CBC Radio 2 Changes Programming - Less Classical More Pop
The changes were announced Tuesday by Jennifer McGuire, executive director of English programming for CBC Radio.This morning's Globe and Mail reports that
Radio Two will remain a music station, with an emphasis on classical and boosted Canadian content after the final phase of the redesign, she said.
The plan for weekday programming on CBC Radio Two is:
The format for the morning program also will continue on weekend mornings, with a different host.
- 6-10 a.m.: A music program dedicated to a range of genres, including classical, pop, jazz and roots music.
- 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: A classical program that will emphasize the most popular and accessible classical music, including Mozart, Beethoven and other favourites.
- 3-6 p.m.: A drive-home show focusing on vocal music, including many new artists.
In September, Radio 2 will also launch separate all-day all-classical, all-jazz and all-singer-songwriter stations on the Internet. Radio 3 will remain an Internet- and satellite-based service. However, one petitioner among a vocal group of listeners, musicians and composers who have criticized the overhaul argued yesterday that even an all-classical Web-based service wouldn't rectify the fact that Radio 2's on-air, non-classical programs are moving away from what had been the network's core listeners.The proposed all-day all-classical and all-jazz web stations, already in service on the French CBC, are red-herrings; if someone wants to listen to classical or jazz online, there are already thousands of web radio stations, and one or two more won't make a dent.
While acknowledging that change always meets opposition, Jennifer McGuire, executive director of radio, said that overall ratings haven't dropped as significantly as anticipated, as some listeners tune out and new ones tune in. She also emphasized that only a tiny fraction - 0.8 per cent - of new Canadian songs get commercial radio play and that the Radio 2 changes will allow for much more Canadian music to be heard, from pop to experimental.
But, "people who like classical music can still find classical music on Radio 2. In fact, it is still the most represented single genre on the service," McGuire said.
The announcement has stirred up passion amongst CBC Radio 2 listeners. Both reports were filled with comments (see G&M comments; comments to the CBC story is at the bottom of the page), mostly lamenting the lost of classical music.
The bigger question is what is the role of a public broadcaster. Supporters of the change put forth the argument that a public broadcaster should serve all of its citizens. The consequence of this argument is that the public broadcaster would end up chasing ratings, as this plan aims to do. Ratings are the currency to justify the broadcaster's existence to its political masters. Historically, the role of a public broadcaster is to offer quality programming rather than follow the motives of commercial media. Favouring quantity over quality is usual a passing fad. Hopefully, saner minds will prevail, one day. Let us know what you think in the comments section or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.