Re-Reimagine the CBC

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Grandpa_Bill

I've mentioned elsewhere this fascinating comment by Nicholas Kristof in his column of Dec 31/11.:

"Look, as a journalist, I'm proud of my profession. Yet it's also clear that commercial pressures are driving some news organizations, television in particular, to drop the ball. Instead of covering Congo, it's cheaper and easier to put a Democrat and a Republican in a studio and have them yell at each other.

The CBC is following the commercial networks down this road. Some people now working at the CBC have survived past cutbacks and layoffs by making that decision.  In doing so, those people were protecting their own turfs and saving their own skins. When Salutin used the phrase being human, he meant that those people could not help doing what they did and, had we been in their position, we would have done the same.

The wisdom of Salutin's opinion piece is in that observation.  It is foolish for us to expect most people who are very much like us to act as though they were saints--except, of course, those of you commenting here who really are saints!

6079_Smith_W

I hear you Grandpa_Bill. It is not always just a case of protecting turf and saving skins though. There are also people who are not motivated by self-interest, but who are determined to do the best they can in an organization that is under assault. 

To look at it another way, if I were in that position, how would I feel about quitting in protest, knowing I would be replaced by someone who would just be another cog in the machine, or an active agent in the assault? 

As you imply, there is no situation where everything is pure and unsullied, and free of compromises and less than perfect choices.

Still, I appreciate Salutin's merciful tone, even if I only agree with his analysis in part.

 

 

Gaian

Met Gerry back in the early 70s when he travelled with Stephen Lewis on campaigns.

A very smart and fair-minded fellow and is certainly correct in that observation.

Gaian

Dear George,

Later today, CBC will announce the program and other cuts that will be made as a result of the federal budget which slashed funding for our national public broadcaster by $115 million.

The announcement will be made during an internal conference call, but FRIENDS will have access to it and will be blogging the details as they are announced. I invite you to follow our LIVEBLOG by clicking here:

http://www.friends.ca/live

The call will begin at 1:30 pm EDT.

Hope you can join us.

Ian Morrison

Grandpa_Bill

My attempt to Re-imagine the CBC.

In the new volume Crime in Canada, which is part of the Oxford University Press series Issues in Canada, author Diane Crocker reports that few of the policy changes in the recently-passed Omnibus Crime Bill are supported by research. To her mind, some of the proponents of those policies "in fact seem to be turning their backs outright on research." She continues as follows:

"The current government's crime control agenda is based on a false assumption about Canadian's fear of crime and the level of unreported crime, coupled with untrue claims that decreasing police-reported crime rates hide the reality of crime. The agenda ignores both research and the views of community-based agencies (including victim's rights groups), and will be very expensive. . . .

"Crime control policies have been politicized so much that research has become irrelevant. But Canadians would be outraged if politicians dismissed research when approving the safety and effectiveness of new drugs."

My vision for the CBC during the period when the Omnibus Crime Bill was being dealt in the House is as follows:

Go back in time to the introduction of the Omnibus Crime Bill in the House of Commons. Over the course of many days/weeks, the opposition parties asked questions of the government about this crime bill.

Now imagine, on every day that the bill was discussed in the House, that The National nightly news show featured a substantial segment on Crime in Canada, with a format somewhat as follows:

  • Question Period in the House, showing the questions asked about the crime bill and the answers given by the government
  • an explanation or clarification of the issue(s) implicit in those questions and answers
  • a presentation of what we know about those issues, i.e. of the research-based facts relevant to the questions and answers

The point of this re-imagining is two-fold:

  1. Canadians would have learned the facts about crime and whether those facts supported proposed changes to the criminal justice system
  2. Canadians would have learned that the CBC is a reliable source of the facts they need to best govern Canada for the common good.

Or something like that, eh?!  The actual CBC coverage of the Omnibus Crime Bill is a tale of missed opportunities.

Gaian

GB: "Now imagine, on every day that the bill was discussed in the House, that The National nightly news show featured a substantial segment on Crime in Canada, with a format somewhat as follows:
•Question Period in the House, showing the questions asked about the crime bill and the answers given by the government
•an explanation or clarification of the issue(s) implicit in those questions and answers
•a presentation of what we know about those issues, i.e. of the research-based facts relevant to the questions and answers"
-------------

The corporation's management should have ordered its professional news staff to set aside integrity and devote all their time to a frontal attack on the government in an undisguised attempt at embarassing Steve and company?

