22 Aug 2017

CBC Radio badly off track with
too much personal storytelling

During CBC Radio’s 81 years  the public broadcaster has been the country’s most important life-line, unifying the nation and helping us understand each other and the important issues of the day.

I am lucky to have worked at the CBC for more than 25 years. I held several positions, including Canadian Editor of The National, working as an investigative journalist, as a radio documentary producer, and as an editor with National Radio News.

Today CBC Radio is more important than ever. With newspapers failing to do their job, journalism in Canada is in crisis. Media organizations are failing to provide communities with news and analysis that is necessary for democracy to function properly.

(Note: If you too disapprove of what’s happening to CBC Radio, I’ve provided emails at the end of this article where you can send your protests.)


CBC Radio is proud of the success of its podcast, Someone Knows Something which explores cold cases after people have disappeared. 
As always, I’ve been listened to Radio One this summer. My favourite programs, which include The Current, As It Happens, The Sunday Edition and Ideas, are doing a good job.

However, I’m puzzled and dismayed by most of about a dozen new summer programs. A couple of them – the Doc Project and Now or Never  – provide some interesting stories told from a personal point of view.

Too much “personal issues” radio

Otherwise, the remaining 10 new programs are not the kind of shows that should be so prominent on the CBC. Too many dwell on the sad stories of people who have had a difficult life. People ramble on about their feelings. There’s lots of talk about “human connections”, and advice for people with problems.

Here is a sampling:
  • Love Me with with Lu Olkowski. “Deep down we all just want to be loved, so why is it one of the toughest things to get right?” says the program description. “Love Me is a podcast about the messiness of human connection.”
  • Road Trip Radio, both a podcast and on Radio One, is described as “a family friendly podcast celebrating all things Canada!” Produced by the team behind CBC Radio’s This is That, most of the episodes have been humourless and an embarrassment. 
  • Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay. The program claims to tackle one timely subject each week with “energy, wit, and journalistic rigor.” A recent episode: “Hair Care: Shaving, waxing, threading, plucking, sugaring, electrolysis.”
  • Sleepover with Sook-Yin Lee. “In each episode one stranger takes the spotlight and presents a problem from their life. The other two offer advice and bring up related experiences from their own unique perspectives.”
  • Seat at the Table with Isabelle Racicot and Martine St-Victor. “A weekly talk show where the hosts bring you honest conversations with guests shaping pop culture.” One episode featured an interview with Laura Wasser, Hollywood's divorce lawyer.  
I’m not surprised that many of my friends have abandoned CBC Radio. I think traditional listeners are leaving in droves.

 “I used to listen to CBC Radio all day,” says a former CBC producer/friend. “Now, I listen very little. The personal storytelling and victimhood are irritating and are in much of the schedule. A former colleague remarked recently that CBC Radio has never met a victim it doesn’t like.”

Weak programming

Critical analysis is non-existent in these programs. They have very little redeeming value.

With the CBC strapped for cash, Radio One is sinking a whack of  money into these programs. More than 25 hosts and producers work full-time, part-time on on contract on these shows, and some of them travel across the country.

This money should be used to add programs that explore major thematic issues week after week. It’s practically criminal that the CBC Radio does not have a program on the climate change crisis.
Excellent programming can be inexpensive to produce. A top notch broadcaster interviewing interesting people can result in great radio.

Why the dramatic changes?

So why are we getting this strange hybrid of broadcasting at CBC Radio?

Says an insider: “Over the years, management, at least on the English side, has devalued "intellectual' content. They think it's boring, high-minded, ivory tower stuff. They want ‘stories’ – compelling, if well told, and cheap to do. The mantra at CBC Radio is, ‘Tell us your story.’"

The insider says the CBC’s commitment to a strong digital presence and on-line audience is one of the reasons behind the interest in storytelling. It’s proud of the success of podcast Someone Knows Something , an engrossing and entertaining program that looks into unsolved crimes.

CBC Radio is fixated on building an audience by providing trivial, entertainment-like. For many managers, numbers are more important than content.

