"It's like cancelling John Peel": R.I.P. Brave New Waves, 1984-2007.
February 1, 2007 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Along with this, Radio 3 gets kicked clear across into digital (i.e. pay) radio. A glimmer of hope remains: current host Patti Schmidt has been reassigned to another arts program and she may help contribute to the replacement show that's still in development based out of Toronto. However, for those of us long departed with our tape recordings of Brent Bambury's days, the final new show has been encoded into OGG and uploaded.
posted by myopicman at 11:55 PM on February 1, 2007

This sucks. Brave New Waves was great.
posted by ageispolis at 12:04 AM on February 2, 2007

Oh, and invoking the title quote, there's a new podcast via Britain's Channel 4 called Slashmusic, hosted by a certain Tom Ravenscroft. Just to restore karmic balance.
posted by myopicman at 12:05 AM on February 2, 2007

Too bad, I remember being a teenager being up way too late listening to the show, with a notebook to write down any songs that I liked... although I haven't listened to it in a long time. Sebadoh, Archwelder, Bratmobile, Unrest, I heard them first on that program.
posted by bobo123 at 12:24 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

First they destroy CBC Radio 3's original award-winning incarnation as a web magazine, and now this. The irony is the mothership is targeting a younger demographic with their changes, but shoving the anemic new CBCR3 into a Sirius-only backwater and cancelling Brave New Waves makes it clear the CBC doesn't give two shits about reaching that demographic at all.

I spent countless insomniac hours listening to Patti Schmidt in high school. I had that notebook too (well, more like tons of scraps of paper), littered with half-remembered names like the Dismemberment Planet (aka the Dismemberment Plan). And though I haven't been back in a while, I'm deeply saddened that kids in high school now will never have the opportunity to have their minds blown by Brave New Waves.
posted by chrominance at 4:03 AM on February 2, 2007

I'm another of those who haven't had a chance to listen to BNW in a few years, but I distinctly remember stumbling across it one night back in high school years. It completely changed my notion of what music was and could be. That, and Patti's voice is hot.

posted by RGD at 4:25 AM on February 2, 2007

I listened to it as well when I was in high school. It was Brent Banbury hosting back then. I have found memories of the Copernicus profile.
posted by juiceCake at 5:06 AM on February 2, 2007

There was nothing like BNW for going to sleep by, you'd be lulled nearly to sleep by some lull in a 10 minute long instreumtal sound painting only to be woken up violently when the song switched to loud chaotic noise. This happened about once a night or so.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:40 AM on February 2, 2007

From the last episode uplaoded link: The file you are trying to access is temporarily unavailable.

posted by Space Coyote at 5:47 AM on February 2, 2007

That sucks. Someone should check if they still retain copyright over the title and continue the show as an internet radio program.

I mean, in this day and age, who cares what a state corporation decidesis culture is worth supporting? The CBC is only as good as it's programs and let's face it - it's been downhill for a while now.

On the TV side, if it weren't for the National and Hockey Night in Canada, would it even exist anymore? Shows like the Fifth Estate chug along, but really, has the CBC ever been less relevant? I can't see how young people are going to relate to it twenty years from now. They are yanking their own plug.
posted by crowman at 6:19 AM on February 2, 2007

Echoing the "sucks." BNW was great for late night work, with Patti's soothing voice and mostly obscure (to me, anyway) music that kept me awake. Very sad to see radio3 go too. Sweet old Saturday and Sunday nights of good music with a solid Canadian component, no more.
posted by bread-eater at 6:29 AM on February 2, 2007

Oh man this is a whole other kind of suck. I need to call a friend to make sure he doesn't kill himself.
posted by chunking express at 6:33 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Although it's been years since I've listened, I was a huge fan during the early years - going back to the original host, Augusta La Paix. Bambury played one of my recordings once, on a segment featuring indie cassette-based artists.

Pre-web, BNW was vital. There's a ton of music fans who'll never forget it.
posted by davebush at 6:38 AM on February 2, 2007

It figures the suits running the CBC (into the ground) would shitcan one of the few things anyone under the age of 65 would actually want to listen to.

I used to work at the CBC, and during the lockout a year and a half ago there was a lot of conspiracy talk on the picket line to the effect that the seemingly bizarre programming choices were actually part of a larger plan to evicerate the CBC as a whole; less popularity, less funding, less criticism of the government. It's getting easier and easier to believe.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:02 AM on February 2, 2007

Very sad, having grown up in Toronto, the first time I heard it was in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia since the CBC is country wide. Given the state of terrestrial radio over the last 10 years it was always the first thing I put on the radio if I was driving home after midnight.