I sometimes dream about having such an opportunity. :)

Anyway, that would have gone against the grain of public opinion, still massively in favour of vengeance against the "criminal element" - as frequent polling by the Cons disclosed, or they never would have gone ahead with the program. I believe it comes from watching too much American TV, the "unreality" political news. Although the more perceptive (which discounts Conservatives) would notice that a growing number of states are in revolt against the lock-em-all-up-forever syndrome that is having catastrophic effect on their ability to educate children. And CBC takes pleasure in pointing to that phenom at every oppportunity.

Slumberjack

Gaian wrote:
Although the more perceptive (which discounts Conservatives) would notice that a growing number of states are in revolt against the lock-em-all-up-forever syndrome that is having catastrophic effect on their ability to educate children. And CBC takes pleasure in pointing to that phenom at every oppportunity.

Not from a humanist perspective it doesn't, or anything like it; the right or wrong of punitive justice upon the individual, the family, the community that is; but from a monetary view which we can readily posit today as being an anti-human perspective. The journalistic interpretation mirrors the top and bottom line considerations found in the public and political arenas in precise detail like a carbon copy, requiring no further search parameters, for reasons we can only interpret as being contrived from a view that we're just too stupid to understand these things and what it means for such a society in general, or if not, perhaps they're too stupid to even be in the business of journalism, and should instead finally acknowledge themselves as being messengers only and dispense of all the other borrowed plumage once and for all.

Gaian

Sj: "The journalistic interpretation mirrors the top and bottom line considerations found in the public and political arenas in precise detail like a carbon copy, requiring no further search parameters, for reasons we can only interpret as being contrived from a view that we're just too stupid to understand these things and what it means for such a society in general, or if not, perhaps they're too stupid to even be in the business of journalism, and should instead finally acknowledge themselves as being messengers only and dispense of all the other borrowed plumage once and for all."

You didn't learn to write 100-word paragraphs with myriad thoughts in journalism school...although careful analysis suggests you're still in attack mode. :)

Slumberjack

Please....deconstructive mode, with a rhetorical bent, brushing only slightly against the polemic.

Grandpa_Bill

Thanks for your comment, Gaian.  You wrote this:

"The corporation's management should have ordered its professional news staff to set aside integrity and devote all their time to a frontal attack on the government in an undisguised attempt at embarassing Steve and company?"

Now I see a need for some clarification in my own comment, so here goes!

As Diane Crocker makes clear in her book Crime in Canada, crimilologists have amassed a substantial body of knowledge about crime, incapacitation, deterence, rehabilitation, recidivism, and the like. Not opinion, not speculation, but research-based knowledge.  It is reasonable for Canadians to expect that their government will base proposals for changes to the criminal justice system on that knowledge.  It is unreasonable for the government to do otherwise.

It is unarguably newsworthy, then, if the answers to questions that Ministers provide in the House turn out NOT to be based on that knowledge.

The CBC suffers no loss of integrity if it provides the Canadian people with the knowledge needed to decide important matters that are being discussed in the House.  Quite the contrary, the CBC loses integrity if it fails to provide that knowledge.

Providing the public with knowledge is not an attack on the government, but a remedy for public ignorance.  In matters of importance for which facts make a difference, the CBC needs to help Canadians learn the facts that bear on those matters.

Or so it seems to me, anyway, though I accept that some will disagree.  C'est la vie!

Gaian

There's at least two references to CBC programs/news in these threads every day, GB. We depend on that source. But you will never find a news channel, ANYWHERE, acting to satisfy your social democratic urges and thirst for socio- political justice. For instance on the F35, they can only QUOTE, not proseletize. I have to turn to CSPAN to see how it comes down in real time. In the news game - my job in another life - you have to provide balance, with the bad guys exposed simply by the relating of facts.

