Stoddard Online: Stoddard OnlineSaturday, February 04, 2006
I've recently had a couple of darts thrown my way in response to comments that I have made regarding Canadian content in the music industry in Canada, and broadcasting in general.
Personally, I am in full agreement with the CRTC in the setting of Canadian content requirements for broadcast outlets, however, it's application leaves much to be desired.
Foremost, radio stations are in business to make money, and indeed, there is nothing wrong with making a profit. There is however, something wrong with the picture when the profits are made as a result of curtailing access to the airwaves by new performers.
You will be hard pressed to find a Canadian recording artist who can state that he or she was able to attain success as a result of radio station exposure from Canadian stations. In nearly every instance, the artist found it necessary to go south of the border in order to achieve their goals.
If the artist is talented, and manages to enjoy success south of the border, the Canadian radio stations are now ready to swallow them up. They are now used as fillers to top up the thirty percent Canadian content law as set by the CRTC. Canadian radio stations have used this loophole for decades as a means of flying under the radar to avoid content infractions. As a result, the new artists are left holding the bag. The content requirements were originally put in place as a means of promoting new and upcoming Canadians in the arts and entertainment fields, however, the results have been adverse.
It is little wonder that the radio broadcasting industry is in trouble in Canada. Advertizing revenues are down drastically. Broadcast outlets are in the business of selling time, and when suddenly there is lots of time for sale and no advertizers, disaster reigns supreme. Repeat programming has become the norm especially after midnight. A large percentage of stations merely operate on a tape at night, again, mostly because there is a shortage of advertizing revenue. We have all heard the words on our favourite stations of a "half hour of commercial free music." Guess what, it is commercial free, only because there were no commercials to insert, but they spin doctor it to make it look like they are doing the listener a favour. This is nothing more than deceit and plain crap, and sanctioned by the CRTC.
The CRTC rules and regulations need a complete overhaul. The whole industry needs to pull up it's socks. Throughout the world, Canadian entertainers and broadcasters are admired and valued for their contributions to their respective industries. Unfortunately, this respect was gained outside our borders. Meanwhile, back home, the struggling beginner is virtually being muzzled by the red tape created by our own law makers.