The CBC is facing significant challenges. There is the continued rise of the Internet and digital services like Netflix that are changing the broadcasting landscape. More and more content is consumed online. There are also long-standing challenges of competing against the U.S. entertainment giant to our south. With these challenges in mind, here is what I propose. It is important to have a strong and vibrant CBC, to tell our stories, to entertain and inform us as Canadians.
Integrity in this context means that what you see is what you get. In the immediate aftermath of Evan Solomon's dismissal by CBC, lots of people wanted to know why him, and not Amanda Lang or Peter Mansbridge? If there is an answer to this (and I'm not sure there is) then it lies in issues of transparency.
I could, of course, see the dark clouds rolling in when I was still at the CBC -- but these latest cuts are an epic deluge for a place where I spent a lot of time.
Does CBC/Radio-Canada need saving? While some have been sounding the alarm for a while now, there is a perfectly viable way for the CBC to keep on operating even if the money it gets from Ottawa keeps on shrinking: direct funding from viewers, a model that works very well south of the border.
Mr. Lacroix and his senior management team, and the Board of Directors -- each in law and precedent charged with defending public broadcasting in this country -- should resign, and call for an immediate and complete rethinking of CBC/Radio-Canada's untenable financing and governance. Then maybe, this problem can be sorted out.
In assessing the health of both public and private broadcasters based on several criteria including revenues and program quality the health of the private sector was found to be directly correlated with the health of the public broadcaster.
As the CBC and its supporters search with growing urgency for solutions to the public broadcaster's critical funding problems, an idea gaining some traction is that CBC television be dismantled, and spun off into a clutch of subscription-based cable specialty channels.
Given that, in poll after poll, Canadians have expressed the view that the CBC/Radio-Canada is a public good that is both desirable and necessary, the solution to the market failure ought to be obvious: it is to provide the money necessary for the CBC. To do that will mean eliminating advertising on all CBC services, and boosting the public subsidies.
Aside from the bogus gesture toward maintaining "a Canadian cultural icon," the emphasis throughout the list of "benefits" emanating from the Rogers-NHL deal is focused entirely on protection of advertising revenue. But at what cost? The fact is that the only strategy that can save CBC television is one that makes it distinctive and relevant.
Given basic agreement on the unfair competition and market interference issues, all that remains to be settled is how, exactly, our admittedly "important" public broadcaster should be funded. Here's how. Remove all advertising from CBC radio and television and hand the entire market in commercials over to the private broadcasters.