“...type of guy who you kind of want to have around your kitchen table.”
October 31, 2016 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Inside CBC Radio’s New ‘q’ with Tom Power [Toronto Star] “This past week, Tom Power [@tompowercbc] assumed his most prominent post yet: host of q. Taking over CBC Radio’s flagging flagship property can’t be considered a simple promotion, not after the damage inflicted to the brand by Jian Ghomeshi’s scandal and Shad’s brutally brief succession. When it comes to hot seats, there are few warmer than this particular hosting chair. And for all Power’s ascendant momentum, it’s a mighty burden to task one person with being the answer for q. Power has no illusions about being a one-man saviour — if his q succeeds, it will do so not as a solo performance, but something more akin to a loose-limbed kitchen party. Power’s show seems less about the dulcet tone of its authoritative host, and more about the benefit of voices from across the country and behind the scenes, with the goal of making art of all kinds more accessible and appreciated.”

[Previously.]

- 'A Show That Speaks To All Canadians:' Tom Power's Goals For The Revamped q [CBC.ca]
“Tom Power, who is prepping to settle into the host chair at CBC Radio's revamped arts and culture show q, doesn't know it all — and he's proud of that. "There's a tendency in radio sometimes to think you have to know everything, to think when you're the host of an arts program, you need to kind of be the voice of God... 'Tune into the radio and I will tell you everything that's happening with music and art and theatre and you will learn everything from me.' That's not really how things work anymore," he told CBC News. "What's really missing right now is context," he continued. "I think that I'm excited to learn with the audience."”
- Shad Says Goodbye to q [Facebook]
“Well, my time at q has come to a close. It's been an honour and a JOY to serve in this role! Countless fascinating guests and don't even get me started on my colleagues: Smart, funny, and dedicated is just the beginning. The show will continue and in great hands with Tom Power - an excellent host and a great guy. My relationship with the CBC remains strong. We're discussing the possibility of developing a new show together. In the meantime and either way, I'm looking forward to having more time to put into music and I'm grateful for an amazing experience. Thanks for your love and support on this adventure!”
- The Tom Power Era At CBC Radio’s q Begins With An Intelligent Debut [The Globe and Mail]
“Wednesday marks two years since CBC bosses fired Q host Jian Ghomeshi, and the broadcaster is still trying to find its equilibrium. But on Monday, 18 months after its first attempt to relaunch a post-Ghomeshi show with the rapper Shad, CBC Radio unveiled what you might call Q 3.0, with Tom Power in the host’s chair steering a debut show that was muscular, intelligent, largely prerecorded and – smartly managing expectations – intentionally low-key. “Hey,” Power began, speaking atop the show’s new theme song, a soulful shuffle by Ewan and Shamus Currie of the Sheepdogs, recording simply as Bros. In the first segment, Power gently prodded Adam Cohen about his experience producing the new record of his father, Leonard Cohen. If the long interview was perhaps a mite too deferential (Cohen’s fulsome praise of his father’s talent practically begged for an astringent), Power was engaged, and he was comfortable using his own experience – the death of his father a few years ago – as an entrée to how the younger Cohen manages his father’s creeping infirmity.”
posted by Fizz (56 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pretty sure q listenership in St. John's, Newfoundland jumped 1000% this week. Everyone around here is real proud of Tom.
posted by oulipian at 6:51 PM on October 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


A big fat meh. As far as I'm concerned, the show is past rescuing. Besides all the hosting issues, the content of q is uninteresting. Billed as arts & culture, it's mostly celebrity interviews and an obsession with sex. It's a rare day when there's anything really worthwhile on it.

At least they didn't pick that awful Candy (more narcissistic than Donald Trump) Pomater as permanent host, but they could have chosen one of close to half a dozen other female guest hosts who would all have been better replacements than Tom Powers.
posted by blue shadows at 6:55 PM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think I've listened to a full episode yet. What I caught of the first one was very Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, and yeah, while Shad was not an experienced broadcaster, I still think he was hosed.

