The CBC may be gutted

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jacki-mo
The CBC may be gutted

It looks dire for the CBC. More US programs, cuts to existing  services. What can we do?

 http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/593930

redwestcoast redwestcoast's picture

I'm not sure what would be the most effective but some ideas are; write/pressure your MPs, boycott other stations, lte's, mobilize, protest...  get creative!!!

 

Harper is dancing a jig at the possibility of toppling the CBC, it's the perfect situation for him, he scraps them without really scraping them.  You'll see the economy blamed for reducing all the areas the Tories have wanted too, but didn't have the support on.

 

 

George Victor

Stop complaining about CBC radio programming, to start.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

That's a laugh. Years of cheerleading for the CBC haven't done us any good at all - the programs get worse and the funding continues to decline.

It's frankly ludicrous to suggest that Canadian progressives can get Harper to stop killing the CBC by pretending everything's just peachy. 

jas

I think it's mostly TV that's at risk. Nothing has been said about radio. I'm not sure it's something I would miss that much. The shows that are popular, Hockey Night in Canada, Corner Gas, and whatever else, I'm not sure, will probably still air. 

 

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Um, Corner Gas is the one that got away...

And HNIC lost its anthem....

jas

Embarassed

Shows how much I watch CBC...

It's Me D

Speaking as someone living without a TV for a while now I'd like to see the focus move online and away from that box. CBC does need to change, just not in the direction they're going; there is a real opportunity for promoting independant Canadian content online. IMO we're better off focusing there and letting CBC TV perish.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It's Me D wrote:
Speaking as someone living without a TV for a while now I'd like to see the focus move online and away from that box. CBC does need to change, just not in the direction they're going; there is a real opportunity for promoting independant Canadian content online. IMO we're better off focusing there and letting CBC TV perish.

I agree. And I agree with M.Spector when he says "Years of cheerleading for the CBC haven't done us any good at all".

The left defends the CBC to report for the right which wants to kill it. Let it go.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Inasmuch as you don't even have a TV, your opinion is entirely self-serving and of no weight at all.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

The left defends the CBC to report for the right which wants to kill it. Let it go.

Ah, the old "shoot the hostage" strategy!

It's Me D

M.Spector wrote:
Inasmuch as you don't even have a TV, your opinion is entirely self-serving and of no weight at all.

You should really go into sales Wink

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's Me D wrote:
Speaking as someone living without a TV for a while now I'd like to see the focus move online and away from that box. CBC does need to change, just not in the direction they're going; there is a real opportunity for promoting independant Canadian content online. IMO we're better off focusing there and letting CBC TV perish.

Oferfuxaches.

I've been working in the Canadian tv industry for over a decade, as well as in multimedia.  I have been part of an artist-run film/video co-op as well as working commercially as a writer/producer and my company also does web consulting.  When people start talking about the brave new world of the internet and the vast horizons it represents, they often forget one very important thing:

There is no revenue model for online content.  Move the focus away from the (tv) box and there IS NO INDEPENDENT CANADIAN CONTENT!

Unless, of course, by Canadian content you mean people shooting crap-production-value no-budgets on their cel phones and posting on some Canadian version of YouTube.  You could get lots of that for free.  I, on the other hand, am more inclined to regard Canadian content as actual professionally-made original content, programming people might actually be tempted to watch.

So if moving the focus away from the current box to the other box is what you consider a good idea, show me the money, pal, find me the business plan.  Without the money to support it, you're entering a cultural desert my friend.  Ask anybody who actually makes Canadian content for a living.

There are some things about the way the CBC (television side) I'd like to see changed, but killing it altogether isn't the answer.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Ah, the old "shoot the hostage" strategy!

Sorry for agreeing with you. The CBC is hardly a hostage. It is the left that has voluntarily placed itself as a hostage to the CBC which treats it with all the respect one would expect from hostage takers only interested in a ransom. The left makes the teary-eyed pleas for cash, the CBC takes it, and it starts all over again. Why you would back such a macabre dance is beyond me, but if you wish to, I guess you would be a typical lefty. 

Quote:
There is no revenue model for online content.

Exactly!

Quote:
Move the focus away from the (tv) box and there IS NO INDEPENDENT CANADIAN CONTENT!

There isn't? So straight goods, rabble, and all those other sites are not Canadian or not independent?

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Inasmuch as you don't even have a TV, your opinion is entirely self-serving and of no weight at all.

You're television centric! I do have a radio (and as much as you do have a TV your opinion is tainted by too much marketing and should be discounted as such).

George Victor

Thought you listened to CBC radio. FM.

