Inside the CBC is penned by the CBC's technology columnist Tod Maffin. Content here is neither reviewed nor approved by CBC management prior to posting.
And in the "About this Blog" section we may read the following:
Is this really the CBC's official blog?
Yes, this is the official blog for the English media side of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It's meant primarily as a blog for employees, but it's open to the world and you're welcome to join our discussions!
Well, Jesus Murphy! Is it or is it not the "Official Blog of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation"? There's no link to it (that I can find - it may be cleverly hidden) from the cbc.ca web site, and as I mentioned above, I only stumbled upon it through an unlikely search in Google. It seems CBC wants to have a blog which they can, at any time, disavow any knowledge of. "Plausible denial", indeed!
Now, I would not want any of the above to be construed as criticism or a personal attack on Mr. Tod Maffin. I applaud Mr. Maffin's activities in apparently creating and maintaining this web site. What I find immensely irritating is that a web site can be created to solicit the opinion of CBC listeners, and yet it has to be done by the CBC through what appears to be a "skunk works" project initiated by the CBC's technology columnist - thus proving that it can be done, and should be done, if only the CBC would permit it. Now, I come to the most interesting point.
Mr. Maffin also asks the following question in the "About this Blog" page:
Why would the CBC want to put a blog about itself up?
I think they listened to the many employees who said communication could be more direct. And the public, I always felt, wanted the CBC to have more of a human tone. We're not a big faceless corporation, we're a creative group of cool people and maybe this will help showcase some of what they do and what you're doing too.
As well, there aren't really any real-time mechanism for executives to hear directly from the audience on specific topics, shy of weekly audience-reaction reports or focus groups. Now, they can click onto a posting and read your comments any time they like. Er, maybe with a brandy or something. They might need it.
Well, Mr. Maffin sure has hit the nail on the head. There are no real-time mechanisms for executives to hear directly from the audience - except from this hidden web site, that only the dedicated - or outraged - CBC Radio listener can find. And if they don't like what they read, they can say that they haven't read it! Because they didn't know about it! Plausible denial just became that much more plausible.
On this web site Mr. Tod Maffin asked the question: "The new CBC Radio 2 evening schedule: what do you think?" Apparently, the question was posed to those few who were aware of this web site's existence on March 20th, 2007. And did the responses come in! By April 10th, there were 76 posts in response to Mr. Tod Maffin's question. I tallied the results, classifying the comments as either "Positive", "Negative", "Neutral" or "Confused" (where I was unable to discern any meaningful comment). Here are the results:
You will notice that the above results do not add up to 76 - this is because one contributor made a follow-up clarification to a comment that I am not including in the above totals.
When I found this (today, May 6, 2007) I thought: Great! Now I have a forum to voice my opinions! And yet I was once again thwarted in my attempts to voice an opinion to the CBC when I found that posting in response to this question is now closed. "What the hell is this?" I thought. Here is a web site soliciting opinions, but is there a statute of limitations on opinions? Did the CBC management finally crack down on Mr. Tod Maffin, telling him that freedom of expression was just fine, as long as there was not too much of it and as long as it agrees with the CBC's already-implemented policies?
When I started reading these posts I thought many of the responses would lament the demise of "Music for Awhile" and "In Performance", just as I had. But I was surprised at the number of comments that mentioned "After Hours", "Brave New Waves" , "Two New Hours" and "Northern Lights". It appears that CBC Radio has been very democratic in implementing these programming changes - everyone has been made equally unhappy, no matter their race, creed, colour, ethnic origin or taste in music. Bravo, CBC!
Have a look at the comments. My favourite is from John on March 21st:
You didn’t know I was out there.
I’ve sent cards, letters and emails since the 60’s. I told you often the things I liked, the things you produced with excellence and on occasion shows that missed your generally high standards.
But you didn’t know I was out there.
Now you’ve taken the Public money, and with your best navel gazing, have decided that I need a tonic, a remedy, to drug me into a world class media mediocracy.
I am leaving.
I will write my cards, letters and emails to my elected representatives. They know I am here.
At first you won’t miss me…you didn’t even know I was out there.
Poetry, John. Pure poetry.