Shut down the CBC?
January 31, 2002 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Shut down the CBC? Or at least, it's English-language television service? A former top CBC exec says CBC English TV has lost its financial viability, and should be sacrificed before it pulls down the CBC as a whole. What gives?
posted by gimonca (8 comments total)
CBC programming quality has declined over the past decade, or at least that's my impression of it, and at least as far as news and public affairs programming is concerned. The National and other programs (but especially The National) have, over that period of time, grown increasingly bombastic and self-promotional in their PR, and manage to redesign their graphics and theme music every year, but still end up being less informative, less intelligent, closer to the lowest common denominator. Does anyone remember just how awful Midday was the year before they finally pulled the plug? All that kibbitzing, and they weren't even good at it!

There is a problem here, though I'm not sure O'Reilly's solution is the answer. I figure they ought to stop trying to be all things to all Canadians and go maximum highbrow -- intelligent news broadcasting à la BBC World/Jim Lehrer. Niche marketing to be sure, but it's a niche not currently being met within Canada, not on television anyway.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:51 AM on January 31, 2002

What gives? Why, nothing more than the wholesale dismantling of Canada. Our federal and provincial governments are systematically destroying our country.

For instance, our healthcare system is less costly than the American one, once everything is factored in: what we pay in taxes, Americans pay in private insurance. But do we keep universal public healthcare? Hell, no: the move is toward privatization and user-pay. Our politicians are destroying it.

In BC, we have a public auto insurance company. Through it, drivers are all treated homogenously until they prove that they're incompetent. An 18 year old male driving a hotrod pays the same insurance rate as a 40 year old mother driving a Honda Accord... but if either one has an accident, their rates go up significantly.

ICBC also works to make our roads safer: for instance, installing black-ice sensors and de-icing spray systems, which basically eliminates accidents on some portions of our highways. Private insurers wouldn't give a flying fuck for that: they'll just jack up rates to make up for any increased costs due to dangerous stretches of highway.

But our provincial government is determined to privatize our auto insurer. We'll pay higher rates, new drivers (and new male drivers in particular) will be screwed to the wall, and road improvements will cease. Once again, a good public system is being destroyed.

Likewise public electrical utilities, public gas utilities, the public school system, the post-secondary system, the home-care system, senior-care system... my god, the destruction is endless.

Canada is being deliberately ripped to shreds by its politicians, and under the NAFTA/WTO agreements, *THERE IS NO GOING BACK.*

In summary: you all can kiss this nation goodbye.

(What I don't understand is *why* they're doing this. There doesn't appear to be a direct financial benefit to the politicians. I can't think of any other reason they'd do it.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:33 AM on January 31, 2002

A former top CBC exec says CBC English TV has lost its financial viability, and should be sacrificed before it pulls down the CBC as a whole.

Well, when he puts it that way, for once I propose keeping the CBC running. Anything to hasten the demise of state-sponsored broadcasting. Access to information and entertainment media is not a problem for most Canadians these days. To the extent that was the argument for the CBC, it is now irrelevant. Another argument is the one made by cultural dictators who feel they are justified in (a) taking our money by force and (b) using it to make programming they think we need to see and hear. Aside from the dubious morality of such a setup, what it results in is programming made by and for these self-appointed cultural elitists, because no one else watches. I say shut the whole thing down now.
posted by mw at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2002

Yes, yes, much better to have what we see and hear dictated by vapid American TV executives rather than our own public interest. I, for one, had no idea we had so many millions of self-appointed cultural elitists to give such high ratings to the CBC's documentary series on Canadian history and make its companion book #1 on the Canadian bestseller lists. Good to know no one else was watching, though. Why, oh, why must the cultural dictators take our money by force? Oh, yeah, because we voted for it...

So with that out of the way, I'll say I pretty much agree with what mcwetboy said. CBC TV has always seemed weak especially compared to its radio programming. All I mean is that before they put another sugar-coated period drama on the schedule, they ought to look raising the intellectual bar a little. Things like A People's History is where public broadcasting really shines; now they need to replicate that kind of quality in topical programming.
posted by transient at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2002

Could the government not fund the CBC as a production studio, rather than a broadcaster? The CBC could produce programs that would then be available at subsidized rates to other broadcasters. Would CTV turn down This Hour has 22 Minutes or Random Passage if it were cheap or free? Saves the need to fund the whole broadcasting infrastructure. Of course, for all I know, it's the profit from all the Simpsons reruns that keeps the whole thing afloat. It just seems odd that they need to broadcast so many hours, when they really only produce a few memorable hours each year. All of this assumes the news is expendable, which to my mind it is.
posted by Yogurt at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2002

I grew up watching "Friendly Giant", "Mr Dressup" and "Chez Helene" on CBC (Channel 9 in Detroit). More recently, I enjoyed Bruce Steele's "What on Earth" and "The Squamish Five." I also loved "Airline", though it was actually British, and CBC doesn't show it anymore.... Anyway, I'd hate to see the CBC go belly-up.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2002

That this item surfaces within a week of Gzowski's death is adding insult to injury, is all I can say. (Making mental note to join Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.)
posted by jokeefe at 7:40 PM on January 31, 2002

If the CBC is down to single-digit ratings, it should give up trying to compete with the commercial crap and offer just middlebrow and highbrow programming.

(And bring back Hinterland Who's Who, damn it. "The woodchuck, also called the groundhog, is one of the larger Canadian rodents. A mature adult may weigh up to seventeen pounds. In winter, it depends almost entirely on body fat, until April, when new plant food reappears. Like the beaver, the woodchuck's front gnawing teeth grow continuously, except during hibernation. Constant grinding trims them down. The breeding period lasts three months, and from four to five young are usual. In May, at about seven weeks, the young are weaned, and cautiously begin to forage on their own. However, they still depend almost entirely on their mother to warn them of impending danger. For more information on the woodchuck, contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa.")
posted by pracowity at 2:17 AM on February 1, 2002

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