I don't understand your position. You have set up a creation that is only part of the CBC-dependent audience in a world of incomprehensib le  change.  "Tears" are not unwarranted when even that anchor does not hold, or worse, is taken away by the enemy. (because the conservative is not a CBC person).

If you are only referring to TV watchers, I suppose that even that part of a public broadcasting system must be defended because of its social, national necessity.  WE are a slightly more politically aware people than our southern neighbours partly because of it.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

TV goes first, then radio, then CANCON altogether.

The question is, will those of the CBC finally quit toadying for their cruel masters, and take a stand to defend themselves? 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Well I think that those within upper management at the CBC hold lots of the responsibility. I'm not sure that the appointments and subsequent direction they took can be placed at Harper's door. The Liberal government under Chretien was applying lots of pressure to make the CBC more commerically competitive and responsive to market forces.

That in my view led the CBC to focus on younger demographics, like many of their commercial competitors instead of building on the niche market strength that they already enjoyed. CBC supporters whine about programming changes for good reason. The CBC should have built on their strengths rather than dumbing down programming to go head to head with Global and CTV.

The latest I heard is that with the CPC government's refusal to advance them funds against their future budget, the CBC will be privatizing certain services and selling off assets. That's definitely a death knell for it's days as a public broadcaster. I also agree with LT. TV will be dismantled first followed by radio.

Their web presence is not at all thrilling even though they have spent much of their promotional efforts to draw people to their website. If they thought competition on the airwaves was too daunting, they are absolutely dwarfed on the intertubes.

There are so many ugly changes before us that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find the strength to battle any of them. With talks of eroding environmental protections, decreasing the benchmarks for foreign investments, increasing privatization of crown corporations, cutting all sorts of public service funding through program review, and killing the CBC, I feel fully overwhelmed by this multi-pronged neoconservative attack on all our government investments of the past.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

George Victor wrote:

Thought you listened to CBC radio. FM.

I don't understand your position. You have set up a creation that is only part of the CBC-dependent audience in a world of incomprehensib le  change.  "Tears" are not unwarranted when even that anchor does not hold, or worse, is taken away by the enemy. (because the conservative is not a CBC person).

If you are only referring to TV watchers, I suppose that even that part of a public broadcasting system must be defended because of its social, national necessity.  WE are a slightly more politically aware people than our southern neighbours partly because of it.

A public broadcaster is only valuable to its defenders if the defenders share a voice with the broadcaster. And I would argue the Left (with perhaps an exception for the educated, professional, small-l liberal left) does not have a pronounced voice on the CBC whether we talk about Afghanistan, labour, economy, environment, or even local news and information (the real mandate, at least, for CBC Radio One). 

I do listen to CBC radio, and I recently heard CAW leaders pestered on what concessions they will give to keep their jobs and yet I've never heard a corporate or bank executive asked quite the same questions in quite the same manner (and it occurs to me on economic issues the CBC can always find an MBA but rarely an economist from the Centre for Policy Alternatives or any other left leaning institution) .  I've heard all sorts of news and information about Canada's role in Afghanistan but I have seldom (and I can't now even recall) vocal and articulate critics of the war. In small town Ontario where I live, in the late afternoon, I can listen to Toronto traffic reports but I've never heard my town or the towns I live near mentioned on CBC radio despite the regional broadcasts which where I live means London. I've listened to election after election after election where the NDP and the Greens, the only two parties I've ever cast a vote for, are after thoughts at best and invisible at worst.

And I'm going to support the CBC? That's a liberal cause, George. Not a left cause.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

You're television centric!

My comment was directed at D, who essentially said "I don't have a TV, so let them kill CBC television."

 

You're right, the CBC is essentially a liberal cause, not a left cause. They still have some excellent stuff on TV, however, (mainly imported) that we would never see on the "commercial" networks.

just one of the...

Unfortunately when the cuts come, the first thing to go will likely be the lack of advertisements on CBC radio.

ikat381

Democratic control over media is a left cause. The CBC bends to corporate interests but so do most crown corporations,  and I don't think this sole fact is enough to justify scrapping public funded institutions, especially when there are no better alternatives in place.

I'm worried that it will be harder to develop new progressive television institutions than it will be to repurpose CBC assets.

For all its propaganda, the CBC can still be shaped by the public to a much greater degree than corporate television giants, over which we have zero say.

 If we haven't built a successful progressive alternative, scrapping the CBC means handing television to private monopolies.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Very good point.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Quote:
Ah, the old "shoot the hostage" strategy!

