First air date
|Availability||National, through regional stations|
|Slogan||"Canada's National Music Network",|
|Owner||Canadian Broadcasting Corporation|
|1960 (own programming)|
|CBC FM (1960-1962, 1964-1975)
CBC Stereo (1975-1997)
CBC Radio 2 (1997-2018)
CBC Music, formerly known as CBC FM, CBC Stereo and CBC Radio 2, is a Canadian FM radio network operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It used to concentrate on classical music and jazz. In 2007 and 2008, the network transitioned towards a new "adult music" format with a variety of genres, with the classical genre generally restricted to midday hours. In 2009, Radio 2 averaged 2.1 million listeners weekly, and it was the second largest radio network in Canada.
The CBC's FM network was launched in 1946, but was strictly a simulcast of the AM radio network until 1960. In that year, distinct programming on the FM network began. It was briefly discontinued in 1962, but resumed again in 1964.
On November 3, 1975, the FM network was renamed CBC Stereo, to distinguish it from the AM network, known as CBC Radio.
In the early 1990s, the CBC began offering selected programs on the Internet, most notably CBC Stereo's RealTime. In September 1996, the corporation formally launched live audio streaming of both CBC Radio and CBC Stereo.
In the 1990s many of the AM CBC Radio stations moved to FM due to the limitations of AM broadcasting, so in 1997 the CBC renamed the networks CBC Radio One and CBC Radio Two.
For much of its history, its programming focused on arts and culture, and primarily consisted of programs devoted to opera, classical music, jazz and theatre. Some programming devoted to Canadian pop and indie rock music was also aired, via the Saturday night CBC Radio 3 simulcast and predecessors such as RadioSonic, Night Lines, and the late-night programme Brave New Waves.
On February 6, 2018, the CBC announced that Radio 2 would be rebranded as CBC Music.
In 2006, speculation arose that Radio Two programming would undergo a format and name change, similar to that which its French counterpart Espace musique undertook in 2004, although no plans were announced until January 2007. These changes, which took effect March 19, resulted in a tighter focus on music — still primarily classical but also including jazz, world music, and live music of all types. The length and frequency of newscasts, which had essentially duplicated those heard on Radio One, was reduced dramatically. The 2007 revamp also resulted in a subtle name change from Radio Two to Radio 2.
In March 2008, CBC announced plans to complete the transformation of Radio 2, significantly altering its daytime programming lineup. These plans resulted in the "New Radio 2", starting September 2, 2008. In essence, the morning and afternoon drive programs, which had focused almost exclusively on classical music, were replaced with new shows featuring a wider range of genres. The goal, according to the CBC, was to increase exposure of musicians and genres, other than classical and jazz, which received little airtime on private radio.
Concomitantly, four web radio streams - all-classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, and "Canadian composer" - were introduced.
There was a vocal, negative response to these changes from a variety of sources connected with the classical community, ranging from Facebook to blogs to newspaper columnists. National protests were also held at CBC facilities across the country. However, the move drew support from other corners of the cultural community, noting in many cases the low ratings of the existing service. Among the supporters were several critically acclaimed artists who would benefit from the changes.
While critics, particularly Globe and Mail columnist Russell Smith, raised the spectre of the network airing mainstream pop artists such as Nelly Furtado and The Black Eyed Peas, the network's popular music component consists almost exclusively of artists who would be classified as adult album alternative, folk, world music or singer-songwriter pop — and very few of whom receive any airplay whatsoever on commercial radio. For instance, on one representative day in 2009, Radio 2 Morning's "pop" playlist included Feist, John Mayer, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, Neil Young, Whiskeytown, Spirit of the West, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Joni Mitchell, Matthew Barber, Eleni Mandell, Skydiggers, Billy Bragg, Jeremy Fisher, Jim Bryson, The Be Good Tanyas, The Duhks, Sarah Slean, Stephen Fearing, Melissa McClelland, Cowboy Junkies, Howie Beck and The Band.
Critics also noted that classical music programming would be reduced from 12 hours per day to only five hours during day time working office hours. As of November 25, 2009, classical content remained at five hours per day on weekdays, but was not exclusively on Tempo. The 2 to 3 pm (local time) hour is part of Shift, hosted by Tom Allen, which plays some classical music near the beginning of the program before transitioning to the adult-alternative style found on Drive. CBC cited the need for Tempo's host to spend more time working on her musical career as one reason behind this change.
