The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (known in French as (la Société) Radio-Canada or SRC), is the government owned national network in Canada. It was originally a national network of radio stations founded in 1936. It was founded as the successor of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission founded in 1932 which was, in turn, the federally-mandated replacement for the Canadian National Railways radio network, established in 1923. Indirectly, this makes the CBC the second-oldest broadcast network in the world, after the BBC. The first CBC television broadcasts began in September, 1952.
English-language CBC radio is split into two channels. CBC Radio One provides a mix of local and national programming, mostly news and public affairs, but with some music and comedy programming as well. CBC Music (formerly CBC Radio 2) is mostly classical music and opera, though it has been adding more popular music lately, and consists mostly of national programming. Neither network runs advertisements except during federal elections when it's legally required to run candidate ads. However, budget considerations have prompted the CBC to get permission for advertising on Radio 2 on a tentative basis in the fall of 2013.
French-language SRC radio also has two channels. Ici Radio-Canada Première (formerly Première Chaîne) is the French equivalent of CBC Radio One, and has a similar broadcasting focus. Ici Musique (formerly Espace musique) is the French equivalent of CBC Music, and until 2004, had a similar format to its English counterpart, with the name La chaîne culturelle. Radio-Canada decided to move most of the high-brow cultural programs to Première Chaîne, while the now-rebranded Espace musique started focusing on classical, jazz, folk, and world music. This rebranding was controversial, but proved popular.
There is also RCI, Radio Canada International, which is the CBC's international arm.
Some national programs from CBC Radio One are:
- As it Happens: Evening news magazine where the hosts call the subjects for interviews. (also syndicated to NPR stations, mainly in the Upper Midwest)
- Because News: A comedy quiz show where comedians guess the news events of the week.
- Cross Country Checkup: A national call-in show focusing on politics.
- The Current: Morning current affairs magazine.
- Day 6: A more lighthearted news program.
- The Debaters: A game show where pairs of comedians debate subjects with the aim of both being as persuasive and funny as possible.
- Definitely Not the Opera: A light arts and human interest show which aired at the same time as CBC Radio 2's weekly opera broadcast.
- The House: National political affairs.
- Ideas: Intellectual documentaries and lectures.
- q: An interview-based arts show and podcast hosted by rapper Shad (also syndicated to NPR)
- Quirks and Quarks: National science program.
- Spark: A weekly show focusing on technology and its relationship with culture
- The Sunday Edition: The Sunday morning current affairs and culture show.
- This Is That: A satire show that is a Stealth Parody of CBC Radio's news interview shows.
- Unreserved: A arts and current affairs program focusing on Indigenous (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) culture.
- The Vinyl Cafe: Comedy and variety show, basically a Canadian equivalent of A Prairie Home Companion, down to the touring live shows and its folksy storyteller host, Stuart McLean.
- Vinyl Tap: Classic rock show hosted by Canadian rock legend, Randy Bachman (of the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive.)
- The World at Six/The World This Weekend: The main evening news show.
Radio One has certain quotas of locally-produced content during the morning rush hour, lunch hour, and evening rush hour. This usually takes the form of a local morning show, a province-wide afternoon call-in show, and a local or province-wide evening show (depending on population). A full list of how the programs are distributed is here on The Other Wiki.
Radio One used to have at least one Radio Drama running as well until budget cuts forced the corporation to end the practice. These included:
- Afghanada: Essentially Canada's Tour of Duty, about Canada soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
- Backbencher: The misadventures of a rookie backbencher Member of Parliament serving in Canada's federal parliament in Ottawa.
- Canadia: 2056: A satire on the War on Terror and Canada's role therein, set on the starship Canadia, the only Canadian contribution to an American interstellar invasion fleet. The ship specialize in toilet repair.
- Monsoon House: A series starring Russell Peters about the misadventures of an Indo-Canadian family and their small book publishing business.
- Trust Inc.: The trials of a Toronto based public relations firm.
Launching in the year 2000, the CBC introduced CBC Radio 3 devoted entirely to Canadian indie music. Unlike Radio One and Radio Two, Radio 3 did not broadcast on terrestrial radio waves, but as a live streaming feed online and, as of 2005, satellite radio. Radio 3 served as a Voice with an Internet Connection for new Canadian indie rock, (anti-)folk, and alternative hip hop, a launching pad for Canadian artists to get their music heard on a national and international broadcast service. Dedicating a non-standard broadcasting space to new music allowed the CBC to keep their terrestrial stations more focused on their traditional programming, though given that the CBC is a national radio and television service, an Unpleasable Fanbase is all but inevitable. In more recent years, the brand has been reworked into CBC Music, an on-demand music streaming service.
