The Death of CBC Radio 2

I had writ­ten a bit about my shock and sad­ness about the awful changes planned for CBC2, includ­ing get­ting rid of most of its clas­si­cal music pro­gram­ming, includ­ing one of the best parts of get­ting up in the morn­ing (Music and Com­pa­ny with Tom Allen). I could rant and rave all I want, but Rus­sell Smith, of the Globe and Mail (whose arti­cle was repost­ed by the site ‘Friends of Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing’) says it bet­ter than I ever could. The Globe and Mail doesn’t allow peo­ple to read the entire arti­cle any more with­out being a sub­scriber. Since I don’t know how long his arti­cle will remain on the oth­er site, I’m going to do take the some­what unortho­dox action and repost it here in total as well, as I think it should be read by many (although the peo­ple who I wish would read it the most are the cur­rent clue­less man­age­ment of the CBC):

No clas­si­cal? Then kill Radio 2 and get it over with by Rus­sell Smith
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 The 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?

© Globe and Mail

Wow.

I think he real­ly nails it in those last few para­graphs. I take a lit­tle solace in that Rus­sell Smith is not the only per­son who is say­ing that CBC Radio 2 should be put out of its mis­ery, hav­ing lost one of the main rea­sons for its exis­tence.  Appar­ent­ly, the fastest grow­ing group on Face­book is Save Clas­si­cal Music on the CBC, with over 5,000 mem­bers this week. I’m con­tem­plat­ing some let­ters to my MP and oth­er offi­cials, but it’s going to be an uphill bat­tle to save CBC 2, and I also have to keep in mind that I may have to sim­ply adapt.

91 Replies to “The Death of CBC Radio 2”

  1. I need some­where to vent! The new radio 2 is the most awful elit­ist unlis­ten­able non­sense — pre­sum­ably the playlist has been dreamt up by the same Mil­ton Fried­man addled brain that coined that small black cloud “every­where music takes you” when this all began. I put up with the loss of Danielle Char­bon­neau and the Sat­ur­day shows, I like the guy in Mon­tréal whose ren­o­va­tions are nev­er fin­ished — I even began to like the live music in the evening. I was hap­py with the move of the new music slot to ear­li­er than mid­night . The recent changes though are uni­form­ly awful. And the enor­mous prob­lem is that there is nowhere else to go! The Toron­to clas­sic sta­tion is plagued with adver­tise­ments, a rather grat­ing chat­ty style and lacks the eclec­ti­cism. Pub­lic radio and TV were found­ed by a gen­er­a­tion which under­stood pub­lic ser­vice and all of the social rea­sons why it should exist. Now the neo-con lunatics have tak­en over and are turn­ing the coun­try into their asy­lum. This was an agres­sive­ly polit­i­cal move and needs to be respond­ed to polit­i­cal­ly. An elec­tion may be a use­ful time to do this kind of thing!
    Christo­pher

  2. Mes­sage to CBC Radio 2 senior man­agers, 02 Sep­tem­ber 2008:

    Ms. McGuire -

    I am com­pelled, point­less though it may be, to share the pro­found sense of sad­ness and loss that I feel about the abysmal­ly ill-con­ceived pro­gram­ming changes at Radio 2. You have been part of a team that has sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly dis­man­tled one of the high­est qual­i­ty, most endur­ing, and best-loved col­lec­tion of radio pro­gram­ming in the world, and replaced it with a mass of flavour-of-the-month medi­oc­rity. You and your col­leagues may have pro­ceed­ed with the best of inten­tions, dri­ven by some mis­guid­ed notions that demo­graph­ic rat­ings are the key to qual­i­ty and integri­ty. But the end result is a trav­es­ty — a shame­ful evis­cer­a­tion of the best of Cana­di­an radio pro­gram­ming in favour of a point­less pas­tiche of atom­ized pop­ulist ele­ments, none of which has enough of a con­stituen­cy to gen­er­ate an audi­ence on its own, and so dis­parate and poor­ly inte­grat­ed that it will nev­er attract an audi­ence with the patience to endure the rest of the medi­oc­rity for the few bits they might actu­al­ly be inter­est­ed in lis­ten­ing to.

    I cling to the faint hope that dis­mal rat­ings, audi­ence out­rage, and per­haps even polit­i­cal inter­ven­tion will even­tu­al­ly cor­rect the fool­ish tra­jec­to­ry that Radio 2 is cur­rent­ly fol­low­ing, but I am not opti­mistic… the mul­ti­tude of simul­ta­ne­ous cuts and blows that have been deliv­ered to Radio 2 are prob­a­bly fatal. Were you not pay­ing atten­tion over the past many months to the tor­rent of thought­ful and com­pelling com­men­tary opposed to these changes? Does the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of neg­a­tive inter­net posts on the CBC site and else­where not reg­is­ter on the col­lec­tive con­science of CBC radio pol­i­cy­mak­ers? The fact that these changes are greet­ed on your blogs and com­ment boards not with joy and enthu­si­asm, or even with tepid sup­port, but rather with out­rage or with respons­es sim­i­lar to mourn­ing the death of a loved one, should send a mes­sage to you and your col­leagues. Where is the out­pour­ing of sup­port from the demo­graph­ic that this new pro­gram­ming is sup­posed to attract? How can these com­pelling and pre­scient indi­ca­tors be so resound­ing­ly ignored?

    You know not the mag­ni­tude of the dis­ser­vice you have done to the Cana­di­an pub­lic.

    With pro­found sad­ness and bewil­der­ment,

    David Brown

  3. To: “CBC New Radio2” Sub­ject: Re: Fwd: Pro­found sad­ness Cc: jennifer_mcguire@cbc.ca, ht.lacroix@cbc.ca, richard_stursberg@cbc.ca, mark_steinmetz@cbc.ca

    Dear Ms. Mit­ton,

    Thank you for the cour­tesy of a reply, even a boil­er­plate one.

    I take no excep­tion to the premise that Radio 2 should reflect Cana­da to Cana­di­ans, nor do I con­fine my lis­ten­ing to the nar­row con­fines of so-called ‘clas­si­cal’ music. How­ev­er, the enor­mous­ly dis­rup­tive, non-con­sul­ta­tive, poor­ly-jus­ti­fied changes in sched­ul­ing and for­mat of Radio 2 are a major dis­ser­vice not only to the loy­al lis­ten­er­ship that Radio 2 had acquired over its pre­vi­ous his­to­ry, but also an aban­don­ment of the val­ues and integri­ty that dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed this ser­vice from every oth­er broad­cast ser­vice in the coun­try: the thought­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of endur­ing music at times when most Cana­di­ans (includ­ing work­ing peo­ple, com­muters, and stu­dents) can access, enjoy, and learn from it.

