Se nourrir de son héritage asiatique sur RCInet.ca

Le mois de mai est officiellement le Mois du Patrimoine asiatique au Canada depuis 2002. Deux présentatrices et réalisatrices à Radio Canada International ont eu la gentillesse de me parler de leur travail, de la communauté virtuelle de la section chinoise dans RCInet.ca et de la signification de ce mois pour elles.

Zhao Li  赵黎
Présentatrice-réalisatrice

Parlez-moi de votre rôle à RCInet.ca: Je suis présentatrice-réalisatrice pour la section chinoise de RCI depuis 1989. De 1989 à 2012, nous diffusions notre contenu en Chine sur ondes courtes et par satellite. Nous produisions une quotidienne audio de nouvelles et d’actualités axée sur le Canada. Depuis 2012, nos priorités ont changé et nous concentrons toutes nos énergies sur notre site web, RCInet.ca.

À quoi ressemble la communauté qui consulte la section chinoise de RCInet.ca? Qu’est-ce qui l’intéresse et l’interpelle? Comme je l’ai déjà dit, à l’époque où nous diffusions sur ondes courtes, notre auditoire principal était en Chine continentale. Aujourd’hui, l’auditoire qu’attire notre site web est beaucoup plus vaste et comprend des Chinois qui vivent en Chine, mais aussi de nombreux Chinois installés au Canada et en Amérique du Nord.

Au Canada, quelque 1,5 million de Canadiens d’origine chinoise comptent pour environ 4 % de la population canadienne. Beaucoup d’entre eux sont de nouveaux arrivants, y compris un grand nombre de jeunes professionnels. Ils élisent domicile et élèvent leurs enfants au Canada, et ils veulent connaître tous les aspects de la société canadienne. Sur notre site web, nous les informons sur ce qui se passe au Canada, notamment sur les systèmes politiques, les tendances économiques, les questions juridiques et les dynamiques culturelles. Le Canada et la Chine sont des pays très différents sur bien des points. Personnellement, je crois que nous informons les immigrants chinois, bien sûr, mais que – plus important encore – nous les aidons aussi à comprendre la société et les valeurs canadiennes et à réussir leur intégration. Voilà ce que je fais avec passion depuis plus de 25 ans.

En même temps, avec la mondialisation et Internet, nous sommes plus que jamais branchés sur le monde. Les Chinois de partout sur la planète s’intéressent au Canada, y compris les étudiants, les professionnels, les chefs d’entreprise et les retraités. Ils ont parfois des liens personnels ou d’affaires avec le Canada parce qu’ils ont ici de la famille ou des intérêts commerciaux, ou ils veulent simplement en savoir plus sur le Canada. Eux aussi font aussi partie de notre fidèle auditoire.

Pour vous, que signifie commémorer l’apport des cultures asiatiques à la société canadienne? Y a-t-il un thème ou une question qui vous tient particulièrement à cœur? Je suis née à Pékin, en Chine. Le 5 juin 2015, cela fera 30 ans que je suis au Canada. J’ai vécu plus longtemps au Canada qu’en Chine. Je suis fière de mon héritage culturel, et je suis heureuse que chaque année, le mois de mai apporte une touche de magie à notre société canadienne.


Wei Wu
Présentatrice, réalisatrice

Parlez-moi de votre rôle à RCInet.ca: Journaliste à RCI à Montréal, j’ai grandi en Chine physiquement et au Québec intellectuellement. Au Canada depuis 1989, je suis à RCI depuis 1997.

À quoi ressemble la communauté qui consulte la section chinoise de RCInet.ca? Qu’est-ce qui l’intéresse et l’interpelle? Les immigrants qui cherchent à connaître mieux la société canadienne, les anciens auditeurs qui gardent une nostalgie de notre émission sur les ondes courtes et les médias communautaires qui viennent chercher du matériel. Ceux qui nous consultent s’intéressent en général à l’actualité canadienne, mais ont souvent une faiblesse pour la politique chinoise.

