I’ll march for the CBC … but not at any cost


The Canadian Media Guild is encouraging Canadians to write their Member of Parliament asking  to commit to make the CBC strong again. The CMG would like its members to send the following letter to their MP and share it within their community – 


But not everyone is ready to jump in. After much soul searching retired CBC broadcaster Terry Ledrew of Pasadena, NL had this to say:


By Terry Ledrew

I am ambivalent about this pressure campaign.
Though you would be hard-pressed to find a deeper supporter of public broadcasting.
The corporation has knowingly diminished its presence and connection to the smaller regions.
Because the eyeballs aren’t there, the CBC
has knowingly and willingly robbed radio to prop up television, which is why I have to choke down ads on Radio 2 and
listen to Gomeshi’s best-of interviews at the end of April.
And repeat after repeat of every show.
In chasing ratings, CBC has cheapened itself by copying inane commercial programs – cooking contests, capitalistic crap like Dragon’s Den and so forth –
and all the while refusing to tighten its own management belt.
This latest round of cuts exemplified management’s head-in-the-clouds attitude.
Anthony Germain said it best during an interview with CBC Atlantic’s director.
“So, how many jobs will be lost in this province?”
“And how many of those would be managers?”
“Thanks for this.”

CBC’s VP English said recently it would not be good for CBC’s image to ask people for financial support, as PBS does.
She indicated it would be “demeaning.”
How much more demeaning, I wonder, than expecting someone like Mr.  Germain, former host of The House, former excellent correspondent in Asia, to run around wearing a turkey suit during a CBC fundraiser to get taxpayers to donate a turkey to food banks?
Why? So someone could eat a wing at Christmas?
Nope. To try to come out on top of the private radio and television operations in my province.
Wait, no, just in St. John’s because that’s the only operation of the four here that counts.

The Harper government is just the latest in a long chain of administrations to disregard CBC’s financial woes.
I think we should be asking, were they ALL wrong?


It isn’t as simple as saying governments are paying back for exposés of wrongdoing, (although Harper might have a case, given the thinly veiled contempt our journalists have shown for his administration.)

The problem goes much deeper than that , and it is a CBC problem as much as it is the failure of any administration to support public broadcasting.

I cannot send any letter asking anyone for more money for CBC when I have walked the talk and have seen what goes on.
Unless top brass recognize it took a wrong turn somewhere, and makes an effort to correct, (instead of trotting out the intended commitment to  the regions
each and every time – the regions they gutted, on their own and blamed cuts for what they wanted to do all along.)

I am less than moved.

If CBC wants to get off its mountain and start to recognize and respect its once-loyal following, read local, regional, creative, original, daring, truthful, unbiased,
non-sensational and stop to skirt-chase the ratings, I’ll be right there not to just send a letter. I will march, as so many people did for so many years.
Why they no longer do … speaks volumes.




One thought on “I’ll march for the CBC … but not at any cost”

  1. I only have a few comments to make as Terry has written so eloquently about this mess. I was informed by some former co-workers that in my area 10 editors have been given notice, 3 operators in video tape, 5 staff in the National. These are people I had worked with. I don’t understand why Australia can support their broadcaster to the tune of $53 per person and Canada funds CBC at $33. Both countries are similar in population. This would go a long way to help CBC to re-establish the kind of quality programming that Canadians had previously enjoyed. The Corp would have to make changes in the internal operations of the business. There are too many managers for staff. Programming has to reflect the cultural diversity of the country. Radio needs to receive an increase in funding to keep it relevant in today’s market. Television doesn’t need to compete with private broadcasters in the rush to make us into the average American viewer. They would simply outspend us. Senior management at the CBC has to be lean, intelligent and innovative in designing the programming necessary if it is to remain relevant for Canadians.

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