Friday, March 28, 2008

CBC Knows Not What it Does

The CBC is a corrupt organization.

Worse is that is hidden within folds upon folds of unfathomable bureaucracy.

That doesn't mean that it should be disbanded and sold to corporate broadcasters.

Far from it.

The CBC, which still continues in small fits and starts, to provide first rate programming that will never be available in the profit model, has an important role to play.

Unfortunately, it is almost a secret cabal. It thrashes about from leadership to leadership, spending huge amounts of money recklessly and changing content at whim.

The shutting down of the CBC Orchestra is a loathsome act, and completely unnecessary. The costs are minimal and the rewards are immense.

We need MORE orchestras, not less. And the CBC Orchestra in particular has a deserved international reputation.

This latest act by CBC brass is as obscene as the March snow that is falling outside my window.


PelaLusa said...

The CBC is a corrupt organization ... for a host of other reasons too, number one amongst them being that 99% of the people employed there share one narrow political view. It ain't mine and it ain't that of a great number of Canadians. There's too much smugness, full of great delusions; akin to the arrogance of our past governor general: "I'm Adrienne Clarkson ... and you're not!"

Steve said...

I'm not sure why essentially four radio stations and two TV stations requires more than 25,000 bureaucrats to run. And why we're paying vast amounts of money for that. Especially when the views of the network represent a rather narrow slice of public opinion. And when they keep cutting back content, airing American shows and doing third-rate news.

And why Canadian producers get continually screwed and have to go to the States for broadcast licenses. Or get jobs at Denny's.

It used to be great. Now it's just a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

I've just had a 'phone conversation with my kids' violin teacher who has been a member of the CBC Orchestra for 30 years. She is devastated and somewhat in shock. She expressed what a real privilege it has been to be part of such an exciting, wonderful venue with world-class (really, and not just repeated as PR) musicians and conductors. And, with the stroke of a pen, 70 years has been erased by inept bureaucrats.

Their conductor was told about this decision before Christmas and was expected to inform the members two days prior to Christmas, which he wouldn't do. He has been living with this knowledge since that time. The concert master, in tears, spoke of the orchestra as a jewel.

Like telemarketers, the two people from CBC were completely "on message" yesterday and would not, or could not, directly answer questions that deviated from their script.

The money that these wonderful musicians are paid is a pittance and the money ($600K?) that will be "saved" is small potatoes compared to what the orchestra provides. This decision will have a domino effect -- the orchestra also plays with, for instance, the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Vancouver Cantata Singers, etc. something which will no longer be possible once it is disbanded.

Many in the music community (Bramwell Tovy for instance) packed the lobby of the closed meeting last night to show their support for the orchestra. We can only hope that there will be a ground swell of support and this decision will be reversed, although this is probably unlikely.


PelaLusa said...

Steve raises an interesting point. I had no idea that there were sooooo many people working for the CBC! Though I vividly recall you, David, contrasting the amount of people running your show - 2 - you & an audio engineer / call screener vs. how many people "seem required" to run each CBC show. The latter is absolutely enormous. And each of their salaries zapped away money from great things like the CBC Orchestra.

Perhaps the entire CBC needs to be shut down for a couple of years and then rebuilt in an image that makes sense to Joe Public, not Joe Union Hack.

MurdocK said...

as the darkness decends, expect truth, beauty and justice to be among the first casualties...

seems to me like a dark time has started

I for one do not mourn the loss of the orchestra, as the entire CBC has been lost since the early 1990's.

Now that the Maple Lafs are out for the third year running the Network must be running scared, for without the regular TO market, there is an immense sucking sound coming from the center of the universe...

Pelalusa, the CBC needs to be SHUT DOWN.

If a 'public broadcaster' needs to exist at all then it should be 'public funding' more along the lines of PBS in the USofA, not the 'public purse' being used to fill the pockets of union only workers.

I still argue that with the 'narrowcasting' that venues like the internet's YouTube have created such dinosaurs as CBC must be finally ... put out to pasture.

I realize the value of live music and the effects of beauty appreciation that it can bring, sadly the masses are moving on and the AM-FM dial may soon grown very quiet indeed.

Steve said...

Sorry about this. I should check things more thoroughly...

I was basing my numbers on hearsay (a CBC employee told me there were 15000 people working in Toronto, 7000 in Vancouver), but I really should check.

According to a 2007 CRTC report posted here, the CBC employed 10,106 people in 2007. And cost taxpayers 956 million.

It's still a lot.

The rest of the television industry in Canada employed 7873 people. And cost taxpayers zip.

Scotland Yard said...

The Canada Council also needs a rethinking and a reworking. It has its own cabal. I know artists who repeatedly expected and received grants and other serious artists who couldn't get in the door. The politics are as unbalanced as the CBC.

There is always patronage in the arts. There has to be. Don’t think the CC isn’t part of it. It’s the nature of the beast. The CC is merely patronage by committee and don't think for an instant that it isn't based on who know who. It was ever thus.