Arctic Air is a CBC series that was canceled on 17 March 2014, due to government budgetary cuts and the loss of financial revenue from hockey TV airing rights that the network had previously enjoyed with the NHL. Arctic Air was part of what arguably became the best prime time lineup of distinctively Canadian programming ever. CBC’s stellar line-up was in sharp contrast with the largely American-style copy cat “Canadian Content” provided by CTV through such shows as “Master Chef Canada” and on Global-TV. This line-up notably included the hit series Murdoch Mysteries which apparently enjoyed far better ratings than any U.S. imported Crime TV shows from the likes of ABC, NBC-Universal, and CBS.
CBC’s answer to sudden financial shortfalls through immediate cuts on programs and staff begs the question – was there an alternative? Arguably, here’s the alternatives that CBC executives apparently missed considering.
CBC’s big mistake has been to become overly reliant on the support of reactionaries and “parochials” within the Harper government and to revenue through a now former NHL deal. CBC should have been inspired by Moses Znaimer’s efforts to export uniquely Canadian TV programming abroad before Mr. Znaimer can undermined by apparent treachery. There is no doubt that Arctic Air and a variety of other CBC high quality programs would be of interest to a variety of international television broadcasters including some in the United States. However, CBC executives lack the vision of Moses Znaimer in appreciating how Canadian Content can be exported and valued by an international audience as this same audience watch U.S. shows.
CBC also should seek to lobby for direct public funding support for its programs in a similar manner to TVOntario. Indeed, there are many Canadians who would love to become financial supporters to our iconic Canadian public television broadcaster.
CBC also should broaden in roots in Canadian communities by inviting volunteer support from Canadians also similar to TVOntario that would further inspire donations from Canadians. However, CBC should not adopt the corporate donation route of PBS in the United States which has turned that broadcaster’s programs to often little more than infomercials for Big Business interests.
CBC representatives were contacted but could not be reached for comment.