Thanks to Mitch Cormier for giving me a chance to say what I feel about my time on PEI and some of the people who have helped me so much
Maybe one day they might spell my name right?
Soon the CBC will have to deal with their cuts. What will this mean? My bet is that it will mean a retreat to the Toronto Centralize Everything Bunker and to Broadcast TV.
What might a stronger CBC look like? How could a stronger CBC work on a smaller budget? Could they take these cuts and come up with another model. What about the best of Public TV and Radio in the US?
I offer to you the example of my wonderful client The Nine Network for Public Media (KETC Channel 9) in St Louis MO.
Nine, like all public stations in America, has a local board and is a self funding organization with only 5% of its budget coming from the Feds. The CBC depends mainly on its grant and on adverts for TV. It is a prisoner of who funds it. What if the CBC went local rather than concentrate further in Toronto?
The CBC is still a broadcaster who plays with social media as a marketing tool.
Nine still does broadcast BUT uses the digital world to offer 4 distinct channels with very different programming. So Kids have their own channel. Those who like current affairs and drama have theirs and so on. PLUS many of the shows are accessible directly from the web. Nine is all about making choice easy and about offering content on the viewers terms.
Nine makes it easy to see all online content. Nine showcases the networks web based shows that include many national shows but also many local shows that illuminate what is going on in St Louis.
All this is easy but the CBC has still not done this.
But most importantly, Nine sees itself as a Trusted Connector so that the community can meet safely and cope with pressing and complex problems. Nine sees a key role in engaging the local and the national community in getting beyond the sound bites to the real issues.
This work started with the Mortgage Crisis where Nine hosted a St Louis Alliance from the community where St Lousisans helped each other cope with the trauma of the housing crisis. This then became a national process where TV and Radio stations in 70 markets worked with each other and locally on this issue.
The point being that the CBC could play a huge role is helping Canadians get together locally and nationally to work on our problems with each other. Currently Nine is doing this on the topic of the dismal high school situation in America and will be launching a national debate on the toxic issue of immigration.
Imagine CBC helping us get to grips with the health care crisis or with the stalled economy and work issues?
The problems that face Canadians today are complex and all that the media allow for are shouting matches. The CBC is no better. But if the CBC saw their role as the trusted host, what could we do?
Th CBC is all over social media - but in the most crass way. It uses social media to promote itself.
Nine goes further and puts the Public into TV and Social Media. Nine trains the public to become great advocates and gives the best a showcase.
Making a good movie is not as easy as pointing an iPhone and recording. To tell a story we need how to tell a story! Nine runs a school to teach the public how to make great films - The Nine Academy. This is open to the public and to organizations - for we all need to be film literate these days.
Nine goes further. It is no good knowing how to make a good film if there is no showcase for it. yes, you can just post it. But Nine offers a showcase for locally made films about St Louis as well.
There is a lot for us to learn here. If the CBC allowed the public to come in locally, we could make the CBC ever more meaningful in Canadian life and we could take away the tension that it has with any government. We could have a national network of truly local hubs.
Here is a picture of how all this fits in St Louis - Oh yes and the local Public Radio station moves into premises next door later this year.
So I ask that the CBC consider changing its structure into that of a real network - similar but better that in America.
A national network of local stations that join together to do national things such as program or deal with issues. But where the centre of the system is always the local market. A local market with its own board.
Where the trusted brand of the CBC is used to create the ability to engage the community in dealing with the issues that concern it the most.
Where the bias is to the web where the costs can be kept low and where the public can play the best part. Where Canadian content is defined as being from the Canadian public. Bandwidth is all but limitless. Every local game of hockey can be available shot by the public. Every local band will have a place. All points of view will have a place. We can have TED like aggregation of the best.
What do you think? Would you like to be part of such a CBC?
How the mainstream news fails us - they don't do their work. They stay on the surface. This is what makes the news part of the problem that we all face today - that we have no idea what is really going on!
The CBC report that a Canadian F18 fighter tracked a Russian fly by and escorted them out of Canadian airspace. Seems an innocuous story doesn't it?. But then the story moves onto the question of the F35 replacement - basically making the point that we need this new plane. The entire piece is lifted from a press release.
My problem is not that the story is lifted from the press release - laziness is only a small sin!
No it is that the CBC has missed all along the real story of the F35. The real story that has been building for years. That will blow up "suddenly" causing all to ask "What happened" That will mean that the public will have been hoodwinked into paying billions for something that does not work.
For the real story is that it is an utter failure as a fighter! The real story is that this is no secret - it has been central to the procurement debate for several years!
It performs much worse than all the planes that it is meant to replace.
