Friday, May 18, 2007

New Classical Program on Sunday Afternoons on CBC Radio Two!

The "official" CBC Blog has announced a new program of classical music on Sunday afternoons.

The blog entry announces:

"Classical lovers, rejoice! CBC Radio 2 is going to air at Sunday-afternoon show featuring high-quality classical performances.

The Sunday show, to run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., is as yet unnamed, but will feature classical performances from the best Canadian and international symphonies and chamber orchestras.

CBC Radio program director Jennifer McGuire said the goal is to grow younger audiences by drawing them into classical listening with better-quality and more contemporary works."

The description of this new show - "classical performances from the best Canadian and international symphonies and chamber orchestras" - sounds promising, but I'll wait until I hear the first broadcast before passing judgement.

Having said that, I really have to wonder just what is going on at CBC Radio. When the new evening schedule was launched (replacing "Music for Awhile" with "Tonic" and "In Performance" with "Canada Live") the rationale given at the time was that CBC Radio Two was trying to appeal to a younger audience, and the new programming - jazz and live performances of more contemporary music - was supposed to do just that. Jennifer McGuire, CBC Radio's executive director of programming, is said in a March 19 2007 Globe and Mail article to have stated that "CBC Radio Two's target audience is between 35 and 49 years old, yet the majority of current listeners are over 50. So the network is looking to attract a relatively younger, although still adult audience." - implying that the classical programming previously broadcast appealed to the to over-50 set, while the new programming would appeal to the 35 - 49 year old age group.

And now we are told that "the goal is to grow younger audiences by drawing them into classical listening with better-quality and more contemporary works." On Sunday afternoon? After church, perhaps, while waiting for the Sunday dinner served at 5:00 PM? This is 2007 folks, not 1927! If CBC Radio really wanted to "grow younger audiences by drawing them into classical listening" what was wrong with the classical music that was featured on "Music for Awhile" and "In Performance"? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what is meant by "better-quality and more contemporary works".

There are two excellent comments made in response to this announcement by individuals who, from their comments, appear to be in precisely the age category (early twenties, I assume) that the CBC should be aiming for if they want to have a sustainable audience, and yet clearly both are unhappy with the programming changes that are taking place on CBC Radio Two. You can read their comments here. CBC Radio Two management, are you able to admit that you have made a mistake and return "Music for Awhile" and "In Performance" to the evening schedule of CBC Radio Two?


brian&michael said...

I am very distressed by these changes and also the arrogant way they have been implemented. The promos for the new programmes are grossly aesthectically at odds with the remaining classical content. Worse than commercials. I miss Daniel Charbinoau, the arts report, the 6.30 news cast, David Wisdom, and the clasical live broadcasts on in performance. CBC radio 2 should not be looking for audience numbers but satisfaction from their core clasical audience. For the sunday show they are cutting the live music for what? How can you look for a programme host for which the format has not been decided. Clasical fm can excel with live broadcasts, intelegent hosts and commentary, there is so much more that could be done, even better than before, but what is hapening now is appalling,

James Wooten said...

Hi Brian, Michael,

Thanks for your comments - I agree with you completely. I encourage you to write to the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, the Minister of Heritage, Ms. Bev Oda, the CBC Board of Governors and CBC Radio management. I believe if enough CBC Radio Two listeners write to these individuals to express their outrage over what has taken place, we can effect a change in the way CBC Radio operates!

Anonymous said...

Well done James;
I have been thinking the same, and missing Danielle Charboneau until I heard her a day or so ago when I woke early and heard her on the overnight show! Whoever picked her music had a different perspective from CBC run of the mill.

I suggest patience and the avoidance of immoderate comment!

I support you all the way.

Derry Ironside (age 70 if you want to know)

James Wooten said...

Hi Derry,

Thanks for your comments. I encourage you to sign the on-line petitions, if you have not already done so, at:

Also, the next time we have a federal election, we should all tell the candidates in our respective ridings that we want Parliament to exercise its duty to effectively monitor the CBC and make sure that CBC Radio meets the needs of Canadians for quality programming!