Saturday, May 14, 2011

Canadian, please

One of the best things I've found through satellite radio (besides Johnny Dollar, America's Favorite Free-lance Insurance Investigator) has been Canada! Specifically Canadian Public Radio, the CBC. I still love NPR but Canada does what NPR does, even better. Most of my favorite NPR shows are weekend shows, but CBC does those kinds of shows all week. NPR has never been able to pull that off (see: Bryant Park Project). They seem to think it must be serious news and call-in talk shows all day long to be good enough. CBC plays fun shows like "The Debaters" and drama shows (although I don't really get into them) during the weekdays, and even some ultra-specific but weirdly fascinating shows like "Age of Persuasion" (about advertising!) and "White Coat, Black Art" (about the medical field... not about medicine, exactly, or science, but... things that matter to doctors, what it's like to be a doctor, that kind of thing). The CBC takes a long, languid approach to interviews and asks all the questions you can imagine of their guests. But they don't beat things to death.
Case in point: the day Bin Laden was killed (if it WAS Bin Laden... just kidding) the US networks, including NPR, talked about it all day. ALL DAY. They used the 8 pieces of information they had and just repeated them over and over, and expanded on those 8, and commented on the 8, and elicited comments about the 8. All. Day.
On the CBC they mentioned the killing at the top of the hour in the news roundup, and then WENT BACK TO THEIR REGULAR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING!
I was amazed by that. They kept their culture show Q on-air, and rather than re-hashing the little bit of BL info, they interviewed the guy from Star Trek about whether there were enough acting possibilities for Asian Americans nowadays. The CBC didn't disregard the big news of the day, and I got the impression that if there was going to be more to tell, they'd tell me.
But here's the thing- that very same day was a massive national election day in Canada! And since this was morning, and there was nothing to report, they didn't bother reporting anything, until it was actually over. Well, I remember one story about people getting phone calls that their polling place had been moved (which wasn't true), but there was nothing about "I'm standing here at the blahblah polling site, and the people are standing in line to vote. You, sir, why are you voting today?" like we have to suffer every election day here, major or not as major.
So as a service to you, my dear "south of the border" friends, here's a list of my fave CBC shows:
Wiretap (a funny one. I listen to this show on my ipod while I'm grocery shopping, and often laugh out loud, confounding the angry old people who are shopping around me.)
Rewind (this one is pulled from the archives of the CBC and are so interesting, just the differences in attitudes about everything is striking in every show)
Vinyl Cafe (Canadian Prairie Home Companion. I love the stories. Somehow though every Canadian musician they feature sounds like a homey kind of Minnie Mouse...)
Age of Persuasion- (about the industry but FASCINATING! Plus, they play a lot of old ads from tv and radio, so fun)
The Debaters (they really do debate, but about funny things, and in funny ways. I often laugh out loud at my desk listening to this show)
Q (daily magazine show, culture and such- not TMZ but not artsy-schmartzy either.)
As It Happens (This daily news round-up show is worth a listen if only for the puns that they kick off the show with, based on the headlines. But also, they deal with real news and then some odd news too. A great mix.)
...and so many more. And while we're at it, here's a final word about how awesome Canada is:

(video credits on youtube)

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