Pour vous, que signifie commémorer l’apport des cultures asiatiques à la société canadienne? Y a-t-il un thème ou une question qui vous tient particulièrement à cœur? C’est une fête pour célébrer les talents qui savent se nourrir de leur héritage asiatique tout en s’enracinant dans la terre nord-américaine. Un des thèmes qui m’intéressent : la relation entre les travailleurs chinois et les Amérindiens pendant la Ruée vers l’or et la construction du chemin de fer du Canadien Pacifique.


Le Mois du Patrimoine asiatique se termine bientôt. Pour en savoir davantage sur les cultures asiatiques au pays et leur histoire, consultez le dossier spécial sur RCInet.ca.

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, rédactrice principale, Communications institutionnelles

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CBC/Radio-Canada’s Employee Assistance Program wins EASNA award of excellence

I’m very proud to share some wonderful news. CBC/Radio-Canada’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has won an important award of excellence from the EAP trade association.

Each year, the Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA) recognizes the employee assistance program in one Canadian and one American company with its Corporate Awards of Excellence. These awards celebrate programs and services that enhance employee well-being and support a healthy and productive workplace. To put this in perspective – the American company that won the award is American Express.  So yes, this is a big deal!

eap-easna-awardOur EAP enjoys very strong support from both management and Unions. But what makes our EAP truly exceptional is the participation of some 200 employees who volunteer their time and effort to promote EAP services and organize wellness activities locally. That’s the secret to our success:  No other corporation in North America has an EAP program structured quite like ours.

So, a very sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone who contributed their time and effort to the CBC/Radio-Canada EAP, supporting employees and enhancing their well-being.

– Patrick Gagné, Senior National Manager, Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

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Yes, I want to be an artist!

Promoting the arts and supporting youth initiatives is in CBC/Radio-Canada’s DNA. That’s why we’re proud to partner with the So You Want to Be an Artist contest. Meet last year’s winner, Kevin Nguyen.

***

Over the years, The National Gallery of Canada has hosted the So You Want to Be an Artist? competition where Canadian youth submit their artwork and amass votes via social media.

After the voting period, the 12 most-popular works earn a spot to be exhibited within the Gallery and proceed to the next round. It is here where an expert panel of judges select the top 3 best artworks and an overall winner.

Kevin Nguyen - Woman - Age 47 (1)Last year, I was selected as the contest’s winner. My submission was Woman—Age 47, a print from a digital series that depicts the chronology of a female ferryman working in the floating markets of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

Woman—Aged 47 is essentially commentary on mid-life crises. The subject is staring outwards into the abyss yet unnervingly moving forward; her body continues to age whilst employed in a career that is consistently labourious. This was a narrative that I created and superimposed onto my art.

I was quite surprised that my piece was chosen as the winning artwork by the esteemed jury. While I had somehow accumulated the most votes in the first round, my intentions for entering the contest was to merely have the honour of exhibiting my work within the acclaimed walls of the National Gallery of Canada. For me, winning the actual competition was just the icing on the cake.

Kevin Nguyen 2I also won a trip to Ottawa and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Gallery’s facilities, a portfolio critique by Rachelle Dickenson, a studio visit with Jennifer Lefort and a meeting with the Gallery’s Director, Marc Mayer. This was an amazing opportunity as I was given raw and unedited advice on how to attain and succeed with a career in the visual arts.

Whilst the prizes were lavish, the overall experience of the contest was the best thing I could have won—be it submitting my work online; to crafting an artist statement; to garnering votes; to my flight home—these are memories to last a lifetime.

With that said, I would encourage young Canadian artists to participate in this year’s competition as it is a great learning experience, regardless of whether you win or not.

