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Managing Director's blog: The local 2020 strategy

10/06/2014 02:45 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST
A few months ago, General Manager and Editor-in-Chief, CBC News, Jennifer McGuire, asked me play a significant role implementing the News department’s local 2020 strategy.

I didn’t have to give it much thought. I know this is a defining moment for the CBC and I want to be part of it.

My guess is you’ve heard about the challenges facing the CBC/Radio-Canada. I am asked about it at my gym, the neighbourhood block party, even when I’m grocery shopping.  

The people I speak with are concerned their public broadcaster is in danger. They are concerned they will lose their much loved CBC Radio programs, their local TV news and the on-air personalities they’ve come to know so well.

That’s not going to happen but they’re right to be concerned. There’s a lot at stake.

The CBC is facing an enormous challenge. And it’s not alone. All media organizations are dealing with a changing media environment.  Canadians audiences are looking for content beyond the traditional platforms of radio and TV.

Sixty-six per cent of Quebecers own smartphones and a third of Canadians subscribe to Netflix. Commercial revenue is decreasing and our funding model is unsustainable.

It is time to change how we do business. So that’s what CBC/Radio Canada is doing.

Our goal is to ensure Canadians have a sustainable public broadcaster that continues to offer the best in programming on radio and television while serving a new and growing audience in the digital space. But to do that, we must change. We must transform.

Our new strategy, A Space for Us All, will bring us closer to our audiences. We want to be part of your daily life, on your phone, in your living room, in your car.  We will be where you want us, when you want us. We will continue to deliver the content you know and trust on multiple platforms.

CBC/Radio Canada’s programming will not only be Canadian, it will be smart, distinctive and risky. We will invest in prime time television and continue to produce the CBC Radio programming Canadians love.

What does this mean for your local CBC in Quebec? We will continue to serve a minority English speaking audience. We will build on our journalistic strength online and on programs such as Daybreak with Mike Finnerty and CBC News Montreal with Debra Arbec.

Our CBC Montreal Investigates team will continue to break stories that impact your lives and we will continue to drive original journalism through projects such as Stay or Go.

But our strategy will only succeed if we make the CBC/Radio-Canada a sustainable corporation. That means we will reduce in-house production and cut our real estate portfolio. And yes there will be job losses.  

We will change how we deliver our content to you with the goal to sustain your public broadcaster now and for future generations.

It’s an exciting time here. A time of creativity and innovation.  A rare opportunity for CBC  to turn itself into a modern broadcaster. I am thrilled to be part of it. I hope you’ll join me.

As always, you can contact me directly at shelagh.kinch@cbc.ca.

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