Tag Archives: cbc

Q Revelation

Listening to that Q show this morning on the kitchen radio, it finally dawned on me.

It’s The Radio Show with Jack Farr, revisited for 2009.

Guests being hyped this week in include Howie Mandel and Anne Murray, peppered with indie Canadian bands and pop culture ‘stars’ from the US.

It sounds like every story meeting at Jack Farr’s The Radio Show in 1982, right down to David Suzuki (who was Jack’s bemused guest more than a few times).

This might not be that surprising, considering that the Q guy was a guest on the The Radio Show back then, when he, that Q guy, was touring with Moxy Fruvous (insert your own umlauts at will).

I think I know what happened. While he was busy photocopying band bios on the CBC’s Xerox, he must have stolen all our secrets.


The only difference is that in those days, Executive Producer Jim Millican insisted all items be short – like 3-and-a-half to 5 minutes maximum.

Which is about as long as that Q guy’s guest intros.




There were a lot of things wrong with the mid 1980’s.

Almost all of them are encapsulated in this photo.

Yours truly, CBC Winnipeg Open House – circa 1984


Things You Figured Were True, Are.


Sometimes a news story just jumps out at you as being so obvious that it’s hard to believe someone’s actually doing a story about it.

Two today from CBC.CA.

First story. It’s only surprising it’s taken this long for someone to turn up evidence that big tobacco knew ages ago that cigs are bad for you…

Imperial Tobacco Canada destroyed up to 60 early studies that linked cigarettes to addiction and carcinogens, according to a review published Wednesday in the online Canadian Medical Association Journal. (full story here)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Imperial Tobacco makes no mention of this on their web site, but proudly proclaims this:

We’re an international tobacco company focused on creating value for our shareholders.

Imperial Tobacco products are available in over 160 countries worldwide. Our geographic diversity and versatile multi-product portfolio provides business resilience and a strong platform for future growth.

Future growth !  Shareholder value !

Well guess what ?  All the future growth and shareholder value is based on a product that will kill you.

My sister, a 2 pack a day smoker, died of lung cancer in her early 40’s.  I was with her when she died.

Not a lot of future growth there, fellas.

Second story.

It’s surprising someone gave university researchers a $150,000 car to do this study, proving that fast cars and testosterone are linked.

Well, duh.

Researchers at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal took 39 willing young men and let them take a cruise in a $150,000 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet.

The men were then asked to drive a 16-year-old Toyota Camry. (full story here)

According to the lead researcher, “just put a guy in a Porsche, and his testosterone levels shoot up”.

Well, duh again.

But hang on here.

Every time I get in our Toyota Yaris, I most definitely have a little testosterone thing going on.  Fully loaded, the Yaris clocks in at under 20-grand and even used to get a gas-miser rebate from the feds.

Maybe the John Molson School of Business should come out here and do a little study on us West Coast Men.


Much Ado About A Grumpy Old Guy


I really wonder what has happened to the world of pop culture when being annoying during a radio interview turns into a big deal.

I watched with amusement this week the absolute outrage over Billy Bob Thornton’s behaviour on a national radio show.

Sure he was childish and uncooperative, the host pissed him off and he made no effort to play nice.

Did he flip the finger ? Did he trash the studio ? Did he throw a chair ? Did he punch anyone out ? No.

He was, everyone seems to think, snarky and rude.


Having produced hundreds of interviews over the years, this is hardly an earth-shattering event. I can’t even begin to count the number of band interviews that were wash-outs, either because the band wasn’t interested in talking, or just thought the host was a dork. Sometimes we aired them just because, but usually, we just tossed them out. I’ve seen fire extinguishers thrown across the room, equipment knocked over, and more than a few worn-out and tired musicians storm out of studio mid-interview.

Petulance ?

That wouldn’t even warm up the tubes.

I don’t think it’s ok to be rude and uncooperative in an interview, but it happens. It’s not a big deal. After all, the music business should be high octane – bristling with echoes of its rebellious heritage. People living on the edge, staying up late, smoking.

Shit happens.

Given the choice between kiss ass, do as your told, smile at the idiot reading his lines across the microphone, and say, being a little snarky – I’ll take the latter any day.

Don’t Cry For Me CBC

I vowed, really I did, not to publish any more articles about the CBC.