The real story is at the heart of the problem facing the US and its allies in equipment replacement. The new kit costs too much and does not work.
So here is Canada signing on to a vast expense for kit that will not do the job - better we have asked to reopen the F18 line - after all the Russians are not building anything new.
The CBC and all the Canadian media are more than lazy here. The Canadian public knows nothing about the failure of the F35 and the deal has been done. Billions of precious dollars have been committed to a dud. We know nothing!
Who at the CBC has any idea about defence and what is going on? It's not a small topic. Who talks also about what is really going on in Afghanistan? I don't mean the usual ramp ceremonies, killings and corruption stories - I mean is nation building a legitimate strategy?
Billions have been spent and more to come. 151 of our sons and daughter have been killed so far. But who at the CBC can go deep on this?
We need a news service that can go beneath the surface.
My bet is that the response will be costs. The CBC does not have the budget. That is rubbish.If I can read Winslow Wheeler then so can they. If I can read people like Steven Pressfield on Afghanistan - so can they. The expertise on any topic is out there. You just need the culture to go there.
The CBC is not alone here - where is the reporting in any other Canadian mainstream media organization?
Don't you find it annoying that they go on and on about the value of their organizations and almost never get beyond a press release or the obvious?
P.E.I.'s egg commodity marketing board has backed away from a request to have the province regulate smaller flocks.
In January the Egg Producers of P.E.I., which represents the Island's larger egg producers, asked the province to reduce the maximum size of unregulated flocks from 299 birds to 49. That request outraged small producers who argued flocks that size wouldn't be economically viable.
There was also a large public outcry from customers worried their supply of free-range eggs would dry up.
The withdrawal of the request comes as welcome news to Fernwood farmer Ranald MacFarlane, who keeps a small flock of hens at his dairy and pork operation.
"If the small flock operators have discovered this niche market, well so be it," said MacFarlane.
"The system should not be so cumbersome that they cannot adjust to either go to free -range or encourage people that do."
Michael Cummisky, the manager of the Egg Producers of P.E.I., was unavailable for comment Thursday.
Yea! Here is a link to CBC's Interview with Ranald MacFarlane - very shrewd and realistic and fair man
The financial crunch is in full force at the CBC and next week staff and the public will hear the new plan.
My bet is that it will look like this:
I think that death is inevitable for the CBC because the real challenge for the CBC is not the government. It is not the economy alone but it is in fact its culture and hence its unresponsive structure. Being a top down, one city focused bureaucracy, it cannot be saved. There is no one to talk too who can make changes who wont hold onto power in the old way.
Here follows a quick rant and then two paths that I think may offer a future - for the audience that is!
It is already run by fiat from its Toronto bureaucracy. The local stations have no local control at all.
It is a Broadcaster - it pushes out - it sets the agenda - it is the sole taste-maker - it prohibits any kind of local innovation - it is hardly open at all to participation in a real way by the Canadian public.
It's approach to News is very conventional - No Planet Money kind of offering of real context - No Bill Moyers - No All things Considered.
It's approach Magazines (10 - 4pm) is beyond sad and low brow - failed Oprah.
It's approach to music is authoritarian - Here is the Canadian Content that we choose.
It has alienated its loyal audience in search of a youth segment at does not exist and that laughs at what is on offer.
So what is to be done? I don't see how the CBC as a central bureaucracy can be saved or redeemed. The bureaucracy will defend itself to the death.
But there are two related ways forward that would offer Canadians a really excellent local and national public service. But this idea is based on a paradox as you will see.
The 30 million plus people that live in Canada live close to the US Border. Along that border just a few miles south is the best public radio and TV system in the world. Already in some markets such as Buffalo, Canadians are the largest audience and WNED TV has an office in Toronto!
I think that the border pub radio stations offer a platform that we can build on in Canada.
If the border stations were to have a web based Canadian strategy, my bet is that they could do the following - let's look at one undeserved Canadian city and one US border station to se what might be done.
Kingston has a population of about 100,000 plus maybe another 50,000 in the hinterland. CBC does not serve them. The most local they get is Ottawa. Kingston is a university town with one of Canada's leading universities, Queens and Canada's "Westpoint" RMC. NCPR serves upstate New York and has a very special team in place at the station. NCPR already has some strong support in Kingston.
What if NCPR set up a web based hub in Kingston that acted as an attractor for the local bloggers and neo citizen journalists? By Hub, I mean it offers its brand, NPR and its local content (The API will enable this anyway) And support services to a local Canadian Kingston Pub Media COOP. Like Visa and a local bank. The two are separate. The local group is LOCAL. But Visa offers the access to a larger system.
