Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Best CBC show ever?

I am not one to compliment the CBC. Their most popular show is Hockey Night In Canada and that says a lot about Canada's national network. There is an ongoing debate about whether a network that is funded by our tax dollars should be spending big bucks on sports is really something that should be happening. But that is a blog entry for another day.

What I want to talk about is a show on CBC called The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. I am not really a fan of watching a show hosted by a person younger than me. However, as I get older, this rule is becoming harder and harder to follow.

Stroumboulopoulos has made some interesting career choices. He started at the Toronto sports radio station fan as a board operator who later became on on-air personality. He moved to the alernative radio station called 102.1 The Edge before becoming a VJ on Much Music. His most interesting career choice was hosting a US music reality show called The One: Making A Music Star inbetween his first and second season hosting The Hour. The show's ratings for this wannabe American Idol were horrible and was cancelled after two weeks. The show is considered one of the worst failures in the history of television as its debut show was the second lowest rated pilot in the history of american network TV. The show's failure was probably related to its marketing (a blend of American Idol and Big Brother) and not to the host.

The Hour is now in its third season and airs at 11 pm on CBC as well as earlier on CBC Newsworld. The 11 pm is the more promoted show and goes up against The Daily Show on The Comedy Network. On the show, Stroumboulopoulos interviews everyone from musicians to politicians, actors to writers. Basically each show has enough content to interest everyone. And these aren't people just there to promote a new product. The interviews become lively debates and are quite interesting.

The reason I was moved enough to write a blog about the show was the interview with Bob Lefsetz last week. Lefsetz is probably one of the most fascinating and opinionated music columnists in the world. I highly recommend his website The Lefsetz Letter. His analysis of music is honest, forthright and without pretention. And it isn't all about new music or old music, it is about music in general. He has a lot of interesting theories as to why, for people like me in their thirties can't relate to new music and why a #1 album nowadays is nothing like having a #1 album 10 years ago in terms of sales.

For a taste, here is a column he wrote about why CD sales are tanking or detailing Paul McCartney's new deal with Starbucks. To get a real sense of what Lefsetz is all about, watch the interview Strombo had with him. Lefsetz expounds some interesting theories about the music industry and Strombo does actually begin to argue with him. The interview is only 15 minutes long but you'll wish it were longer.

Top 5 nicknames used for the CBC
1. The Mother Corp. (many people use this term)
2. The Corpse (as used by Frank Magazine)
3. The Canadian Broadcorping Castration (urban legend says an announcer once used this on air but it has never been proven)
4. The Communist Broadcasting Corporation (many conservatives call the network this due to its apparent left wing leanings)
5. BBC Canada (a nickname levied on the network during a 2005 strike in which most of their programming was picked up from the UK).

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