Thursday, January 1

CBC: Prognosis Critical

Harvie Andre was one of three partisan panelists on yesterday’s Year End Political Panel on The Current. He was so over-the-top that it was hard to remember points made by others. In fact, Warren Kinsella almost sounded bashful in comparison. I was surprised that they got Peggy Nash on that panel to represent the NDP. That was actually much better than their usual “left” (NDP) stalwart and sometimes Harper cheerleader, Janice McKinnon.

I used to listen to CBC Radio for most of the day and evening (combo of work and cooking) but these days I have a hard time keeping the radio on. Ideas is still top notch as is Eleanor Wachtel's Writers & Company but so many of the other programs that were worthwhile have been diluted, skewed or replaced by crap.

It’s not just the content of programming that has gone downhill. You can hear the cutbacks in almost all aspects of Radio One. There is so much repetitive programming that I have to keep tabs on whether I already heard something on the weekend or on a weekday morning/afternoon/evening. And it seems like they have laid off technical staff because there are far more glitches than ever before. Between news broadcasts mixing up tapes, intros and extros being out of whack, and phone line connection screw-ups — I experienced better quality control on campus/community radio.

As for their TV line-up, shriek! Seriously, how could they axe such great drama as Intelligence and This is Wonderland for the dreck that they now have?

I suspect that their money-maker, Hockey Night in Canada is next to go, or is that already official. Failing to negotiate a renewal of the contract for the theme song was definitely a death knell. TSN doesn't exist on making lucrative offers. That music was CBC's to lose and had little to do with Dolores Claman’s renegotiation demands for the rights to use her iconic music. Even on last night’s As It Happens year end current affairs quiz, none of the panelists (Elizabeth May, Pat Martin and Scott Brison) could hum the contest-winning replacement theme, Canadian Gold. (It reminds me of the theme from Dallas but with a flourish of bag pipes.)

I am convinced that Harper is trying to destroy the CBC from the inside. I also think that Ignatieff will not put up a fight with the proposed cuts to the CBC. What the hell would he know about the CBC or what it means to many of us when he has spent so much of his time outside this country! He probably will think of it as nothing more than an archaic nation building tool.

Thanks to decades of insufficient funding and government pressure to compete against media giants, what was once an institution started by a visionary leader is now stacked with executives who think they can hang on to their jobs by helping the CBC transition into something new -- perhaps privatized or member supported.


At 5:36 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah well there is nothing more to be said, you nailed it!

At 8:42 p.m., Blogger ml johnstone said...

I really don't mind if Hockey Night in Canada goes.
Half the players are American.

At 8:22 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do realize don't you that overall funding for the CBC has not been cut. They still receive $1.1 billion in funding. Their advertising revenues are down - that's a reality of doing business for all media. But that information probably doesn't suit your agenda.

At 2:46 p.m., Blogger opit said...

The CBC is the media voice of government. The Cons know this and use it. The supposed 'liberals' live in self imposed delusion to deny it. I happened to read Lloyd Robertson's memoirs. Despite his constant support of media myth the evidence of dysfunction at the highest levels of the CBC is evident.
But I am more a believer in government as the visible disguise of oppression.
Sometimes the Yanks get it right.

At 6:13 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

opit, there's a difference between a 'public' broadcaster (which is what the CBC is) and a 'state' broadcaster (which is what your comment suggests it is). As a public broadcaster, the CBC's primary mandate is to reflect Canada and its world to Canadians; to encourage attention to and engagement in civics. It is great to have a media that treats us as more than 'taxpayers' and 'consumers', which is the bent of the Conservatives, their fellow travellers in the Fraser Institute and Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and corporations who want to be left alone to do whatever they please.


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