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CANADA

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage


NUMBER 034 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
39th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, June 5, 2008

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1530)  

[English]

     I'd like to welcome everyone here today. This is the 34th meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), a study on the dismantling of the CBC Radio Orchestra, on CBC Radio-Canada's commitment to classical music, and the changes to CBC radio.
    I welcome our witnesses here today. We have Richard Flohil, Richard A. Hornsby, Howard P. Knopf, Ian Menzies, Joan Pierre, Ingrid Whyte, and Geoff Kulawick.
    Welcome to all of you. Following your presentations, we are going to have three rounds of questioning. At the end of those three rounds, we will recess for a short time to decide where these meetings have taken us.
    Mr. Flohil, you're on first.
     Thank you very much.
    I'm sorry about my voice. I had an Air Canada flight, and it comes with a regulatory cold.
    My name is Richard Flohil. I've worked in the Canadian music industry since before there was a Canadian music industry. l'm a publicist, concert promoter, writer, and editor, and my far-too-long resume includes spells as an artistic director of folk, jazz, world music, and blues festivals.
    I edited a magazine called Canadian Composer/Compositeur canadien for 20 years. I was the co-founder of The Record, a trade paper that lasted for 17 years. Until recently, I had been editing Applaud!, a magazine designed to promote Canadian music outside of Canada.
    I'm primarily a publicist. My clients include Loreena McKennitt, for some 22 years; the Downchild Blues Band, for more than 30; the late Jeff Healey; and a variety of newer artists--Serena Ryder, Roxanne Potvin, Justin Rutledge, Shakura S'Aida, and Paul Reddick--as well as a strong independent roots music label, Stony Plain.
    CBC radio has always been supportive of all the artists I work with, and I am most grateful.
    I want more, both for my artists and their contemporaries and for me as a listener.
    I must say, if you'll forgive me, that I'm a little concerned that this committee is treading on dangerous ground. I could be wrong, but I can't recall a parliamentary committee getting even close to the muddy nitty-gritty of radio programming. The CBC is meant to be at arm's length from government, and in my view, this government, with the support of the opposition, should decide on an increased annual budget for the CBC, guarantee it for a foreseeable future, and then get out of the way and let our national broadcaster fulfill its mandate.
    This committee is looking into two things: the CBC's decision to cancel the Vancouver radio orchestra and the proposed changes to programming on Radio 2.
    The Vancouver radio orchestra should have been pulled years ago. Whatever its cost--and l've heard figures ranging from $400,000 a year to $700,000--it's excessive, especially considering the extremely limited number of concerts it performs. In terms of value for money alone, this orchestra's continuation is indefensible.
     The CBC can--and indeed should, and I hope will--use the money to present a much wider and far more inclusive range of music to Canadians in all regions of the country.
    Radio 2 is a good place to start. You've heard figures, I know, to indicate the minuscule size of the Radio 2 audience in recent years and the reality that its audience is aging rapidly and, quite literally, dying off. As a 73-year-old, I regret that I might not--at least, not for very long--enjoy the diversity and eclectic musical programming that Radio 2 is promising and will hopefully carry out, whatever this committee's recommendations may be.
    The classical music community is single-minded and highly organized. It has good publicists and can make--and has made--a lively racket to oppose any changes in programming at Radio 2. They've had this national radio network pretty well all to themselves for decades. Now they're being told they have to share the wealth, and they are, if I may use an unparliamentary term, pissed off.
    Many of these protesters start, I suspect, from an ingrained position that “classical” music--be it orchestral, choral, or chamber music, or electronic new music--is in some way intrinsically superior to other forms of music. I believe this is nonsense.
    The greatest single musical figure of the 20th century, Louis Armstrong, proclaimed in his wisdom that there were only two kinds of music: good and bad.
    That's my view. Radio 2 has to represent the best of all the kinds of music that Canadian musicians, composers, and songwriters make. That includes classical music; it includes assorted kinds of jazz, intelligent pop, world music that reflects the multicultural nature of this country, aboriginal music, various kinds of folk music--however you define that “f” word--the best electronic dance music, blues, alternative and edgy country, and the experimental pop that has in fact had a late-night spot on Radio 2 after all the classical music listeners have gone to bed.

  (1535)  

     Whatever problems the music industry faces in Canada today, there is no diminution of the interest in music itself.
    So how do artists, new or experienced, build their audience? It's by live performance, of course, but mainly on radio. The catch is that commercial radio stations play, by my guesstimate, less than one percent of the Canadian music available. They play a tiny handful of artists of various degrees over and over again. The CBC, then, offers the only possible national outlet for hundreds of Canadian artists whose music does not fit the rigid commercial dictates of privately owned radio stations.
    Radio 2 offers the potential, especially when the albatross of the radio orchestra is removed, for artists in dozens of other genres to be heard nationally on record or from their own communities playing live.
    Changes to Radio 2 are coming years too late, and the efforts of the small, vocal claque of classical musicians, composers, and supporters who do not want to share the sandbox must not be allowed to stymie CBC management's attempt to bring Radio 2 into at least the latter half of the twentieth century.
    This committee, most respectfully, should not interfere with that process. The CBC is not dumbing down, but building up, and it's attempting to reflect the real range of brilliant Canadian music of all kinds, which deserves to be exposed to Canadian listeners.
    My friend Sam Feldman, who runs a major agency in Vancouver, recently talked at a CRTC hearing out there, and he had a great line that I would conclude with: Leonard Cohen once said that songs were letters; it's time to open the post office.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Hornsby please.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair and honourable members, for the opportunity to come and speak today.
    I'll be up front and say I'll take a slightly different position from my colleague next to me on what has been going on.
    Of the briefs that I believe have been presented to you so far, I think there has been a lot of very, very good information put forward, very well thought out. The bottom line for me is that I think there should be a rethinking of the nature of the CBC orchestra as it's constituted, and I believe there should be a serious look at what the proposed changes are in the programming.
    Just so you know a little bit about me and where I come from, I'm a practising musician, a clarinet and saxophone player. I'm currently chair of the sector council for culture, the Cultural Human Resources Council, and have been for the last six years. I'm a past chair of the New Brunswick Arts Board, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, and am currently on the board of the New Brunswick music industry association; artistic director of the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival; and director of music at the University of New Brunswick, the latter being my actual day job.
    I also bring maybe a perspective that is not from either central Canada or western Canada, which seems to be the focus of many of the comments you have had so far.
    As just a little bit about what I believe the history of the CBC has been for this country, it really has been a leader in reflecting back to Canadians who it is, right from early broadcasts in 1927 over radio that went coast to coast, predecessor of what became the CBC later on. It has also been a leader in presenting music to the rest of the world through its recordings, through its international broadcasts, and through its flagship organizations.
    In important times of Canadian unity, it has been there, through the high rate of commissioning during Expo 67, providing an immense amount of material that we still listen to and some people still hum, in terms of the song associated with that particular event.
    As a little bit about radio orchestras themselves, radio orchestras have a long history. They began in the early twentieth century, and in most countries they belonged to—Bavaria in Germany, for instance, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, or the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan—they have been flagships of their particular countries. When you turn on their radio stations and listen to them and also buy their records in the record store, you can be sure that you're getting some of the best that's coming from that country. They focus, as ours should do, on what is the nature of the music in that country, which should reflect obviously orchestral music at its highest level, Canadian performers at the highest level, and introducing Canadian performers who are up and coming stars, many of whom have been mentioned in previous briefs as well.
    This CBC orchestra we have now has many virtues that have already been mentioned, and I agree with them. I do believe, though, that the orchestra needs to be looked at and needs to be repositioned to reflect some of the historical nature of what are, again, many orchestras around the world that still exist attached to radio stations.
    Our music scene is changing rapidly. I just found out, actually, today that two days ago one of the major distributors of music in the world is stopping distribution, and it's going to affect greatly what's going on in terms of distribution in this country as well. The idea of hard copy is disappearing. It will probably still exist in some form, but the whole industry is reeling from the speed of what's going on in terms of technology.
    I found it kind of strange, while I was reading over some of the briefs that were presented and the comments from the CBC people, that they wanted to make more space on radio. When I poll my university students as to how they're consuming music, they're not going to the radio any more. So if you want to reach young people, that's not the place to reach them.
    Who is listening to the radio? It is the people who have developed an interest in classical music and other forms, such as jazz or experimental music as well. That's the traditional place they're going to listen. Right now, they're being alienated from that position.
    I think we need to also look at the position that has been mentioned several times about young people. I came today, to this particular meeting, from a music camp I'm teaching at, 200 kilometres north of Toronto. We have 400 kids from inner-city downtown Toronto, playing violins, cellos, flutes, drums, you name it, and they're enjoying it. Music festivals around this country based on western classical music are in very good shape.
    At our music festival in Fredericton, where I live, our burgeoning population of Korean immigrants there are making a huge difference and a huge contribution. They are hungry for that.
    So to collar classical music as “old white man's music” is really not the picture. It is not the complete picture. It is obviously, as my colleague mentioned, not all that we should be experiencing on CBC Radio 2, but I believe there's a place for it and there should be a strong place for it.