(There's so little I want to listen to on the CBC these days. Ideas and Eleanor Wachtel can still deliver, and Piya's new Out in the Open is promising, but the rest of it is outclassed by my regular set of podcasts.)
posted by maudlin at 7:40 PM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Besides all the hosting issues, the content of q is uninteresting

I follow it on youtube and am pretty close to unsubscribing because as you say - uninteresting. And I am deeply into things most people find uninteresting but this channel.....it is like they said "How can we get everyone to just go away?" and they found the answer!
posted by srboisvert at 7:44 PM on October 31, 2016


Haven't heard it yet, and nothing against Tom Power but I have to say I'm not particularly inclined to rush over and listen...I'm also kind of meh about the show at this point and it sort of seems like now it's the young white guy that's going to save it or whatever. I thought Rachel Giese did a great job the few times I heard her, why didn't they go with her?
The best thing on CBC Radio (Toronto & Ontario) at this point is still Matt Galloway in the morning and then Ed Lawrence when they do the gardening show on Ontario Today at noon. (Not even joking...I don't even garden, why do I find that show so compelling?)
posted by chococat at 9:54 PM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm also kind of meh about the show at this point and it sort of seems like now it's the young white guy that's going to save it or whatever.

No kidding. I'm also disappointed that after two men the CBC didn't see fit to select a really strong, young, female broadcaster for this role. Can you imagine this article being written about a woman? I can't. "Humility" doesn't even stand as an option for an ambitious woman in broadcasting. So tired of the "young male wunderkind (and he's oh-so-approachable!)" aspect of CBC. It's 2016, for goodness sake.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 10:10 PM on October 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


Canadaland's Was Shad Set Up to Fail? is pretty much required listening.

To whit, when you're saying Q is 'A Show That Speaks To All Canadians', who's defining what it means to be Canadian? In the Canadaland podcast, Jesse Brown and Dee Roderique remarked about how "white" the first week of Q was with Tom Powers, with lots of folk roots-inspired acts.

Interesting how Canadaland and other podcasts have largely replaced my CBC listening, except for Vancouver 690 AM's drive-in and drive-home shows. CBC Radio — to say nothing of television — is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
posted by My Dad at 10:24 PM on October 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


I like Tom Power, but yes he has a weight on his shoulders now. I hope people can push their expectations away long enough for Tom and his team to find their own rhythm.

I have to say...I thought Candy Palmater did a great job in the Q chair. I like her voice and her delivery, I thought she was a good interviewer. There was a warmth I hadn't heard since Peter Gzowski.

Disclaimer: I was a big Jian fan before The Fall. I still enjoyed the show when Shad hosted, but it wasn't the same.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:47 AM on November 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you go back to those weeks and weeks of Q tryouts from last year, Tom Power was the obvious choice on pure talent. Or presence, or something. That alone kind of suggests Shad was set up to fail. At the same time, I do kind of feel like Shad failed.. I doubt it's his fault, he probably needed a much more fundamental rethink on the format. Once I get through that level of reasoning though, it all starts to feel very meh--like it was a good show in its time, but let's move on, kind of thing.
posted by Chuckles at 12:51 AM on November 1, 2016


TIL Tom Power and Grant Lawrence are actually two separate people; I always lumped them into Anodyne White Guy With A Big Dumb Patterned Cardigan Who Probably Always Pushes People At Parties To Try The Great New Wine That They Discovered, C'Mon, It's Really Great. If they really needed to have a White Guy, Brent Bambury's doing that Day 6 thing, bless his heart.

My Dad beat me* to the Canadaland stuff. As per Canadaland they try a bit too hard to be clever, but still, on point.

Interesting how Canadaland and other podcasts have largely replaced my CBC listening, except for Vancouver 690 AM's drive-in and drive-home shows.

Ditto; local programming for live listening when schedule allows, sometimes World at Six, but the thought that their Euro correspondents are pretty much always in London bums me out. Otherwise I'm pretty much down to every third podcast episode of Ideas (So many dullll episodes, I wonder if it's because Bernie Lucht left.) and The Sunday Edition (Give them back their third hour, assholes.) I miss Dispatches. And Barbara Budd. And The Current, when it was good.

Canadaland, despite a lot of flaws, is essential listening for me, and although I stopped listening to Commons after Desmond Cole left, I'll probably pick it back up now that Vicky Mochama's gone. Maybe I'll give The Imposter another go, wasn't impressed upon first listen. I've really been digging Colour Code (G&M makes something not shitty!) I'm always on the lookout for more CanCon podcasts, if anyone has recommendations.

