14 December 2006

Getting the Habs Back on CBC

Uh oh, a CBC post. No good can come of this.

Canada's national broadcaster provides us with an unfair distribution of Hockey Night in Canada telecasts. Virtually every week, Canadians are "treated" to seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs aired on a national basis, relegating the Ottawa Senators to "regional coverage" while hockey's most storied franchise, the Montreal Canadiens, are usually only available on RDS. RDS is a French-language station only available on digital cable. The CBC believes that Canadians should be entitled through their tax dollars to see the Leafs for cheap as often as possible, while Canadiens fans are made to pay through the nose to watch their favourite team.

The CBC HNIC FAQ states:

How do you choose your broadcast schedule each year?
Each year we work with the NHL to do our best to ensure that viewers are able to see the games they want to see on Saturday nights. Providing coverage of the NHL’s Canadian teams is paramount for us, and we take this process very seriously. Over the past few years, we have increased coverage of Canadian teams, particularly in the west, with the second game of our weekly doubleheader.
How do you decide to distribute the games?
On nights when we have a regional game in addition to our traditional doubleheader, our goal is to make sure that the majority of Canadians get to see the game they want. We know we can’t please everyone, but we do our best.

This, friends, is bollocks, particularly the first question. The real answer, as everybody knows, is "we look at Toronto's schedule." If "providing coverage of the NHL's Canadian teams" were as paramount as they say it is, there would be a rotational basis used to bring balance between Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa's exposure to Canadians. One week Montreal, the next Toronto, the next Ottawa, with override preference given to all-Canadian match-ups. Doing something along those lines would go a lot further in making the second statement more closely approximate the truth.

Thus far this season, and we're just over two months in, CBC has snubbed: Jose Theodore's return to Montreal and an exciting 8-5 match, a thrilling Montreal-Buffalo game that went all the way to the shootout, and a pre-match ceremony in which the Canadiens retired the jersey of all-time great Serge Savard. In the case of the Montreal-Buffalo game, the Leafs were getting blown out by Detroit at the time, and the Colorado game concurred with a far-less exciting match between the Leafs and the Rangers that ended in a Rangers victory over CBC's team.

So with all this in mind, some folks have gotten together to start a petition to get the Montreal Canadiens back on the CBC national broadcast more often (generally speaking: games that aren't against Toronto). I would encourage my handful of readers, be they Habs fans or not, to click here and sign this petition. Together we can restore justice to the CBC airwaves on Saturday nights.


C. LaRoche said...

Unfortunately, the CBC isn't quite well-funded enough to forgo advertising revenues. Toronto games draw, by a WIDE margin, more viewers than any other NHL franchise, even the Habs.

Susie said...


RGM said...

@LaRoche: explain then, why CBC's ratings are down 25% this season. May have something to do with boredom with the same mediocre team every week.

@Susie: huh?

C. LaRoche said...

@LaRoche: explain then, why CBC's ratings are down 25% this season. May have something to do with boredom with the same mediocre team every week.

Well, I didn't say this was a good decision :)