Monday, June 9, 2008

The gang that couldn’t shoot straight

In my April 28 2007 blog entry, I speculated on the probable result of a decision by CBC TV to cancel “Hockey Night in Canada”. Of course, I was being facetious and never expected such a thing to happen, but one should never underestimate the CBC management team!

While the CBC has not taken that drastic action (just give them time!), they have done something that is equally likely to raise the ire of Canadians. Of course, I am referring to the decision by the CBC to replace the Hockey Night in Canada theme song with a song to be chosen in a contest, to be held later this year. Apparently the CBC cannot come to an agreement with the song’s composer, Ms. Dolores Claman, on appropriate remuneration for the use of the song during broadcasts.

In the week or two since this decision was announced there have been newspaper articles published bemoaning the loss of our cultural heritage, letters written to the editor of our national newspapers, petitions started, perhaps even protests in the streets by now (I was away on vacation for the last two weeks, so I’m not fully up to date on all the news). Sound familiar? Well, of course it does! The CBC has managed to alienate hockey fans nearly as much as they have alienated their classical music fans. This is no mean feat, given that these groups are often (not always, of course) widely divergent in tastes and interests. Who is left in the current or former CBC audience for the CBC to annoy? The “Friendly Giant” fan club? (Oh, sorry, I forgot that the Friendly Giant fan club is already pissed off by the CBC’s use of Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe in a 2007 Gemini awards skit which showed the two smoking, drinking and having sex. I wish I was making this stuff up, but I’m not.)

In a recent article in the National Post, it was said that “Scrapping a TV theme song is like losing a good friend”. Robert Gjerdingen, a professor of music theory and cognition at Northwestern University in Illinois, was quoted as saying “The theme song becomes like someone in your family. It’s like meeting somebody you know. So if the song is like your friend Bill [and is cancelled], suddenly it’s like ‘Where’s Bill? Who took Bill’”?

Well, exactly. What if it’s not just the theme song? What if it’s the entire program? Such as “Music for a while”, for example? Or “In Performance”? For the CBC Radio Two listeners, cancellation of these shows is similar to losing a member of the family.

If we weren’t all being affected by these missteps taken by CBC management, it would be great fun to sit back and watch how they could further screw up the corporation

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