No, I'm afraid the Canadian public came to their bloody-minded attitude toward incarceration by being fed a diet of crime...if it bleeds it leads sort of thing. They wind up being misled simply because the Private, comercially dependent news agencies, have even less time for in-depth reportage and expose's. But maybe you don't watch them? :)

Grandpa_Bill

I appreciate knowing your views on this topic, Gaian, and agree with you that a simple "relating of facts" will expose the bad guys.  Cool  I wish that the CBC had done just that, namely, related the research-based facts that bore on the questions and answers that swirled around the Omnibus Crime Bill discussion in the House.

There will be other issues and other opportunities.  We live in hope.

"Hope is a state of mind independent of the state of the world.  If your heart's full of hope, you can be persistent when you can't be optimistic.  You can keep the faith despite the evidence, knowing that only in doing so has the evidence any chance of changing.  So while I'm not optimistic, I'm always very hopeful."  William Slaone Coffin

 

 

Gaian

Yep, hope is probably the most important feeling we can carry about. Its loss is a sign of a damned bad situation facing an individual.

Doctor Manderly

The CBC follows the same sensationalist dictates. in news as the private sources...the Hockey is not going anywhere...Gaian..

 

 

Slumberjack

Gaian wrote:
You didn't learn to write 100-word paragraphs with myriad thoughts in journalism school...

"you don't need to be a shoemaker to know whether a shoe is going to fit you" (Hegel)

Gaian

I must learn to rely more on quotations, like the wise old farts throughout history.

i.e.Francois-Rene De Chateaubriand: "An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate."

That would certainly hold for 100-word paragraphs with myriad thoughts.

Gaian

As for the CBC, Richard Stursburg,former executive viceo-president of CBC English Services has written a book, The Tower of Babble: Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC (just coming into the stores now).

In an essay for the Globe, he warns: "Other possible horrors wait in the wings. It may lose another $40 million if the Local Program Improvement Fund is cancelled by the CRTC. The conventional advertising markets have been weak for years. If, as seems likely, the CBC loses Hockey Night in Canada, half of its advertising revenues will vanish and it will have to figure out how to replace more than 400 hours of prime-time Canadian programming.

"If this were not enough, its great rivals at Global and CTV now have rich new parents as a result of their recent acqwuisitions by Shaw and Bell, respectively. They are flush with cash, and as a result of various CRTC decisions are obligated to spend a great deal more than they didin the past in the program areas that are CBD's priorities: Canadian entertainment and news. They were formidable competitors in the past and will be even more formidable now."

Grandpa_Bill

Gaian quotes Richard Stursburg:

"If this were not enough, its great rivals at Global and CTV now have rich new parents as a result of their recent acqwuisitions by Shaw and Bell, respectively. They are flush with cash, and as a result of various CRTC decisions are obligated to spend a great deal more than they didin the past in the program areas that are CBD's priorities: Canadian entertainment and news. They were formidable competitors in the past and will be even more formidable now."

 Here's a quote from someone--who?

"If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete."

But doesn't the CBC have a competitive advantage?  Isn't the CBC, our public news provider, in the unique position of being both willing and able to tell the truth?  Apparently not.  Telling the truth became a casualty of running the gamut of objectivity and impartiality.  We saw that in CBC coverage of the discussion of the Omnibus Crime Bill.  TINA, saysGaian:  There Is No Alternative. 

"The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is report what both sides say and you've done a fine job of objective journalism debilitates the press," the late columnist Molly Ivins once wrote. "There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. The smug complacency of much of the press-I have heard many an editor say, 'Well, we're being attacked by both sides so we must be right'-stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from both sides, preferably in an official position, you've done the job. In the first place, most stories aren't two-sided, they're 17-sided at least. In the second place, it's of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, 'Cat,' and the other side saying 'Dog,' while the truth is there's an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes."

http://williambowles.info/2010/02/02/the-creed-of-objectivity-killed-the...

Grandpa_Bill

The online edition of the Toronto Star has a link to this story as a must read:

The Cuts Aren't So Bad, Crybabies

from which I have excerpted the following:

"Compare the situation with what happened to the most respected and famous public broadcaster in the world, the BBC. Last year, the director general, Mark Thompson, announced cuts of over a billion dollars per year. The British Broadcaster did so by drastically slicing the fat off management.

"BBC management once represented 3 per cent of its workforce; by 2016, that will have been reduced to 1 per cent. In the same spirit, Thompson's successor's income will by slashed by 50 per cent, from $1 million down to $500,000."

