At the time, there were only a few private channels. There was an obvious role for a public broadcaster trying to reach all Canadians in big cities or small and remote communities; to connect them to the rest of the country and the world; and to bring them together through a shared expression of ideas and culture. It worked very well for several decades and had a profound influence on how we see ourselves and the world.
Fast forward to 2016. The media landscape, with its hundreds of channels and its millions of sources of information and culture, is radically different. Yet, CBC/Radio-Canada seems frozen in time.
It tries to occupy every niche, even though it doesn’t have and will never have the means to do so, with the result being lower-quality programming. The viewership for its English service in particular has reached new lows. To stay relevant, it reinterprets its mandate every few years, going from crisis to crisis.
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