So, I’m cheating a bit, because this really is about the CBC, but via the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. (Who I also vowed not to write about, again, ever.)

But this is actually quite good.

Part of their campaign to sidetrack adverts on CBC Radio.

In return for breaking my vow, I have one request of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting — please let us know just how many hits on the video file you get from inside the CBC.

Ads on CBC Radio? Mouth of Gold – FCB from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting on Vimeo.

10 Great Things About Prorogation

It’s time to use some glass-half-full logic on this one, ’cause everyone’s talking about it.

Here are, Ten Great Things About Prorogation:

  1. No pithy clips from Question Period on the news
  2. Less junk mail from my Member in Ottawa
  3. Reruns of old versions of The House with Jason Moscovitch
  4. Conservative Store can sell ‘Just Say No to Socialists and Separatists’ merch just in time for Christmas
  5. Finally some room in business class on flights to Ottawa
  6. Honourable Members free to go on even longer shopping sprees
  7. Governor General ticks off one more task on To Do List
  8. Coalition can get a funky logo and theme song made
  9. Steven Harper finally has time to get a picture showing right side of face for website
  10. During break, some clever MP can write “Governing for Dummies”

We’re Number One (repeat)

The latest radio ratings came out this week, and CBC Radio One is congratulating itself for one of its best ratings periods ever.

On closer look though, it seems that, like every other radio station in the world, there’s a fair bit of selective fun with numbers going on.

Here’s the headline from CBC’s official blog:

CBC Radio cleaned up in the latest audience measurement report released by BBM.

In radio they call it the book, and it was an outstanding showing

(You can get also get an overview of the ratings, nation wide, at Broadcaster magazine.)

In Toronto, CBC is high-fiving for becoming “number one” for the first time ever.

CBLAFM are the call letters of Toronto’s CBC flagship – and it scored a 9.4 share in this round or ratings.

BBM defines share as “total hours tuned to that station expressed as a percentage of total hours tuned to all radio” in the market.

That’s great of course, but there are some in the broadcast industry who think very little of share. Mostly because if your listeners keep their radio tuned for long period of times, your share will be higher, even though a competitor may have more listeners.

Most commercial stations look at reach – defined by BBM as “estimated number of different people, within…the market area, who tuned to that station for at least a quarter hour during the week”

In other words, how many people are actually listening.

Within CBC, making Toronto local radio a winner is a huge deal – and for any of my former colleagues who are celebrating this weekend, good on you.

But when you look at CBL’s reach, whether in the central market (i.e. the city) or full coverage (the entire broadcast range), it’s far from number one.

In full coverage reach, CBL comes in 3rd in the 17 stations identify by BBM

And in the central area of Toronto, CBL does less well. With 696,100 listeners, they’re in 5th place.

In Vancouver, it’s a slightly different story, and very different numbers.

Unlike Toronto, CBC Vancouver won’t be using share to claim number one spot – that’s because in share they’re second, well behind CKNW.

What does make Vancouver CBC number one is a great technical infrastructure. Their full coverage reach is an awesome 612,400 listeners, thanks to excellent transmitter coverage across the lower mainland. This is miles ahead of their closest competitor – and their closest full coverage reach competitor isn’t news/talk station CKNW, but CFBTFM – better known to you as The Beat.

When it comes to the Vancouver central area however, the numbers go quite differently, with CBC well behind CKNW, CFBTFM, CHQM and are on par with CKZZ.

In Vancouver central, CBC Radio One is actually 4th.

What does it all mean ?

Externally, nothing really.

CBC Radio doesn’t currently sell advertising so they can claim #1 all they want, but when the radio sales teams from private stations hit the street to sell, CBC isn’t even on their chart.

Internally – it means everything, particularly as CBC eyes the current government cuts with apprehension.

You just had to listen to Heritage Minister James Moore interviewed on CBC Vancouver this week to hear how big a concern it is for CBC. Speaking to him about the government’s financial plan, on no other question did they push him for an answer except for one – will CBC be getting cut. When minister Moore didn’t answer the question directly, they went on to ask it 2 more times.

