One thing they used to do well was classical music. Of course, they don’t any more – not since they gutted classical programming on CBC Radio 2.
One of the reasons the CBC gave for this change was the low ratings that Radio 2 consistently received. Averaged nationally, the network failed to attract much more than a 3 percent audience share. In other words, considering all the radio stations that 100 anglophone Canadians might be tuned to at any given time, CBC Radio 2 could be expected to have about three people listening in.
CBC execs decided they needed to attract a new, younger audience, and, to this end, filled the Radio 2 schedule with a variety of popular music shows. (“Singer-songwriters” are much indulged.) So, three years after the revolution, how is Radio 2 doing?
The organization that collects audience statistics for radio is BBM Canada (formerly known as the Bureau of Broadcast Measurements). On their website, I found some interesting stats, broken down by various Canadian cities. If we compare statistics for the spring of 2007, when programming was still largely classical, with numbers for spring 2011, here’s what we find for Radio 2. (The following statistics are for the only five Canadian cities for which BBM Canada provides a detailed analysis in both 2007 and 2011.)
- Toronto: down from 1.8 percent to 1.3 percent
- Montreal: down from 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent
- Calgary: down from 2.2 percent to 2.0 percent
- Edmonton: down from 5.3 percent to 2.3 percent
- Vancouver: down from 6.5 percent to 3.5 percent
I’d wish the CBC a happy birthday – but I don’t think classical music lovers in Canada have a lot to celebrate, where Radio 2 is concerned, these days.
© Colin Eatock 2011