Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DIY Protest: 10 things you can do to protest the CBC Radio Two changes

Are you outraged about the changes that have taken place on CBC Radio Two this September? Are you wondering what you, as a shareholder in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, can do to protest these changes? Well then, here are some possible actions to take:

1. Stop listening to CBC Radio Two.

I know that you may have done this already, but if you are still listening to CBC Radio Two, then stop. Listen to Classical 96.3 FM instead, if you are fortunate enough to be within broadcasting range, or Radio-Classique 99.5 FM in Montreal or Couleur FM in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. If you are living in another part of the country where these radio stations are not available, see the list of classical radio stations to the right.

If you can afford the start-up cost and fees associated with satellite radio, consider subscribing to Sirius or XM satellite radio. As a subscriber to Sirius satellite radio for over a year now, I find it very much worth the cost.

You may be asking: Why stop listening to CBC Radio Two? Ms. Julie Nesrallah's new program "Tempo" is still available, and it's still a very good program. Why stop listening, even though it is only between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM? There are two reasons to stop listening. The first reason is simply a matter of principle. Even if no one knows that you have stopped listening, you will have the inner satisfaction of knowing that you no longer support or are in any way associated with the CBC.

The second reason is so that you can truthfully respond, if asked, that you no longer listen to the CBC; for example, if you are lucky enough to be asked by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) during one of their frequent quarterly surveys.

2. Join the CBC Radio Two protest.

See the Stand on Guard for CBC web site. This is the best one-stop-shopping site for all things related to the CBC protest. See also the other sites listed to the right.

3. Join the CBC Radio Two protest on Facebook (

If you are not already on FaceBook, sign up and join the groups "Save Classical Music at the CBC" and "Save the CBC Radio Orchestra".

4. Write a letter to the Minister of Heritage, the Honourable Josée Verner.

Tell Ms. Verner that although you understand that the CBC is a Crown corporation and therefore the Minister can not become involved in the day-to-day operations of the CBC, remind her that it is the job of the federal government and Parliament to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent responsibly and in a way that reflects our wishes as Canadian taxpayers. Remind Ms. Verner that this whole CBC Radio Two fiasco occurred while the Conservatives were in power, even if in only a minority government, and that Canadian voters will hold the Conservatives responsible for this outrage perpetrated on the loyal CBC Radio Two listeners. See the earlier letter that I sent to Ms. Verner's predecessor, Ms. Oda, for inspiration.

5. During the federal election campaign, ask the candidates in your riding what their position is on ensuring that the government and Minister of Heritage provides proper oversight on the action of Crown Corporations, including the CBC.

See the above. Remind the Conservative candidate that Canadian voters will hold the Conservatives responsible for the changes that have taken place on CBC Radio Two since these changes were implemented during their minority government. Don't let any promises of further tax reductions be used as a consolation for the changes that have taken place on CBC Radio Two. A two cent per litre reduction in the tax on diesel fuel, indeed!

6. Write to the members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

See my posts on this topic on May 14 2007 for inspiration.

7.Write a letter to the CBC management team. See the list to the right for the CBC Radio management hierarchy.

See my letters to Mr. Robert Rabinovitch, Ms. Jane Chalmers and Ms. Jennifer McGuire. Sadly, none of these folks are still in a position to reverse the changes that were instituted during their reign, but their successors - who are even more militantly in favour of the programming changes, it seems - may see the light if enough people write to them.

8. Write a letter to the CBC Board of Directors. See also the list to the right.

9. Write a letter to "Contact Us" on the CBC web site.

See my letter to TUWYT. Of course, I never received any response from the folks behind the scenes at TUWYT, but it's worth a try.

10. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

There has been some coverage of the CBC Radio Two changes in national newspapers, but not enough my opinion. See some of the articles that have been published in the list to the right. Let's make this issue more visible!

To summarize, there is a great deal that you, as a shareholder in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian taxpayer and CBC listener can do to protest the changes. The current election is an especially opportune time to make your views known!


Fake Ouimet said...

11. Give it up.

Anonymous said...

Your list is a good one and both my wife and I have written countless letters. I've been in personal communication with my MP (Dawn Black) and she too is outraged by the changes at CBC 2 as well as the demolition of the CBC Radio Orchestra. Although I do like Neil Young and bought the new Fiest album as soon as it came out, you can't compare three chord songs with music so involved that it often take an 80 piece orchestra with trained musicians to perform it.

As another suggestion for alternative listening, we recently picked up a Revo Mondo internet adapter for $179 from London Drugs. This hooks up to our regular kitchen radio and taps into the WiFi we have in our home to access literally thousands of radio stations from around the world, including excellent stations like BBC 3, the NPR (National Public Radio), etc.. Tonight we listened to Mahler's Resurrection Symphony in its entirety on the non-commercial Classical Network (WWFM). Although it's too bad that we need to get our music from across the border, what's available is far superior to the new 2. Thanks for your blog and letting me post. Roland in New Westminster, BC.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that you can check out what other stations are available with an internet WiFi radio on this website:

Keep it Lit!


James Wooten said...

Hi Roland,

Thanks for your comment. I was not aware of the Revo Mondo product - I'll look into it, although I'm quite satisfied with my Sirius satellite radio at present. There are other readers who will also want to investigate this as an alternative to CBC Radio Two.

However, the ability to receive stations from other countries is appealing.


James Wooten said...

Reply to Fake Ouimet:

Sadly, this may be the response of too many former CBC Radio Two listeners, including me (see also suggestion #1). Will the old (as in previous) audience be replaced by a new audience? I very much doubt that it will.


Anonymous said...

The CBC Radio changes are overall a good thing. If you want to listen to classical music you can listen to classical music online many places (including the CBC website). In the car, kitchen, or living room you could play classical music cds. The new format is pretty good.

James Wooten said...

Reply to anonymous comment of Sept. 19:

Of course, you could also say the same thing about the 'new format' CBC Radio Two - if you want to listen to the music featured on the 'new 2', you can also listen to contemporary music online and, as you mention, in the car, kitchen, or living room you can play contemporary music CDs. You can also - and this is the key point - listen to the same contemporary music on several hundred commercial radio stations.

This is the key issue of the debate over the changes that have taken place on CBC Radio Two - the CBC management have taken away from Canadians a source of classical music that is not available to Canadians (with a few exceptions) from commercial radio. To listen to Classical music, listeners must now purchase CDs, a CD player, a Sirius or XM satellite radio tuner and subscription, download music to their MP3 player or iPod or purchase a PC and listen to classical music on-line. Sure, many Canadians can afford these options - i.e. the purchase of CDs, an MP3 player, an iPod, a Sirius or XM satellite radio, a PC - but what about, for example, the 10-year old in Ulukhaktok, NWT (where Radio Two is at 105.1 on the FM dial) or Hudson' Hope, BC (940 AM) or Swift Current, SK (95.7 FM)? Will they be exposed to Classical music, previously available on any AM/FM radio? Will they be able to go out and purchase the equipment necessary to listen to classical music, on their own initiative? Will many Canadians learn to love and appreciate Classical music without being exposed to it through an inexpensive, accessible medium such as public radio? No, they will not, and this is the tragedy that the CBC management is apparently unaware of.