. We try to reinvent it a little bit every year to keep up with the times, but it’s a product that’s worked for the last forty years,” said Todd Bedore, chairperson of the Telemiracle Committee. He added that this year “there’s been a lot more social media,” which has helped keep Telemiracle connected to its ever-changing audience.

As for the cable concerns, Bedore noted that they’ve also begun streaming the show and upping their online presence to reach more residents.

“We’ve noticed a big uptick in streaming, so we know that we’re getting streamed all across the world, actually,” said Bedore. “We’ve had hits from Arizona right over to Hawaii, over in Europe and Japan and everywhere so, (streaming) keeps it relevant and as people aren’t subscribing to cable anymore, we still can reach out to them.”

Regardless of the decline in traditional media sources, everything at Telemiracle seems to be looking up. The number of people and groups who apply for the funds rises every year, Bedore noted. “So the need is there and it’s something the province really rallies around just because every dollar stays in the province so people fundraise very hard for it,” said Bedore.

Even the audition rates haven’t seen any notable decline. Bedore said that the event still attracts some 170 auditions every year. “It’s a Saskatchewan tradition,” said Bedore. “It’s something to be said, to be on TV. It’s a live broadcast and most of these people might not have the opportunity to be on a big stage like that, so it’s a huge thing for them.”

Looking to the future, Telemiracle’s goal “is just to raise as much money as we can. Because the need is out there,” said Bedore.

Guests this year include Alvin Law, Kim Coates, and Rosie and the Riveters, along with many other Saskatchewan acts.

Telemiracle takes places March 5 and 6 in Regina.