Thursday, September 4, 2008

Third day listening to the "new 2"

9:45 AM: I leave for Montreal. I tune in to Mr. Tom Allen's new program, "Radio 2 Morning". Among the pieces that I hear before the program ends at 10:00 AM is a cover of Johnny Nash's "I can see clearly now". Is this the much-vaunted Canadian content that CBC management has been trumpeting over the last six months? Covers of hits from the '60s and '70s?

10:00 AM: Ms. Julie Nesrallah's new show, "Tempo" begins, and once again Ms. Nesrallah reaffirms that this show is the gem in the new daily schedule. Although, it occurs to me - why was it necessary to replace "Here's to You" and "Studio Sparks" with a single program, and replace two program hosts with one? Is this a case of thinly-disguised cost cutting - replace two highly paid, veteran hosts with a single neophyte? (No offence is intended to Ms. Nesrallah, whom I already admire - I'm just wondering about the possible economics behind the change in programming.)

approx. 12:00 PM: I lose reception of the CBC Radio Two station in Ottawa, 103.3 FM. Once again, I have forgotten the frequency of the English-language CBC Radio Two station in Montreal and scan the FM frequencies for the station in Montreal. I find Radio-Classique, 99.5 FM in Montreal. Initially, I confuse this with CBC Radio Two, but the presence of commercials (and commentary) in French make me realize this is a commercial radio station. I give up on searching for CBC Radio Two and continue to listen to Radio-Classique for the rest of my trip.

approx. 4:15 PM: I leave for Ottawa, with a detour through Cornwall. I continue to listen to 99.5 FM until I lose reception. By this time it's 6:00 PM and I don't even bother trying to listen to Ms. Katie Malloch's "Tonic". I've listened to it enough times since its initial introduction in March, 2007, to know that it's not for me. I listen to a CD of the soundtrack from the movie "Across the Universe" instead, for the rest of the journey home.

Now, I should mention that the past three days have by no means been usual for me - a Toronto-Waterloo-Toronto drive, followed by a Toronto-Ottawa trip, followed by an Ottawa-Montreal-Cornwall-Ottawa journey is quite out of the ordinary. But it highlights one point - CBC management has been trumpeting the fact that classical music is available 24/7 on the web via streaming audio - but it doesn't do one much good, does it, if you are not tied to your PC/web-enabled PDA/iPhone.

So, once again, I return to the main points that I have been trying to make to the CBC management, members of Parliament, Minister of Heritage and to anyone elso who will listen for the past 18 months: the changes to the CBC Radio Two programming were made without proper consultation of the shareholders of the corporation (i.e. you and me, the taxpayers of Canada), the changes were made without allowing feedback to be solicited and displayed on the CBC Radio web site both prior to and after the changes were implemented and, furthermore, the changes are ill-advised and will drive the once-loyal CBC Radio Two audience away, with no replacement likely.

Will I listen to CBC Radio Two after this week? No, I will not, since I have found alternatives that are much more to my liking - Sirius satellite radio, Classical 96.3 FM in Toronto and now, Radio-Classique 99.5 FM in Montreal.

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