The other issue for CBC surrounds CBC Radio Two. With massive changes to the schedule last fall, the ratings are not looking good. So having a great story to tell about CBC Radio One will go a long way to deflecting the heat on Radio Two’s poor performance.


The full BBM highlights are online and summary level information is a free PDF dowload, so have a look and make your own charts and graphs to show how your station in #1, in something.

I’ve got a couple of other charts you can take a look at. Like those above, click for a larger version.

Jobs For Tough Times

One thing about tough economic times, you’ve really got to open your mind to new and different opportunities.

Fortunately, tough economic times tend to surface loads of off-the-beaten-track jobs, just there for the taking. What ever would we do without the internet…

When Times Get Tough, The Rich Call the Butler

Forget about trying to become a millionaire – learn how to serve one.

If you’re Canadian, apparently your butlering skills are highly in demand with the world’s rich and elite.

The web site is a bit short on detail and long on hyperbole, but a career as a butler, serving the rich and famous, might be just for you.

Makes deciding on what to wear in the morning a piece of cake.


When Times Get Tough, More People are Walking

And those people need shoes.

Shoe Warehouse heads its Craigslist ad with “Looming Recession Got You Thinking?”.

Your answer might be “Sure, but not about shoes”.

But remember – tough times means opening yourself up to new opportunities. But be warned, one of the main job requirements is “MUST be able to take direction and complete tasks within a specified time frame”.

Hmmm. I always thought that’s what JOB meant ?

When Times Get Tough, Head to the Bar

If I had known I could buy a pub for less than the price of a house in Vancouver, I’d have so been there.

Who knew ? I think I’d be great behind one of those long hardwood bars, drawing a nice dark ale for the locals and maybe leading in a few great Canadian drinking songs.

Those of you who know me, know how right this would be.

When Times Get Tough, Aim for a Unique Job

Baby Associate, Diener, or any one of these 37 occupations.

When Times Get Tough, You Can Always Count on Bad News

CTV just laid off over a hundred people, but CBC’s hiring.

Not only that, they’re looking to fill a fresh new vacancy. After just over a year in the job, John Cruikshank is leaving as head of news. He’s been appointed publisher of the Toronto Star starting Jan 1.

If managing a bunch of hard-core journalists and bossing Peter Mansbridge around doesn’t do it for you, there are 42 other jobs open at CBC as of today, so take your pick.

Screen Caps Speak

Hard times are hitting the media – sort of.

Canwest is laying off 560 employees across Canada – five percent of its staff.

Details here and here.

Instead of pink slips, CBC’s giving out performance bonuses to execs.

The optics: bad. The timing: execrable.

South of the border, they’re moaning about layoffs in the publishing sector, including Al Gore’s Current TV.

Meanwhile, North of the border, Al Gore’s Current TV is expanding.


  • Fly on the wall.
  • Communication teams drafting speaking notes & key message.
  • Layoffs in the US and We’re Expanding to Canada
  • Discuss.

Just like us bloggers, mainstream media seems happy to publish whatever crosses their desk, no questions asked.

How else do you explain a March 2008 prediction of little change to BC’s hot housing market over the next 2 years, and the October 2008 story predicting a drop in house prices of 18 percent over the next two years.

BTW: I have a bridge on offer if you’re interested.

CBC Radio One – Not for Otters

What a difference a couple of days make.

This is the last weekend of summer, and to make sure we get the picture, the sky turned heavy overcast with, yes, some rain today.

Walking to the marina ramp, I was stopped by a tourist who was looking out at Horseshoe Bay. “I guess it looks better in the sunshine ? “, he asked, optimistically.

At the boat I managed to drop my boat keys into the salt chuck as I was loading stuff into the cockpit. The keys were on a lanyard around my neck, but as I pulled my shoulder pack off, it managed to catch the keys and slide the lanyard right over my head and into the water. After 20 years of sailing, I’ve managed to do this twice – both times this year. The last time was at the beginning of the season, and even though I had a key float attached to the key ring, it too sank like a stone.

Since I’d already lost a set of keys, I knew I had no duplicates for the padlocks on Madsu’s hatch and cockpit lockers. So, off I went to the hardware store to buy more locks, and home to pick up my bolt cutters.

When I stopped by the Marina office to buy a new gate key, the staff and I exchanged ‘lost keys in the drink’ stories – I think they were doing their best to make me feel less foolish.

