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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Whither the CBC? The Future of Public Broadcasting in Canada: A Discussion Paper

Research Report by Bill Neville

In this paper, Bill Neville, a former member of the CBC board of directors, analyzes the future of CBC television. Founded in the 1930s, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s mandate was, and continues to be, providing coverage across the country and informative, creative and unique content. The achievement of this mandate has continuously been a challenge, particularly for a publicly funded network. Technology has allowed the issue of coverage to be remedied, but Neville notes the struggle for content continues. In the most direct sense, he suggests the CBC has been challenged – both by a lack of funding and an increasing multimedia onslaught.

No new money has been invested in the CBC, which, Neville contends, has had a significant impact on providing shows capable of competing in an increasingly competitive environment. Neville further argues that a lack of funding has also pushed the network towards a focus on commercial revenue, and that the result is a move from purpose-oriented television to “ratings chasing.”

Neville believes a change in ideas must take place. Using the findings of an internal view of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Neville suggests more attention be paid to cultural programming, education and cultural excellence. In this sense, he posits that CBC could focus on “hard news” and produce “national experience sharing,” through programming bringing Canadians together around common values.

To achieve this transformation from ratings chaser to public purpose broadcaster, Neville suggests a three-pronged approach involving: a) the elimination of all commercials from news shows, b) the scheduling of commercials during natural breaks (at the 30- and 60-minute marks), and c) the elimination of locally produced advertisements While this prescription would decrease the CBC’s overall budget, Neville suggests Parliament should step in to fill the gap. He also posits that a public donation-type system could also be considered.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Bill Neville;
Publisher: Public Policy Forum [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2006; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National; Regional;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Telecommunications
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Television & Radio
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Public Broadcasting
Policy Articles / Media & Communications
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Public Broadcasting / 2006
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Telecommunications / 2006
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Television & Radio / 2006


Keywords / Tags:

public broadcasting; television; CBC; BBC; national consciousness; commercial revenue; public affairs programming; ratings; technology; region; for-profit; radio; American programs; hockey; culture;