CBC's television arm has five main channels: CBC Television, Ici Radio-Canada Télé, CBC News Network (formerly CBC Newsworld), Ici RDI, Documentary channel, Ici ARTV (formerly ARTV), Ici Explora (formerly Explora), TV5 Québec Canada and Unis TV. The latter nine are cable channels. The first two French-language channels were formerly known as Télévision de Radio-Canada and Réseau de l'Information respectively — the CBC initially tried to rename Télévision de Radio-Canada as "Ici Télé" in 2013, but strong backlash from critics and politicians eventually led them to use the current name instead. The usage of "ici" is meant to refer to its longtime identification cue "ici Radio-Canada", which would be kinda like CBC renaming itself "This Is CBC".
CBC Television is a traditional TV channel, except that it runs predominantly Canadian programming, with a few British Series added in. Ici Radio-Canada Télé is similar, but broadcasts in the French language. In terms of programming layout, it resembles a cross between one of the American "Big Three" networks and PBS with commercials. CBC News Network is a 24-hour news network, similar to CNN or BBC World News. Its French equivalent is Ici RDI. There's also Documentary channel, a CBC, the National Film Board of Canada and four indie producers joint venture, which shows just documentaries, obviously. From the other French channels, they're Ici ARTV, a channel cetered on art and culture, while Ici Explora, another channel, is centered on science and world discoveries. Then, there TV5 Québec Canada, which is the Canadian version of TV5Monde, which CBC also own stakes of, and its sister channel, Unis TV, which center on general French content from around the country. The latter two are also co-owned with Télé-Québec and TFO.
Bold, one of CBC's previous digital TV channel, was not too different from CBC Television. It was originally Country Canada, a rural-oriented joint venture between the CBC and fellow Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment. CBC bought Corus's share in 2002 and added "CBC" to the name. The rural elements of the channel were largely dropped before the name change. It was then sold to Blue Ant Media, who rename the channel, Cottage Life, based off the magazine. The CBC also previously owned Newsworld International, seen on US cable systems; it was later sold to create Al Gore's "Current TV", which was sold to Al Jazerra in 2013.
The CBC also provides funding for Canadian television shows, and was once one of the main sources of such funding. However, its budget has suffered in recent years and other networks have stepped up in their place. Unfortunately, this resulted in losing the income of its major sports show, Hockey Night in Canada, when the exclusive National Hockey League Canadian broadcast rights were acquired by Rogers Communications for $4.9 Billion, effective at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. The deal allows CBC television to broadcast the show for free, until at least 2018, but Rogers maintains editorial control and all advertising revenue.
It also has a bad habit of cutting funding on shows just as they get popular. Between this behavior and recent attempts to introduce "hip" programming on CBC radio, there is some not entirely serious speculation about someone in upper management or the government trying to kill the CBC. Nevertheless, over the years, the station has been responsible for a large number of landmark and notable Canadian series, including Beachcombers, Front Page Challenge, the earliest forms of the Degrassi franchise, and several comedy shows like Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and the aforementioned biggest show on the network, the extremely long-running Hockey Night in Canada.
CBC Television enjoys a significant audience in the border regions of the United States to the point where it's offered on American cable systems, due in part to its emphasis on Canadian shows as opposed to the American-dominated lineups of its competition. However, its over the air coverage was significantly reduced during Canada's transition to digital television, as the CBC chose to simply shut down its analog rebroadcasters (leaving only the full-powered transmitters, primarily in major markets) instead of switch them to digital. Unfortunately, this also led to the end of CBC's over-the-air presence in London and Saskatoon, as the stations were technically semi-satellites of CBC's Toronto and Regina stations with local advertising. In Canada, however, pay TV usage is common, so it didn't have as much of an impact.
Not to be confused with the Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting Corporation, a TV station in Nagoya, Japan, that shares the same initials, or with the Capital Broadcast Center, a TV station in Egypt that also shares the same initials.
Show that have aired on CBC
- Animal Mechanicals
- Being Erica
- The Border
- The Carol Burnett Show
- Da Vinci's Inquest
- Degrassi Junior High
- Dragon's Den
- The Friendly Giant
- The Golden Girls (first run and syndication)
- Hockey Night in Canada
- Jeopardy! (Until 2011 when CBC's contract expired)
- Kim's Convenience
- The Legend of Zelda
- Little Mosque on the Prairie
- Made in Canada
- Mr. D
- Mr. Dressup
- Mr. Meaty
- Murdoch Mysteries (from season 6 onward)
- 19-2 (French version, The English version airs on Bravo Canada and on CTV)
- The Raccoons
- Republic of Doyle
- The Red Green Show
- The Rick Mercer Report
- Road to Avonlea
- Royal Canadian Air Farce
- Schitt's Creek
- Seeing Things
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
- Talk About
- Theodore Tugboat
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes
- This Is Wonderland
- Wheel of Fortune (Until 2011 when CBC's contract expired)
- X Company