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CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world

20 Sep 00 - 02:20 PM (#301511)
Subject: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Rana who SHOULD be working

It was just posted on Maplepost that this Saturday will be the last for Cate Friesen's Absolutely Folk, Kai Black's World Music programme and John Valentine's Blues programme. This is a serious blow to folks not only in Toronto, but around Ontario and those who pick it up on satellite etc. The shows are being replaced by 6 hours of jazz - the station is just going to concentrate on jazz and classical. Undoubtedly economics will be playing a big factor.

These programmes were very good and also very important to the local scene in Toronto. More of this type of music programming should have been broadcast instead of a paltry 6 hours / week.

I don't know whether other regions have suffered similar fates - maybe others out there can relate horror stories.

Rana


20 Sep 00 - 03:28 PM (#301571)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Steve Latimer

That's a major loss. I have tuned in for years, I was introduced to a lot of artists that I might never have heard otherwise on both the Folk and Blues shows.

Perhaps we had better start writing CJRT and asking for them back. It is a public radio station after all.


20 Sep 00 - 03:30 PM (#301572)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper

Dear Rana,

The Chicago Public Radio station dropped all it's folk programming about seven years ago now. It kept Thistle and Shamrock and considered Prairie Home Companion a folk show. It dropped Folk Sampler, SingOut Songbag and a local eclectic folk/enthnic show (played a variety, all of it the "real stuff"), again for news and jazz. There is a suburban public station that still has folk programming and WFMT's Midnight Special gets cabled around the country. But I tell the Chicago public radio station that they will get my pledge dollars again when they revive folk programming. Otherwise, I glady tell everyone to freeload for the programs they like on NPR.


20 Sep 00 - 03:36 PM (#301578)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Rana who SHOULD be working

In case people are interest from our area - letters have been sent - some pretty strong, which have been posted on maplepost. I got these from one of the posts:

(416) 595-0404 (general office number in Toronto) (416) 595-9413 - fax number camroux@cjrt.fm for President and CEO Chuck Camroux

Rana


20 Sep 00 - 04:00 PM (#301590)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Rana who SHOULD be working

Hi Phil,

I was replying previously while you were replying. Someone was indeed telling me that the CJRT was following a trend in the States. This move does leave us too much - maybe CIUT, CKLN will gain more deserved audience - the Saturday time slot, however, was good. CBC never replaced Max Ferguson - seems harder to get outlets for this music.

Rana


20 Sep 00 - 11:31 PM (#301947)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Faded Denim

I wrote my letter protesting the cancellation today! Don't just talk about it and feel bad. Try to send your letter (E-Mail) to Chuck Camroux TODAY! NOW! Call all your friends ang encourage them to write too. DON'T PUT IT OFF! Please. :o)


20 Sep 00 - 11:35 PM (#301950)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Howard Be My Name

Well Rana, you should tell everyone in Toronto to listen to Mudcat Radio. It's all we need.


20 Sep 00 - 11:50 PM (#301964)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Rana

Sorry Howard,

It is not. I don't listen to stuff through my computer - sound quality is not there, I haven't bothered with unlimited access - so I'll avoid burning up my hours. Some people don't have computers (shock, horror), and it can't be geared to directly to each community - a big service of these shows was telling people what was going on - important medium to get the word out for folk clubs etc.

Rana


20 Sep 00 - 11:59 PM (#301971)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: CamiSu

Rana,

Is there someont within the station sympathetic to your plight? New Hampshire Public Radio tried that a few years ago, and at several public hearings, the public was very vocal about folk remaining in the lineup. THEN when fund time came around the most amazing thing happened. They met their goal for the 4 hours in the first half hour, and then met another hastily set up goal, and another and another. They ended up getting 10% of their goal in about 3% of their fundraising time. There has been no talk of getting rid of what they have now. Now if I could just get it to come in during the summer...

CamiSu


21 Sep 00 - 12:30 AM (#301990)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Art Thieme

Phil,

I agree with you. That's a good reason to not give 'em our cash. At the risk of fitting into a stereotype, I have to say that it's the youth movement---young upstarts pushing out the Norm Pellegrinis of this world (WFMT-Chicago) in favor of testosterone driven phenoms who believe that ratings and big bucks is what public communications are and should be all about----it's these ignorant cheubic usurpers whom I blame for these doings all over the map.

(Phil, I need to talk to you about plans for Lake Geneva in October.)

Art Thieme


21 Sep 00 - 06:37 AM (#302086)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Howard Be My Name

Sorry Rana, I was being sarcastic. I know that local radio is important. You still have Rick Fielding's show.

Art, you are being silly in blaming young people.