On May 2, 2008, the president of the CBC and the director of programming attended a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage. There appeared to be opposition to the movement away from classical music on Radio 2 from MPs of all three main parties represented on the committee. Committee members Bill Siksay and Ed Fast were particularly opposed to the programming changes. The committee voted unanimously to hold further hearings specifically on the CBC Radio 2 changes in September 2008.
Despite the controversy, the format change was successful for the network, which maintained a consistent overall audience while lowering the average age of its listenership from 65 to 52 in January 2010.
The network is not as widely available across Canada as Radio One. While Radio One is available in most communities across Canada regardless of size, CBC Music for the most part is available only in larger cities. Only 14 transmitters across Canada are licensed as originating stations within the network, compared to over 30 for Radio One, although some additional cities are also served by rebroadcasters of one of the originating stations, with the service provided in some form to virtually all of Canada's major cities and all provincial capitals. CBC Music also has a more consistent national schedule than Radio One; currently the originating stations produce only limited regional programming, such as weather updates. In the past these stations would also air local news summaries or a daily calendar of local arts and culture events; this was dropped in 2007. CBH-FM in Halifax produces an additional regional music program for the Atlantic Canada region, due to a scheduling hole caused by the time zone difference.
In some smaller communities, especially in rural northern British Columbia, community groups have been licensed to rebroadcast a CBC Music station on a local low-power radio transmitter. These transmitters are owned by the community group rather than the network, and do not originate any programming at all.
On satellite, the network's programming can also be heard on Bell TV and Shaw Direct. Unlike Radio One and Radio 3, CBC Music is not carried by SiriusXM Satellite Radio; the CRTC requires that a "Canadian" channel (for the purposes of Sirius Canada, which carried CBC programming prior to its merger with XM Radio Canada) must carry 85% Canadian musical content, a requirement that has not been imposed on (or met by) the terrestrial network. Even so, a handful of programs that did meet this criterion, such as Deep Roots, have aired on Radio One's Sirius XM feed (channel 169).
CBC Music is also available via the internet in webradio and podcast form. Between October 2013 and September 2016, access to the network's domestic internet streams was blocked for listeners outside Canada. The CBC stated that they were not allowed to broadcast advertising outside of Canada. Two ad-free streams - Eastern International and Pacific International - were made available for international users. On these streams, commercials were replaced with CBC promos and other filler content. After the CRTC ordered the CBC to stop broadcasting ads on the network in 2016, international users have regained access to all five domestic streams.
Only stations which are licensed as "originating stations" within the network are listed here. Some stations also have rebroadcasters in smaller outlying markets; these are listed in each station's separate article.
- Calgary, Alberta - CBR-FM
- Edmonton, Alberta - CBX-FM
- Halifax, Nova Scotia - CBH-FM
- Montreal, Quebec - CBM-FM
- Ottawa, Ontario - CBOQ-FM
- Regina, Saskatchewan - CBK-FM
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador - CBN-FM
- Sudbury, Ontario - CBBS-FM
- Sydney, Nova Scotia - CBI-FM
- Thunder Bay, Ontario - CBQ-FM
- Toronto, Ontario - CBL-FM
- Vancouver, British Columbia - CBU-FM
- Windsor, Ontario - CBE-FM
- Winnipeg, Manitoba - CBW-FM
The CBC Music website was launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on February 13, 2012, originally as a distinct service that expanded on the programming of CBC Radio 2 and CBC Radio 3. The service provides online streaming of 53 web radio services, including the existing radio network streams and 47 dedicated streams devoted to particular genres of music. Some of the genre webstreams were already provided by Radio 2 or Radio 3, while others were new offerings at the 2012 launch.
A similar site, IciMusique.ca (formerly espace.mu, in reference to former radio branding Espace Musique), is also offered by CBC Music's French-language counterpart Ici Musique.
The service was launched shortly after the CBC reached a music licensing deal with the Audio-Video Licensing Agency in January 2012. The site is one of the first large-scale ventures into online broadcasting to be available in Canada since the launch of Iceberg Radio in 1997; at the time of CBC Music's launch, popular international ventures such as Pandora or Spotify remained unavailable to Canadian consumers.
