Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
In the Halifax Daily News this morning, I read about another CMG-campus/community radio collaboration. CBC Lockout says:
Find out which songs Don Connolly, Costas Halavrezos and Carmen Klassen hum on the picket line. Radio reporter Laura Graham hosts the Soundtrack of Our (Locked-out) Lives every Tuesday from 2:30-3:30 on CKDU, 97.5 FM.Should make for some good listening on the line. If you don't live within the CKDU broadcast range, you can always listen online.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
More from The Coast
[T]his lockout is going to result in a sort of "dark ages" in terms of the digital fossil record. Our ancestors (our even ourselves, in a year) will go the CBC website to search for stories about things that are happening now and will find nothing. Worse, when our friends at the CBC are allowed to work again, they will have no audio or video record of news that's happening now. Which means that, in essence, nothing that is happening now is actually happening at all.
Open Source Radio
Via Lisa comes a link to Open Source, a public radio program produced out of WGBH, Boston.
It sounds a little fruity, we know. "Everybody join hands" this seems to read, "and we'll make beautiful radio together." But it's kind of true. We're trying to produce radio in a completely new way. Hop in.What a neat concept. I've subscribed in iTunes.
Friday, August 26, 2005
More on "alternative programming"
Via my friend Hilary, from Antonia Zerbisias's excellent blog:
And, for those Toronto area listeners who are missing their Andy Barrie, Metro Morning is doing a dry run on Monday on CIUT 89.5 FM, and is set to go live Monday to Friday 6:30-8 starting Labour Day. It's great that these dedicated CBCers want to continue practising their craft and serving the public interest, even as management is disregarding it. But aren't they concerned that, by doing all this work for nothing (or even less if they have to pay for programming expenses out-of-pocket), they're showing that CBC can get by with less taxpayer funding?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
CBC On the Line now online
Here it is, folks: the official CMG online news magazine. It's called CBC On the Line, and it's looking for submissions. Sadly, no RSS (yet). And, earlier today outside the broadcast centre in Toronto, there was talk of getting a morning show podcast off the ground from the University of Toronto's CIUT studios. As far as I understand, they're talking 2 hours of daily "business as usual" local programming, slated to begin early next week.
I Love Radio.org
From Tod's site yesterday:
Today, 6,253 "unique visitors" visited the blog -- about a third were returning visitors. I have never seen traffic like this. I will certainly keep it up as long as I'm able to (the bandwidth costs are going to hurt).I Love Radio.org has been a consistently wonderful resource for me and many others over the past year or so. It's been especially nice recently to have such a comprehensive lockout-related site. This sentiment has been echoed over and over on the picket lines here in Toronto, and I'm sure, all across the world. I know Tod has some small "Ads by Google" on his individual post pages (like this one). I'm pretty sure he's not allowed to encourage others to click on them, but is there anything to stop me? So, if you're at his site (and I imagine if you're reading this, you have been recently or will soon), and you see a Google ad that interests you -- give 'er a click. Every little bit helps, right?
I've really been enjoying my time here in Toronto. I'm halfway through my twenty hours, and have been meeting some very cool people on the line; people I otherwise would never have met: audio post-production television workers, people from corporate communications, graphic designers, national television producers... the list goes on. Plus, a couple people have asked, "What's your name? Dan? Dan the blogger?" So that's kind of neat. I've run into several former colleagues from CBL, and several former classmates from Ryerson. Some were employed this summer by CBC, and others dropped by to say hello and do a couple laps with me. People ask if I'm back in Toronto for good. "No," I tell them. "I'm back just for this week, then I'll go to Windsor for a few days. Then, come September first, I'll move back to Toronto full-time. I don't know if you're heard," I joke, hoping what I'm about to say isn't true, "I took a job here as a professional picketer." I hope to be on the line for 11:00 today. There's a "radio meeting" scheduled for then -- there's talk of starting up an "alternative" morning show. Which, I'm delighted, has generated a wonderful dialogue in the comments section of a recent post. And in an unrelated note, I'm really digging Google Talk (or the iChat support, anyway). I'm dmisener [at] gmail [dot] com if you feel like trying it out.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
The lockout web, tagged and fed
Is "alternative programming" a good idea?
