Ideas (radio show)

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Ideas is a long-running scholarly radio documentary show on CBC Radio One. Co-created by Phyllis Webb and William A. Young, the show premiered in 1965 under the title The Best Ideas You'll Hear Tonight.[1] It is currently hosted by Paul Kennedy and is broadcast between 9:05 and 10:00 P.M. weekday evenings; one episode each week is repeated on Monday afternoons under the title Ideas in the Afternoon.

The show describes itself as a radio program on contemporary thought. The subject matter of the shows varies, but music, philosophy, science, religion, and especially history are common topics. The show has won many plaudits for its quality and depth.

The series is notable for soliciting programming proposals from people who are not professional broadcasters, and having the successful applicants write and host their own documentaries (aided in production by CBC staff producers). Many Ideas programs are multi-part, with two, three, four, or more fifty-five minute programs devoted to a single topic. Transcripts and audio recordings of many programs are made available, and sold directly by the CBC.

Notable CBC staff producers who have been associated with the program include Bernie Lucht, Geraldine Sherman, Damiano Pietropaolo, Phyllis Webb, and David Cayley. Individual programs are produced at CBC Radio One facilities across Canada. Documentarian William Whitehead also wrote or cowrote a number of shows for Ideas.[2]

A television version for CBC News Network, Ideas on TV, was short-lived. The book Ideas: Brilliant Thinkers Speak Their Minds, edited by Bernie Lucht, commemorated the series' 40th anniversary.

The show broadcasts Canada's annual Massey Lectures, Lafontaine-Baldwin Lecture, and the Munk Debates. Since 2006, they have included the Henry G. Friesen lectures.[3] Audio downloads of many episodes are available from the CBC website, as well as via the CBC Ideas podcast, which was, by popular demand, one of the first to be included in the network's large podcasting initiative begun in 2005. Many episodes are also available for sale on audio CD.

In January 2014, Ideas broadcast a two-part documentary about Wikipedia entitled "The Great Book of Knowledge", produced and narrated by Philip Coulter. Part 1 of the documentary[4] aired on January 15 and Part 2 on January 22.[5] As of February 2014, both episodes were also available in streaming audio on the Ideas website, and via subscription to the Ideas podcast.[6]

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