Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome to The Happy Hour

Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they do. I’m referring of course to the CBC’s re-vamp of CBC Newsworld and 'The National'.

While the topic of this blog is the restructuring of CBC Radio Two and my essentially futile interactions with CBC management, Members of Parliament and other concerned organizations in protest of the CBC Radio Two changes, I have to comment on what the CBC has done to 'The National'.

‘The National’ was my only remaining link to the CBC. I’ve long ago given up on CBC Radio Two and, for that matter, CBC Radio One. I’ve switched to Wi-Fi Internet radio and Sirius Satellite radio for radio. For TV news, I still depended on ‘The National’, watching each evening at either 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM.

Once again, CBC has taken us by surprise, announcing the new CBC News programming merely days before the event – sort of a blitzkrieg of restructuring. While apparently there are many new programs, and changes, on CBC Newsworld, I have only experienced the changes to ‘The National’ to date.

It seems that the management of the CBC has decided that the previous version of ‘The National’ was too serious and that Mr. Mansbridge and the correspondants should ‘lighten up a bit’. How else can one explain the almost bubbly exchanges that take place between Mr. Mansbridge and Wendy Mesley, or the fluffy segments featured on the newscast? The broadcast on Tuesday evening included many examples, such as the report on teeth whitening parties. Surely, there are events taking place in the world of greater importance than the emergence of unlicenced practitioners of teeth whitening? Yet, as far as I noticed, there was not a single report concerning events in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa or South America on Tuesday night’s broadcast. Are we to believe that there are no news-worthy events taking place in these regions?

As well, it seems that someone within the CBC is seeking revenge against poor Ms. Mesley. That is the only possible explanation for dressing up Ms. Mesley in an H1N1 protective suit and sending her out on the streets to determine the reactions of passers-by on Monday’s broadcast, or for sending her out on the street again on Tuesday’s broadcast to ask people to deposit a token in either a jar representing the U.S. budget for Education or a jar representing the budget for NASA. At this point, I found the whole thing too silly to continue watching and turned it off. There may have been more serious news in the remaining fifteen minutes of the Tuesday evening broadcast, but I doubt it.

Sadly, this re-vamp of CBC News follows hard on the heels of the CBC’s similarly disastrous restructuring of CBC Radio Two. Did the CBC not learn anything from the CBC Radio Two experience? Who is responsible for these bungled attempts to make the CBC more relevant to Canadians and, more importantly, why are they allowed to continue wreaking havoc within the CBC?

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