“We have Chartbeat running on TVs all over the building,” says a CBC staffer. “It basically tells you how many people have clicked on a story online. Its real time instant feedback, and program leaders take it seriously. That’s how decisions get made these days.”

The front-line person responsible for this approach to broadcasting is Leslie Merklinger. A veteran of 35 years in media, she’s now Director of New Programs and Talent Development at Radio. Merklinger has been on the job for just over two years and has taken a lot of heat because she has never worked in radio.

Off-base programming values

In an e-mail, Merklinger writes about “building bridges through empathy,” and a program, Sleepover, that she says “literally connects strangers in a provocative and powerful social experiment format.” She likes shows that “bring topics and taboos in the public spotlight in an effort to build empathy and understanding.”

Marklinger describes her unorthodox plans for CBC Radio on You Tube.

These programming ideas are shared by many of the radio producers she supervises.

“The younger generation of radio producers, 25 - 40,” says a long-time CBC senior producer, “were brought up on This American Life and its many offshoots and imitators, such as The Moth. For them, storytelling is king, and it's all they want to do.”

Many journalists from my generation, starting work during the 1960s and 70s, entered media because they had a strong social conscience. Today’s young CBC journalists are more interested in telling stories about people and their issues. .

For many years CBC Radio has had documentary makers who were great storytellers but that used the format to explain complex issues.

For instance, the late Stuart McLean won an ACTRA Award in 1979 for “Operation White Knight,” his documentary drama about the Jonestown Massacre.  (It’s unfortunate that too few docs from this era are available online.)


Changes needed in fall schedule

I’ve witnessed a lot of disasters at the CBC over more than 40 years in journalism, but what’s happening now in radio is the worst I've ever seen. Senior managers must be held accountable.

While a number of senior producers have input into decisions, the person with the final say is Susan Marjetti, Executive Director, Radio and Audio, CBC English Services. Marjetti has had a long and productive career in the CBC. She is credited with making important improvements to local Toronto shows, with the morning program topping the ratings.

Marjetti’s boss is Heather Conway, executive vice-president of English Services of the CBC. She came to the CBC in December 2013, having been chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

CBC Radio’s wandering off into a journalistic sub-culture must be curtailed. At most, radio’s schedule should include a couple of the storytelling programs. When new programs for the fall and winter period are announced, CBC Radio must be back on track.

I would like to ask readers put pressure on the CBC. If you too are disgusted with the misguided radio programming, you can send e-mails to:
If you like, send me a copy: fillmore0274@rogers.com  

We must see if we can play a role in getting the irreplaceable CBC Radio back on track.


-30-


CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog.
Thanks Nick

46 comments:

  1. I last enjoyed listening to CBC back when Peter Gzowski was on air. Then I'd listen during commutes to find out what the traffic was doing, a bit of local news, and international news. DNTO sometimes was fun, on the rare times I heard it. Then my phone started showing me traffic, andI got tired of the same old format. I haven't listened to CBC in particular, or any radio in general, at all, in about 4 years. I'm not sure I could articulate what I'd have to heard to be lured back.

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  2. Honestly, I listen mostly to internet radio, if it wasn't for Murdoch Mysteries, and the comedy show by the guy who plays George Crabtree, I wouldn't really deal with the CBC.

    When I want analysis, depth, and so on, I usually go to YouTube, the funny thing is YouTube has more Canadian content right now then the CBC.

    Sometimes I don't know why they bother with the CBC when they could replace it with their own YouTube/Netflix entity that focuses on content creators, not buracracts.

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  3. Honestly, I listen mostly to internet radio, if it wasn't for Murdoch Mysteries, and the comedy show by the guy who plays George Crabtree, I wouldn't really deal with the CBC.

    When I want analysis, depth, and so on, I usually go to YouTube, the funny thing is YouTube has more Canadian content right now then the CBC.

    Sometimes I don't know why they bother with the CBC when they could replace it with their own YouTube/Netflix entity that focuses on content creators, not buracracts.

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  4. Frankly if any interviewer starts with the question "How did you feel about...insert situation here" then I'm off to the next pushbutton. Even AIH succumbs to this laxy way of questioning.

