The CBC Summer Waves Review Part II

Keep in mind these are preliminary reviews.  I know I need to be less accessible and ignore readers’ pleas for clearer language while I go on about how amazing the word “bloviate” is and start a contest about it.

Yes, I heard The Sunday Edition today.  I also listened to Siege of Hate and the Benümb/Premonitions of War split last night.  I’m complex.

Honestly, this is why I can’t stand CBC Radio’s attitude towards programming.  I have no problem with Michael Enright using the occasional ten-dollar word on The Sunday Edition, since that’s a part of his hosting style.  The Sunday Edition appeals to the highly educated blowhards of Canada and I can tolerate Enright’s pompous, look-how-intellectual-I-am attitude towards hosting.  Like anything CBC, though, the network ignores the crux of the argument posited by a listener – that Enright assumes the listeners are as intelligent as he feels he is, when it is his job as a host to describe intelligent concepts to the less knowing.  To that end, The Sunday Edition blows the argument off and starts some armchair etymologist contest where listeners look for obscure words to revive for a modern audience.  Just starting the contest would have been fine, but CBC just had to dismiss thoughtful negative comments about its programming while the iron was hot.  That’s just not scrumtrelescent.  Or cromulent.

This ties in to CBC programming as a whole.  Instead of disseminating intelligent concepts in a way that people of “normal” intelligence can understand, the listener is supposed to gravitate toward the concepts.  CBC programs sometimes take the attitude that the listener is dumb, and if he/she can’t understand and/or agree with what the host is saying the person’s a knuckle-scratching moron.  It’s the attitude I see with “pop culture” tastemakers all the time – if you like something other than what they think is cool, you’re a goddamn retard and should be sent in a concentration camp where your kind die in a fire like your heroes Great White.  I’m Right, You’re Wrong.  Shut Up.  Shut Up.  Shut Up.

That was a generalizing rant, of course.  I still don’t generalize as much as CBC Radio.  HYOOO!

O’REILLY ON ADVERTISING | I’ve only listened to eight or so minutes of the first program but it’s as good as I thought it would be.  See, the program works because Teddy O’Reilly has that rare CBC trait that I see from Bob McDonald on Quirks and Quarks and precious few other MomCo employees – he knows what he’s talking about, and he explains it to an audience in clear, concise language.  The show’s not without its faults – O’Reilly on Advertising feels like a long-form Definitely Not the Opera segment and O’Reilly is, at this point, a bit wooden as a host.  Still, one episode in and I honestly think this show could last a few years.  The show simply does not have the CBC homogeneity to it and Terry O’Reilly’s one of the best hosts I’ve heard from CBC Radio in years.  Hopefully the show won’t turn shit a few episodes in, which I honestly doubt it will. ¤ B+

SIMPLY SEAN | What the hell happened here?  So Simply Sean is an hour of Sean Cullen playing his favourite music?  This is it?  What a waste of talent.  I realize the show is early in its run yet, but the show is boring, to be honest about it.  The show feels like someone just went up to Sean Cullen, said “here’s CBC scale, go play your favourite albums” and that’s it.  The Summer Waves initiative this year feels incredibly conservative – this is the time of year where CBC Radio should be experimenting with programming, and the executives decide to fill the Go slot with what amounts to Sean Cullen’s RadioSonic.  Maybe it will improve in the coming weeks, but Sean Cullen has been more entertaining and funnier than this.  Let the man cut loose.  He has to be as bored with the format you gave him as I am.  He certainly sounds it. ¤ C

LOST AND FOUND | Not bad, not good.  Lost and Found is a show without a format, sure, but I’ll admit that it’s better than the Live 8 MORathon that followed – that’s not saying much, but the first episode of Lost and Found wasn’t bad.  The show’s deathly dull but an interview segment with Tom Green saved the first episode from total meaninglessness.  Tom Green seems like the genuine performer and person he is (although he’s made a lot of dumb decisions in the past, I can’t put that past him) and even though he’s selling a new book he didn’t come across as shilling or promoting himself, which of course he was.  Maybe my feelings on the man are coloured by his naming his book Hollywood Causes Cancer, but Tom Green is not a stupid man despite his cable show schtick suggesting otherwise.  The interview gave an insight into Green that Green’s cries of “BOOBY BOOBY BOOBY BOOBY” never could.  The rest of the show was filled with the event of some guy making 96 out of 100 free throws and other stuff.  WOW, WHAT ENTHRALLING RADIO.  EX.  CI.  TING. ¤ C

PROMO GIRL IN “THE CASE OF THE WASTED THIRTY MINUTES” | This whole show exists as an omnibus for a long-form contest, nothing more.  It’s a lazy way to fill thirty minutes, which ties in with this whole “CBC not trying hard enough to come up with decent summer programming” theme.  I despise this show with a loathing I’ve only ever had for What a Week and National Pastime.  CBC needs to try harder than this. ¤ F

FUSE | Bandwidth is a rather okay program – it’s not like the show is going to play Whitehouse or Sheer Terror but it’s better than the Radio 3 standard in that Bandwidth is local, while Radio 3 is mainly “let’s run through Exclaim! and Spin and see what ‘the kids’ are into.”  Fuse, though – see, the show only works if the subjects are different from each other, because the “pop singer meets pop singer but AH, THIS SINGER’S JUST A BIT DIFFERENT” format doesn’t work.  Most of the featured guests on the Fuse website are the typical CBC musical guests – Feist, Hawksley Workman, Mighty Popo etc.  The guy who wrote “Sugar Sugar” and some tone-deaf schlub from Three Gut Records aren’t exactly awe-inspiring musical guests, guys.  I refer to the Neil Young/Gary Numan model again, because this show needs to be more incorrigible with its format (and because Neil Young diddled with synths before, so it’s not a stretch for him to be paired with Numan.)  I’m not looking for matchups like DRI/Forgotten Rebels, but Randy and Tal Bachman?  How cheap are the executives at CBC Radio? ¤ C


C. Archer
Le Social