If you missed the interview on CBC Radio this afternoon about the axing of the CBC Radio Orchestra, you missed a classic example of spin on steroids. 70 years of history is being disbanded, yet hearing the two managers tell it, it’s a good thing, and will mean 3 times more recordings.
How killing an award winning orchestra can be spun as good for the music community in Vancouver could only come from the lips of two CBC executives who live in Toronto.
At one point, apparently forgetting this wasn’t a training exercise, exec Jennifer McGuire fell into spin-training-speak and said “the Radio two story is a good story“. (This from the same people who recently suggested that canceling shows produced in Vancouver was somehow a net gain for British Columbia. Clearly they’re working with different math than rest of us). I’m sure Jennifer’s laughter and in-joke about people not liking change made the musicians feel wonderful.
And Mark Steinmetz pulled the classic “I love classical music” in response to clearly pre-arranged, soft-ball questions about the impact of axing the orchestra and killing various popular CBC Radio 2 shows. It was one of those horribly embarrassing “Gee, some of my best friends are ______” comments.
The reality of this move is that it will cause irrevocable harm to the classical music community in Vancouver.
Here’s why: less money being spent hiring musicians means fewer musicians will be around to play. Here’s the bullet point missing from the CBC powerpoint – professional musicians have to earn a living. When you’re a classical musician, the opportunities for employment are exceedingly limited – last I looked the local pub up the road didn’t have a string section, and there’s no new game coming out for the Wii called CELLO HERO II.
Steinmetz must have missed some of the spin training sessions because at one point he said “ask any orchestra manager in the country how expensive it is” to keep an orchestra going. Hmmm, and how will pulling the money spent on the orchestra help that situation ? In the next breath he went on to say how CBC didn’t need to keep funding the orchestra since the scene is healthy and thriving with over 30 orchestras across the country. Huh ?
If you want to see what people think of some of the recent changes, check out the almost 100 people (96 as of 5:30 pm on 25th March) who’ve commented at InsideTheCBC.com on the demise of Sound Advice. All but one express their disappointment as CBC’s latest moves with the radio service.
We’ll see what happens when InsidetheCBC gets around to “breaking” the news of the orchestra’s demise with comments now that InsidetheCBC.com has posted the story.
—- Here’s the CBC coverage on CBC.CA
—— Here’s a guy oozing with charm. CBC PR person in an article in the Globe and Mail:
Basically the orchestra was currently doing like eight concerts a year and for the money that we’re spending, we can’t afford to do that to get just eight concerts a year.