TO: underdogs@cbc.ca; wendy_mesley@cbc.ca
CC: undadawgz@cbc.ca
FROM: cbcteamakers@hotmail.com
SUBJECT: Ideas for your show
DATE: September 27, 2006 9:18:47 PM

Dear Wendy Mesley,

How are you?

Editor and publisher of The Tea Makers here. I’m writing with a few suggestions for your new show, Underdogs. The premise sounds killer:

Who hasn’t felt completely alone and outgunned when you’ve tried to get some satisfaction from a store or company? Marketplace reveals what companies do to render consumers powerless, and shows you what can you do to make big companies play by your rules.

Firstly, may I suggest that you rename the show to “UndaDAWGz?” The jaunty spelling and irregular capitalization will surely endear it with a younger, more urban demographic.

Secondly, I have a great UndaDAWGz story idea for you.

If you’re looking for a tale of powerless consumers, the relationship between the CBC and the Canadian taxpayer may be a good place to start. Simply put, the public is not getting what their tax money is supposed to be paying for. That is, public broadcasting.

In all media lines, French and English, we can see evidence of the CBC is looking more like a private broadcaster than a public one. I could give you examples, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

At the root of this problem is the fact that the CBC has been given a solid public broadcasting mandate, but not enough money to implement it. It has no choice but to chase commercial concerns to survive. As we’ve heard many times over, there’s been no new public funding in 30 years.

But who’s fault is that? Not mine. And not yours, Wendy. It’s the fault of our Great Helmsman and CEO, Robert Rabinovitch.

How is it that this guy can hold the top job in the CBC for 7 years, yet fail to do the one thing we really need him to do?

He started out with great promise. He was a bureaucrat with Ottawa connections, and many people thought he was what the CBC needed. Yet, here we are. Where did all that political schmoozing get us? Not a damn thing. We’re still broke and adrift.

Now, I recognize he has a hard job. And there may never be more public funding Ever. But surely he could come up with better ideas than the ones we have now? We’re going in the wrong direction! Away from public broadcasting, rather than towards it.

Yet no one can fire him or take him to task. He doesn’t appear to be accountable to anyone. He runs the place as he sees fit, with no repercussions. The government is afraid of him. The lockout of 2005 was borderline criminal, and he got a few harsh words and then it was business as usual. No wonder he fancies himself a gangster. He is!

And in this, is there anyone more powerless than the Canadian taxpayer? For the most part, they love the CBC and want it to be better. They’re paying for public broadcasting, but not getting it. They can write letters ’til their arms fall off, but no one can do anything. They can stop watching and listening, but who cares? It’s not about ratings, right?

Might make an interesting episode on for your show. If it lasts that long.

A. Ouimet

ps – I’m going to blog about this, if you don’t mind.


  1. Ouimet
    Posted September 30, 2006 at 2:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I can hope that his replacement will be better, can’t I? I’m going to apply for the job myself.

    English Radio is also showing signs of decline, isn’t it? I hear many Radio 1 listeners complain about the move towards commercialization.

    And French TV embraced its crasser nature a long time ago, to great success.

    From where I sit, the whole point of increased funds would be to rely less on commercially oriented programming (in ALL media lines) and get back into public broadcasting.

  2. Allan
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 7:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think R wll be out within a year or so.
    And I can reason it out for you if you like.
    But let’s assume I’m right.
    Would his replacement be any better?
    Let us thenest gettesth toet the pointest.
    Unless axing R is the primary objective.
    The issue then remains, making a better CBC.
    So what would the increase in funds be used for?
    I have to assume that your gripe is not about CBC Radio, but only about television.
    It’s the same question I would pose to a certain twit in the Globe, but I like you better.

    I’m just bugging u.
    Wendy is way cool. I’d watch her every night.

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