Finances dominate CBC/Radio-Canada public meeting
September 24th, 2009 - 13:52 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Financial constraints dominated the discussion at CBC/Radio-Canada’s first annual public meeting, held in Ottawa on Wednesday and accessible across the country via Internet broadcast. Hubert Lacroix, president and CEO of the public broadcaster, was joined by Suzanne Morris, vice-president and chief financial officer, and Tim Casgrain, president of the CBC board of directors, for the hour-long presentation and question-and-answer session hosted by Emmanuelle Latraverse, CBC’s Ottawa bureau chief of French national news.

Mr Lacroix reiterated that the $34 per capita in annual funding the broadcaster receives is less than half of the $76 average of many other countries. Though CBC and Radio-Canada’s platforms achieved great successes during 2008-09, the past year was also a paradox because the good news came amid daunting financial challenges, Mr Lacroix said. He also reminded attendees that the broadcaster faces a $171 million shortfall for 2009-10 fiscal year, but outlined the broadcaster’s plan for recovery, including a renewed focus on content.

“CBC has become a content company, in which everyone collaborates,” Lacroix said. The goal is “to develop deeper, richer Canadian content” to be “delivered across all platforms,” he added, citing as examples English radio’s arts and entertainment program Q and French TV’s current affairs talk show Tout Le Monde en Parle, which are distributed on multiple platforms (radio, TV, podcast) and encourage public interaction via online applications such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.