Here is my advice to young Canadian artists:

  • Be confident in your work. Over the course of this competition, you will do an endless amount of self-promotion by showcasing your work to the public and vying for their votes. You shouldn’t enter this contest without the intention of achieving some sort of success.
  • Be proactive. No one is going to make your art for you.  No one is going to write your artist statement for you. As a young artist, you have the opportunity of being underestimated and have more than enough capacity to exceed others’ expectations of you. There needs to be initiative and self-motivation on your part in order to find a voice and style.

Since then, I have graduated from Etobicoke School of the Art’s Visual Arts program and enrolled into Ryerson University’s Creative Industries program. It is a departure from the traditional trajectory of attending art school, where this program has a poignant focus on entrepreneurship and business within the arts. I am continuing to develop my own portfolio and curriculum vitae, whilst working on pieces for an upcoming gallery show later this year.

Thank you to the National Gallery of Canada and CBC/Radio-Canada for giving me a platform to share my experience.

  Kevin Nguyen, 2014 Winner of The National Gallery of Canada’s So You Want to Be an Artist? competition

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The art and science of taking a photo with your mobile device

Photo: Philip Lee-Shanok

Photo: Philip Lee-Shanok

CBC/Radio-Canada has a strong, vibrant broadcast culture; we do Radio and Television incredibly well but, unlike, say, newspapers, we don’t have a still image culture. It’s not really part of our broadcast vocabulary. People are gradually getting more and more of their news from online sources, and images play a strong part in their news experience. My role has been to work with colleagues using smart devices in the field, and show them basic photo techniques. I help them learn how to best use their smart device cameras to capture images that work well for news and, in particular for sharing news on mobile devices.

Recently, I was in Ottawa where I ran one of my half-day workshops that explains why pictures are critical to the online news experience. I provide some tips and tricks to help people take pictures using their smart devices. The best way to learn is by doing, so we venture out on our own and put our skills to the test by snapping pictures. We then come back together as a group and go over them. It’s remarkable how improvement can happen in a really short amount of time, and it’s a really effective process.

The biggest challenge with smart devices is making sure an image is sharp where it needs to be sharp. And when we’re looking at news stories on mobile devices (especially phones!), it’s important that people know exactly what they’re looking at within a small amount of space. Photography has been described as the art of subtraction: you look at a scene, decide what’s most important in your image, and try to get rid of things that clutter up your picture. It’s amazing how much of what’s in the background can diminish a picture’s impact. I just teach people the basics and then, because I work with talented, creative people, they’re pretty good at taking what I pass along and running with it.

– Tim Neesam, Senior Producer, CBC.ca/News

 

 

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Meet Judith Purves, CBC/Radio-Canada’s new CFO

judith-purvesAs she kicks off her first week here at CBC/Radio-Canada, I sat down with Judith Purves, CFO, to get to know her a little better.

  • What are you most looking forward to about working at CBC/Radio-Canada? This is really a unique opportunity; to be a part of something that means so much to Canadians at such an important, transformative point in the Corporation’s history. And, of course it’s a challenge, a chance to capitalize on my experiences, to continue to develop and to help lead the public broadcaster to its next stage.
  •  What does the public broadcaster mean to you? I’m British, so the idea, and in turn the importance and relevance, of the public broadcaster and public broadcasting in general, is actually part of my DNA! I believe very strongly in the role CBC/Radio-Canada plays here and abroad. But, like any business it needs to transform to stay relevant, to keep up with technology and audiences’ wants and needs.
  • What will you be thinking about the most during your first month on the job? Probably trying to get a handle on the business, meeting my team and getting to know everyone. I’ll also be thinking about how finance fits into the big picture, how we add value. From a strategic perspective, ensuring we’re on a solid platform that allows for transformation and risk taking. But also the basics. Nobody thinks about payroll until there’s a problem… So, yes all those things. And I’m sure a lot more will be running through my head over the next month.
  • What is your greatest achievement? I don’t know, living…?? No, really, I’m proud of my career and what I’ve achieved. But you can be too proud, you have to work at it every day. I’m also very proud of the IBM Canada Finance team we built. They’re great collaborators with an impressive “can do” attitude. And I think what’s even more important to me, was that we were really able to help the team realise their full potential by focusing specifically on career and skills development.
  • What is your favourite journey? I’m very happy to be back in Canada after having been in New York for six months. I was very determined to make that happen. That’s a journey I’m quite proud of.
  • What is your favourite occupation outside of work? I have a cottage here in Ontario, a boat named Nessie (yes, I’m Scottish!) and a good group of friends. I used to answer this question with playing squash, and exercise and keeping fit is still a big part of my life.
  • What character(s) in history do you most admire? Madonna, if I absolutely have to pick one. I was there at the beginning of Madonna and “Borderline” was my favourite song. I’m not sure how Madonna would feel about being labeled a “historical character” though.
  • What advice/tips would you give a student who wanted to follow in your footsteps and have a similar career? Obviously you need to get the skills and qualifications. And if you’re planning to get a designation, then do that early on before life gets busy. I also think it’s important to leave a legacy, to leave a job in a better state than you found it in terms of efficiency, relevancy and value add. No matter what your job is, do it your way, make it your own.

