CBC Radio 2 is radically revamping their evening and night schedule starting next Monday. The thrust seems to be in the direction of projecting a more populist-middlebow, soft-nationalist image for the evening lineup, consistent with a trend that started many years ago (in 1985(!), according to the web site) with Jurgen Gothe’s Disc Drive as the afternoon commuting show. The jazz show has been moved from the 10-midnight to the 6-8 dinner slot, and the 8-10 slot, which has pretty much forever been more-or-less dedicated to broadcasts of live classical music concerts (“In Performance”), has been transformed into Canada Live, a general broadcast of live music concerts of all kinds from across the country. Inhabiting the 10-12 slot previously occupied by the jazz show is The Signal, a sort of “contemporary music” program (I’m really not sure what that is supposed to mean).
I have mixed feelings about all this. I see where the CBC is coming from. I’m a fairly serious classical fan but I relatively rarely listened to In Performance (J. had it on much more frequently). It could well be that many people who are serious fans tend to have collections and as a result tend put on what they feel like listening to when they feel like it, as opposed to tuning in at 8:00 every evening to see what the CBC has on offer. So the CBC ends up catering more to the market of people who mainly want to have something on the radio in the background, and who find a steady diet of classical too stodgy, un-hip or whatever (the marketing copy linked to above seems to be written with an obvious eye to hipness factor). This is the approach that has worked so well for over 20 years for DiscDrive. (Interestingly, the CBC isn’t messing with the morning and midday schedules, and the morning schedule in particular is still dominated by traditional classical.)
Despite my rather haphazard radio listening habits, I caught In Performance often enough to appreciate that it was a great show with a great series of hosts (most recently Andrew Craig). I’ll be sorry to see it go.