    Comedy on the CBC radio is atrocious and unfunny, how episodes of the Debators must we endure before something funny is uttered?

    And don't start me off on the fact that the radio only programmes 12 hours of live stuff, as a person who works nights I have to be selective in daytime selections knowing it is going to be reated 12 hours later.

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    1. I agree completely with your "how do you feel" statement. And on AIH. Too many times I hear them ask, well, anyone, what they 'feel is going to happen' instead of waiting for it to happen and then reporting on it.

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    2. Yes, I am surprised at home many times I'll tune in to CBC and hear the same program rebroadcast. Some of the "storytelling" shows definitely push me towards changing the station - like Sleepover and discussing hair removal...

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  5. I seldom listen to CBC Radio anymore. Too much trivial content. They should take some lessons from NPR and BBC on how to provide listeners with intelligent, well-produced radio.

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  6. Hey Nick,
    I like that you are committed to upholding standards of journalism. God knows there are few people who do these days. But this blog comes across as a rant against programs by young people and people of colour. Especially with all the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
    There is a lot that is wrong with CBC radio and tv journalism. For one thing, most of it is newswire stuff. A bureau chief in London can't possibly know what is going on on-the-ground in Madrid or Moscow. So let's drop the pretense.
    There is no coverage of culture anymore, it is all about entertainment. Metro Morning's Karen Gordon is particularly annoying. I can't recall when she last reviewed a Canadian film. And, we don't need 'Pop Culture Experts' on CBC. EVER!!
    I hope someone reads your blog and is listening.

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  7. I used to have CBCOne on my Internet radio presets, then I started to feel it became trite and superficial. I Now listen almost exclusively to NPR, PRI (Public Radio INternational - which does rebroadcast some CBC content)and BBC. Don't even get me started on CBC RADIO TWO. I stopped listening years ago!

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  8. What do you expect CBC to talk about? All the real news is being censored. They are not going to talk about the mass murders being committed by the weaponry we sold Saudi Arabia, they are going to discuss hate groups in this country as we've been arming the Right Sector Neo-Nazi's in Ukraine for several years now. They are not going to discuss how this same group is also a registered Non-Profit Corporation in Canada(https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=9004963). One that marches in parades, recruits in community newsletters and holds fundraisers in our parks. You think what happened in Charlottesville was bad? You should see what the Right Sector has been doing in Ukraine. CBC certainly won't talk about it. Our govt providing them with weapons and training.

    You also won't hear CBC talk about our Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Who is the granddaughter of an infamous Nazi propagandist that was hunted by Polish authorities for decades. She lied to Canadians when she said her family was persecuted by the Nazis but you won't hear anything about that on CBC. You will find plenty of information about there however as John Helmer as been hard at work exposing her Nazi ancestry and her lies about it: http://johnhelmer.net/?s=freeland

    Don't expect to hear any truth on NPR either. In July 2013 under the Obama Admin the US repealed its law about the use of domestic propaganda on US citizens. Meaning anything and everyone on US MSM or from the State Dept is potentially complete propaganda.

    This also means that anything you hear from the CBC or our govt could also be nothing more than complete propaganda as often the US media or govt is the source of whatever they are broadcasting to Canadians.

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    1. Dear Shit Hawk, why the attack on Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland? You seem to be implying that Nazi collaboration is hereditary, and that is a really cheap shot. She is doing an outstanding job for Canada.

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    2. You are way off topic, Shit Hawk. Since you want to talk about Foreign Affairs (ie Russian interests) how about mass-murderer Stalin revisionism?

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  9. Is this what the writer meant to say?

    "CBC Radio is fixated on building an audience by providing trivial, entertainment-like."

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  10. Bring back the theatre of the mind "Radio Drama" and pease - cut way down on personal storytelling -

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  11. I'm incredibly disappointed the 180 has been discontinued. Incredible program.

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  12. I turn CBC1 on first thing in the morning for the news. When I get to work I start that days audio book and when the clock chimes the half hour I turn in CBC1 for the news then go back to my audio book because so many of the shows are now so trivial.

