Why does CBC Radio Two need an audience?
The answer seems obvious, right? But is it so obvious?
First of all, the CBC is publicly funded. While a commercial radio station sells advertising to survive, CBC Radio is not saddled with this constraint. The CBC gets a big pot of money from the taxpayers each year to do with as they want - in Fiscal Year 2007, the CBC received $948 million in annual funding approved through Parliamentary appropriations, plus an additional $60 million for "Additional non-recurring funding for programming initiatives". So, theoretically, CBC Radio Two could have no listeners at all in Canada and still get it's share of the big pot of money.
Or could it? At some point, you would think someone - perhaps the Minister of Heritage - would sit up and take notice that the Canadian taxpayer was not getting much bang for their buck. But how low would CBC Radio Two's market share have to fall before anyone started to question the value of funding this enterprise? Would it have to fall to zero? How about one percent? Two percent? What is the cut-off point where CBC Radio Two no longer deserves to be funded by the Canadian taxpayer?
The CBC has reported, in their own press release, that CBC Radio Two's market share fell to 2.9% according to the latest BBM survey.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as the Hon. John Crosby used to say.