For Americany stuff Politically Reactive is pretty good, but they're wrapping up after the election & I'm not sure Kamau Right Now! is the replacement I'm looking for. Democracy Now! is an option, but it always makes me want to open my wrists. There's Common Sense, but Carlin's last run of Hardcore History pissed me off and he's started to annoy me.

I'll probably go back to BBC news podcasts after the American election for international news, but then again there's only so many variations on Hey Look At These Fascist Assholes I can take. In Our Time obviously isn't current events, but it gives me my Beeb fix. Sadly, I honestly think Melvin's been slipping for the past two seasons.

I could go on, but the realization I listen to too many podcasts is bumming me out.

*That felt weird to type.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:00 AM on November 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


As for listenable on the CBC.. My respect for Rita Celli just grows and grows. Having a hard time explaining, but she works some really important/sophisticated topics into the light weight noon hour format, and she doesn't back away from things. Quarks and Quarks is perfectly good, if not nearly as good as it could be. I don't know why people have the hate on for Jeff Douglas, As It Happens is still very good. Enright is always good, but he and Galloway are on too early for me to ever hear :P And Wachtel is just too fantastic.

The thing that has absolutely gone to crap on CBC Radio is the news. I suppose it was never really any good, but it is just so much light weight quick take bull shit now. It's kind of disgusting.

In Our Time obviously isn't current events, but it gives me my Beeb fix.

I've just binged, I have 11 episodes left of the 7 years available as podcast :)
posted by Chuckles at 1:11 AM on November 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed Shad, and I love Candy Palmater. I'm sure Tom Power is a nice dude but I've never liked him on Deep Roots or Radio 2 Mornings. His "aw shucks" attitude and declaration of every song as "the greatest of all time" wears on me and feels inauthentic.
posted by Stonkle at 3:45 AM on November 1, 2016


I was going to mention that Canadaland episode as well. Shad got glass-cliffed no doubt.
posted by ServSci at 3:49 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine this article being written about a woman? I can't. "Humility" doesn't even stand as an option for an ambitious woman in broadcasting. So tired of the "young male wunderkind (and he's oh-so-approachable!)" aspect of CBC. It's 2016, for goodness sake.

Yes, it is 2016, but women in any communucations field in Canada rarely get that kind of push or publicity, not even if they have some sort of nepotism going for them.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:41 AM on November 1, 2016


We get Q on our local NPR station down here in Ohio. While Jian's smarminess practically oozed through the radio, he did make the show eminently listenable. Shad, on the other hand, while not unlistenable was definitely uninteresting. I'm surprised WKSU continues to carry the show, especially in the good time slot of 7pm.
posted by slogger at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have nothing against Tom Powers, but...

...they could have chosen one of close to half a dozen other female guest hosts...

Karen Gordon really needs a permanent gig. She's more than proven herself in every show on the schedule. Come on, CBC.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:31 AM on November 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


CBC has been gutted by so many different beasts and ossified in different ways that it is really struggling to find some kind of even footing and relevance in the media landscape. One of the core problems, as I see it, is that CBC has had this mandate to create personalities and to anchor the shows to those personalities. So a show that could be good can't be because it is stuck with or tainted with problematic hosts. Q for instance, at its core, was mostly about Ghomeshi so swapping in different people is going to be nigh on impossible because it was designed for Ghomeshi. Shad, he seems like a nice guy, but he was destined to fail because of that. I'm not sure what can fix Q or CBC Radio in general but turfing all the Harperites in the executive and speeding up their slow moving diversity hiring would be a good starting point. Maybe looking at what works in podcasts might help (which they seem to be doing also very slowly).

