Further Thoughts on the CBC: Past, Present, and Future, if any By Eric Koch
I have been brooding about all the things I intended to say at the Couchiching Conversation Monday, April 2, in Toronto but which in the excitement of the moment eluded me. When discussing the egalitarian revolution of the ‘Sixties’, I was looking forward to reminiscing about the days of CBC Radio, before television ruined things, when we all felt the CBC was a church, with the president as Pope, surrounded by a college of cardinals – the vice-presidents – and the rest of us were poor parish priests in the service of a Higher Good. This of course was a reminder of the high-minded elitism of the BBC’s Founding Father, Lord Reith. I was going to say that the resurrected non-commercial CBC-Television – radio was not under discussion – after having survived the present turmoil, should once again be thought of as an oasis in a materialistic world, unashamedly biased in favour of Virtue, Truth, Justice and Beauty. (I think I did mention something like that, I seem to remember). We should not be embarrassed about being idealists…. When talking about the dirty word elitism I should have said something abut the old distinction between high and low culture, making it clear that I did not think that the CBC should force opera, or even Margaret Atwood, down the unwilling throats of ordinary innocent Canadians. The CBC’s job would have to be to concentrate on the programs the private sector was NOT doing. This would be a dramatic difference between the new resurrected CBC and the old CBC which was obliged to be “balanced”. I was also going to urge that the resurrected CBC should enable informed and eloquent Canadians across the country to receive airtime, not primarily journalists and academics, as is the case now, and I was going to say that we may find that the expected shift to the Internet may be a blessing and turn out to make it much easier to implement these ideas, provided that much clearer lines are drawn between the public and the private spheres. This requires a lot of deep thinking.
About Eric Koch
Eric Koch began his distinguished 35-year career with the CBC’s International Service in 1944 as a producer. An author of numerous books of fiction and non-fiction, he also writes a daily blog—Sketches—www.erickoch.ca. Koch also spent eighteen years as contract professor in the Social Science Division of York University in Toronto. Eric has been an active member of the Couchiching Institute for over half a century. Born in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, in 1919, he left for England as a refugee in 1935, where he attended St. John’s College, Cambridge. In May 1940 he was interned as an “enemy alien” and later shipped to Canada. He was released in 1941 and continued his studies at the University of Toronto.
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