CBC Funding Cuts

Monday, April 27, 2009

CBC Funding Cuts

So the CBC is downsizing, narrowing its scope, cutting essential corners.

Why is anyone surprised?

I predicted this over a year ago when the CBC orchestra was disbanded and classical radio downsized. Even then the hard programming choices had to be made.

The CBC is slowly being starved to death. The final knell sounded when advertising dollars began to dry up in the current economic recession.

But why should the nation's public broadcaster be forced to compete for advertising revenue with private media anyway? The BBC doesn't. Switzerland's PB doesn't. That's because they are public broadcasters. Sure bridge funding will help, but the whole idea is to eventually fund CBC/ RC appropriately. Only then can it do its job as a public broadcaster, free of the restraints that come with commercialism.

Of 18 OECD countries with a national public broadcaster, Canada ranks 16th in funding.

The CBC has not been able to modernise and improve radio transmission infrastructure built in the 60s. It had been forced to digitize out of existing operational budgets. Cable companies were allowed to raise consumer rates years ago in order to do the same thing, but the CBC cannot raise rates; it is a public broadcaster after all.

In the Spring of 2008, the all party Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled a report on the CBC's role as a public broadcaster. After traveling across the country listening to Canadians we found that Canadians overwhelmingly supported the CBC. We recommended that the CBC be given a stable 7 year increase in funds.

So here is the CBC, slowly exhaling its last breaths, and the Harper government's long standing agenda to do away with the Public broadcaster will have been achieved.