Goodbye Jane, hello Herbie

So Jane Chalmers said she was leaving us on Friday, and on Monday we got a new president. Are these 2 things somehow related? Only time and loose-lipped employees will tell.

I have to admit that I’m disappointed in the choice of Hubert Lacroix as CBC/Radio-Canada President. Regular readers may remember that I applied for the job myself. Not even got a courtesy email from Tom Long telling me I’m out of the running. I guess he didn’t take me seriously. That’s all right.

Privately I was hoping Sylvain Lafrance would get the job. He’s savvy, knows broadcasting, has a good relationship with labour, is erudite in 2 languages, well-liked, and a sharp dresser. We could really use a guy like that.

But we got a lawyer. Specializes in mergers and acquisitions. Was on Radio-Canada for the 1996 Olympic basketball games. Worked for Telemedia for awhile. They published Harrowsmith. And TV Guide.

Before they got merged and acquired.

It’s just kind of hard to get enthused.


  1. Allan
    Posted November 12, 2007 at 1:57 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Jane Chalmers can lead me any time. When she talks like this*, it’s such a turn on (cerebrally speaking) …

    I wanted to put the emphasis back on creativity and risk- taking. Ive always believed that if you can work collaboratively with creative people, you can produce great results. I wanted our people to dream about opportunities and their ideas. We turned Program Development into a research-and-development exercise a lot of emphasis was put on training people, mentoring, consistent feedback and creating working partnerships with different people and different skill-sets across the system. That system led to a lot of new programing and the summer schedules. Making great radio is all about nurturing creativity.


    We must always remember that our listeners experience our networks from the perspective of where they live. Thats how we build relevance.

    And of course, “where they live” is not just Winnipeg, Vancouver and St. John’s.
    They also live on the internet.
    But the CBC is only beginning to understand that.


    No reflection on the woman, I know nothing about her, but the radio service has steeply declined in quality over the past decade. A lot of it is just plain dumb. The promos and sad efforts at comedy are absolutely beneath contempt.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2007 at 11:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    In my opinion I thought she was a little overwhelmed at the job. Its one thing to manage out in the prairies but the corporate mothership is something else entirely. I don’t really think she fit into the culture very well. I also disagree a bit about Enik’s comments regarding her reluctance to support the strike. She was actually one of the bigger anti-union execs in the corp. That said, radio has been changed whether it’s because of Jane or the natural order of things it’s hard to tell. But I won’t be crying too much for her – how many of us can retire at 53 on a nice juicy CBC pension? Adios Jane and good luck.

  3. Allan
    Posted November 9, 2007 at 12:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And if no one else dares to say it … rumour has it that Jane Chalmers was truly respected and even well-liked.

  4. Enik Sleastak
    Posted November 8, 2007 at 11:02 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I always had a great deal of respect for Jane and I think she did an excellent job, under perpetually challenging circumstances, of leading the radio service. I think the first few years were a struggle, as her management style was quite different from her predecessors, but in recent years she distanced herself from her odious colleagues in television and Ottawa, and distinguished herself as a thoughtful and caring manager who always had time for her employees.

    I don’t think she always agreed with everything she was ordered to do (the lockout in particular was very hard on her and her close friends in radio, and many staff felt betrayed by her participation, unwilling or not). Plus it must have been difficult to endure one president with no useful broadcast experience only to be faced with the appointment of another.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I will miss her. That said, the radio service we have today is not the same radio service that she began her career with. She did her best, but too many other forces have overtaken the organization–one person alone can’t push them back, at least not forever.

    Goodbye Jane. I wish you the best of luck–and a good long rest before you take on anything else.


  5. Anonymous
    Posted November 8, 2007 at 10:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Jane threads here and at “insidecbc” are strangely quiet.

    So do people secretly hate Jane Chalmers or secretly like her? The silence is ominous.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 7:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Goodbye CBC. Hello YouTube!

    Hey, Ouimet, I’m sending you this from the YouTube party at the Berkely Church … great party, famous YouTubers – I don’t recognize any of them!



    PS I got you a T-shirt!

  7. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 1:43 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Frankly lots of people need to quit or be fired over the state of Radio One. Radio Two’s not doing so hot either.

    All this chasing audience by dumbing down the programming is absolutely the wrong strategy. Unless the plan is to make radio irrelevant.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 8:11 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Lacroix also gave a $1000 to a Tory candidate in Outremont. If I’d known the Presidency went so cheap …

  9. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 8:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I gather one has to imply that one will not look to Parliament for more funding to be considered for the position. I heard that Chalmers quit over radio and television news consolidation. Lacroix is commited to mediocrity. He’s perfect for the job.

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