Somehow it all seemed to fit with the grey day and light drizzle, and somehow it didn’t really matter.

The Marina was quiet, so after cutting the old padlock off the hatch, I listened to Radiohead while I wrapped self-amalgamating tape around the new lock bodies so they won’t rust all over the cockpit.

Two slips over is a powerboat with a full canvas cover. The owner keeps a radio on inside 24/7. It’s not terribly loud so it’s not so much annoying as it is curious. When I asked one of my other boat neighbours what the deal is, they told me he uses the radio to keep the otters way.

The river otters use the boats as a sort of dining room. The guy next to me has tried everything and still the otters find a way into his powerboat and leave behind a huge smelly mess. I’ve been gifted the occasional bit of leave-behind, usually on my docking lines, but there’s some serious chowing-down that goes on in the boat next to me – and remnants smell to high heaven.

Radio guy seems to have found the answer though. He’s not troubled by otters any more.

His secret ?

He keeps his radio tuned to CBC Radio One, and that keeps the otters away.

Wonder if that’ll make it into an ad campaign anytime soon.

The Loneliest Number

Two can be as bad as one, its the loneliest number since the number one.

-Lyrics from “One” by Three Dog Night

It’s been five years since I worked at CBC – but this week I’ve been pummeled with questions about CBC Radio Two.

Oops. Sorry.

Radio 2.

Once known as CBC Stereo, and beloved as “Classics and Beyond”, the CBC’s other radio network has become The New 2.

The New 2 is sporting a funky URL (thenew2.ca) that takes you to the same old URL (cbc.ca), and more fonts than you can shake a stick at…

Oh. And there are on-air changes as well.

Those changes have sparked yet another online protest by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, who seem to have missed the importance of the number 2, and have focused instead on the actual content of the network, with their WHO? campaign.

I’ve received two (2) emails from Ian Morrison of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting who wants to enlist help in fighting the changes to Radio 2 (two).

They too (umm, also) have their own funky URL, www.friends.ca/fight4radio2 . . .

We believe the Radio Two changes are consistent with the misguided approach of CBC’s current management group to “dumb down” CBC’s programs in search for a new and broader audience without regard for the damage this will do to its current loyal listeners.

We also believe that these changes signal CBC’s intention to ask the CRTC for permission to advertise on CBC Radio.

So, what’s all the fuss about ? And why are all my friends and neighbours assaulting me with questions about The New 2 ?

  • A few were thinking this was some sort of long-weekend-hang-over-programming-error. You know, with the B team working the holiday weekend, someone loaded the wrong tapes in master control.
  • One called this afternoon asking if CBC was ‘trying something out’ since it was Wednesday and the kids are back in school.
  • Another (who knows a little of my history at CBC and the long fights we had convincing the the corp to let us call our online network Radio 3 instead of Radio Three) just emailed the classic text shorthand: WTF ?

The thing about it is this – it’s not that important.

They’ve made some programming changes.

Some of the new shows will be good and some won’t.

If they leave them on the air long enough people will get used to them, or they’ll find their niche audience, or they’ll just be mediocre and have small audiences.

Just like the old Radio Two.

See, it’s really hard to create any kind of broad or mass audience with ‘appointment’ radio programming.

The New 2 will have the same kind of small dedicated audience that the Old Two had.

It’ll just be a somewhat different audience, an audience that likes an off-centre, not ready for prime-time program. Just like the old Radio Two audience.

All the new hosts have that raised-on-DNTO sound. Just like all the old hosts had that Wanna-BBC sound.

The important thing to keep in mind is: it’s just a radio channel. There are others.

My answer to my neighbours:

Get an iPod.

You’ll be happier.

Canada’s Big Media Still Big

I know with the long weekend ahead, you’ve been wondering about the state of media in Canada – now you can rest easy and enjoy that extra day off.

Big Media in Canada is doing just fine.



The CRTC today released its Communications Monitoring Report. In the past the Commission published one report on the state of broadcasting, and one on the telecommunications industry, and this is the first of their ‘converged’ reports – presumably to reflect the state of the industry.

The report makes it clear that the Canadian broadcast sector is doing just fine, despite dire warnings of its impending demise thanks to the internet. The report also shows just how big a role the internet plays in our every day lives and consumption of entertainment.

