Re: Redefining Radio Two

Sep 2, 2008


Over this last weekend I have lost some dear friends: broadcasters who have informed, educated , amused and entertained me for many years . The CBC has started my every working day and stayed with me all day through the inclement Saturdays and Sundays for over 45 years. During those years I have mourned the death, the retirement or the resignation of a favourite. But these preferences were always succeeded by a new proponent and upholder of the faith, another articulate, entertaining luminary to continue my education.

This new refashioning is of a different sort; a revision, a remodeling of programming which appears to have eliminated music that has managed to endure for over 300 years. Such music has little relationship to it's apparent replacement; inconsequential pap which will be forgotten - and deserves to be - in a moment.

The CBC is a public agency and its decisions should be subject to public scrutiny. I want to know why, to see the survey data on which this reprogramming has been based. I want to know who the people are who made this decision and I want to see their decision explained.....

This was the first morning in over 4 decades that I have been within broadcasting range of the CBC that I simply could not listen.

Date: 03 Sep 2008

Thank you for taking the time to write regarding the recent changes to the CBC Radio 2 schedule.

I was sorry to read that you are disappointed with the new Radio 2 programs so soon. We know that some of the new programs are a departure from what long-time Radio 2 listeners are accustomed to hearing, and it may take some time to become comfortable with the changes.

Of course, we realize that not all programs will appeal to all tastes; for this reason, there is a broader spectrum of music on CBC Radio 2 than ever before, including some of the best classical music programming in Canada, from Tempo during the week to Saturday Afternoon At the Opera and Choral Concert, among others, on the weekends.

We now also offer a commercial-free, all-classical music "channel" that you can access 24 hours a day by visiting and clicking the "Classical" button. If you have any questions about accessing any of our online "channels," please see our easy how-to guide at

As Canada's national broadcaster, it is central to our mandate that we reflect Canada to Canadians. Through showcasing the enormous breadth and depth of musical talent our country has to offer, we believe that the new Radio 2 has achieved this goal, while maintaining our core values of quality, creativity, knowledge and passion.

I hope you will continue to tune in and give some of the new Radio 2 programs another chance.

Again, thank you for writing.


Richard Stursberg
Executive Vice-President
CBC English Services

Date: 03 Sep 2008

Dear Mr Stursberg:

Thank you for your prompt reply. I had another try this morning at 7.00 AM I lasted about 5 minutes.

There are now a great many private stations where we can listen to - more or less - the same genre of music that my ow n- my very own - Tom Allen is now broadcasting. I feel that publicly supported broadcasting should lead - not reflect contemporary public taste...

Your letter does not answer my questions: was there a survey that precipitated this decision. May I see it? Who made this decision, and what is its' rationale..?

Thank you for your consideration

Date: 04 Sep 2008

I apologize if I was insufficiently thorough in my response to you. There is no one person within the CBC who makes a decision of this nature (to revamp one of our services). It is a consultative process that ultimately received the approval of CBC's Board of Directors.

In 2004/05, CBC commissioned a study that was designed to provide the CBC with broad-based insight into arts and culture in Canada, as well as informing the Corporation's current and future planning in arts and culture programming.

The research included an online survey of CBC employees working in arts and culture and one-on-one interviews with senior decision-makers in the Corporation; analyses of secondary data on trends affecting arts and culture in Canada and how other public broadcasters have dealt with related trends internationally; one-on-one interviews with Canadian arts and culture "stakeholders," including people in the creative community, cultural institutions, arts and culture businesses and the academic world. Focus groups were held with members of the general public across the country; an exploratory ethnographic study was conducted, in which individuals were interviewed and observed in their homes; and finally, there was a telephone survey of 1,900 English-speaking Canadians over the age of 18. The telephone survey also posed specific questions to CBC Radio listeners. The Radio One sample was comprised of people who had listened to Radio One in the past month (35% of Canadians). The Radio Two sample was comprised of people who had listened to Radio Two in the past month, representing 19% of Canadians.

The information gleaned from this comprehensive study was used to inform the development of our new Radio 2 programming.

I hope that clarifies for you the process that was undergone prior to making any changes to CBC Radio 2.


Richard Stursberg
Executive Vice-President
CBC English Services

Date: 04 Sep 2008
Subject: Re: Redefining Radio Two

Dear Mr. Stursberg:

You have most thoroughly explained the process of the study which resulted in the decision to reprogram Radio Two and for that I am grateful. Had I been one of the 19 % of the 1900 canvassed about their listening habits my response would have been "Radio Two every day- every single day." Honest. And the CBC prior to Radio Two for more than 40 prior years. Now, does my lifetime of fidelity, loyalty,allegiance,devotion to my Corporation get me a chance to review the papers, the reports, the briefs? Are we, my wife and I, together with some dozen of our chums part of a vanishing coterie of classical music afficianados? Has some cultural shift put us entirely in the hands of Sirius broadcasting? Where can I go to sift through the stuff of the reports/briefs/papers and try to understand a bit better - and indeed authenticate - this saddening zeitgeist?

Thank you for your consideration of our distress.