    I actually wish that someone would start a radio station network that would explicitly reject pop-culture, sports, and entertainment content and provide 24 hours a day of people with doctorates in various sciences and humanities providing unbiased as possible analysis of that days world events as they relate to their specialisation.

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    1. I so agree with you. If I hear one more band promoting themselves on Q,...drone on, drone on...the banal ego blathering needs to be banned. Also disappointed the 180 has been cancelled. And please, no more "How did you feel...?" questioning.

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    2. Shane A. Leslie, They have. It's called the BBC.

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    3. Yeah, I've been saying this to myself for years. Intelligent discourse is extremely rare these days.

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  13. I thought it was just me! I keep the radio tuned to CBC, but lunge to turn it off when someone starts to cry. And that is every day.
    I like The House, and Day 6 and quite a bit of The Current. CBC has to get its 'mission statement' clear: It must stop trying to appeal to a really young market. Not going to happen. Those of us who have stuck with it have done so hoping for some real journalism and analysis, because, as you said above, it is lacking in most media. What one of the commenters said about NPR and BBC: Yeah. That.

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    1. Pretty well all these criticisms are spot on. CBC was always on in our house and all my kids grew up to become listeners. But no longer. One comment I would add is please ditch all the horrible music inserted in most morning programs between segments and these are very short segments. Especially before 8AM.

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  14. To take it a step further, Nick, I am deeply frustrated by our local (Winnipeg)"current affairs" programming that liberally laces its weather and traffic reports with chatty camaraderie and music, inserts a very occasional fluff interview or film review, and utterly excludes anything remotely resembling current affairs... i ahve found myslef stabbing the buttons on my car radio of late, changing to a local all-news station that, while its hosts are braying idiots, at least attempts to cover local issues.

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  15. Here's what I emailed to CBC officials listed above Aug 23. 2017:

    Dear Ms. Conway,

    Undoubtedly you have seen or heard of the blog by Nick Fillmore about CBC radio and its current decline. I read the whole thing, plus comments, and can't say I disagree with any of them (except maybe one*).

    I, too, was raised on CBC radio and came to accept it as the standard for good radio, similar to the BBC in Britain or some of the other national broadcasters in English when I could get them on my short-wave radio. Though NPR and PBS are cited in the blog comments, I think CBC formed, for them, many of their standards also.

    *Here's the one exception. I don't think one should steer away from programming aimed at younger people. Interests and sensibilities of younger people, including very young children, is as varied a spectrum as adults and seniors. They don't need to be pandered to, nor treated to dumbed-down content.

    So here's my request - give us a CBC where programmers are professionals and artists, to be treated with respectfully and recognized as the source of material of which CBC can be proud. They've done it in the past, and would still do it if allowed and resourced properly.

    Don't allow interviewers to start questions with the words "how" or "how much". What is the interviewee supposed to say when asked "how much"? Is it 42.73%? Really, it's such a feckless and banal approach to interviewing it should be outlawed (if only we could.)

    Don't wallow in feelings. If I want that I can get gobs - yes, gobs - of it on TV and on radio of the privateers. That's what a lot of songs are about when they're not about violence and greed.

    Please, CBC, put radio back to work at what it's good at (gripping, intelligent, challenging, responsive programming) and store the ratings for weekend reading if you need something to do.

    If I may remind you of something - the previous government had MPs dedicated to ruining and disbanding the CBC, with a cheap sell-off to the privateers. Excuse me if I say I detect their handiwork in operation right now. Don't let their goals become yours.

    Ken Collier
    Mission, BC


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  16. Oh goodness! What to say: I have just listened to the Youtube New Programmes Pitch; Ms Merklinger and the English language are not on a par with, for example Paul Kennedy. And Arif Noorani, of 'Q" fame, in the Ghomeshi era.

    I am sure you are able to access more quickly than I, the interview with Richard Stursberg in which he defends the commercialization of the CBC.

    Thanks for the blog; I have just found out about it, and can breath a sigh of relief that someone out there is thinking.

    Please tell your 'insider' pal, to speak the word; 'what went through your mind when...' is vile. It reminds me of that stinky joke; "What was the last thing that went through Curt Cobain's head before he died?" "His teeth" They should stop with the banality.