Leaving aside the conservative source and intention of the article, we can still ask whether there is a kernel of truth in the suggestion. We can still ask whether there were better choices for cuts.  We can ask whether the cuts were self-serving for a myopic management infected with the virus of entitlements.

6079_Smith_W

The third hour of The Sunday Edition is worth listening to: 

Eric Peterson talking about the shutdown of the CBC Radio Drama Department, and a rebroadcast of a documentary about "The Investigator" A CBC Radio Drama from the 50s about the anti-communist witchunt.

One of Peterson's comments: "Surely if there is one rubber band holding this country together, it is CBC Radio"

For as long as the website is still there, you can probably listen to the podcast.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

That interview with Peterson and the "The Investigator" documentary were excellent. Peterson nailed it on the head when he commented on the devolution of artists and creators to cultural workers and now content providers. The latter could include anyone offering anything to air.

I certainly will miss radio drama. There have been some stellar plays over the years.

Slumberjack

Francois-Rene Chateaubriande wrote:
"An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate."

In that case nothing is original because everything is imitated.  At least today where we're concerned.  Words and thoughts sprang forth from certain eras which described past, present and even some possible futures, but they didn't just come into existence in a vacuum for the benefit of posterity.  There was always some event or condition requiring a setting down into some semblance of order what already existed, the source material.  The great difficulty with originality is trying to maintain it's distance from a political constraint to better investigate where problems truly originate from, so that we can focus a little less on their imitation.

Grandpa_Bill

The March 2012 issue of Literary Review of Canada contains an interesting and generally favourable review by Kevin Reitz of Fearmonger: Stephen Harper's Tough-on-Crime Agenda. In a letter responding to the review, author Paula Mallea wrote this:

"My inability to present [the government's] underlying justification for [its] 'tough-on-crime' agenda . . . was because the evidence in support of [its] position, as far as I was able to ascertain, does not exist. Government ministers had two stock answers when questioned about its general approach: 'this is what the public wants' and 'this is what victims want.' Yet our governments are elected to lead on public policy according to the best evidence available. As well, many highly respected victims' advocates deplored the government's policies in the strongest terms."

During the period when the Omnibus Crime Bill was debated in the House, the CBC (the rubber band holding this country together) failed to make the point effectively to Canadians that there were no research-based facts supporting the government's Omnibus Crime Bill and that government ministers were talking nonsense in the House.  SNAP!

6079_Smith_W

As a matter of fact I have heard numerous news pieces on CBC covering various aspects of the bill, from the fact that it will tie the hands of the judiciary to the fact that it offloads cost and responsibility on the provinces, to the question of its legality: 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/03/06/pol-cotler-amendments-c...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/03/06/f-bill-c10-objections.html

... as well as the point you raise:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/12/27/ns-experts-ch...  

If you think the CBC is failing in some respects, that is fine, and I agree with you in part. But on this point it is your position which is not supported by evidence. Near as I can tell they did their part; it isn't their job to grab people by the nose and force them to agree to a position even if you and I think it is the right one.

Though there are enough polls showing that tackling crime is not a high priority for Canadians. So I don't think the passage of the Omnibus Crime bill is the fault of of the CBC failing to convince anyone. The government is on its own on this one, and determined to ram through their agenda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcxpbhM0DaA

Grandpa_Bill

Thanks, 6079 Smith W, for posting links to CBC broadcasts related to the recently enacted Omnibus Crime Bill.

I take note of your comment suggesting that my concern with CBC coverage of this subject is based on my belief that the CBC ought, as you put it, "grab people by the nose and force them to agree to a position."

As I see it, personal positions on the subject of crime in Canada (certainly my personal position) are quite beside the point.  My belief is rather that CBC News has missed opportunities to make Canadians who view the news on television more aware of the great body of research-based facts that, taken together, refute many public statements made by ministers of the government on the subject of crime in Canada and reported on the CBC.  In other words, CBC News has not told Canadians the truth as fully, as forcefully, and as frequently as it might have.  CBC News can do better--and I hope that it does.

I take full responsibility for your having misunderstood the meaning and intention of my comments: though disheartening, it is not the first instance in which I have failed to make my ideas clear.