I think that local groups will spring up anyway. But on their own - it would be very hard. But with the NCPR Brand and the staff and the programming behind NCPR, (A Kind of Visa Deal) I think a very good local Kingston "station" could emerge.
For NCPR, it could mean a doubling of audience in a couple of years. For NPR, if this happened along the border, it could mean going form 30 million to 40 million in 2-3 years.
Brandon Manitoba is the epicentre of this struggle to maintain a local news centre. Prairie Public Radio is juts a few miles away south. No Canadian wants to play.
The CRTC of course currently blocks conventional radio and TV. It also does its best to block web radio and TV from outside Canada. But if there is no local service, I wonder how long this position can hold?
In the interim I think that there is a work around that is good for all of us. In the next 5 years conventional "ait" is going to diminish anyway. All content will use the web. Radio and TV will converge and will converge I think locally.
For the border stations and NPR, PBS and CPB to experiment with an all web idea in Canada might offer up a beta that may work well back in the US and then offer a global solution to how best to keep the news, democracy and local local alive for the world.
I know that this is just a germ of an idea but what do you think?
I can see how for instance Maine Public Radio could offer "services" to PEI Public Media.
I can see how a group of us could set up a truly local system here on PEI if we had some help for MPR. I can see how some of the current staff of CBC could fit in. I can see that when the Guardian, our local paper, dies, that this local "station" could really thrive.
I would like to try this - would you?
The CBC have a lock on web coverage of the Olympics for Canada. All other sources are blocked.
They are using Windows Media - a very clunky tool that has huge problems with all Mac users.
The site has crashed during the opening.
Some service - thanks guys - now Canadians have no web coverage.
You have got to do better than this
As Shelagh took over from Peter C I was glad. But as the years rolled by, her earnest asking after feelings and victim celebration began to irritate me and then cause me to switch off.
Our world is so complex now - please CBC can we have more exploration as to what is going on? More Tremonti/Enright type of reporting.
Please no more dumbing down a la "Go". Please no more pandering to a youth audience that does not exist.
On 911 the CBC kept going for some time with regular programming - I think that they learnt a lesson that day.
I was so proud of them today - within minutes of the news of the shooting of Ms Bhutto, CBC radio had the full resources of the network deployed and a global perspective. Good for you guys
Well well - CBC has just announced that it will cancel the national early evening news program and replace it with an hour of local news!!!! At the heart of the proposal is the idea of "MyCBC" an integrated local news show that includes the web and air. Most importantly the idea of interaction is prominent.
"CBC will redefine its relationship with its audience," said Tony Burman, editor-in-chief of CBC News.
"We want to further the local voice that we already hear on our local programs."
CBC reduced one-hour regional supper hour programs to half an hour in 2000 to create Canada Now.
But a seven-month study of CBC's news service across the country shows Canadians want more local content, Burman said.
Regional TV newsrooms are not being offered new resources, but will be putting together a one-hour newscast using staff they already have for their half-hour supper show and nationally produced items that cover national and international news.
Resources from the nationally televised Canada Now program, produced in Vancouver, will go toward a new pilot in "news integration," which will combine resources to cover stories on TV, radio, the internet, wireless and other technologies.
Canada Now host Ian Hanomansing will co-anchor the hour-long show in Vancouver.
CBC bureaus across the country will be revamped following Vancouver.
"What we want to build here is the local news service of the 21st century — a news service designed from the beginning to run on all platforms simultaneously," CBC Vice President of English Television Richard Stursberg said from Vancouver during the presentation.
The new integrated service is being called myCBC and will include more opportunities for viewer, reader and listener comments and for users to select the news they want.
'Civic journalism' to solicit public input
Vancouver will also be the first CBC news bureau to pioneer "civic journalism," in which citizens can upload video or images of news events to the CBC.
The CBC has yet to determine how it will vet and use images and information from its viewers and listeners.
However, the BBC and CNN have already begun to experiment with this form of citizen journalism. The BBC, for example, used images forwarded by cellphone users to broadcast up-to-the-minute information of what was happening in parts of London during last year's bombings.
Vancouver could launch new technologies in civic journalism as early as April 2007, with a formal launch planned for September. They will be introduced across the country after being tested on the West Coast.
CBC will spend another $1.5 million on new training and $3-4 million on developing new platforms, Stursberg said, but no other resources have yet been allocated for the restructuring.
CBC eventually plans to have a single news operation in each region for radio, TV and online.
This should help create distinct voices for each region, similar to the distinct formats used on local radio programs, said Jane Chalmers, vice-president of English radio.
"Communities across Canada are all distinct. We want a broader range of perspective between newscasts in different regions," she said.