    I'm with you; The Current, The Sunday Edition, AIH, and IDEAS are tops; Spark is very good, *Norah is an 'old' IDEAS person*, and Mary Hynes/Tapestry is wonderful; Quirks and Quarks also; I think these are great programmes because they each give one, something to think about.

    Glad to be part of the discussion:
    Thanks,
    Suzanne Mooney
    Ottawa Ontario

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  17. You might also want to mention that CBC Radio newscasts often sound like they are being written and presented by a bunch of fifth-graders.

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  18. All through the 1970s and 80s I listened to CBC Radio day and night. It was an intelligent and highly informative news and documentary network that seldom disappointed. For years now it seems to be little but re-runs, pop-talk shows, comedy shows and, yes, endless personal tragedy stories. This may be what "the marketplace" suggests the public wants, but it certainly is not what the CBC was set up for.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. I wish radio one was news and information like the tv news network. I listen for news and current affairs and find myself turning off radio after 1 pm. Other former devotees say the same.

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  21. Part I

    Hi Nick.

    And here I was thinking I was the only one who noticed this!

    I’ve listened to CBC One for most of my adult life. This summer, I’ve been switching to Radio Two’s classical music in disgust to escape the new style of programming that now dominates the prime channel. This can nicely be summarized as:

    Victim narratives + identity politics + wallowing in individual feelings = good radio

    It’s not. It’s boring and grating, unless you happen to be part of that micro-group that shares the victim narrative in question.

    Some of the new shows you mention, such as Sleepover, are mind-numbingly painful. This one sounds like it was made by a morally righteous 16-year-old. I’ll take Vivaldi over the “new” Sook-Yin any day. There are still some good shows such as Spark and As it Happens, but the CBC’s cognoscenti are sadly mistaken if they think their nouvelle vague programming is going to bring in 18-year-olds hooked to their smart phones in en masse. So it’s the worst of two worlds: you don’t get the kids, and you alienate at least half of your regular audience by dumbing-down your shows for your audience.

    There are so many problems with this new wave stuff that I don’t know where to start. First, it’s not politically innocent. It wallows in liberal identity politics, but as soon a real left-wing caller shows up, the hosts try to shoo him or her away as quickly as possible. So CBC spends several hours a week on trans-gender issues (representing, according to surveys, 0.3-0.6% of the population – and even they might be bored by some of the CBC shows!), while ignoring class, poverty, the power of large corporations, McDonaldization, globalization, i.e. pretty well all the burning economic issues of the day.

    Further on identity politics: I have nothing against native people, but it’s getting pretty tiresome to blame every single native problem on residential schools. They’re gone and never coming back. Yes, the feds could do more for native people – but CBC shows mention residential schools more often than they do capitalism, the economic system that 100% of Canadians live within.

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  22. Part II

    The new CBC is pro-corporate and pro-big tech, hiding this behind the shadows of liberal identity politics. Ontario Today, which appears on weekdays at noon, is particularly bad at this – I’ve heard about a dozen times the hosts present some trivial topic, then someone with a critical or incisive comment call in, after which the host quickly gets them off the air to move onto yet another victim of some tragedy like the loss of air miles. Example: they did a show on “how does the Sunshine List make you feel?” Well, I don’t care how others “feel” about this – the real question is whether the salaries it lists are just and deserved by those who get them. A caller calls in to point this out, and the host (I think it was Rita Celli) gets flustered and gets rid of him. Yet if you do a show about the Sunshine List, isn’t raising the issue of economic equality logically implied by the topic? In other words, the hosts have been told by their producers to avoid substantive debates. The result is bland pabulum, or sneaky and offensive politics of blame that targets groups without having the courage to name them.

    The emphasis on individual “feelings” is disturbing, anti-democratic, and anti-enlightenment. If it were a matter of gauging immediate responses to a disaster, fine; but it often seems to be about “feelings” of one or a few people who most listeners can’t reasonably connect to.

