The facts behind Richard Stursberg’s recent, abrupt exit from the CBC remain unclear, but are probably mundane. The facts of CBC Television’s current precarious situation, however, are far from mundane. [...]
The CBC is a bizarre institution, a rats’ nest of ego, bickering, backstabbing, rumour and sour dislike of anyone who either has power inside CBC, or anyone or anything that isn’t part of the CBC. It’s a wonder they ever get around to producing any shows. Inside CBC, Stursberg was demonized when he took charge because he was exactly what the place needed – someone strong-willed enough to be dismissive of the CBC’s lazy internal culture. He dragged the CBC into the modern world of big-media companies.
And now what? Well, anyone who thinks that Stursberg’s departure means a reversal of his various TV and radio implementations is kidding him- or herself. The five-year plan has more to do with capital spending, hardware and financial management systems than it has to do with dramas and sitcom on TV or the genre of music played on CBC radio channels. Things are not going backward. If you worship at the altar of the old CBC of Peter Gzowski and Barbara Frum, you are not going home again. We’ll all be living with Stursberg’s CBC for a long time to come.
Stursberg’s CBC is ratings-driven, populist, pop-culture-obsessed in its news coverage, lightweight, disdainful of the arts and mortally afraid of appearing highbrow. Of course, Stursberg is undoubtedly proud of the CBC he’s moulded and indeed it has brought some measure of ratings success. [...]