CBC audio takes a giant leap. Backwards.

Nathan reveals that the CBC has switched to Windows Media to deliver audio (CBC FAQ here).

I echo Nathan’s concerns.


Lisa Howard's picture
Lisa Howard on September 5, 2004 - 21:04 Permalink

In other news: The prairie home companion is looking for someone to manage their web site if anyone’s interested.


Dave's picture
Dave on September 6, 2004 - 13:46 Permalink

I just checked and all the links I found were still real media… I’ve not installed real media due to all of the ‘extras’ that come with it (some not so friendly)

Doesn’t Winamp play windows media?

Mike's picture
Mike on September 7, 2004 - 00:04 Permalink

I emailed the CBC about it when they improved things. I doubt my emial will make much of a difference.

This means I can no longer listen to CBC Public Radio on my laptop (running Linux).

Leah T's picture
Leah T on September 7, 2004 - 00:19 Permalink

I also emailed CBC with complaints regarding their choice of audio delivery. I think the more people that email them the better.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on September 7, 2004 - 00:37 Permalink

For what it’s worth, I sent the CBC the following feedback:

I enjoy listening to CBC Radio in the car, but do most of my listening on the web through the streaming and archived audio available at CBC.ca.

After your recent change from the RealAudio format to the Windows Media format, I can no longer listen to CBC streaming audio. This is not a technical support email — I can listen fine when using Windows or a Macintosh computer, but I use Linux — the open source operating system.

I understand that Linux users are in a very small minority yet, and that you want to (and should) reach as many listeners as possible with as little trouble as possible for them. However, I am concerned that as someone interested in freedom of information, that a commercial operating system is required to listen to the people’s radio station.

While I understand that streaming audio technologies are still evolving quickly, I would encourage you to look at free and open alternative formats to Real and Microsoft, such as those being developed and offered by the Xiph.Org Foundation (http://www.xiph.org/).

Thank you,
Steven Garrity
Johnny's picture
Johnny on September 7, 2004 - 13:17 Permalink

I thought I might make the point that using Windows Media simply because more people use Windows than any other operating system is like using only GM cars because GM sells more cars than anyone else. I think, however, that the CBC’s vehicle fleet is provided by GM. Sigh.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on September 7, 2004 - 14:17 Permalink

While I agree with the sentiment of this argument, I disagree with Johnny’s analogy. While the logic is indeed faulty that one should always go with the most popular option, CBC’s decision to buy GM vehicles still allows anyone in Canada to see the vehicles or even to ride in one if you had to car pool with a CBC crew. However, their choice of Windows Media means that many people cannot see or hear CBC media without purchasing proprietary software. It’d be more like buying GM vehicles because they’re more popular and then making you buy a GM ballcap and sunglasses to have anything to do with them.

Cody Swanson's picture
Cody Swanson on September 7, 2004 - 15:11 Permalink

The real problem is there doesn’t seem to be a viable Open streaming media standard for someone like CBC to adopt. Sure there are open audio formats like OGG but there isn’t an easy, proven, enterprise grade solution for delivering ogg content like windows media streaming server or real media server.

I seriously doubt it was CBC’s intention to help further microsoft’s evil hold on users, I think it was most likely the easiest solution for them. Real player doesn’t have it’s hold on the market because it’s a great product (although the recent helix player is quite nice on linux) they have their market hold because they’re really the only viable alternative to microsoft. Also, microsoft has a history of giving away solutions to big market players like CBC that use the competition in hopes that they’ll sway them onto the microsoft bandwagon. Much like the heroin dealer gives the first couple hits for free but once you’re addicted makes you pay.

What the world needs is a good media streaming solution that’s platform agnostic and has a well designed client that is easy to install and works flawlessly. (*cough* http://www.xiph.org/ *cough*)

I’m hope that with enough negative feedback CBC will realize the error of their ways and at least support both real and WM.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 7, 2004 - 15:23 Permalink

Surely the CBC, among the largest generators of packaged audio in the nation, could use its resources to forward an open media streaming standard? Heck, if they hooked up with public radio outfits elsewhere — PRI, NPR, BBC, etc. — it would be easy, wouldn’t it?

It’s merely inconvenient for we users to have to use Windows Media; for the CBC, which is going to see its audio archival uselessly locked inside a proprietary format, it’s criminal.

Blake Crosby's picture
Blake Crosby on September 16, 2004 - 20:18 Permalink

The page has been updated with how to connect to the streams using Linux and other operating systems.


Kal's picture
Kal on March 11, 2005 - 20:22 Permalink

I would suggest (for Windows users) using Real Alternative, a tiny program which allows you to utilize Real files without all the “extras”. It can be found here: