Quick hits about that interview with Stursberg in the Globe (2008.06.27):
I don’t know why people want to sort of say the CBC has some high-art role. I don’t quite understand that. The Canada Council is there to fund the high arts.
If I get money from the Canada Council and I use it to complete my high art, how do I get it on TV?
By asking for a first window from the “arts broadcaster” that also owns Travel + Escape, ESPN Classic, and CP24?
The way we put it to ourselves... is we say, “We have to stop thinking about ourselves as a radio company, or a TV company. We have to think of ourselves as a content company.”
Actually, ¶3(1)(l) of the Broadcasting Act states that “the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as the national public broadcaster, should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains” (emphasis added). The CBC could decline to provide radio and television services, as it is not required to do so (it merely “should”). Nor is it required to provide Web sites. Arguably it is not allowed to do so, as the powers listed in the Act are exhaustive.
Under ¶46(1), the CBC “may... establish, equip, maintain and operate broadcasting undertakings...; make operating agreements with licensees for the broadcasting of programs; originate secure programs... and make arrangements necessary for their transmission.” Web sites aren’t broadcasting undertakings and do not involve either programs or transmission.
However, ¶46(j) allows CBC to “publish, distribute and preserve... such audio-visual material... as may seem conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Corporation,” which clearly includes podcasts.
So no, the CBC cannot rebrand itself as “a content company.” It’s already working outside of its legal remit just by providing Web sites. By statute, the CBC is in the business of “broadcasting” and of “publish... audio-visual material.” It isn’t in the “content” business.
There’s one other bon mot from Dick that I’ll get to later.