Our Voices Denied

Everyone knows that Cross Country Checkup is hot radio, even though it’s buried on a Sunday afternoon instead of 9 to midnight each weekday.
It’s long overdue that Newsworld had a similar call-in show.

Why are we still waiting for such a program on national television?
Would it not be the most cost-effective and socially useful contribution that a public broadcaster could make toward our understanding of one another?
Would it not also be the most powerful avenue for holding our leaders accountable?
Would it not be a self-evident demonstration that our stuffy CBC is so respectful of it’s audience that it so clearly takes an interest in what all of us have to say?

Without the existence of such an obviously popular show, is it that far-fetched to think that the CBC is, perhaps unconsciously, trying to control and limit real accountability.
In whose interests is it to suppress open dialogue in a democratic society?

Why are we so backward as to not even try to bring such a program to air?
What justification or rationale is there to not allow Canadians to participate directly in the content of their public broadcaster?

I’d like the answer. I really would.


  1. Allan
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Re-reading may be necessary in your case.
    The proposal was for a one hour live television show.
    Not like Cross Country, but like Alan Gregg with call-ins and a guest on matters of national interest and serious questions posed to celebrities, public figures and civil servants.
    Has the CBC noticed that President Obama is not afraid of the public, compared to his predecessor Bush for whom questions were carefully picked to fit an agenda

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 8:06 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan said: “So there we have a reason NOT to do something.
    A reason to leave everything the same as always.”

    Actually, there’s nothing in that post that says NOT to do something; it just points out its logistically difficult.

    The basic point was to question his proposition that 3 hours a day of phone-in ‘discourse’ was somehow a good programming concept.

    Judging by the wasteland that is private talk radio (and the poke-my-ears-out-please Rex-fest that is CCCU) , there’s no evidence of that..unless the goal is to attract an even larger segment of the ever-shrinking, nearly dead demographic of chronic cranks…and, for that, all we need do is re-read Allan’s plaintive posts.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 10, 2009 at 7:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hmmm, let’s see.
    Petrie in Prime
    Talk TV
    Your Turn.
    And many others whose names I’ve forgotten.
    All national call-in shows aired on Newsworld, and produced in Calgary.
    Of course, Calgary no longer exists as a Newsworld production centre.
    Neither , apparently, does trhe memory of anything produced there.
    And you wondser why no one watches TorontoWorld?

  4. Allan
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Many times I’ve heard calls from Ontario being accepted on Howard Stern and Larry King.
    And no one suggested that these callers have no relevance to the guest on the screen or the issue under discussion.
    What could be more relevant to our country than what’s on the minds of Canadians today and every day?
    A booking agent/public relations outfit needs to get exposure for an American author and suddenly that’s supposed to be relevant to my life. The same guest I will or have already seen on all three American networks.
    “Sorry, no time for Canada right now.”

    What are the CBC’s priorities?

  5. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Isnt the reason why Cross-Country Checkup isnt on TV is because its bad TV? It should be a radio show. Its nothing but voices, half of them low-quality telephone transmissions.

    IIRC this was attempted in the early days of Newsworld, resulting in Franks habit of referring to the network as Wallyworld. I am not clear on the exact link there, though.

  6. Cameron A.
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I remember when Cross Country Checkup was on CBC Country Canada. What an amateur enterprise that was. Then again, so was CBC Country Canada at that time, so I guess it fit the channel’s style.

  7. Allan
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And how long is the attention span of someone tuned into Newsworld?
    Does it extend beyond three hours?
    Are there such viewers that they spend more than three hours at a stretch exposed to Newsworld.
    Aren’t these the very people who have remote controls?
    Is it possible that the CBC has found a block of must watch programming that holds an audience for 4 hours? I’ve yet to see it.

    Yes, I’ve seen Ghomeshi. Yes, good … radio.
    And I’ve seen Howard Stern. Great content.
    And Larry King, and Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose. Each of them basically one on one with microphones, and the shows are excellent, and have amazing shelf life.

    I would, just a guess, think that the most powerful, and the ones with the most to hide, would be very concerned if the CBC had a slot in front of a national audience that might just offer up an invitation for them to come in and explain themselves – LIVE.
    And facing questions that cannot be smoothed over by a host who is looking for a future Senate seat. “hey, this is the public, not me.”

  8. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A national phone in show on Newsworld has merit for sure. it mite even be nice if the show went on the road…mite be a lot to ask for given the Toronto-centric CBC management.
    As for simulcasting Cross Country Check Up. Have you ever seen radio shows on TV? Booooooring..

  9. Allan
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So there we have a reason NOT to do something.
    A reason to leave everything the same as always.

    Also the view that ultimately, it’s not worth anyone’s time to hear from the public.

    How does Cross Country do it?
    Is it so totally unheard of to broadcast simultaneously at 6 in Vancouver and 9 in Toronto.

    When you say that your friends and neighbours are not worth hearing from, does that include yourself?
    That can’t be. I found what you had to say to be quite interesting.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “…is so respectful of it’s audience…”

    Incorrect use of the apostrophe in “its”.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If Allan was halfway aware of the logistics of running a radio network across 5 times zones (rather than being a backseat broadcaster), he’d know that “9 to midnight” can’t be national. One reason CCCU is on but once a week is that it creates scheduling havoc to put on a show that everyone hears at once. That and the fact it is indeed possible to have too much public input (I offer the the nonstop inane, bitter blather on the CBC News ‘comment’ sites as evidence).

  12. J0hnnyB
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 7:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Suhana Meharchand has hosted call-in shows on Newsworld. I think there have even been on-air Skype video calls.

  13. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    There’ve been occasions where the show’s been simulcast on both Radio One and Newsworld. Would it not be at least efficient to revive the practice? Preferably on an indefinite basis?

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