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]
  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.

10 Replies to “An Email and Live Protest on the CBC”

  1. I am dev­as­tat­ed by this news. Esp. the all the shows list­ed on #11 that are being total­ly erased from Radio 2. They were the rea­son I start­ed lis­ten­ing to CBC FM in the first place.… Eric Friesen, Jur­gen Gothe, Shel­ley Solmes, Danielle Char­bon­neau, Cather­ine Belyea all col­lec­tive­ly gave me hope dur­ing a very dif­fi­cult point in my life. 

    You are mak­ing a HUGE mis­take and it had to be said. It’s so mis­guid­ed, total­ly screw­ing up the things that made CBC Radio 2 so great for so long. What’s wrong with keep­ing Radio 2 as is and then adding all this new exper­i­men­tal stuff to Radio 3?

    I am so depressed.

  2. Nan­cy — Please, we all need to send a mes­sage like yours to the peo­ple who can hear, and per­haps change this. It’s not I who am mak­ing this HUGE mis­take, it’s the CBC. Tell them.

    With the destruc­tion of Radio 2, I feel as if a piece of our intel­lec­tu­al and cul­tur­al life is being ripped from us by a few clue­less bureau­crats, intent on ful­fill­ing some vision of a bland and mind­less coun­try. I left the U.S. part­ly to escape what I thought was a dete­ri­o­rat­ing pop­u­la­tion get­ting dumb­er and dumb­er with each pass­ing year.

    This is not the same direc­tion that Cana­da should follow.

  3. sent off my e‑mails. If there’s any way I can slip away from work tomor­row, I will! How long will you guys be there?

  4. Thanks Nan­cy. Hope you can get away. I’m tak­ing off that day, and I’m not sure how long the march will be or where it starts. I was on a mail­ing list from the UBC Fac­ul­ty mem­ber, pianist Sarah Davis Buech­n­er. She sent it to about 125 peo­ple (I rec­og­nized a few music cognoscen­ti on the list from their email names). I’m hop­ing to find out more, but I did get 2 emails of peo­ple to con­tact: Ani­ta Slee­man, who is [email protected] or [email protected] . Hope that helps. Now, I’m get­ting back to my letter…

  5. Here is the let­ter I wrote about the CBC, to some of the email address­es pro­vid­ed by you. Thanks.

    I am writ­ing to let you know about my extreme dis­ap­point­ment and sor­row about the pend­ing loss­es to Chan­nel 2 radio clas­si­cal music pro­grammes that I have so enjoyed and have helped cre­ate my sense of being Cana­di­an even. I can­not tell you how much of a dis­as­ter I think this is, with great reper­cus­sions. I enjoy all types of music, but com­men­ta­tors such as Rick Phillips, Jur­gen Gothe, and so many, many oth­ers have been my main­stay. What on earth is hap­pen­ing to the lead­er­ship at CBC.

    Also, in terms of tele­vi­sion dra­ma, the CBC used to have plen­ty of good dra­ma that I could look for­ward to. We should have more, but the fre­quen­cy has gone down dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Our Cana­di­ans are so tal­ent­ed, and the CBC ought to be a show­case. Our house­hold through­ly enjoyed the Englishman’s Boy, both parts, and can only hope some­one will have the com­mon sense to strength­en the fund­ing that goes towards good, com­pelling dra­ma such as this. Rarely is a “movie” as good as a book, but this was an exception.

  6. A play-in should be orga­nized with musi­cians play­ing music out­side the Van­cou­ver Library build­ing accross the street from the CBC build­ing this Sat­ur­day (Tue­day at 10:00 a.m. is not the best time to orga­nize a ral­ly). It will raise atten­tion and maybe even funds to go at these exec­u­tive clowns. I will be pleased to con­tribute $100 even if it will only serve to help shame the clowns who run the CBC.

  7. Hel­lo

    Thanks ever so much for the email address­es list­ed. You might also want to include the CRTC in your list, if they are not inves­ti­gat­ing this change, they need to!!!

    Their web­site has been tim­ing out for the last few days, but I did find this address [email protected]

    ‘Bye for now

  8. Every­thing said in the emails above is true, but for me : the cbc has giv­en up on any­thing a musi­cian or a music lover would want. Some peo­ple like Gothe’s pro­gram, but for me that’a annoy­ing beyond belief, pop music stuck in between A move­ment from a work. Why can’t the cbc play a WHOLE work ????? Danielle Char­bon­neau was the last per­son I’ve heard to have the courage to play music out of the usu­al reper­toire, and com­plete pieces. She should get the Order of Cana­da for that. Good peo­ple, I’ve paid for those music libraries as have you, let’s have some­one play them for us. AND get the hell back to hir­ing orches­tras — hopw do new works get played ?????

  9. The appoint­ment of Hubert Lacroix by Stephen Harp­er (aka Big Broth­er) in 2007 seems to have start­ed the har­ried dis­man­tling of our col­lec­tive Cana­di­an voice. The loss of our cul­ture (through both CBC Radio and Tele­vi­sion — includ­ing polit­i­cal com­men­tary inher­ent in Air Farce, Tom Allen’s inter­est­ing lit­tle-known facts, etc.) is a mea­sured step in politi­ciz­ing and pri­va­tiz­ing our pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lic (demo­c­ra­t­ic) cul­ture. This is the New CBC — the Con­ser­v­a­tive Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion. Writ­ing the exec­u­tives at CBC will prob­a­bly do noth­ing, as Lacroix is in the PM’s pock­et. News­pa­pers, oppo­si­tion par­ty mem­bers might be the best choice. That’s where I am direct­ing what lit­tle voice I have left. This is not 1984. At least, not yet. Big Broth­er, we are watch­ing you. Thank you so much for this web­site. Togeth­er, we just might be able to make a huge dif­fer­ence. That’s how democ­ra­cy works, I am told.

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