Happy Canada Day

Now that Canada Day is over, maybe we can put this feud with Stompin’ Tom behind us?

Everyone loves Stompin’ Tom in theory, but let’s face it: when the music starts, you’ve pretty much had enough after the third song. Even sooner if you’re an immigrant.

As far as Cultural Icons go, he ain’t no Peking Opera. He ain’t even Slim Dusty.

His special finally got aired on CTV, which is great, but how many viewers actually made it past Sudbury Saturday Night? And how many sober ones?

Jowi Taylor finished his guitar in time for Canada Day, and it’s inaugural performance was on Parliament Hill, just like he planned. How cool is that? Congratulations, Jowi.

He never did get any more help from the CBC, although the CBC did a good documentary on the making of the intrument.

The mighty CBC Archives had a confusing bit of hype in the Globe and Mail, but in the end offered a special collection of clips on Canada Day, which was, surprisingly, crappy.

Speaking of crap, the Globe ran an a real stinker by a guy named Hal Niedzviecki, who turns out to be a co-worker of mine. He laments the lack of monolithic Canadian web portals, but he understands so little of how the web works, the whole thing is a writeoff.

He says CBC.ca is not popular enough, but it is actually pretty popular with Canadians. He says that ‘most of the best’ CBC shows don’t podcast, but millions would disagree with him. He brings up the old Radio3 website, but he forgets that it was much praised but little visited, not even by the hipsters that it was made for. It was the Stompin’ Tom of websites, much loved, yet unloved.

I could go on, but to be honest, I have a barbeque to go to.

I’m told by a mutual acquaintance that the guy is probably not a total idiot, so maybe I don’t want to be too harsh on him.

Welcome aboard, Hal, and Happy Canada Day.

Just stay away from the computers.

16 comments:

  1. a few questions
    Posted July 9, 2006 at 11:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    while I’m sure part of the problem is inexperience reading web stats, there’s a also sad history in the cbc of being not entirely forthcoming with statistics: The same people running the online services are the ones doing the measurements. And the services (like the late 120seconds.com) are not always that successful, particularly in proportion to the amount of money spent on them.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 9, 2006 at 8:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Re the comments from hugh and a few questions: if people can’t get their heads around web stats, please Ouimet, could you offer up a quick primer. And if you want to know how CBC.ca measures itself, call Sharon Flynn in Research or Sue Gardner and ask them to explain it.

    It’s not all that incredibly complicated. *sigh*

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 1:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The program would be “dead cheap” because it would be made by volunteer amateurs, in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of a number of agreements with CMG and WGC. It’s a stretch to say that fulfills the mandate. In fact it sounds rather like an admission that the CBC cannot, or will not, do what the public expects of it. I’m sure such a “shared space” would satisfy the current Federal Govt. but would quickly become irrelevent to Canadians. What is wrong with a primary objective of producing and disseminating good Canadian radio and television shows? If the citizenry are not willing to pay for such, let them have “The One”, and shut the joint down.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 12:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The CBC needs Claude Galipeau to return and save the day!

  5. hugh
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 11:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    yes alexa’s data is page views per million users (??), but anyway, here are the top 100 sites hit by canadian isps. cbc.ca clocks in at 24. Interesting to see some of the others – and take measure of what people actually use the net for.

    last post here for a while!!

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 11:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Yeah, I would think that’s wrong.

    Given that there’s 30 million people in Canda, 50 million page views a day for cbc.ca seems implausible, by several orders of magnitude.

  7. hugh
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 7:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    oops maybe i read the alexa data wrong, not sure.

  8. hugh
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 6:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    actually it’s remote only if you see “broadcasting” as being radio and TV. In fact if you check the Canadian Broadcasting Act, a program like this would fit right in with CBC mandate (see http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/B-9.01/index.html part I, sec 3).

    re: new tech, the broadcast act actually says I(3)(iv) that the CBC should: “be readily adaptable to scientific and technological change.” tho it’s all so easy now that this argument is not really relevant.

    what *is* relevant is the $1-10-100 million for programming, which is just my point. A program like this would be dead cheap, compared with a big production, and would do more to promote real canadian culture than the redgreen show (or whatever). If CBC mandate is something like “promoting and broadcasting canadian culture,” then putting the tools of media creation into the hands of the people, and then helping spread it is within the range of what I think it should be doing.