– Allison MacLachlan, Senior Manager, Internal Communications, Corporate Communications

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Behind the scenes at a CBC Workshop Series for Creators

February is typically known as the coldest month of the year and I usually like spending it hibernating. It takes a lot to get me out of the house and generally when I do get out it is done with much moaning, groaning and complaining. However every Saturday during the month of February, I was committed to be at the CBC headquarters in Toronto to facilitate the CBC Development Workshop Series for Diverse Creators. You may or may not believe this, but I did not moan, I did not groan and I definitely did not complain.

About the program

When I was first approached about the gig last fall I couldn’t believe my luck. It felt as though I had snuck into a program that answered so many of the questions I had been asking in my own creative journey. As an educator/facilitator by day and artist (writer/actor) by night, it felt like the perfect marriage between my worlds. My role was to finalize the program curriculum, contact and schedule all speakers, coordinate the program mentorship, maintain communication between everyone involved and facilitate the weekly sessions. Each week as I listened to the guest speakers and program participants wax poetic about creative ideas, industry standards and network priorities, that feeling that I had snuck into the best program ever returned like clockwork.

The vision for the program was incredibly simple yet that simplicity did not prevent its deeply powerful realization. Take a diverse group of established content creators who have realized success in their own respective fields and provide them with the tools, networks and insight to tap into the seemingly closed world of television production. When I developed the program curriculum, it was important to consider what these participants already knew and what gaps we could fill in. Their experience made the weekly sessions a circulation of knowledge and feedback not from the top down but cyclically between participants, guest speakers, mentors and facilitators. These participants simply needed, and gained throughout the program, access, support and connections to transition into the next sphere.

The team

We were fortunate enough to have the full support of our incredible CBC Advisory Committee. Many of the members went above and beyond what had been originally envisioned for the program by coming in several times, meeting with participants outside of the program and connecting us with incredible guest speakers through their personal and professional connections. Hearing them discuss the new directions for the CBC and seeing that new direction tangibly emerge through their commitment and excitement over the program provided me with a sense of hope and investment in the network that I have never had before. It never failed to astonish me how open and generous all of the guest speakers were with their time, knowledge and network.

The Inclusion and Diversity Department staff that helped to coordinate the program are another core reason for why it was so successful. Their eye for detail, immense patience and coordination skills and their incredible questions and support for participants in the program were critical components contributing to such a successful experience. I am always inspired by the way that my friend Charles Officer who served as our Program Mentor is able to come into every project committing all of his attention and energy. He was consistently present for each of the participants helping to guide and support their ideas, pushing each of them to consider all the ways that their visions could manifest.