Speaking of personalities & alternatives... I find that Canadaland and especially Jesse Brown are very problematic. People respond to his brand of "disruption" but his tone, his various personal axes to grind (talk about a guy with a chip on his shoulder about the CBC) and his often poor journalism and bias really make him unlistenable to me. Never mind that he can't seem to decide if he wants to be a Michael Enright or a Jon Stewart. And so much of the good stuff in the show is derived from other people's work. I know a few journalists who know him and, though they aren't willing to dish, they do all say the same thing about him - that he is his own worst enemy.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:02 AM on November 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


I am going to give Tom a chance... I was at first a little doubtful - but I've listened to a few episodes and it feels like he's changed up his delivery somewhat, and has a much cleaner and engaged voice.

As for Shad - the shows felt like good intentions that never got pinned down well. I heard him struggle with interviews - the most glaring example was with Spike Lee and the notions of irony. When Spike talked about Dr. Strangelove - Shad kinda blanked out and said he as a young guy, he did not know about these old movies. Really? You host a cultural program and don't know about Stanley Kubrick and Dr. Strangelove?

Anyways - with Tom, the show to me is definitely listenable in a way it has not been for a while. And to me, the show has been less about his identity politics, and rather about providing a place for good conversations for others to bring those issues to the fore.
posted by helmutdog at 7:14 AM on November 1, 2016


I also think Shad was not the best host of Q, and my pick for permanent host would be Piya Chattopadhyay, she is the only one that is able to hit a good level of interest/fascination mixed with a good understanding of her guests that was a hallmark of Q when Jian was host. Every time she is on she delivers a great radio show.

As for the rest of CBC radio there are still some high points. For pure news you have The Current and As It Happens which are both excellent (despite the fact that I cannot stand Jeff Douglas, the show is still churning out quality stuff). Quirks and Quarks, Spark, Ideas, and Wachtel on the Arts are all very good as well. They also have some great weekly content like The Vinyl Café, Vinyl Tap, and the Debaters.

Leaving aside the horridness that is the Irrelevant Show and This is That, CBC Radio is doing a fine job of providing quality content. The local morning shows are all good from my experience (Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and even New Brunswick); although I would agree their general news coverage has gone downhill, especially morning news, however the 18:00 news show is usually pretty good.

I travel a lot for work and listen to lots of CBC, BBC, and NPR. My honest opinion is that CBC holds up very well to their counterparts, especially considering how much smaller of an organization they are compared to their peers. As Canadians we should all be proud of CBC Radio and stay engaged and involved in its future, because if we don't then we might lose it (lord knows Harper did his best to permanently skewer it).
posted by Vindaloo at 7:37 AM on November 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't know why people have the hate on for Jeff Douglas

Oh, come on! The man is the walking definition of a twit. Have you ever heard him pronounce something he considers to be a "foreign word"? I find Jeff Douglas and Carol Off both to be loathsomely arrogant. They don't interview, they sneer, and the fact they're both stupid makes it all the worse.
posted by My Dad at 7:45 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's CBC Radio (and Canada in general) for you... One person on one side of the country thinks it is great and someone on the other side thinks it is shit, one side thinks they are propagandists for the government and the other anti-government. It is no wonder CBC Radio can't figure out who exactly is their audience.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:01 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know why people have the hate on for Jeff Douglas

He's not Barbara Budd, in any way you care to measure. And he's really not Alan Maitland.

He doesn't understand half the jokes he tries to deliver, his pronunciation of key names cane be horribly off (which as an announcer is a Big Deal), and when he needs to deliver gravitas, his only trick is to punctuate with silence, which doesn't really work for him. I don't hate him like I did, but I certainly don't hold him in fondness like I did his predecessors.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:54 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I had to give up on CanadaLand because of Jesse Brown, he's just too goddarn smug half of the time.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:55 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a Newfoundlander living abroad in foreign territory (Toronto), it is very nice to hear a voice from home who isn't there to fulfill a kind of 'court jester' role.
posted by erlking at 9:27 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll give it a shot. I haven't listened to Tom Power's version yet, but Q lost me a couple of weeks into Shad's tenure.
Here in the K-W area we have our own morning show with Craig Norris, which is not bad, and his In the Key of C music show is okay, too. But lately most shows have gone downhill and it's mainly due to unlistenable hosts. As it Happens is a shadow of its former self and anything with Candy Palmater seems to devolve into an extended discussion of her tattoos.
The only show I still really enjoy is Ideas, probably because Paul Kennedy has one of the best radio voices of all time.
posted by rocket88 at 9:37 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, Chris Hall is doing a great job with The House. He seems more like a journalist compared to Evan Solomon, who (even before his art broker side-gig came to light) seemed more like a courtier.

