CBC Radio to broaden Radio Two, add arts magazine
CBC introduced on Wednesday a slate of arts and culture programming changes to its two main radio services, largely driven by the decision to expand CBC Radio Two as a flag-waving Canadian music service and broaden the musical genres featured on air.
The announcement comes about three years after the public broadcaster began an in-depth study that examined CBC Radio’s arts programming, and polled the public and the country’s cultural stakeholders about what they wanted to see.
Music programming will largely migrate off CBC Radio One, the news and current affairs-focused main service. However, comedy, drama and other arts and entertainment programming will continue to be featured on Radio One, available to 98 per cent of Canadians.
Radio management is rebranding Radio Two ó which reaches about 75 per cent of Canadians ó as an adult-oriented music service, targeting an audience over age 35.
More than half of the current Radio Two audience is over 65, said Jane Chalmers, the vice-president of CBC English Radio.
Retains classical core, adds jazz, contemporary
While the revamped Radio Two will retain classical music at its core, there is a plan to expand its playlist ó and, the network hopes, attract slightly younger listeners ó with more jazz and contemporary music. Boosting the service’s Canadian content by about 20 per cent is also a priority.
“We’re retaining our commitment to classical music, so that oasis will continue,” Chalmers told CBC Arts Online.
“But we also feel that a lot of great quality Canadian music is not being heard on any radio station or any broadcaster, period. It would have a natural home on Radio Two.”
Changes to Radio Two will include the establishment of hosted, themed blocks each evening, seven days a week, with jazz featured from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., live performances following for two hours, and contemporary music showcased from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Elements of Global Village, which features world music and reports about music from correspondents located worldwide, will be incorporated into Dispatches, the weekly Radio One program featuring reports and documentaries by journalists abroad.
Radio dramas and comedies will be showcased in the half-hour slot before noon weekdays at the end of Sounds Like Canada on Radio One.
Montreal host Danielle Charbonneau will host a new overnight music program, featuring a broad range of genres, on Radio Two.
Between the Covers, which features novels and short stories read in 15-minute instalments, will migrate online.
Ottawa-based musical mash-up/match-up show Fuse will move up from its current Saturday evening spot to replace the last hour of Definitely Not the Opera on Saturday afternoon on Radio One and to Sunday afternoon on Radio Two.
Hosts will include those already familiar to CBC listeners, like Katie Malloch, Matt Galloway and Laurie Brown, as well as newcomers such as Winnipeg-based composer Pat CarrabrÈ and jazz singer Tim Tamashiro out of Calgary.
While it will ultimately be programmers who define the musical lineup of each show, “it could include experimental jazz, it could include fusion styles, it could include electronica,” said Jennifer McGuire, executive director of programming for CBC English Radio.
News updates on Radio Two will also change, with a new three-minute package of headlines and highlights to be introduced on the hour during radio’s morning and afternoon “drive-home” hours. This new news package will be designed specifically with Radio Two’s music emphasis in mind and tailored to reflect the different regions across the country.
With Radio Two poised as an adult-oriented music service, the public broadcaster’s more youth-oriented music offerings ó like CBC Radio Three and Brave New Waves ó will be available on CBC’s Sirius satellite channels and via podcasting.
New afternoon arts magazine
With music the focus on Radio Two, Radio One will see some program reshuffling as well as a new weekday arts magazine show hosted by musician and CBC personality Jian Ghomeshi.
Reporters and producers across the country will contribute to the new afternoon show, which will be produced out of Toronto and replace the current pop culture show Freestyle.
The new program will also be presented in a condensed version weekday evenings, replacing The Arts Tonight. It will encompass a broad range of arts, culture, music, and entertainment news and features.
“We had a commitment to increase the presence of our arts coverage on the network. That was a goal going in,” McGuire said of the new show, which is yet to be named.
“We want a reflection of what’s happening regionally to be showcased.”
Changes to start in March
The first phase of the changes will be launched in mid-March, with the final slate scheduled to roll out in about a year. The changes will affect 63 staffers. Managers are in the process of discussing reassignments.
“It is our job to respond to the environment out there,” McGuire said. “This idea of continually growing, and pushing and moving forward what we do is not a bad idea.”
Chalmers said sustainability, through the addition of younger and more diverse listeners representative of Canada, will be her measure of whether the changes are successful.
Success “doesn’t necessarily mean more [listeners], but we want to guarantee that the audience is sustainable over the long term,” she said. “And ideally, if we grow more audience, that’s great.”
Media watchdog enthusiastic
Media watchdog Friends of Canadian Broadcasting praised the Wednesday announcement, calling the changes “responsible management.”
“You have to update and improve,” said group spokesman Ian Morrison.
“We have to support the idea of trying to adjust to younger demographics Ö and as long as they’re sensitive to their existing audience, I commend them.”
9694 – Promoting the mother corp (and I wish them..I mean us well!).
CBC Radio to broaden Radio Two, add arts magazine