Friday, March 27, 2009

CUTS TO CBC

In an efert to deal with financial challenges, Cbc has announced the following cuts. To read the whole press release, click the link above.

-   Planned reductions in prime time entertainment, variety and factual entertainment programming, including the number of episodes of programs such as The Border, Being Erica, Little Mosque on the         Prairie and others; Fewer episodes of the comedies and dramas that have helped make them so popular. That's smart.
-   Discontinuation of the daytime Living programs; A girl I knew in college hosts Living Newfoundland. Now she'll probably be out of a job. I'm going to kick your butts.
-   Reduction of spending on children's television programs; They all suck anyway.
-   Reduction or elimination of some sports programming, including international figure skating, skiing, world aquatics, world athletics and some soccer
programs; Reduction of sports just before you want to put an amateur sports channel on the air: also a smart move. Otherwise, I don't mind because nobody watches those.
-   Reduction of staff at current affairs and consumer affairs programs the Fifth Estate and Marketplace; Besides, who watches those now that their on Friday?
-   CBC News overall will see a reduction of approximately $7 million and 80 positions; Good plan. A reduction in the news coverage which has also been an integral part of making you so popular.
-   (Recently announced) cancellation of daytime program Fashion File and hiatus of Steven and Chris); Faggots.
-   On CBC Radio, discontinuation of network programs The Point, Out Front, The Inside Track, In the Key of Charles and the weekend edition of The Signal; For the most part, shows no one listens to anyway.
-   Reduction to one-hour of regional radio noontime programs; "We will maintain our commitment to the regions but we're cutting regional programming."
-   Reduction of live music recordings and radio drama; There is barely any radio drama on there now.
-   Closure of one-person bureaus in La Ronge, SK, and Thompson, MB;
-   Reduced staffing in: Windsor, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Quebec City, Moncton, Saint John, Sydney, Corner Brook, Labrador, Gander and Grand Falls, NL; See above.
-   Reductions in staffing Whatever that means.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1050 CHUM NOW CP24 RADIO

Today 1050 Chum Toronto became CP24 radio.

Ah, there's nothing like giving up. In 2001 Chum flipped to The Team. In September 2002 they flipped back to oldies and have been dead last in the ratings ever since.

"We'll relay CP24 in hopes we'll get a little bit better ratings."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SOLUTIONS FOR TRADITIONAL MEDIA

These are dark times for radio and television, what with consolidation, dwindling audiences and the explosion of new media. In times like these, there is only one thing to do: have someone like me propose solutions.

For Television: Recently on The Teamakers Blog, it was suggested that Cbc be made like the Bbc, that is with a Cbc-tv1, Cbc-tv2, Cbc-tv3, etc. I'm modifying the following a bit, but this was more or less what the blogger was driving at.

Cbc-tv1 would be what the main network is now, the mainstream network. Cbc-tv2 would be what Newsworld is now (I am listing them in the order these channels came on the air or were acquired by Cbc) and would focus on news and current affairs. Cbc-tv3 would be what Bold is now. This would be the elitist (for lack of a better word) channel, with edgy drama, operas, ballets, and that sort of thing. Cbc-tv4 would be what Documentary is now and would broadcast documentaries. Cbc-tv5 would be the new amateur sports channel they want to put on the air.

That was what the blogger on The Teamakers Blog proposed. I propose we do the same thing with the private networks. Shut down most of the specialty channels owned by each network and combine them.

For example, you would have Ctv1, which would be the mainstream network. Ctv2 would be what Ctv Newsnet (or whatever it's called) is now and would focus on news and current affairs. Ctv3 would combine The Travel Channel and the Discovery channels or whatever it is Ctv owns now and would focus on informational programming. Ctv4 would combine Razor, Mtv, Star, Fashion Television and other channels and would focus on entertainment and leisure.

Instead of having a whole bunch of channels with small audiences and only a few good shows, you combine the best of channels owned by the same company with similar categories and number them one through whatever.

I propose a similar strategy for radio. You force the media companies to shut down all the stations in their market except one. Then you have them put the highest rated programming from each of their stations in a given market on the one station at times when it will get the highest ratings.

