CBC Radio Nerdz VII

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CBC Radio Nerdz VII

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I'm listening to the Stombo show on Radio 2. 

Why does this show exist?  He just brings on Radio 2 personel, mainly Bob and Terfry, and then chitchats with them.  I don't get it. 

I haven't listened to my local morning show lately, but with tractor season upcoming, I imagine I'll get a good dose.  I don't listen to it otherwise. 

Reminds me to stream Metro Morning next week and listen in on Galloway.  GTAers... how is Galloway doing? 

Apparently David Suzuki is hosting a summer show, The Bottom Line.  I'm hoping for some kind of summer shows this year.

I'm really interested to see who replaces Budd.  I would like to see the show do a similar thing as when Marylou Finley was replaced: have a bunch of people do the job and then announce a winner.  I thought Chris Thomas or Helen Mann would have been better choices than Off, but wasn't my call.



Well I was great tonight.


The Current has been good this week.  Ana Maria broken Guegeris news with an interview this morning with the Ethics comissioner.  Good coverage of the MS convention and MS issues surrounding controversial treatments. 

Apparently, As It Happens is sending out a form letter in response to people complaining about Budd leaving.  I love Budd, but I do understand this is part of a natural process of moving people around.  17 years in that role is a loooong time.

London's Kerry McKee is an awesome newscaster and a great reporter.  I've had the pleasure of meeting her and she is a very cool person. 

I bet for the second year in a row, CBC radio will not have many summer shows.  David Suzuki gets one, apparently, but I'd rather have something new. 


Matt Galloway isn't bad - he's not as chatty as Andy Barrie, and tends to let the people he interviews talk more, which I prefer.  My quibble with him is he likes sports (Andy didn't), and has lots of interviews with sports folks, which is something you get more than enough of on the commercial stations, IMO.


Good to hear from the Metro Morning listener.  I liked Galloway on Here and Now.  I think he's really good. 

He chatted sports on Here and Now, but it clearly wasn't his focus.


Today is Barbara Budd's last day on the job. 
Former host Mary Lou Finlay doesn't sound that happy about it:
And did anyone notice a leaked internal poll from the national radio reporters who said they were entirely dissatisfied with the direction of CBC news and their place in the structure?
The Ceeb has been taking hits from all sides, and inside, over its current direction.
And now to the good side: summer is nearing, and that hopefully means Ghomeshi will be taking an extended vacation. What an utter waste of air time for a public broadcaster.


Robert Fisher hosting AIH.  I wasn't in early enough to hear.  Permanent? 

George Victor

Well, he would certainly save the CBC from Conservative charges of behaving dangerously outside the box of rigidly suppressed thought.


I'm not sure what you mean, GV.  Then again, I have been sniffing diesel fumes all day.

George Victor

Robert Fisher will never be found guilty of wandering from the news script. But, then, perhaps I should not have listened to Barbara's last program and her final "thank you."  And I was perhaps influenced by Gable's cartoon in the Globe (I think it was the same day) of a Harper "knight" figure, lance raised, thundering down on a CBC target. 


I disagree.  Often Fisher would make comments during his Here and Now newscasts.  In fact, I started an entire CBC Nerdz thread with Fisher's performances on Here and Now. 

He's a newscaster.  They aren't supposed to go "off script".  But he'd make anti-Conservative comments all the time, especially when bantering about business with the business 'caster.

Anyhow, I like Fisher on AIH so far.  He's a little stiff sounding but two days on the job you can't expect him to be a pro and his delivery will never be like Budd's. 

I wonder if AIH will have an unannounced competition, like the one held to replace Mary Lou Finlay.  I still believe Helen Mann and Chris Thomas were better than Off. 

George Victor

And I just can't figure your fondness for Fisher :)

George Victor

Michael Enright starts off this morning with two historians commenting on the riddle of the RCMPs "Tommy Douglas File"


I thought Enright's guest at the end was fascinating.  In her discussion about the movies made by M-G-M, she mentioned two good pictures that the company produced following its heyday, Blackboard Jungle and Cabin in the Sky.


Missed it. 