I wonder if we can agree to something like this:  Regardless of what CBC News has done to date to "tell the truth" to the Canadian public, something more is needed if those CBC viewers who get the bulk of their news from television are to learn that responses by ministers to questions asked in the House are utter nonsense?

6079_Smith_W

You know what, Grandpa Bill? No. I disagree, assuming you made yourself clear enough this time (and I think you did just fine before, so you don't need to be coy).

That is to say, I am sure there are some CBC programs which didn't adequately cover this. I can't say for sure, as I don't have cable. 

But I 'd say that anyone who was paying attention and wanted to get the story would probably have found some of the best mainstream coverage with CBC.

My point - the broadcaster is under threat, and fucked up, but it it still an important vehicle for some journalists who are working very hard to publicize the very things you accuse them of ignoring. I cannot think of another new agency with similar scope and resources that I trust half as much as the CBC

There is a point at which it is no longer the fault of the media if people don't get up off their asses. We are, after all, dealing with some people whom you could set on fire, and they wouldn't notice.

So no, while you are entitled to your opinion. I disagree, and I don't think you have proven anything.

And speaking of which, if you see something NOT being done, just how productive is it to spend your time blaming others who you think aren't doing the job to your satisfaction? There are better things to focus on, after all. Me? I'm here because I think the CBC is a resource worth saving. What's your excuse? 

 

 

Grandpa_Bill

Sorry, 6079 Smith W, but I obviously haven't made myself clear--certainly not this last time.

Coy?  Nah.  I'm just more interested in making a connection than a disconnection. Obviously I failed to do so in this discussion! More's the pity.

My swan song on this thread will be to present again my vision for the CBC during the period when the Omnibus Crime Bill was being dealt in the House.  Here it is -- have another laugh!  Cool

 -----

Go back in time to the introduction of the Omnibus Crime Bill in the House of Commons. Over the course of many days/weeks, the opposition parties asked questions of the government about this crime bill.

Now imagine that, on every day that the bill was discussed in the House, The National nightly news show featured a substantial segment on Crime in Canada, with a format somewhat as follows:

  • Question Period in the House, showing the questions asked about the crime bill and the answers given by the government
  • an explanation or clarification of the issue(s) implicit in those questions and answers
  • a presentation of what we know about those issues, i.e. of the research-based facts relevant to the questions and answers

The point of this re-imagining is two-fold:

  1. Viewers might have learned the facts about crime and whether those facts supported proposed changes to the criminal justice system
  2. Viewers might have learned that the CBC is a reliable source of the facts they need to best govern Canada for the common good.

 

6079_Smith_W

Fair enough, Grandpa Bill. 

But I don't see how in a one-hour national news program they can devote a set segment every night to one specific issue, given that there are probably scores of issues which deserve similar coverage. That's not a failure to deal with the issue, it is making the best of limited time. It may not be exactly the best programming choice you might want, but I think we will just have to agree to disagree on that.

 

Freedom 55

[url=http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Columns/2012-04-21/article-2960241/Wh... CBC already knows, but won't tell you[/url]

Grandpa_Bill

from Shadows of Liberty: What you don't know can kill democracy 

http://rabble.ca/news/2012/05/shadows-liberty-what-you-dont-know-can-kill-democracy

"The concentration of media caused 35,000 reporters to lose their jobs. That's 35,000 less people looking to add to the information that is the lifeblood of democracy. The Internet and citizen journalism was seen by many as the way to fill this vaccum, but this is not likely to happen. The free Internet is not expected to survive this decade. The corporate news media are also the five biggest internet service providers, and they are in the business to make money and not informing citizens."  (emphasis GB)

Is this one more shout from Chicken Little or are we really living in the soon-to-be last days of Rabble?  Hm-mm-mmm.  If so, what will my kids do in their golden years?

6079_Smith_W

Good article, and I think I may have to see the documentary. 

I'm not so sure about the prediction. But as for what our kids will do.... I exect they will manage at least as well in their golden years as we did when we were kids. Who knows. They might even learn to write longhand.

 

Grandpa_Bill

Interesting remark by Smith W:  They might even learn to write longhand.

