Music Technology

The Sad State of Canadian Media

Today I learned from Ottawa radio personalities Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier what fans of 45 radio stations across Canada have also learned from their local radio personalities, that Canadian radio is not teetering on the edge but has pretty much been toppled by other media.

These are 45 out of 103 Bell Media owned stations that are being sold and only the latest cuts in the company, which cut 9% of their work force and some local news programming recently, including the noon broadcast of CTV News here in Ottawa.

People in the industry in Ottawa were concerned after Bell Media had applied to have their commitment to local television reduced with the CRTC in June 2023, days before a massive 1300 in lay-off in the middle of the month and weeks before when two major CTV News personalities, Leanna Cusack and Joel Haslam had retired in July 2023.

All is not well with Bell Media yet people are still acting like we are in the states and have access to a sustainable amount of viewers, when American radio has their own issues according to Pew Research.

So, what will happen if no buyers are found for these stations? Will smaller, remote communities without high speed internet become dead zones? Will larger stations simply become re-transmitters for American programming?

“Tough luck” is not actually a response, especially in communities where print has disappeared, where small business advertisements, local events and important municipal, provincial and federal government information have no venue. But unfortunately this dismissiveness is being heavily promoted by American propagandists on social media, who want to control this nation’s media.

I guess some people have forgotten that weather radio is being decommissioned in many communities in Canada and that cell coverage fails during some weather emergencies, as well as internet access.

Television and radio are the more reliable information sources outside of the urban centres and suburban communities. And it’s time to stop listening to the ought-is.

Various Offers

Now that Prime Day is over, you should know that Apple has several offers going with PC Optimum and Pepsico.

You can now obtain 5000 bonus PC Points when you purchase $50 Apple gift cards at participating Real Atlantic Superstores and Real Canadian Superstores until Wednesday, the 19th of July 2023. And yes, you can purchase up to ten $50 cards for a maximum bonus of 50,000. Click here for details.

Pepsi drinkers will also notice that specially marked bottles of their favourite drink feature an offer for up to three months of Apple Music for free. But there’s no need to look for an empty bottle for the QR code to participate because this QR code and details on the offer and summer contest are available by clicking here.

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New Offer From PC Optimum and Apple

Have you ever wanted to try out Apple TV, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness or Apple News? Then you should note that PC Optimum members who are not currently subscribed to these services can get a 90 day subscription for free.

To obtain more information and to claim this offer, go to PC Optimum’s offer page. And note that the 15,000 Optimum point bonus offer on $100 One 4 All gift cards, which can be redeemed at The Source, Indigo and Staples stores, will expire tomorrow.

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Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater

Growing up in rural New Brunswick in the 70s and 80s, I was only able to watch five television stations, three of which were publicly funded; The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the francophone networks Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec. And these provided many more cultural programs than the other networks though-out my early life.

I first watched educational programming in both languages on those stations, like Mr.Dressup, The Friendly Giant and Bobinot. And then in my teens I watched programs like Video Hits and Good Rockin’ Tonight, well before Much Music and Musique Plus had gone on air on cable.

After moving to the Ottawa-Gatineau area with my family, I still watched these networks regularly, mainly for consumer programming for young adults like Street Cents and then later Marketplace, La Facture and L’épicerie. And very little of the above mentioned programming was matched by the commercial stations in Canada, nor were dramas like The Beachcommers, Degrassi Jr. High and Murdock’s Mysteries or nature documentary series like The Nature of Things and Découverte or satirical news programs like This Hour has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report and Infoman.

Internationally renown comedies like The Kids In The Hall, The Red Green Show, Kim’s Covenience, Shitt’s Creek and Un Gars/Une Fille were produced and aired on the CBC or Radio-Canada. And although the commercial networks had one or two international hits, they were simply more interested in providing American content because it brought in the advertisement revenue, which is fine. But where’s the latest Corner Gas or Trailer Park Boys?

When it comes to radio, very few stations aired comedy programming like Air Farce, classical music and jazz like the CBC and Radio Canada in rural Canada, a large percentage of which was Canadian.

The very first concert I attended was classical pianist André Gagnon, whose music was introduced to my family via Radio-Canada. And like CBC Records and Les Disques SRC, CBC Music and ICI Musique provide classical music and other forms of music to Canadians, some of which still does not air on commercial radio outside of the larger cities in Canada.

Yes, I did manage to listen to francophone pop and rock in areas where french was quite prominent but are these many commercial television networks and radio stations that operate in that language outside of the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick? Are we seriously going to defund this major cultural institution over a minute amount of political commentary?

Let’s face it, only a minority is actively campaigning to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And whenever I discuss the issue with this minority on social media and ask them for examples of an alleged bias, they assert claims that are easily disproved with a Google search of the official sites of these public broadcasters.

It makes no sense for the people of Canada to capitulate our institutions to the foreign interests that failed to introduce Sun News Television to our country. And a neutral and independent commissioner is available to handle all complaints at CBC/Radio-Canada, regardless of the repeated assertions made by the remnants of the aforementioned conservative news network.

It isn’t about nostalgia but preventing the surrender of our media to foreigners that have nothing but negative opinions of this country.

Special Offers

Participating Loblaws stores are offering 7500 PC Optimum points on $50 Playstation and Rakuten Koboicon gift card purchases until March 29th, 2023. And participating Shell gas stations are also giving 20 bonus Air Miles on the purchase of $50 gift cards for Amazon, Playstation and Walmart until April 30th, 2023.

Rakuten Kobo Canada

Zellers Is Back – My Initial Review

Zellers is back online and in select Hudson Bay stores in Canada. And of course i’m interested in seeing what they have for audio fans.

The online store has just opened so nothing is being offered when it comes to home entertainment appliances, but a limited amount of cell phone and vlogging accessories can be found on the site, as well as a very small selection of licensed toys, although the licensed merchandise catalog is still offline.

They just opened so i’m expecting them to expand their catalog beyond their limited selection of home furnishings, clothing and retro merchandise. And who knows, maybe they’ll have a vinyl section soon now that sales of this format have skyrocketed back past CD sales.

I don’t see them opening stores full of vinyl, like yesteryear, but we might see online ordering and pickups. One can hope…

By the way, if you are interested in purchasing something from the store, Rakuten is offering 1% back on purchases at Zellers because they’re under the Hudson Bay banner.

Here is an offer for new members. And I believe you can get 20% off by paying with a Mastercard using this coupon until the 24th.