I for one, am lost without CBC radio. With the lockout dragging on, there is talk, mostly on competing stations, of listeners permanently switching their knobs to other stations. But in the workers' absence, the need for Canadians to have a public broadcaster becomes even more apparent.
The CBC's commitment to remain in the public's hands and to tell stories that are uniquely Canadian unites our country that constantly struggles to find an identity. Its broadcasters provide in-depth, intelligent coverage of Canadian issues. As well, it tells the stories of First Nations people in their own words. And life in rural Canada isn't ignored. Keeping people interested in radio, with all the other competing advanced technologies out there, is difficult, but the CBC does it by painting pictures through sound. It can take me from my out-of-the-way cabin in Pender Harbour to a struggling farmer's piece of land in the Prairies or to a fisherman's boat in the Maritimes. And even if I never see those places, I'll have felt like I've been there from hearing people's voices and descriptions. Most of us probably know at least one person who has had their little kitchen radio tuned to the CBC all day, year after year. Even if CBC listeners aren't the majority, they definitely have been loyal. And then there's TV. It produces in-depth documentaries telling the whole story behind the sound bites on the six o'clock news. Plus, in the true Canadian tradition of gently poking fun at our neighbours to the south, it broadcasts The Simpsons.
But the story that stands out to me in the CBC's history was its coverage of a Canadian woman's campaign to free her son from prison for a murder he didn't commit. If the CBC hadn't allowed her voice to be heard across the country, putting pressure on authorities to review the case, David Milgaard might still be behind bars. His release then paved the way for future wrongful conviction cases. Back in a 1999 news release, former CBC president and CEO Perrin Beatty reaffirmed its mandate and promise to Canadians: "Our programming will be Canadian, distinctive and of high quality, and will embody the principles of public service broadcasting. It will reflect the regions of Canada to themselves and to the country as a whole, telling Canadian stories, celebrating Canadian talent and expressing Canadian values and realities."
The CBC has kept its promise to stay loyal to the people, so let's stay loyal to the CBC. Hopefully the lockout will end soon to the workers' satisfaction. Because, as we've seen with stories based out of Toronto and the United Kingdom and football games without commentary, without the employees, there would be no CBC.