For example, in Toronto Rogers owns The Fan 590, 680 News, Jack Fm, and Chfi. Under my new proposal, Rogers would have one station in Toronto with a block of air-time devoted to news, a shift with an announcer playing rock, a shift with an announcer playing soft AC, and the highest-rated sports that the fan had. Any special programming that stations had would also be put on this new station.

Some will say this is a highly unworkable solution. I ask why? The highest-rated programming at the best times on the best frequency!

You say, "But Alex, people's tastes change and you want us to be stuck with programming that could be out of date in ten years." Stations would not be stuck with programming nobody liked . This doesn't prevent stations replacing programming with something else. If rock isn't working out for you in a time-slot, fill it with a format you don't already have. This is merely a way to eliminate boring, repetitive radio stations with dwindling audiences.

Also, this proposal would not prevent companies new to the market from putting stations with one type of programming on the air in the future.

Cbc, campus, community, and niche stations would be exempted.

Inevitably, there would be scheduling conflicts, but I think this solution is worth implementing, despite the problems involved in making it happen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

WHY THE BIBLE IS TRUE

For people who say the Bible is not true, it really comes down to this: you ither have to believe it was just thought up by men, or you have to believe it was really inspired by God and that everything in the Bible really happened.

Here are some reasons to believe the Bible is true:

1. Its superior scientific knowledge. The book of Isaiah talks about God looking at “the circle of the earth.” 2700 years ago, how could they have known the earth was round?

The book of Leviticus talks a lot about washing hands. Even two hundred years ago, the medical establishment didn’t know about the importance of handwashing. Many people died of diseases because of this.

2. Its historical and archeological knowledge. Historians use the Bible as a guide. Evidence for every event that took place in the Bible has been found.

3. Fulfilled prophecy. In the Old Testament prophecies, it talks about the destruction of Tyre and Babylon. Historical writings support that those events happened exactly as the Bible records them.

4. Its uniformity. The Bible was written by forty different authors over a period of 1500 years and it tells one main story throughout. Man falls (Genesis) he must make sacrifices in order to have his sins forgiven (Leviticus) God promises to send a saviour, (Isaiah) that Saviour appears on Earth, sacrifices himself on a cross and rises from the dead three days later (Mathew, Mark, Luke, John) people start to tell other people about his death and resurrection (Acts) and finally, we get a detailed picture of his return when he is going to put an end to sin forever (revelation.) Call up forty authors and ask them each to write a chapter of a story about anything. What are the chances that they would all come up with the same story and that their chapters would all fit together perfectly?

5. Its ability to change lives and groups of people. Many people’s lives have been changed by the Bible, including those who were once alcoholics, prostitutes, homosexuals, and horribly depressed. Missionaries have brought the Gospel to primitive tribes whose only answer to most problems was to kill someone. Those tribes have changed their violent ways.

6. Its indestructibility. For the past 2000 years men have tried to burn it, ban it, destroy every copy, and distort it, but they have been unsuccessful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

INDIA REBORN

Cbc Television, Sunday March 15 and 22, 8:00 p.m.

A spectacular, informative documentary.

India Reborn explores modern India. It is a large, populous country that is going through monumental changes. To paraphrase a line in the film, "What factories are to China, office towers are to India."

India Reborn is narrated by the guy who played Judge Fraser on This IS Wonderland.

The first hour talked about urban development and social changes. It featured a group of members of the lower caste marching to Delhi to demand their rights. To me, the fact that people would even dare to shake off the shackles of this horrible system is monumental in itself. I don't know how successfull they'll be, though. India's hindu traditions are pretty rigid.

The second hour focused on the entertainment industry. It talked about people flocking to Bollywood. It also talked about how Bollywood and Hollywood are colaborating on some productions. This has led some people to worry that Bollywood will become Americanized. I don't think this will happen. Indians like their movies.

The documentary profiled this radio announcer in Bombay who has become really popular. His salary has grown ten times in the past three years. Gee, how can I get a radio gig in India?

