What’s up with Canadian radio, eh?

The big four radio networks in Canada are all owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), including CBC Radio One, CBC Radio Two, La Premiere Chaine and Escape Musique.  All of CBC’s radio operations are commercial free and features local, national, and world programming.

What is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)?

The corporation operates separately from the government in its day to day operations.  It is governed instead by the Broadcasting Act of 1991 and is directly overseen by Parliament and the Department of Canadian Heritage (Wikipedia).

The Broadcasting Act of 1991 main tenant is to “maintain Canada’s cultural fabric- thereby strengthening its economic, political and social structures (Media Awareness Network).  It stipulates the broadcasting policy for both television and radio, empowers the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, and outlines policies for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“The Act imposes a Canadian owned and controlled system of broadcasting, and includes provisions regarding Canadian content in programming and production. It encourages the development of Canadian expression, and the use of Canadian talent and creative resources. There is also a specific emphasis on reflecting Canada’s cultural diversity: section 3 states that programming and employment opportunities should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians, and reflect their various circumstances.” (MAN)

CBC receives its funding from the federal Canadian government, as well as supplementary funding for programming.  In 2006, the Canadian government provided over $946 million to fund CBC.  “This differs from the public broadcasters of many European nations, which collect a license fee, or those in the United States, such as PBS and NPR, which receive some public funding but rely to a large extent on contributions from individual viewers and listeners” (Wikipedia).  Additional supplemental funding comes from website advertising, subscription fees,  and advertising revenue).

Does Canada have community and campus radio stations, too? 

Yes, and they operate very similiarly to American community stations.  Many Canadian community radio stations target underrepresented minority communities (the Franco-Ontarians, Acadians, First Nation peoples, etc.) and are operated by cooperatives.  Canadian community radio stations are all part of the National Campus and Community Radio Association (or L’Association nationale des radios étudiantes et communautaires), a non-profit organization.

The NCRA/ANREC is a not-for-profit national association of organizations and individuals committed to volunteer-based, community-oriented radio broadcasting. It is dedicated to advancing the role and increasing the effectiveness of campus and community radio in Canada. It works closely with other regional, national, and international radio organizations to: provide developmental materials and networking services to its members, represent the interests of the sector to government (particularly the CRTC) and other agencies, and promote public awareness and appreciation for community-oriented radio in Canada. Since 1981, it has affected changes to national radio policy, helped lower tariffs affecting radio stations, and has helped stations open doors while preventing others from closing. Core initiatives include: GroundWire, Dig Your Roots, !earshot, Women’s Hands and Voices, the Community Radio Fund, sector-wide listservs, and an annual radio conference. It remains committed to the vitality of campus and community radio stations in Canada.