Shortly after the service's launch, Stingray Digital, the owner of the cable audio service Galaxie, filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, alleging that the CBC's access to government funding gave it an unfair competitive advantage over private for-profit services. Noting that the CBC pays the same copyright royalties to SOCAN as the competing services and that it places a much greater emphasis on Canadian content than the commercial services, the CRTC dismissed the complaint in August 2012.
With the rebranding of Radio 2 in 2018, the website is considered to be part of the radio network's operations rather than a distinct division of the CBC, although the individual genre streams and Radio 3 are still provided.
Although most programming on CBC Music is exclusive to the network, some specialty programs, including The Vinyl Cafe (until 2015), Vinyl Tap, À Propos, Backstage with Ben Heppner and Canada Live, also air on Radio One in different time slots.
Until 2007, Radio 2 simulcast the majority of Radio One's newscasts, including The World at Six and World Report, resulting in several lengthy breaks from music throughout the day. This ended in March 2007, when Radio 2 began to carry a separate news service, with news updates of 90 seconds in length a handful of times each day. The length was soon changed to 4.5 minutes, the usual length of the CBC's non-major newscasts, with the frequency increased slightly. However, newscasts on Radio 2 remain distinct from those on Radio One.
During the 2005 Canadian Media Guild lockout, the normal schedule was temporarily replaced by continuous music from Galaxie (then owned by the CBC), except for short news updates at the top of each hour from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
After the 2012 federal budget, the CBC applied to the CRTC for permission to introduce commercial advertisements on CBC Radio 2 and sister network Espace Musique. In October 2013, the network began broadcasting a limited amount of advertising, up to four minutes an hour, with a goal of broadcasting up to nine minutes per hour in 2016. Ad-free streams of the Toronto and Vancouver feeds were introduced online for international listeners. On August 31, 2016, the CRTC denied CBC's request to continue airing commercial advertisements until August 31, 2018. Consequently, advertising ceased on September 1, 2016.
|6:00 a.m.||–||9:00 a.m.||Mornings with Raina Douris|
|9:00 a.m.||–||1:00 p.m.||Tempo with Julie Nesrallah|
|1:00 p.m.||–||3:30 p.m.||Shift with Tom Allen|
|3:30 p.m.||–||7:00 p.m.||Drive with Rich Terfry|
|7:00 p.m.||–||8:00 p.m.||Canada Live with Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe (Mondays)|
|Q the Music (Tuesdays)|
|CBC Music Top 20 (Thursdays)|
|Marvin's Room (Fridays)|
|8:00 p.m.||–||12:00 p.m.||After Dark with Odario Williams|
|12:00 a.m.||–||6:00 a.m.||Nightstream|
Saturday (to early Sunday)
|6:00 a.m.||–||9:00 a.m.||Mornings with Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe|
|9:00 a.m.||–||10:00 a.m.||My Playlist|
|10:00 a.m.||–||12:00 p.m.||This Is My Music|
|12:00 p.m.||–||1:00 p.m.||Centre Stage with Katherine Duncan|
|1:00 p.m.||–||4:00 p.m.||Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner|
|4:00 p.m.||–||5:00 p.m.||Backstage with Ben Heppner|
|5:00 p.m.||–||6:00 p.m.||Q the Music|
|6:00 p.m.||–||8:00 p.m.||Saturday Night Blues with Holger Petersen|
|8:00 p.m.||–||12:00 p.m.||Saturday Night Jazz with Laila Biali|
|12:00 a.m.||–||6:00 a.m.||Nightstream|
Sunday (to early Monday)
|6:00 a.m.||–||9:00 a.m.||Mornings with Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe|
|9:00 a.m.||–||10:00 a.m.||Choral Concert with Katherine Duncan|
|10:00 a.m.||–||11:00 a.m.||Backstage with Ben Heppner|
|11:00 a.m.||–||3:00 p.m.||In Concert with Paolo Pietropaolo|
|3:00 p.m.||–||4:00 p.m.||Inside the Music|
|4:00 p.m.||–||5:00 p.m.||À Propos with Jim Corcoran|
|5:00 p.m.||–||6:00 p.m.||CBC Music Top 20|
|6:00 p.m.||–||8:00 p.m.||Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap|
|8:00 p.m.||–||11:00 p.m.||The Strombo Show with George Stroumboulopoulos|
|11:00 p.m.||–||6:00 a.m.||Nightstream|
- Music and Company with Tom Allen - classical music; weekday mornings
- Two New Hours with Larry Lake - contemporary classical and new music
- Here's to You with Catherine Belyea (previously Shelley Solmes) - by-request classical music; weekday mid-mornings, Based on the earlier program Take Five, hosted by Solmes and earlier by Shelagh Rogers
- Off the Record with Bob Kerr - various classical music; weekday afternoons
- Studio Sparks with Eric Friesen - classical, with some jazz and world music; early weekday afternoons
- DiscDrive with Jurgen Gothe - classical, with some jazz and bluegrass; weekday afternoon drive (1985-2008)
- In Performance with Andrew Craig (previously Eric Friesen) - live-to-tape classical performances; weeknights
- After Hours with Andy Sheppard (previously Ross Porter) - jazz; weeknights
- Brave New Waves (1984-2007) - alternative music, weekdays at midnight. Hosts Augusta La Paix, Brent Bambury and Patti Schmidt.
