An Email and Live Protest on the CBC

On this Tues­day, April 1, at 10 in the morn­ing many of us are going march on the CBC Offices down­town. Don’t know if it will do any­thing more than make us feel bet­ter, but at least we can say we did some­thing. There is also more we can do, and it does­n’t require our phys­i­cal pres­ence. An email cam­paign has start­ed (via Face­book). I’m going to pub­lish the rest here, so that peo­ple who either don’t want to have to locate on Face­book or don’t want to join can par­tic­i­pate as well. Here’s all of the infor­ma­tion (and it has some eye-open­ing infor­ma­tion about what the CBC has been up to late­ly):

Let’s give the CBC a love­ly Mon­day morn­ing

Here we go again, folks. It sure appears we’ve made our voic­es heard. Colum­nists in the major papers are tak­ing note and tak­ing sides. And the CBC execs them­selves sense the threat to their schemes, tak­ing out a full-page ad in the Sat­ur­day Globe in rebut­tal to our crit­i­cism. We’re going to keep the pres­sure up.

Every­body: Write an email out­lin­ing your out­rage over the changes hap­pen­ing to Radio Two. be as per­son­al as you can. If you need inspi­ra­tion, we’ve got a list of issues below, and many peo­ple have post­ed cre­ate feats of rhetor­i­cal splen­dour back at the Save Clas­si­cal Music at the CBC site. Write your quick email tonight to Richard Sturs­berg and CC it to all the peo­ple we men­tion below plus any jour­nal­ists you can think of. We expand­ing things this time to board mem­bers and mem­bers of par­lia­ment. Write you let­ter before the end of the day on Mon­day. Let’s make anoth­er huge state­ment, folks!

List of Issues and Email Address­es (Thanks to Mar­garet Logan for com­pil­ing all this!)

1. The CBC Young Com­posers Com­pe­ti­tion has not been held since March 9, 2003. It, as well as the CBC Young Per­form­ers Com­pe­ti­tion, have been sus­pend­ed for the past four years. The Cana­da Coun­cil pro­vid­ed the fund­ing for the $10,000.00 grand prize.
2. CBC erased the clas­si­cal music bud­get for CBC Records in Feb­ru­ary 2008, pre­cise­ly on the eve of their first Gram­my win by Cana­di­an vio­lin­ist James Ehnes and the Van­cou­ver Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra under Bramwell Tovey on the CBC Records label. Many artists, such as Measha Brueg­ger­gos­man, launched their careers on a CBC Records label record­ing.
3. The com­mis­sion­ing bud­get pre­vi­ous­ly devot­ed to com­mis­sion­ing new works from com­posers is now spread out to cov­er jazz, pop musi­cians, and some unspec­i­fied amount of con­tem­po­rary music.
4. CBC can­celled Two New Hours, a mul­ti­ple-award win­ning pro­gram that was aired for two hours a week in the incred­i­bly prime time slot of Sun­days 10pm to mid­night. This pro­gram was ded­i­cat­ed to the music of liv­ing Cana­di­an com­posers. It was can­celled in March 2007 in its 29th year.
5. CBC can­celled The Arts Report. The late Val Ross, an arts colum­nist for The Globe and Mail, lament­ed the loss of this par­tic­u­lar radio seg­ment, say­ing that it kept her in touch with impor­tant cul­tur­al devel­op­ments across the coun­try.
6. CBC can­celled Music For A While, which aired clas­si­cal music dai­ly from 6pm to 8pm. It has been replaced by Ton­ic, a jazz pro­gram which also fea­tures hip-hop, soul and world music.
7. CBC can­celled In Per­for­mance the flag­ship Clas­si­cal con­certs pro­gram. It was replaced by Cana­da Live, which has an uneven and unpre­dictable offer­ing of funk and R and B bands, jazz, Mid­dle east­ern fusion music, throatsing­ing…
8. The pro­posed cuts for the Fall of 2008 rep­re­sents fur­ther reduc­tions in clas­si­cal music con­tent, elim­i­nat­ing clas­si­cal music 6am to 10am and 3pm to 6pm.
9. The new hosts are not musi­col­o­gists and have lit­tle depth of knowl­edge to share with radio lis­ten­ers. Howard Dyck, for exam­ple, who is no longer host­ing Sat­ur­day After­noon at the Opera, is an Order of Cana­da recip­i­ent, a con­duc­tor and the recip­i­ent of numer­ous hon­ourary degrees for his con­tri­bu­tion to music in Cana­da. See Lar­ry Lake, for­mer host of Two New Hours, is a Toron­to com­pos­er, per­former and broad­cast­er. He is Artis­tic Direc­tor of the Cana­di­an Elec­tron­ic Ensem­ble, the old­est active live elec­tron­ic music group in the world, now in its 35th sea­son. Oth­er hosts whose, such as Tom Allen, Eric Friesen, Rick Phillips are also giants in the field of music broad­cast­ing.
10. The axing of the CBC Radio Orches­tra: North Amer­i­ca’s 70 year old last remain­ing radio orches­tra and plat­form for count­less pre­mieres of new Cana­di­an com­po­si­tions
11. Gone are Music & Com­pa­ny — Tom Allen’s morn­ing show, Here’s to You — Cather­ine Belyea’s (For­mer­ly Shel­ley Solmes’) all-request show, Stu­dio Sparks — due to the ven­er­a­ble Eric Friesen’s “retire­ment”, and Disc Dri­ve — Jur­gen Gothe’s pop­u­lar dri­ve-home show after almost 30 years. These changes come on the heels of last years round of cuts to vital pro­grams such as Danielle Char­bon­neau’s much-loved Music for Awhile; Lar­ry Lake’s new com­pos­er show­case Two New Hours; Sym­pho­ny Hall — Canada’s live orches­tra record­ing show­case; The Singer and the Song — Cather­ine Belyea’s excel­lent Clas­si­cal vocal pro­gram; North­ern Lights — the overnight Clas­si­cal pro­gram beloved by Night Owls every­where; The refor­mat­ting of In Per­for­mance- a pri­mar­i­ly clas­si­cal live per­for­mance show into the much-reviled Cana­da Live — a uni­form­ly non-clas­si­cal and com­plete­ly unfo­cused hodge-podge of World music, soft pop, and sort-of Jazz; and the con­tro­ver­sial replace­ment of vet­er­an Howard Dyck from Sat­ur­day After­noon at the Opera after many years of great ser­vice.
12. The CBC axing the Radio Orches­tra one day cit­ing lack of resources, and the next day buy­ing huge­ly expen­sive full-page ad in the Globe and Mail to con­vince us how won­der­ful every­thing is going to be in their Brave New World.


