Currie’s Corner 630, June 7, 2018

Currie's Corner, Nostalgia Cafe

Currie’s Corner 630,  June 7, 2018

Welcome to 2018 and the era of far too many choices. Remember when we complained that there was “nothing to watch” most of the time on that piece of furniture we called ‘The Idiot Box’ ? Not any more. Our choices are growing by the hour it seems, and traditional TV and cable are in the fight of their lives for eyeballs and the all important advertising dollars.

The number of Canadians who are ‘cutting the cord’ is growing by leaps and bounds. Netflix is the big kid on the block when it comes to online streaming, but other services are also growing quickly. What’s the response of our government in Ottawa ? For almost 50 years, the focus has been on regulation through an agency called the CRTC, the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission. Today’s ever evolving landscape has moved way beyond the ability of any public agency to control things, but tell that to Justin Trudeau and friends.

The Liberals are enlisting a special panel of seven ‘experts’ to help rewrite Canada’s broadcasting regulations so that Netflix and others will be forced to embrace more Canadian content. The panel will apparently also be asked to review the mandate of the dear old CBC with the aim of protecting the public broadcaster against possible funding cuts by less friendly regimes in the future.

The seven ‘wise people’ are expected to be given 18 months to complete their work, but their final report will not be delivered until after the next federal election .. most interesting.

Heaven knows what these people will come up with, or what the communications landscape will look like then, but here’s a free suggestion. Why not hire a well known consultant from Chicago. I’m talking about a lawyer named Newton Minow who was appointed to chair the F C C by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Before being appointed, he seldom watched any television. After spending several days at home in front of his ‘idiot box’ he declared in a famous speech that he and his colleagues at the Commission were presiding over a “Vast Wasteland”.

Newton is still going strong at 91 years of age.

So many choices .

I’m Roger Currie