21 Sep 00 - 09:07 AM (#302156)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

i wrote cjrt yesterday, saying that i have been a faithful listener and supporter of the saturday afternoon shows. i said that i will withdraw my financial support if cate friesen's wonderful "Absolutely Folk" show is cancelled.

this was my response from chuck camroux.... ..................................................

Thank you for your e-mail concerning CJRT programming.

Recently CJRT eliminated eight freelance positions. As most freelance positions are in the programming department, six freelance host positions were cut. This is a cost reduction move and in no way reflects on the performance of the hosts. Nor does it reflect a change in program policy. Where a freelance host represents a specific genre of music, in most instances that genre will be incorporated within the other programs of CJRT or will be handled by regular staff members.

Although we have attempted since the beginning of 1996 (when government subsidies ended) to keep changes or program host reductions to a minimum. It is not possible to remain static without substantial funding above our current levels.As a member/donor, which I assume you are, you are no doubt well aware of the CJRT financial position.

Again, thank you for your e-mail.

Chuck Camroux President & C.E.O.


21 Sep 00 - 09:10 AM (#302159)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

i wrote cjrt yesterday, saying that i have been a faithful listener and supporter of the saturday afternoon shows. i said that i will withdraw my financial support if cate friesen's wonderful "Absolutely Folk" show is cancelled.

this was my response from chuck camroux.... ..................................................

Thank you for your e-mail concerning CJRT programming.

Recently CJRT eliminated eight freelance positions. As most freelance positions are in the programming department, six freelance host positions were cut. This is a cost reduction move and in no way reflects on the performance of the hosts. Nor does it reflect a change in program policy. Where a freelance host represents a specific genre of music, in most instances that genre will be incorporated within the other programs of CJRT or will be handled by regular staff members.

Although we have attempted since the beginning of 1996 (when government subsidies ended) to keep changes or program host reductions to a minimum. It is not possible to remain static without substantial funding above our current levels.As a member/donor, which I assume you are, you are no doubt well aware of the CJRT financial position.

Again, thank you for your e-mail.

Chuck Camroux President & C.E.O.


21 Sep 00 - 09:17 AM (#302168)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

no repeat intended.

~'nut


21 Sep 00 - 09:21 AM (#302171)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Willie-O

What kind of a public station is CJRT? (Ryerson?)

And it's got a prsident and CEO? Jeez, I don't get it.

W-O


21 Sep 00 - 09:57 AM (#302194)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Steve Latimer

Willie-O,

CJRT is indeed Ryerson.

It has been mentioned that we still have Rick's show, we also have the one that preceeds it, "Let The Good Times Roll" a very good blues show. I find that Saturday afternoons are a lot easier for me to find time to listen to the radio. I try to tune in to the Monday night CIUT programs as often as I can, but I'm usually busy those nights.

The folk show on CJRT used to run for three hours, was cut back to two, the Blues show is also two hours, so obviously they can play a lot more music than the one hour slots on CIUT. They also are (were) very active in promoting local shows and festivals. This will be a great loss if allowed to happen.


21 Sep 00 - 10:36 AM (#302220)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Rana who SHOULD be working

Walnut,

That response is word for word what I and others received. It seems that they are going to save salaries and replace it by packaged music which is probably cheaper.

Rana


21 Sep 00 - 10:54 AM (#302252)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

Interesting, Rana...a canned response to match the new programming.

Some of you who are following this thread do not know that the quality of 'Absolutely Folk' has been absolutely outstanding. Cate Friesen has created a programme which plays bluegrass, celtic, singer/songwriters, blues, gospel, old-timey, sacred harp, interviews, you name it. There is a lot of Canadian content, but this show is also where I discovered the likes of Martin Simpson and Kelly Joe Phelps. Cate knows her stuff inside and out, up and down, and presents it all with class, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and no needless chatter. If I can't be near a radio Saturday afternoons, I tape the show so I can listen to it later in the week. If I'm driving with my family in the car on Saturday afternoons, CJRT is always on the radio. If (that is a very hopeful 'if') this show goes off the air, it will be a huge loss, to me, and to the Toronto community. I keep shaking my head in disbelief.....

Here are a couple of links:

CATE FRIESEN:

Click here

ABSOLUTELY FOLK, CJRT:

Click here

~black walnut


21 Sep 00 - 11:41 AM (#302281)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: CamiSu

~'nut

I would be tempted to write him back and ask just HOW much difference the cost of 6 Hrs/week of programming will make and tell him he might try putting it to the people. They have to pay something for the stuff they're replacing the folk with, so it cannot be that much, and I'll bet the folkies would come through, given the option.

BTW W-O, most public radio stations in the States are corporations of some sort, and as such have to have a president & CEO or Pres & Station manager. They're just names for people who work pretty hard, for not a lot of return, and sometimes mess up.

