Over the past year, the CBC has altered their programming by cutting off all "Classical" music after 6:00 PM, they cut all news programs, including "The World at Six", the most comprehensive national news radio program in Canada, and "The Arts Report" which was one of the sole ways to hear about performers, concerts and anything music related from coast to coast. It was also announced yesterday that Rick Phillips, the host of "Sound Advice" the only national music recording critique show has resigned, and the show will stop at the end of this month.
By September of this year, CBC Two has announced a complete overhaul in its weekday daytime programming, and weekend morning programming. Including axing the highly popular morning show "Music and Company" and afternoon show "Disk Drive", relegating all their classical content to five hours in the mid-day portion, and only playing what they are describing as "popular and accessible classical music". Morning and late afternoon shows will only feature light jazz, popular music and other "easy listening" favourites. Nothing official has been announced about their popular weekend shows, "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera" or "Choral Concert" at this point, but one would think that it won't be far down on the list of shows to be axed.
To read the entire CBC article, from their own web page - click here.
Here are the highlights (or rather, lowlights) of the programing changes:
There is an article from Russell Smith of The Globe and Mail, which I will reprint below, however, before I do that, I do want to make this cry to all Classical Music bloggers, or lovers of the CBC and classical music in Canada:
The plan for weekday programming on CBC Radio Two is:
- 6-10 a.m.: A music program dedicated to a range of genres, including classical, pop, jazz and roots music.
- 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: A classical program that will emphasize the most popular and accessible classical music, including Mozart, Beethoven and other favourites.
- 3-6 p.m.: A drive-home show focusing on vocal music, including many new artists.
The format for the morning program also will continue on weekend mornings, with a different host.
- Please REPOST as much of this information as you can on your blog, or link them here - encouraging like minded folk to flood the CBC with comments, emails, and protest.
- visit the CBC's insider blog at http://www.insidethecbc.com and post a comment stating your opinion
- send a fax to CBC chief Hubert Lacroix at (514) 597-5439
- Email all the following people with your thoughts:
- Join the CBC Facebook group which is protesting these changes, to find out more to have your voice be heard.
No classical? Then kill Radio 2 and get it over with
From The Globe and Mail
March 13, 2008
I am almost too depressed about the planned "overhaul" of CBC's Radio 2 to even write about it. What's the point? We've all seen the writing on the wall for some time now, and resistance is futile: The CBC no longer feels there is any point to devoting an entire radio station to the more musically and intellectually complex style of music colloquially, though entirely inappropriately, known as "classical" (more on that tendentious terminology in a moment), because, according to its mysterious studies, no one is interested in that any more.
So, come September, there will only be "classical" music (God, I hate that term!) at midday on weekdays; the rest of the air time will be taken up with light pop and jazz. Yes, that's right, explicitly light: In an interview with The Globe and Mail last week, the executive director of radio explained that the station will be playing even more Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall. The executives have also proudly expressed their interest in playing more middle-of-the-road pop such as Feist and Serena Ryder. Yes, they are proud, proud to be brave purveyors of Serena Ryder and Diana Krall, the very best culture our country has to offer.
In other words, Radio 2 will become essentially an easy-listening station. It will play, aside from four hours a day when everybody is at work, the kind of verse-chorus-verse popular music that is likely to win awards at industry-created ceremonies - the Junos, the Grammys, the Smushies, the Great Mall Music Prize.
Sometimes there will be jazz; I'm guessing it will continue to be the Holiday Inn lounge jazz they already so adore. It's also pretty safe to say there will be no underground pop music, nothing noisy or electronic - unless they keep Laurie Brown's The Signal (surely they must, they must at least keep The Signal?) - and of course that will be only late at night so it doesn't disturb the imagined audience, an audience of the mousiest, nicest, middlest of middle Canadians.
Notice how the CBC has already won half the public-relations battle through its choice of language. It is wise, if it wants to dismiss exciting and abstract music that doesn't have a 4/4 beat, to call such music "classical." That word instantly relegates it to the past. "Classical" connotes that which is established, respected, stuffy - another word for "old favourites."
"Classical" is wholly inadequate in describing an intellectual tradition that has always thrived on innovation, on radical new interpretations, on defiance of previous traditions, indeed, of iconoclasm. When Arthur Honegger sat down to write Pacific 231, when Olivier Messiaen began Quartet for the End of Time, when Edgard Varèse ordered his orchestra to play along to tape recordings from sawmills, do you think they wanted to write something "classical?"
But even this conversation is pointless; it isn't even happening. It belongs to another world. I feel, when talking about these things, like a visitor to an isolated country where everybody believes the Earth is flat and the moon is made of cheese: No one is going to listen to me because every single one of my premises, my fundamental assumptions, is different from theirs.
I assume, for example, that the point of having a government-funded radio station is not to garner the largest possible audience; if that were the goal, and that goal were attained, such a station would be commercially viable and no longer in need of government support. I also assume that art and intellectual inquiry can sometimes be challenging and demanding of intense concentration, and that they are naturally not always going to attract lucrative audiences, and that this does not make them any less valuable, which is why governments in enlightened countries support them and provide access to them.
I guess I assume, too, something even more fundamental and even more fundamentally unpopular, which is that not all art is of equal value. Art that does not tend to follow strict generic conventions (such as, for example, the verse-chorus-verse structure of 90 per cent of pop music) is deserving of extra attention. Art unbound by formula tends to indicate the area where the best, the most original talents are working.
And this is not, I assure you, about the past; it is about the future. Art unbound by formula - music that does not have to accompany words, for example - is the art that will be remembered by cultural historians and will come to define our era.
A country with no public forum for such art, with nowhere for the less privileged to gain access to it and to intelligent analysis of it, is an unsophisticated one.
And furthermore, a radio station that is indistinguishable from commercial stations - other than by its fanatical niceness - will have no reason to receive government support. Why not just shut it down already?