If you live in Canada, you know that there is a hot debate raging about government support for public broadcasting. On the one hand, many bloggers seem to indicate that public dollars for nation wide broadcasting such as the CBC have decreased incredibly over the years of the Conservative government. Certainly the atmosphere of the various Canadian television stations seem to support this, as shows and staff have been culled across the board.
On the other hand, the government's numbers do indicate that support for public broadcasting, at least financial support, has grown over the last five years. They argue that through this support, more viewers are able to access shows about polar bears, community news, and other fact based shows than ever before.
So what is really going on in the world of public broadcasting? Well, at the end of the day it is really about the average Canadian viewer and what they want on the air. The industry is facing a large scale deregulation, the likes of which have never before been seen in Canada. The CRTC has stated that they no longer feel Canadian markets are in jeopardy when it comes to competition with American ones, and thus there will be more competition from American channels on the airwaves. That means more reality shows and, companies such as Global Canada fear, less Canadian content.
At least, that is what the large private broadcasters in Canada would have us believe; however, we all know that for these companies, the dollar amount is the real driving factor. It's a bit of a stretch for us to buy into the fiction that what they really want to do is keep Sarah Polly working. It's more likely that an executive bigwig is concerned that his programming will not attract the same viewership if the market does open up to competition.
Unfortunately, the ones to be stuck in the middle of all of this are the public broadcasting stations which operate in the country. These are the stations which give us Canadian topics like diamond mines in the north, aboriginal programming, and so on. Without them we are subject to whatever the private companies want to feed us, with a healthy dose of the unreliable Internet.