Monday, January 7, 2013

CBC Radio Programs

I'm often critical of CBC Radio news coverage as politically correct left wing propaganda. Issues I'm personally involved with and know thoroughly well have been skewed so far left of centre as to be ill recognizable. That said, CBC Radio has so much redeeming programming it's hard to be angry at it, collectively over, what sounds so often like a pot smoking News Department.
By contrast the following must be said in defence of CBC Radio.

1. CBC's weather coverage and traffic coverage locally are world class.

2. CBC's immediate reporting on emergencies and catastrophes is excellent. They do report the immediate 'facts' well even if their later analysis and 'interpretations' maybe be off as far as Toronto and Montreal management can be from the rest of the country.

3. Individual programs are extraordinarily well produced, informative and highly entertaining. Tapestry with Mary Hynes is one such program. It is a weekly exploration of spirituality, religion and search for meaning. The most recent one I hear Prayers: the Small but Mighty was a blessing indeed.

 4. Quirks and Quarks is especially good. Given the abysmal illiteracy of North Americans collectively in matters scientific this show is genius. Bob McDonald, the host does a fabulous job of clarifying extremely complex ideas and presenting them in a way that engages listeners. You don't need to be a PhD to enjoy the show but the show goes along way to encouraging higher learning and research. It's truly amazing. If we ever hope to see Canada again competitive with the likes of students in India and China then we really need to see a lot more of this kind of programming that informs people of the 'facts' of the world rather than going on and on about the 'politically correct' ideas regarding the world we live in. To hear people talking about 'global warming' it's a team sport event and the ignorance regarding the science surrounding the controversy about what choices can be made in face of it is appalling reflection of the inadequancy of our education system and media coverage of 'scientific' issues.

5. Vinyl Cafe Stories with Stuart McLean are sheer brilliance and a true delight. I have listened to Stuart whatever chance I can get and bought several of his books.  I'm even planning on attending a show if ever I get a chance. Stuart is one of the most sensitive and humorous men I've ever heard making him a Gandhi,  Churchill,  Einstein and Shakespeare  of  humor to my ears.  In Canadian writing he is a direct descendent of the likes of Robertson Davies and early Margaret Atwood.

6. Writers and Company and The Next Chapter are both excellent programs dealing with the latest books being published in Canada. I'm always delighted to know who wins the Booker and was so thankful to the CBC for it's interview of authors in competitions, especially the interesting presentations of excerpts from competing writers. So often I've been on a long drive or caught in traffic and been thoroughly engaged by this kind of programming, excellent interviewing and a leading Canadian writer discussing the ideas and story of their latest book.

7. The Debaters is truly funny. Canadians have a long history of world class comedy and Debaters is a show case for the latest in this genre. It is so well constructed and so fast that I'm surprised how many laughs I get in what is often only a few minutes of listening I might have while grabbing a lunch time snack.

8. Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap is the very best of Rock and Roll. I've always loved Randy Bachman's music but to hear his selection of songs in the way he sees them, with their personal history and the stories has made a long drive home seem to short if I have to turn off the car radio and go inside. Frankly I've often gone inside and turned on another radio to continue to hear Randy's selection and stories. This is my all time favourite music show. I love when he and his wife share together too. They really make such loving music.

9. Ideas has often been good. It can be hit or miss for me but I really have enjoyed listening at times.

10. White Coat, Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldberg is simply excellent. Brian Goldberg presents the latest in medical research, discoveries and controversies in the most insightful and amazing way. 

There's 10 good reasons for CBC to be saved from being smote by a wrathful God of News who can't stand that a national tax funded broadcasting corporation should skew it's reporting to such an elitist minority audience. The sad fact is the programs I've cited, which are better than so much of even what big funded organizations like BBC, CNN and PBS do, are limited by carrying the painful baggage of outdated political reporting.

I can't help but think that if Brian Goldberg and Randy Bachman were asked to heal and tune up the CBC News Department Canadians would collectively benefit from the revitalization and on key relevance that would result. Let Stuard McLean at the CBC News Department and we'd finally get stories worth listening to. Steve Patterson's Debaters does a better job of presenting both sides of a discussion in a truly hilarious way that one can only think if he had a go at the CBC News Department we'd hear much more balanced and broader based reporting. I can't help but think that Mary Hynes would do well to hold an exorcism in the CBC News Department.

Frankly the CBC has so much heart and soul it's wrong that it's news should so often be so politically stupid.

 For the programs I've cited alone, and there are a lot of other good programs, like these on CBC, their gardening shows, the opera, symphony, CBC Radio remains programmed into my car radio and most often the first or second show I listen to. And if I ever get any of the above programs on I don't change the channel. The ones I've cited are all worth listening to from beginning to end. I even get podcasts of these programs. That's how good CBC can be.

1 comment:

Wesley Hazlitt said...

Hey Bill
I can highly recommend the Vinyl Cafe Live show. Gail and I went 2 years ago to Pantages and it was excellent

I have to agree with your assessment of the news area of CBC. It is sad to see.

I noticed that the programming you love is all connected to the "theatre of the mind" and other than the show on spituality, that I have not heard, I agree with your choices.

Vinyl Tap is always interesting and the debaters is funny.

BTW - I should shut off my PC and phone as I think they are contributing to global warming. I wonder who was controlling the carbon credits and the greenhouse emissions when Greenland was green and when the dinosaurs roamed the earth....