Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The National Getting Chopped?

Things are not well at our public broadcaster. What's worse, the federal government isn't an advocate, it's indifferent to hostile. The National's 60 minute format allows for focused, tertiary orientated stories, a rarity in the soundbite world. I hope this isn't true, but given the climate I don't doubt it is:
CBC's senior programming brass has a secret plan to move the public broadcaster's flagship nightly news program The National from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. to make room for more prime-time entertainment programming, an industry watchdog group says.

...told the Star the new prime-time shows may not be Canadian and that The National may be reduced by 30 minutes.

The shorter news program would save the cash-strapped broadcaster several million dollars in costs traditionally attached to the nightly newscast, hosted by Peter Mansbridge.

Unequivocal denial, but it sort of sounds in key. What might be more disturbing, all these changes at the CBC seem to be happening with little discussion, mostly dismissed under the guise of economic realities. I think Canadians appreciate a hour long broadcast, it's generally serious and unique. Losing that aspect isn't just a question of time, it's a matter of quality and width. Surely, that's worth a few million in the grand scheme.

When you think about how many things you've learned in that half hour, whether it be a documentary feature or a contest on the coolest spots in Canada, it's just nonsense to think we can no longer afford such "excesses". Somebody needs to get loud and quick.


Anonymous said...

Oh come ON. I'm ready to vote. Somebody set up a polling station PLEASE. Here I go:

X -- Anita Neville (Liberal)

Okay? Is he GONE yet?

sassy said...

I wonder how much discussion there could be with all the funding cuts / slashing that has been going on the last few years?

It's very disturbing to witness the willful distruction of the CBC.

Koby said...

It is not just the funding cuts. Whether this is some sort of devious plan or not, the effect of many program changes to CBC is to clear the way for the privatization of the CBC. After all, why keep it, if it just a clone of what is already available on other channels? This goes for CBC Radio as well as TV.

Trevor said...

What exactly do you expect the federal government to do about it?

When Harper is done his shift making isotopes and done his second job inspecting meat plants I suppose he should put in a late shift as as CBC programmer?

News flash, the CBC should be able to survive on it's own. Bad enough that we dump billions into that black hole but now you want the government to interfere with programming?

Careful what you wish for.

rockfish said...

I don't know why the CBC bigwigs don't get the message and make real deep cuts... to extraneous programs and put its resources into the reporting side. Instead of cutting the National, it should be shifting away from the 'entertainment' side and build on its strength of reporting. The journalism of the CBC despite the whiners in the CON corner, is world recognized. While I'd hate to see them divest themselves completely from producing arts and entertainment, in these times the public needs someone to follow the journalistic creed - comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.

RuralSandi said...

Interesting - Harper appoints a solid Tory supporter and conservative to head the CBC and these changes happen?


Geordie Tom said...

Anybody know anybody who actually WATCHES CBC?
If they were doing a decent job their viewer share would be up and there would be no worries about program cuts or public financing.

Jerry Prager said...

Anonymous, could we see ID with that vote.
Nothing says these aren't the same conservatives that created the CBC has the Harpercon's desire to destroy public broadcasting in this country.
Koby "Privatization", I prefer the words corporate privateering, these are not private individuals who will get the carved up CBC. They're capitalist pirates.

Jon Pertwee said...

Trevor, get stuffed. We didnt elect Harper to be King Asshole but he decided to be that way.

Geordie Tom, I watch the CBC daily. It sure beats the shite news on City, CTV or Global but it's probably at too adult of a level for you. Back to the Treehouse channel at your household or is that too advanced too?

Mark Dowling said...

How much would be saved by chopping Mansbridge?

At Ireland's state broadcaster, all the major personalities took a pay cut this year (although in some cases they waited until others took it first and then buckled under media pressure)

Anonymous said...

Please God, get rid of Strombo and his softball questions. Bring back counterspin and Avi Lewis.

