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Tuesday morning's column

I decided at the last minute that I wanted to contribute to the Post's star-studded series on Whither The CBC?, but Lorne Gunter had already expressed my basic view of the matter, namely that the ideal future for Canadian state broadcasting would involve lots and lots of ammonium nitrate. So I was forced to get creative and imagine a second-best CBC. It frankly seems less likely than the Gunter solution, but at least it's original.

The column is less clear than I'd like at one juncture, and has attracted mail because of it. I wrote:

Indeed, the real question is why the CBC, even at this early point in the history of media convergence, should consist of anything but a single Web site, backed by studio resources, that offers news, streaming audio and video and digital files of radio and television shows.

After writing this, I meant to insert language acknowledging that "Because not everyone has affordable broadband access yet" is one good answer. My future CBC is something that should be thought of as possible 10-15 years from now—perhaps sooner, with massive federal infrastructure investments on the near horizon. And since I'm aware that people in remote areas exercise disproportionate political influence, I don't mean to insist that the Corp would ever sell literally all its physical broadcasting assets—just an overwhelming majority of them.


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Comments (5)

Lord Bob:

So, is Colby Cosh the young man's Lorne Gunter, or is Lorne Gunter the old man's Colby Cosh? Also, is Jonathan Kay your evil twin? I'm just trying to get a grip on the soap-opera-style layout of the National Post editorial board.

Ook Boo:

The median age of TV viewers is somewhere in the mid-40s now, and the median age of TV news viewers is over 60, so the CBC (and other networks) are increasingly irrelevant to most people.
The reason for this is that the web already offers better, more relevant content than TV ever did. You are suggesting a solution for a problem that does not exist.
As for broadband access, we are one of the world's most urban societies (despite our image), and anyone in a city can get affordable broadband. Even outside the city, 95% of the population can get broadband access in remote areas with a cell phone, and cells are where things are trending as sources for information.


Even with all its faults, CBC Radio at least is still a 1000% better than the crap on commercial radio-I'm talkin' to you Corus!


Perhaps we should agree that the CBC's Northern Service should stay in place, and the rest of it should be ditched. If the rest must be kept, perhaps we can agree that a service meant for the 10% or so of the population that lives in remote areas should not be provided entirely out of downtown Toronto.

Both sensible ideas. We must also consider the role satellite radio plays, and will play, in serving remote areas. One of the more lucid letters I got that inspired me to add this footnote came from a gentleman in a VERY distant area who was worried about losing his terrestrial CBC radio service, but admitted to already having a satellite receiver. Which was a bit of a WTF.

CBC programming is already carried on both Canadian and U.S. (!) satellite networks; Radio 1 and Radio 3 are on both, for now, but Radio 2 is carried by neither (not even by Sirius Canada, which is part-owned by the Corp). The crushingly ironic reason: its playlist doesn't meet satellite-specific CanCon requirements(!!!!).


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