  (1540)  

     Thank you very much.
    Mr. Knopf.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and honourable members. My name is Howard Knopf. I've been a lawyer since 1980, working mainly on copyright law, and often on issues related to the music business.
     Before that I was a professional musician for several years and a frequent performer and recording artist for the CBC. As a matter of fact, I played the clarinet. I may have been Mr. Hornsby's teacher, but I wasn't very memorable because he doesn't remember that. At least I wasn't a bad teacher.
    We're talking today about an ageist and anti-elitist agenda, plainly described in the CBC's own controversial arts and culture study, which I've asked to have translated and distributed to you.
    Now classical music is going to be banished to between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., which is great for those of us in nursing homes, but we aren't all there yet. But it's not so great for the next generation of Canadians who are now at school at that time and who won't get to hear Ben Heppner, Bramwell Tovey, James Ehnes, the Orford Quartet, or Gavin Bryars, who has just written a wonderful letter to you that will be distributed once it is translated.
    What this is about is a gratuitous windfall worth millions of dollars a year to the commercial music industry establishment in Canada. That establishment already has such measures as Canadian content regulations for commercial radio, the levy on blank tape media that has generated about $0.25 billion—that's with a capital B, as in Bob—and the rich FACTOR program, which is paid for by commercial broadcasters and injects more than $14 million a year into the commercial radio industry “to support the Canadian music industry”.
    Now Celine, Shania, Avril, Sarah, and Feist all did perfectly well without having to rely upon CBC Radio 2. There's already tremendous incentive and a tremendous infrastructure in place in the industry to find the next star. They don't need Radio 2.
    On the other hand, without Radio 2, serious musicians in this country will have virtually nothing, unless they happen to teach at a university or get a small commission now and then.
    The Globe and Mail ran an ad last March 29 that would have cost the CBC—it was a CBC ad—probably about $75,000. I've asked that this ad be translated and distributed to you. It's mainly a list of those who support and clearly will benefit from this cultural revolution, most notably the big four international record companies, Feist, and lots of other companies, associations, and people from the commercial music industry. Mr. Kulawik, who we'll hear from soon, from True North Records, is also on that list.
    The ad makes the absurd statement that there are 30,000 new songs recorded each year in Canada and that only 250 get regular air play on commercial radio. Well, so what? Not all songs are created equal. Who knows where these numbers came from, and what constitutes regular air play? It is not hard to guess why the commercial radio stations might ignore the other 29,750 songs, and it's certainly not CBC's job to give every self-proclaimed songwriter three minutes of fame each year.
    I published an analysis in The Hill Times on April 21, 2008, about how these changes will cost CBC millions of dollars a year in increased copyright fees alone, payable to SOCAN and NRCC, which are the two big performing rights organizations. Nobody has even attempted to refute this conclusion. I've asked to have this translated and distributed to you as well.
    Now the switch from serious to pop music will clearly benefit the commercial music industry in terms of copyright royalties and other ways, such as AF of M payments and record sales.
    Since you've done so much marvellous work with these hearings to date, I suggest you do even a bit more and invite some key people from the commercial music industry who can better explain to you how their industry will benefit from the new CBC regime and whether their industry actually needs and deserves the resulting subsidy.
    You might want to invite such people as Graham Henderson, the head of CRIA and on the board of directors of the NRCC; André Lebel from SOCAN; Eddie Schwartz from the Songwriters Association of Canada; and Peter Steinmetz, a preeminent entertainment lawyer and a leader for several decades in several capacities in the Canadian commercial music industry. He is currently the chairman of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
    You might also wish to invite the CBC back, including its chairperson, Timothy Casgrain. If this isn't important enough to merit his attendance, I don't know what would be. You might wish to hear again from Messrs. Lacroix and Stursberg, to give them a chance to reply to these four days of testimony, and also to invite their mid-level managers who are tasked with implementing, enforcing, and defending the new regime, and who have spoken very publicly about it and why they think it's all good and necessary. They are Chris Boyce and Mark Steinmetz.

  (1545)  

     This is an historic moment, not as dramatic as the crisis involving This Hour Has Seven Days, but ultimately perhaps just as important, if not more. I urge you to do what is within your power by making a strong statement to the minister and the Prime Minister. I hope they and their cabinet colleagues and that mysterious force known as the Governor in Council will immediately do what needs to be done to rescue and restore the CBC to its former glory. Your guidance and wisdom will be essential in this process.
    If I have another minute or two....

  (1550)  

    Very quickly, please.
    I just want to mention some of the damage that's been done to date with this purge--and it's nothing less than that. There's no more young composers competition. Ben Heppner has recently gone on record as stating, “The most important moment in my career was winning the CBC competition in 1979.” Where's the next Ben Heppner going to come from? There are no more young composer competitions.
    There's no more Two New Hours show, which was cut off just before its 30th anniversary. It was a world-acclaimed show. There's no more Howard Dyck, Larry Lake, and Rick Phillips--in fact, no more erudite, learned, and eloquent hosts any more. We have hosts who talk too much, breathe heavily into the microphone, and can't pronounce foreign names, but they do sound under 50, I'll give them that much.
    We have censorship of CBC blogs, even elimination of the ones that got too critical. We have dumbing down to the lowest common denominator of dull jazz, folk, world, and other diverse bad music.
    What do we do about all of this? I know you're concerned, we're all concerned, about CBC independence, but here's my quick answer--and we'll probably come back to it later. The government controls the appointment of the CBC board, its chair, and its president. This committee can express its views on whether changes should be made at that level, or indeed even further down the line. There's nothing wrong with this committee expressing its views. We have freedom of expression in Canada, and you have privilege.
    The government also controls the CBC budget. There's no need to provide taxpayer subsidies to a second-rate commercial radio network. Before you think about increasing the CBC's budget and etching it in stone for several years, you should ensure the money will be well spent, not spent on the vision of a few managers who want to use this institution to promote mediocre commercial music--or even quality commercial music that needs no promotion or subsidy. I have no objection to commercial music, in its place and in its time.
    All this is strangely reminiscent.... What goes around comes around. Those who don't study history are condemned to repeat it. I urge you to have a look at this great book by Knowlton Nash, who knows a thing or two about the CBC. All of this has happened before, and will probably keep on happening, and that's what makes this country wonderful. But you have a role to play occasionally in correcting things at the CBC, and this is another one of those points in history.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you for that.
    Now we turn to Mr. Menzies, please.
     Hello, and thanks for asking me to come and speak. I'm just representing myself. What I have to say has quite a bit more personal sort of approach than the previous colleague who just spoke, and it really just speaks to my experience.
    I've been working professionally in the music industry in Canada for at least 25 years, and I've worked in a lot of roles. Much like Richard Flohil, it's really too long a list to mention, but I started as a professional musician and made a living in that way for quite a few years. I've promoted shows; I've produced records; I've been a journalist; I've run a record company, and so on. Over the years I've had the privilege of working with many of Canada's most dedicated and accomplished musicians, some of whom are big names that I could mention that you'd all know, but many of whom are names that remain obscure to this day. But it's not for lack of talent, at least in my estimation.
    Since 2001 I've specialized in artist management, and my current roster includes two Juno Award winners, The McDades and Kiran Ahluwalia. It also includes two Juno-nominated first nations artists who both won aboriginal music awards for their releases, Asani and Wayne Lavallee, and others. They're obviously successful in a certain sort of way and doing very well by getting the highest awards in the country that they can aspire to.
    No participant in the media landscape today can remain static indefinitely, in my opinion, and I commend Radio 2's management for having the foresight and conviction to push ahead with new programming ideas that will bring significant changes to the current format. The plan to increase both the overall percentage of Canadian content played—at least I understand this is the plan—and the diversity of some of that same content is a highly laudable goal, and frankly, it's long overdue. As an avid listener of Radio 1 and Radio 2, I'm aware of some of the changes that have recently been made to the schedule. These changes have already had an impact on several of the artists I work with outside the mainstream, or--other derogatory terms--mediocre, perhaps, pop realm. None of them are pop artists in my roster.
    Canada Live, in particular, is injecting much-needed additional revenue and exposure into the careers of many of the deserving artists I'm talking about. Canada Live now runs five days a week in the evenings. The reality of presenting and/or touring non-mainstream musical artists in Canada is extremely challenging, and the significantly increased and newly available recording funds that Radio 2 has through the Canada Live program are a very welcome development indeed.
    As I speak right now, one of my artists, Wayne Lavallee, is setting up at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for a show that's being both presented and recorded—a show for the public—by Radio 2 in Vancouver. It's being billed “Stolen Children--Truth and Reconciliation”, and it's in honour of the beginning of the hearings on this very issue.
    Last February Kiran Ahluwalia performed with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, playing arrangements and new compositions that were commissioned by Radio 2, from Glenn Buhr, a well-known and award-winning composer and arranger. And it was also recorded by CBC Radio 2.
    These projects and many others like them are great examples of the kind of work and programming Radio 2 could and should be doing more of. Some of the “more doing of it” is because of these specific recent changes. The additional exposure gained from having these recordings then broadcast nationally and then streamed live on the net provides even further ongoing benefit for the artists.
    Something I allude to here, but I'll make clear, is that they get paid for these recording sessions, which helps the economics of the performance they're doing, because their participation in the recordings is bought out and then the recording is owned by CBC.
     As these new avenues for exposure and support through Radio 2 continue to roll out and grow, it's sure to have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on the health and stability of Canada's performing artists in all genres and disciplines, and to the community of music industry workers as a whole. And I don't mean by that people like Graham Henderson; I mean people like me, who make a pretty humble living in this business, and there are lots of us.
    I also believe the Canadian public and Radio 2 listenership will benefit as much, if not more, from this change in the long run. Canada's rich tapestry of creative artists is at once impressive and yet remains largely unknown to the general public, and it would seem, possibly, even to people who are focused on the arts, in many cases. New diversity in programming will not just help a new explosion of artistic voices to emerge on the national stage; it will also introduce many new listeners to what is already a vital and growing part of the Canadian culture today.
    I certainly believe that Radio 2 should continue to support orchestral music in all its forms. The success of Kiran's show with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra has already led directly to her being offered the opportunity to collaborate with three other orchestral ensembles in the coming year: the Windsor Symphony Orchestra; Calgary's Urban Chamber Orchestra; and a two-night stand at a 1,500-seat hall with the Chicago Sinfionetta, doing Glenn Buhr's commissioned music at that event.
    With its unique national reach, Radio 2 has an unparalleled ability to help define and reflect what it means to be Canadian, but it cannot do this without significantly adding to the variety of programming it presents and plays.