Sorry for agreeing with you. The CBC is hardly a hostage. It is the left that has voluntarily placed itself as a hostage to the CBC which treats it with all the respect one would expect from hostage takers only interested in a ransom. The left makes the teary-eyed pleas for cash, the CBC takes it, and it starts all over again. Why you would back such a macabre dance is beyond me, but if you wish to, I guess you would be a typical lefty. 

Quote:
There is no revenue model for online content.

Exactly!

Quote:
Move the focus away from the (tv) box and there IS NO INDEPENDENT CANADIAN CONTENT!

There isn't? So straight goods, rabble, and all those other sites are not Canadian or not independent?

They're non-profit and a completely different ball of wax.  They're news sites, primarily, which is not the same as the majority of programming on any tv station in existence.  Apples and oranges.

If there's no revenue, there's no living to be made.  If there's no living to be made, artists and other cultural workers find themselves doing something other than generating content to keep body and soul together.  But I have to ask myself why I'm bothering to try and explain this to someone who prefers delusion to actually listening to somebody who lives with the realities of the cultural industries.  So, good luck in Rainbow Pony Land where revenue (ps, even non-profits need revenue!) is unnecessary.

NorthReport

Screw the CBC!

Bring on a Canadian PBS.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Bring on a Canadian PBS.

Yeah, let's have half the air time devoted to begging for money!

In case you haven't noticed, PBS is being slowly strangled in the same way as the CBC. 

saga saga's picture

I could do without CBCNewsworld, if that helps the regular CBC survive. NW is an ok 1 hr program ... then it repeats and repeats and repeats ... Not really necessary, imo.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I guess you've never watched Newsworld's [url=documentary">http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/][u]documentary programs[/url].

Acadieman

I sure hope they don't start airing commercials on CBC Radio!

French and English Radio and Radio Canada International and Galaxy are where its at!  But after the last strike, TV has less than 10% of viewership nationwide.

Could you imagine if Mother Corp. sold off all of the TV assets and someone like Rupert Murdoch bought them?!  Hello Fox News North!

Its too bad the CRTC could do for TV programs nationally like what they did for radio music: force a 30% CanCon in those shows aired.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Acadieman wrote:

Its too bad the CRTC could do for TV programs nationally like what they did for radio music: force a 30% CanCon in those shows aired.

Quote:
Private television licensees generally must achieve a yearly Canadian content level of at least 60 per cent overall, measured over the course of the entire broadcast day, and at least 50 per cent between 6 p.m. and midnight.

The CBC, as the national broadcaster, must ensure that at least 60 per cent of its program schedule between 6 a.m. and midnight consists of Canadian productions. It must maintain the 60 per cent level over the course of the broadcast day.

[url=Source[/url]">http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/cultural_policies/canadian_...

Acadieman

M. Spector wrote:
Acadieman wrote:

Its too bad the CRTC could do for TV programs nationally like what they did for radio music: force a 30% CanCon in those shows aired.

Quote:
Private television licensees generally must achieve a yearly Canadian content level of at least 60 per cent overall, measured over the course of the entire broadcast day, and at least 50 per cent between 6 p.m. and midnight.

The CBC, as the national broadcaster, must ensure that at least 60 per cent of its program schedule between 6 a.m. and midnight consists of Canadian productions. It must maintain the 60 per cent level over the course of the broadcast day.

[url=Source[/url]">http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/cultural_policies/canadian_...

 

Oh!  Learn something new everyday.  Guess I have trouble picking out Canadian from American shows.  Does news programming count?  If so I bet that helps eat up a nice share of CanCon.

Doug

If we want a good public broadcaster, we have to pay for it. To compare, the British television license is L140.00 a year. I don't think that particular funding model would work for Canada, but it gives you an idea of what would be required to have a comparable service.

saga saga's picture

M. Spector wrote:

I guess you've never watched Newsworld's [url=documentary">http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/][u]documentary programs[/url].

Yeah, the evenings are ok, and the docs are great.

Weekday midday is repetitive.

http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/weekly/2009/02/28/cbc_newsworld/

 

Squawker

I work at a CBC station in broadcast graphic design. Where to begin... The amount of waste and outright theft that goes on at our station is appalling. I'll give you an example. We had a perfectly good system called VizRT, but management decided to replace it with Brainstorm. This cost over 2.5 million dollars for our station alone, and it's not even compatible with the graphics used at national.

I also hear the journalists talking about their jobs and how they've had to cut corners on research and background. they're under immense pressure to get the stories in the can by 1430 so it can make the evening news. In some cases they just outright avoid the necessary work to ensure a quality and accurate product.

I can't complain about the pay though. I earn in the high 70s for doing what I love. If they try to cut our pay it's strike time!