In Toronto, CFNY "the spirit of radio" turned into the very dull "edge". 88.1 used to also have great programming in the evening. It seems the source for obscure music has dried up. I find myself listening to the BBC now with shows like Mary Anne Hobbs, or podcasts like Solid Steel.
posted by phirleh at 7:02 AM on February 2, 2007

Yeah, I am actually pissed off about this.... Brave New Waves has been the soundtrack to many a late night for me... I wrote my Thesis while listening to it. . .

Radio 3? I have only missed a handful of episodes since it took over Radio Sonic...

CBC is really pissing me off lately.
posted by Quartermass at 7:16 AM on February 2, 2007

Right next to this post in my RSS reader is the Dictionary.com WotD: moribund. Yikes.
posted by Eideteker at 7:38 AM on February 2, 2007

Aw this sucks.
posted by frenetic at 7:41 AM on February 2, 2007

Goddamit. I used to listen to BNW religiously back in the 80s.

Fuck I hate how the government-- and it's not just Harper, this has been going on for far too long-- is out to destroy the CBC, one of the best things this country has.

*sits down to write another letter, rejoins Friends of the CBC*

Oh and

posted by jokeefe at 7:55 AM on February 2, 2007

Back in the day, our lame Detroit-area stations either militantly held the line at classic rock, or served up a dancy, new wavy pop schmaltz that was considered "radical" at the time. The soul and funk-oriented stations, too, had begun morphing into "Urban Comtemporary", which was just about as bland.

When we wanted to hear interesting, progressive, boundary-breaking music, we tuned into Brave New Waves.
The impact and influence this program has had over the years cannot be overstated.

But, as the various links have made clear, CBC management has been ignorant of what a ground-breaking gem they had in their own house.

How very sad.
posted by cows of industry at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2007


I kept hoping and waiting for a BNW podcast to come along, missing the show horribly since I moved to Texas from the Great White North. This is a huge disappointment.

I started listening during the Bambury days, as a music-starved kid growing up in the cultural black hole that is Saint John, New Brunswick. Brave New Waves, Nightlines and the oddly awesome local record shop, Backstreet Records, all fed me full of music I would’ve never heard of otherwise. Like others here, I’d fall asleep listening to Brave New Waves. I’d stick a tape in my stereo and hit record just as I was nodding off, so I’d be able to get just a little more of the show the next day.

The show was perfect really, stuffed full of great new underground music which no other radio station would play, and what’s more, a ton of new Canadian bands. Where else would you hear those? They’d do a profile a night, which was the best way of getting you excited to seek out new bands, since you were given a good serving of their music. There were great interviews with musicians, directors, writers and artists. And yeah, the longer you listened into the night, the weirder shit got. I remember in university, I was doing an alnighter in the big old sculpture studio, furiously trying to weld a piece. We had set up a couple of huge speakers and a stereo. I had it set to BNW and at fuck o’clock in the morning they started playing some driving, experimental piece made up of heartbeats. I was alone and had it cranked really loud. It was strange, it was disturbing, but somehow between the fumes and the fatigue, it was inspirational and the moment is branded in my memory.

Normally I hate the blind adoration of fanboy types, but there are few things I’ve ever been more devoted to than Brave New Waves. I love music more than just about anything, and the show kept me very well-fed. It will be missed.
posted by picea at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2007

indeed, . (not to diminish the use of it - and great post, btw). Fond memories of tuning into it late at night, when the magic hour of falling in love with music begins...

Nice to see so many others had fond memories of the show - Brent Banbury! A blast from the past. And yes, CFNY and the Spirit of Radio, before the station got cannabalized. Looks like so much of what's unique ends up getting killed in the end, murdered by suits. Bizarre so many of the decisions of the CBC brass are so completely out of touch with their supposed goals.

I'm thinking the conspiracy theory posted by The Card Cheat is sounding spot on. I suppose it's too late for a Save BNW type campagin. Sad day indeed for Canuck culture...
posted by rmm at 8:35 AM on February 2, 2007

killing bnw in order to "broaden the musical genres featured on air"?

courting the "youth" demographic with more jazz?

this makes no sense. ulterior motive.
posted by psychoticreaction at 8:49 AM on February 2, 2007

oh, and more jian ghomeshi. that'll bring "the youth".
posted by psychoticreaction at 8:58 AM on February 2, 2007

fuck jian ghomeshi and his moxy fruvous crap! the CBC was destined to be torn apart under the new conservative regime anyway. the arts are taking a beating and it's going to be the death of us all. not global warming.
posted by spish at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2007

The history of the CBC is one of (generally) talented people being run by unimaginative, dim-witted managers. They've previously replaced The Journal with Prime Time News, killed Front Page Challenege, killed CBC Radio 3's great weekly magazine and replaced it with an unremakable blog. Then there was that whole debacle where they tried to fire Sook-Yin Lee for appearing in Short Bus. Just a few examples.