My grade 5 grandkid recently expressed admiration (and some surprise, too) for her granny's ability to write in cursive script, a skill that is no longer part of the toolkit carried by schoolkids.  But can they type, eh?  Well, actually, no they can't:  all thumbs!  Wink

But Chicken Little's comment is making the point that my grandkid won't, in any case, have anything to say because she won't know what's what or who's who.

 

Basement Dweller

Once again, the CBC is being spoonfed stories by real estate agents which it regurgitates into the mouths of the viewers.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/05/14/rental-bidding-wars.html

The first video was totally orchestrated by the real estate agent. Three young adults were cheated out of thousands of dollars, and the CBC ignores the obvious scam.

I'm not even sure what is the point of the story? Is it to make renters fearful to get them to pay higher rent?

Is the CBC worth saving if it runs stories like this?Money mouth

They should be warning against getting into rental bidding wars, not encouraging it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

A typically incisive piece on the Reimagine CBC project by the Mainlander (which will probably be republished on rabble.ca):

The Evil of Banality

Quote:
It’s nice that people are rising to the defence of the CBC, which has genuinely been in the Harper government’s crosshairs from day one. But I find the rhetoric of thisReimagine CBC project perplexing and more than a little problematic. Its primary mission is clearly to rally Canadians behind the CBC as the Conservatives proceed to slash the much-loved Crown Corporation’s budget. The campaign has undertaken a “crowdsourcing” effort to address some of CBC’s deficiencies and channel the institution into the 21st century. But the overall tone of the project is much more laudatory than critical, and this prismatic “reimagining” actually amounts to little more than a tepid request that the government reverse the cuts and the CBC tweak its programming strategy....

Contrary to the relatively naïve views espoused by Reimagine CBC’s Kathleen Cross, an SFU Communication professor who characterizes the network as a beacon of “independent” “non-profit” programming, in reality the CBC’s current programming strategy makes it increasingly beholden to the Harper Government, media consumers (however broad their demographics) who just want to be entertained, and corporate advertisers who desire a captive audience. Of course, Cross is right about standouts like The Passionate Eye and The Nature of Things, but such exceptions are today being drowned out by servile monetizable content. And even though CBC Radio is currently commercial-free (and should obviously stay that way), when it comes to the news, it isn’t appreciably different from its television counterpart. Even CBC Radio 2’s music offerings have pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel since Brave New Waves was cancelled in 2007.

And yet, when I speak with many progressive, intelligent young Canadians, they often have such a soft spot for the CBC that they willfully overlook its deeply-ingrained flaws. In spite of abundant evidence to the contrary, they buy into the pervasive fantasy that the CBC is a fundamentally progressive institution. When I ask for evidence of CBC’s progressive dynamism, their response is usually quite telling. They tend to look to luminaries like Rex Murphy and George Stroumboulopoulis as indices of the network’s thought-provoking vitality. This concerns me because what Murphy and Stroumboulopoulis have most in common is the manipulative way in which they are presented to the Canadian public as significantly more free-thinking, subversive characters than their words and actions evince.

Though Rex Murphy makes a point of name-dropping classical philosophers in his retrograde rants, he gives no indication of actually having read them as he goes on inarticulate diatribes against, to pick a few examples from recent history, the Occupy movement, Harper’s detractors, and the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. Mentioning Descartes or Socrates doesn’t in any way buttress the case that Stephen Harper is basically a good guy or that Ralph Klein deserves a Governor General’s medal for being “plain-talking.” When I first heard Murphy, I actually thought he was a hilarious Newfoundland parody of American cable news. It blows my mind that supposedly progressive Canadians revere this imbecile and applaud him as he goes on pompous Andy-Rooney-like screeds against everything they hold dear. In fact, his pandering to the Conservatives has become so egregious in the last year that I can only assume he’s vying for a Conservative senatorship. And I have little doubt he’ll receive it. Imagine that.

I still adore the reimagine project for its positivity, invitation to vision and ability to engage -- but there are some serious problems with the CBC that more funding alone won't fix.