Ideas' 2-part documentary on Tocqueville is really, really good. It's a must-listen in this election season.

I used to love As It Happens, but it has not been the same since Mary Lou Finlay and Barbara Budd departed (or, in the case of Budd, were pushed out). The fact that Jeff Douglas is on air instead of Budd is intolerable.
posted by My Dad at 10:05 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Current is the only show on CBC Radio I really care about anymore. I love Anna Maria Tremonti and there usually is at least one must listen segment every morning.

Sunday Edition is great too (don't ever retire, Michael Enright) when I manage to catch it, and about every other Ideas program is worthwhile too, if the overly plummy tones don't bother you.

I detest As It Happens, or the Dufus and Dreary show as I call it, and rush to turn it off before it comes on. Jeff Douglas is like the worst stereotype of "Canadian", and trying to have his goofy humor punctuate Carol's droning interviews just doesn't work.

The World At Six is decent news for radio. Overall, CBC news is terrible, although to me it's actually a little more bearable than it used to be - not quite so just of J School and not quite as heavy a sound of axes grinding in the background.
posted by blue shadows at 10:55 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you think CBC 1 is bad, the music programming on CBC 2 and SRC have also gotten worse in the last ten years. SRC isn't terrible, it's just more mainstream and poppy than it used to be, while CBC 2 often is just plain terrible.

The CBC in general has always been a loosely mismanaged thing with random moments of brilliance mixed with more moments of not-brilliance, but you can really tell that the glum decade of the Harper regime hasn't been kind to it.
posted by ovvl at 11:28 AM on November 1, 2016


I'MA LET YOU FINISH, BUT PIYA CHATTOPADHYAY WAS THE BEST Q HOST EVER. THANK YOU.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:43 AM on November 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


but you can really tell that the glum decade of the Harper regime hasn't been kind to it.

The crazy thing is the network gets a disbursement of $800 to $1B a year. And most of it is spent on stupid television products. Radio has way better ROI — by an order of magnitude at least — and yet the idiots cut radio funding in order to preserve their television prestige product. Do we really need to pay people like Peter Mansbridge?

And, in an era of podcasts and independent web video, does it still make sense to fund CanCon? I think not.
posted by My Dad at 11:53 AM on November 1, 2016


One of the core problems, as I see it, is that CBC has had this mandate to create personalities and to anchor the shows to those personalities.

They also recycle them instead of bringing in new talent. As much as I really like Matt Galloway, the morning guy in Toronto, I do not understand why he was made the co-host of Podcast Playlist after Sean Rameswaram left. (He also got a mini-series on CBC tv about design some time after that.) How many fresh people could have filled that slot and done a great job? Any why was Sean's departure not mentioned even briefly on air? There was no transition whatsoever that I can remember.

Now that we're moving on to what works/doesn't, I agree that Ontario Today's Ed Lawrence and Rita Celli are great, and Matt Galloway can be a tenacious interviewer. (Please note that today, the day after John Tory revealed how badly he's fucked up transit in this city, he refused to visit Matt this morning, preferring to go to the lapdogs at CTV and CP24.) Quirks and Quarks is still solid, but I'm rarely up Sundays to listen to Enright, as strong as that show usually is, partially because the third hour was stolen for The 180. I've started listening to Spark again as a podcast. The Doc Project is often really good, and just about the only place on the CBC with an explicit mandate to bring in fresh talent. (Try Who is Allen? and Searching for a utopia in Palmer, Saskatchewan.)

I can't listen to most CBC newscasts, especially over the past year. The repetition, the lack of curiosity, the embrace of conventional wisdom: it's infuriating.

