November 2, 2011 marked the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 75th birthday, and because of that, Canada’s national public radio and television broadcaster (the CBC) is the subject of my latest ‘Inspired by’ blog post — specifically, CBC Radio. I do watch CBC TV (for news or hockey), but otherwise, I get my CBC fix on the radio. Anyone who knows me well knows that I listen to CBC Radio often… I’d say at least once a day (usually more). I’ve grown up with it… our family didn’t have a television, so if anything was on in the house, it was the radio.
Other than the grain markets which our family caught twice a day on another radio station (us kids were not allowed to speak for those five minutes – no disruptions allowed!), we were CBC people and the shows that I remember most growing up were Sounds Like Canada and As It Happens. After September 11, 2001, I remember turning to The Current to help me make sense of things. Our alarm clock is tuned to wake us up with Information Radio. We drive to work with Radio 2 Morning… during the work week, if I end up in my car during the day, I catch Tempo or Radio 2 Shift. And on the way home, Radio 2 Drive accompanies us. My favorite programs are probably Vinyl Tap with Randy Bachman and Q with Jian Ghomeshi, but I also quite like The Debators, Definitely Not the Opera, Spark, Ideas, Tapestry and the Vinyl Cafe (all for entirely different reasons).
I once got a story on a CBC Radio 1 show that used to play from 1-3 in the afternoons on weekdays. It is driving me crazy that I can’t remember the name of it, but basically it consisted of listeners calling or writing in with their stories, which were organized by daily themes. One day, they were asking for stories based on a train theme, and I wrote this one in (I’m paraphrasing as I can’t remember the exact wording now). The host played it, and followed it up with the Weakerthans Trains of Winnipeg song.
My husband and I were riding our bikes on a trail that runs between the Red River and one of the many train tracks running through Winnipeg. For the most part we were riding beside each other, but at one point, I decided to bike faster… racing ahead to beat him. Once I got far enough, I stood up in my pedals and shook my bum at him. To my embarrassment, I suddenly heard a loud TOOOOOOT! TOOT! from a train going by just above us. We laughed pretty hard as we continued biking along.
Between CBC Radio 1, 2 & 3 (which I haven’t even fully explored), there are so many programming options to choose from, and such a wide variety of subject matter, with a good mix of either talk or music (all without commercials!!!) that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored. From my perspective, it is most definitely one of my favorite sources of entertainment, along with watching HBO and getting out to eat, drink tea, dance and listen to live music. The CBC has made me laugh, cry, think, explore, share stories, discover new artists and learn. And probably more than anything else, the CBC has so often made me feel an immense sense of Canadian pride.
For all these reasons, it upsets me that there is near-constant underlying dialogue threatening to kill our national public radio. So, if you haven’t already heard it, I’d encourage you to listen to Jian Ghomeshi’s Q Opening Essay on the CBC’s 75th (he says it so much better then I ever could), and if the CBC is important to you, please sign the Friends of the CBC petition.
Funny… the friends and family that I tend to identify with most? All CBC listeners.