    Though I wel­come the pres­ence of online music, propos­ing that we switch our alle­giance to Inter­net sources is no solu­tion at all. First, Inter­net sources are absolute­ly use­less to all but the most well-heeled com­muters who can afford the puni­tive costs of such mobile ser­vices. You neglect the needs of that sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion of your audi­ence that lis­tens on the radio while com­mut­ing to work or school.

    Sec­ond, back-to-back musi­cal selec­tions form inter­net sources, pre­sent­ed with­out com­men­tary, inter­pre­ta­tion, con­text or expla­na­tion, does lit­tle to achieve the role that Radio Two ful­filled so admirably for decades: edu­cat­ing a will­ing audi­ence about the best music of many gen­res, at times when lis­ten­er­ship is high­est and alter­na­tive modes of pro­gram­ming deliv­ery to mobile lis­ten­ers are fewest.

    Third, though access to pop­u­lar gen­res and tran­sient musi­cal fads is wide­ly avail­able through com­mer­cial broad­cast­ing nation­wide, access to qual­i­ty com­mer­cial free pro­gram­ming fea­tur­ing the most endur­ing and mean­ing­ful musi­cal tra­di­tions at peak times is not, clos­ing off the one tru­ly unique avenue for musi­cal edu­ca­tion and edi­fi­ca­tion that was avail­able to every­one in our vast nation.

    Fourth, the dis­parate, dis­con­nect­ed, and lim­it­ed-appeal pas­tiche of pro­gram­ming that has been sub­sti­tut­ed for proven, pop­u­lar, excel­lent shows such as Disc Dri­ve and Music and Com­pa­ny will nev­er gar­ner a cohe­sive audi­ence — the gen­res and per­form­ers are far too dis­parate, far too unproven, and — frankly — not of suf­fi­cient over­all qual­i­ty to ever mea­sure up to the time-test­ed and endur­ing excel­lence of the ‘clas­si­cal’ reper­toire, the estab­lished jazz lex­i­con, and the eclec­tic array of time-test­ed stan­dards and inno­v­a­tive new mate­r­i­al that was so effec­tive­ly pre­sent­ed by Tom Allen and Jur­gen Gothe.

    Despite my regard for the stan­dard ‘clas­si­cal’ and endur­ing pop­u­lar reper­toires, I am not a stuffy tra­di­tion­al­ist. I have giv­en Radio 2 a chance by tun­ing in since the changes occurred, and will con­tin­ue to keep an open mind and open ears. But to date, the new pro­gram­ming is frankly awful, and the pathet­ic spec­ta­cle of Tom Allen prepar­ing thought­ful and wit­ty intro­duc­tions to banal four-chord, third-rate, puerile mate­r­i­al — regard­less of its nation­al ori­gin — is excru­ci­at­ing. Worse still is the train wreck that has replaced Disc Dri­ve.

    I think I am rep­re­sen­ta­tive of much of the loy­al Radio 2 audi­ence that has been com­plete­ly alien­at­ed by these mis­guid­ed changes, and unless there is a rad­i­cal change in the mate­r­i­al that is now being pre­sent­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the morn­ing and evening dri­ve-to slots, my radio will be per­ma­nent­ly tuned to NPR or Jazz 91, egre­gious com­mer­cial inter­rup­tions and fundrais­ing notwith­stand­ing. This dis­turbs me vis­cer­al­ly, as a proud Cana­di­an who cham­pi­oned the excel­lence of CBC Radio 2 at every oppor­tu­ni­ty and who trum­pet­ed the unique and won­der­ful phe­nom­e­non of excel­lent, acces­si­ble, nation­al­ly-broad­cast­ed radio of the high­est cal­i­bre.

    CBC has made a grave and pro­found error. Please acknowl­edge it. I sin­cere­ly hope that there is enough integri­ty and wis­dom in oth­er sec­tors of the cor­po­ra­tion to rec­og­nize and fix this unwar­rant­ed, unnec­es­sary, and mis­guid­ed pol­i­cy blun­der before its con­sum­mate fail­ure is used to jus­ti­fy fur­ther cuts to our vital (and once superb) nation­al radio ser­vice.

    I look for­ward to your reply, auto­mat­ed or oth­er­wise, with the endur­ing but prob­a­bly vain hope that it might reflect a review of the present tra­jec­to­ry and a rever­sion to more endur­ing and sub­stan­tive pro­gram­ming objec­tives.

    Sin­cere­ly,

    David Brown

  4. To: “CBC New Radio2” Sub­ject: Re: Fwd: Pro­found sad­ness Cc: jennifer_mcguire@cbc.ca, ht.lacroix@cbc.ca, richard_stursberg@cbc.ca, mark_steinmetz@cbc.ca

    Dear Ms. Mit­ton,

    Thank you for the cour­tesy of a reply, even a boil­er­plate one.

    I take no excep­tion to the premise that Radio 2 should reflect Cana­da to Cana­di­ans, nor do I con­fine my lis­ten­ing to the nar­row con­fines of so-called ‘clas­si­cal’ music. How­ev­er, the enor­mous­ly dis­rup­tive, non-con­sul­ta­tive, poor­ly-jus­ti­fied changes in sched­ul­ing and for­mat of Radio 2 are a major dis­ser­vice not only to the loy­al lis­ten­er­ship that Radio 2 had acquired over its pre­vi­ous his­to­ry, but also an aban­don­ment of the val­ues and integri­ty that dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed this ser­vice from every oth­er broad­cast ser­vice in the coun­try: the thought­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of endur­ing music at times when most Cana­di­ans (includ­ing work­ing peo­ple, com­muters, and stu­dents) can access, enjoy, and learn from it.

    Though I wel­come the pres­ence of online music, propos­ing that we switch our alle­giance to Inter­net sources is no solu­tion at all. First, Inter­net sources are absolute­ly use­less to all but the most well-heeled com­muters who can afford the puni­tive costs of such mobile ser­vices. You neglect the needs of that sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion of your audi­ence that lis­tens on the radio while com­mut­ing to work or school.

    Sec­ond, back-to-back musi­cal selec­tions form inter­net sources, pre­sent­ed with­out com­men­tary, inter­pre­ta­tion, con­text or expla­na­tion, does lit­tle to achieve the role that Radio Two ful­filled so admirably for decades: edu­cat­ing a will­ing audi­ence about the best music of many gen­res, at times when lis­ten­er­ship is high­est and alter­na­tive modes of pro­gram­ming deliv­ery to mobile lis­ten­ers are fewest.

    Third, though access to pop­u­lar gen­res and tran­sient musi­cal fads is wide­ly avail­able through com­mer­cial broad­cast­ing nation­wide, access to qual­i­ty com­mer­cial free pro­gram­ming fea­tur­ing the most endur­ing and mean­ing­ful musi­cal tra­di­tions at peak times is not, clos­ing off the one tru­ly unique avenue for musi­cal edu­ca­tion and edi­fi­ca­tion that was avail­able to every­one in our vast nation.