Has anyone listened to Shelagh Rogers' show about writers and books?  I haven't.  I'm stumped as to why CBC Radio has two shows about books.  Writers and Company already existed, so what's up with the Rogers show? 

George Victor

Maybe it's that Sheilagh has a different time slot...not 3 p.m. Sunday ..and whatever other day for Writers and Company? And books are good any old time.


I agree that chatting about books and writing is great, and works well on the radio.  But I don't like overlapping programming when the Ceeb is clearly scraping by with budgeting, radio especially so. 

Even though I wasn't a huge fan of Outfront, or the Point, or Inside Track, but I'd rathe have them on air than have two shows about books. 

Then there's that little thing about a city like Hamilton not having a reporter\producer.

Pretty good debate today on the Current about coalitions\minority parliaments in Canada, though the presence of E May seemed a little weird.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

I don't normally like the drama programs that run at 11:30 am on Thursdays, but I've thoroughly enjoyed all eight episodes of Backbencher, written by former NDP MP Wendy Lill. That's probably mostly because I'm a political geek.

But, I'll start reaching for my off button again next week, when the gawdawful jingoistic explosionfest known as Aghanada (sample dialogue: "Get Down!") returns to the air.


I just heard a succinct summary of the US political system on Sunday Morning.  Riki Ott, A marine toxicologist speaking about the reaction to the oil spill, said, "Obama isn't calling the shots.  BP is calling the shots."

George Victor

And Obama does not have the answer for stopping oil leaks at a depth of 1 mile?  Whatever is the presidency coming to?  Just heard CBC radio reporting that BP now holds out no hope for stopping it before the second hole is complete...in August. 


That's the point.

BP is in charge of this. That's like putting Bonnie and Clyde in charge of crime prevention. Why isn't the US government more involved?

George Victor

It's kinda late, but a Saturday Globe story head says the industry "will be operating in a far more regulated and costly environment when exploratory drilling begins again."

Why wasn't the U.S. government more involved in the past?  Well, Halliburton Co. was working on the BP well that blew, if  Bush/Cheney can be substituted for Bonnie and Clyde.  And by golly, Halliburton stock value fell 8 per cent on Friday. And, you know, there is a connection between market valuation and the obscenities that occur south of the 49th...and everywhere else.  Oh, I know, a living, breathing human being like the president is easier to identify as "the enemy".  But that, really, only diverts our attention from where we should be focused, that very, very complex system of investments on which we ALL depend for our inter-connected living.

To paraphrase Kennedy, ask not what your country can do for you...  Obviously, people have never stopped asking just that, and have never begun questioning the source of all that largesse. Blindness prevails. 

As Raj Patel says in his The Value of Nothing":

"But here's the darker part of the story. The people under those governments, you and me, are also part of the market society. There is no position from which, untainted by the world around it, some everlasting truth can guide us to a brighter future...There can be 'community failure' just as there is market failure, in which minorities risk persecution or worse. The recent rise of far-right parties around the world - from India to Europe to the United States - can also be understood as the second part of a double movement. In the United States, Louis R.Andrews, chair of the National Policy Institute - an advocay group for white people - hoped to see 'the Republican Party destroyed, so it can be reborn as a party representing the interests of white people, and not entrenched corporate elites. Which, says Andrews, is why he voted for Obama."


Caught the latest installment of Rewind, Enright's archival program, yesterday. It featured the Stratford Festival: an interview with a charmingly diffident Alec Guinness shortly before he opened the very first festival as Richard III, then on-the-spot interviews with audience members as they emerged from the marquee on opening night. Among them: Sir Ernest Macmillan, Robertson Davies, Lotta Dempsey, and the critic of The Times, who had made the journey from England for the occasion. The old tape radiates high spirits and the audience's sense of being at a privileged moment in history. Also featured: Harry Rasky talking to Duke Ellington about the Elizabethan Suite he composed for the Festival, Peter Gzowski expertly playing straight man to Colm Feore's tales of madness with John Hirsch, and live footage of Richard Monette, freak flag flying, calling out the "pigs" on the board of the festival for their philistinism at the annual meeting. A few years later, he would be running the Festival and producing expensive musicals in the Festival Theatre.