And back to Q and Tom: he's fine. Perfectly nice. Not awful. And I'm sure the producers are all smart and nice people, too. But there is nothing about the show that draws me any more. Homegrown music and latest person with a product to sell won't do. I know that NPR listeners and a bunch of people here have little affection left for shows like This American Life and Fresh Air, but TAL still produces some really good episodes, and Terry Gross, while not perfect at all, can run some great interviews. Wachtel on the Arts is consistently brilliant, and Out in the Open with Piya *hearts* has the potential to become as strong as TAL, but apart from the solid shows I mentioned above, just about everything else drops off pretty quickly after that.
posted by maudlin at 11:58 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was never a regular listener of Q but on the rare occasions I would drive to work when Jian was hosting I would listen to and enjoy it. Even though I thought that he was pretty bad with his interviews, something about the show just clicked and the weekly segments with Elvira Kurt were great. I've listed to the new q and wanted it to do well but it was nowhere near as good a program as it was when Jian was running it, to the extent that I would even listen to something else while it was on which never would have happened before.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:04 PM on November 1, 2016


Is this the place where I can let loose my profound contempt for Stuart McLean? No?

I'm a big fan of CBC radio, but Q comes on at a time when I really can't listen to it, so this whole debacle with Shad completely passed me by. I'm sorry it didn't work out; I really like Shad. I'm not sure I have room for another hip white guy in my radio listening. But then: time slot. I guess in the end it doesn't matter to me. I'm clearly not the target audience.

Anna Marie Tremonti is the greatest thing on CBC radio, she has my heart and my loyalty forever. Ditto Nora Young, who is exactly as smart as she sounds (meaning very). I wish the ceeb could find more terrific, intelligent, thoughtful journalists like the two of them. My sister sings Rita Celli's praises too, but I can't vouch for her in the same way (again: time slot).

I like Michael Enright, but you know, I still miss Ian Brown on Sunday mornings.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:00 PM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


in an era of podcasts and independent web video, does it still make sense to fund CanCon? I think not.

Could you elaborate? As someone involved in Canadian creative productions trust me when i say further decreasing our already low support of home-grown productions is not a great way to build a culture.
posted by Ashwagandha at 2:12 PM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is this the place where I can let loose my profound contempt for Stuart McLean? No?

No. No it is not, Alvy said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:17 PM on November 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is this the place where I can let loose my profound contempt for Stuart McLean? No?

Only if I can let loose with an anti-Rex Murphy diatribe that is pages and pages long.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:19 PM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Rex Murphy

Actually, on reflection, I prefer the term "racist homunculus."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:20 PM on November 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I also think Shad was not the best host of Q, and my pick for permanent host would be Piya Chattopadhyay

I'MA LET YOU FINISH, BUT PIYA CHATTOPADHYAY WAS THE BEST Q HOST EVER

I hadn't heard of the show before the Ghomeshi accusations (my local station carries it apparently) but started driving late for a job last year and listening to it with all the trial hosts and would agree that I would have picked Chattopadhyay.
posted by edeezy at 2:23 PM on November 1, 2016


Fellow Piya fans: you know that she's hosting Out in the Open, right?
posted by maudlin at 2:52 PM on November 1, 2016


Could you elaborate? As someone involved in Canadian creative productions trust me when i say further decreasing our already low support of home-grown productions is not a great way to build a culture.

I can't really think of any CanCon that is truly any good. Bitten? I guess Canadaland gets some help from some CanCon fund of some kind? Or musical acts like Jessi Lanza? Corner Gas? Trailer Park Boys?

While I agree that CanCon is great for capacity-building, does it actually produce any great content that could not have been produced in the first place?
posted by My Dad at 2:59 PM on November 1, 2016


I remember when Shad was named as the new host, feeling like Piya had been their first choice and had turned it down. Nothing to base that on, just a gut feeling. Hearing the talk of glass cliff theory in that podcast makes me think now that she saw it coming.

All well, Out in the Open has been great so far.

Given how it all went down with Jian I just don't see the show turning things around without a strong female host. Like, it's cursed or something. But that being said Candy Palmater (prob spelling that wrong) was awful. I mean I feel bad saying that cause she seems like a really nice person but she came across as so amateur on air. One morning I swear she just called a friend of hers, literally just an old friend on the east coast she hadn't talked to for a few years.

The interview basically went like this:

Candy - Hey, it's been awhile, what've you been up to?
Random Dude - Not much. I've been unemployed for awhile. So I wrote a movie script.
C - Oh cool, what's it about?
RD - This farmer who decides to go on a long walk one day.
C - That's great, think it'll get made?
RD - Oh, probably not.

