A couple of months ago, CBC Radio 2 made some changes which resulted in the cancellation of its evening classical music programmes, including my favourite: Two New Hours with Larry Lake. Two New Hours was the only radio programme to exclusively feature contemporary classical music, and its cancellation has ramifications for all of Canada’s composers and musicians, not to mention the audiences who relied on this particular programme as the only one of its kind to present the music of our living composers, as interpreted by Canada’s best, most creative musicians. It allowed us to travel all across the country from the comfort of our own homes, to hear great concerts such as those from the Winnipeg New Music Festival, and to feel connected with the new music community. It was one-of-a-kind, and now it’s gone – there is no alternative.
Critics (myself included) are condemning the changes as a “dumbing down” of CBC’s programming, that it unnecessarily duplicates other radio stations’ programming and leaves a big hole in fulfilling its mandate “to provide rich, original content that reflects the diversity of Canada.” Some lively discussions about the issue can be found here and here, as well as this letter to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage by composer Paul Steenhuisen.
A petition to restore CBC Radio Two has been initiated to try and convince those in power to undo these changes and reinstate “the type of intelligent, provocative and informative programming that has long been a hallmark of Radio 2.” Feel free to sign this petition if you have any interest in the issue. And be assured, this is NOT one of those silly chain emails that goes around; it is a legitimate petition.
Here’s hoping I get my CBC back.