Artists discuss impact of local CBC cuts

Justin Brake
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David Chafe, president of Music NL, addresses a crowd this morning during a news conference to speak out against CBC cuts that will have a dramatic impact on recording artists in this province. — Photo by Justin Brake/Special to The Telegram

Leaders of major arts organizations throughout the province — along with a number of musicians and members of the public — gathered in St. John’s this morning to discuss local implications of CBC budget cuts.

As a result of the cuts, the public broadcaster has decided to decommission its mobile unit and St. John’s recording studio — its two primary means by which to record and broadcast live music and literary arts performances in the province.

"Today is the day we come together, hopefully vocally, in one very strong voice to make all artists and the general public aware of the ramifications of the cutbacks to the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, and to say in one voice that we will not be silenced and we will strongly urge the reinstatement of these priceless resources,” said David Chafe, President of MusicNL, and organizer of the conference.

“Just as in the commerce world, a business needs customers to survive and pay the bills — artists do as well. The removal of the CBC mobile unit and the closure of Studio F, and the sell off of the recording equipment, is the equivalent of destroying a bridge between our artists and our customers, our audience. Not to mention it’s a blatant dismantling of the CBC’s own mandate to share and preserve regional arts and culture.”

About 100 people had gathered at Memorial University’s D.F. Cook Recital hall for the morning event. Chafe and about a dozen other industry professionals, including musicians, festival organizers and association chairs, shared their stories and perspectives — all of which centred around the artistic community’s dependency on the CBC as the vehicle through which to share Newfoundland and Labrador’s artistic and cultural essence with the rest of the nation and the world.

Chafe noted the loss of the mobile unit and Studio F will reduce the number of live music recordings for the coming year by more than three-quarters, meaning there likely will be no more than 10 live performances recorded by the CBC in this province this year. Nationally, only one or two performances, if any, will be heard by national programming.

Last year, there were approximately 50 live music recordings for broadcast across the province on CBC Radio. About 10 of these were picked up by national radio programming. And all live music recordings from this province are available to the global audience online.

A news release notes that countless artists’ careers have been launched by CBC-NL's broadcasts of their performances in all sorts of venues and festivals. Likewise, many music festivals held throughout the province have received national and international acclaim and have drawn visitors from abroad because of CBC's capacity to drive to any venue and deliver the highest-quality, professionally produced performances.

Chafe said emerging artists who deserve and would depend on such valuable exposure will especially feel the loss of CBC's technical live music recording capacity.  

“Newfoundland and Labrador artists from all walks are the most honest, hardest working, intelligent, creative, thoughtful, mutually supportive, selfless workers of any industry, engaged everyday of their lives in a labour of love for the benefit of our culture, our economy and our wonderful audiences,” he said.

Organizations: CBC Radio

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Marisa
    May 16, 2012 - 16:46

    Keep the CBC alive...I grew up in rural Canada. Not all of us owned a TV..and the ones that did had a huge grocery bill every month ... Radio is a "habit that I have passed on to my three children. They are well educated well read and socially gifted because of this. I have lived without cable TV for 3 years now, but if the CBC goes ...I will not be reponsible for my political "actions".YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!....(don't worry, I'll wimp out and vote "Rhino")

  • dave panting
    May 16, 2012 - 15:40

    If I thought the government would take the money from a dismantled CBC and put it into NL hospital infrastructure, seniors care etc. I would drop this issue in a heartbeat. But I don't think that what's going on. The issue is communications as well. I think they have served a purpose as a unifying force in Canada and despite their faults have done some great things for the arts in this country. As for NL would there have been a Land and Sea or Marine Forecast without them?

  • robert tucker
    May 15, 2012 - 14:41

    With respect to the CBC cuts, there are two points. First, the Federal Conservatives state that they support the arts, but feel there is too much wasted at CBC! Secondly, the higher brass at CBC feel that live recordings should only take place at their studio in Toronto! With respect to the FEDs, as long as there is no oil being produced at CBC and the announcers with CBC continue to dig up news on them, the Fed CON servatives will never support this broadcasting company! The other point is that is too bad that the brass at CBC, Unlike RAdio-Canada, is so willing to give into the CONservatives! Thirdly, the live recordings should not be just done at the studios in Ontario!

  • Ed Fry
    May 15, 2012 - 13:57

    Cry me a river. Our tax dollars, to the tune of $1 BILLION a year are being wasted on the CBC while people in this province have to travels long distances or wait months just to get an MRI that could literally mean the difference between life and death. Sorry, but the CBC shold be shut-down completely and the money sunk into healthcare. $1 BILLION would allow every province to have up to 100 MRI machines (not that we need that many).