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March / Canada150 – CBC Radio

In 1929, the Aird Commission on public broadcasting recommended the creation of a national radio broadcast network, partly due to the concern of the growing influence of American radio broadcasting as U.S.-based networks began to expand into Canada. After a bit of a false start, the Canadian Broadcasting Act was passed in 1936 and CBC radio first hits the airwaves on December 2. During its early years, it was a patch-work of stations limited to some of the major markets across Canada, eventually forming a single, coast-to-coast network in 1962.

For 80 years CBC radio has fulfilled its mandate to be a promoter of Canadian culture. It is the backdrop to the life of Canadians reflecting Canada and its regions to both national and regional audiences, all the while serving the special needs of those regions. It actively contributes to the flow and exchange of cultural expression and reflects the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.

Why we choose CBC Radio for the calendar

Well, it all started at the beginning of the long dash following 10 seconds of silence…

It’s true, CBC radio really was the backdrop to both of our lives growing up. Weekday mornings may have been for listening to local Toronto, Oakville or Oshawa radio stations, but every evening the dial was switched to CBC for an evening of As it Happens, and come Saturday morning CBC was played for the entire weekend, waffling between CBC Radio and CBC Stereo. Morningside, Quirks and Quarks (with David Suzuki!), Royal Canadian Air Farce, An Afternoon at the Opera. One thing your cold set your watch by, was listening to Gilmore’s Albums on Sundays from noon to 1pm. Immediately following each broadcast, the National Research Time Council would broadcast the signal indicating exactly 1pm EST. And in the Cudmore household, that meant all 60+ antique clocks were wound and set to the proper time.

Recently, CBC lost a magical voice when Stuart McLean passed away. He is best known for his Vinyl Cafe series following the lives of Dave and Morley. How often did you find yourself captured by the story, listening until the end before you could continue doing what you were doing. Maybe you were in your car and had to stay until the story finished, waiting to see how Dave wiggled out of whatever predicament he had gotten himself into. Maybe you were putting on your coat to run an errand, but had wait and find out if Sam found the courage to hold the girl’s hand in the movie theatre.

Do you have a favourite CBC Radio program?