Join the Music Industry in Standing Up for the CBC; Sign & Share the PetitionThursday, August 20th, 2015
Funding cuts are slowly killing the CBC, and with it the Canadian music industry. Canadian Musician magazine invites you to join us in taking a stance on this important issue by signing the petition at www.savethecbc.com, sharing it, and spreading the message.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has been suffering from a series of funding cuts implemented by the federal government. The 2012 federal budget cut $115 million from the CBC’s budget over three years. While this has negative consequences for all Canadians as this national institution is forced to cut jobs and scale back its reach and scope, the country’s music and arts communities, in particular, stand to lose. In many cases, it’s already happening. But there’s something you can do.
Because the CBC plays a vital role in the Canadian music industry, we call on all Canadian musicians and music industry professionals to sign this petition and make it known that you oppose CBC funding cuts and want them reversed.
For decades, CBC’s TV, radio, and online programming, along with other initiatives such as the CBCMusic.ca Festival, have provided a platform for Canadian artists to reach a larger audience. It’s often the first, and sometimes only, outlet that will play their music and conduct interviews for a national audience. It’s a vital part of the music ecosystem in this country.
Sadly, this could change if this and future governments continue down this same path. Despite this government’s claims to the contrary, the CBC has been very economical. According to a 2011 report, Canada had the third lowest level of per capita funding for a public broadcaster among 18 major western countries. At that time, the CBC’s funding was $31 per capita. In the last fiscal year, that dropped to $29 per capita. Considering this, it is very impressive what the CBC has been able to do for Canadian music.
But that effectiveness won’t last. Because of funding cuts, the CBC has announced that in addition to the 657 jobs already cut, it will axe another 1,500 jobs by 2020. That is nearly a quarter of its employees. According to a CRTC report released in June 2015, parliamentary funding for CBC Radio, which accounts for virtually its entire budget, has shrunk nearly 20 per cent since 2010. We’ve already seen some of the fallout from this and its impact on the CBC’s music coverage. Following the first round of jobs cuts, Chris Boyce, executive director of Radio and Audio CBC English Services, said there will be cuts to recorded concerts and that 12 regional music producers, hosts, and engineers lost their jobs. In addition, the In Tune classical music program was cancelled.
Just on radio, the CBC has provided numerous outlets for both major label and independent artists. Any PR rep can attest that getting an artist interviewed on Radio 1’s Q can be a major boost to their profile. On Radio 2, there are countless programs airing Canadian music that is unlikely to get much airtime elsewhere. Shows such as Radio 2 Morning and Drive, Vinyl Tap, Tonic, Tempo, and The Signal play established and lesser-known Canadian artists alongside major international acts for a national listenership.
Since its launch in 2012, CBCMusic.ca has become the best place to discover or find out more about Canadian bands. The CBCMusic.ca Festival has provided a high-profile stage for Canadian acts to play in front of a large audience. These and other performances are given an extra boost by Backstage Pass on CBC Television.
On the Internet and satellite radio, CBC Radio 3 provides a non-stop rotation of solely Canadian indie music.
A diminished CBC comes at a great loss to the Canadian music community. For musicians, regardless of genre, there is no media outlet that will provide them the same coverage and audience reach as the CBC. For music fans, it could mean hearing far less homegrown talent at a time when Canada is creating more noteworthy music than ever. Canada has long had a reputation for punching above its weight with regards to exporting music, and the CBC has been a very big part of that success over the decades.
Demanding restored funding for the CBC and allowing it to continue being an incubator of Canadian music should not be seen as a controversial stance. A 2014 Nanos Research poll showed that a very large majority of Canadians, 87 per cent, oppose funding cuts to the CBC. The public has indicated its stance and it is time for Canadian artists to speak up.
Sign this petition to let PM Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Joe Oliver, and Minister of Canadian Culture Shelly Glover, as well as the leaders of the federal Liberal, NDP, and Green parties, know that a properly funded CBC is vital to the health of Canada’s music industry.