April 18, 2009

CBC Radio 3 Lives On

It's a few weeks old news, but for anybody else that hasn't heard, CBC Radio 3, known for its vast array of Canadian music (see article) will not be sold. The service has been invaluable for Canadian indie musicians (including some who played at the CBC Radio 3 Sponsored Stereophonic 6 in Sackville) to connect with their fans since it began airing in 2000.

From the Gazette:

CBC Radio 3 offers a vast library of music

Finally, the CBC has something worth listening to.

Point your web browser tohttp://radio3.cbc.ca and check out the online database of 100 per cent Canadian indie artists. Discover why Exclaim! calls CBC Radio 3 “Canada’s most important podcast” and Spin Magazine labels it as “the top podcast in Canada.”

CBC Radio 3 features a continuous satellite radio beam (provided by Sirius Satellite) with an assortment of musical genres, including hip-hop, blues, folk and electronic — not to mention weekly podcasts. In fact, since late 2005 there have been over 3.8 million downloads.

This is great news for music fans and independent Canadian musicians. There is great potential to expose Canadian artists to a wider international audience.

Boasting more than 9,000 artists and 43,000 original songs, Radio 3 is the largest collection of independent Canadian music in the world. From grungy basement demos to pristine professional recordings, New Music Canada has it all.

The website features an online media player, complete with customizable playlist settings, with an option to listen in “radio mode.”

Currently, CBC Radio 3 is showcasing LOLA acts.

An interesting aspect to note is customizable user playlists can be submitted for others to sample. The playlists are archived and ranked based on listener feedback.

CBC Radio 3 is helping new and up-and-coming bands trying to break onto the scene. Along with a platform to stream music and videos from, artists get a blog, a tour calendar and an image gallery.

On top of that, every track uploaded to the site will have its own permanent link. If you want someone to hear a song without having to send them an actual disc, you can a forward them a link from the New Music Canada stream.

CBC Radio 3 also invites artists into the studios and records exclusive material where the recorded shows are uploaded online for streaming.

A sidebar also contains a drop list of new music sorted by genre and band name for easy browsing.

Perhaps the most unique feature of CBC Radio 3 is its online blog. The blog offers readers the chance to sit down with a Canadian artist and participate in an intimate discussion regarding a variety of different topics, whether in the studio or out at a live show.

The website also offers a comprehensive concert listing, allowing users to track their favourite Canadian act. You can even download entire live sets with the click of a button.

CBC Radio 3 is a luxury suite of web tools, carefully designed to get musicians’ names and music out to listeners.

And from Radio 3 itself:

Thanks For Your Help In Keeping CBC Radio 3 Alive

Posted by Steve Pratt on Mar 26, 2009 | 62 comments | » Post a Comment

I know a great many of you have been following CBC’s financial difficulties closely and have been concerned about the effect on CBC Radio 3. Today, everyone at Radio 3 found out that, contrary to previous reports, we are NOT being sold and we are NOT being shut down.

However, like the rest of the company, we are undertaking a significant cut to our budget next year. There are two primary impacts for us, one of which will be felt strongly and the other of which many of you may not notice.

The first impact is that CBC Radio 3 will be recording significantly less live music in the coming year. Our recording budget is being merged with the recording budget of CBC Radio 2, which in turn has been reduced by 50%.We will still be recording musicians from across the country, but how much we can do and whether those recordings will be live concerts or studio sessions we don’t yet know.

I will be working with CBC Radio’s head of music, Mark Steinmetz, in the coming weeks to create a new live music strategy between Radio 2 and Radio 3. This is very painful – I know how much all of you appreciate our live recordings and I also know how much it means to the many amazing Canadian musicians we record every year.

The second impact is related to our radio stations. Many of you may not know this, but CBC Radio 3’s Sirius satellite radio station (channel 86) broadcasts a separate and often distinct set of programming from the streaming radio station on our website. Yes, some of our programs are simulcast on both, but many are not. Moving forward, we will have the exact same programming on both Sirius and web radio.

Very sadly for all of us here, this will very likely mean an impact on our staff.We won’t know what that impact will be until mid-May at the earliest, as it depends on a number of factors such as the internal take-up on a voluntary retirement incentive plan and discussions with our union colleagues about how to minimize staff reductions.

This is a bad day for CBC Radio 3. There is no doubt about it. However, it could have been much worse and for that I think we are all thankful. We are moving forward with a very strong radio station, a brand new version of the website coming within a couple months, and a powerful, passionate community of artists and music fans. Despite today’s bad news, I’m personally very confident that Radio 3 will continue to grow and prosper in the future and that impact of the cuts to our budget has been minimized at best as humanly possible.

I would personally like to thank each and every one of you who raised awareness online about the risks to Radio 3 since the infamous ‘unload Radio 3’ quote was seen in the media. Your support and the visibility of that support was heard loudly inside the company and I hope was a factor in making today’s news considerably less than it might have been otherwise.

Steve Pratt
Director, CBC Radio 3

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