At the CBC dog-and-pony show I attended way back in 2007, I sat in disbelief among the journalism, arts, and culture community as a string of corporate lackeys with all the wrong experience were paraded out as the new executive team. A Hollywood fiction producer was put in charge of Canadian documentary. Hmm.
Like now, it was also a time of cuts, and feeling particularly invincible I got in the line of questioners. When my turn came, I summoned my outrage so as to appear the “average viewer” and asked the new team: “Why, oh jesus why, has the CBC decided to cut Zed? This was the ONE program that was cutting edge, that reaches out to a younger audience.” One of the suits smiled and slowly gathering his tenor, responded: “Don’t worry, we’re replacing it with something even better.” I think he may have even winked after he said it. The problem of course is that they didn’t replace Zed, an amazing user-generated late night television show (OK, with obnoxious hosts) way ahead of the current everyone-is-a-producer orgy curve.
So with CBC turned off on the telly, and while some of my favourite radio programmes are being ruthlessly slashed by the Harperites, I’ve been clinging desperately, feverishly, almost religiously, to CBC Radio 3.
CBC 3 is going against the odds. The radio programme that showcases independent Canadian artists has survived by being cutting edge and of high caliber. With shows on women in hip-hop they even tread in the political. But it’s what they do that is political: providing independent art in a climate of commercial crap and vicious cuts (Stephen Harper’s Conservatives recently announced 75 million dollars in cuts to the CBC, while setting in motion plans for a corporate media bail-out). And they’ve just celebrated their 200th podcast. From the site:
Um… wow! Somehow, some way… we made it to Episode #200… Let’s see… that means we’ve done 200 weekly shows over four years featuring over 1,200 independent Canadian bands, played 2,300 songs, and had over 7 million downloads!
Grant (Lawrence, the show’s host), if you’re reading, here’s an idea for a new show: songs to listen to as Harper is ousted from office.