Monday, April 02, 2007

CBC changes--Letter from the President of the Canadian League of Composers

published with permission of the author:

Dear members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage,

I am writing to you as President of the Canadian League of Composers, and request that you enforce the Broadcast Act of 1991 with regard to CBC radio.

Recent changes in CBC's broadcasts diminish the long-standing working relationship between Canadian composers of concert music and the CBC, as well as their required commitment as public broadcaster to provide rich, original content that reflects the diversity of Canada.

You may refer to my report on the meeting I had with CBC Senior Management <http://www.stopcbcpop.ca/CBC_New%20Music_Dec05.htm>.

Please note the lack of commitment to the Canadian Music composed by our membership of 400 composers (which, when added with the Canadian Music Centre's Associate Composers equals 1000 artists).

Most importantly, recent changes at CBC Radio Two meant the cancellation of Two New Hours, the only program dedicated to Canadian Art Music. It had a devoted and plentiful following, and its loss is devastating to our field. Moving more closely to the commercial broadcasting category of "Adult Contemporary". the CBC begins to emulate commercial radio, counter to its mandate as a culture-driven--not numbers-driven broadcaster. Radio One's programs Freestyle and The National Playlist are two recent examples of the move to commercialism prior to the recent changes at Radio Two.

Significantly, Canada was instrumental in formulating and signing a recent UNESCO act pledging to support and respect diversity of creation in all its forms. In making the current changes, we feel that the CBC is, by including content available on commercial radio, reducing the diversity of public broadcasting. Canadian poets, scientists, writers, composers, etc. are losing their place on Canadian Public Radio, and we request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage carefully review and enforce the CBC mandated role in our culture.

Unfortunately, as stakeholders in the CBC, we were not informed of this meeting, and are therefore unable to arrange our presence on such short notice, but as president of the organization representing Canadian Composers, I represent to you the collective views and concerns of our membership.

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Steenhuisen

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2 comments:

James Wooten said...

Hi Linda,

I find this blog entry most interesting. I have been writing letters to CBC Radio management, the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and sending comments on the CBC Radio Two web site to protest the recent programming changes on CBC Radio Two since the programming changes on CBC Radio Two were first implemented on March 19, without receiving any replies from CBC Radio management. The fact that CBC Radio management is ignoring an average citizen is not all that surprising, given their cavalier attitude towards the public, but I am surprised that they would snub Dr. Steenhuisen and the Canadian League of Composers.

Incidentally, I am describing my own interactions with CBC Radio management and the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in my own blog, at cbcradiotwoandme.blogspot.com. Please have a look if you have a moment.

I also note a statement made by Mr. Jowi Taylor in his blog on the CBC Radio Two web site describing the public consultations that were made prior to the programming changes being implemented:

"As for consultation, there was month after month after month of it with all kinds of stakeholders - from listeners to orchestras to presenters to SOCAN to the musicians' association to... you name it."

One has to question how extensive these public consultations were if the Canadian League of Composers was neglected during this process.

If the public broadcaster is not responsive to its shareholders, the citizens and taxpayers of Canada, and the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is unwilling to exercise its authority over the CBC, then who will bring the CBC back on course? Are we to live with a public broadcaster who knows no boundaries and seems to be responsible to no one?

Linda Rogers said...

Great comment James! I did visit your blog briefly and I'm going to add the site to my blogroll.