I just finished listening to CBC Unplugged from Studio Zero. And I got to thinking about CBC workers generating "alternative programming" during the lockout. What does that really mean? And is it necessarily a good idea? As far as I understand, the lockout has prompted two different programming strategies. There's the "business as usual" camp, which thinks CBC reporters and newsreaders should continue doing what they do best: reporting and reading the news, covering the same stories they ordinarily would were they inside the building. I would put Toronto's (as yet unheard) World at Six replacement podcast and Calgary's Eyepatch Radio in this category. There's also the "lockout propaganda" school of programming -- reporting on the lockout itself. This seems to be what Vancouver's CBC Unplugged is -- "music, comedy, commentary, and the latest news in the labour dispute." I would also include the various podcasts produced by CMG locals in this category. What kind of message does this alternative programming send to the public? Advocates say it says, "We still care about public broadcasting. We care about telling Canadian stories. We want to work... we just can't." On the other hand, critics say it undermines the Guild's efforts, sending the message, "Hey look at us! We can still generate programming, even without any CBC resources!" Some say that picketing -- not working -- is a much better alternative, and sends a more powerful message. As Curious Monkey says, "Why not just walk back into the building and do it right?" By generating alternative programming, are we shooting ourselves in the foot? I'm not sure yet. Personally, I don't think the "business as usual" programming is the answer. And frankly, I worry that few outside of the CMG care about "lockout propaganda" programming. Thoughts?
Monday, August 22, 2005
More From the East Coast
At the centre of the universe
I'm in Toronto now. I arrived late Saturday night, and checked in with the CMG folks outside the Broadcast Centre yesterday. I plan to picket here this week, and am keen to compare/contrast my experience with union-friendly Windsor, Ontario. Pickets run 24/7 here, and it's a "show up whenever, stay as long as you want" system. Apparently, Monday-Wednesday are the busiest times. Any recommendations? If you're on, or passing near the line this week, and see someone who looks like this (I'm on the right), please come say hello. Would love to meet some new people.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Lockout report from my hometown
Stephanie Domet has a lockout story in this week's issue of The Coast:
I am, unbelievably, deeply sad about being locked out. It doesn't feel like a vacation. It feels like a betrayal.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Management Killed the Radio Star
Open Letter From a Locked-Out CBC Radio Employee
Just read Caitlin's Open Letter From a Locked-Out CBC Radio Employee:
The CBC is only as good as its programming, and therefore only as good as the people who create that programming. Having zero security and always worrying about where we will work next week means we can't fully concentrate on our jobs. We can't be as creative and fully engaged with our work as we'd like to because we are always wondering if we should be looking somewhere else for a real job.
Locked-out CBC workers back on air... via campus radio!
Wouldn't it be great if CBC radio newsroom staff continued to do their jobs? If we continued to file reports, conduct interviews, and produce news items? What if we kept doing newscasts, same as always? We could use our own personal minidisc recorders, computers, and editing equipment. We could air the news on CJAM (Windsor's campus/community radio station). Listeners would hear the same kinds of local stories they're used to, from the voices they're used to. We'd be sending the message, "We care about local stories. We want to work. But we can't." Would this be more effective job action than picketing outside an empty building? This was all a pie-in-the-sky conversation I had with a colleague on the picket line today. That is, until I received a call from Chris Cecile at CJAM, asking if we'd be interested in doing the very same thing we'd just been discussing. I talked to some CBC Windsor reporters, and they're keen. Turns out the very same thing is happening in Calgary:
For immediate release Calgary the first city to get CBC-calibre journalism back on air Locked out CBC staff to broadcast live programming from CJSW Calgary, AB. (August 19, 2005) - Calgary CBC fans rejoice! CBC-calibre journalism returns to the airwaves Monday August 22 when a dozen locked-out CBC Calgary journalists, producers and technicians begin live weekly radio broadcasts of their own news and current affairs program. The program will be produced and broadcast from the studios of CJSW, the University of Calgary's Students' Association radio station. The new weekly program will air Mondays from 11:00 a.m. - Noon, beginning August 22 on CJSW, 90.9 on the FM dial and will feature CBC journalists including Kathleen Petty of CBC Newsworld, Doug Dirks of CBC Television, and Judy Aldous, Jennifer Keene and Jim Brown of CBC Radio. The CJSW signal is heard throughout Calgary and surrounding municipalities. The broadcast will air one week after 5,500 CBC journalists, producers and technicians across Canada were locked out by CBC management in response to ongoing contract negotiations with the Canadian Media Guild. It will be the first radio programming in Canada by CBC staff since the lockout began. "We hope to bring CBC-level journalism back to faithful CBC Calgary listeners," said Fred Youngs, Executive Producer of CBC Newsworld in Calgary, and a member of the Canadian Media Guild. "Quality news coverage is something they have been missing since the lockout began, and we will tell, from a Canadian perspective, stories that matter to Canadians. One of the stories we hope to cover is our own: what is happening at the CBC and why."
