Music on CBC Radio

Nick Fillmore’s recent Canadaland article, “Here’s What’s Wrong With CBC Radio”, brings up important questions about CBC radio programming, and offers contact information for the network’s programmers. “CBC Radio is fixated on building an audience by providing trivial entertainment. For many managers, numbers are more important than content.” Although Fillmore concentrates on the recent spate of human interest programs on CBC One, his critique applies equally to the musical programs of CBC Two. He writes: “CBC Radio’s wandering off into triviality must be curtailed.”

Anyone interested in jazz and improvised music should contact these programmers. Decades ago, CBC Radio featured musical experimenters to a certain extent, but it has long since abandoned that policy. In jazz, it has followed the new recidivism, and concentrates its programming on 1950s-era jazz, and vocalists of widely varying quality. Musicians who have hosted their own shows, such as opera tenor Ben Heppner and jazz vocalist Tim Tamashiro, are fond of offering the eerily identical description of jazz as a music that “takes me to my happy place,” deliberately infantilizing the substance and history of a resistant music of great emotional range, compositional sophistication, and affective power. One result is that Canada’s up-and-coming improvisers are cut off from a major media source that could – and should – be not only bringing their music to listeners in their entire country, but showcasing it to the rest of the world.

This news item was originally published in the September 2017 edition of Improv Notes.

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