- RadioSonic/CBC Radio 3 (1997-2007) - alternative music on Saturday nights. Hosts Leora Kornfeld, David Wisdom, Grant Lawrence and Alexis Mazurin.
- Northern Lights with Andrea Ratuski (and predecessor That Time of the Night) - soft classical music; early morning (also aired late evenings on Radio One)
- Music for a While with Danielle Charbonneau - classical music; weekday evenings
- Night Lines (1982-1997) - alternative music, Saturday overnight. Hosts Ron Robinson, Ralph Benmergui, David Wisdom.
- RSVP (1985-1995) - classical music requests by listeners, hosted by Leon Cole; after Cole's retirement the program was taken over by Bill Richardson and retitled As You Like It
Prior to the launch of CBC Music, Radio 3 broadcast an annual "Searchlight" contest, soliciting listener votes in a process to determine the "best" of various aspects of the Canadian music industry. The topic of Searchlight was different each year, with contests focusing on such themes as Canada's best live music club, best music festival and best music website.
Following the launch of CBC Music, Searchlight was relaunched as a platform-wide contest to determine Canada's best unsigned musical artist. Incorporating participation from both CBC Music and CBC Radio One, the process begins with a series of local competitions produced by Radio One's local afternoon shows. Listener feedback and online voting determines the artists who advance to the next round, until the national stage of the competition begins on Q.
When the list has been narrowed to ten artists, three established musicians step in as judges, who each pick their own favourite act. Those three artists and an audience selection as determined by online voting advance to the final round as the four finalists, following which the judges debate and discuss the choices before voting on the ultimate winner.
Winners and finalists
- 2013 - Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case, Good Ol' Goats
- 2014 - Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, Jofo, Erin Saoirse Adair, Fitness Club Fiasco. Judges: Torquil Campbell, Sarah Slean and Kardinal Offishall.
- 2015 - Orange O'Clock, Scary Bear Soundtrack, The Fall Line, Ivory Hours. Judges: Dan Boeckner, Jenn Grant and Saukrates.
- 2016 - Desirée Dawson, Andi, Dylan Menzie, Teo Milea. Judges: Maestro Fresh Wes, Sarah Blackwood, Dallas Smith.
- 2017 - The Long War, Will, The Wolfe, Jaryd Stanley. Judges: Jarvis Church, Ruth B, Dan Kanter.
CBC Music Festival
Each year's event features a lineup of acts from several different genres, including the winner of that year's Searchlight competition, and sometimes includes a live taping of a performance by a CBC Radio comedy show.
- 2013 - Sam Roberts, Of Monsters and Men, Kathleen Edwards, Sloan, Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans, Half Moon Run, Jarvis Church, Elisapie Isaac, Aidan Knight, Kae Sun, Shakura S'Aida, Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case.
- 2014 - Tegan and Sara, Arkells, Crystal Shawanda, Chad VanGaalen, Spoon, Hannah Georgas, Wake Owl, The Belle Game, Dan Mangan, Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, The Irrelevant Show
- 2015 - Patrick Watson, Bahamas, Cœur de pirate, Joel Plaskett, The Strumbellas, Shad, Jenn Grant, Lindi Ortega, Tanika Charles, Choir! Choir! Choir!, The Debaters, Fred Penner, Mamma Yamma, Orange O'Clock.