    Certainly its a new way to look at a public broadcaster, but look at the shambles CBC is in now, so isn’t it time for some new thinking beyond throwing more money at programming (which I am in favour of, if it’s good programming), or just selling the corp the the highest bidder (aol & otherwise).

    finally, re: cbc.ca traffic, check: alexa.com, where cbc.ca appears to be getting 50 million pageviews a day, on slow days, and in my investigation was miles ahead of globeandmail, on par with canada.com, way ahead of npr.org, and lagging behind the shining light, bbc.co.uk.

    oh, and:
    http://citizen.nfb.ca

  9. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2006 at 3:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That is an entirely noble project but remote from the mandate of either organization. I’d like to see someone, anyone, put $1 million into regular old programing … well, maybe $10 million … okay, actually, in the real world, it will cost $100 million. Is CBC in a position to take on new tech before it can put decent shows on the radio and television?

  10. hugh
    Posted July 3, 2006 at 4:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    oh, and I should note too that both CBC and NFB were present at the podcasterscacrossborders conference, (which was wonderful to see); and I think its safe to say that CBC got as much out of the DIY podcasters as the podcasters got out of the CBC.

    and, of course, this is what’s happening with the net: we don’t need heritage canada to tell us what we should look at, or what we should create.

    Personally I would like to see CBC & NFB take $1 million and put it into helping kids learn how to make audio & video podcasts, and free up some bandwidth for the project.

    That would be an innovative use of the net, media, and cbc’s expertise. to help canadian youth become media creators, rather than consumers. and they have many willing partners to join them on this.

  11. Classic
    Posted July 3, 2006 at 12:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    _BTW, whatever happened to this Canada Day related topic?

  12. Ouimet
    Posted July 3, 2006 at 8:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    hugh –
    Good points and nice to see you again.

    The idea that the long-term survival of Canadian culture online is in jeopardy is ridiculous, as is the idea that the internet continues to “homogenize” itself. It’s just not true.

    The article might not bother me so much except he opens with a reference to his attendance at a “roundtable discussion organized by the culture-and-technology task force of the Department of Canadian Heritage.”

    Does this mean the government is paying him to think these deep internet thoughts?

    a few questions –
    I’m not saying CBC.ca is perfect, and I’ve taken my fair share of shots at the site on this blog. But it does get visitors.

    How many is a matter of controversy here.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted July 3, 2006 at 4:36 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Recycled news and music are not going to attract audience. Doing so requires original purpose-built content. As it stands cbc.ca just isn’t very interesting. Because CBC is always cheap when it comes to the talent, folks from inside, whose skill sets come from journalism are expected to perform as artists and entertainers. They are failing. In all of radio and .ca how many shows sign a Writers Guild contract in the course of a week?

    And “created” content, anything that was written and/or performed, from the archives isn’t free.

  14. a few questions
    Posted July 2, 2006 at 7:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    sooo… cbc.ca might be “popular”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not wretched: re-written wire stories, hundreds of links on each page, like some nightmarish pre-google search engine. And is this sort of thing really part of the CBC’s mandate? The web service has been funded by cannibalising from the rest of the company. I’d rather have better programming with less of a web page.

    Also, how is its popularity measured? Because I’m always hearing about “hits” when what matters is unique visits… every little image and sub-frame counts as a “hit”. What matters is eyeballs, and those numbers are always much lower. Robert Ouimet did his best to inflate Radio 3’s numbers using this trick for as long as he could.

    And speaking of Radio 3 (the Sirius channel, not the webpage or the Radio 2 show), exactly how much funding is going into something that has at most one thousand listeners?
    I’m guessing it’s pushing a million.

  15. hugh
    Posted July 2, 2006 at 6:10 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    um. boing boing is at least 33% toronto’s cory doctorow. flickr.com (ok, bought by yahoo, now in cali) is from vancouver.

    as for CBCR3 – what was a high concept, and great, website is now a very popular podcast spreading the gospel of canadian indie music around the world (thank god for r3, one great thing CBC has done, and done well).

    also, a quick google search for blog+canada gives you 133 million results. interesting, canadians aren;t waiting.

    not to mention all sorts of other cool projects popping up all over – but the thing the CBC & NFB can do and keep doing is open up their archives as much as possible – let us (canadians, the world) use that stuff to make whatever we want, and leave the “portal” (wha? is it 1997?) building out of institutional hands, and in the realm of the people who will shape the web they way they want it, not the way they are told to want it.

    see: http://podcastersacrossborders.com for some encouraging signs of great stuff happening.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2006 at 12:35 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “hipsters?”, “cbc?” you’re kidding, right?


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