CBC Unadorned

Okay, so I admit it: I’m aurally crossing the picket lines for an hour or so every morning and using Shelagh Rogers to wake me up (I’ve been sleeping later than usual, and her “involuntary self-scabbing” archival presence, starting at 9:00 a.m., syncs with my slovenly lifestyle).

I just can’t face the notion of waking up to Great Lite Rock Hits.

And you know what? The CBC is a much more pleasant listening experience without all the self-promotion and “lifestyle assistance” accessory crap that’s sprung up over the past 4 or 5 years.

There’s no Promo Girl telling me that I absolutely must not miss the great episode of Quirks and Quarks that’s coming right up. Gone to is the bottom of the hour “90 second news break,” designed primarily, I’m told, to feed the need for traffic information in urban centres and left here in the hinterlands to inform us of the WI pie bake-off that’s coming up on the weekend. The expensive theme music to “Sounds Like Canada” is gone — it just starts up with Shelagh.

In short, it is the CBC unadorned. And I like it.

There’s some significant irony here: I’ve only come to to truly appreciate how good Shelagh Rogers is when she’s not actually there. But I think what I’ve really discovered is that if left to their own devices and free from management dictates to “pump up the promos to increase cross-promotional demographic shift balancing,” CBC radio people just making good radio is pretty compelling all on its own.

By the way, if you want to get a 100% unvarnished, no punches pulled locked out view from a well-spoken locked out CBC reporter, listen to this Winnipeg podcast — about 5 minutes in there’s a scathing commentary from Kirk Petrovich.


Lola's picture
Lola on September 9, 2005 - 18:18 Permalink

But don’t you find that the musical selections of the unadorned CBC remind you of listening to Air Canada’s musical selections—kind of bland and banal? I will say that Canadian artists seem to be benefiting from this lockout in the mornings. In the half hour or so that I normally listen, I hear a lot of Jann Arden and other Canadian voices.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 9, 2005 - 19:01 Permalink

I should have elaborated on the fact that I was speaking only about re-broadcast of archival CBC material: the attempts to have “original” management-produced “shows” are laughable and sparsely populated.

Robert Paterson's picture
Robert Paterson on September 9, 2005 - 19:04 Permalink

Promo Girl — aaaaagh!!!! — Yes less hype and more content and more fire. Shelagh said “shit” on her podcast the other day

alexander o'neill's picture
alexander o'neill on September 9, 2005 - 19:50 Permalink

Promo girl == yummy.

/starting the obligatory promo girl flamewar.

David Richardson's picture
David Richardson on September 9, 2005 - 20:50 Permalink

During the strike, the only current radio programs seem to be “O’Reilly on Advertising” and Randy Bachman’s “Vinyl Tap”. Both are excellent, and apparently independent productions — I’m not sure what sort of industry exists to do this, but I’d like to hear more of it.

I think the CBC has been singularly unsuccessful at replacing the national radio hosts who have disappeared over the last half decade or more. Of course, this is a problem of poor management, rather than with the on-air people themselves.

A final thought: Commercial radio exists to aggregate listeners for advertisers, but this cannot possibly be the purpose of CBC radio, since it carries no advertisements. What is the purpose of continuing to broadcast during the ‘troubles.’ Surely most dedicated listeners have heard the repeat episodes of ‘Ideas’ and ‘Richardson’s Roundup’ before. It would undoubtedly save money just to turn off the transmitters, and I can’t see how there would be a long-term effect.

andrea's picture
andrea on September 9, 2005 - 22:15 Permalink

I agree with Lola (hi lola) — not only do the musical selections remind me of being on an Air Canada flight —  the bland morning broadcast couple with the interjected soothing announcements, assuring us that management hopes it won’t be like this forever, sound very much like travel infotainment.

I hate that CBC management is getting feedback from listeners that they are enjoying this crap.

oliver's picture
oliver on September 9, 2005 - 23:11 Permalink

Are most listeners dedicated listeners typically? Are most listeners dedicated listeners now? If “no,” then most reruns will be new to most now listening (assuming for simplicity that all reruns have run equally in the past and that listeners never change from dedicated to undedicated).

Robert Paterson's picture
Robert Paterson on September 11, 2005 - 13:10 Permalink

By the way — got my Gravatar going — thanks Peter

JS's picture
JS on September 11, 2005 - 21:55 Permalink

Have you seen the cbcunplugged wiki? Looks it is being using it to track all sorts of lockout-related information.