  (1555)  

    I recently reviewed portions of the mandate of the CBC, and I noted that many of the things I'm alluding to in this presentation are indeed the goals stated for the organization. They include the following: “to reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences while serving the special needs of those regions”; to “actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression”; and to “contribute to a shared national consciousness and identity”.
     In my opinion, the changes taking place right now at Radio 2 have the potential at least to bring CBC Radio 2 much more in line with these goals than it has been for some time in just presenting classical music. I attend many live music events across the country, from folk and jazz festivals, to theatres, to coffee shops, to bars. Invariably, I see audiences filled with open-minded, music-loving fans, and I see musicians who are drawing from an increasingly diverse and multicultural wellspring. Unfortunately, mainstream radio reflects none of this reality.
    In closing, CBC Radio 2 has always been a source of support for music that gets little or no space in the commercial media sphere, primarily classical, in the recent past, certainly. But by any measure, it has not kept up with the pace of change and growth that is the reality of what's been happening on the ground in Canada culturally for a long time. As more Canadians increasingly hear their own voices reflected back to them when they tune in to Radio 2, the polyglot of sounds and ideas that make our country what it is today will flourish, and that will increase the bonds that make us all Canadian.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    We'll go to Ms. Pierre.
    My name is Joan Pierre. I have lived in Toronto for the past 38 years. I have been a producer and event planner for more than 25 years.
    I have served as the key consultant for conferences, special events, and festivals, among them Toronto's Caribana, the African Heritage Music Festival in New Orleans, the African Canadian Achievement Awards, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police conference, the Urban Music Association of Canada, and the Olympic Cultural Advisory Committee.
    I have also served on boards and committees promoting Canada's arts industry. I have lent my expertise to organizations such as the National Ballet School, Canadian Stage Company, Tropicana Community Services, and Ontario's Ministry of Tourism and Recreation.
    I have been an avid CBC listener since the mid-eighties, more a Radio One listener, since its days on AM 740. Both my husband and I listen almost exclusively to CBC radio. All the radios in our home are tuned to CBC stations, and in my car, the first program button is 99.1 FM. Radio 2 is also on one of my pre-programmed buttons. I quite often get home and remain seated in my car, in the driveway or garage, listening to the end of a segment of As It Happens or Ideas. I rise on weekday mornings with Metro Morning and listen to Fresh Air and Sunday Morning on the weekends.
    This is all a critical part of making me an informed citizen of this country and an aware human being on planet Earth.
    More recently, I have started paying more attention to Radio 2, in particular after a calypso show with David Rudder and company in Toronto during Black History Month.
    As a member of Toronto's black and Caribbean community and as an active member of the arts community in the city, I have been conscious of the subtle shift in programming on both stations and the effort to broaden the appeal of the stations to Toronto's various ethnic communities. I support this move entirely. I say this as a person with broad musical tastes. As a child, I studied classical piano until my late teens. I then retained a love of classical music. As a Caribbean woman, I also love the folk and popular music of the Caribbean and of Africa and Latin America. It has been great to see more world music programming on the various stations, balanced with the more traditional classical offerings and North American pop music offerings.
    The CBC, in all its forms, is a Canadian treasure. As the baby boom generation ages, if we intend to keep the CBC alive and well, we must find ways of connecting with younger listeners. I would like to see this done without dumbing down the programming. The CBC audience is a very intelligent audience. One has to assume that younger listeners are picking up the habit by osmosis from their parents. As their thinking matures, they will gravitate naturally to the various stations.
    I think the current programming changes have managed to strike the right balance so that young people will be attracted to the fresher material but ultimately will be intellectually challenged and stimulated by the broad range of CBC programming.
    Thank you to the committee for affording me the opportunity to be part of this important dialogue.

  (1600)  

    Thank you for that.
    We'll go to Ms. Whyte, please.
    Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this panel.
    My name is Ingrid Whyte. I love classical music. When I was growing up, my parents had a good collection of classical LPs that we played often. I went to the National Ballet School, where I was exposed to much more wonderful classical music, both in ballet classes and in music appreciation classes. I attend concerts regularly, sometimes as a subscriber to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and other visiting ensembles, as well as many other local and visiting orchestras. But you should know that I also go to the Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals regularly; I hear jazz and blues in small clubs across the city. I have tickets to see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss next month, and I downloaded every single song performed by David Cook on American Idol this year.
    Am I unique? I don't think so. I, like many other people, have a variety of musical tastes and an appetite not only to consume what I'm familiar with but to try new things and be exposed to new music and artists.
    I am a loyal, but not exclusive, CBC listener. I tend to migrate between stations on the dial, usually between CBC Radio One and Radio 2, and jazzfm, but more so between CBC and satellite radio, where I tend to listen to more alternative, folk, and indie stations. If listening tastes are so diverse in one individual such as me, imagine the diversity that is reflected by our changing cultural mosaic. I applaud the fact that CBC Radio 2 will represent more of that diversity.
    Much has been made of the fact that it appears that Radio 2 is chasing a younger demographic at the expense of older, core listeners. I don't see it that way. I see the changes, more importantly, as appealing to a broader demographic. I listen to Canada Live now sometimes in the car, and I am thrilled to be hearing some of this music: a Celtic music festival from Vancouver, a songwriter's session in Montreal, and even Buck 65 with Symphony Nova Scotia last week. It's fantastic, and it's live, and it's all over this country. And while I don't necessarily like all of the music, along the way I am introduced to some wonderful new artists.
    CBC Radio 2 is opening my ears, my mind, and sometimes even my heart, to music I never would have heard otherwise. What's important for me, as a listener, is that the program is not just a playlist, but the music is explored and interpreted with good hosts who demonstrate curiosity and respect for the artists.
    What will distinguish CBC Radio 2 from other stations is its continuing commitment to do that well across all genres and show us a new and deeper side both to music that is familiar and to music that is new.
    As it is a public broadcaster, funded by my tax dollars, I expect CBC Radio 2 to intelligently reflect music that is, in turn, a reflection of our diversity. CBC's mandate is clear: to inform, enlighten, and entertain. And that mandate is further reflected in some of the following goals, not all of which I will take the time to read to you today, but which include being predominantly and distinctively Canadian; reflecting Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences while serving the special needs of those regions; actively contributing to the flow and exchange of cultural expression; contributing to a shared national consciousness and identity; and reflecting the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.
    Classical music alone cannot contribute to all of these goals. From what I see, CBC is not removing or killing classical music as so many headlines and blogs have suggested, but asking classical music to move over and share some of that space.
    Classical music continues to be the cornerstone of the network, with more hours dedicated to it than to any other genre. But previously underserved genres like jazz, world, roots, blues, even--dare I say it--alternative and popular music, are getting time too. Programming will have its highs and lows in these genres as well as in the classical programs. Not everything will appeal to everyone. That's the beauty of music. It's very personal, it's very subjective, and obviously it's very emotional.
    Canada is much more than western classical music. My kids went to public school in one of Toronto's most culturally diverse neighbourhoods. When they were in high school, all of the music played by the band or the orchestra at holiday concerts and performances was classical. But you know what? When the kids in the school organized their own shows, like talent shows, going to a concert was suddenly stepping into their world, the stuff that rings true to them. And sure, while there were a couple of classical pianists, there were also hip-hop and rap performances, East Indian singing and dancing, South Asian percussion, and wonderful combinations of all of the above. It was a huge variety of colour, movement, and sound born out of their communities. It was important to them, and they had pride in sharing it with the school community.
    As I said earlier, I believe the changes at CBC Radio 2 are not about chasing a younger demographic, but about reflecting that broader diversity.