Here are some facts pulled from the CRTC report.


  • Revenues for private commercial radio stations increased by 6.2%, from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $1.5 billion in 2007.
  • Commercial television revenues increased 4.3%, or $218 million, from $5 billion in 2006 to $5.3 billion in 2007. This was largely due to increased subscriber revenues of $152 million.
  • Revenues for specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services increased by 9%, rising from $2.5 billion in 2006 to $2.7 billion in 2007.
  • Revenues for private conventional television broadcasters went from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 1.3%. During this period, revenues for English-language stations grew by 2% to $1.8 billion, while those for French-language stations fell by 2% to $381 million
  • Online advertising continued to experience growth, with spending rising from $900 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2007.

English Canadian use of…

  • RADIO: 18.3 hours of per week
  • TV: 26.8 hours of per week
  • INTERNET: 13.4 hours per wee


  • The number of Canadians who have watched a video online has more than doubled over the past three years, with user-generated content being more popular than professionally produced programs.
  • Among the more popular online activities in 2007, 36% of Canadians watched a video, 16% listened to a streaming radio station and 17% downloaded music.
  • 11% of Canadians reported downloading and listening to a podcast on either their computer or an MP3 player, an activity that is seen as a complement to conventional broadcasting.

It may just be a case of bad timing, but just a couple of weeks ago, a CBC submission to the CRTC more-or-less argued Canadians aren’t using the Internet for entertainment. (you can read the CBC’s full position here)

Today’s CRTC report shows that we are in fact using the internet for entertainment. One of the most popular online activites happens to be…watching videos. At the end of the day, regardless of the facts, the CBC’s argument in it’s submission seems to be that since it hasn’t figured out how to make money online, online shouldn’t be considered a business opportunity for Canadian broadcasters.

Given that traditional broadcast is still showing yearly increases in revenue, I’m not sure they’re in any hurry to try figure out how to make money online, despite the fact that Canadians are consuming a huge amount of content online. To my mind, that bodes well for smart nimble companies that can jump into this obviously ripe market while the ‘big boys’ sit back and wait for it to be a more predictable business opportunity.

(cross posted here)

Go Figure

  • Oil prices had their biggest gains ever on Friday, jumping nearly $11 to a new record above $138 a barrel according to the International Herald Tribune . Here in Vancouver gas is around 1.40 a litre and isn’t planning on going anywhere but up. Meanwhile, GM’s closing a truck plant in Oshawa, despite the fact the plant was the pilot site to build a new hybrid truck for GM . CAW boss Buzz Hargrove, on CBC’s As It Happens, says GM told him they’ll only be able to sell 3 or 4 thousand new hybrid trucks a year, so they’ll built them in Mexico.
  • Syphoning gas, popular when I was a teenager, is back.
  • CBC declines to renew the Hockey Night in Canada theme, launches contest in partnership with Nettwerk to find new theme.
  • Ed McMahon can’t afford to pay his mortgage – he’s behind $ 644,000 in mortgage payments and can’t seem to sell is 6.2 million dollar Beverly Hills mansion. Wife says they could have planned a bit better..
  • A new report says the Writers Guild of America strike pushed California into a recession and cost the state 2.1 billion dollars.
  • I guess the rabbits were right…pine bark is good for you.
  • Personal drug use may be unconstitutional in Argentina.
  • Meanwhile, civic leader in Port Coquitlam off meds and drunk, one way to make headlines.
  • Drivers in Cypress are being asked not to leave their cars while still in motion.

Estimates Vary

Depending on who you believe, somewhere between 100 and 200 people gathered in Vancouver today to protest the axing of the CBC Radio Orchestra.

According to Colin Miles who posted a comment here

On very short notice about 200 people showed up. They included about 40 people who were either players in the orchestra, soloists who have recorded CDs with the orchestra or composers who have been broadcast and/or recorded bu the CBCR

Tod Maffin from InsidetheCBC blog posted some photos (copyright protected so I can’t post them here) on Flickr, including one of former CBC Vancouver regional manager and one time head of Radio Music Robert Sunter being interveiwed by Paul Grant.