    Fourth, the dis­parate, dis­con­nect­ed, and lim­it­ed-appeal pas­tiche of pro­gram­ming that has been sub­sti­tut­ed for proven, pop­u­lar, excel­lent shows such as Disc Dri­ve and Music and Com­pa­ny will nev­er gar­ner a cohe­sive audi­ence — the gen­res and per­form­ers are far too dis­parate, far too unproven, and — frankly — not of suf­fi­cient over­all qual­i­ty to ever mea­sure up to the time-test­ed and endur­ing excel­lence of the ‘clas­si­cal’ reper­toire, the estab­lished jazz lex­i­con, and the eclec­tic array of time-test­ed stan­dards and inno­v­a­tive new mate­r­i­al that was so effec­tive­ly pre­sent­ed by Tom Allen and Jur­gen Gothe.

    Despite my regard for the stan­dard ‘clas­si­cal’ and endur­ing pop­u­lar reper­toires, I am not a stuffy tra­di­tion­al­ist. I have giv­en Radio 2 a chance by tun­ing in since the changes occurred, and will con­tin­ue to keep an open mind and open ears. But to date, the new pro­gram­ming is frankly awful, and the pathet­ic spec­ta­cle of Tom Allen prepar­ing thought­ful and wit­ty intro­duc­tions to banal four-chord, third-rate, puerile mate­r­i­al — regard­less of its nation­al ori­gin — is excru­ci­at­ing. Worse still is the train wreck that has replaced Disc Dri­ve.

    I think I am rep­re­sen­ta­tive of much of the loy­al Radio 2 audi­ence that has been com­plete­ly alien­at­ed by these mis­guid­ed changes, and unless there is a rad­i­cal change in the mate­r­i­al that is now being pre­sent­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the morn­ing and evening dri­ve-to slots, my radio will be per­ma­nent­ly tuned to NPR or Jazz 91, egre­gious com­mer­cial inter­rup­tions and fundrais­ing notwith­stand­ing. This dis­turbs me vis­cer­al­ly, as a proud Cana­di­an who cham­pi­oned the excel­lence of CBC Radio 2 at every oppor­tu­ni­ty and who trum­pet­ed the unique and won­der­ful phe­nom­e­non of excel­lent, acces­si­ble, nation­al­ly-broad­cast­ed radio of the high­est cal­i­bre.

    CBC has made a grave and pro­found error. Please acknowl­edge it. I sin­cere­ly hope that there is enough integri­ty and wis­dom in oth­er sec­tors of the cor­po­ra­tion to rec­og­nize and fix this unwar­rant­ed, unnec­es­sary, and mis­guid­ed pol­i­cy blun­der before its con­sum­mate fail­ure is used to jus­ti­fy fur­ther cuts to our vital (and once superb) nation­al radio ser­vice.

    I look for­ward to your reply, auto­mat­ed or oth­er­wise, with the endur­ing but prob­a­bly vain hope that it might reflect a review of teh present tra­jec­to­ry and a rever­sion to more endur­ing and sub­stan­tive pro­gram­ming objec­tives.

    Sin­cere­ly,

    David Brown

  5. David Brown, I share your sen­ti­ments. I am great­ly sad­dened by these changes by CBC Radio II. As a “young” 34 year old lis­ten­er, I do not fit the demo­graph­ic that CBC brass thinks it’s speak­ing to with their changes. I miss Tom Allen, Eric Friesen, Jur­gen Gothe and Danielle Charbonneau’s pro­grams immense­ly.

  6. David, you put it bet­ter than I could.

    At the moment I’ve moved on and am cur­rent­ly lis­ten­ing to KUSC via the inter­net. When I’m trav­el­ing, I’ll have to resort to pod­casts and my own col­lec­tion.

    The Online Clas­si­cal Chan­nel that the CBC has been pro­mot­ing com­plete­ly miss­es the point of the edu­ca­tion and edi­fi­ca­tion issue you point out so well. In fact, it is so incred­i­bly depress­ing that I can’t bear to put it on (hence my move to oth­er stream­ing sta­tions out­side of Cana­da). The Clas­si­cal ‘stream’ from the CBC is like all mankind has been destroyed by some nuclear holo­caust, and out of the bunkers some com­put­er is mind­less­ly queu­ing up Beethoven, fol­lowed by Rossi­ni, fol­lowed by Vival­di, with no human log­ic, voice or expla­na­tion oth­er than the text of the piece on the screen.

    I too miss Tom Allen, and my days are just a bit less joy­ful at their begin­ning with­out his music, ‘This day in…’, ‘Cage Match’, con­tem­pla­tion of the lat­est med­ical or sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­er­ies, chats with the Web God­dess, Arts Report or any of the oth­er bits of the world he brought to me each week­day morn­ing. I didn’t only lose the music, I lost a com­pan­ion.

  7. Since this is a mat­ter of my tax dol­lars, I’ve Emailed to my Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, to the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture, and to the Prime Min­is­ter to look into this trav­es­ty. There must be some acknowl­edg­ment of the clas­si­cal world, and to the edu­ca­tion it engen­ders, or in twen­ty years our cul­tur­al her­itage will amount to noth­ing more than the 4-beat, 3-tone teeny­bop­per “stuff” that’s com­ing out now.

    I encour­age every­one here opposed to the changes to do as I have — write to your Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, to the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture, and to the Prime Min­is­ter with your con­cerns. Per­haps we can mobi­lize and get the CBC big­wigs fired for this.

  8. poten­tial immi­grants should be informed that CBC Cana­da doesn’t DO the clas­sics of any sort anymore…if they want intel­li­gent speech,drama and music, they should go some­where else.

  9. I grew up in the Cana­di­an arc­tic. My ear­li­est mem­o­ries are of squeaky snow, north­ern lights, and CBC radio. Absent TV, a radio sta­tion is a hub of cul­ture that hones lis­ten­ers into the per­sons they will become. CBC turned me into a Cana­di­an. And, while my youth was radio 1, my adult­hood (thus far) has been sound-tracked by radio 2 (with the occa­sion­al espace musique inter­lude). The loss of ‘clas­si­cal’ music is pal­pa­ble and I mourn it as I would the loss of any oth­er inte­gral part of my iden­ti­ty.
    I endorse James McDonall’s demo­c­ra­t­ic urg­ings, and enjoin him (or oth­ers) to post and cir­cu­late forums for reach­ing Min­is­ter of Cul­ture et.al.

  10. I feel a tremen­dous loss every morn­ing as I dri­ve to work, and again on the dri­ve home. Per­haps there are oth­er clas­si­cal sta­tions in larg­er cen­tres, but not here in Hal­i­fax. So After 30 years of start­ing my day with the CBC, it will have to be an ipod or buy satel­lite radio. I find it very hard to under­stand how the CBC could stive to be and sound just like every oth­er radio sta­tion.