Grandpa_Bill

Of the many responses to the Reimagine CBC project, my favourite was DUMP TV submitted by Kai Nagata.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I like that one to Grandpa Bill.  I'm an old fart who has cancelled his cable and unplugged from that realm.  Most of the young families that live in my coop have done the same thing.  If you already have a computer and the internet you don't need cable. CBC TV is mostly unwatchable trash that should not be funded by the public purse because it has no social value. I gave up listening to assholes like Cherry and Murphy years ago.  For years I was a vocal advocate for the CBC but not any more. Even its local radio is abysmal in BC.  They have truly morphed into a state media outlet not a public broadcaster.  They are pro-war in all things related to NATO.  They beat the war drums incessantly, hell they even play the war pipes with the war drums a lot of the time.

Kai is right that the audience is no longer watching TV although many of us are watching the internet on a flat screen TV.  The real key is how to finance production costs because no matter what the platform that is used the content needs to be made.  It would be wonderful if we could imagine a media that does not rely on the constant insertion of "buy buy buy" into the content mix being aired.

The CBC both radio and TV have spent years trying to become a clone of BCTV and Global TV. The producers and management at the CBC have succeeded in fulfilling that mandate, given to them by successive Liberal and Conservative governments.  I don't get my regional news from the CBC I get it from the Tyee on line every morning.  It is fascinating because when I do read articles on the CBC site comments on stories are often toxic for left leaning posters and women and the ethnicity of the week that a story has vilified. The Tyee comments are generally from a more progressive viewpoint.  I suspect that is because the progressive people don't use the CBC and its base audience has become just that.

Farmpunk

I was uncertain what points Nagata was trying to make.

Dumping TV is not really an option, considering the Ceeb needs to provide programming as per its mandate.  And it gets funding through local programming funds.  Eliminating TV would mean more lost revenue.  It also eliminates video newsgathering.  TV stories can easily be part of a radio story or an online story.  

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

That is precisely why it needs to be re-imagined and not tinkered with at the edges.  The current model including both the way it is funded and its mandate needs overhauling.  I am not sure that overhaul can be successful if the CBC in a decade is still tethered to an outdated cable delivery system.

janfromthebruce

I really like the web idea. We now have a ibook in our home, hooked to the flat screen and we watch internet that way - can't tell the difference.

Farmpunk

The CBC has little or no control over changing the rules.  That's the CRTC and the federal government's juridiction.  

The CBC can't just start doing web video delivery.  

It'd be cheaper to stream radio over the net and get rid of all those towers, but, again - cannot happen.

I think the CBC will expand its online presence.  But broadcasting is its mandate.

6079_Smith_W

Farmpunk wrote:

It'd be cheaper to stream radio over the net and get rid of all those towers, but, again - cannot happen.

Exactly. Not so useful when you are driving down a grid road.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Farmpunk wrote:

The CBC has little or no control over changing the rules.  That's the CRTC and the federal government's juridiction.  

Doh really.  Sorry I was in  the realm of imagining.  I tend to shed the boxes that constrain the problem when I do that.  If you don't think outside of the box not much can change.

If this  thread is only about what the management of CBC can do then my only suggestion is commit employment suicide and let other people take their jobs.

Grandpa_Bill

Farmpunk wrote:

I was uncertain what points Nagata was trying to make. . . .

eliminating TV . . . eliminates video newsgathering. 

Dumping TV doesn't mean dumping video.  Nagata made his point using video, but delivered it to us via the web.

Farmpunk

And as I pointed out the CBC has a broadcasting mandate.  It's why they get money.  Dumping TV and streaming online makes no sense for the CBC and it is poor journalism to suggest it's possible.  He's not telling us the facts behind his argument.  And a growing number of CBC programs are streamed online, archived newscasts, etc.   

But the CBC cannot stop broadcasting.  Neither can CTV\Bell.  The privates get money from local programming funds, as well.  They are, more or less, forced to create local programming via the regs behind licensing.  

Why aren't more people freaking out that it was a banner year for private radio revenue... but probably not such a great year for private radio programming in terms of money spent on news gathering.       

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Farmpunk wrote:

Why aren't more people freaking out that it was a banner year for private radio revenue... but probably not such a great year for private radio programming in terms of money spent on news gathering.       

Because this is a thread about re-imagining the CBC not the whole media industry.  Start a thread about that if you want to discuss the private sector broadcasting industry.

