The following is based on a rant sent to "Viewer Relations" at CBC:
The CBC - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for those outside our shores - is a national treasure. Like England's BBC, or Australia's ABC -- heck, even the States' closer-to-corporate-interest NPR -- the CBC has dwindled at times, and shone at others. That's the nature of publicly owned broadcasters.
I adore the fact that comedians like Martin Short, John Candy, Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara all came from SCTV. Dave Foley and Mark McKinney, to name two, came from the uber-brilliant Kids in the Hall. And of course, Mike Myers and the Mask himself,Jim Carrey grew up watching Canadian icons like Don Adams (Get Smart), William Shatner (Star Trek), and Lorne Greene (Bonanza) -- all of whom got their starts, or at least inspiration, from CBC.
It doesn't hurt that I've done some freelance work for CBC Radio One, either. A coupla paycheques'll garner at least a little loyalty now and then.
What gets me red-faced lately, and what should shame the CBC immensely, is their recent decision to displace Hockey Night in Canada with second-rate Hollywood dreck.
The people who have criticized HNiC over the years for being a mostly male-serving testosterone-fest must be wringing their hands with glee. "No pro hockey, so they have nothing to say!"
Why not use these precious hours to showcase the game at other levels? The Hockey Day in Canada broadcasts have been wonderful spotlights to shine on small communities, junior hockey, even the parent-referee issues. But those have only been once a year. Why not expand that marvelous programming to a monthly, or weekly endeavour? There's a lot more out there than overpriced tickets and charter flights filled with baby-faced sports gods.
For years we've been battered about the face and neck with lipservice to grassroots hockey. Now's the chance for CBC to truly SHOW that support. What do we get on Saturday night, instead? The closest thing we've gotten to hockey on our national broadcaster is Adam Sandler punching Bob Barker - two Americans - in a horrid "comedy" about an ex-goon. I'm sorry, but slotting Indiana Jones -- a US-produced blockbuster that EVERYONE HAS SEEN IF THEY'RE EVER GOING TO SEE IT -- into that spot is lazy programming and irresponsible use of the tax dollars used to fund the damned network. If you're going to show films, how about some Canadian content? Let's say, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, orJesus of Montreal. How about some shorts or features in prime time for the National Film Board?
Shame on you, CBC. What a glorious opportunity to show the game on the other side of the greed -- and you blew it.