The Indian television industry was also talked about. In ten years India's television broadcasting system has grown from one state-run channel to 300 channels. The programs are starting to be more explicit than what Indians are used to in their entertainment. I don't think this is a good thing. Sure, it's not good to not even allow couples to kiss in a film, but Indian movies and television shouldn't descend to the soft-core porn level that so much of television has sunk to over here.

Catch the second part of India Reborn this Sunday at 8:00 on Cbc.

FACEBOOK OF REVELATIONS

Empire Theatre, Belleville, Thursday March 19

This revue was excellent.

From the tradition that brought us Sctv comes this show in the time-honoured form of Second City shows that produce hilarious sketches, satirize current trends and, I daresay leave you a different person after the show for having seen it.

Facebook Of Revelations featured sketches about a cheesy cable-access show which, like Sctv, had the look and feel of a cheesy cable-access show hosted by a high-energy idiot with a boring guest.

This show also spoofed current trends, with sketches about GPS units on cars, politics and yes, a sketch which talked about the internet.

The writing was top-notch. During a sketch about a brother from the streets interviewing a proper, English dog breeder, there was nothing to give away that the two characters didn't know each was talking about different things. The parts were played straight and the audience got it.

The performances were also tops. As mentioned earlier, the sketches had the look and feel of the situations they were portraying.

If you've never been to a Second City show, you should really go to one. For information, click the link above.

Monday, March 16, 2009

DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION: EPISODE REVIEW

The main plot of last night's episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation revolved around Emma getting into smoking marijuana. She tries it for the first time, gets high and exhibits all the typical behaviour people on TV exhibit when their stoned.

When I smoked marijuana for the first time, I didn't get high.

Then, Emma decides to bake some marijuana brownies for the floor Olympics. We had activities like that in residence when I was in college. Hardly anyone participated.

One of the girls eats a browney at the event and goes into a diabetic coma. The student in charge says it was due to the pot in the brownies. I don't think so. I think it was more bucking due to the bucking sugar in the bucking brownies.

I'm pretty sure diabetics won't go into a coma when they smoke pot. As a matter of fact, if you are diabetic and you smoke marijuana, it might make you better.

The campus police come and search the rooms. Emma's boyfriend takes the rap for possessing the marijuana because it was found in his room. The campus police must have gotten in some extra practice with their Where's Waldo books.

The subplot revolved around Casey joining the basketball team. Connor looks up his address and finds out Casey lives in a group home. Casey tells Connor that he has been involved in some bad stuff but makes him promise not to tell anyone. Connor then tells someone. Connor and Claire then make a couple speeches about how that was then and this is now. It ends happily.

I think the truth about Casey's past would have gotten out eventually.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

VOLUNTEERING

Have you ever volunteered somewhere where you thought you were doing a lot of good, then found out you weren't doing that much good after all. That happened to me several months ago.

I had been volunteering at our local crisis pregnancy centre for a few years. Now, while I believe in the work crisis pregnancy centres do, I no longer feel I can volunteer at our local crisis pregnancy centre. During the last months I was volunteering there, we were basically being used as a repository where deadbeat, white trash wellfare bums could get baby care itims. We weren't really counselling anyone or anything. To me, we needed to teach alternative parenting techniques. Most of our clients didn't know how to take care of a baby. Everything they knew about parenting they gleaned from TV.

I also, to be quite honest, didn't think so highly of the director anymore. She was a people pleaser. She never wanted to offend anyone. Once a girl and her friend came in. The girl wanted a pregnancy test. The other girl said, "Me and my boyfriend want to take our relationship to the next level. Do you have any advice about birth control." The director said that we didn't give that advice here and she should go to the health unit. If it were me I would have said, "What are you, stupid? Your friend just came in here all nervous and scared wanting a pregnancy test. Don't you realize what can happen when a couple take their relationship to the next level?"

Another time a client came in and said she and her boyfriend didn't need to have a big wedding. The director agreed. Then one of the board members came in and said she was upset because, while her brother and his live-in girlfriend were getting married, they weren't having a big wedding in a church. The director agreed it was a shame.