Tod’s article at InsidetheCBC says 100 people were there when he was there about 15 minutes into the demo.

Meanwhile, CBC.CA says 150 people.

Proving once again that there is a reason people go into journalism:  accountancy is out.

(photos are copyright Tod Maffin and used with permission)

Is There (still) No Such Thing as Bad Publicity ?

CBC Radio 2 is swarming in publicity, or so it would seem.

Newspapers are writing stories, bloggers are blogging, readers are commenting, and even the VP of CBC English Media is using the internet to give his side of the story.

If you don’t work at CBC or listen to Radio 2, you probably have NO IDEA what’s going on.

Here’s the skinny.

People are pissed about what’s happening to classical music on the network (that’s Radio 2) and more recently, the axing of the CBC Radio Orchestra.

Apparently there are thousands and thousands of Facebook members who’ve joined groups to show how pissed they are at the changes.

This blog fight over classical music is also getting ugly.

InsidetheCBC, the official blog of the corporation, has pointed out that some of those Facebook members may not be real. The CBC is an organization that prides itself on its journalistic standards, yet in this case, it conveniently leaves the investigative reporting of “phantom posters” up to another blogger…

Justin Beach from the great PublicBroadcasting.ca web site has done a bit of detective work and discovered that some of the most prolific protesters inside CBC groups may not, in fact, exist

OMG – people pretending to be someone they aren’t on the internet ! How can this be ? ( I wonder if he checked out all 10,000 plus members – some of them look pretty hot )

Meanwhile, the arrows are flying back at InsidetheCBC over the corp’s comment policy. Now that CBC is instituting a 7 day window for comments, that shouldn’t continue to be a problem.

All this fuss over classical music ?

I should tell you that I created and produced my share of shows on Radio 2. And you know, all of them were the dreaded pop music shows.

There was a music magazine show called The Beat that we created and produced here in Vancouver that aired on what was then called CBC Stereo.

That was followed by RealTime, another pop music show, live to all time zones, that aired on Saturday nights. We played tons of indy music and recorded all sorts of bands across Canada. Actually, to be accurate, if there was an indy band in Canada that so much as had a recording, we played it.

When we first started Radio 3 in early 2000, we also produced over 30 hours a week of pop music shows on Radio 2. So, this idea that pop music has never been represented on Radio 2 is a bit of revisionist history.

In fact, the people who are making the changes now to Radio 2 are the same people who pulled Radio 3’s pop music shows off the network in the first place. But I digress.

Back in the RealTime days (mid 90’s) and during the advent of Radio 3 (early 2000’s) we would have done anything for this kind of publicity. Goodness knows we tried.

We recorded scores of bands at festivals across the country every year, we said bad words on the air (just ask the bad boy from West Van Grant Lawrence, who used to love to drop the F bomb whenever we would interview him on the road).

We won tons of international awards for our web sites – even CBC’s own PR department refused to tell anyone about them – apparently winning too many awards is not good form (or maybe there’s such a thing as too much good publicity).

We even got our shows canceled. More than once I might point out.

And still, bubkis.

Ok, that’s not true, I think once the Toronto Sun mocked us for thinking we could make CBC ‘cool’. But compared to what’s going on this week, bubkis, bubkis, bubkis.

So, I have to admire the notion that a media storm has developed over the changes to Radio 2, and over the indelicate evisceration of the venerable CBC Radio Orchestra.

It’s a publicity bonanza.

Radio ratings should go through the roof.

But when I look a little deeper, I’m not entirely sure this is exactly the Perfect Storm of a publicist’s wet dreams.

cbc adThe mainstream papers seem to have picked up the orchestra cancellation story, but they aren’t going much deeper than that.

A quick search at the Globe and Mail turns up only a couple of stories (behind a pay wall).

The National Post, a paper that loves to mock the CBC, seems totally disinterested.

And citizen journalism sites like Orato and NowPublic, both based in Vancouver, have no coverage to speak of. So it would appear that citizen journalists could care less.

Maybe the Perfect Publicity Storm is just a little squall.

Maybe the CBC didn’t need to drop a bundle on full page ads in the Globe. It would have saved them the embarrassment of putting non-classical musicians in the unenviable position of trash talking their classical counterparts. Like that’s a good idea. (click the image for a larger version courtesy InsideTheCBC.com).

