Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Next Nail in CBC Radio Two's Coffin

CBC has decided to completely abandon any pretense of cultural sophistication and will turn my once beloved CBC Radio Two into an adult contemporary station.

From the CBC press release, er, I mean, "CBC News":

"While the revamped Radio Two will retain classical music at its core, there is a plan to expand its playlist — and, the network hopes, attract slightly younger listeners — with more jazz and contemporary music. Boosting the service's Canadian content by about 20 per cent is also a priority...

"More than half of the current Radio Two audience is over 65, said Jane
Chalmers, the vice-president of CBC English Radio."

Their audience is mainly older people - so freaking what? Given Canada's population is aging, wouldn't this be a plus? And trying to attract younger listeners? Uh, this is what CBC has been doing to Radio Two for 15 years. It hasn't worked. It won't work.

CBC Radio Two will never have the broad appeal of popular music rad- hey, wait, according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ratings report, CBC Radio Two's ratings are up! More people are listening to the opera than ever before!!

Over on the official CBC blog, younger people are voicing their displeasure at the realisation that those 20 somethings who wish to rise a bit above the mass produced confections of the corporate music industry are to be shut out of CBC Radio Two's search for a "younger" demographic.

Why? Because the really great things Radio Two had going in terms of building a younger audience, via Radio 3 and Brave New Waves, well, guess what? They're moving them to satellite radio!! Hey, way to make things more accessible, CBC.

Let's face it. The CBC execs don't appear to be able to look past their front door and recognize that courting the Classical 96.3 audience (Toronto's private classical music station) isn't really in the um, national interest of the nation's public broadcaster. I think this is a big part of what's motivating this shift, and that's really, really depressing.

And why this (30-40 year old) demographic? Why them? What makes this group the target audience for your station? Why not target children?

I guess we'll see how it goes, but if it's anything like the change to Radio Canada's Espace Musique, it will be a big disappointment.

At least there's still Espace 2 and BBC Radio 3...


shudder said...

sad news indeed. Have you seen the ads for 96.3 around, with the naked-from-the-shoulders "hip" (how many sets of quotation marks are necessary to convey the type of hip these yuppies exemplify??) couple, with some lame phrase like "were listening"... UGH! If radio 2 is chasing that, well... oh my!

Otto van Karajanstein said...

You mean the ads that play on the trope that classical music is some kind of aural valium? You should listen to it because it's relaxing?

I hate those ads.

Here's my pet theory. The very notion of classical music being boring, or stuffy, is not a feature of the music itself, but of trying to sell records, be they classical or pop.

Classical music is the straw man in the pop music advertising industry, trying to stop kids from having fun, just as pop is "killing" classical music.

I think it's all a load of crap.

Muzition said...

And now CBC Radio 2 is getting even worse...