"You're building to something," she said.

Which is it? Are small weddings or big weddings acceptable?

I can't get the director to pass out pamphlets on elimination communication to the three women in our church who have had babies relatively recently. She probably doesn't want to offend her friends.

I haven't been called into work there in over eight months, which shows how valuable I am to them.

People who try to please everyone end up pleasing no one and being useless.

SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS THAT OTHER KIDS HAVE DONE

So, I guess yesterday was the start of March Break for you kids out there. I remember looking so forward to March break as a kid, then on the Tuesday or Wednesday saying, "Is it over yet?" Let's face it, at this time of year the grounds all muddy so it's not like there's a lot the kids can do. However, if you're going on vacation or you really hate school, enjoy your time off. At least you should have pretty good weather for it this year.

Burn baby burn,
Strung out on a wire.

I don't really see how they could have made Fear And Loathing In Los Vegas into a movie. I mean, they take a bunch of drugs, go to Los Vegas, watch a motorcycle race, attend a police conference, and go home. Read the book, it's much better.

Listen to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. Also listen to the song Telephone from the Indian film Hindustani.

LAUGH OUT LOUD

What is it with the Cbc show Laugh Out Loud? At first the show had a pretty clear format: a theme featuring a comic who's been in the business for years, a comic who's been in the business for a few years and a new comic. However lately it seems like it's all about how you shouldn't discriminate against minorities in commedy: women and homosexuals for example.

There's also no context. At first Sabrena Jalese would say what the comedians had done and what upcoming roles they had. Now she just talks about how they've appeared at a whole bunch of comedy festivals. Yes, but have they moved beyond the stand-up and Cbc radio circuit to bigger and better things? It mainly consits of playing recordings from the Cbc Winnipeg Comedy Festival and Madly Off In All Directions.

Then there are the live shows. Jalese doesn't know whether she should be making a speech, doing stand-up or being the cool deejay, which come to think of it is the problem with all the shows. Also, what is the point of the live shows, anyway? I thought this was supposed to be a show that played comedy recordings, not another version of Madly Off In All Directions.

Monday, March 9, 2009

SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS THAT OTHER KIDS HAVE DONE

Oh, Ckvr,
with your reruns.

Your Leave It To Beaver Reruns at lunchtime,
The construction workers all taking time off work.

Your reruns of I Love Lucy,
M.A.S.H.,
And The Barry Mantelo Show,
Who surprisingly I like,
I mean his version of the themesong to American Bandstand can't be beat,
With your local news at 12:30,
Your reruns of Little Rascals and The
Three Kikes,
I mean Stooges,
And the deep-voiced announcer,
Sir, you are the pinnacle of announcers.

Oh Ckvr,
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,
Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Steam Whistle is truly the pause that refreshes.

Visit Speedy Muffler Auditorium.

DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION: EPISODE REVIEW

The main plot of the latest two-part episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation revolved around Jane but first I want to talk about the subplots.

The subplot of Part One involved Laya saying her dad was a big music producer to impress Peter. Laya said that her dad had worked with Fallout Boy and that Pete Went used to sing her lullabies when she was in fifth-grade, which actually since the show is set in Canada should be Grade 5. Sav points out that Fallout Boy only formed in 2002, which would still have made it possible for Laya to have known them in Grade 5. Anyway, Laya admits that her Dad's not a music producer but really an engineer. Whether this means he designs things or drives a train is unclear. Peter is upset by this and Laya promises not to lie to him again.

The subplot of Part Two involved Ali and some guy but since I didn't see most of this episode I'm not going to comment on it. I like how the subplots are now. There sticking more to what the show was in seasons two and three: a heavy, issue-driven main plot and a light subplot.

The main plot of this two-part episode involved the return of Jane's dad. Jane isn't two thrilled about this in part one, and cut to the chase, this is because at the end of Part Two, we find out he is a pedophile. Jane tells her mom, her brother and a group therapy session. Regretably, there is no scene with this guy hanging from a lamp post, but one can allways fantasize.