  (1605)  

     Much has been made in blogs and speeches and editorials about the fact that a major block of classical music programming is moving to a 10-to-3 slot on weekdays. The renowned James Ehnes, whose music and talent I adore, suggested he was disappointed by this because it is exactly when children and teenagers are in school and won't be able to listen.
     Let me tell you a story. I'm a parent of two daughters studying music performance and music education at McGill. They played for years with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Music at Port Milford, and many other ensembles. If anyone is predisposed to listening to classical music, they sure are. But in high school, did they come home and turn on CBC Radio 2? Even if I had it turned on in the house, did they stay with me just to listen to it? No. They went to their rooms and listened to their CDs--Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, etc.--while doing homework.
    So my kids love classical music, but they don't listen to it on radio. Why do my kids love classical music if they don't get it from radio? Well, they were introduced to it in school. They were the shyest kids on earth and then some wonderful teacher put an instrument into their hands, stuck them into an ensemble, and the life came out of them. As their interest grew in school, we nourished it at home. We'd go to the occasional concert. We'd buy them CDs for birthdays and Christmas that always included classical music, and this music always found its way onto their iTunes library.
    Before coming here I did a little Internet research into young people's listening habits, and here's a little bit of what I found.
    An online poll of 14- to 24-year-olds, conducted by Paragon Media Strategies last fall, found that 73% of them listen to music on sources other than radio. Not surprisingly, iPods and personal mix CDs were found as the major threats to radio listening, and 68% of iPod owners have personalized playlists and are creating their own content. Over three-quarters of those polled said they listen to personalized CD mixes, a third of them are listening to less radio, and only 19% said they are listening to more radio.
     My point is that even if CBC Radio 2 were playing exclusively pop and rock, it isn't necessarily going to get more of this younger demographic. l'm sure this is something privately owned contemporary rock stations worry about too. Listening behaviour is changing, and not only among young people, though they are surely leading the charge. It's no longer as simple as turning the dial, and we would be wise to take note.
    When I look at CBC Radio 2, I see not only broadening diversity, but also increasing options for access to music. I see a website that is full of podcasts and concerts on demand. When I last looked, there were over 700 concerts on demand, a list that continues to grow. The bulk of these concerts are identified as orchestral, Canadian-composed contemporary orchestral, chamber, and choral/vocal, representing most of the major Canadian symphony orchestras, and many other wonderful ensembles. So not only is classical music still the cornerstone of CBC Radio 2, but the corporation is providing more opportunities to access it on individual terms.
     In terms of the CBC Radio Orchestra, I lament its loss. The orchestra represented a unique legacy of orchestral broadcasting, the last bastion of a dying breed in North America, rich with history, passion, and talent. I'm sure this was a very difficult decision for CBC. But the environment in which the orchestra was launched many years ago is vastly different from the environment in which it operates today. I'm hopeful about the new opportunities that can be created with the money saved from running the orchestra.
    The CBC must create opportunities for more new works to be commissioned, have more of those new commissions performed through our existing orchestras, and have more of our wonderful orchestras showcased through our public broadcaster. These will be positive outcomes that will result from a very difficult decision.
     I suppose, in closing, I would say that as long as CBC Radio 2 continues to support classical music as its cornerstone, as long as it surprises and delights me with music that reflects our communities, as long as it does so with intelligence and a sense of curiosity, then I will continue to be a loyal listener. CBC Radio One and Radio 2 have made changes in the past, not all of which l've supported, but along the way l've always been introduced to wonderful new hosts and programming that has enriched my experience of music in this country and beyond.
    Thank you for this opportunity to be heard.

  (1610)  

    Thank you.
    Mr. Kulawick.
     Thanks for inviting me to speak today.
    My name is Geoff Kulawick. I'm the president of True North Records and Linus Entertainment. We are producers and marketers of sound recordings. We focus on producing Canadian artists and marketing Canadian artists here in Canada and internationally.
    Some of the artists we've recorded and released include Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, Lynn Miles, and Catherine MacLellan on the True North Records label, and on the Linus Entertainment label, Gordon Lightfoot, Sophie Milman, Ashley MacIsaac, Quartetto Gelato, and the Canadian Brass.
    I'm also the vice-chair of CIRPA, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association, which is the trade association representing over 150 Canadian independent sound recording labels and producers.
    The issue being considered today is CBC's commitment to classical music and changes to CBC Radio 2. We—CIRPA, and me speaking on behalf of True North Records and Linus Entertainment—fully support the proposed changes to CBC, and we do so for the following reasons.
    Canadian artists who produce a wide variety of music that reflects Canadian society face challenges in reaching the ears of Canadians. Many of the artists I mentioned above are unable to be heard on commercial radio because of tight programming playlists, outside of a few college radio stations with limited power.
    Folk artists write and sing songs about the Canadian identity, with lyrics that speak about regional and geographic locations within Canada. New Canadians from origins ranging from Africa to Asia, whose cultural experience is unique as they merge with Canadian culture, create unique world music recordings that reflect their own culture and Canadian culture combined.
    Contemporary jazz, blues, and experimental artists and musicians, whose music does not fit on any commercial radio formats whose playlists are for Canadian artists, reflect our people.
    Many of these artists have more airplay in the United States through a format called AAA Radio and National Public Radio than in our own country.
    We don't support removing classical music entirely from the airwaves, because we also produce classical music. We will continue funding classical recordings, as will other private Canadian independent labels, because we don't feel that a reduction in the amount of airplay on CBC radio for classical music will materially affect the sales of classical recordings or tickets for concerts that we produce.
    Rather, we feel that the ability to connect with new audiences and introduce music through a more diverse playlist and programming on CBC Radio 2 will have a very material impact on the artists of other genres that we are involved in producing.
    The company of mine that is producing these artists is run out of my house. I have a 1990 Dodge minivan, and I did not fly here on a Leer jet. We are all struggling artists, creators, and entrepreneurs investing in these Canadian recordings. We really feel it's important that we have an ability for these artists to be heard, so that we can grow their careers, be a viable business, and reflect the Canadian identity.
    You may be surprised by some of the names of artists who are not being heard in Canada in the list I'm about to read. It's really down to a question of whether we want to support CBC Radio 2's and the management's decision to reach out to all Canadians and bands of all kinds of music, and whether these artists will be heard: Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot—his new album, which we released, had almost no air play—Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Alex Cuba, Ron Hynes, Murray McLauchlan, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, the Great Lake Swimmers, Luke Doucet, and Le Vent du Nord.
    These are all extremely popular Canadian artists. They tour, selling out theatres and drawing thousands of people to folk festivals, and they cannot be heard on the airwaves in Canada. We fully support CBC management's plan to open up the airwaves to be more inclusive of these and other genres of artists.
    Thank you.

  (1615)  

    Thank you.
    I'm going to ask that our questions be short and concise, and that some of the answers be concise. I know some of the questions that will be asked will probably be directed to more than one respondent. If you can, every now and again look at me, the chair. When I hold my pen up, we're getting close.
    I hate cutting people off in the middle of something, but let's try to stay as close to the five minutes of questions and answers as we can.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Scott.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    First of all, thanks to everybody. I think the members of the committee will agree with me that this is probably the richest panel we've had to date as far as the various views go. We've had a tendency to see pretty much consensus to this point, and I don't think it'll exist here today.
    On the question of the role of the committee, I think reference was made to the fact that we're in a very tricky place. I think it is appropriate for the committee to speak on behalf of the people who see us as their access in some ways, only to express an opinion, only to say this is what we're getting, this is what we think. I don't think that's inappropriate. We're not trying to tell the CBC how to program and do those things.
    I think perhaps we would be redundant if the number of witnesses who appeared said they didn't have access in advance of the decision, and that might have meant there would be less need for us to express that interest. So I think it's important. I don't think anybody here wants to get into the very awful place that would be represented by politicians and governments telling a national broadcaster what to do, how to behave, what to think, what to show.
    Everyone's passion is obvious. The idea that we have to choose seems to me to be the bigger problem. We're talking about one or the other, when I think we really would like to see a richness of all of it. When we talked to the CBC about the possibility of Radio 3, they spoke to us about the lack of availability of bandwidth to do that. I don't understand the technicalities of that, but I'd like to know if that is something worth pursuing, to your minds, so that this becomes less of a pushing aside--I think somebody used that reference--or a standing aside and letting others on to have the same access. Is that a possible resolution?
    Finally, the committee has produced a report recommending significant increases to the funding for the CBC. If this is a resources issue, how would you feel about us recommending that any decision be held until we find out how the government responds? The government is due to respond on June 28. It strikes me that if in their response to that report they accept that they need to do the seven-year memorandum...at the very least, before large decisions are made within the present environment, they should wait to see what the new environment might look like.
    I leave that open for members to answer.