At a time when the CBC seems to be drifting rightward, programs like this are an antidote to despair. I marvel at the giants who have worked at the CBC. It has achieved greatness in the past and can do so again.



Radio has that timeless quality.  It's not affected by style and trends as much as tv or writing.

Too bad the current CBC radio is not up to former standards. 

Basically I listen to The Current, As It Happens, occasionally Sunday Edition, and the various newscasts.  The cultural programming is grim.  Age of Persuasion is starting to bug me with its monotony.  I get it already - it's about advertising.  Who knew an advertising consultant would suggest such a thing! 

Spark is pointless.  DNTO is so bad that it really needs to be knocked on the head to stop the misery.

I loathe Q 90% of the time.  I don't think the fault is with Ghomeshi.  He's decent.  The content of the show is disgustingly pop culture.  Hey, let's toss up whatever band just released an album (which Ghomeshi instantly says is "very strong"), or whatever writer is touring through Toronto, or whatever American cultural story can be found.... and promote this stuff on Canadian public radio without an ounce of analysis or discussion.

And of all the things the CBC could concentrate its coverage on currently.... we get blanket world cup nonsense??


George Victor

David Suzuki did quite well on his opening show this morning at 11 a.m., interviewing Prentice and challenging him to speak to the contradiction that Suzuki finds most maddening, most contradictory...the economists' line that there must be growth of the economy, even while it causes irrevocable damage to the environment of a finite planet Earth.

"The Bottom Line" will air every Sunday at 11 a.m....following, I trust, the  foreshortened summer show of Michael Enright (Robert Harris stood in for him this a.m..


Ah, thanks for reminding me about that show, GV.  I heard a promo interview with Suzuki about it, then promptly forgot it was a summer show.

Radio is doing a poor job of advertising the summer shows.  There is, apparently, a show about divorce, another about the immigrant experience, Suzuki, and another round of Revision Quest.


Well I don't like how CBC radio has an H.A.L. 9000 newsrobot called "Patricia Bell" replacing a human reporter.


Sub-Nerdz thread topic.

As It Happens will be replacing a host soon.  By late fall, at latest, I would suspect a permanent replacement for Barbara Budd - and that's from a commentary Fisher read in the early days following Budd's departure.

So far I have to say Chris Howden, the main writer for the show apparently and an occasional fill-in, is the best.  Fisher was too stiff and wasn't suited to the spot. 

One of the criticism about Budd, from what I read, was based on her non-journalist background (and degree).  I assume her role will be filled by a "journalist".  Awesome.  And if the show sucks because of that there can be only the management to blame. 

I don't know Howden's background, but AIH plays some awesome quips from him.  And he delivers them well.  It's almost like he's giving a big Fuck You to the Ceeb management.  He's been writing some pretty cutting comments, for a flagship CBC show. 

This link might help explain.  I note that the writer dumps on Peter Armstrong as a new reader.  I agree.  But he's co-hosting AIH right now with Howden and he's good in this role.  Or, better, I should say.   


George Victor

Yep, Maitland and Frum were really the best. But I loved Budd's dramatic flair.   Not fair, izzit....


Who have you liked so far, GV?


I like Harry Brown, Allan Maitland's predecessor.  And Babs Frum is highly overrated.  Did anyone else see her interview with Desmond Tutu's son on The Journal round about 1986?

George Victor

Didn't catch that one, but I recall her position as largely liberal...if hardnosed.

A CBC interview that stands out from that time, and which I heard, was Peter Gzowski with Noam Chomsky.  Gzoski was totally unfair after being shown the contradictions in his Liberal positions.   He apologized the next day ...for unfairness, without admitting the failure of his political position.  

Who've I "liked" in the new batch, Fp?  Afraid I'm just an Enright/Suzuki fan on Sunday mornings so far, and they aren't so new, eh!  I'm always looking for less "balance", more ba..s.    Your nominees in that category?


I have been listening to Assunder a series on divorce narrated by Saint John's Rachel Cave with Mark Tunney. The former is divorced, the latter is not.


GV, sorry, I meant who have you liked as co-host since Budd was kicked to the curb.  Howden gets my vote, but he's also the show's main writer and the radio cost-conscious Ceeb (vs the disgusting waste of TV and the net) seems to want to squeeze one of radio's best shows with its penny pinching stupidity. 

