Monday, August 15, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 1

CBC's loyal viewers may have noticed quite a few changes to the broadcast lineup on the first day of the lockout.

On CBC Newsworld, the programming schedule consisted largely or documentary
programming, with news broadcasts originating from the BBC.

In a statement posted on a Web site devoted to the negotiations, the broadcaster said it has a "detailed contingency plan" in place to deal with the labour disruption. It said both CFL football and NHL hockey games would remain on its broadcast schedule, along with acquired programming and movies.

Radio and, the network's on-line service, "will have scaled-back programming," the Crown corporation said. A program schedule posted for CBC Radio 2 promised six minutes of news and weather at the top of each hour between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Members of the Canadian Media Guild, which represents CBC's on-air, production, technical and administrative employees, were locked out at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Monday after the union and the broadcaster were unable to reach a new collective agreement after 15 months of bargaining.

For those of us who weren't watching CBC regularly, the new programming lineup is unlikely to be any different to what we were already watching on CTV, Global and the cable channels.

For those who were, the absence of their favourite arts and political shows might just drive them to alternate sources of Canadian programming.

Yes, Virginia, there really is top quality Canadian programming on other channels than the CBC. Channels such as Bravo, TVO, Discovery, The History Channel and Vision fill in the gaps quite nicely, with little or none of the pompous condescension that is Mother Corp's style.

The CBC no longer needs to be all things to all people--that model died with the rise of cable.

It is neither fish nor fowl, neither a fully-Canadian public interest channel nor a fully commercial network.

CBC might end up fulfilling its mandate if it were changed over to a PBS-style network, dependent on viewer donations to make up the shortfall from operating grants, with local networks given a freer hand to produce regional programming.

But that's if CBC ever comes back from its lockout. And I think people might just be as bored as they were waiting for the NHL to come back.

Source: Another Toronto-Centric Media Outlet

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