The Final Pitches

The final pitches were a thing of beauty. I was – whatever that combination of awe, inspiration and pride is called – that is what I was. I remember turning during one of the pitches to see a CBC executive (not so discreetly) wiping a small tear from her eye. The pride in the air was palpable. Each idea was so distinct not only from each other but also from what is currently on the air that it became tangible to me why it is necessary to create space for diverse creators.

Although when watching television it feels as though every idea has been explored and just keeps getting recreated with a small twist, this program proved to me that there is an entire world of experiences that has yet to be explored. There are so many ideas and so much content which has not been tapped into and it is only through opening the doors to those who are rarely seen in spaces such as this that we can begin to experience them.

The diversity in this group of creators is not only a reflection of their racialized backgrounds but also their wildly different cultural and experiential contexts which provides the necessary ingredients to birth these distinct ideas for content. I am so excited by the possibility of these creative minds and am so excited about where the CBC could go if they recognize the brilliance of these creative minds and put their ideas into development.

What happens next?

The real deal…the test. These are my hopes for that real deal:

I hope that one of these ideas makes it to development.
I hope that one of these ideas makes it to air.
I hope that the CBC is lucky enough to air one of these ideas.

 

– Amanda Parris,  CBC Development Workshop Series for Diverse Creators

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Celebrate Ontario’s creativity

PrintHere we go! The kick off has begun for the 2015 edition of the Ontario Scene festival. Ninety artistic events will be held over 12 days, featuring music, culinary arts, literature, film theatre, visual and media arts and dance performances. CBC/Radio-Canada is a proud partner of the festival, organized by the National Arts Centre.

This is exactly the kind of creative/artistic happening that I love. Artists from across Ontario will be in Ottawa to showcase their works to a public fond of discoveries. Art has the power to bring us together, to make us think, and to encourage us to evolve as a person first, and as a society.

Listing all of the activities scheduled would be too long, but here are some that are particularly interesting. You can follow our media coverage on CBC.ca/Ottawa (click here for the dedicated Ontario Scene web page) and ICI Radio-Canada.ca/Ottawa-Gatineau.

Shad – Saturday, May 2

Shad, the brand new host of the popular show q on CBC Radio, is passionate about music. He will take the stage at this year’s festival with Zoo Legacy, Story Tellers and Jesse Dangerously. This unique mix of genres will offer a memorable evening for festivalgoers!

Ontario Culinary Challenge – Tuesday, May 5

The challenge: prepare delicious dishes and create custom wine pairings with local Ontario wines, for an unforgettable dining experience. Fifteen chefs will compete to win the grand prize of $10,000. Alan Neal, resident foodie and host of CBC’s All in A Day on Radio One in Ottawa, will also be there to unveil the winner.

Trille Or Awards Gala – Thursday, May 7

Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau, alongside the Association professionnelle de la chanson et de la musique (APCM), co-produces the 8th Trille Or Awards Gala presented as part of the Ontario Scene festival.  If you can’t be there, follow the Gala on the radio, on television or on the web. The spotlight will be on Franco-Canadian song artists from Ontario and Western Canada. There will be a number of exclusive performances and new music to sample. The show will be hosted by musical artist Damien Robitaille and will no doubt be entertaining!

Will you be there? Tell us all about your experiences on Twitter and Facebook!

– Carole Breton, Manager, Communications and Public Relations, Corporate Communications

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A look inside Choir! Choir! Choir! Toronto’s no-audition, no commitment choir

Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman (AKA: DaBu) are the co-founders of Choir! Choir! Choir! – a no-commitment, no-audition choir in Toronto that meets twice weekly to sing pop classics in bars. Their participants range in age but they all share an intense love for music. You can join them at the 2015 CBCMusic.ca Festival  in Toronto on May 23, 2015 alongside Bahamas, Patrick Watson, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Cœur de pirate, Jenn Grant and others.

 

We are often asked how Choir! Choir! Choir! started. It’s a pretty simple story. On February 2nd, 2011, Daveed and I invited our friends out for a night of singing. It was the dead of winter, the Raptors were on a constant losing streak, and Daveed (a massive basketball fan) needed a distraction. We didn’t know it yet but the night would change our lives.