One of the CBC's major problems is that it is heavy on baby boomers. Old people cannot figure out how to do youth programming. They just don't have a clue, and they're too conservative to do anything interesting. I cannot wait for the upcoming mass retirements that will hopefully pump some new blood into the upper management.
posted by pcameron at 9:21 AM on February 2, 2007

Wow. Very sad.
Continuing the trend of wrecking good things.
I loved Bambury and also David Wisdom in the '90's.
And RadioSonic was also great until they ruined it.

And then just when you think there's a bright spot in the cancellation of the unbearable Freestyle, they replace it with more Jian Gomeshi. Ugh, brutal.

I miss Sad Goat.
posted by chococat at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2007

Reasons to listen to the CBC:
1. Brave New Waves
2. Northern Lights
3. Ideas
4. Radio 3

5. Between the Covers

This is seriously threatening to ruin my day.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

BNW was Canada's John Peel.

It seems odd when other people talk about the show. I always had the feeling I was the only one listening, and that probably speaks to the show's magic.
posted by davebush at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2007

Yeah, sounds like the CBC needs a hostile takeover. I've tried to listen to some of the other shows, Radio3 and Definitely not the Opera, but they come across as so cutesy and far too eager to please. There's usually some good in there, but it's sandwiched by too much pap. I suspect that Brave New Waves could do what it pleased because of its obscurity. That doesn't really explain how Kids in the Hall came about, however, a mystery I'm still trying to solve.
posted by picea at 10:03 AM on February 2, 2007

Whoa, that Moxy Fruvous Wikipedia article...

"The band reminds some listeners of the Beatles..."

I think I just threw up in my mouth a lot.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:15 AM on February 2, 2007

Yes, I think Moxy Fruvous is one of the few bands that actually make me angry when I hear them. An absolute embarrassment.
That year, 1992 or whatever, when Moxy Fruvous and the Barenaked Ladies were all over the radio with their crappy independent tapes was one of the darkest times in Canadian music.
posted by chococat at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2007

. . . the horror . . .
posted by psychoticreaction at 10:25 AM on February 2, 2007

Ah crumb! This is terrible news. I too started listening during the Banbury days, but it was truly Patti Schmidt who got me through high school. The signal crossed the river from Windsor and I'd listen late, struggling to stay awake to hear what curious and beautiful thing might be played next. Even now, whenever I visit my parents I try to be sure to tune for at least a moment.

I truly count Brave New Waves among the top reasons I make music today. The show opened doors to a world of song that rang with intelligence and an odd punk rock warm-heartedness. Schmidt's celebration of the strange and the smart and the good helped a young me realize those are things to be celebrated, cherished.

And yes, now we have our feed readers over-subscribed to mp3blogs and our iTunes and don't need midnight radio to find curious new music. But call me curmudgeon, I'll take Patti Schmidt whispering, revealing, from a bad-tuned clock radio over a podcast no matter how high science can crank up the bitrate.

This is a shame, and leaves a large void.

posted by verysleeping at 10:31 AM on February 2, 2007

Old people cannot figure out how to do youth programming. They just don't have a clue, and they're too conservative to do anything interesting.

precisely. either the suits fall in love with some hipster doofus that they think will deliver the youth (benmurgui, gomeshi) and make repeated, futile attempts to cram them down our throats, or are alienated by successful programming that they can't understand, like radio sonic.

or they freak out when a beloved host gets buknekkid all up in there. syl rules.
posted by psychoticreaction at 10:43 AM on February 2, 2007

Then there was that whole debacle where they tried to fhired Sook-Yin Lee for appearing in Short Bus.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2007

precisely. either the suits fall in love with some hipster doofus that they think will deliver the youth (benmurgui, gomeshi)

Add George Stromboulopolis to that mix.
God I hate that show.
posted by chococat at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2007

Grant Lawerence (of Radio 3) was doing a talk at this journalism conference a couple weeks ago and commented on the relative success of the Radio 3 podcast and the demise of the Saturday Radio 2 night show...he was saying that the idea of "appointment listening" just doesn't work for an active, upwardly mobile demographic. He's got a point; even if the CSC does decent youth (by which I mean anyone not in diapers) programming, terrestrial radio might not be the best medium for it.
posted by thisjax at 11:08 AM on February 2, 2007

I remember one night, back in Augusta Le Paix days, where she played this astonishing piece by somebody name, I think, Jackie Appel. I remember it being called The Mexico Tapes, but I might be wrong-- this is a long time ago. The piece consisted of two voices whispering simultaneously, and it was absolutely riveting.

God bless Brave New Waves. *weeps*

If they cancel Ideas, I'll.... I'll.... I don't know what I'll do.

I have seriously have had enough of Strombolopolous and Gomeshi, as well. Shut up, already.