  11. Although I have not lis­tened reg­u­lar­ly to CBC2 in the recent months, when tun­ing into the sta­tion the oth­er day while loung­ing around the house, I was sur­prised to hear a sta­tion that sound­ed more like a small col­lege radio sta­tion than the high qual­i­ty sta­tion I once new. The pro­gram hosts sound­ed very much like ama­teur col­lege stu­dents with pro­gram­ming so eclec­tic and diver­si­fied that I can’t see it appeal­ing to any­one. That’s a shame. But often good things come from change. It just might not be at CBC.

  12. I have been adjust­ing to the changes at Radio 2, and came to this blog search­ing for some info on the new shows. For what it’s worth I will weigh in on this debate (argu­ment).

    It is true that I liked know­ing the CBC was play­ing clas­si­cal music at almost any time of the day even when I was not lis­ten­ing. The prob­lem when I lis­tened was that I did not enjoy it that much. Accu­rate­ly, I did not like most of what was played. Much of what was and is still played on the clas­si­cal pro­gram­ming is in fact Clas­si­cal music; some slight­ly pre-clas­si­cal, and per­haps more post-clas­si­cal or roman­tic. The twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry music tend­ed to be the safe stuff. I remem­ber Sheila Rogers giv­ing a longish intro­duc­tion to a Schoen­berg piece a few years ago. She was talk­ing in gen­er­al about his inno­va­tions and I wait­ed eager­ly for what she might play as Schoen­berg almost nev­er gets played on the CBC. I was dis­ap­point­ed when she played one of his Cabaret songs. I like these well enough but they are his Pop music real­ly. If music edu­ca­tion is the CBC’s duty, then it has been falling down on this duty for years. It has played a large­ly safe reper­toire and only rarely has it pushed us out of our com­fort.

    Per­haps Roman­tic would be a bet­ter name for the class of music we are bemoan­ing the loss of on CBC R2. This is the peri­od of music that, at least if my mem­o­ry serves, has had the most play. Roman­tic also suits the gen­er­al mood of all such music. It is a lov­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion of élite to élite. (To say that clas­si­cal music is not elit­ist is a fail­ure in demo­graph­ic obser­va­tion.) In many ways Roman­tic music is bet­ter than oth­er kinds of music. More time­andsweatand­blood has gone into this music than you aver­age pop did­dy. Years of train­ing are required to read and play music of the roman­tic kind. Such time and encour­age­ment toward learn­ing are large­ly a lux­u­ry of the élite class. The music is also roman­tic because it often harkens us back to a bygone time. True clas­si­cal music was writ­ten to flat­ter pro­found­ly con­ceit­ed pow­er élite. For this rea­son I find it dif­fi­cult to get into. The dirty faced pro­le­tari­at that resides in me won’t let me lis­ten as if this music had no con­text; as if it were pure music for its own sake.

    What some of you here have failed to real­ize is that the music the new for­mat is in fact élite pop. There are many artists on Dri­ve that do not get much play any­where else. Some may say that is just as well, but a good deal of the music offered is well craft­ed thought­ful and 75% Cana­di­an. Even 15 years ago it would have been dif­fi­cult to pull off that kind of Can con in the folk-pop-rock-hiphop-what have you gen­res.

  13. Scott -
    I can’t com­ment much on what CBC R2 plays now, because I no longer have it on. I heard a fair amount of Roman­tic era music (from, say Beethoven through Richard Strauss and ear­ly ‘safe’ Schoen­berg), but also some real­ly fine Baroque and yes, ‘Clas­si­cal’ (i.e. Mozart and Haydn) on CBC R2.

    The fact that the music that I like is all called ‘Clas­si­cal’ music is, as I’ve said, a mis­nomer, akin to call­ing all crea­tures that don’t live in the sea ‘mam­mals’ or all non-deserts, ‘Sal­ads’.

    I made an inter­est­ing dis­cov­ery this past week­end, when I was putting togeth­er most of what I had in my iTunes library to copy to anoth­er hard dri­ve for some rel­a­tives who request­ed a copy (and it was all Dig­i­tal Rights Man­age­ment free stuff, so they could play it). My cur­rent col­lec­tion of ‘Clas­si­cal’ music is about 14,500 pieces of music, and accord­ing to iTunes, if I played it through, non-stop, 24 hours a day, it would take 60 days before I reached the end and had to repeat some­thing. How­ev­er, I believe that my library is a frac­tion of the clas­si­cal music that is out there. When I get told that I’m too ‘nar­row’ for not lis­ten­ing to pop/rock­/­folk/hiphop-what have you, I just don’t know what to say, but I know that my taste isn’t nar­row. I just like stuff that’s more com­pli­cat­ed, and that hap­pens to include a lot of music. They’ve just nev­er heard of it. Now, even few­er will have.

  14. I am applalled that restor­ing CBC Radio 2 to its for­mer glo­ry is not even an elec­tion issue. No, I am not being friv­ilous! For the sake of Cana­di­an cul­ture and our her­itage, we need to stop Harp­er from form­ing his own radio sta­tion like some tin­pot dic­ta­tor.

  15. David Brown has said it so well, and noth­ing I could add would be more cogent or more heart­felt. Ear­ly morn­ing pro­gram­ming on Radio 2 is ‘tru­ly awful’, and what hap­pens after 3 p.m. is ‘a train wreck’; thank you, David, for sum­ming it up. It used to be pos­si­ble to pick out CBC from the two com­mer­cial sta­tions on either side of it. Now, except for a very few hours in the sched­ule, it’s impos­si­ble to tell the dif­fer­ence, and in our house we’ve giv­en up try­ing, giv­en up lis­ten­ing. The ‘clas­si­cal’ pro­gram­ming from 10 to 3 is pleas­ant, but gen­er­al­ly pap.
    What still con­fronts me every day is the fact that some­thing real­ly essen­tial has gone out of my life. It feels like a bereave­ment, and the anger and sense of loss are pro­found.

  16. Dear Mr. Druck­er,

    I think it would be inter­est­ing to frame this debate in terms of CBC 2 being an “audio muse­um”. We have muse­ums across the coun­try to pre­serve and pro­mote great cul­tur­al works — to inform, edu­cate and enter­tain. The GREAT thing about radio is that the audio for­mat cheap­ly allows the equiv­a­lent for sound aka music. CBC 2 should see it’s role to put great works of music ( art ) ons dis­play in a man­ner that informs, edu­cates and enter­tain. Oh gee, that’s what it was doing. Imag­ine what would hap­pen if we opened our muse­ums to have MOST of the dis­plays ‘pop’ / pop­u­lar art? We would LOSE the entire val­ue of the muse­ums.