The media was calling for one of the biggest snowstorms in the history of the world but no one was deterred (maybe because we’re Canadian, or because most storms are overhyped). Word of our event travelled fast, and strangers got in touch to ask if they could attend. Eye Magazine (Toronto’s now defunct weekly) wanted to send a photographer to capture what we would be doing. Daveed’s response was laughably succinct: “We don’t even know what we’re doing!”

Though musical, neither of us had ever run anything resembling a choir. I had never even been in one. It didn’t matter because the stakes couldn’t have been lower. At the very least, the night was a disaster and we went on our merry way. At best, maybe we’d do it again sometime down the line.

Our venue was the lobby of a real estate office on Queen St. West where a friend was an agent. A poster-sized photo of the Toronto skyline loomed in the background. Beers helped loosen any potential performance anxiety.

Choir Choir ChoirDaveed and I stumbled through teaching our simple arrangements. But by the end of the night, we had recorded two songs on an iPhone: Pilot’s Just A Smile and Nowhere Man by The Beatles. New friends were made; great fun was had. Daveed and I suggested we do it again in a month’s time. Everyone wanted to do it the next day. We compromised on the following week.

Fast forward several years, we now run two choir nights weekly in bars and our arrangements (and recording techniques) have greatly improved. We’ve performed with members of Sloan, Buck 65, Tim Baker from Hey Rosetta!, punk legend Patti Smith, Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, and West Coast pop rock twins Tegan and Sara on the Juno Awards – to name a few. We’ve raised thousands of dollars for charities around the city.

We didn’t plan any of it but we appreciate every second of it. The joy we’ve experienced is unquantifiable. Choir! Choir! Choir! is now a local fixture that has built a sizeable and inspiring community here at home. We’ve gotten all kinds of media attention on both sides of the border, and get shout outs fans from around the world and from the bands we admire.

In many ways, we feel like we’re just getting started. We’ve got so many great memories but a lot of plans for the future, both of which we’ll continue to write about in this space on a semi-regular basis. We hope you enjoy it and we invite you to join us!

-Nobu Adilman, Co-founder of Choir! Choir! Choir! 

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CBC News on your wrist

mfcdtb-20150417-155x274Starting April 24, 2015, breaking news alerts and headlines will be available “at a glance” on your wrist. On the same day the Apple Watch becomes available to Canadians, cbc.ca/news is pushing an update to its iOS News app so it comes with compatibility for the new device.

Len Cervantes, Product Manager for Mobile Apps, explains how the Watch app will work: “As soon as users download the latest iOS News App update, they can receive breaking news via push notifications on their Apple Watch. They can glance at the alerts on-the-go, read the most crucial information right on the Watch and then read the full article on their iPhone (iPhone5 running iOS 8 and up).”

Soon, users will be able to share articles on social media as well as save a selection of articles for later reading.

“People will engage with the news on their wrist many times throughout the day, but we’ll also be there when they are ready to sit down and read more on a more appropriate device. Our specialty is to deliver the full story: the Apple Watch is a companion that will allow us to meet users where they are,” adds Spencer Walsh, Executive Producer, CBC.ca.

Len Cervantes and Spencer Walsh look forward to seing how users will interact with cbc.ca/news on their Apple Watches. “Listening to users’ feedback is critical if we want to increase our adaptability and mobility. It’s how we got where we are today,” says Spencer Walsh.

“It’s all about what Canadians need, when they need it and where they need it.”

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Corporate Communications

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Collaboration and partnerships in an ever-changing world

A lot of ink has been spilled about our own situation: evolving technologies, adapting to new consumer habits, restructuring, layoffs, financial viability. But what we too seldom discuss is just how generalized these challenges really are – and the opportunities that come with working together with our peers and partners to overcome them.

The fact is the entire media industry is struggling. Here at home, it’s painfully clear the model is broken. Alarm bells are ringing.