Half an hour of that. Wtf.
posted by mannequito at 3:57 PM on November 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


It is always the right time to dump on Stuart McLean. Dump away. Bring as many dump trucks as you desire and unload them.

I don't understand the love for Matt Galloway. Never before had somebody driven me to shut off the radio so quickly as he did when I was doing some major commuting. Mind you these day Gill Deacon has me completely confused. She used to have a brain in her head. I'm not sure where it went. The entire KW morning team (including that news moron they hired from 570) also manages to annoy me. At least since I don't have to commute anymore I'm not exposed to any of them as much as I used to be.

I'm not sure which male reporter it was the other day who was on Deacon's program whining about HOW BORING it was to cover budgets and economic updates. You really don't want to hear what came out of my mouth when I heard that.

I don't get to listen to As It Happens very much at all at this point, but I'm firmly in agreement withe everybody else here about the quality of the hosts.

I swear I used to love and respect CBC radio. Now, however, I barely tolerate it. I certainly don't love it. I want to keep respecting it, but it's getting harder and harder. I swear there was some overarching corporate mandate that just said, "dumb everything down."
posted by sardonyx at 4:04 PM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


While I agree that CanCon is great for capacity-building, does it actually produce any great content that could not have been produced in the first place?

Paw Patrol is CanCon. Without Paw Patrol my son might watch Caillou* instead. I think that alone justifies CanCon.

*which is also CanCon. In conclusion CanCon is a land of contrasts.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:13 PM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


For sure, Canada has crushed it when it comes to children's programming. Backyardigans was great, and a friend of mine worked on the animation.

I have to say that for various reasons younger son doesn't even watch television—he watches YouTube instead. So that means Pokemon, Ultraman, Doraemon, Youkai Watch. Our older son (who is 14 now) *did* watch TV way back before YouTube and NicoDougu became big. But we cut the cord probably a decade ago.

We would gladly pay for TV if our kids asked us to (social currency on the playground is a big thing) but so far they haven't asked us to. We might consider paying for a Rogers hockey subscription for our older son.

The funny thing is, even though I don't watch TV, I'm paying for it with my taxes. Even though I don't subscribe to Netflix, I'll be paying for it through my Internet bill. So I can't win.
posted by My Dad at 4:28 PM on November 1, 2016


While I agree that CanCon is great for capacity-building, does it actually produce any great content that could not have been produced in the first place?

So… "why don't Canadian producers make better product and more of the stuff I like?" Well, this may shock you but, very rarely do filmmakers or television productions or radio producers set out to make garbage. Let's set aside the subjective "great" for a moment. Other than productions made for a purely artistic aim, most people working in radio & television work hard to make an accessible product or at the very least a product that is saleable. That means making shows that are aimed at a broader audience then say a handful of opinionated Mefites. Shows like Heartland or Murdoch Mysteries may not be to your tastes, I certainly wouldn’t watch them, but trust me when I say that they are enormously popular and profitable here & abroad. That’s the key here - while it is true we have smaller audiences for those programmes, many of these series are sold into the US and abroad. That’s often the more important market, especially with television.

Take Trailer Park Boys. Those guys found lightning in a bottle there. The product is relatively cheap, regionally distinct, culty, and funny but limited. So when they finished their initial run they tried their hand at some other things. Have you watched any of the other things they've tried to do? They are pretty bad (your tax dollars at work). I’m sure they tried to make them not suck but luck wasn’t on their side on those productions. So what do they do? Go back to Trailer Park Boys and tap into some of that sweet Netflix money for extra seasons. But would those guys have been able to get anywhere without Telefilm or provincial money? Probably not. Cutting Canadian content funding would be devastating to a lot of our homegrown stuff. Including productions that are sold abroad and international co-productions.

Our funding models as they exist right now need extensive reworking to make them fairer, to modernise them, to make them more efficient, to be less focused on the usual suspects (the Paul Gross/Deepa Mehta/Atom Egoyans of the world), have a greater emphasis on smaller regional productions (like the BBC does), and a greater focus on developing a diversified talent pool. That would be just the start.