Send your let­ter to Richard Sturs­berg, head of Eng­lish ser­vices at CBC, con­demn­ing any of the issues above, or, prefer­ably, one of your own. Demand his res­ig­na­tion for sin­gle-hand­ed­ly destroy­ing 70 years of a care­ful­ly evolved musi­cal ecol­o­gy at CBC Radio 2.

cc: All the fol­low­ing indi­vid­u­als:

  1. CBC Pres­i­dent Hubert Lacroix [email protected]
  2. CBC board chair­man Tim­o­thy Cas­grain through his assis­tant Kath­leen Mar­tin [email protected]
  3. Board mem­bers Peter Her­rn­dorf [email protected]
  4. and Tri­na McQueen [email protected]
  5. Sturs­berg’s Exec­u­tive Assis­tant, Cathy Katrib-Reyes [email protected]CBC.CA
  6. Lacroix‘s Chief of Staff Francine Letourneau [email protected]
  7. Exec in charge of CBC Radio, Jen­nifer McGuire
  8. [email protected] or [email protected]
  9. Radio 2 Pro­gram­ming chief [email protected] or [email protected]
  10. Peter Stein­metz, Chair of the Cana­di­an Song­writ­ers Hall of Fame [email protected]
  11. Josee Vern­er, Min­is­ter of Her­itage [email protected]
  12. Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harp­er [email protected]
  13. Lib­er­al Her­itage crit­ic Mau­ril Bélanger
  14. [email protected]
  15. NDP Her­itage crit­ic Char­lie Angus [email protected]
  16. (option­al) The major news­pa­per jour­nal­ist of your choice — local is best!

To make it eas­i­er, here all all the email address­es for past­ing into your email client:
to: [email protected]; [email protected]
cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected], [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

(Note: your email client may require com­mas rather than semi-colons)

So there you have it. I’m work­ing on my email. If you have time (and this affects you as well), please send one of your own.