Totally Toronto

– is CBC Radio 1’s slogan at the moment, unless they’ve taken it off the air out of embarrassment – it’s hard to miss.

One the one hand, this is just truth in advertising – CBC Toronto, which serves all of south-central Ontario, at least in principle, has always been indifferent to the large parts of their listening area which you can’t get to on the subway. Simcoe County, for instance.

On the other hand, they’re presenting it as a good thing – hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, and all that.

Which is why this is welcome news, though I’ll believe it when it happens – CBC Radio in Hamilton, like a Hamilton NHL franchise, has been on the list of unconsummated reasonable ideas for years. It was being discussed when I was in high school in the ’80s, listening to the Toronto traffic reports trudging to the bus on a rural sideroad, and it’s still being discussed.

Hamilton is too far from Toronto to be a true part of the megaglopolis, but too close to be a free-standing centre in its own right. It’s a big city in the shadow of a bigger one, which has always been a bit undignified. I will admit to moments when my favourite thing in Hamilton is the on-ramp to the Toronto-bound 403, but still.

If you defined the station’s news area as Hamilton/Niagara/Brant and the rural area west of that, there should be more than enough to keep everybody busy.

Actually, the Spectator’s obtuse response to the idea is one hint about why it’s needed. (Update: More here)

The CBC’s piety about The Regions (Favourite Winnipeg Intersections, anybody?) has never extended to regions of Ontario, for reasons I don’t understand.

They need a serious Barrie-based station, too, while we’re at it.