It would be easy to dismiss as self-absorbed the CBC’s request at City council Tuesday to have Oct. 9 declared CBC Day in Kamloops. To do so, however, would fail to recognize that CBC’s presence in Kamloops is something to celebrate.
At first blush, the request for a proclamation by the CBC seemed a tad presumptuous, maybe even a little arrogant. Yes, the city’s newest station — set to go live from its Victora Street location in less than a week — wears the logo of the country’s national broadcaster, but so what? There are other media agencies in Kamloops, too. All have served the community for years, endeavouring to provide the same public service. None of them have ever sought the proclamation of a special day.
But such thinking is petty. We say the CBC is welcome to its special day. After all, it’s good news the CBC finally chose to open a station here and bring Kamloops into its radio fold, after years of lobbying. Kamloops should celebrate.
Not everyone is a fan of the CBC. Many people sneer at the cost to Canadians — the radio network is wholly supported by tax dollars — and want the broadcaster to “pull its own weight.”
Why should it be allowed to compete with for-profit media that require nothing from the public purse, some argue? Of course, that’s not entirely true.
Private media of all descriptions get tax breaks from government, or protection in the form of tariffs or legislation to protect them from foreign competition. All media in Canada see some form of government support, in one way or the other.
The wages of the reporters and others who work for private media agencies are not paid from the people’s pocket, which truly sets the CBC apart, but there is good reason for us to have a publicly funded national broadcaster.
The CBC was created by the federal government in an era when many feared U.S. radio programming would swamp our airwaves. The CBC was built to protect Canadian culture.
More importantly, however, the CBC extended radio service into far-flung Canadian markets; distant and remote places that for-profit outlets would never had bothered with. Why would they? There was no money to be made broadcasting in the frozen north. The CBC created a cross-country network, which remains strong today.
The CBC ties Canada together with a unified source of news and information critical to the formation and maintenance of a national identity.
Kamloops is now part of that network, in a more meaningful way than when CBC told our stories from Kelowna.
We are part of something bigger, with CBC here in the city.
That’s worth a special day.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.