    Dave Gal­loway

  17. Thanks for the com­ment, Mr. Gal­loway.

    I sup­pose we could equate what CBC 2 was with some of the oth­er, ‘Phys­i­cal’ exam­ples of the Arts in our lives, but I guess I’m resis­tant against the idea of just show­cas­ing great works of the past. There are new works of Clas­si­cal Music being writ­ten today, and some very fine works are by liv­ing Cana­di­an Com­posers (I’ve met some of them here in Van­cou­ver). A ‘Muse­um’ of old music might play right into the hands of those who say that this stuff is old, out-of-date and no longer rel­e­vant to Soci­ety today.

    Of course, those of us who know some of the reper­to­ry also know that it’s exact­ly the oppo­site; there are pas­sages from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that are just as bru­tal and star­tling as explo­sions on the tele­vi­sion from sui­cide bombers in Kan­da­har and Bagh­dad. The first move­ment of Vaughn Williams’ Fourth Sym­pho­ny car­ries just as much anguish in reac­tion to mod­ern con­flict today as it did in the midst of World War II. Even the less obvi­ous exam­ples (I’m think­ing per­haps of the late piano sonatas of Beethoven)of works writ­ten in oth­er cen­turies that are ‘time­less’ and still just as fresh in terms of insights for life today in that they deal with life, death, the pas­sage of time, mem­o­ry and the jour­neys that life brings.

    I guess what I’m say­ing is that yes, it is a Muse­um, but one in which the num­ber of exhibits is con­stant­ly grow­ing, and yes, offers a respite from the crass com­mer­cial­ism and sim­plis­tic mes­sag­ing and con­struc­tion of mod­ern Pop music.

  18. For Dorothy Watts:

    I too am in a state of bereave­ment over CBC Radio 2. I invit­ed Cather­ine, Eric, Jur­gen, Peter and Howard into my home week after week. I had tea with them and they enter­tained me, enlight­ened me and uplift­ed me. I feel as if a good friend had left for good and slammed the door behind her. It’s not just about play­ing music. It’s about cre­at­ing inti­ma­cy, about intel­li­gent com­men­tary and about broad­en­ing scope. More than any­thing, I miss Eric Friesen who pro­vid­ed a delight­ful mix of clas­sic clas­si­cal and clas­sic pop in a way that fed the heart and the head.

    It sad­dens me to real­ize that the over 50 demo­graph­ic is con­sid­ered entire­ly expend­able.

  19. I am so dis­gust­ed at the aban­don­ment of tru­ly good music and my old “friends” Jur­gen and Shel­ley and oth­ers that I, too, am not lis­ten­ing to this sta­tion any more. How do the pow­ers that be dare to uni­lat­er­al­ly change a for­mat which has been a part of this coun­try for so many years. I am a pro­fes­sion­al vio­lin­ist who moved here from the U.S. enough years ago to remem­ber Bob Kerr and when I trav­eled on tours I lis­tened to this sta­tion all over Cana­da and also when­ev­er I was in the north­ern U.S. Shame on all who are respon­si­ble for this devo­lu­tion of my favorite music sta­tion.

  20. Typ­i­cal cana­di­an log­ic: take a one of a kind ‘GREAT’ sta­tion, that had evolved over 25 years into a bril­liant one and turn it into one that is so much like a thou­sand oth­ers. Do they learn noth­ing from his­to­ry? you can’t ram stuff (Cana­di­an con­tent) down people’s throat and get them to like it,quite the reverse happens,it’s just not good enough. There are enough of us on this side of the speak­er to deserve a decent ‘clas­si­cal’ sta­tion like pre stu­dio sparks radio 2. This move ranks with the scrap­ping of the Arrow. Grow up! Roger White

  21. Radio 2
    I per­son­al­ly have nev­er lis­tened to that program,so Im not miss­ing anything.However,I have been get­ting my clas­si­cal music fix for over 20 years from WCPE.They have been broad­cast­ing this type of music for over 30 years.I’m sur­prised that nobody has picked up on this sta­tion and writ­ten about it because theres lots of peo­ple out there who would love to have a good reli­able clas­si­cal music sta­tion to lis­ten to.WCPE 89.7 FM is locat­ed in Wake Forest,North Car­oli­na and is avail­able 24/7 com­mer­cial free,totally lis­ten­er supported.I first got it on C-band satel­lite on the Galaxy 5 satel­lite.
    They have dis­con­tin­ued this feed and is now on AMC 1 at 103.0 W KU band.This is even bet­ter and can be received with a cheap FTA satel­lite receiv­er and an 18″ dish,but even bet­ter, its stream­ing free on the internet.I get it both ways and Im lis­ten­ing to it as I type.
    Check it out at” theclassicalstation.org ” , they will be glad to help you and maybe you can become a member.Its the best.

  22. I have tried the new CBC Radio 2 and I just can’t lis­ten to it, much as I enjoyed Tom Allen’s sub­tle humour before. I feel as if the soul of the coun­try is being destroyed. Before we could turn to CBC 2 on our dri­ve to and from work, and feel soothed. I invari­ably drove slow­er and was hap­pi­er.
    Clas­si­cal means that it has stood the test of time. Many fads come and go and only a few remain, whether or not they were thought to be pop­u­lar at the time. It is wrong to have removed clas­si­cal music from the lives of Cana­di­ans. In my area of SW Ontario there are now no clas­si­cal sta­tions on the radio.
    I am despon­dent, frus­trat­ed, dis­ap­point­ed and feel pow­er­less to do any­thing about it. This is so un-Cana­di­an yet the peo­ple who took this deci­sion clear­ly have their own agen­da and care not.

    I am now lis­ten­ing to ABC Clas­sic FM from Aus­tralia. Are we so poor in spir­it that we will need to turn to oth­er nations for our cul­tur­al sus­te­nance?

  23. I absolute­ly agree, Tony. The loss of ter­res­tri­al clas­si­cal radio in our area is a big gap­ing hole in our cul­tur­al life. Isn’t it inter­est­ing that now Harp­er is in the news about cut­ting Arts fund­ing and say­ing that Arts fund­ing isn’t for ‘Ordi­nary’ cit­i­zens? In a sim­i­lar trend to cli­mate change, one could say that CBC2 was per­haps the first extinc­tion in the com­ing Cli­mac­tic Dis­as­ter for the Arts in Cana­da.

  24. IN my note re WCPE I should have not­ed that this sta­tion would not be avail­able on a car radio here in Ontario,But stream­ing free on the inter­net when you are out of the car is a good way to go.I would expect that for $100.00 or less a good small dish satel­lite hookup in your back yard would be great.Works for me and has for at least 20 years

  25. I’m ter­ri­bly dis­ap­point­ed with the new II. I worked for years to get it here in this remote cor­ner of Cana­da only to have all that ener­gy dis­ap­pear. It’s not enjoy­able, and while some clas­si­cal is thrown in in mid­day, my lis­ten­ing hours were always morn­ing and after­noon, now its rap and pop. I feel bit­ter about sup­port­ing and request­ing access to it for so many years. Would it have been too much for CBC to perhaps…ask the lis­ten­ers if we want­ed a change?…So impo­lite.

