Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Can CBC Survive Latest Cuts?
Everywhere I ventured Wednesday people were asking what I thought of the latest round of CBC cuts.
CBC is slicing 455 jobs immediately with more to come next back.
Ads will be added to CBC Radio 2 to increase revenues and many programs will get cancelled over the next few months.
Here's where I get to answer your five most pertinent questions:
1. Can CBC survive the latest cuts?
BAWDEN: Of course! And please don't just blame the Tories! after all Jean Chretien's Liberals cut up to $400 million from previous CBC budgets. The question is how management should react. CBC president Hubert Lacroix who I interviewed the day he was appointed seems like a reasonable guy. Darn! He should do what a previous CBC president did when facing cuts and threaten to slash all the suppertime CBC news casts across Canada, the newscasts where Tory backbenchers get to reach back to their constituencies. If Lacroix tried that strategy he'd be able to reverse the cuts in days.
2. What should CBC cut?
BAWDEN: First of all I'd say the layers of bureaucrats I always encounter when I'm at CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto. I mean all these layers are people not involved in the making of programs. And I'd sell off the redundant plant on Front Street West which has never worked --currently it's more than half empty. Programs to be dumped should be all the shows which are ratings disasters like the nightly snooze fest Strombo, the dog awful afternoon talk show Steve And Chris. But keep the ratings kings: Rick Mercer, Heartland, Republic Of Doyle.
3. Other changes?
BAWDEN: CBC is getting dragged down by agreements with its affiliate stations most of which are privately owned. Under the present agreement CBC must guarantee them a certain rating for each and every network show and when that does not happen which is often then the affiliates get buckets of cash. I'd argue CBC should divest itself of all affiliates and move to being entirely a cable caster.
4. Any other shockers in this news?
BAWDEN: It's the complete lack of a public response. People just don't seem to care about the private broadcaster any more. And why should they when stuff like Dragon's Den means the almost complete gutting of high arts shows. The public has nothing to root for anymore. I mean can you see massed crowds shouting "Save the Land And O'Leary Exchange?" Me neither
5. What should be protected?
BAWDEN: Above all the National. Now it doesn't have the cachet it once did. That was before a gang of American experts came in and redesigned the set into a sort of wine bar, forced Peter Mansbridge to travel all over the studio with a silly grin on his face. And some of CBC's best reporters were forcibly retired. Ratings predictably sank like a stone. But CBC news IS the CBC. It deserves to be enriched and binds us together as a nation.