  (1620)  

    I'll speak to Radio 3, because I don't know a lot about the technicalities, but I believe even in previous hearings we've heard that radio in the U.K.--BBC--which is a reasonable model to look at, has maybe five channels. I assume it has more budget from the government, and I also understand that it has an extremely impressive market share. I think that is a model that could be looked at. Certainly if there were just more money in general, that would obviously help everybody's concerns about what CBC might or might not do, including with regard to Radio 2.
    My guess is that if there were enough money, perhaps some of the bandwidth issues could be resolved. I'm not sure, if the next time bandwidths come open and the CRTC has hearings, that the CBC couldn't work towards getting a full national Radio 3, but that's beyond my understanding.
    Mr. Scott, I didn't get around to talking about Radio 3. I'm glad you mentioned it. A lot of work was done on this over the years, including by the late great CBC person, Karen Keiser, who I was privileged to know. My understanding--and I may be wrong on this--is that frequencies were set aside and available but basically dissipated through mismanagement at CBC. They didn't proceed when they could have proceeded with Radio 3. Radio 3 was a great idea and would have accomplished a lot of what we've heard today, all of which is good stuff, in my view. It should all be done, but not on Radio 2, as we've heard.
    We have five channels in England. We were hoping to have three in Canada. So what is talked about today should be done on Radio 3, in my view, and if management blew it by not taking advantage of the work and the opportunities that were there before, they shouldn't be allowed to trash or ruin or dumb down or purge Radio 2 to make up for that mistake. We'll have to do it in some other way. Maybe the audience they're trying to get will gravitate towards web radio and podcasting, but the audience that CBC has promised to satisfy for the last 70 years will not. As of the last time I checked, I can't get Internet in my car, and it's going to be a long time before that happens. So we won't be able to get web radio in the car.
    There are a couple other points that you mentioned, Mr.--
     I have to cut you off there. We're over time.
    But I'll ask Mr. Hornsby if he would like to respond.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Just briefly, I would support at least a re-looking at the possibility of a Radio 3. I don't think anybody around the table, even with our differing viewpoints, has said there's a lack of culture in Canada. I think the problem is how we get it all out there. If we need more bandwidth to do it, let's look at it. Let's look intelligently at our listening patterns and where listening patterns are going to find the appropriate mechanism to deliver that. Maybe it's through CBC and maybe it's not, but let's have that discussion at least.
    With respect to the other point on the funding issues and so on, I would support what Mr. Scott is saying. If this is a re-looking at it, then let's ask them how they can address some of these issues and see if there is a possibility of moving in that direction.
    For the last response, Mr. Kulawick.
    I think there is no available bandwidth for another frequency of any power, on any place within the FM spectrum, to have a national broadcaster. There are the number of signals along the border from U.S. stations, and there is the agreement between Canada and the U.S. in terms of not interfering with each other's signals. Whenever there is an opportunity for a new signal, it's generally not in any of the existing major urban markets. They're in smaller markets, where there is no distortion possibilities on crossing the signals.
     I don't believe that CBC would have mismanaged that; I think it's technically impossible to create another broadcaster across Canada.

  (1625)  

    Thank you.
    Mr. Malo, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    For those among you who have concerns about the precariousness of artists' living conditions--and I think you mentioned it, Mr. Kulawick--I specify, if you don't know it yet, that the committee agreed to make a study precisely on this subject. We should begin our hearings in September, when the House returns. I invite you to come back at that time to examine this situation with us.
    I would like to continue in the same vein as Mr. Scott. As a matter of fact, I think it is important--and several of us mentioned it--to try to find a way to offer those musical genres an equal and interesting part of the public waves. It is important to look at this issue while realizing however that Parliament cannot interfere with the day-to-day management of CBC.
    I would like you to continue to think aloud with us in order to determine what can be done. We talked about bandwidth, about new frequencies which could be added. It is not necessarily possible but there might be a means to include in the MOU--and Mr. Scott alluded to this--some elements which could lead to a better sharing of public waves.
    I would like to hear your comments, but also other proposals which seem of interest to you.

[English]

    Thank you. I can maybe weigh in on one comment I made during my initial presentation.
    I teach a music and technology class every year at the University of New Brunswick. I have made a point of polling students each year since I started that course about 15 years ago as to how they consume music.
    As I mentioned, and I don't think anybody here would disagree, the patterns are changing. Radio, increasingly so, is not where young people are tending to go, whether it's classical music or other music. It doesn't matter about the genre; it's just where they're going. And then there's the downloading, which is a whole other topic.
    I really think the CBC should look into the relationship between its radio stations and what could be the offerings over the Internet, to properly target the audiences they're hoping to gain by these new changes, but also to ensure they don't lose the audiences that have depended on strong programming in other areas over time.
     Mr. Menzies, and then Mr. Knopf.
    I'd just reiterate that I think that's one of the great things, and I know Ms. Whyte also commented on it specifically. Canada Live is one of the initiatives that has already been changed on Radio 2. It does bite into a significant amount of evening programming that was classical, so there's a direct conflict there. But it's not broadcasting just non-classical; they're out recording all sorts of music, including classical, classical hybrids, and every other genre you can think of.
     One thing's for sure. I think it would be a great loss at this point to turn away from those kinds of initiatives. That's one of the best things they've done. It's not a specific one-hour show in a format that may or may not have the support or may or may not find an audience. They've had the good sense, I think—and it's certainly the thing I'm most strongly in favour of about what's gone on so far—to open what is a pretty prime-time radio slot to everybody, more or less. You just have to get through. It's down to the same thing the music business is always about, which is achieving a certain level of accomplishment and notoriety and hardworking aesthetic and being recognized by the gatekeepers, who will then go, “It's time to record you.” This also brings an extremely big benefit for the artists I work with--and around the hardships of succeeding in an artistic life--when CBC decides to record a concert.
    Another example that's happening for me is a band called eccodek, out of Guelph, which is playing at the Vancouver jazz festival this summer. They are on a very precarious budget out on a western tour, and CBC has come in and said, “We would like to record this”—it's actually Espace Musique on Radio-Canada that's recording it—and that's allowing everybody to go home with $50 in their pocket and making the whole thing survive as a tour. And on top of that, you get all the exposure that comes out of that to the audience that CBC Radio 2 delivers to.

  (1630)  

    Thank you.
    Make it very short, Mr. Knopf, if you could, please.
    I'm glad the committee's going to look at the living conditions of artists, but we have to be realistic here. Some artists will just never make a living, some will become enormously rich and live in castles in Switzerland, and there's not much the system can do to even that out. I don't think we would want to try. That's the way they used to do things in Russia. We don't want to do that here.
    A lot of the best-known serious music composers in Canada whom you would all know about earn less than $10,000 a year from copyright royalties. I know that; I work in this system. A lot of them earn less than $100 a year from copyright royalties. Getting played a few more times on CBC is not going to make a difference for those people. It's totally unrealistic to think that you can make a whole bunch of careers happen by opening up Radio 2 to everybody who says they want to be a songwriter or the next “Idol”. I think you have to be very realistic about what Radio 2 can do and what it can't do.
    What we do know is that the serious music establishment has depended on it for decades and will be lost without it, whereas the rest of the things we've been hearing about are doing really well. You know, it's a more than $1-billion-a-year industry.
    Okay. Thank you.
    For the last comment on this, I saw Mr. Flohil being quite energetic to get into the debate.
    I couldn't disagree with the previous speaker more. What is happening as a result of technology, and what will happen as a result of greater CBC play of a greater variety of music, is that there will be more artists, composers, and songwriters making a living—not fewer. The CBC plays a role in advancing a variety of careers.
    My friend here suspects that what is going to happen is that we're going to get more Avril and more Shania and more Céline on CBC, who are all readily available on commercial radio. This is not the point. What CBC Radio 2 will hopefully do with a wider mandate to play a wider variety of music is spread the wealth around. Whether or not it's going to get a younger audience, I don't know. I think older people, frankly, give them the credit for having a far wider taste in music than my friend here suggests.
    Thank you.
    There's one more intervention.
    Ms. Pierre.
    There's one thing we're not looking at, which is that society is changing. With society changing the way it is, particularly in Ontario, you can't afford not to address the music of all those genres that are outside normal classical music.
    As I said, I grew up playing piano until I was in my teens. I listened to classical music every single Sunday morning, whether it was radio or whether it was my own CD, but you have to address what is happening in society in general, and if Radio 2 could give airtime to those performers, that's what we're looking for, particularly the opera.
    As I say, I'm an arts person, and in all these years that I've lived here and been in the arts, the opera company never came to me to get me to come to the opera. I would go because I will go to something I'm interested in--because I'm a theatre person, and I've always been. What has been happening to them over the last two years is that the audience they have is dying. They're losing people, because it was an older audience that kept going to the opera, and they no longer can even come to the opera; they are in homes.
    What are they doing? They're trying to reach out to our community to come to the opera. It's going to happen in every other place; it's going to happen everywhere. So if we don't address that by having programming for people to hear their own music being played, we're going to end up with a lot more trouble down the road.
    Thank you.
    Go ahead, Mr. Siksay.
    Thank you, Chair, and I want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony--even Mr. Kulawick, who thought I might not like his presentation. It's all very helpful, and I think everybody has raised issues we have to struggle with.
    I wanted to go back to Mr. Hornsby because he talked about repositioning the CBC Radio Orchestra. I wonder if you could expand a little bit on what you mean by “repositioning” the orchestra.