    A lot of the political, economic and cultural analysis is fading away. Another case in point is the decline and fall of Q. It used to be a must-listen, multi-faceted morning show, whatever you thought of Jian Gomeshi. But under Tom Power, it’s little better than a MTV music chat show. For one thing, Power, a nice guy, seems to know very little about things outside his narrow musical interests. I really don’t care what most musicians have to say about how tough it was to make their latest album. I do care about national and global politics, technological changes, and even sports culture – why in the world did they get rid of the excellent sports culture panel, a highlight of Q up to about a year ago.

    Radio comedy is in decline, though still there. I take it radio drama is gone. As others have noted, Internet podcasts have taken over from CBC One when it comes to humour, political commentary, or critical analysis of popular culture. Two of my favourites are “Imaginary Worlds” and “Canceled Too Soon”: why can’t CBC do shows like this? The latter has only two presenters and a microscopic budget!

    Tied to this is the fact that some of CBC’s presenters can’t pronounce common English words. That’s probably because they spend half their days on social media and watching the trash TV they’re trying to copy. CBC should hire Michael Enright as a dialect coach.

    In short, CBC One has lost its way. Back to the Vivaldi.

    Doug Mann

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    1. Your first line of Part II says it all.

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    2. PS the emphasis on "feelings" (as opposed to facts and rational debate) is what got Donald Trump elected. "I want a wall on the Mexican border!" (regardless of whether Congress can and would pay for it). "Hilary is corrupt - lock her up!" (regardless of whether she actually broke the law).

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  23. Both my parents, and one of my grandparents---even I---worked for CBC, radio and TV. Most of my life MoCo Radio was the only station any of us ever listened to.

    It changed, naturally, over these several decades, but I forgave the odd repeat, or a novice personality performing a bit below standard for a few shows.

    Then the cuts really started biting, repeats became more frequent and frequently repeated, and talent slipped a notch. Nevertheless, the CBC impressed by fulfilling its mandate inspite of funding difficulties.

    Something snapped for me when Gomeshi got sacked because, regardless the seriousness of allegations against him, CBC went out of its way, it seemed, to send him up before he went to court, featuring non-stop shows on sexual assault and incessant reports and interviews with witnesses, pre-trial, loaded with innuendo and opinion. I was appalled, not least because an offender might have easily evaded justice on the ground that his character had been so thoroughly smeared he'd never get a fair hearing. Further, witnesses against him may have been encouraged to unwittingly spoil their own evidence by the CBC's cavalier treatment of the defendant for months before the court case---to pile on, in other words, and probably to communicate with each other and coordinate statements which, once revealed by Gomeshi's lawyer, destroyed his accusers' credibility. We may also never know the full story or CBC's likely complicity in allowing bad behaviour in its workplace just to appease its star radio host.

    Journalistic integrity was flushed at that point, I suppose in an attempt to cover CBC's ass.

    I'm sad to say integrity appeared not to have recovered with the plainly propagandistic coverage of the fentanyl street crisis which CBC deigned to falsely characterize as a crisis in overprescription of opioids by doctors---a narrative that conspicuously contradicted its even its own local news reports. Plenty of blatant biasing of the issue has been noted and complained about by many listeners because the "overprescription" narrative broadcast happens to support physician colleges' unwarranted crackdowns on opioid prescription to legitimate patients (my theory, and many agree, is the OxyContin scandal that's still resulting in lawsuits 20 years later is probably the ulterior reason for the misleading propaganda and the unwarranted crackdown it tries to rationalize). These crackdowns arbitrarily harm patients who benefit and depend on proper pain treatment, the vast majority never abusing or getting addicted to their meds.

    Maybe I'm too old to accept that the wave of absurdism that has infested our politics lately has also spread to journalistic integrity at the nation's public broadcaster---the blatancy of it is absurd: it's so obvious.

    Not only is it making a hash of CBC, it is harming innocent chronic pain sufferers too. Makes me wonder why. Is this how CBC has to make its money nowadays? Spreading plain propaganda for powerful medical agencies that perceive culpability in overprescribing OxyContin (when the manufacturer had lied that its new drug was not very addictive)? What gives?!

    Increasingly mediocre talent and non-stop repeats are one thing, but... Maybe I should have given up on CBC back then. Maybe then I wouldn't have had to witness these major ethical transgressions.