I think Peter Armstrong is a poor news reader.  But he was good filling in for Off this week on AIH.  He's married to Pia Chattapatti (sp err likely), who was filling in on The Current.  She needs to get off radio, I think.  I hate how the new CBC is shoehorning these TV clowns onto radio and expects good results.   

I need to listen to the Suzuki show. 

While driving chickens to the processor last night I happened to catch a half hour show called, This and That.  I had no idea this show existed.  And, I gather, it's supposed to be comedy.  Consisting of made up news and interviews, and hosted by squeeky voiced dudes, I was not impressed.

George Victor

That show wasn't out of the west by any chance?  Strained attempts at formula humour have tended to originate in Alberta lately.

As it happens, I have not been able to listen to As It Happens. I should not have listened to Barbara's last show.


Yeah, I hear you.  I was listening the night she announced she was leaving the show.  I was not pleased, because clearly there was something going on behind the scenes.  Still, the show must go on... and hosts do need to be refreshed from time to time. 

The show, This and That, originates in Vancouver.  So you were close, GV.

I heard a promo for another summer show, by Khalil Aktar, on food.  Can't remember the title now, but Aktar puts together some decent food related stuff from his office.  I resent the fact that CBC radio has all these food experts and authors and so forth on, without any passable reporting on agriculture business\lifestyle\politics, but Aktar's show will likely be good listening.  There's all sorts of wierd niche farming going on in the western provinces and I hope he checks into some of that.


Double thumbs up for Asunder.

Great radio.  Shitty music.

I just heard today about another new, summer, show.  "Being Jann Arden"....  Reality radio?  Arden intrigues me but I'm reserving judgement until I take a listen.

George Victor

As It Happens is put together very well, and I don't miss the slower paced Carol Off...have yet to decide on the politics.


AIH is smooth, and never feels formulaic, like the morning and afternoon shows.

I don't miss Off at all, either, GV.  When the show was running a talent contest to replace the excellent Mary Lou Finlay, I thought Off the weakest of the potentials.  Helen Mann was much better.  Chris Thomas was good and has since disappeared from the radio.

Peter Armstrong is quite good in Off's position.  I'd dump Off and move Armstrong from newscaster, where he's average, to AIH.

I love playing CBC chess. 

Oh, and the awful comedy show that I mention in a recent post is a repeat from Radio 3.  It was awful. 




I heard a promo for another summer show, by Khalil Aktar, on food.  Can't remember the title now, but Aktar puts together some decent food related stuff from his office.


I heard this show the other day.  The guy was talking about cilantro while I was washing a bunch of cilantro! He said cilantro is an ethnic food that one likes only if one has grown up eating it. I have to disagree with him on that, as I had never encountered cilantro until about 8-9 years ago. I didn't care for it much at first, but now I really like it. My backyard is full of volunteer cilantro at the moment.


I was makjing cilantro chutney while listening to that programme. I put a jalapeño pepper, some cumin, lime juice, a tomato and a bunch of cilantro into the chopper and let 'er go. It's as good as the store-bought stuff, yet doesn't have the weird chemicals and dyes that come with commercial chutneys.


@ al-Qa'bong

I heard that show too.

I was doing deliveries during the show (so I caught bits of it) but I think they may have missed the most important part, given that they were talking about all those disagreeable aldehydes - the name comes from the Greek word for bedbug because apparently cilantro smells like bedbugs.

And not to turn this into the gardening thread, but I have just bales of it in my garden. I have to either dig up an old recipe for cilantro pesto or I will be condemned to endless samosa making this fall.

The thing I have noticed most with CBC (radio) lately is the repeats and re-pieced together shows.

I did hear an amazing one this summer about alternative artists (and also some not so alternativ ones) in Serbia. It was a documentary out of Montreal.

George Victor

I hope some others have been able to listen in to Michael Enright's old interview with Oscar Brand this a.m. (on right now)   Just heard Jonni Mitchell  singing under her first moniker, Joan Anderson.


David Suzuki's The Bottom Line to follow at 11 a.m.


AND the late Saul Bellow is heard from an old interview on Writers and Company at   3 p.m.    today.