  (1635)  

    Sure, I can try. I think it's a much broader discussion than what I might be able to offer. I might have a couple of ideas, though.
    As I mentioned, radio orchestras in other countries--I mentioned Japan and a number of European countries--have become, and have been for many decades, flagships for their particular places. Again, they're not the only institutions doing what they're doing, but they are flagships with a specific mandate to speak to their people and to their particular composers. As a result, Polish orchestras are not always playing German composers; they're actually featuring their particular people and their particular artists as well. They then become, to some extent, a bit of a mouthpiece for that genre of music to the world as well.
    I think we don't really have that now, and I would contend that in the way the current CBC Radio Orchestra has been functioning there are elements of that, which are very good, but I would challenge the CBC itself to see how it could actually revitalize that and make it into more of a flagship than it really is.
    It strikes me that commercial radio is part of the problem. It seems to me that commercial radio occupies a significant bandwidth in Canada. It seems as though nobody from the other genres or even from classical music is getting the airplay on commercial radio that might be helpful.
    Is commercial radio a problem? Should we be discussing commercial radio and its commitment to these other genres, rather than saying the CBC, the public broadcaster, should be doing it, and trying to solve all these problems through the CBC?
    To the extent that Canadian content regulations already exist, they do, I think, fail miserably to achieve a lot of the things that Canadian content regulations maybe should be trying to achieve. Without bringing in entirely new layers of bureaucracy and jurisdiction and so on, I think it's never a bad idea to look at those regulations, how they're policed, and how you can fulfill them, because the problem seems to be now that you get to play the same Canadian song over and over again to get there, if that's how you want to get there.
    I think that would be perhaps a relatively possible and available avenue to go down to try to help commercial radio. I'm not sure it's possible to make any other kind of change, but that could be helpful for sure.
    Next we have Mr. Hornsby, then Mr. Knopf, and then Mr. Flohil.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Siksay, I actually support Ian here. I think we have in our Canadian commercial industry, because of the regulations that did come in the late 60s and early 70s to create the music industry, the names that have been thrown around this table that you know today. It was dismal before that--absolutely dismal, non-existent.
    I would seriously also support, maybe, another look to see how we could actually try...it's not regulations; it's actually to sort of help those commercial stations create more opportunities for Canadian talent that could be in these broader areas. We're getting stuck again in pigeonholing types of music. I really think that's terrible territory to get into. We should be embracing all of this, a lot of them, whether we talk about folk musicians, of which I have tons around me in New Brunswick, and a lot of others, and the type of ethnic mix we have in New Brunswick, which is hugely different from what's in Toronto or Vancouver. I want to see that reflected. I don't get that.
    In terms of CBC coming to my province, I don't have CBC recording facilities in my province. I have to convince them to come from Halifax. And they're not coming this year. You won't hear a classical musician from New Brunswick recorded on the airwaves this whole fiscal year.
    I think the commercial radio stations might have a place in which we can actually start to bolster the Canadian content, frankly.
    Mr. Knopf, and then Mr. Flohil.
    On the orchestra question, Mr. Siksay, a lot of people now are too young to know how much we've lost in the last 40 or 50 years. The recent appointment of Chris Boyce, who is the director of programming at CBC, which got a lot of publicity, is apparently a very brilliant young fellow. He's 36 years old. He was born several years after Igor Stravinsky recorded the symphony of songs with the CBC orchestra in 1963. This is one of the great recordings of the 20th century by the greatest musician—excuse me, Mr. Flohil—of the 20th century. I don't think anybody would seriously dispute that, except you.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Howard Knopf: In all seriousness, this was a legendary moment for Canada--a legendary moment. That recording brings tears to my eyes when I hear it, it's so beautiful.
    What happened? The next year, the CBC chopped that orchestra. That's Canada for you. Now, the little surviving remnant we have of that tradition is about to be chopped. Meanwhile, over in Europe, the BBC has five orchestras and a choir, I believe. France and Germany have, I believe, multiple radio orchestras of the highest calibre. We can't even seem to afford one. And as I pointed out, we're going to blow more money in increased copyright royalties than we're going to save by cutting that orchestra, not to mention other greater expenses.
    We can't roll back the clock to 1963 and we can't reincarnate Igor Stravinsky, but we don't have to totally bury that tradition.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Flohil, then Mr. Kulawick.
    Commercial radio's use of music is to do two things: one is to define its proposed audience that it wants to sell to advertisers; and second, commercial radio uses music to keep the commercials from banging into each other. That said, as I said earlier, and as others have mentioned, there are hundreds of artists who get no airplay and yet are artists of quality, composers and writers of quality.
    I'm really sorry the classical music community is having its sandbox interfered with. The fact is, they've got to share the wealth. That is part of this.
    Mr. Knopf has just mentioned another thing about which I took issue with him on an industry website, that somehow the increased royalties the CBC will have to pay to SOCAN will eat up all the savings. I believe this is nonsense, frankly. CBC's payments to SOCAN are based on a tariff, which in turn is based on the population of Canada. They may down the line, if indeed a wider range of music is being performed, renegotiate that deal. They're welcome to do that through the Copyright Board. Whether that will happen or not, I don't know. But at the moment, there would be no increase.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Kulawick, for the conclusion of this answer.
     Just to address the last comment Richard was making, if there were an increased tariff, it would find its way into the hands of the songwriters, and that's not a bad thing, because creators of folk songs are just as worthy as composers of classical music, in my view.
    The other thing I wanted to bring up is that there seems to be an issue here about what is good for the classical musical listener or what is good for the classical music composer and musician. The problem with the changes to the CBC is from some of the classical music musicians. My feeling is that the change to the CBC may actually have a net benefit, the reason being that very few Canadians are being introduced to classical music if it's not introduced to them in a forum that they wouldn't otherwise go to automatically. Right now you have no young people and no people from various ethnic backgrounds going to CBC Radio 2, because it has not given them any reason to go there.
    If the CBC Radio 2 format is more diverse, including classical music, but with other genres reflecting more of Canadian society, you might find that the new Canadian from the Caribbean would be listening to a show that they absolutely love that connects with them personally, and then the classical music show comes on because they left it on the dial, and they hear Tchaikovsky for the first time performed by a Canadian. There is a potential new classical music fan who will buy a ticket, who may buy a CD by a Canadian classical composer. So this actually, in my view, has the potential of expanding the audience, drilling it younger, for classical music. This would be a great benefit to the classical musicians that I know and work with. They love seeing younger people attend their shows and discovering their music.

  (1645)  