Cami Su


21 Sep 00 - 12:07 PM (#302295)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Jim the Bart

I have to second (or third) Mr. Collins statements about the wasteland that Folk-oriented radio in Chicago has become. And it appears that Toronto is heading down the same road. It's great that New Hampshire was apparently able to swing things around through pledges, but I'm afraid that the size of the market in cities like Toronto and Chicago makes that strategy less effective. Unfortunately, when things like public radio get opened to the forces of Capitalism, this is the end result.

I hate to get political, but it's all about dollar democracy. There is a movement that feels that the best way to improve publicly supported programming is to open it to market forces. Though there may seem to be some benefits in putting the feet of programmers to the fire (created by the "competitive market"), the end result is always the reduction in choice. Here's how it appears to work (appears to me, at least, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):

"Competing in the market" requires the focusing of dollars in those areas that are perceived to be most profitable (as opposed to beneficial)and least expensive. Jazz is seen in public radio as turning out the biggest numbers among the "alternative music" crowd and, hence, you get a lot of jazz and faux-jazz programming. Following jazz there's blues - another good seller, particularly in urban markets like Chicago and Toronto (mostly electric blues, by the way). After that you get syndicated stuff like Thistle and Shamrock, which can be purchased rather than produced and brings in the Celtic audience. It's often cheaper and with broader appeal than "home-grown" programming an leaves the production studios free to crank out more jazz programs. Finally, at the bottom of the food chain, competing for the remaining musical "shelf-space", is traditional folk, bluegrass, world music, reggae and God-knows-what-all (polka, dixieland, cajun and other "local-color" stuff). There is almost no chance that you will get the focused pledge money necessary to change the economics that you're facing here. So what do you do?

Develop and support the alternatives.

When I was in Boston I heard more folk music at more hours of the day on more days of the week than I thought was possible. It seemed that a lot of this was from college stations; maybe it was because you could pick up Public stations from more than just one market. I dunno. I was never there long enough to really figure it out. It know that in Chicago the best folk I hear these days is on a local college station (WDCB form the College of Dupage). Before that there was a smaller, local station (WCBR in Arlington Hts.)that was a great supporter of acoustic music until it got bought by a major broadcast syndicate. Maybe you have to by-pass the big public radio stations and put your money and support behind the smaller, private stations.

I don't mean to ramble and I sure don't mean to get negative. I believe that opening public service outlets to capitalism eventually reduces choice. (All of you in the states who are so enthralled with vouchers and other plans to open schools to market forces should think about this before the next election). I also think that once it's been done you're sunk. You might as well tell your story walking. Write a letter if it makes you feel better, but don't waste your energy "fighting the power"; all your compelling arguments get washed away by one stinking demographic spreadsheet. Find and nurture the alternatives.


21 Sep 00 - 01:01 PM (#302334)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: GUEST,arnie

That leaves us in Toronto with heros Rick Fielding , Steve Fruitman, Steve Pritchard, and the occasional CBC show that might play some folk music from time to time, although none of those programs have diverse folk playlists like the "Absolutely Folk" show consistantly had. It's up to you now to clue us in over the airwaves as to what's up- we're depending on you more than ever! I've been an occasional listener, and contributor over many years to the folk show, and many times was inspired by the music -new and old that they played, and also kept us informed of the latest concerts and festivals on regular basis. They were also kind enough to play cuts from my banjo recording. CJRT will be missed by the folk community - too bad! Arnie


22 Sep 00 - 07:12 AM (#302906)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

i invited chuck to read this thread on mudcat. this was his response:

I am sure many people locally are upset, and have caused many others who are not regular listeners or contributors across the land, country and countries to become concerned, even angry that we have cut staff. If the financial support overall and for specific programs is not available, from donors, donor corporations, taxpayers or advertisers, things change. No different when clubs fold because of lack of income, or record companies stop releasing a certain artist because of lack of income, etc etc.

No one is saying certain kinds of music are of less value. We are only saying that we can't afford to support paid freelancers at this time. Many full time paid staff are no longer with us. Changes that have occurred over the past couple of years as we, like many other small, niche organizations struggle to survive.


01 Oct 00 - 11:24 AM (#309565)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

this was posted on canada folk this morning, and i think it sheds an interesting light on the decision making of cjrt....

