Posted by: Alvin | June 10, 2009

Short Takes: CBC Cuts


One of my favourite blogs, but oddly one that I seem to visit infrequently, is “Inside the CBC“. It’s a great blog that is a perfect tool for communication given that the CBC is owned by everyone. Lately, many of the stories have focused on the financial challenges facing the ‘ceeb’ driven by a sector-wide revenue crunch and also by chronic underfunding of the corporation by the government. A couple of stories grabbed my attention, both having to do with what CBC brass are calling the “news renewal process.” (Read: cutbacks).

The first is the cancellation of CBC News Sunday (read about it here and here). Avid followers of that program will already know that it will be eaten up by the National in an attempt to cut costs. For me, this is awful news. Evan Solomon and Carole MacNeil were amazing together and their reports were very often far more indepth and far more insightful than anything else (CBC or elsewhere). The show had a real sense of thoughtfulness about the stories it covered, not simply reporting what was going on, but questioning what was going on. Asking why is becoming more and more of a throw-away in journalism, especially on TV and Radio. Sunday kept the tradition of “why” and I can only hope the National’s new sunday broadcast will keep some of that charm. Even better would be to bring in the talented producers and reseachers that made CBC News Sunday so good into the National’s fold.

The second thing to grab my attention were the comments from Don Newman of the show Politics. Again, for avid followers, you’ll already know that Don Newman is retireing after 20 years with CBC Newsworld (there since its inception). Newman cautioned CBC executives from changing the winning formula of the show too much, saying “if it’s not broke don’t fix it.” He pointed out that it’s the highest rated show in it’s slot (the 5pm pre dinner hour slot for the Toronto market) beating Mike Duffy and then Tom Clark from CTV by a wide margin. According to the linked Hill Times story possible replacements for Newman include CBC News Sunday’s Evan Solomon, CBC Parliament Hill reporter Susan Bonner, and CBC Radio’s National Affairs Editor Chris Hall. Here’s hoping for Solomon!


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