The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Celebrates its 75th Anniversaryby Jacqueline Vanasse
/ July 1, 2011
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was born 75 years ago, on November 2, 1936. As of 1929, to avoid Canadian waves being invaded by American radio, the Aird Commission (Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting) suggested implementing Canada’s own radio. It was in 1932 that the Canadian Broadcasting Commission’s predecessor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, saw the light of day and began transmitting on a network of stations then used by the Canadian National in passenger trains.
In the years following its creation, CBC embraced all the changes that swept the radio and telecommunications industry, beginning with the frequency modulation introduced in 1946 to make transmitting messages easier in difficult conditions. Then came the advent of television: in 1952, CBC opened television stations in Montreal and Toronto. In 1978, CBC made its mark on the world stage by using satellite to broadcast television programs.
CBC, Canadian Radio
The pan-Canadian expansion from east to west and from north to south is a real challenge for CBC. Year after year, the Corporation commits itself to reaching people all across the country, even in regions where access is limited and often in hostile weather. In cities or areas where it doesn’t have its own station, private stations often broadcast CBC programs many hours per day.
Ever since its beginnings, CBC has broadcasted in both French and English. Today, it broadcasts in seven other languages for the international public and in over eight native languages in certain northern regions of the country. In the 1930s, CBC produced and defended the Canadian content of its shows, from news, debates and documentaries to sports, mini-series and music shows. At a time when Canadian artists were making virtually no recordings, CBC hired musicians who would play in the studio and organized concerts throughout the country. Canada has always had to fight to distinguish its culture from that of the U.S., so the necessity for presenting uniquely Canadian shows played a major role in the development of our public radio.
CBC has always aimed to remain as close as possible to Canadian citizens and reality; as the spokesperson for homegrown arts and culture, it has also been involved in national causes and important historical events like World War II or the October Crisis.
Espace classique, “the personalization of musical listening”
Espace classique was launched in 1987 in order to give classical music an interesting interactive profile and to refresh the image of Canadian classical artists. “My favorite thing [about the Espace classique webradio]”, says Françoise Davoine, presenter for Radio-Canada, “is being able to use the diversity of web resources (audio, video, photo, text) to bring classical music to life”. The choice of listening to music rather than an interview is up to the music-lover, who is never a “prisoner” of content because he can, at any time, click on something else to escape from an interview or music that he doesn’t like.
In mid-June of this year, Espace musique introduced a new platform: Espace.mu, an enriched reshaping of the site, improved with new titles and ideas. With Espace.mu, Radio-Canada is extending the personalization of music further while remaining a major display case for Canadian musicians, for both newcomers and veterans of the scene.
What’s in store for the 75th anniversary?
Celebrations highlighting the 75th anniversary will take place throughout the year, with many highlights in the 75 days preceding the anniversary of the creation of the Corporation on November 2. Special broadcasts and a documentary entitled “1 Day. 24 Hours. 34 Million Lives.” will mark the event, as well as a handful of concerts recorded throughout the country and broadcasted on Espace musique and CBC Radio 2.