"I imagine I'm not the only one who saw Goddard's "Persuasion" column in the in the Saturday Star (Sept. 30,2000) but, he has said essentially the same things that have been said on these lists so eloquently by Richard and Derek and oh so many others. I missed "Absolutely Folk" this weekend. The only good thing is that I got to hear all of DNTO on CBC and Heartland, oops, Band Width, Bill Stunts reformatted show. It is interesting that Goddard points out that the recent deal between the National Post and cjrt probably has a lot to do with the changes. The station will be broadcasting in real time from the post's website. The post's survey show 40% of their readers prefer lite jazz and classical music. What do the other 60% like. I love the line he uses: Woody Guthrie and Conrad Black are not on the same page. Cheers, Russ Musgrove. "

i sure missed being able to hear folk, world and blues shows on cjrt yesterday....

~'nut


01 Oct 00 - 12:19 PM (#309589)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: black walnut

Working backwards, as I sometimes do, especially on days like today when struck by an evil cold virus, I will send you the whole Peter Goddard article, for the benefit of you who might be interested and who do not receive the Toronto Star:

"A commercial tie-in might also be behind the recent program purge at CJRT-FM.

The non-profit classical and jazz station has become increasingly commercial since the arrival in 1998 of new station manager Chuck Camroux, who's struggled to make up the Harris government's 1996 cancellation of the $1.3 million provincial gran - about 40 per cent of the station's revenue.

Last weekend heard the end of the CJRT-FM's folk, world-music, blues and swing-era Saturday afternoon shows. Rumours of their cancellation resulted in a deluge from fans around the city, admits CJRT-FM music director Alex Baran.

Gone from Sunday's lineup are are Record In Review and Sunday At The Opera. Starting today, Saturday's afternoon slot will feature a jazz show hosted by Mary Lou Creechan. Sundays, starting tomorrow, will have mostly classical music.

'Money,' said Baran recently, 'it's all about money.'

With the new streamlining, Camroux projects saving of up to $100,000 a year.

But sources close to the station say Camroux's projections are nonsense. 'The maximum he's saving is around $25,000 through these cancellations,' says one insider.

'And he's going to lose far more than that in pledges, which aren't going to come to the station when they start fundraising on air. Thes fans are really (bleep).'

BUT TORONTO'S NEWSPAPER WARS MAY BE THE REAL DECIDING FACTOR BEHIND CJRT-FM'S STREAMLINED NEW FORMAT. (capitalization mine. ~b.w.)

A recent deal between the station and the National Post will have CJRT-FM being offered live - in real-time audio, as part of the National Post Online service - within weeks.

Since a National Post survey found that 40 per cent of its readers preferred classical and jazz, it surely behooves CJRT-FM to go along with its new-found media partner.

Conrad Black and Woody Guthrie are not on the same page.

Yet this apparent boom for jazz buffs might prove to be a bust. All the new jazz added to the station since Camroux arrived has been lightweight non-jazz.

If what Post readers really want from the station proves to be pleasant, jazz Muzak, then 35-year CJRT veteran Ted O'Reilly's weekday program, a source of real jazz, might be in danger, too.

And CJRT-FM would have the bucks but not the music."

(....Peter Goddard, Persuasion, Sept.30, 2000 The Toronto Star)

tres interessant, n'est-ce pas?

~black walnut


01 Oct 00 - 03:29 PM (#309717)
Subject: RE: CJRT Toronto dropping folk, blues, world
From: Metchosin

Re surveys and statistics," there are lies, damned lies and statistics". To add one of my own, recently read somewhere, there has also been a 10% increase in the sale of acoustic guitars each year for the last two years. Considering the exponential growth in Mudcat in the last little while and because of my involvement with youthful musicians, in the 17 to 25 age group here on the west coast of Canada at least, I am not surprised.

There is a mini rennaisance in folk music interest going on here. These kids are longing for melody and substance that they can't find in the usual places.

Yeah, some of it is testosterone driven. When was it ever not? Are they folkies? As much as Joanie Mitchell and Bob Dylan ever were. These kids are busy making music on their own terms, in their own voice, without primarily commercial intent.

When you play them a cut of Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella's Tarantella of Paganini or Leadbelly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night, the lights go on. They use Napster and Macster without hesitation, not only for new alternative stuff, but to search for the music of the world, to which they have not been previously exposed . They aren't ethnically, generically nor culturally biased and a folk song from Greece played on instruments of antiquity is as exciting to them as Green Tambourine by the Lemon Pipers.

They do not look to MuchMusic and the usual packaged stuff and are deeply into seeking out the roots of the music they play. Rather than hindering their search or casting aspersions, we should be helping.

IMHO, University and PB stations that ignore this group and their interests, do so at their peril. As the bottom line for radio's content seems to be the buck, they should remember, that these children also have parents, who are part of the other 60%, who are part of the 70%, who don't read the newspaper on line or off. Maybe some one should write a song with the words "So you'd better start swimming, or you'll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changing". End of Rant.