    Thank you.
    I'll now move to Mr. Chong.
    How much time do I have?
    We were supposed to have five minutes, but I'm going to give you a little bit longer because of some of the questions and answers. In this round I'm giving you an extra couple of minutes.
    I'm not going to make any normative claims about what kinds of music are good or not. I'll leave that for other people to debate.
    I do think what we have here is less than an ideal situation, because we're playing one musical community off the other. My view has been that the best way forward would have been for CBC to have established a third FM station, both in English and in French, to highlight other genres. If the space doesn't exist, these airwaves are publicly owned. Broadcasters receive a licence to borrow the airwaves to broadcast, and my view is that if we're going to be a community of 33 million people, then we surely can get a third radio station on the air that's a public broadcaster.
    That being said, the other problem we face is that we don't have ubiquitous coverage of the existing radio stations across the country. In many parts of the country you can't get CBC Radio 2. You can't get Première Chaîne or Espace Musique across many parts of the country outside of Quebec. That is the other part of the problem. We are not even providing full coverage for the radio stations we do have.
    I keep bringing this up at every committee when we talk about radio, because it puts us to shame. There are countries and states like the United Kingdom where they have five stations and they have over 50% market share. This is what we should look to in terms of where the future of CBC radio should go.
    My question for you is whether or not the changes that have been put in place at Radio 2 will in fact increase the market share of this station. Presently it is around 3% or 4% market share. I'm wondering whether or not you feel those changes will increase the market share. If you feel they won't increase the market share, what do you propose CBC management do in order to increase that market share?
     Mr. Flohil.
     I am not sure the CBC management sees increasing market share as an end result to be hoped for. I think the changes that are proposed will increase market share. I have no question about that, but that is not really the issue.
    We have raised the example of the U.K. with five radio channels, orchestras, and choral groups, and that's fine. Public radio in the U.K. is financed in an entirely different way from how it is in this country. Successive governments in this country have refused to give long-term financial guarantees to the CBC, therefore making it almost impossible for them to do long-term planning.
    The budget comes down and it's x for the CBC. Next year it may be more or it may be less. Usually, historically, it seems to have been less. Guaranteed financial commitment to public radio in Canada is really, I think, the issue that matters here, if I may say so.
    Mr. Menzies, and then Ms. Whyte.
    I definitely support my colleague's last comments on that topic. If I knew for sure that new programming initiatives by CBC Radio 2 were going to draw a bigger market share, I'd be managing much more successful artists, I suppose. Predicting these kinds of things is a difficult business.
    In my estimation, it is actually not much different from figuring out whether this artist will succeed and draw a big crowd of fans around themselves and have a long career and the next artist might not. To that extent, as Mr. Knopf suggested, some of the classical personalities are being lost in the shuffle, and I think that is a shame.
    Again, if we look at BBC radio, their big shows, the Charlie Gilletts, the Andy Kershaws, and so on, are on the roster of stars basically running their radio shows. They have Peter Mansbridges at every significant show, or they do a lot of that.
    I think programming thematic shows, even if there is a wide theme within the show, is one way they might be able to build their market share with these changes they're making.
    Something that has not come up yet on this panel, which I'll quickly mention to you, and which is I think an impressive model, is CKUA. I moved to Alberta three years ago, although I was born there too. It has been going for 85 years non-stop. It is, at this point, entirely publicly funded by donation and pledge. The have some thematic shows, but their prime-time run from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day is eclectic. The programming is never predictable. It's all over the map. There are parameters. There are certain things you don't hear, but what they drive it on is the hosts. The hosts are there for the morning show, the afternoon drive, this and that. It's not about, “I play blues; I play folk; I play this.” It's about “This is me as a host, and my opinion today about what I'm going to run up against.... I'm going to put opera up against a cappella jazz, followed by Bulgarian folk, and then I'm going to give you Led Zeppelin.” They will just do that in programming blocks. They have a very dedicated listening audience, and I think it is succeeding quite well for what it is.
    So the hosts are an important thing, although I couldn't pick one and say this one will be a hit and that one won't.

  (1650)  

    I'm going to go to Ms. Whyte, but just before that, Mr. Scott brought one thing to my attention. We do not have any more hard copies of our report concerning our public broadcaster and the 21st century. You can pick up that report on our committee website. It is posted there. Some of it is referring to long-term sustainable funding, which is something we've heard as a committee. I have been here for only five years, but I've heard it for five years. I think it went on before that. There are various suggestions that you might find informative, so you could check that.
    I am sorry for the interruption.
    Ms. Whyte, go ahead, please.
     That's all right. I just wanted to respond to the whole Radio 3 issue that's been raised by a couple of members here. I have some concerns about that, only because the way I've heard it talked about is that there's a classical music station and then there's everybody else. I don't really think that solves any problems. I think of CBC Radio 2 and I think of a radio station that's about music, and it's about good music. For us to consider kind of migrating all the other genres into a Radio 3 I don't think gets our communities working well together.
     I'm sorry to see this kind of schism that's happened between the classical music community and everyone else, and I don't think it's just between pop and.... It's everyone. I think the way of the future is really for all these groups to be working together with the CBC in terms of developing the kind of programming that's going to respond to the needs of a very diverse and broad community. Just marginalizing it onto another network I think is a bit of a slippery slope.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Knopf, and then we'll have to—
    Yes, I have a very brief response to Mr. Chong's very important question.
    My guess is that at the rate things are going right now—and they're going to get a whole lot worse on September 1—the CBC is going to lose whatever audience it has now at Radio 2, and it's not going to replace it. I've just heard, to my total dismay, that they're going to cut Stuart Hamilton and the opera quiz, which is really going to get people. You think you've got letters so far? You're going to get a lot more letters when they do that. Why would they do that? I do not know.
    I frankly don't know anybody who listens to Radio 2 any more. I listen to it only to inform myself as to how badly it's going downhill—there's no other reason to listen to it any more. And I listen to it to get the opera on Saturday afternoon. But I know a lot of people my age and younger who simply have turned it off. I rediscovered Radio One, if I can get personal. I enjoy Radio One, and I'm sorry I missed it for all those years. It's really good; it still has many of the old traditions. I wish it still had Lister Sinclair, but we can't reincarnate him either. But it's really good. CBC Radio 2 is just going down the drain.
    Jennifer McGuire, who has moved back to news now but was an important manager there until recently, was quoted as saying in the last few weeks something like this: “Well, we didn't lose as many people as we thought we would initially, but we're going to get them later.” I think she's wrong, and I don't know why the CBC isn't publishing the results. They're a public organization; they should be more transparent. I think they're going to lose whatever they have now.

  (1655)  

    Ms. Pierre, and this is the last for Mr. Chong's question.
    As he said, Radio 2 will lose its audience. The thing is that we are a new audience for Radio 2. Just because of the programming last Christmas, and in Black History Month, when CBC did something on Radio 2 for my community, we sat and listened to Radio 2. I was never really a big Radio 2 person until a couple of years ago. But because of those shows, I have other friends who tune in to Radio 2, and we're hearing other stuff we didn't know existed. It's like you're going to lose one audience, yes, but you're going to gain others.
    Thank you.
    We now go to Mr. Bell, please.
    Thank you for coming. We appreciate this.
    Mr. Siksay asked one of the questions I was going to ask Mr. Hornsby about the rethinking of the role. Mr. Chong's question about the need for Radio 3 was of interest to me as well. What I look at is the need for a critical mass to maintain any one kind of market, if you want to call it that.
    I know in the retail commercial business, restaurants and retailers change their format sometimes because they don't feel they're getting the growth in the market they want. Most retailers look in terms of growth rather than just survival, I think, but it could be survival as well. They are subject to the viability of that particular market, and I think this is where public radio, or CBC in this case, provides an alternative, just as public television provides an area, and it's the sharing of that. It seems to me there also has to be enough time--that's what we're talking about, bandwidth, time, the combination of the two, enough channels on television--to be able to provide the range of the different genres we want to see.
    My concern is that I believe classical music is an encouragement to classical musicians. My experience has been that many of the musicians in the other fields have opportunities through commercial radio, particularly the popular ones.
     I'm concerned about the issue of the market. Are not the baby boomers still the largest chunk? Of all the demographics I see going through in terms of population--I'm not saying of the market but of population--the baby boomers are the biggest bulge, and because baby boomers and their children have had fewer children, we're seeing a mushroom effect, the bulge and then the stem.
    It seems to me that commercial radio is not serving the bulge as well as it did, because when I was part of that bulge, the leading edge was rock and roll, and now I'm interested in classical music, folk again, and some of the other genres. I don't see that being served.
    Does there need to be a critical mass? If you take the time away from Radio 2 that's available now for the CBC Radio Orchestra, for example.... I mentioned at the last meeting that I attended a concert at the Chan Centre, and they were playing pop and semi-pop music in an orchestral sense. It was very stimulating to hear, but it was in a different context. I think we should do what we can. My feeling is to keep that orchestra alive. It has a great tradition, and it's the last of the radio orchestras. Is a critical mass needed to maintain that opportunity?
     Ingrid, you made a comment, and I will quote it: “as long as CBC Radio 2 continues to support classical music as its cornerstone”, I think was the word you used. I'm wondering what the mass is to keep that cornerstone. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. most people are working and students are in school, and I know that younger people are getting their music through iPods, computers, and other forms, while they're studying as well.
    I hope that's clear. I don't know who can answer that directly.

  (1700)  