- 2016 - Maestro Fresh Wes, Tanya Tagaq, Whitehorse, Tokyo Police Club, Alvvays, The New Pornographers, Buck 65, Hey Rosetta!, Desirée Dawson, Terra Lightfoot, John River, Ria Mae, Zaki Ibrahim, The Franklin Electric, Julian Taylor, Laura Sauvage, Charlotte Cardin, Emilie & Ogden, Megan Bonnell.
- 2017 - Serena Ryder, Walk Off the Earth, Keys N Krates, Ruth B, Scott Helman, Bobby Bazini, Austra, BROS, William Prince, Sarah Slean, Alx Veliz, Iskwé, RALPH, Valley, The Long War.
- "Millions of people tune into CBC Radio" Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. August, 2010.
- "CBC radio networks going live on Internet". Kingston Whig-Standard, September 26, 1996.
- "Radio 2 is changing names. What you need to know.". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 6, 2018.
- CBC Arts, "CBC Radio to broaden Radio Two, add arts magazine"., January 17, 2007.
- CBC Radio Two to revamp daytime programming, CBC news article
- The Collaborative Piano Blog: More Bloggers' Views on the CBC Radio 2 Redesign
- Ledger, Brent (2008-04-13). "CBC Radio's classic mistake". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- "globeandmail.com". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.[dead link]
- Russell Smith, "No classical? Then kill Radio 2 and get it over with" Archived 2012-08-04 at Archive.is. The Globe and Mail, March 13, 2008.
- A CBC without an orchestra can be sound step for Radio 2, John Terauds, Toronto Star, March 29, 2008
- John Doyle, "Note to classical music fans: Get over yourselves". The Globe and Mail, April 7, 2008
- CBC ad Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. published in The Globe and Mail, March 29, 2008 (via InsideTheCBC.com)
- Russell Smith, "Pop made your numbers go down". The Globe and Mail, December 18, 2008.
- CBC Radio 2 Playlists, June 25, 2009.
- CBC Radio 2 "Shift" Blog
- "Genre change a winning switch for CBC Radio 2". Edmonton Journal, January 17, 2010.
- "Announcements - CBC.ca". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- "CBC cannot play paid ads on two radio networks, CRTC rules". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- "CBC digital music service launched". CBCnews. Toronto: CBC. February 13, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "CBC launches free digital music service". Ottawa Citizen, February 13, 2012. Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Adams, Gregory (February 13, 2012). "CBC Launches New Music Streaming Service". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- Hudson, Alex (August 15, 2012). "Challenges to CBC Music Streaming Service Rejected by CRTC". Exclaim!. Ian Danzig. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Introducing the CBC Music Magazine". CBC Music, December 23, 2013.
- "Cuts will mean a 'very different public broadcaster': CBC boss". Postmedia News, April 5, 2012.
- "CBC wades gently into on-air commercials". Toronto Star, October 1, 2013.
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-263 and Broadcasting Orders CRTC 2013-264 and 2013-265". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, May 28, 2013.
- CTRC broadcast decision that put an end to commercial advertisement on CBC Radio 2 and ICI Musique. Decision 2016-353.
- "CBC music expands reach with festival at Echo Beach". Toronto Star, May 24, 2013.
- "Searchlight: The hunt for Canada's best artist starts today". CBC News, March 16, 2015.
- "Searchlight 2013 winner: Canada’s best new artist is... SHERMAN DOWNEY AND THE AMBIGUOUS CASE!". CBC Music, April 12, 2013.
- "Lauren Mann and The Fairly Odd Folk win CBC's Searchlight contest". CBC News, May 8, 2014.
- Searchlight - Orange O'Clock crowned Canada's best new act. CBC.ca. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
- "Meet CBC Music Searchlight winner Desirée Dawson". Toronto Star, May 27, 2016.
- "The Long War takes home Searchlight 2017 title". Q, April 10, 2017.
- Skinner, Jesse (May 23, 2013). "CBC at Echo Beach 2013". Toro Magazine: Interviews. TORO. Retrieved June 26, 2013.