Thursday, August 18, 2005
The lockout unlocks the ideal CBC
Russell from the Globe and Mail thinks that Radio Two sounds better during the lockout:
"No announcers. No letters being read about people's pets or retirements. No giggling 'personalities.' No folk-jazz, folk-pop or folk-classical. It's uninterrupted heaven -- and exactly what Radio Two should be."(A Globe INSIDER Edition subscription is required to access this story. You can sign up for a free trial, or try your luck at BugMeNot.)
Dan pickets for a second day
Today was my second day on the picket line, and my first full 8 hour shift. I don't think I've ever drank more water. Or worn more SPF 45 sunscreen. I arrived at 9:00 AM, and smiled when a colleague piped up, "I saw Dan Misener's blog last night." The morning passed quickly. I got a chance to walk and talk with some people I hadn't seen in a while, including the not-back-from-vacation-but-here-for-support Tony Doucette. Also chatted about Flickr and del.icio.us with Sue Braiden. For the most part, conversations were still CBC and lockout-related. But hey, when you're walking around the CBC building with your CBC co-workers during a CBC lockout, it's hard to focus on much else. Other local unions dropped by with treats (iced cappuccino!), including CAW Local 195 and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association. Thanks! I consider myself lucky. I'm young, and I'm portable, and I can live cheap. Most of what I own here fits in a couple of large Rubbermaid totes. I don't have a spouse, kids, car payments, or a mortgage. Our strike pay is pretty good, and if the lockout continues, I'll be able to eke out a humble existence. I'm not so worried about myself or those close to retirement -- we'll be OK. It's my colleagues and friends with spouses, kids, cars, and mortgages that I'm worried about. My fingers are crossed.
A breath of fresh air
And finally, before I go to bed to rest for what is sure to be another thrilling day on the picket line, here's a non-lockout related post. Via the del.icio.us "radio" tag feed comes a recent Columbia Journalism Review interview with Ira Glass, one of my radio heroes. It's called Ira Glass on Working in Television, Public Radio's Struggle For Innovation, and Hanging Up On People. Read. Enjoy. Think about making great radio.
And the CBC lockout blogs keep rolling in...
Just stumbled across Jennifer's blog. She touches on an interesting phenomenon, one that a colleague and I discussed earlier today:
... eventually a few of us hang our signs in the trees to throw around a Frisbee. I feel guilty after about half an hour, so I put my sign back on to do the long boring walk some more.There seem to be unwritten rules and expectations on the picket line. But where do these feelings of obligation come from? Besides serving as a public display, what the is function of picketing? Why do I feel guilty when I stop to sit down or have a drink?
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Do you speak Inuktitut?
Joshua at Torontoist has a few suggestions for what to do during the "projected 6-week work stoppage" (I don't know where this figure came from).
Following the discussion on Darryl's blog led me to an Anglican priest's take on the lockout:
As a member of the clergy I am extremely concerned for the welfare of our public institutions because I see the need for and the benefit of them. We need to be kept informed of what is going on in this world of ours and that is something the CBC did very well. I pray that this situation will be resolved quickly and for the benefit of all.
Picketing: Day 1 for Dan
I just got home after my first shift picketing outside CBC Windsor. I arrived at the lunch hour, and though spirits seemed lifted by the barbecue lunch, it was clear that many of my colleagues were dead tired. To collect strike pay, CMG members must picket 20 hours per week, and for some, this was their third day in a row spent outside in the hot Windsor sun. I chose to pile my 20 hours at the end of the week, so I picketed 4 hours today, and will picket for 8 hours each tomorrow and Friday. Windsor is an interesting city for job action. It is Canada's automotive capitol, and the CAW is omnipresent in daily life for many. It's a union city, and the support I saw today certainly confirmed that. Along Riverside Drive, we got many honks and waves from drivers-by, which was nice. Also, some kind folks dropped by to chat, and brought with them water and fresh fruit. The act of picketing itself is mind-numbing. You walk from one edge of of the property to another, then back again, then repeat. No matter who you talk to, the topic of discussion always seems to be the lockout. Looking on the bright side of things, though, today I learned how to play petanque.
It's nice to know that the CBC continues to post job openings. I applied for a campus/community radio job at CHRY earlier this week. Alternatively, if you're looking for work (media or otherwise), here are a few more sites to check out, courtesy of Liz "Please See Attached" Gesicki:
Ottawa Sun Editorial
Over the past few days, I've really enjoyed finding and reading blogs by other CBC employees. It's nice to come across sites like Mind the Gap -- they serve as a reminder that there are other young public broadcasters who feel the same way I do. Working at a station full of veterans, it's sometimes easy to forget there are other people in the same boat: young, interested in a career, and worried.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Looks like Tod, Yvan, Ouimet, and I are now listed on cmgtoronto.ca under "Blogs." I plan to spend this coming weekend in Toronto. And since CMG members don't have to picket where they work, I may stay a few extra days and join my Toronto colleagues on the line. A special hello to the folks at CBL and Metro Morning (that link won't work, by the way, because most individual program pages are down).
