Saving the Mother Corp.

I'd like to thank JJ Forms for getting me in gear to write this post by telling me the terrible news that the CBC has lost the broadcast rights for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Not getting an Olympics on home soil is a huge blow for the struggling CBC. Especially considering, the massive financial bleeding that's going on right now because of the lack of NHL Hockey (again thanks JJ).

So is the CBC really dead or dying? Something that's been chicken littled repeatedly. The CBC has been gutted and it doesn't have the capacity to function like it should. But as I've said before it is in the double bind of being a broadcaster mandated to serve the public yet also forced to compete with programming like Fear Factor. Whereas CTV had the incredibly vapid Canadian Idol the CBC went to the high road and did the Greatest Canadian. How do you give the people what they want when it seems what they want is couples eating bugs and soul-sucking sitcoms like Joey.

From a financial and programming standpoint this is no way to run a business. Sports was pretty much the only thing that the pointy heads running the CBC and the market could agree on. Yes, we're serving the public they want to see hockey and guess what it also rakes in a lot of cash. But this happy coincidence isn't always possible and soon to be a distant memory.

The question isn't how to keep the CBC financially afloat, but how to keep it relevant. How to make the CBC and its programming the subject of water cooler conversations, of in-jokes among friends.

I'm glad the CBC is trying to make itself edgy again with shows like The Hour and (which I watch religiously now because of the delightful Ziya Tong). Radio3 among some circles is a pretty hip website but the CBC desperately needs something that gets people abuzz and it needs it several times a year. The Greatest Canadian filled this niche among some circles but it still wasn't enough. The last episode only got 1.4 million viewers. Huge by CBC numbers but only about half of what an episode of CSI gets!

So how do we make the CBC relevant again? Is it even worth it? It's a question I'm going to leave open, I will likely be writing more about this in the future but throw your two cents in please.

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