  26. I, too, am in mourn­ing over the loss of the music I loved to hear. Like many oth­ers who have com­ment­ed here, not a day goes by that I don’t notice or think about that loss. Some­thing essen­tial is gone, and it has had a sur­pris­ing­ly pro­found effect on my qual­i­ty of life. I think of Sept 2nd as ‘the day the music died’. Like count­less oth­ers, I am unable to lis­ten at work, so it is ear­ly morn­ing and late after­noon when I can lis­ten to the radio and the music on CBC is now so much.…garbage. It seems to con­sist of not very com­pelling or inter­est­ing folk, coun­try twang (please, don’t we have more than enough of that else­where?) obscure, odd and not very good, or plain old bad cov­ers. Who puts togeth­er a playlist like that? I hate it! I am still in shock that the CBC could actu­al­ly do what they did, in light of all the neg­a­tive feed­back, and the alien­ation of their very loy­al fan base.

  27. I am like all the above, dev­as­tat­ed with the ‘loss’ of CBC2 for me because of the new pro­gram­ming. In oth­er words ‘dumb­ing down’. I feel so help­less with no one to turn to who can or will wish to have it restored.

    I was check­ing to find some­one to inform Seat­tle King FM that I was turn­ing back to that sta­tion in des­per­a­tion but I will paste what I found about it also. Sim­i­lar to what we are deal­ing with. HOW SAD!

    adv

    Mon­day, August 30, 2004 — Page updat­ed at 09:29 A.M.

    Radio
    KING-FM strikes a sour note for some

    By Melin­da Bar­green
    Seat­tle Times music crit­ic
    Host George Shangrow was fired in Decem­ber.

    KING-FM changes prompt big response

    Clas­si­cal-music audi­ences are not always enam­ored of change.

    But when recent changes at Clas­sic KING-FM (98.1), one of the nation’s top clas­si­cal sta­tions, pro­voke more than 70 angry e-mails to the news­pa­per, you can be fair­ly sure that change has sparked unusu­al out­rage.

    The non­re­new­al of radio host George Shangrow’s con­tract last Decem­ber was the first man­i­fes­ta­tion of new direc­tions at the sta­tion, where 16-year vet­er­an Shangrow’s “Live, By George” show had long been a pop­u­lar forum for bring­ing live local per­for­mances to the lis­ten­ing audi­ence.

    Last month, the sta­tion announced the depar­ture of anoth­er long­time host, Tom Dahlstrom, who had been at KING-FM for more than 17 years. The move was described as a “res­ig­na­tion” by KING’s press release but char­ac­ter­ized as a fir­ing by Shangrow; Dahlstrom declined to com­ment, cit­ing the terms of his depar­ture. His exit cre­at­ed a wave of dis­plea­sure in e-mails and let­ters, most of whose sub­text was: “What is going on at KING-FM?”

    Host Tom Dahlstrom left KING-FM last month.
    “First you fire George Shangrow, a qual­i­ty evening host with an infec­tious love and sol­id knowl­edge of clas­si­cal music … ” wrote lis­ten­er Chris Blanchett in an e-mail to KING man­age­ment, with a copy to The Seat­tle Times. “Now you fire Tom Dahlstrom, the most genial­ly engag­ing radio per­son­al­i­ty on Seat­tle air­waves. And this is part of a strat­e­gy to expand your audi­ence? Is step one of this mas­ter-plan to piss-off your exist­ing audi­ence? Because that is exact­ly what you are doing.”

    Blanchett has co-found­ed what he calls “a grass-roots orga­ni­za­tion called SAVE KING-FM,” (e-mail savekingfm@yahoo.com) with the goal of get­ting Dahlstrom and Shangrow rein­stat­ed at the sta­tion. About 100 KING-FM fans have joined the orga­ni­za­tion thus far, Blanchett says.

    So what, indeed, is going on?

    Pro­gram direc­tor Bob Gold­farb, who took over from long­time pre­de­ces­sor Peter New­man upon Newman’s retire­ment last sum­mer, says the changes amount to only “a few dif­fer­ences … part of a con­scious effort to keep the sta­tion as vital and indis­pens­able as it has always been.”

    A 30-year vet­er­an of clas­si­cal-music radio who has held posts at many sta­tions, Gold­farb was hired by New­man in May 2002 as a con­sul­tant for KING-FM. What is less well-known is that Gold­farb orig­i­nal­ly hired New­man. In the sum­mer of 1977, Gold­farb was at KING-FM for a short peri­od as inter­im pro­gram direc­tor, and at that time he hired New­man for the per­ma­nent post.

    Gold­farb says the main shift at KING-FM has been a broad­en­ing of pro­gram­ming that includes more vari­ety. He won’t com­ment on the deci­sion to ter­mi­nate Dahlstrom’s or Shangrow’s employ­ment at the sta­tion and says of the result­ing e-mails and let­ters, “It’s great to know that KING-FM is so impor­tant to so many peo­ple.

    I’m always sad when peo­ple are unhap­py with change,” Gold­farb con­tin­ues. “We don’t want to lose old friends. That is always a cause for con­cern.”

    But Gold­farb says there is less pub­lic unhap­pi­ness, not more, about what KING-FM is doing. He points to an annu­al research study, con­duct­ed for the past three years by the research firm of FMR Asso­ciates in Tuc­son, Ariz. The firm annu­al­ly phones Seat­tle-area res­i­dents, screen­ing them to dis­cov­er whether respon­dents are part of KING’s “actu­al or poten­tial” audi­ence. Last year, 48 per­cent of respon­dents report­ed feel­ing “more sat­is­fied” with KING-FM than the pre­vi­ous year. In 2004, that fig­ure rose to 62 per­cent. (The sur­vey was con­duct­ed in July, after Shangrow’s depar­ture but before Dahlstrom’s.)

    Anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion can be sug­ges­tive,” says Gold­farb of those who have con­tact­ed the sta­tion, and The Times, to com­plain. “But it’s good to get a fix on sta­tis­ti­cal respons­es.”

    The station’s rat­ings, how­ev­er, do not reg­is­ter a jump in approval. The most recent Arbi­tron rat­ings peri­od yield­ed a 2.6 per­cent share of the total radio lis­ten­ers old­er than 12, down slight­ly from last year’s 2.9 (the 2002 fig­ure for the same peri­od was 2.7). Aver­age time spent lis­ten­ing was up in 2004: 8 hours, 15 min­utes per week, up from 2003’s 6 hours, 30 min­utes per week.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the sta­tion has been a pio­neer in Inter­net stream­ing, the process by which lis­ten­ers around the world can hear live pro­gram­ming over their com­put­ers by vis­it­ing the Web site (www.king.org). KING-FM now has between 50,000 and 60,000 con­nec­tions to its Win­dows Media Play­er Web­stream every week, and anoth­er 30,000 con­nec­tions to its RealPlay­er stream. The typ­i­cal length of lis­ten­ing is 60–80 min­utes on the Win­dows stream, and more than 90 min­utes on Real Audio, accord­ing to the station’s Bryan Lowe.

