Asked to name the institutions that best define this country, most Canadians place our public broadcaster somewhere high on the list. But there is a very real danger that the CBC will not survive beyond the next two years in any recognizable form. Decades of budget cuts have left it dangerously weakened, and now a massive loss of television advertising revenue is predicted with the loss of NHL hockey rights to private broadcasters. Saving the CBC looks back at the history of the public broadcaster, digs into the goals and ideals of public service media, and plots a detailed plan for survival and growth.
An impassioned call to preserve public broadcasting in Canada
The CBC is confronting a new crisis that could signal the end of public broadcasting as we know it in Canada. In 2012, after years of chronic underfunding, the Harper government imposed a $115 million budget cut on the corporation. And now, it faces the imminent loss of broadcast rights for NHL hockey. Hockey Night in Canada provides more than forty percent of total advertising revenue and accounts for more than 350 hours of prime time broadcasting, a Canadian-content chasm that will have to be filled.
It has become clear that if Canada is to retain a public broadcaster worthy of the name, the CBC will have to be radically reformed, and soon.
Veteran broadcast journalist and media strategist Wade Rowland argues we have less than two years to find a way to save CBC/Radio-Canada, the cornerstone of Canadian culture and an institution many regard as the glue that holds the country together.
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"This book should be read by everyone who gives a damn about Canada and the publicly owned broadcaster that unites us in telling our own stories on radio and television. Wade Rowland convincingly documents the slow, politically directed erosion of the CBC and he has the expertise to show us how to save, and expand, this vital component in Canadian life. Will we listen to him? I hope to God we have enough sense to do so." -- Farley Mowat "
"Consider this an impassioned polemic -- a 'debate' is far too sedate - ignited by the CBC's degradation in recent years and fed by cold rage against the main culprits, yet with a surprising optimism about future possibilities."-- Rick Salutin, author and Toronto Star columnist
"This is a thoughtful and timely roadmap to guide Canadians who still love public broadcasting but who despair of the present condition of the CBC. Instead of a lament, we now have a plan that can make our CBC a model for how a public broadcaster can inspire, attract and engage us all. You must read this book: Wade Rowland's vision can restore a CBC we can be proud of again." - Jeffrey Dvorkin, Director, Journalism Program, University of Toronto (Scarborough)
"Wade Rowland understands public service values and knows the CBC well, especially English Television. His book makes an insightful contribution to a necessary public debate about our most important cultural institution, and his recommendations are largely aligned with the priorities of the 175,000 Canadians who support our work." - Ian Morrison, Spokesperson, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting