Top Five Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) Programs

Published on May 30th, 2008 in: Canadian Content, Current Faves, Issues, Music, Radio, Retrovirus, Top Five Lists, TV |

By Nicole V.

One of Canada’s national treasures is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or the CBC. Since an early age, I’ve understood its reach across the country as a public broadcaster and have even referred to it as the lifeblood of the nation, a proclamation that is perhaps a bit dramatic (not to mention very nerdy), but for as long as I can remember the CBC has been both a television and radio staple in my life. Why so beloved?

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Both CBC Radio and Television have proven to be hugely informative and influential upon my cultural education, and they remain that way today. They are enough to (maybe) even make up for all the Just for Laugh Gagsshows I have (maybe only partially) involuntarily witnessed over the years. Although it’s hard to pick, here are, in order from past to present, my top five CBC Radio and TV programs:

5. Street Cents (TV)
A youth-centric consumer and media awareness program, Street Cents was professional journalism mixed with quirkily charming story lines and hosts. They tested and rated products, featured young Canadian entrepreneurs and volunteers, and encouraged viewer participation, often featuring segments filmed in rural areas from around the country. This show was invaluable programming for adolescents that, sadly, is currently unmatched (at least as far as I know). Also: no commercials. If it still existed, I would still watch it.

4. The Passionate Eye (TV)
Documentaries can be pretty hit-or-miss, but I do love them, and it’s great to have regular access to them for free via this twice-weekly doc showcase. So much education! Thanks CBC!

3. Realtime/Radiosonic (Radio)
Did you hear that? It was my heart skipping a beat. Like college radio, but with a budget, and articulate hosts, and oh yeah, these shows were broadcast live nationwide every Saturday night. Realtime gave way to Radiosonic which eventually gave way to the all-encompassing. . .

2. CBC Radio 3 (Internet radio)
Now online 24/7, with lots of independent music, primarily Canadian. A mix of podcasts with revolving hosts, fun blog content, video segments, and sparse-but-lush-sounding live studio sessions. Not quite the same as an all-live nationwide Saturday night radio/internet nerd party, but a great source of new music, and fun. Always with the fun.

1. The Hour (TV)
George Stroumboulopoulos was lured to the CBC via Muchmusic in 2005 and took his admiring fanbase with him. The Hour is a newsmagazine program whose strength lies in its interviews: musicians, authors, politicians, and actors cover just part of the spectrum of featured guests, with the true star—however unintentionally—usually being the host himself. Stromboulopoulos effortlessly engages his guests in conversation and is disarmingly modest. He and his show are sometimes criticized for being too repetitive and formulaic, but if nothing else, they both demand—and deserve—respect. Good one, CBC!

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