    Our music has evolved in a direc­tion that is clear­ly pleas­ing to lis­ten­ers,” Gold­farb says.

    I think we play more great music now, not music that just sounds pleas­ant. There is more ear­ly music, more choral music, more themed music — for exam­ple, all the Beethoven piano sonatas. We’re also aug­ment­ing the pro­gram­ming with infor­ma­tion fea­tures; Brad Eaton has an arts news sto­ry every morn­ing. We’ve added the BBC News a year ago, and peo­ple like it.

    What about the hosts? We have a ter­rif­ic team. I have con­fi­dence in every­one who’s here now. No more depar­tures are planned.”

    Shangrow said Dahlstrom was fired because he made a few last-minute changes to pro­gram­ming in order to com­mem­o­rate his­tor­i­cal events. Does Gold­farb real­ly insist on strict con­trol over every­thing that is aired?

    It’s pret­ty stan­dard in radio,” replies Gold­farb, “for hosts to con­cen­trate on pre­sent­ing music. The music direc­tor choos­es all the music. The host con­sults with the music direc­tor if a change is want­ed. Music is bet­ter cho­sen if the flow is care­ful­ly con­sid­ered; spon­tane­ity can result in choic­es that are not as well thought through. We are look­ing for cer­tain bal­ances in vari­ety and con­trast.”

    George Shangrow, not sur­pris­ing­ly, doesn’t agree.

    I think that [Goldfarb’s] research is ridicu­lous,” wrote Shangrow in a recent e-mail.

    The main thing he went after me for was a ‘pol­ka band’ on a live Okto­ber­fest show from KPC [Kirk­land Per­for­mance Cen­ter]. It was a sev­en-minute seg­ment and the sta­tion received sev­en phone calls say­ing how much they liked the music and the seg­ment.

    I remem­ber talk­ing with Gold­farb about the fact that in busi­ness, peo­ple real­ly only phone when they are unhap­py, and that get­ting sev­en lis­ten­er calls that were very hap­py about a seg­ment that last­ed only sev­en min­utes was sure­ly an indi­ca­tion that peo­ple were lis­ten­ing, inter­est­ed and involved. He informed me that that was incor­rect, and that only the ‘con­trolled data’ of Arbi­tron and pro­fes­sion­al­ly con­duct­ed sur­veys could be count­ed on to tell what the pub­lic was think­ing.”

    The sta­tion has begun issu­ing press releas­es about upcom­ing con­tent, as it did with the Aug. 23–27 focus on “Edu­cat­ing Tomorrow’s Audi­ences,” air­ing 7 p.m. con­ver­sa­tions with such music-edu­ca­tion fig­ures as Mar­cus Tsu­takawa (Garfield High School Orches­tra and Seat­tle Youth Sym­pho­ny Junior Sym­pho­ny), Per­ry Loren­zo (Seat­tle Opera edu­ca­tion direc­tor), Doug Fulling­ton (Tudor Choir con­duc­tor, Pacif­ic North­west Bal­let his­to­ri­an), Patri­cia Cos­ta-Kim (Seat­tle Sym­pho­ny edu­ca­tion direc­tor) and Gre­go­ry Van­cil (Seat­tle Bach Choir con­duc­tor).

    Peter Don­nel­ly, a KING-FM board mem­ber and pres­i­dent of Arts­Fund (one of three recip­i­ent orga­ni­za­tions of KING-FM’s pro­ceeds), declined to com­ment on per­son­nel changes at the sta­tion or on KING-FM’s new direc­tion. Don­nel­ly observed, “Orga­ni­za­tions need to be peri­od­i­cal­ly rethought and rede­fined.” In 1992, KING-FM own­ers Priscil­la Bul­litt Collins and Har­ri­et Bul­litt decid­ed to put KING-FM under the con­trol of a new­ly cre­at­ed com­pa­ny, Clas­sic Radio, which is the present licensee of KING-FM. In turn, the Bul­litt sis­ters donat­ed their shares in that for-prof­it com­pa­ny to Beethoven, a non­prof­it cor­po­ra­tion. Beethoven dis­trib­utes the station’s income to the Seat­tle Sym­pho­ny, Seat­tle Opera and Arts­Fund.

  28. Judy -

    Thanks for the update. Sad to see that good Clas­si­cal Music pro­gram­ming as well as hosts are becom­ing an endan­gered species on both sides of the Canada/US bor­der, at least on this coast. My broth­er fre­quent­ly had KING-FM on when we vis­it him in Seat­tle (we can’t bring it in here, except of course through the Inter­net).

  29. I learned to appre­ci­ate “clas­si­cal” music while chan­nel surf­ing about 18 years ago. I hit the CBC dur­ing a Yur­gen (sp?) Gothe pro­gram and felt instant­ly refreshed and relaxed.
    I lis­ten to A LOT of dif­fer­ent music and my 300 disc cd play­er on ran­dom play gets very inter­est­ing (metal­li­ca to vival­di to sog­gy bot­tom boys).
    Radio 2 was my guar­an­teed stress relief after some of life’s try­ing moments. So to find that there is now just anoth­er soft schlock radio sta­tion out there real­ly pissed me off!

  30. CBC Radio 2 — every­where music takes you’ is such a mean­ing­less piece of dri­v­el that if I hear it one more time, I shall throw my radio out the win­dow. Rap or light pop doesn’t take me any­where except to the ‘off’ switch on CBC radio 2. Still depressed about the changes. Is it all over? Isn’t there any­thing more we can do?

  31. The one thing that both­ers me most in all this is not the need for change, but the change for the gut­ter. You may call me snob­bish or what­ev­er but I can­not for the life of me see how any­one with only the least bit of taste could pos­si­bly like the kind of musak stuff that now comes through this sta­tion in the morn­ing from 6 till 9 and and then lat­er on in the after­noon till 6 o’clock. Maybe we should be thank­ful for small favours but it seems that “Ton­ic” has cho­sen the smarter route of slow­ly migrat­ing back to the more jazzy feel. Let’s hope and pray that the foul breath of this McGuire twit doesn’t get it all smelly again. I only wish Tom Allen would get his act togeth­er. Seems like he talks like there is not tomor­row, try­ing to put off the next assault on his sense of taste as long as pos­si­ble.
    It real­ly puz­zles me who this stuff is meant for. Our kids (from 20 and up) cer­tain­ly can’t stand it. Too much all over the place. It is now offi­cial­ly called Crap­py 2.