    That was a very long question.
    No time for answers?
    Almost no time for answers because it almost took four minutes, but I will go a little bit longer. I think it's very important that we get these questions answered.
    Mr. Hornsby, go first, please.
     Thank you. I'll take a first stab at it, at least answering some of it.
    One thing—I guess this is the educator in me speaking—is that the aging audience we talk about is a continually aging audience. One thing about classical music is that it's not something a typical 12-year-old in Canada is probably going to grab on to. But a typical 10- or 12-year-old doesn't like broccoli either. It's an exposure thing, which over a period of time people seem to gravitate towards.
    We're not going to lose these people. They're not just going to die off; they're being replenished continually. It's something that people tend to come to. Even colleagues and friends of mine who are not musicians at all but are in their thirties and forties are starting to go to classical music concerts for the first time, because now is the right time in their life to experience that style of music. It works for them.
    Classical music has been going on for over 1,000 years. It's not a fly-by-night operation; it's going to be there. I'm not sure whether I'm addressing your question quite correctly, but if we ask about critical mass, my belief is, again as an educator, that it's always going to be there. It's mainly because of the way in which, since the middle of the 20th century, so much of our consumption of entertainment and culture has become commercially based that there is now perhaps a smaller percentage of people who are experiencing it.
    It's rather the same argument I think as that about museums, for instance: what the percentage of the population is of those who go to a museum, compared with, if you polled the same total population, how many believe they should have a museum in their community. I believe the latter number would be huge compared with the number of people who actually walked in the door, but they still believe it should be there.
    I also fully appreciate that this applies to classical music as well, but I don't think it's going away. There are no indications. As I said, I just came from teaching 400 kids north of Toronto, from every ethnic group under the sun. They're playing those instruments; they're playing that style of music.
    Just to finish that—because I'm also a jazz musician, and I represent popular musicians as well through the industry association—it's not a partisan comment that I'm making; it's just that I think sometimes classical music is relegated to the old people who are going into the homes, which, as somebody mentioned, is not true.
    Mr. Menzies is next, and then Mr. Knopf.
    Thank you.
    I'm not going to address the critical mass issue about blocks of airtime, but I want to say something that offers at least my opinion about the radio orchestra. I'm not heavily involved in classical music, although I have an appreciation for it, and as I mentioned, some artists have recently done recording work with classical ensembles or string ensembles. I think there could conceivably be a role for a radio orchestra.
    But as I see it, there are still many orchestras, and perhaps the CBC could take some of their initiative in money to bring additional support to other orchestras—the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and so on—allowing more opportunity for them to commission new work that can be recorded and broadcast, the kinds of stuff that I assume was the cornerstone of what the radio orchestra would do.
    I'm not vehemently opposed to the radio orchestra, certainly. It's really a question of what they can do with other existing classical ensembles to help enhance their reality. If the CBC can do that to a multitude of other ensembles or orchestras, then I think that would be a net gain, although I'm glad I'm not the lead violinist for the radio orchestra.
    Thank you for the question.
    I totally agree with what Richard Hornsby said. There is no doubt that we would get more people attending the National Gallery if we were to turn it over to Disney Corporation and fill it full of Mickey Mouse exhibits, but that's not the point. Our taxpayers want to have a national gallery, even though it's full of quality. We don't relegate all European art to the back room between 10 and 3 and fill it full of Disney during the day. We could get more people attending our national parks if we turned the management over to Canada's Wonderland and had McDonald's concessions, but we don't want that.
    I think there will always be a relatively small—I hate to use the word—elite taste for the finer things in the arts and culture. I think it's the CBC's job to deal with that, because that's why they get $1.5 billion a year from the taxpayers. If they're not going to deal with it, then they don't need a subsidy; let them compete with Moses Znaimer and Garth Drabinsky and Canada's Wonderland, and all the other people who do the commercial stuff very well.
    So yes, there is a core, there is a niche, and I don't think we should worry too much about whether it's 3% or 4% or 2.9%. It just has to be done, as long as we're going to have a CBC.

  (1705)  

     I'll move over to Mr. Del Mastro now.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    First of all, we're kind of looking into the CBC Radio 2 decision and the orchestra at the same time. If I could get fairly concise answers, I'd appreciate it, because we don't have a lot of time.
    The first question I'd like to ask is this. In your opinion, is the CBC Radio Orchestra a national institution?
    Absolutely not. Its members are largely employed in other orchestras as well. So there's not a great mass of unemployment, although there would be a loss of income. I think we have many orchestras in this country, some—Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver included—certainly of a standard equal to that of the CBC Radio Orchestra. So I think there is no excuse for keeping that orchestra going at that cost.
    If I may make one point about transparency, I'm told that the weekly audience for CBC's show, Two New Hours, which specialized in electronic or experimental music, was less than 2,000 listeners in a country of 33 million. That's a show that had two hosts, a budget to commission works, a budget to pay performers to play those works, and nobody listening out there. Sorry.
    Anyone else?
    The orchestra is made up of some of the top people in the Vancouver area. Almost every orchestral musician in this country does more than one job. So that doesn't really—
    Is it a national institution?
    It is a national institution, because it is the only radio orchestra we have left. As I mentioned earlier, I believe it should actually be looked at and strengthened.
    I agree with what Mr. Hornsby just said. We have a supposedly national orchestra here in town. Unfortunately, the current conductor doesn't care for music that was written much beyond Mendelssohn and certainly doesn't care for any new Canadian music, but he's a good fiddler. We have to live with that. Maybe one day things will change here and we can have a second national orchestra.
    I do have one more question, and I know the chair is going to cut me off.
    If I can just quickly get in a shot at Mr. Flohil, the Two New Hours show, I understand, had very high ratings by CBC standards, which is not to say—
    My guess would be—and this is totally a guess—that the local philharmonic is probably just as meaningful to most classical music fans as the supposedly national radio orchestra. There's no data on that, but that would be my guess.
    For me, as a rather casual classical fan, I'm paying more attention to the Calgary Philharmonic, the Edmonton Philharmonic, and what's going on near me with classical music. I'm not really invested in the radio orchestra at all.
    I have to agree it's a national treasure.
    I think it's a national institution, but with respect, I would suggest that that's not really the point. I think the money that goes into supporting that orchestra in this day and age is huge. We have many wonderful orchestras right across the country that are struggling for audiences. They deserve to be heard on our national broadcaster.
    I agree wholeheartedly. I think other orchestras are just as viable and play just as great music and are made up of a lot of the same musicians that are in the Vancouver and the CBC Radio Orchestra.
    My point in getting that out is that if it is a national institution, then I think that is why we should collectively rush to save it. If it is an orchestra like other orchestras, then there are other orchestras.
    We're going to put a report together when we're done. I do think this has been a platform. I'm sensitive to things like what Mr. Flohil said. We shouldn't be telling the CBC what to do. What we've done is created a platform for people to come forward and speak. I think we need to determine if it's not a national institution. Outside of Vancouver there are varying views on that. In Vancouver there's one view: it's a national institution.
    Mr. Flohil, CBC Radio 2 has a 3% radio listenership. I agree with something Mr. Knopf said, that we shouldn't just be evaluating it as that, although I do think if we put some roller coasters in some parks there might be more people there, and I might be one of them. I'm kidding.
    What do we do to get more than 3%? An educational tool with a 3% radio listenership, to me, has a challenge. Why are we maintaining this national institution, Radio 2, if we can't get over 3% of radio listenership?

  (1710)  

     My answer is you widen.... Radio One has become an information talk channel, in the main, and as you've remarked, an excellent job is being done. If you widen the musical scope of Radio 2, you have a very serious chance of increasing its market share within three to five years up to at least 6% to 8%, which I think would be viable.
    Does anyone else want to comment?
    I'm going to repeat that you need hosts who.... Look at Radio One. Look at Stuart McLean; look at Shelagh Rogers. I think this is what CBC means to a lot of people.
    Shelagh Rogers can do anything on her show. She can whistle in the wind. She can do anything on that show and more or less maintain her listenership. She does do a very wide number of things, and Stuart McLean.... Somebody else like her needs to come along; people don't last forever.
    I'm sure she deserves to retire, and I hope she enjoys it, but the answer for Radio 2, in my opinion, is host-driven.
    Go ahead, Mr. Hornsby.
    I take a slightly different viewpoint on the eclectic programming idea for creating larger audiences.
    People I talk to...they're typical. When you go out to supper, you don't want to see a menu that says, have the fajitas and then the French rack of lamb and then.... You go to an Italian restaurant or something. A lot of people listening--
    I suppose, but could I just propose one thing to you? To pull it from an artist who was mentioned here tonight, if a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? I think it's important that we give platforms to these artists, but if nobody's listening, isn't that a problem?
    I suppose that would go for everybody around the table, though, because we're not representing popular music anyway. Jazz listening is no bigger than classical listening, and some of the other niche areas are in the same predicament.
    I would still go back to what I said earlier: do we believe those are part of our cultural landscape, and should they be supported alongside popular music, which doesn't necessarily need the support?
    I'm not making an argument; it's only that if we can get the listenership up a bit, then we're exposing more people and bringing more people into the camp.
    Just to finish, again I don't believe the eclectic nature is actually what we're looking for. I think you actually may see the audiences go down as a result of that, because you're fragmenting your audience in ways. People who are interested in listening to classical music don't want to hear Buck 65 as the next cut.
    Okay.
     If anyone else would like to comment, please make it short, because we do have to go in camera. I have to give my staff some direction.
    Go ahead, Mr. Kulawick.
    I'm convinced that the numbers for CBC Radio 2 are going to go way up. They will appeal to a much broader constituency and to more demographics from broad backgrounds. I think you're going to see the numbers double or triple.
     I also think that's why the people who are managing CBC want to do this move: it's because they see it growing their audience and growing their relevancy, and we should let them do it.
    That's my brief comment.

  (1715)  

    Okay.
    Go ahead, Ms. Whyte.
     I would agree. I think the market will change, but it will grow. However, I also think it's really not fair to judge our public broadcaster on the same basis that we would judge a commercial airwave in terms of market share. They have a responsibility to Canadians to reflect our country and bring our communities together.
    I think Canadians are listening and that it will grow.
    Okay.
    With that, I have to say we don't have time for another round. I thank you very much for your candid answers today and for coming and being great witnesses.
    We'll just recess for a couple of minutes, please.
    [Proceedings continue in camera]