Friday, August 28, 2009

Tragically Suck

There are rules governing the content of Canadian radio and television. Blogging finally inspired me to look them up:
To qualify as "Canadian content," music must generally fulfill at least two of the following conditions
(the MAPL system):
M (music) - the music is composed entirely by a Canadian.
A (artist) - the music and/or the lyrics are performed principally by a Canadian.
P (production) - the musical selection consists of a live performance that is (i) recorded wholly in Canada, or (ii) performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada.
L (lyrics) - the lyrics are written entirely by a Canadian.
Under the Commercial Radio Policy, 35 per cent of all music aired each week on all AM and FM stations must be Canadian. In addition, 35 per cent of music broadcast between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday must consist of Canadian content
Television has similar rules but a higher standard--60%, but some shows can count for 150% with enough Canadians on or behind it.

I haven't really noticed the TV restrictions much as we have a satellite dish with some American channels (fed via Canadian networks with lame Canadian commercials--like 10 Canadian Tire commercials [the same one] in an hour).

But the radio programming is quite obviously restricted and painfully so. I listen to two stations most of the time: the local classic rock station and a Vermont station plays mostly alternative stuff (and apparently reggae counts as alternative). So, it took me a short time to realize that about 1/3 of all classic rock is Canadian. That would be fine if they overplayed the right Canadian stuff. You would expect lots of Rush and Triumph--that would be ok. Instead, there seems to be a lot of April Whine (apparently more than a one or two hit wonder, unfortunately), the Tragically Hip (I call them by the name in the title of this post), Blue Rodeo (there is a good reason why I never heard of them before moving north) and the Guess Who (guess I like The Who much, much more). I am ok with Loverboy although it is hardly classic Rock as I would define it.

Neil Young
and Bryan Adams only sometimes count as Canadian, depending on where the song/album was recorded and who else was involved.

The good news is that it means that they end up playing some more recent stuff to meet their quotas like Theory of a Deadman, Arcade Fire and Nickelback. More Barenaked Ladies would be fine. There is plenty of good Canadian music (see this list of all Canadian musicians, more or less). And I understand the politics of having content rules when the country next door tends to be hegemonic. My frustration is that the station I like (and there is only one English classic rock station in Montreal) tends to play the crappy Canadian stuff too much and the good stuff not enough.

Of course, one could say that it is a matter of taste, but I think Chuck Klosterman might agree with me that Rush and Triumph are, objectively, better than the Hip, April Wine and other overplayed fare.

For a truly classic Canadian pop videostar, see Robin Sparkles:

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