Also, it makes me insane that the programmers at CBC think that young people don't listen to classical music. Bite me.
posted by jokeefe at 11:27 AM on February 2, 2007

Here, here chocolat. If Barenaked Ladies and Moxy Fruvous were ever pitted in a steel cage ultimate fighting death match, I'd root for an electrical fire to burn down the entire stadium, along with the bands and their respective fan bases (hell, let's throw in Great Big Sea and make it a three-way death match).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2007

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2007

he was saying that the idea of "appointment listening" just doesn't work for an active, upwardly mobile demographic.

compared to the beauty of waves through the air converted into audio by a relatively primitive machine that does not require a subscription or a phone line, podcasting ain't shit. 'appointment listening' might be on the way out, but there's no way jojo will ever sing, "i don't feel so bad now, with the podcast on."

i hate the thought of good radio being something only the people of the 20th century were fortunate enough to enjoy, along with the internal combustion engine and unprotected sex.
posted by psychoticreaction at 12:01 PM on February 2, 2007

For the person wondering if the CBC has the copyright to the title Brave New Waves: titles can't be copyrighted.

Given that there are about eight times as many CBC listeners in the 35-50 age range than in the 18-35 age range, this does not surprise me in the tiniest bit. Sad, though.
posted by watsondog at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2007

he was saying that the idea of "appointment listening" just doesn't work for an active, upwardly mobile demographic. He's got a point

Except that late night radio is different. It actually retains the appointment-radio status, or perhaps the booty-call-radio status, because its listeners are late-night listeners. Art Bell wouldn't work in daylight; John Peel's morning programme was about funny little household stories; likewise, BNW was made for its timeslot. (And even worked when streamed across the pond for those who are still awake at 3am.)

Radio is an intimate medium, and late-night radio more so. While radio has long complemented the web better than visual media (at least, pre-YouTube), late-night programming doesn't timeshift well, just as the midnight-45 shipping forecast feels wrong at 7.45pm.

[Peel got shifted about the R1 schedule, but never from late night. His bosses understood who was listening.]
posted by holgate at 3:56 PM on February 2, 2007

This is unfortunate. Most of my early musical finds in life stemmed from BNW (since transferred to torrents). It was a mainstay in my high-school life and it's unfortunate that future generations will miss out on the experience.

posted by purephase at 3:59 PM on February 2, 2007

I didn't get to listen to BNW a lot (it started after I moved away from Detroit), but whenever I was back in Detroit visiting family, it was a must listen for me. One of the things I hoped for most when I heard CBC would have a presence on satellite radio was that they would air BNW. (Didn't happen. :-P)

I thought the initial announcement of the changes at CBC said that BNW would be moving to Radio 3, not that it would be cancelled altogether, but if Patti Schmidt has been reassigned to something else, that's it.... Feh.

(I was a huge fan of the old Radio 3 web site and even nominated it for a Webby as one of the judges of the radio category, but honestly, I like having an actual radio station to listen to, even if it's only on satellite.)
posted by geneablogy at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2007

"Art Bell wouldn't work in daylight" — holgate — Aaack./ Please, turn it off, too bright....must reach.....
Good observations. And please, do not mention George nor Jian. Puhlease./

It says a lot that a wonderful overnight show with a small audience share gets 86'd. Why risk slotting that show in the daytime... chickens.
At least there are many college radio stations where the selection is up to the DJ. I can only imagine what a national list would look like of similar stations.

I still love daytime CBC ]99.1FM Toronto[, save for the gardening show ]kidding[.
Bring back the Max Ferguson Show./
posted by alicesshoe at 5:35 PM on February 2, 2007

Just finished listening to the "final" show that was uploaded, (looking like it still works), which closes with one of William Basinski's pieces from The Disintegration Loops, a haunting, decaying loop that sounds like the Buddha Machine being slowly disassembled. At the end, the names of the past BNW contributors were cited, then one final bit of levity before the typical Radio 2 bump. It sounds like The End.

I wish a show like this would have a formal announcement of the end of its run and not have it go out quietly. Then again, part of the show's ragged charm was the fact that no one could believe that this would air on the national broadcaster, let alone them. It was always hailed by everyone outside the CBC as what the network ought to be doing, but the network itself maintained an antagonistic relationship with the producers (which was admittedly mutual). I'm sure certain folks on both sides are relieved that it's over, but it was never about the behind-the-scenes machinations; it was always the transmission that was the important part.

And it was always self-assured, not the over-the-top posturing most of the other hip shows always pumps up. Very fact-of-the-matter, very forthright, not condescending at all and quite accommodating to any listener feeling brave enough to listen as the host would always offer a hand to guide you through the maelstrom coming up next. It was a standard bearer and for that, it should have been recognized better.
posted by myopicman at 6:20 PM on February 2, 2007

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