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Wednesday: Little Moments of Victory

I'm not sure what really convinced me that things were trending back to normal at CBC Radio One. Bob MacGregor reading early morning news was an initial sign, but I was kind of missing Judy Maddren. The choice of Bernard St. Laurent to cover Tuesday's Transition Morning show was inspired; more people probably hear him as a fill-in host for prominent national shows than listen to C'est la vie, so he carries the authority of a reliable substitute. When he's on in that capacity, you know things are still a little out of sorts, but he'll do an admirable job of making you forget that that's the case. If one remembers the role he played in migrating the circus-like Sounds Like Canada to a renamed This Morning, the shadows clearly remain.

(Which is not to say that C'est la vie isn't worthwhile, solid and engaging in its own right, but I digress.)

Mostly, that said, I think it was the voice of the apology shifting which clinched it for me. At first, it had been the same manager we'd heard, over and over, handling continuity during the lockouts. Same general words every time, little changing save the show description. And it kept on being those words, and that manager.

The words didn't change right off, but the voice became perky at some point down the line. And female.

Shauna MacDonald.

Promo Girl.

I've never quite understood the acrimony towards Promo Girl (the embarrassing Promo Girl and the Mystery Of... summer contest, thankfully aborted by the lockouts, was another matter). I won't go into it here, save for this: like St. Laurent, or any particularly iconic CBC personality, Promo Girl represents a certain state of affairs just by existing. Any spot she's in radiates "CBC Radio's working hard to reach a younger audience with shiny chrome," a situation which has left wildly variable results scattered around Radio One like beads these past few years. Not everyone is happy with the changes she both represents and, to some extent, perpetuates.

This week, though, she didn't need to play character (she wouldn't do that until, I think, today); she just needed to tell you what was happening to make the point. Her tone of voice conveyed what a day's worth of morning show host interstitials didn't quite hit, at least for me: We're getting back to normal, and we're doing it faster than you'd think.

There have been moments of clearer triumph in the past forty-eight hours. Anna Maria Tremonti proudly declaring, "Welcome back to the real CBC," then dropping straight into hard content about the Pakistani quake. The first strains of World Report's theme in god knows how long. The National Research Council's official time signal moving back to one o'clock, Eastern time, not one o'clock everywhere you turn. It's been those little details which have really worked to communicate the readjustment to me, not extended speeches, not the occasional bits of (admittedly effecctive) self-parody, not the announcements of plans already in motion. Don't get me wrong. Those are useful, and valuable, and heartening. Just differently so.

It's just that I know what I missed most about Radio One's absence.


Welcome back, guys. We missed you.

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at October 13, 2005 7:03 PM


Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at October 14, 2005 12:05 AM

I kinda liked the repetitive music and apologies. It was good ambient noise for when you're reading.

Then again, I don't listen to CBC Radio One. I don't even know its frequency.

I just don't like radio in general.

But that's just me.

Comment from: Spatulus posted at October 14, 2005 12:38 AM

How could you dis Promo Girl Mysteries? That was total CBC-Radio fan service. The sweet, sweet delicious cheesiness and hearing confirmation of all the skulduggery I've always suspected goes on at CBC combined to make one of last summer's guilty pleasures, and I'm not even a big CBC Radio fan! (Although it's definitely better than CBC TV.)

Comment from: Lindsay posted at October 14, 2005 12:57 AM

It's sad, but I actually kind of preferred the nationalized morning show to our local morning show, but that's just because I find the host here annoying. :P

That being said, I am very, VERY happy to see the return of regular programming -- especially the return of local news content! The only decent sources of non-CBC news in St. John's -- or at least the only sources that I find remotely palatable -- only publish weekly.

Then of course there's As It Happens, and The Current, The Passionate Eye and most of the rest of the programming on News World.

Yeah, it's good to have it all back. ^_^

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at October 14, 2005 1:35 AM

Spatulus: I loved the *idea* of Promo Girl Mysteries. I even liked a few of the episodes a great deal (particularly the way Rusty the Rooster got subverted, and Michael Enright camping it up). It's just that most of the fanservice was provided by people who make great hosts, but can't really act -- I wanted it to be more than it was, but ended up feeling bad for most of the hosts they brought in instead. They sounded very uncomfortable.

Lindsay: oh, god, yeah, the St. John's morning show host is wince-inducing. I think they hire Atlantic morning show hosts on their ability to irritate these days. Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown's aren't much better (I have a vested interest in avoiding the New Brunswick posse). Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver seem to get the talent in this respect.

Comment from: quiller posted at October 14, 2005 5:06 AM

I wonder how CBC-Radio manages pantyshots? Fan Service must be much more complicated in radio.

Comment from: webrunner posted at October 14, 2005 10:31 AM

In an intro to one of the Promo Girl mystery segments.. they used to the opening theme to Katamari Damacy (The drumroll and early notes) as background music.

That really confused me.

Comment from: SeanH posted at October 14, 2005 11:50 AM

I've now got One Little Victory by Rush stuck in my head.

That's really all I have to contribute.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 14, 2005 6:51 PM

meanwhile, us teachers continue to strike in BC. Arg!

Comment from: Merus posted at October 15, 2005 9:06 AM

Well, that tears it - gaming's mainstream. If you can hear the Katamari Damacy theme on a radio station, I don't know what else there is left.

Comment from: Spatulus posted at October 15, 2005 4:23 PM

Being on the CBC doesn't make it mainstream. The CBC's a special case. That's what we like about it.

Comment from: escapegoat posted at October 19, 2005 10:32 PM

I, for one, find Promo Girl's voice very sexy. Glad that she is back on the CBC and not simply doing those silly Botox commercials. (I mean, you gotta eat, but still...)

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