Thursday, June 21, 2007

A reply from Ms. Jennifer McGuire, Executive Director of Programming

I recently received the following reply to my letter to Ms. Jennifer McGuire, Executive Director of Programming at CBC Radio, concerning the recent changes to the CBC Radio Two evening programming. You can see my original letter in my May 3 blog entry entitled "Moving up the CBC Radio Hierarchy". I'll save my response for later in the week:

Since the above image is not likely to be readable by most readers (except those with exceptional eyesight), I've scanned the letter using the OCR option on my scanner. Here is the text, as scanned:

Canadian Broadcasting
Société Radio-Canada

CBC Radio-Canada

June 4, 2007

James Wooten

Dear Mr. Wooten,

Thank you for your letter of March 24, 2007 to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation regarding the first phase of the refocusing of CBC’s two radio services. I hope some of the information below is helpful.

I would like to begin by clarifying a few points that you present in your letter. First, it is not feasible for CBC to create another national radio network. We have neither the financial nor human resources to support a new network and, furthermore, the radio spectrum is completely occupied in most major North American cities. No frequencies are available.

Secondly, CBC did consult with Radio 2 listeners through a series of face-to-face meetings, and many telephone conversations, in addition to our conferences with staff and arts stakeholders across the country. In excess of two thousand people were involved. I’m sure you can appreciate that, with millions of listeners, we would need to rely on a sampling of feedback.

What we learned from our research into CRC’s reporting of arts and culture in Canada is that many Canadians did not find the programming on our radio services relevant to them and their experiences. CBC Radio 2 had not undergone any extensive changes since the service was introduced in the 1 970s. But Canadian society changed significantly in that time. We have an obligation to all of those who pay for this service to deliver programming that is meaningful to them. Each of the new programs is designed to appeal to a broader range of Canadians.

I would also argue that CBC Radio 2 continues to present an alternative to the commercial music and an avenue to introduce younger listeners to not only classical and serious music, but to other genres and artist not recognized by private radio networks. What better platform for the dissemination of new music in Canada than CBC Radio?

Radio 2 has in the past been seen as an elite service marked by "high culture" music. Our role as a public broadcaster is to program to as many Canadians as possible while remaining within our mandate. Programming for a minority of Canadians simply doesn’t meet our mandate. Much of the classical music that listeners hear now will remain on the service. But we are broadening the scope of music we offer and are satisfied that we have struck the right balance.

That said, I do thank you for making aware of your concerns. CBC welcomes all audience feedback about our programs. Your comments have been circulated among my colleagues in CBC Radio.


Jennifer McGuire
Executive Director of Programming

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