I don't understand your point at all.  Of course it goes without saying that if you want to make significant change then the laws and regulations governing the CB have to be changed. It's like we are talking about ways to improve the EI system and you keep saying but we would have to change the law.  Yup that's what change means.

Farmpunk

Fair point re. the privates.    

Blue sky talks about ways the CBC can change make for good conversation.  But WHO is going to make the changes and HOW?  I consider those legit questions, and important starting points if Re-Imagine wants to be taken seriously.   

Content creation and delivery cannot be discussed in a vaccum without a strong grasp of the regulations governing what the CBC can and cannot do going forward.  The airwaves must be filled.  The CBC can't snap its fingers and dump TV.  

If Re-Imagine has a plan to approach the Heritage Ministry - and by extension - the governing Conservatives, I'd like to hear it.  Then they'd also have to have a plan for approaching the CRTC.  And the Canadian Media Guild might also be a group that Re-Imagine contacts, considering a lot of what I've seen\read from Re-Imagine would mean a significant change for many CMG union members.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yup when something is a broken as the CBC is currently sometimes its just better to rebuild from the foundation on up.  The delivery system is part of the foundation. His point and I agree is that the ground that the TV model is based on has shifted and that standing still will still lead to all the problems you highlight for the employees. 

The CBC does not really broadcast TV on the "airwaves" anymore anyways.  Don't you know analog is dead?  People don't have TV antennae on their roofs they have a cable coming into the house.  I think that within a decade the cable system of delivery will be gone because of lack of people willing to pay to watch crappy programming and also endure relentless commercials designed to indoctrinate them and especially the kids.  I have heard some of the moms in their thirties talk about their kids not watching commercials.  They are not being taught that consumption is the end all and be all of life and their moms think it is really good.  They tell me that not having to fight with their children's demands to buy junk is as important to them as the savings from unplugging the cable. 

6079_Smith_W

Cable may be the reality for urban dwellers, but there are still some outside of major centres and towns (and some still in, like me) who still use antennae. Digital signals will still be broadcast in some rural areas with no access to cable, as well as in centres which have a CBC TV station. Unfortunately that means it will go black here in Saskatoon, the province's largest city. 

But residents in Regina, as well as most larger centres will still have an option other than watching online, or shelling out to pay a cable company.

Again, internet radio is a great idea in your house; not so great when you are driving down the road outside the range of a cell tower. Same goes for TV; more advanced technology does not necessarily mean that it better serves the needs of the public.

Cable never was an option for me, as I have no interest in paying for a bunch of garbage I have no intention of watching; the result is neither we nor our kids will get to watch the two channels we do watch - CBC and Radio Canada.

Speaking of which, Radio Canada International ends all of its radio broadcasts tomorrow.

(edit)

CBC kids' programming is still one area where there is a distinct difference from all the commercial stations, and most importantly, no advertising. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmpunk

CBC certainly does still broadcast to "the airwaves".  It's just a digital signal.  With an antenna and a digital convertor the over the air broadcasts can be picked up very easily, in better quality than analog.  

The CBC has to broadcast this signal.  Has to.  It had to convert to digital because that's what the CRTC demanded.  There's no need to pay a cable bill, or a satelite bill.  The public essentially owns these airwaves and the gov\CRTC gives licenses to broadcast. 

I think cable is in trouble, too.  Because in a city like, say Toronto, a high def antenna can pick up HD signals over the air.  That includes all the big US stations beaming out of Buffalo.  For free, after a one time cost.  

That's likely why the cable companies, like Shaw and Roges, have diversified their operations.  

But if you want to talk privates, then start your own damn thread! ;) 

I think the CBC could, and should, do more online video work.  Most CBC centres now have dedicated web writers, too, so the news being gathered for radio and tv is turned into print stories.  There's a lot of great material falling through the cracks because no one visits the CBC Saskatchewan and no one has time to rake through the hours and hours of material gathered every day and re-package it for the public.

Someone mentioned the NFB site.  It's great.  But I think one of the Re-Imagine ideas I read was that they want access to what the CBC gathers.  No one has access to what the NFB gathers.  

Unionist

Radio Canada International has stopped broadcasting shortwave. In its honour and memory, AIH just played Stan Rogers singing Mary Ellen Carter. You can guess what I'm feeling. All that once was good will rise again.

 

 

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