Wednesday, September 07, 2005

CBC yes, Promo Girl no

"Well, Promo Girl has got to go. So does that smug, superior jerk who does The Voice." I frequently disagree with Margaret Wente's political analyses, but her column on the CBC lockout in The Globe and Mail on September 1 was right on the money. Yes, I too cannot stand the excruciatingly irritating and omnipresent Promo Girl. (The Voice is insufferable, but at least you knew when he was coming on and could turn the volume down for a minute. Promo Girl popped up without warning, and made me want to throw the radio at the wall.) But ill-advised attempts to make the CBC appeal to a younger audience were not the gist of Wente's column. Her main point was that, despite its shortcomings, the CBC is head and shoulders above other broadcasters in this country, and it's a dedicatedly Canadian voice.
CBC-bashers argue that its ratings are so low it doesn't deserve all that taxpayer support. CBC Radio gets only about 10 per cent or 12 per cent of the English-language radio audience. On TV, Canadian Idol is way more popular than Peter Mansbridge. But so what? Mass always outdraws class.

The CBC is pitched to people with a flicker of interest in the world and an IQ above room temperature, which automatically excludes a good half the population. It's supposed to be specialty programming. It specializes in Canada. No private broadcaster will ever do that. As for ratings -- well, if you want to find out where the hustle for ratings leads, just check out CNN. In between natural disasters, CNN is runaway brides from end to end.
After the (real) CBC is back, and Promo Girl is gone (I hope), maybe we can persuade The Globe and Mail to let us vote one of its columnists off the paper. I know which one I'd vote to boot, and it wouldn't be Margaret Wente. The one I'm thinking of is the Self-Promo Girl.

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