Just over a year ago former Rogers President, Keith Pelley, was before the CRTC predicting nothing short of the collapse of conventional television business. Even then he was saying things like: “The industry is not changing yearly, it is changing monthly, weekly, daily…”

More recently Bell Media’s former president Kevin Crull warned that current regulatory policies are undermining Canadian TV. He cited a perfect storm. The rising cost of content and Canada’s fundamentally broken revenue model.

And they’re right. We know from our own experience that declining revenues – both public and self-generated, in our case – combined with our need to innovate and invest in our own future is placing severe pressure on our finances and on our people. In fact, we were among the first to see and speak out about the broken model across the industry. And we’ve been coping in our own well-publicized way. Planning to reduce our real-estate footprint in half, scaling back our infrastructure, building-in reserves and reducing our workforce.  All that, without the kinds of management tools – line of credit, streamlined approvals for speed of reaction – that others take for granted.  It is a little like changing the tires on a car while it is cruising down the highway.

We’re not alone. Global’s parent company, Shaw Communications Inc., announced this past February that it is relocating 1,600 employees. Overall Shaw says it lost about 36,000 cable TV customers, 12,000 land-line telephone subscribers and 1,800 Internet customers in the last quarter.

Again in February, Sun News Network went dark; and, the entire Sun Media English Language Newspapers and Digital Properties were recently acquired by Postmedia. Job losses are looming as the parent chain itself continues to cut spending.

Even more recently Rogers – yes, Rogers – reported its profits were down 19% this past quarter citing, in part, “lacklustre broadcast revenues from mid-season NHL hockey games” and regulatory changes.

Corus Entertainment had a rough quarter too, posting an $86 million dollar net loss for its second quarter, and lowering its outlook for 2015 due to uncertainty in the advertising market.

In the 11 months since we launched our own strategy, Bell Media, Rogers, Shaw, Star Media Group, Transcontinental, V, Musique Plus, Quebecor, Corus and Postmedia have all reduced staff or announced restructuring of some kind.

In the midst of all this the CRTC concluded Let’s Talk TV, its review of the television industry in Canada. Among other decisions it announced “pick and pay” (meaning that specialty channels must eventually be offered by cable and satellite providers on a stand‐alone basis and in small packages), which will constitute a major shake-up of the television market over the next five years.

Meantime, the CRTC did not address local programming funding issues and chose to maintain the requirement for conventional TV broadcasters (like CBC Television and ICI Radio-Canada Télé) to broadcast over-the-air.

The CRTC also recognized in its decision that the rules that ensure that Canadians have access to Canadian programming will not survive into the Internet age.  While they did not offer any new direction, it is a sign that we need to start looking at how we transform the services we provide to Canadians in even more radical ways on a five to seven year time horizon. More on that in the coming months.

Canada’s not alone. As I have said recently, the picture for public broadcasters around the world is much the same.

It’s always interesting to note the many parallels between the BBC and ourselves. Despite their funding being nearly six times our own, they too are making headlines like: BBC risks having to cut more services after it misses targets.

In March, Tony Hall, the Managing Director of the BBC, laid out the ambitious role it intends to play in what he calls the “Internet age”, placing big data, social media and more collaboration and partnership at the centre of his plans. Their own restructuring has affected thousands of employees in the last few years, most recently announcing an additional reduction of 600 positions in news and radio.

Lord Hall says he needs to “…reinvent the BBC once more.” Here are two quotes I think are particularly striking, both from a speech he gave on March 2 in London:

This is the start of a real transformation – the myBBC revolution. How to reinvent public service broadcasting through data. But we’ll always be doing it our way – not telling you what customers like you bought, but what citizens like you would love to watch and need to know.” (March 2, 2015)

“So this future is a choice, for our decision-makers. A big choice. The BBC is at a cross-roads.