Seriously, if I was Iggy, I would be the first Liberal leader to appear on Al-Jazeera or Al Gore's television station. In fact, why have the Liberals avoided college radio stations?

Crying out for The National is okay, but the media has changed more recently. There is much that the left can do to mobilize and supporting deteriorating public broadcasting does not work.

If I am president of the CBC, I would get rid of Don Cherry and move Hockey Night in Canada to Country Canada. I would get rid of commercials too.

Anonymous said...

I like the CBC, being stuck in the country and without access to cable, CBC is about the only Canadian station I can get over antenna, the rest are US.

I like Rick Mercer, and George Strom (sometimes depending on the guest), but especially I like the news coverage from CBC Sunday morning (which they recently got rid of) to CBC Sunday night to the 10:00 p.m. news to the 5th estate. It was CBC's indepth 4 hour coverage of the war in Iraq, showing pictures and news items that were never allowed on U.S. TV that made me realize the importance of independent TV.

We already have our news media in the monopoly of 3 or 4 private organizations. CanWest Global owns most of the newspapers across Canada except for 1 or 2 and then there is the monopolies of Rogers etc.

Our democracy is only as strong as our independent media and in Canada our democracy has slipped in World standing to 16th place.
Get rid of the monopolies on our information.

Get rid of the Republican Conservatives that we have governing us and their disdain for all insitutions Canadian.

Marie said...

Is the fact that all of the privately owned tv stations are also suffering cutbacks due to the loss of revenue from advertising ALSO Stephen Harper's fault?

Sheeesh. If CBC can't compete in the marketplace with a 1.1 BILLION dollar cushion the other stations don't get maybe, just maybe, they have to rethink their business model?

Steve V said...

No Marie, it isn't the government's fault that private industry is having a tough time. How that compares to a public broadcaster, who's core tenet isn't making money escapes me. Your ignorance is astounding, especially the business model crack. Do you want Canadian content or not? Do you want items that aren't commercial driven but informative? It's a NATIONAL broadcaster Marie, so spare me the stupid comparisons. Sheesh is right.

Anonymous said...

"Bad enough that we dump billions into that black hole but now you want the government to interfere with programming?"

The government is already interfering with programming, by way of mandatory Canadian content.

Which is something I agree with, but as Steve points out above, that makes the CBC different from private broadcasters whose sole goal is profit.

I prefer integrity to profit in my national news.

Gayle (posting anonymously as I am on someone else's computer - I love holidays...)

Steve V said...

Holidays good :)

Tomm said...

CBC makes programming choices that people disagree with and everybody craps on Harper.

Harper works to "get along" with the US President (i.e. Bush) and everybody craps on Harper.

Harper works to "get along" with the US President (i.e. Obama) and everybody craps on Harper.

The world economy goes into the toilet and everybody...

The Canadian economy is not as bad as the rest of the world and everybody...

You guessed it. All people want to do is blame Harper. Blame him for not eating the Eucharist in front of the camera, blame him for not confronting Catholicism's "transubstantiation". Blame him for wanting to put away violent teens, blame him for clearly expressing to Canadian's the bizarro world of the Bloc having a deciding voice in a National coalition government, blaming him for insisting Czech's and Mexican citizen's get visa's, just because they account for a huge number of refugee claimants.


I suggest you do a blog on the Toronto garbage strike from the "Federal government isn't giving us enough money to run Canada's showcase city" angle.

You've got the people here to wade in.

Steve V said...


You forgot to mention how Harper blamed the past Liberal government for everything, whenever a problem arose.

You mentioned drinking in another thread, apparently the koolaid is going down well today.

The CBC is making cuts to programming, because they don't have the backing of the government to help them through this rough patch- you know like the auto sector, the forestry sector, Air Canada, etc, etc. Bottomline, these "cuts" don't happen if we had a reliable partner in Ottawa. We don't, and pointing that out has nothing to do with kneejerk blame game. Open your eyes, before you start hurling such nonsense.