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“Rats!” Canadian listeners debate commercials on Radio 2 and Espace Musique

As requested by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s broadcast regulator has approved the placement of advertising spots on Radio 2 and Espace Musique radio. The latter service describes itself “the largest directory of French music internet radio in Canada.”

Judging by the comments on the CBC news website notice, many listeners are anything but happy about the decision.

“Beyond the superior quality broadcast, including interesting hosts and a widely varied music selection, the absence of advertising is what made Radio 2 and Espace Musique a pleasure to listen to,” one comment observes. “With the cacaphony of advertisers now plaguing yet another radio station, I will be plugging in my MP3 player and kissing live radio goodbye.”

Ditto says another reader: “oh wonderful……just add it to the pile of advertising we are exposed to from every other source already.” And: “Rats!” succinctly declares a third.

Here’s the gist of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission decision:

“The CBC requested permission to gradually include national advertising on its Radio 2 and Espace Musique radio networks, up to an unlimited quantity during the fourth year of its licence term. The CRTC partially granted this request by allowing advertising to be broadcast on these services for a limited three-year period. The networks may not broadcast more than four minutes of advertising per broadcast hour. In order to minimize the impact on their listeners, the advertising broadcast will have to be consolidated in a maximum of two blocks each hour.”

After three years, if the CBC wants to continue running ads on Radio 2 and Espace, its renewal application “will have to demonstrate that the advertising has not had an undue adverse effect on advertising markets, that listeners have not been unduly inconvenienced by the advertising, that the level of investment in radio broadcasting has been maintained, and that there has been no reduction in the variety and diversity of programming provided by the Radio 2 and Espace Musique services.”

Some CBC readers defend the new policy:

“I would prefer no advertising,” a commenter notes, “but a little advertising is better than altogether losing those broadcasts that are really of superior quality, and, in my opinion, truly unique when compared with most of the rest of the noise out there.”

With cutbacks, another says, “where do you expect the CBC to get funds from, if not from ads? Everything is not free in this world; we all have to pay to get something. If you enjoyed the programs, as you say you do, then you have to be responsible enough to play your part i.e. by listening to the ads.”

But this logic doesn’t fly for other listeners: “You have so many stations that pump out your endless right-wing messages of commercialism and individualism, paid for by all of us through our participation in the economy,” one protests. “Surely we should be entitled to a few alternatives offering messages supporting community and public enterprise, to at least partly counterbalance this relentless onslaught of capitalist propaganda.”

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