Can someone explain the puff pieces for cross country check up. 3 weeks and not one progamme has been about the census debacle. This week is about festivals...really? We might head to an election because of the census and this is what they are covering. Last week was conrad black...isn't that also pretty old news for the most part. I still had hope that the cons hadn't corrupted radio 1 but the lack of coverage on what is clearly a very important topic(given CCC is considered a flagship show) leave me in doubt.

I heard one piece on as it happens this week or last, but thats it. Did anyone hear Sunday Edition to see if enright covered it?


@ thorin_bane

There's that.... and if they are going to do a puff piece on festivals why do they wait until the summer is half over, when most of the big ones (out west, anyway) are over already. After all, they do a book thing every year before the start of summer, and unlike festivals, books don't have an expiry date.

George Victor

David Suzuki on The Bottom Line this morning looked at the Tar Patch and interviewed people in the area...the Alberta Minister of the Environment declined to be interviewed. So far, the area involved in bitumen mining is about the size of Vancouver.  The Athabaska River has become toxic to fish and people all the way down to L. Athabaska. 


' "Introducing" classical music to kids'


'People sometimes talk about "introducing" classical music to children, as though it was medicine. Wrong, all wrong. Why not just play great music (of all kinds) for kids? That seems to work well. (Speaking from personal experience.)

'Although it's true that if you are a composer you have an added advantage. You can write music you think will particularly charm and entrance children. For instance Claude Debussy wrote music for his daughter, Claude-Emma, nicknamed Chou-Chou. (Not much is cuter than that.)

'Today Tempo's featuring the "Children's Corner" suite, the music big Claude wrote for little Claude. It's where the wonderful Golliwogg's Cakewalk comes from. ("Golliwogg" being perhaps second only to "Chou-Chou" in terms of words that are fun to say.) ...'


@ toddsschneider

Now there's a thread subject all its own: to bowdlerize or not to bowdlerize, that is the question.


Agreed...I enjoy classical, thanks bugs bunny and my grandfather. It wasn't till I was in my 20s that is was important to me, but at least I turned the corner. Still dislike modern jazz(sounds like a piano falling down a staircase), though big band is good.

@george I have noticed that our federal cons have used this tactic a lot. A lot of times they are unavailable for comment or decline etc. On p&p evan will then "to be fair" ask questions or defend the governments position. I say tough luck. If you can't be bothered to at least put forward a statement or to debate at all. Then the opposition should get free reign period. No need to be fair if they can't even be bothered to respond. Its not like a one edition a week paper from a small town we are talking about(which you could still leave a comment) its the national broadcaster. Just another stonewalling tactic on information from our accountable and tranparent conservatives.

George Victor

thorin_bane wrote:

Agreed...I enjoy classical, thanks bugs bunny and my grandfather. It wasn't till I was in my 20s that is was important to me, but at least I turned the corner. Still dislike modern jazz(sounds like a piano falling down a staircase), though big band is good.

@george I have noticed that our federal cons have used this tactic a lot. A lot of times they are unavailable for comment or decline etc. On p&p evan will then "to be fair" ask questions or defend the governments position. I say tough luck. If you can't be bothered to at least put forward a statement or to debate at all. Then the opposition should get free reign period. No need to be fair if they can't even be bothered to respond. Its not like a one edition a week paper from a small town we are talking about(which you could still leave a comment) its the national broadcaster. Just another stonewalling tactic on information from our accountable and tranparent conservatives.


Evan Solomon sold out long, long ago.  His appointment (among others) simplified my giving up TV some time ago.  CBC Radio one is harder to kill, and if it survives the Conservative ascension, may yet be revitalized by fumigating CBC head office...and restoring a fraction of the public monies that could make it again a valuable window into Canadian affairs.


GV's wishes become reality:


Stursberg (partner of Carol McNeil) is gonzo. The man who reportedly called news and current affairs programming "the black hole" has left Fort Dork. I can only imagine what he thought of CBC radio, with no chance at ad dollars or American programming (outside of the continually absurd Q).

Unfortunately, he's being replaced in the short term by Kirstine Stewart, who's main claim to fame, from what I understand, is The Strombo Show.


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