I got a response from CBC. I was pretty uh... forward
in my reply, but I do think it was very cool of Pierce to respond.
I have complained in the past and gotten no response (although I have gotten a reply or two in the past too).
comment: i love radio one, i've been a daily listener for probably a
decade or so. i like (probably love) the vast majority of the
programming, and at it's worst I generally like it more than commercial
except for freestyle.
the conclusion that i've come to is that radio one shouldn't play music
at all, especially top 40.
a clip of a new release or from someone being interviewed (preferrably
canadian, in either case) would be tolerable.
if i want to listen to music i can listen to another channel.
more talk, less* rock.
*less as in none.
Dear Rus Heggie,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding CBC Radio's programming changes. It allows us to correct misinformation contained in recent print accounts and gives the opportunity to confirm our programming goals for the future.
CBC Radio is a creative programming organization. Creativity is fuelled by a willingness to risk with new programming ideas. Over the past two years, over 40 new programs or series have enriched our schedules. Many, such as The Wire, the Current, and Wiretap, have won a record number of national and international awards for excellence. It is a track record that we value and on which, we intend to build. I assure you that we have no intention to undermine our commitment to thoughtful, engaging radio programming.
However, it often seems every time changes are made on CBC Radio, we are accused of relinquishing our commitment to public service broadcasting. We are accused of dumbing down by those who valued the program being replaced. These perceptions are simply untrue. We are guilty of wanting to expand our creativity. We want to try new ideas. Some will work. Some will not. Those that don't will disappear but these programs will get a fair chance. Our people who put their reputation and their creativity on the line deserve a fair opportunity.
Freestyle is a daily talk show delivered in a chat style suitable to afternoon listening. It connects to the day and music is a supporting but important value. That music will be predominantly Canadian. Any reports of a prevalence of Elton John, Madonna and Top 40 are ill-informed and false. This show is still finding its voice, and I'm asking you to give its talented hosts and producers an opportunity to do that. Whether Freestyle settles in for an extended stay or runs its course in a season is yet to be determined but rest assured CBC Radio will never produce programs that overlap with the kind of wall-to-wall hit music heard on other stations.
CBC Radio belongs to all Canadians. We are not exclusively after young listeners. We do want to connect with listeners of any age whose defining characteristic is curiosity. Canada is changing. Serving the needs of a diverse spectrum of Canadians will, by definition, mean not all programs are for all people. With a wide variety of genres, demographics and creative approaches, there are shows for every taste*and every accusation of dumbing down is counterbalanced by a corresponding alternate perception of elitist and exclusionary attitudes. When the attacks come equally from both sides, you're probably well positioned.
CBC Radio has been, and will remain, firmly committed to public broadcasting. The qualities that are at the core of all our programs are intelligence, excellence, distinctiveness on the dial, Canadian in flavour and an authentic reflection of Canada in all ways: culturally, politically and socially. To that end, our priorities are to further develop a radio service that is strongly rooted in all regions of Canada and provide a national signal composed of genuine regional perspectives.
I sincerely hope that you continue to find value in the majority of our schedule and find some comfort in the explanation that I have provided.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
I appreciate your response.
You said, "CBC Belongs to all Canadians" - exactly why I was expressing my dissatisfaction with the music on "freestyle" (and on further reflection why I came to the personal conclusion that radio one is not a place for music in general, or in this quantity at least).
"CBC Belongs to all Canadians" is a great idea, however not all Canadians listen to CBC. Logically, the CBC should belong to the Canadians that listen to the CBC most frequently.
as you experiment with new programming I hope that you will always seriously consider the input that you get from your listeners. How were listeners consulted prior to this change? Why was the change made? In what way was "The Roundup" not meeting the requirements to remain on the air? What exactly are your "programming goals"? What credence do the hosts and producers give to the audience responses?
Can you honestly tell me that there is an equal response on the positive side for "freestyle" as much as on the negative? if so, are you placing the attacks in context of where they are coming from? places where cbc
is one of two stations on the dial vs. where cbc
is a choice among innumerable other channels? quality should not be sacrificed for a small population who are not representative of the larger audience. I get the impression that this show is not "working" for a large number of people (for several different reasons that I'm sure you are aware of by this point).
It would seem that "expanding creativity" can, and was, being made possible within the parameters of "The Roundup". Recently in the "movable mosh", the "seniors discount", and in the past Bill Richardson played older records from the CBC library. Apparently some worked and some did not. It may have been wiser to see if "freestyle would "work" or not within "The Roundup". In which case I would say that you did relinquish your "commitment to public service broadcasting", although I wouldn't have occurred to me until I read your letter.
In particular "distinctiveness on the dial" has been compromised in regards to the music played (and how playing songs I can hear on any other classic rock station can be explained as "expanding creativity" confounds me) .
While "freestyle" finds it's "voice", it seems strange to silence another program that found it's voice, especially just for the sake of repeating the process of allowing a program to find it's voice.
I hope that you will consider the things that I have submitted and/or the matter will be brought to those in a position to improve content of "freestyle".
Thanks Again,Rus Heggie