The Tower of Babble

The Tower of Babble

Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC

Book - 2012
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A Globe and Mail top 100 book of 2012

The ultimate CBC insider exposes the controversies, successes and dead ends of his time at the top.

In 2004, CBC television had sunk to its lowest audience share in its history. That same year, Richard Stursberg , an avowed popularizer with a reputation for radical action, was hired to run English services. With incisive wit, Stursberg tells the story of the struggle that resulted -- a struggle that lasted for six turbulent and controversial years.

Shortly after Stursberg arrived, the corporation locked out its employees for two months. Four years later, he signed the most harmonious labour contract to date. He lost the television rights for the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. He won the biggest NHL contract in history. He had unprecedented ratings successes. He had terrible flops. He enjoyed the best radio, television and online ratings in CBC's history. He fought endless wars with the CBC president and board about the direction of the corporation and ultimately was dismissed.

This is the story of our most loved and reviled cultural institution during its most convulsive and far-reaching period of change. It is for those who think the CBC has lost its way, those who love where it is, and those who think it should not exist in the first place.

Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 2012.
ISBN: 9781926812731
Branch Call Number: 384.54092 STURS
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 24 cm.


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Oct 23, 2012

Ever wonder why there's all that happy babble on the CBC's Early Edition radio show when host Rick Cluff exchanges endless inanities with his fellow morning people (the weather woman, the traffic woman, the sports guy etc)? Well it's all the fault of Richard Stursberg, former Director of English language programming at CBC who, in his laudable efforts to improve CBC's audience sizes, encouraged CBC announcing staff to become more down home and interractive. He's written a great book on his experiences. I heartily recommend it!

May 24, 2012

This is quite a good read. Yes, he's arrogant. But I'm not sure you could do the types of jobs he has done and not be. The insight into how the cbc really works and the changes that happened is interesting as is the story of the lockout that seemed to go on forever. Worth a try and the format lends itself to the audience dipping into different chapters without reading the whole book. I was engaged by Stursberg's interview with Michael Enright on the Sunday Edition some time ago. Enright was pompous, rude and SO condescending but Stursberg handled his questions with energy and clarity. I expect he'd had an awful lot of practice by then...

May 13, 2012

CBC: "Canada's Best Corporation";
surely the mellifluous tone of this tome is Canada to the core. The authors' trials and successes at managing change, when having to deal with people who should not be in any position to criticize especially when vacant of ideas themselves. CBC is shown not to be biased - if one believes in learning the truth. Dealing with multitudes of independent minded people means one can inadvertently pick and chose at whim. This is a great overview of the trials facing any organization set upon by rigid politicos who themselves have crosses to bear, and nonsense to promote.
Don Ferguson of Royal Canadian Air Farce weighs in on the Toronto Star's Network webpage with this:

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