Down one path lies a BBC reduced in impact and reach in a world of global giants. Damaging the UK’s creative industries. A sleep-walk into decay for the BBC, punching below its weight abroad, and Britain diminished as a result. Which means a UK dominated by global gatekeepers, partial news and American taste-makers. Down the other path is a strong BBC helping bind the country together at home and championing it abroad. A British creative beacon to the world. Providing a universal service for a universal fee. An internet-first BBC which belongs to everyone and where everyone belongs.”

Australia is in much the same situation. A budget cut of Aus$207 million means that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is cutting services, reconsidering spending priorities and implementing a “smarter and more focused” approach to how it services rural and regional Australia – including closing stations.

Switzerland is holding a referendum on June 14 to transform their funding model from a licence fee currently paid by anyone who owns or operates a television set or radio, to a universal fee applicable to every household and business in the country.

In France last month, a committee of four federal cabinet ministers announced and endorsed an inter-ministerial working group report on France Télévisions’s relevance in 2020. It recognises that the broadcast framework that has delivered public service media in France for the last 40 years needs to be totally revamped.

The picture is clear. Adapt or die. We’ve chosen to adapt. And most others are too.

Take Norway for example… just this week it announced it will become the first nation in the world to eliminate FM Radio. It will be phased out in 2017 – and digital offerings will take its place.*

And back to Britain for a minute. The digital shift there is nothing short of revolutionary.

On April 9, the BBC’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Postgate, has been tasked with making sure that the BBC can compete with online rivals such as Netflix and Amazon. To do that, he says the BBC will become “Internet first‎” to appeal to younger audiences. And, he says: “Rather than trying to deliver one large project, we’ve been taking off the different components and moving forward.” Yet, even despite this focus, The Guardian still claims that: A digital public space is Britain’s missing public institution.

Sound familiar?

Even at a quick glance we see that our challenges, though very real, are far from unique. That’s why when we developed our strategic plan we spoke to nine other public broadcasters, and representatives from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to discuss everything from brand affinity to revenue models. Earlier this month, researchers from Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, traveled from Tokyo to meet with us as they look to their own future. Why? Because around the world – Public broadcasting is under increasing pressure to prove its worth, legitimize its funding and justify its very existence.

Together, we face:

  • the growing abundance of available media content – both linear, digital and OTT (Over-the-top meaning bypassing traditional television and going straight to the consumer through the internet);
  • changing media consumption habits;
  • constant tightening of the public purse strings across the developed world;
  • higher expectations for effectiveness, efficiency and value for money;
  • increased demand for transparency and accountability of public bodies; and,
  • strengthened reporting and assessment requirements from governments, legislators, regulators and other oversight bodies.

Meantime, the case for public broadcasting has never been stronger. Countries built their public broadcasters to give themselves a voice. To ensure a presence on their own airwaves – to make sure their citizens, their stories and their history were celebrated. It’s based on the premise that Canadians deserve Canadian content. Australians deserve Australian content. Belgians deserve Belgian content. In an increasingly global and fragmented media environment, public broadcasters create the spaces where local communities can find themselves and thrive, where national identity is expressed and national cohesion is built, and where the political debates that ensure the health of a democracy are given air and space. Public broadcasters do that wherever they are, even though each is purpose-built to meet the specific needs of the population they serve.

So we are all unique but we all face similar problems. And we can learn from each other to find the best way to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.  I believe CBC/Radio-Canada can play a leadership role in finding, sharing and applying these solutions. We can do that through our longstanding relationship with the Public Broadcasters International (PBI), and support for its members in their endeavours. We can do that through bilateral discussions with other international public broadcasters. And, finally, it’s why we need to engage Canadians, our employees and our peers, both in the media sector and the public sector, to help identify the needs, opportunities and innovations that will define the era beyond broadcasting. As we implement our strategy and set our sights for the future, we have no intention of going it alone. Collaboration. Partnerships. Cooperation. That is the way forward.

– Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada

 


*We have made a clarification to the original text.

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