Canada’s public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), announced a five-year plan to become more Canadian in its content and focus more on local and regional service. Part of that will include the launch of new radio stations.
“CBC will be looking to expand its regional footprint, launching new radio stations, introducing new local websites and services, and increasing regional news and programming. Radio-Canada will enhance its presence in regional life by producing engaging local programming that can then be used for broadcast nationally, by delivering more local and regional news, and by providing more local French-language content on regional websites, especially those outside of Quebec,” CBC/Radio-Canada said in announcing its “strategy for the future.”
The pubcaster will also focus on new platforms and digital services, saying it will double its investment in that area over the next five years.
In an op-ed piece in the National Post, Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, said the new direction is what listeners have been asking for. “Canadians have told us, frequently and emphatically, that the regions should be among our foremost priorities and that we haven’t been living up to our potential. We have listened and heard. We will address that perception gap and reverse that trend. We intend to launch new stations, particularly for radio, and expand existing stations in places that are currently under-served. We will have more programming that reflects local communities and more regional news,” he wrote.
CBC/Radio-Canada is marking its 75th anniversary this year.
RBR-TVBR observation: In the United States the current debate is over whether the federal government ought to be directing any tax dollars at all to public broadcasting. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of similar sentiment in Canada, although we did find one blogger on the Winnipeg Sun site who questioned the value of the more than $1.1 billion spent annually on CBC television and radio. By contrast, US taxpayers provided only $422 million in the 2010 fiscal year to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.