Missing the CBC

21 March, 2007

Back home, I always used to listen to CBC radio in the car. Crap for music, but it’s a better quality of journalism than you’ll hear on any music station. And listening to “Ideas” on my way home from Hapkido was always a real pleasure.

My first few days of radio-listening down here were pretty frightening. I found some decent music stations, but in terms of news, journalism and commentary… well, it was mostly bellowing and polarized politics. Unfortunately, CBC Radio International is purely shortwave and thus not available in the car. = [

However, after a week or so I discovered National Public Radio. I’d heard it mentioned before by American friends, and I now understand their fondness for it. It’s about as close a facsimile for CBC as I’m likely to find down here. Once again, it’s crap for music, but it has good journalism (rebroadcast BBC news), good interviews (yesterday morning was Tom Delay, an appallingly unrepentant dirty Republican politician), good commentary and arts. Overall its bias is clearly toward a “social democracy” perspective, but I’m fine with that. All media sources and commentators are biased, it’s just important to recognize that and take it from the source. The main thing that I like is an obvious effort to look at problems from all sides.

NPR isn’t government funded like the CBC. Instead, it survives purely by public donation (and they’re in the middle of a fundraising drive now). It’s cool to see that something like this can survive just on the strength of its audience’s largesse, and it reinforces their relative independence. The particular NPR subsidiary is WBUR, which is broadcast from Boston University.

I can’t believe I’m already starting to say, “Back home…”


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