    Yet I still listen---quite selectively now---but I'll forevermore take anything on CBC news with a grain of salt---which makes the fading MoCo much like every other radio station in that department.

    What a shame. Can it be redeemed----or is it too late?

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  24. CBC is a shell of its former self. Shows like The Current have jumped the proverbial shark having relegated themselves to a platform for victim and identity politics. It is a shame because CBC Radio used to be diverse and interesting.

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  25. The criteria for CBC should be: "How is it in the public interest? What is the public good being supported?" Arguably, with good public affairs programing, I benefit as a citizen even if I don't listen to a particular program. It helps our democracy to have more informed citizens.

    There is also an economic argument in CBC providing development funding to help build a Canadian film industry - training technical and creative staff.

    Unfortunately, the focus is too much on providing content that the maximum number of people will listen to. If that is your sole criteria, why not let the private sector handle it? Why should it be subsidized?

    Stephen Harper's belief was there was no such thing as a public good, only private market interests. CBC has let itself go so far down that rabbit hole that it has undermined the reason for its existence.

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  26. The majority of CBC 1 is still well done, but can the Top40 music already. A few too many "personal stories" perhaps... certainly Sook Yin Lee's new show is underwhelming (DNTO was already mostly a bore) and a disservice to her background and potential. I'd like to see CBC stand even more for longform journalism and intellectual content. Thank goodness for Ideas, Spark, Anna-Maria Tremonti, The House.... A climate change show is an awesome idea.

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    1. You must be joking. Tremonti hasn't functioned as a journalist for years. One-sided interviews that are so embarrassing of her former reputation.

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  27. while I share some of your concern for the type of programming on Radio 1, it is hard to argue with "success". Radio 1 is the number one radio station in Manitoba. I feel that it is people over 40/50 who lament the "folksy" tone that CBC radio has adopted. And yes many of my friends no longer listen but clearly this new tone is attracting more listeners than it is losing. In order to justify its existence the CBC needs to show numbers and it would appear to be doing that, and as such we who love and care about and understand the political necessity of having a public broadcaster, may need to plug our noses every once in a while because if somebody is listening to Sleep Over or Road Trip, they might have to wade through The Current or As It Happens to get to it and come to appreciate that part of CBC that you, and I, do as well.

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  28. I, too, used to be a regular listener of CBC 1 but over the years I've largely moved away. My biggest complaint about content is the obscene amount of pandering to the aboriginal cause we are forced to endure. It would be less annoying if once in awhile they would present both sides of the issues, but they never do. Real journalism suffers in the name of political correctness gone mad. I also switch stations any time I hear YET ANOTHER trans person telling his/her life story. Enough already!

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  29. They have introduced commercials to CBC Radio One on the internet feeds. As the CBC faithful have been pointing out for decades, the introduction of advertising will change the programming.

    This has now happened, and as predicted, the emphasis is on getting more ears, rather than making better content.

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  30. Nice article, and I agree with your argument. It seems as if CBC (especially CBC radio) has lost its way and is merely drifting. I don't want to get partisan, but it also seems as if they lob softballs at right-wingers who wish to see the CBC destroyed. Very curious. I like the CBC best when it takes chances on public policy matters. Don't see much of that of late. Thanks for the email addresses.

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  31. While I commiserate with you and some of the folks in the comments here, I to am an old fart and wax nostalgic at times but this whole article and most of the comments just sound like old farts jawing about the world changing and how much better things were in the "good old days".

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  32. "Radio One this summer....are.doing a good job"? Really? Some shows are producing new material but for the most pary summer at cbc means repeat shows (oh sorry "Encore presentations"). And That's lame. And long weekends are a disaster, as if they all leave for the beach and just put the network on filler autopilot.

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  33. Please someone axe that deplorable shade of what AIH used to be. Led by a YUK YUK's cast off and what used to be Carol Off, it's become an embarrassment, AS HAS Anna Maria Tremonti, who used to be a journalist and now fronts public relations for every pomo airhead coming into her studio. Please end it. Give us back our CBC. Find some actual journalists instead of these public relations flacks.

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