More likely, it’s only a Perfect Storm inside the CBC itself. As my former CBC boss and mentor used to say “they do love to drink their own bathwater”. Swell image that.

We’ll see how a planned ‘protest that isn’t a protest‘ goes on Tuesday outside CBC Vancouver.

My guess is that this will all blow over pretty quickly.

By the time Radio 2’s new schedule launches in the fall, the whole thing will have been forgotten. The blogosphere will have discovered something new to be upset about, and he Facebook phantoms will have tired of poking one another (even though some of them are pretty hot).

Jennifer McGuire, the woman who runs radio now, will be well out of the picture, and in her new job running news, so there won’t even be anyone left to blame.

And sleepy old Radio 2 will go back to obscurity.

CBC's Lesson in Spin – How to Kill 70 Years of Tradition – Just Keep Smiling

spin.jpg 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.

It’s no wonder Moses Znaimer is mowing CBC’s grass in the Toronto radio market – he actually pays attention to his audience.

—- 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.


I have no idea where EB got the expression, but she’s been using it for years.

Pig-on-Pork is worse than excess – its excessive excess.

Example: putting whipped cream on ice-cream would be Pig-on-Pork.

This article in Broadcaster Magazine about the recent CRTC hearings in Vancouver has a fine example…

One area that did seem to win consensus from many of the private broadcasters was the controversial nature of the CBC’s presentation. They were seeking the 104.1 FM frequency for use in Nanaimo and wanted the commission to reject all of the other applicants on the grounds that Vancouver didn’t need another music format. They also repeatedly discussed the urgent need for CBU-AM690 to flip to FM despite being the current #2 station in terms A 12+ hours tuned. Moreover some of the evidence presented was highly suspect. In all, the CBC wants to use 3 of the last frequencies in BC, despite the fact that it already has more than 20 transmitters on the air in the region.

CBC to use UK based company to sell internationally

CBC plans to move it’s international sales out of house

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Fireworks International, a division of ContentFilm, today announced an agreement by which Fireworks will acquire the international distribution rights and assets currently managed by CBC’s division responsible for international sales. full story in Broadcaster

The Broadcaster story doesn’t mention how many folks in the CBC ‘division’ are affected by the change.  Fireworks and ContentFilm are based in London UK with an office in Los Angeles. From their web site:

Fireworks International, a division of the UK’s ContentFilm plc, acquires and distributes an extensive slate of television programs, feature films and digital content throughout the world. Fireworks’ library of over 2000 hours of programming includes BLOOD TIES, twenty-two hours of mystery drama with a twist of the supernatural; HEAVY Worldwide’s newest comedy and animated series as well as library from the highly successful U.S. digital brand HEAVY.com; kids’ gothic horror comedy series YOUNG DRACULA from CBBC; comedy series THE JANE SHOW and U.S. mystery drama series WHISTLER; along with action/adventure series Gene Roddenberry’s ANDROMEDA, MUTANT X, and RELIC HUNTER; children’s programs BLACK HOLE HIGH, 100 DEEDS FOR EDDIE MCDOWD, CAITLIN’S WAY; plus over 200 U.S. network miniseries and TV movies of the week; and over 100 theatrical feature films, and specials including the 2006 and 2007 Annual U.S. PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS shows.

CBC Integrates Radio/TV and Online Management

According to InsidetheCBC.com

In a note to staff today, CBC president Robert Rabinovitch announced that the CBC Board of Directors has approved “the formal integration of CBC Radio and CBC Television, which is effective immediately. The integrated services, including CBC.ca, will be led by Richard Stursberg, Executive Vice-President, English Services.” Jennifer McGuire becomes the new Executive Director of CBC Radio

The full story is on CBC.Ca.

This fully explains the resignation of Radio Vice President Jane Chalmers earlier this month.

If you’ve ever seen a CBC management flow chart you’d agree this all makes perfect sense. The re-org means that the main media lines all roll up under one head. From the CBC.Ca story…

McGuire, CBC-TV programming head Kirstine Layfield and CBC News publisher John Cruickshank will all now report to Stursberg.

Expect a lot of dire predictions from the radio folks in particular.

In reality this is good news and should help make the decision making process less moribund.