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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 13, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta March 13, LETHMIDQE HERALD-43 Its survival is a Canadian miracle, says U of L professor 'Criticizing CBC as much a national sport as hockey9 Beset with financial restrictions, external criticism and inner controversy, the survival of the CBC television network is nothing short of a Canadian miracle, claims a University of Lethbridge political science professor. Roger Rickwood says criticizing the CBC is as much a national sport as watching hockey. He cautions that the recent furor during the CRTC hearings, decrying the CBC's lack of service and sensitivity, didn't give a totally accurate picture. Professor Rickwood is currently completing his doctoral thesis on the history of the CBC, with emphasis on the influence of special interest groups in the formulation of Canadian broadcasting policy from 1932 to 1938. "What's wrong with the CBC he asserts, "can be directly related to tight budgets restricting programing and station construction Extension of the CBC's owned and operated broadcast system is the only solution to improving the programing in Canada, thinks Rickwood. At present, the CBC network consists of both CBC-owned and private-affiliate stations. "We should try to understand the affiliates' says Professor Rickwood "They are in an awkward position because they must feature slick programs which are not usually CBC productions, to get advertising revenue. It will be a long time before the CBC could win either the public funds or the support to take over or replace all their affiliates, but that would be the means for the CBC to increase national programing and produce relevant local input." "The CBC." he continues, "is unlike any private Lion ofjudah, King of Kings Emperor Haile Selassie I Students hold key to peace in Ethiopea By HENRY S. HAYWARD Christian Science Monitor ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia appears to be returning to normal after its combined military upsurge and government crisis. But an undercurrent of uneasiness persists that trouble still may flare again. What concerned neutral observers here was that while the short-run crisis may have been eased, in the long run more trouble may loom ahead. The hasty emergency solutions of the past week, it was said, have only papered over the cracks. They may well have set other forces in motion which will prove equally troublesome and will have to be solved sooner or later. "The old cabinet gets off. it seems, with a relative slap on the wrist." a Western resident commented. "Whether this will satisfy students and others hoping for basic reforms remains to be seen." Indeed the only people assuaged so far are the armed forces, police, and security units, whose demands could not be ignored, even by. the emperor. But the ordinary Ethiopian still has nothing better to look forward to in the face of shortages and rising prices. If there were such a thing as nationwide sentiment here, it almost certainly would be about the need for a change due to economic factors. Students, meanwhile, remain a potentially important influence. They were amiable during the initial army takeovers of strategic points in Addis Ababa, bat later when a crowd estimated at up to 7.000 students marched through the city to protest the appointment of new Prime Minister Endalkachew Makonnen. 28 some minor clashes with the police and soldiers occurred. This apparently signaled the end of the honeymoon. The students regard Mr. Makonnen as another establishment man. unlikely to produce enough changes to suit them. But they will wait and see, for the moment The men in uniform, on the other hand, apparently feel more confident their need will be taken care of, no matter what happens. Some experts, meanwhile, blame the fuel crisis for having triggered much of the trouble. The recent 50 per cent increase in gasoline prices here affected not only drivers but the price of items delivered by vehicle. The price per gallon went up to the equivalent of Another sign of inflation is soaring food prices. Chicken now costs two or three times its former price, and the general public feels it is being gouged by profiteers. No price controls appear to be working on food items. Through it all. Emperor Haile Selassie I remains personally popular. He was cheered by crowds on the anniversary of the Battle of Adowa in 1896. when Ethiopian forces under Emperor Menelik II beat Italian colonial troops. In the northern city of Asmara, where a revolt by enlisted men and junior officers sparked the original disturbance which brought down the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Aklilu Habte- Wold. the airport and banks were reported reopened. Detained officials also were released there. But in Addis Ababa, a sense of tension not very far beneath the surface also continued. Much obviously depends on the composition of the Cabinet which the new Prime Minister was still in the process of choosing. Some circles suggest the military may want to approve his selections and perhaps ensure that some of the new Cabinet ministers are sympathetic to their wants. The emperor ordered reform March 5, and announced Prime Minister Makonnen will call a constitutional conference. The results of the conference, due in six months, are expected to curtail the virtually unlimited powers of the emperor. Coupled with the announcement was the lifting of a curfew in Addis Ababa. broadcaster in the country: it is responsible directly to Parliament, in the same way the CRTC is. In a way, it's rather presumptuous of one parliamentary agency like the CRTC to tell another, like the CBC, what to do and how to run its affairs." Professor Rickwood describes the much-publicized Committee on Television, headed by such Toronto writers and broadcasters as Robert Fulford and Patrick Watson, as the "sour grapes gang." During the recent Canadian Radio-Television Commission licensing hearings, the COT voiced harsh complaints about specific failures of the CBC. "Most of the members of the Committee on Television have had more than one heated disagreement with the CBC Rickwood notes, "so their disgruntlement has a personal basis, whether they are conscious of it or not." The political science professor says CBC critics like the COT "attack the symptoms rather than the causes of the network's woes. And the cause he specifies is funding. The cue relies mainly on Parliament for its says Professor Rickwood. "This makes both executives and programers cautious. They don't want to produce anything too controversial for fear of great parliamentary outcry resulting in curtailment of their funds. I don t blame them for being cautious. "The CBC executive is he adds. The CBC cannot afford to limit itself to programming for the elite they can't justifiably demand the chunk of money they do, if they're serving only a small segment of the population." Professor Rickwood says the Committee on Television's constant referral to the 'golden age of the days when the CBC was doing the 'right is not entirely founded in fact. "They're talking about a different says Rickwood. "The CBC didn't have the competition it has now There were Canadian productions, but not all of them were well-done. True, CBC programming is still bland and something has to be done about that. However the CBC has increased its programming skills, has diversified As public affairs content and has been doing some very good 'synthetic history'. Shows like "The Tenth Decade." "First Person Singular" and "The National Dream" seem to be what the CBC does best. They should do more similar programs it's one way to capture large audiences and present what is essentially a Canadian experience." Although it is impossible for the CBC to please all of the public all of the time, Professor Rickwood believes it could produce more drama based on characteristic aspects of Canadian life something the average man could identify with and enjoy And costly though such a step may be, Professor Rickwood says the network must begin developing more regional stations-where local shows can be produced. Criticism that CBC network programming tends to ignore the regions is justified, says Rickwood. he adds, "if the CBC were to build a station in Calgary, as is proposed, the Alberta point of view could come across in home-produced programs. With time and increased expertise he speculates that some Western productions might be aired on the eastern networks, instead of the imbalanced Eastern to Western exchange now occurring. Rickwood says the centralized national news now presented by the CBC would be improved by increased regional stations a Calgary station could augment the eastern-oriented evening news show with one detailing Alberta and western affairs an 'Alberta Bulletin' format. Part of the CBC's tendency to ignore the west may be blamed on the federal government, which has been loath to spend more money developing CBC-owned stations and production units in western Canada, maintains Rickwood "The CBC has been concerned and has acknowledged the gap in the western he says, "but it's the same old story, lack of money." To prohibit anything but Canadian content on the national networks, as some rabid patriots proposes, would be in direct contradiction of the basic tenets on which the CBC was founded, Rickwood maintains. "The CBC is as complex as Canada he continues, "and there is no panacea to instantly cure all its ills. But of one thing I am sure the CBC has to run itself. 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