Loretta

The documentaries that are on Newsworld, for the most part, used to be on CBC-TV and were available to everyone, not just those who pay for cable or satellite connections.

I'm pretty fed up with the CBC, having been a defender for many years. They don't even have one iota of balance with respect to left perspectives and I'm bloody sick of it. I will continue to watch the one select program and listen to cultural radio programs but have had it. It especially pisses me off since I was among those (and I know there were many) who actively supported CBC workers when they were locked out a few years ago.

It doesn't seem right to me that, on one hand, they want support from activists and the labour movement as a whole with respect to their work and with respect to the survival of the organization and yet, kick us in the teeth day after day in their commentary.

There is no reciprocity here and I'm fed up with defending this public broadcaster when they repeatedly represent one end, to varying degrees, of the political stratum. And, when challenged, they site bogus examples of where the left was included and do not respond to complaints about how those token lefties were treated when invited.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

M. Spector wrote:

My comment was directed at D, who essentially said "I don't have a TV, so let them kill CBC television."

 

My apologies

 

ikat381 wrote:

Democratic control over media is a left cause. The CBC bends to corporate interests but so do most crown corporations,  and I don't think this sole fact is enough to justify scrapping public funded institutions, especially when there are no better alternatives in place.

I'm worried that it will be harder to develop new progressive television institutions than it will be to repurpose CBC assets.

For all its propaganda, the CBC can still be shaped by the public to a much greater degree than corporate television giants, over which we have zero say.

 If we haven't built a successful progressive alternative, scrapping the CBC means handing television to private monopolies.

There is no Democratic control over the CBC. Democratic control over the airwaves and cable is supposed to be administered through the CRTC which has become a captured agency. TV already belongs to private corporations that operate as oligopolies and the CBC, to compete with them, offers up essentially the same dishes. But why does the CBC have to compete with them? Oh, here's why:

Quote:
If there's no revenue, there's no living to be made.  If there's no living to be made, artists and other cultural workers find themselves doing something other than generating content to keep body and soul together.

So the CBC exists to keep together the bodies and souls of cultural workers. Why not just give them tax dollars directly and eliminate the CBC middle-man?

Quote:
But I have to ask myself why I'm bothering to try and explain this to someone who prefers delusion to actually listening to somebody who lives with the realities of the cultural industries.  So, good luck in Rainbow Pony Land where revenue (ps, even non-profits need revenue!) is unnecessary.

Is that a cultural worker tantrum?

I return to my earlier question: why should we, as leftists, support an institution that doesn't represent us? 

I'm sorry, but I don't accept the argument that the CBC should be saved in the hope it might become more representative of others outside of its Liberal and Conservative appointments. I don't accept that the CBC must be changed to provide an outlet for Canadian cultural workers. Let the CRTC meet it's mandate.

If I am to support  the CBC politically, publicly, and financially, then let it represent me and then maybe I will feel compelled to rush to its defence. As it is, the CBC is just another institution being held up as a sacred cow to the left while making absolutely no contribution to left issues whether social justice, labour, environment, or peace. 

It is not my broadcaster.

Squawker

There is a very unofficial but still official policy of not angering the Conservatives at this time. We know not to bite the hands that feed us. Remember this, shortly after the Conservatives were elected?

http://www.stephentaylor.ca/2006/08/cbc-blindsides-harper/

We took PM Harper out of context, deliberately, and paid a hefty price. The CBC is a leftish media outlet, but we are realistic. Wait until the Liberals are back in power, then you'll see the progressive CBC of old.

Loretta

Squawker wrote:

The CBC is a leftish media outlet...

I wish.

Squawker wrote:
Wait until the Liberals are back in power, then you'll see the progressive CBC of old.

I won't hold my breath - the Liberals, as a party, are not progressive.

Squawker

No they're not. But they doled out the cash to the CBC in return for more left-of-center reporting that was considered to be LPC-friendly. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. With the Conservatives it's more like "you act in a non-partisan manner, and we won't gut your funding". The reality is that for over a decade the CBC was a left-of-center outlet, now they're being forced to be "neutral", which naturally appears to be a move to the right, but is really a more balanced news organization. Lots of people don't like that, balanced news that is.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Oh, people don't like balanced news, eh? What an assh__le. So, ignoring the NDP more than the CBC does already is more balanced in your view?

