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.
Dr. Paul Steenhuisen