LSM Newswire

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Raise a Ruckus for Radio Two

April 7TH, 2008


On Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 12:00pm Eastern Time, the 12,500 strong members of a hastily arranged Facebook group entitled Save Classical Music at the CBC will be holding a NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION called RAISE A RUCKUS FOR RADIO TWO! in over a dozen cities across Canada.

In response to recently announced programming changes at CBC Radio Two and the planned axing of the famed CBC Vancouver Radio Orchestra, classical music fans, musicians and Radio Two listeners are planning to take to the streets in front of their local CBC installations in every province simultaneously. Demonstrations are to be held at CBC facilities in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown and St. Johns; with possible demonstrations to be held in Regina, Kingston, ON, and Saint John, NB as well.

Disappointment with the planned changes has been swiftly building and increasingly vocal since the CBCs announcement of March 4th, where top executives including Richard Stursberg - head of CBC English services, Jennifer McGuire head of CBC radio, and Mark Steinmetz director of radio programming divulged that CBC Radio Twos 40 year tradition as a primarily classical music broadcaster would be coming to a close. Weekday classical music programming is to be cut from 12 hours daily to 5 off-peak hours leading to the cancellation of many popular shows. Though listeners realize that shows and hosts come and go, most of the quality programming is to be replaced with pop music with sprinklings of light jazz and world music. Classical music fans and musicians feel as though they have lost a trusted and beloved member of the family they feel like they are being punished for CBCs inability to stay true to its historical mandate and CBCs unwillingness to expand conventional broadcast services to include more diverse genres and programming.

Since coming into power, the current team of Programming Executives have been responsible for the fact that:

  • They have failed to transform the innovative Radio 3 into a national broadcast network, thereby necessitating, in their eyes, the gutting of Radio Twos classical programming in order to satisfy their self-perceived mandate to be all things to all people.
  • The CBC Young Composers Competition and the CBC Young Performers Competition, have been suspended for the past four years. These two important domestic competitions had been instrumental in the development of some of Canadas best musical talent including: Angela Hewitt, Ben Heppner, Jon Kimura Parker. The Canada Council provided the funding for the $10,000.00 grand prizes.
  • The CBC has, as of February, erased the classical music budget for CBC Records, precisely on the eve of their first Grammy win by Canadian violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey on the CBC Records label. Many artists, such as Measha Brueggergosman, launched their careers on a CBC Records label recording.
  • The commissioning budget previously devoted to commissioning new works from composers is now spread out to cover jazz, pop musicians, and some unspecified amount of contemporary music. CBC says they will spend the same amount on classical commissions but their track record is not looking good.
  • The proposed cuts for the Fall of 2008 represents further reductions in classical music content, eliminating classical music 6am to 10am and 3pm to 6pm - reducing by over half the overall classical weekday programming from 12 hours to 5 hours, and shifting all weekday classical programming to inconvenient, off-peak times of the day when no one who works or goes to school can tune in.
  • The axing of the 70 year old CBC Radio Orchestra: North America's last remaining radio orchestra and platform for countless premieres of new Canadian compositions. And then, one day after citing lack of resources as the reason for cutting the orchestra, buying an expensive full-page ad in a national newspaper to convince Canadians about how wonderful the evisceration of their national radio music network is - signed and supported by wealthy pop music recording industry executives and artists, the people who stand to gain monetarily from the demise of CBCs classical programming

All existing and long-standing weekday classical shows on Radio Two are to be cut, including:

  • Music & Company - Tom Allen's morning wake up show
  • Here's to You - Catherine Belyea's all-request show
  • Studio Sparks - due to the venerable Eric Friesen's "retirement"
  • Disc Drive - Jurgen Gothe's popular, 30 year old drive-home show
  • Sound Advice Rick Philips extraordinarily informative and unique classical recording showcase and review

These changes come on the heels of last years round of cuts to vital programs such as:

  • Danielle Charbonneau's much-loved Music for a While;
  • Larry Lake's new composer showcase Two New Hours;
  • Symphony Hall - Canada's live orchestra recording showcase;
  • The Singer and the Song - Catherine Belyea's excellent Classical vocal program;
  • Northern Lights - the overnight Classical program beloved by Night Owls everywhere;
  • The reformatting of In Performance- a primarily classical live performance show into the unfocused Canada Live - a uniformly non-classical and confusing mix of various genres

The CBC claims financial constraints drive these cuts, yet spending in other areas, and support from the commercial recording industry suggest otherwise.

Canadian classical music fans and musicians and Radio Two listeners have had enough of this concerted and unprecedented campaign against classical and art music programming and infrastructure. Though their numbers may be relatively small compared to commercial radio, Radio Two listeners are among the most engaged and loyal in the world. They feel the have been betrayed and belittled by the current management team entrenched at the nations public broadcaster.

We are expecting a large and lively turnout at CBC installations across Canada, in every province where Radio Two is heard and loved. These demonstrations will occur simultaneously at 1200hrs Eastern Time (9am in Vancouver, 1:30pm in St. Johns, etc.). We are inviting all lovers of classical music and public support for the non-commercial arts scene in this country to join with us in calling for the restoration of Radio Twos vital classical music programming and the reversal of the decision to axe the CBC Radio Orchestra. Let our voices ring out and be heard! We welcome and encourage all members of the print, radio, electronic and television media to cover this important story and join us on this important day for Canadas classical music community.


The following is a list of local CBC facilities addresses across Canada where demonstrations are being planned, including local times and local contact information:

9am Pacific: Victoria: 1025 Pandora Avenue

Contact: Cecilia Porter -

9am Pacific: Vancouver: 775 Cambie Street

Contacts: David Taylor Gill -

Jocelyn Morlock

John Oliver

Michael Vincent

Tanya Battaglia -

10am Mountain: Calgary: 1724 Westmount Blvd. NW

Contact - Andrew Nowry

Darren Young -

10am Mountain: Edmonton: 23 Edmonton City Centre, 10062-102nd Avenue

Contacts - Scott Bursey -

John Brough

Peter McGillivray

10am Sask: Saskatoon: CBC 144 2nd Ave South

Contacts: Karen Mak

Lorraine McGrath Khachtourians

Brendan McLean -

10am Sask: Regina: 2440 Broad Street

11am Central: Winnipeg: 541 Portage Avenue

Contact: Jonathan Klassen -

12pm Eastern: Toronto: 250 Front Street West

Contacts: James Baldwin

Chris Foley

Kathleen Rudolph

12pm Eastern: London, ON: 208 Piccadilly Street

Contact: Forrest Pass -

Durval Cesetti -

12pm Eastern: Ottawa: 181 Queen Street, Ottawa - Meeting at Sparks Street entrance

Contact: James Wooten -

Gary Hayes -

12pm Eastern: Montreal: 1400 Rene Levesque East

Contact-Alexandra Fol -

Emily Gray -

Michael Shannon -

1pm Atlantic: Saint John: 560 Main Street

1pm Atlantic: Halifax: 1601 South Park

Contact: Christian Stalley -

Stephanie Moore -

Janet Brush -

1pm Atlantic: Charlottetown: 430 University Avenue

Contact Kate Huston -

1:30pm Newfoundland: St John's: 25 Henry Street

Contact: Heather Joyce -


Links and Web Resources:

Save Classical Music at the CBC

Save the CBC Radio Orchestra

Raise a Ruckus for Radio Two Facebook Event Page

Vancouver composer, John Oliver's Ad Campaign Site

La Scena Musicale's list of web articles:

Save the CBC Orchestra

Save the CBC

For more general information, please contact Peter McGillivray

or by phone at 647-895-6757



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