  32. I do try. I tune in now and again, and short­ly there­after tune out enraged. I’m pos­i­tive that this rad­i­cal shift in pro­gram­ming is Stephen Harper’s path to jus­ti­fy­ing shut­ting it down: If nobody is lis­ten­ing why shouldn’t we close up shop or pri­va­tize it? Sad­ly, nobody is lis­ten­ing and this bul­ly will get his way.
    I despise what has hap­pened. It breaks my heart.

  33. I am not opposed to change if it sticks to the for­mat lis­ten­ers grew fond of and remained loy­al 23 yrs. how­ev­er in regards to the “2“format for me I find the “2” annoy­ing points are Rich Terfy and Tom Allen and their prone to log­or­rhea while they are on their air spot is frus­trat­ing and I am too sad for the death of cbc. To quote’
    “and the good ol’ years”

  34. I miss the old CBC radio 2 so much!

    I loved it when you had clas­si­cal music from 6am to 6pm, with the only excep­tions being Disc Dri­ve which had a mix, as well as the very occa­sion­al jazz piece on Eric Friesen’s show. The final incar­na­tion of what I and oth­ers call “the old Radio Two” had jazz and more urban sounds from 6 to 8. I didn’t mind that change at all. But when they dealt this grand old insti­tu­tion its final blow and reduced the clas­si­cal por­tion to 5 hours (from 10 to 3) they real­ly did a great dis­ser­vice to Cana­di­an cul­ture.

    I used to love the clas­si­cal music in the morn­ing with Tom Allen. Nowa­days, they don’t play one note of clas­si­cal until 10am. By then I have been up for hours and I am not like­ly to tune in. I don’t care for the host of the new (and only) clas­si­cal show on week­days, and I don’t care for the pro­gram­ming of that show either.

  35. Radio 2 nowa­days is so sad. I won­der if all the “new” lis­ten­ers have tuned in in droves and are lov­ing it? for me it’s real­ly annoy­ing every time I have to turn it off because of bad music, music that doesn’t inter­est me or some sil­ly com­ments by hosts who aren’t very skilled. then I long for the good old days when it played in my home and office all day.

  36. From FRIENDS of Cana­di­an Broad­cast­ing web­site -

    Her­itage Min­is­ter James Moore con­firmed yes­ter­day that his gov­ern­ment would sup­port plac­ing ads on CBC Radio One and Two. Respond­ing to a ques­tion from Char­lie Angus, the NDP Her­itage Crit­ic, Moore con­firmed a Con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy posi­tion that Stephen Harp­er has kept under wraps since 2004.

    This con­firms our long-stand­ing and well-found­ed sus­pi­cions! The future of com­mer­cial-free CBC Radio is now on the line. All of us who care about Cana­di­an pub­lic broad­cast­ing need to act togeth­er, force­ful­ly, now.”

  37. What­ev­er the rea­sons for the changes in musi­cal pro­gram­ing at cbc, they are repul­sive, nau­se­at­ing and clear­ly move cbc pro­gram­ing sharply to the direc­tion of the refuse pile of pop/elevator music. “Clas­si­cal”, as in that which is estab­lished, respectable, and stuffy, is what some musi­cal morons used, in the past, to describe cbc. Clear­ly to reg­u­lar cbc lis­ten­ers this was not the case. Cbc used to be one of the best in inno­v­a­tive, cre­ative and, van­guard, audio art. There was very lit­tle talk and lots of inspir­ing sounds.
    Now we are hear­ing, too often, “every­where music takes you” as a sick­en­ing reminder that cbc is going nowhere except the music wastepile.
    If bud­get cuts have hap­pened that is no rea­son to degrade the qual­i­ty of pro­gram­ing. Many low bud­get, such as uni­ver­si­ty radio sta­tions, are now doing bet­ter pro­gram­ing that cbc radio.
    Chris Slater — Van­cou­ver

  38. I can­not add more to what has already been said except, when asked what I was pas­sion­ate about, I USED to say, pub­lic radio and the CBC. Judg­ing from the com­ments here, I was not the only one. Pity no one in the gov­ern­ment cares.

    Worse, I don’t know where to go to for a replace­ment. There is some talk about Aus­tralian Pub­lic Radio online. Yes, we can all put our iPods on shuf­fle, but it is not the same thing.

    Oh, god, Tom is play­ing more Ser­re­na Ryder as I write just to rub salt in my wounds!!!

  39. To all. Today I was phoned by “the friends of CBC”. I am afraid I did not give her an oppor­tu­ni­ty to give me her mes­sage. I had to tell her how sad I am with the new pro­gram­ming. I told her that I start­ed to lis­ten to CBC when I was 7. now 80 years lat­er I would love to con­tin­ue . I find that the good gram­mer and excel­lent dic­tion have almost com­plete­ly dis­ap­peared. There still are a few left like Cather­ine Dun­can, Bill Richard­son ‚Peter T and oth­ers who have been allowed to stay,who have pleas­ing voic­es. I do hear “take a lis­ten” or “Hey you” on oth­er replaced pro­grams. Why do the pow­ers that be on the “new” radio 2 feel that bad gram­mer, using verbs as nouns, adjec­tives in place of adverbs are Cana­di­an?. We have been blam­ing the teach­ers for our chil­drens igno­rance of gram­mer. May I remind the new pro­gram­mers that it is not only the mun­dane music that jars for­mer lis­ten­ers ears. CBC has always been a leader and proud­ly Canadian,what has hap­pened ? Cer­tain­ly we need change, but please dont replace excel­lent pro­gram­ming, by copy­ing the com­mer­cial radio, let them con­tin­ue with theirs and let the CBC be once again known as a real leader, not a copi­er. I still lis­ten every day, some­days I enjoy and oth­er tines I am sad.. Please hear my plea

  40. I used to lis­ten to CBC 2 for hours at a time. Now, I lis­ten to it for fif­teen sec­onds a day–the time it takes me to get up and turn off my alarm, and turn off what­ev­er awful music is play­ing.

    Today I was hook­ing up new speak­ers and put on Tem­po to see if I had con­fig­ured them cor­rect­ly. Tem­po was ter­ri­ble! Vac­u­ous, inane com­ments by Julie Nes­ral­lah (most­ly about her­self, nat­u­ral­ly) made me despair–what hap­pened to intel­li­gent musi­cal com­men­tary? Every­thing on Radio 2 has been dumb­ed down, includ­ing Sat­ur­day After­noon at the Opera. I’ve tak­en to mut­ing Bill Richardson’s com­ments and intro­duc­tions to the operas he “hosts” because his com­ments and per­son­al­i­ty are so irri­tat­ing. Hav­ing him suc­ceed Howard Dyck is like hav­ing Don Cher­ry take over from Peter Mans­bridge.

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