George Victor

FM: 

"I do listen to CBC radio, and I recently heard CAW leaders pestered on what concessions they will give to keep their jobs and yet I've never heard a corporate or bank executive asked quite the same questions in quite the same manner (and it occurs to me on economic issues the CBC can always find an MBA but rarely an economist from the Centre for Policy Alternatives or any other left leaning institution) .  I've heard all sorts of news and information about Canada's role in Afghanistan but I have seldom (and I can't now even recall) vocal and articulate critics of the war. In small town Ontario where I live, in the late afternoon, I can listen to Toronto traffic reports but I've never heard my town or the towns I live near mentioned on CBC radio despite the regional broadcasts which where I live means London. I've listened to election after election after election where the NDP and the Greens, the only two parties I've ever cast a vote for, are after thoughts at best and invisible at worst."

-------------------------------------------------------------

The CBC budget was reduced to the point, in Chretien/Martin period, where local programming was yanked, despite protests by the 100,000 people who support Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and the public at large.

Don Newman has been Copnservative from Mulroney's time, and is a fine example of the tight-assed, looking over the shoulder presentation of CBC today because their execs are chosen by neo-cons .

As a niece said during the early 90s, "Rae days are better than no days."

I remember listening, last year, to an interview on CBC with Graeme Smith, the Globe reporter who has given us all the honest news out of  Afghanistan. And if anyone can show me how things would improve with CBC's disappearance...I'm all ears.

Is BBC okay ? (they get several times as much from the individual Briton in tax support).

Why don't you demand something similar..or at least an end to the cuts instead of capitulating in an act of spite that certainly helps to cut off the public nose ?And end the whine in the meantime. 

Squawker

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Oh, people don't like balanced news, eh? What an assh__le. So, ignoring the NDP more than the CBC does already is more balanced in your view?

You're an assh__le. The NDP has maybe 15% of the vote, so they should get no more than 15% of the airtime when it comes to political issues. If they got more then the CBC wouldn't be "ballanced" would it? That's life. Deal with it.

George Victor

Balance, Squawk, has to be more than a concept recognizable to bean counters.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It's not a matter of parcelling out airtime to political parties.

It's a matter of the whole right-wing political consensus that is taken for granted and pushed on us all the time in news and current affairs by people like Peter Mansbridge, Rex Murphy, Carol Off, Don Newman, Connie Watson, Adrienne Arsenault, Suhana Meharchand, Rick Mercer, and that joke of a political panel on "At Issue". It's also seen in the off-air people who produce these shows and make the decisions about how stories will be written, what stories will be covered, and which "experts" will be invited to comment on current affairs.

There is no room at CBC for putting leftist points of view on the air without "balancing" them off with right-wing opinions and ignorant, insulting questioning by the resident talking heads.

Loretta

Well, I disagree with you on the idea that balance is reflected by a percentage of the vote. However, more importantly, it's more than the amount of coverage, it's also about the kind of coverage. Having Kathleen Petty (of "The House" on CBC Radio Saturday mornings) interviewing Jack Layton with her disdain dripping through every question one week and then interviewing Ignatieff in a respectful manner the next is not a question of balance. It's a matter of editorializing constantly, rather than presenting the different views available to Canadians for their own consideration. And, that's not an isolated incident.

Squawker

The CBC is a public institution and must present all points of view. If the CBC were to behave as M.Spector wishes

"

There is no room at CBC for putting leftist points of view on the air without "balancing" them off with right-wing opinions and ignorant, insulting questioning by the resident talking heads.

"

then the CBC really would be a partisan mouthpiece.

I think it's fantastic that we live in a country where the national broadcaster is not an organ of the ruling party. Remember Pravda, Tass? That's not to say that the CBC is completely immune to realpolitik as I've discussed above. On the whole though I think we can proud of the CBC, especially when we compare it to the alternatives like Global or CTV.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

CBC's news coverage is indistinguishable from that of CTV or Global.

It was not always so.

Loretta

This is another point of disagreement -- although not officially so, the CBC has been and is still, an organ of the ruling party.

Squawker

Loretta wrote:

This is another point of disagreement -- although not officially so, the CBC has been and is still, an organ of the ruling party.

No it's not.

Loretta

Yes, it is.  Tongue out

Those who are appointed by government to run our public institution are not only those who share a similar philosophy (why else would they be appointed?) but are also well aware of what tone must be set in order not to have their funding totally yanked. And, they deliver.

George Victor

Everyone says it used to be fine, and for much of its evening programming, CBC radio still is.  And I think it can be again. But its head must not be a neo-con's  appointment. Without it, we'd be as challenged as your average U.S.citizen, and that's to be avoided like the plague.

I  don't believe that CBC is just like the others. Neither do the folks of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

And I'm waiting for someone to tell me just what would replace CBC radio. Give it your best shot (and nothing speculative or theoretical, please.)

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