Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

Thinking the unthinkable at CBC Radio

From CP via

The spectre of ads on CBC Radio is being raised as the public broadcaster meets behind closed doors to discuss its funding woes.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting say the controversial tactic is just one of the harsh choices being considered as the CBC wrestles with a way to cope with the slumping economy in the next fiscal year. …

In a speech to the Empire Club of Canada last week, CBC President Hubert Lacroix said several measures were being considered, including “increasing the advertising we accept on the air.”

There was other CBC-related stuff in Monday's Globe and Mail:

The CBC abruptly cancelled a scheduled meeting today with Heritage Minister James Moore, acknowledging the planned encounter fuelled an appearance of political interference in the management of the independent broadcaster.

Mr. Moore was supposed to have a first meeting this afternoon with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s board of directors, which would have been in the middle of a two-day meeting to adopt its 2009-2010 business plan.

However, in a television interview that was taped on Thursday, Mr. Moore slammed the CBC for putting U.S. game shows on its evening schedule, fuelling concern among CBC staff over his role in upcoming programming decisions. …

“The reason that taxpayers provide a subsidy to the CBC is to give each Canadian, in every part of the country and in both official languages, the opportunity to see [Canadian] news, stories and dramas,” Mr. Moore said in an interview that ran last night on Tout le Monde en Parle, a popular talk show on the CBC's French-language network.

“Frankly, I can tell you I don't like it when I see the CBC cancelling Canadian content, and we see Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune,” he said.

The CBC had hoped to grab viewers with these game shows and get them to tune in to the rest of the programming.

But critics have pointed out that the CBC bought the expensive shows just as advertising revenue started to plummet.

The CBC expects its revenue to be down by as much as $65 million this year. The feds have already said that CBC will have to make due with the stipend it already gets.

Globe columnist Jeffrey Simpson said the following on Saturday:

CBC executives argue that between 1995 and 2004, CBC received 9 per cent less government funding, while public money for the arts in general rose by 39 per cent. Said CBC president Hubert Lacroix earlier this year, “the last permanent increase in our basic funding goes back to 1973.”

Seven years ago, the government gave CBC a discretionary, yearly sum of $60-million for Canadian programming. The Commons heritage committee recommended a per-capita increase to $40 from $33 in CBC's appropriations, instead of the yearly, discretionary sum. The government ignored the committee.

Presidents, chairpersons and CBC union leaders have exhausted themselves pleading CBC's case to governments of both political stripes over many years – to very little, if any, avail. …

… In the age of media proliferation, CBC is not nearly distinctive enough, so that increasingly people ask: Who cares? The sound that greets CBC's fate has been resounding silence, including from those whom you might expect to defend it. …

CBC's answer to funding problems has been massive popularization in the search for audience maximization. A deep disdain for intellectualism pervades both English-language television and radio – or what CBC executive Richard Stursberg, quoting a British government white paper, called “worthy” programming.

The result is an ersatz, albeit Canadianized, private broadcaster calling itself a public one.  …

As long, therefore, as CBC pursues this strategic direction, it will have the worst of all worlds in the search for public money. It will have alienated core audiences who might have cared enough to fight, and exchanged them for audiences for whom CBC is just one choice among many, and therefore not worth getting excited about.

Mon, March 16 2009 » Main Page, Media

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous March 17 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    We also try to keep up on the unique situation we find the CBC in today

  2. Anonymous March 17 2009 @ 8:59 am

    We also try to keep up on the unique situation we find the CBC in today