Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Department of "What Are They Smoking at the CBC?": Radio Two to Be Dumb-downed further

There had been a short story in Monday’s Globe and Mail saying that Jurgen Gothe was calling it a day after 23 years on CBC Radio Two (and its predecessor,) and that Disc Drive will be deleted in another putsch on what is supposed to be Canada’s premiere music network.

Then on the 6 p.m. radio news (Radio One, of course, since Radio Two no longer has news broadcasts worth the name) Eli Glasner reported on the official announcement: Radio Two daytime programming will be revamped. He added that audience figures following the last shake-up—which changed evening programming—had not been followed by increased audience share.

Why am I not surprised? Far too much of what Radio Two is now offering is nothing that you can’t find other places. It would appear that we almost lost Saturday Afternoon at the Opera to “Opera’s Greatest Hits” or some such last fall. At least that’s the way the first of Bill Richardson’s programs went. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed, Bill was given a chance to do some excellent interviews, and we still have real operas.

The news release says that the CBC is looking for new program ideas. Maybe I ought to come up with one. What about this: let’s showcase the hundreds of excellent serious musicians in this country! Let’s give the same kind of coverage to new classical music that Jian Gomeshi gives to new pop music! Hell, let’s be as proud of our musicians as we are of our literary superstars like Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel. We've got it, let's flaunt it!

Now if only the CBC would get the message...


Martin Langeland said...

From your mouth to God's ears.

Muzition said...

The CBC does it again.

I've just given up on CBC Radio 2 completely. I think it's just beyond hope.

I do still listen to CBC Radio 1.


Mary Soderstrom said...

There seems to be a certain amount of gathering outrage. Save Classical Music on the CBC now has a Facebook group:

When I joined today there were 1600 plus members. It has several email addreses of peple who might be leaned up on to rethink the program changes.
CBC chief:; Head of English Radio:; Head of English CBC:; Head of Music Programming:


Muzition said...

I finally joined the "Save Classical Music at the CBC" Facebook group. Though it seems that they already play so little classical music on that station, I almost wonder what's the point of trying to save what little classical music is left on that station.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Well, if you give up nothing happens. One bit of encouraging news indicating that sometimes you can fight city hall was the reversal on Monday of the city of Montreal's plan to cut support for programming at the Chapelle de Bon pasteur. Took some mobilization, but within a week the decision was reversed.

Can't let the bastards grind you down.


Muzition said...

I heard the good news about the CHBP!

Changing things on a nation-wide scale may be harder. But maybe something can be done.

Werner said...

Although I agree that the decline in Radio Two programming is disheartening, in the long run I don't think much more can be expected from a state run broadcaster. The CBC is influenced by the politicians who pay their salaries and the mood is now towards dumbing down. After all the kind of people who appreciate Mozart over Joe Blow and the Electric Banana aren't likely to vote for Stephen Harper. In the long run it would be better for educated people to start switching their attention to "do it yourself" cooperative radio. Such folks are likely to have more money than country and western airheads anyway so let's get on with it. Perhaps some genuine competition would embarrass the CBC a bit.

Mary Soderstrom said...

There is competition for the RAdio Two in two markets that I know of, Toronto and Montreal. All-classical stations there are consistently pulling audiences bigger than Radio Two's or Espace musique (the Radio Can's Radio Two.) But the CBC brass seems not to be looking at these BBM figures. Will be intersting to see what happens in the next BBM sweeps.

As for "do it yourself" radio, there is some sense to that where there is not a public broadcaster, as in the US. But we shouldn't have to do that here.



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