However, at the core, the problem is that we’ve been in a massive cultural tar pit for the last decade and its gummed up a lot of our cultural output. Canadians have always had a streak of cultural self-loathing but in the last decade it has really been amped up. It’s only just started to change direction but it is pretty hard to get anywhere when you have a generation that’s been taught Canadian product sucks so why bother. Canadian media, especially CBC Radio, has been treading water so long it is impossible to be innovative because they are just trying to survive. Sure we can say cut’em loose but what replaces something like CBC Radio? It won’t be a hip private Canadian company made up of Youtube “personalities” and millennials who cut their teeth on podcasts. It’ll be nothing or some corporatized radio that doesn’t support Canadian voices. As much as it irritates me at times, you’re gonna have to pry CBC Radio from my cold dead hands. I just hope that they right their ship sooner rather than later.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:12 PM on November 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Shows like Heartland or Murdoch Mysteries may not be to your tastes, I certainly wouldn’t watch them, but trust me when I say that they are enormously popular and profitable here & abroad...

'Heatland' is one of those things that I would usually instinctively dislike, but my mom watches it, so when I visit her we start watching it, and there's these girls on a ranch with horses, and they have some problems, and then we keep watching...

'Murdoch Mysteries' started out as an independent Canadian television production for several years before being scooped by the CBC. At times it had some rather sharp scripts about various contemporary social issues refracted through a Victorian/Edwardian perspective. Like some TV shows, it has gone on for too many seasons.
posted by ovvl at 8:26 PM on November 1, 2016


As much as it irritates me at times, you’re gonna have to pry CBC Radio from my cold dead hands.

I want this t-shirt/bumper sticker.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:24 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


So Tom's interview with Anthony Bourdain today was fine, and he has Billy Bragg on right now. *nudges mandolin conspiracy*
posted by maudlin at 8:08 AM on November 2, 2016


How did I not know that!

Thanks! Will have to give the replay a listen tonight.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:16 AM on November 2, 2016


I'm big into Canadaland. Their episode on Q was food for thought, but I would have liked to hear at least a bit more from anonymous sources inside the CBC or anything besides speculation about how Shad might have been set-up to fail.
posted by beau jackson at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2016


I'd like Q to do an episode just on Canadaland so we can complete the pointless navel gazing Toronto media recursion. Maybe they could get an anonymous source within Canadaland to reveal how jealous Jesse Brown is of Tom Powers' hair and easy charm.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:30 AM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Q under Ghomeshi and under Shad claimed to be an arts show, but the emphasis was always on music. I worry about it under Power as well.
posted by anothermug at 7:08 PM on November 2, 2016


He has outright said in interviews before the show premiered that it will be more about music. That said he did have Marina Abramović on the show...
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:36 PM on November 2, 2016


My Dad: Even though I don't subscribe to Netflix, I'll be paying for it through my Internet bill.

I don't know where you're coming from with that.

Is it that you think that by paying tax on your Internet connection, you're indirectly funding the tax credits that Netflix and other content producers tap into?

Mrs C and I are Luddites; no cable, just a DSL connection. We just got Netflix in June. There are worse ways to spend $9.95 a month...
posted by Artful Codger at 10:06 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just listened for the first time to Q with Tom Powers as host and I thought I was listening to Ira Glass at first. Weird.

I think he has a better radio presence than Shad and (as far as we know) is not a horrible misogynist abuser like Jian Ghomeshi, so that's a plus.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:02 PM on November 3, 2016


I like Tom Power and hope he settles into the role and that the show evolves with his strengths in mind. He's very much a music guy if that's the direction they were going. I thought Rachel Geise would have done a great job too though she's very strong on social issues and culture rather than on music. I loved Candy Palmater and hope they find a spot for her. And I'll listen to any show Karen Gordon is guesting on. She's so good. More women please!

Other CBC opinions:
Stuart McLean: go away already. Geez
As it Happens: Love her, hate him, hate the stupid lightweight items and animal stories. Give Carol real news and let her go at it.
Piya Chattopadhyi: she's really good with straight news coverage but her own personality includes bad puns and lame jokes so, no.
Anna Maria Tremonti: God bless her and keep her. Long may she reign.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 2:32 PM on November 5, 2016


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