Re-thinking the CBC during crisis

Time to re-think CBC funding?” is the title of a thinky Toronto Star
piece looking at future possibilities for the CBC, hard-hit and in
crisis from a drop in both advertising and short-fall in funding by the
Conservative federal government. The weekend piece, by Sarah Barmak,
points out that  Canada and the U.S. are anomalies among Western
countries, because most others have fully-funded public networks. It
notes that the most recent study showed Canada had the third-lowest
level of per-capita public funding… “ahead of only New Zealand and
the U.S., and far below the $80 average across 18 countries.”

On Monday, reported the Globe and Mail,
“the CBC abruptly cancelled a scheduled meeting today with Heritage
Minister James Moore, acknowledging the planned encounter fuelled an
appearance of political interference in the management of the
independent broadcaster.”

The website sums up
one common perspective on the problem this way: “CBC needs many things.
The CBC certainly needs more money but money alone isn’t going to fix
it. If you boil it down the CBC’s mandate reads “Be all things, to all
people, in every language, and be available everywhere in a variety of
platforms. A billion dollars a year is not enough to do that, neither
is two billion, or three. So, someone has to redefine what the CBC is
and what it should do.”

And then there’s Jeffrey Simpson’s take
on what he calls “an ersatz, albeit Canadianized, private broadcaster
calling itself a public one:” A beleaguered CBC should ask itself: Who cares?

Regan Ray’s J-Source news post provides an update on the CBC’s dire situation.