CBC listener reax, take 2
From Blogcritics.org: One Man's Opinion on the CBC Strike
What I can't accept from the CBC, though, is the massive push towards temp work. About a third of the CBC workforce right now consists of temps and contract workers. The CBC needs its full-time employees, and while it needs to be efficient it also needs to be the public network it has been since its inception. It's ridiculous to turn the CBC radio and television networks into a carbon copy of what's already out there.
Monday, August 15, 2005
CBC presents one-sided point of view to audience
Rhiannon brings up an excellent point. On its main site, CBC.ca, the corporation has posted this notice:
CBC is currently experiencing a labour disruption. Click here to go to the official CBC negotiations site.The link takes you to the CBC-run cbcnegotiations.ca. And, as Rhiannon points out, "since the CBC is the employer in this situation, it's all one sided." Looking for some balance? I couldn't find a single link to the Canadian Media Guild on cbcnegotiations.ca. Nor is there an "external link" on the CBC's coverage of the lockout. Obviously, the corporation has a vested interest in presenting its side of the story. But even during the lockout, shouldn't the CBC provide both sides? Isn't that what journalistic balance is all about?
CBC Listeners React
Just finished reading I am the face of my country / Expressionless and small at websnark.com, one of the first commentaries I've seen on CBC Radio's contingency programming. Worth a read.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
CMG/CBC close to a stike/lockout
We're less than 10 hours away from the expiry of the CBC's 72-hour lockout notice period. I keep checking cbcnegotiations.ca and cmg.ca. Last week, a colleague commented that the CMG/CBC negotiations seemed like a "bunch of teenagers bickering." I think it would have been interesting to set up a parallel set of negotiations with a bunch of teenagers. Who do you think would come to an agreement first?
Friday, August 12, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
CBC Files Lockout Notice in Negotiations with Canadian Media Guild
In my email tonight.
August 11, 2005 CBC FILES LOCKOUT NOTICE IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH CANADIAN MEDIA GUILD This evening, CBC made the difficult decision to provide the CMG with 72-hour lockout notice under the Canada Labour Code. The 72-hour notice period expires on Monday, August 15th at 12:01 a.m. if an agreement is not reached. Earlier today, CBC presented a revised comprehensive offer to CMG – one that is fair, competitive and realistic, one that recognizes the CBC’s business pressures and need for change, and that acknowledges the needs and aspirations of employees represented by CMG. It is hoped that discussions will accelerate so that we can reach agreement on all of the outstanding issues before the deadline. This is not a decision we took lightly. Despite CBC’s comprehensive offer from earlier today, no language has been agreed to since Sunday, August 7th. This is disappointing, and has given us no alternative but to serve lockout notice. CBC doesn’t want a work stoppage and we are extremely disappointed to have to take this action. However, after almost 15 months of negotiations, our key issues remain unresolved – issues which are crucial to CBC’s success as Canada’s national public broadcaster and as a well-managed company in a competitive media marketplace. For more information on our key issues, read our backgrounders at http://www.cbcnegotiations.ca/English/CBC-Issues--Interests.html. This does not automatically mean that a work stoppage will occur at that time. We are still at the bargaining table and CBC remains committed to reaching a negotiated collective agreement with the union. We recognize and regret the impact that this may have on our employees and our audiences and we remain hopeful that a deal can be reached by the deadline. To that end, CBC remains committed to trying to reach a negotiated collective agreement prior to the deadline. Jane Chalmers Richard Stursberg Vice-President Executive Vice-President CBC Radio CBC Television
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Dan needs a job
My contract at CBC Windsor is officially up on September 4. And with a strike/lockout looming, job prospects aren't looking good for September. A while ago, I applied for an Associate Producer job in Vancouver. Today I got an email from HR, letting me know that they'd "taken a second look at the technical component of this position, and have decided that it would be more appropriate to repost as an Association Producer/Technician." This may be good news, because AP/tech is my current position in Windsor. Judging by the job description, and what I've been doing this summer, I'm qualified. The unposting date is now August 23. I've got my fingers crossed. So right now, the plan for September is to move back to Toronto, and find work as a freelancer, or within the CBL casual pool.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Ads on CBC websites?
The CBC Windsor main page now features advertising for American Express. Not sure what's up with this.