CBC-Lockout Protests Gaining Big Name Support

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Barenaked Ladies have brought their quirky pop rock to the picket line as a gesture of support for locked-out members of the Canadian Music Guild who are picketing in front of the state-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The band is one of many top Canadian acts, including Colin James, Jann Arden and Ron Sexsmith, who got early on-air exposure from the CBC, according to a report by Billboard.

On August 15th, after talks regarding collective contract agreements collapsed, the CBC locked out 5,500 members of the CMG, which represents on-air, production, technical and administrative staff. Several issues have since been resolved, but sources say major problems still remain, including the employment status of workers, contracting out work to freelancers, hiring contract workers and employee pay.

The CBC is currently relying on reruns and management-produced output on its three radio channels and television broadcasts.

Canadian musicians have found themselves restricted to only a few regional community and college radio stations to get exposure, without the CBC radio outlet for promotion.

The lockout “is a huge void for anyone in the arts in Canada,” Holger Petersen, president of Edmonton, Alberta-based roots label Stony Plain Records and host of the weekly “Saturday Night Blues” show on CBC Radio One told Billboard.

“CBC is the national voice that carries the message of new releases, new books and festivals,” Petersen said.

Without normal work, many locked-out CBC personalities have kept busy. Radio One “Metro Morning” show host Andy Barrie and lock-out staffers have been producing another daily show called “Toronto Unlocked” on the University of Toronto’s community radio station, CIUT.

Shelagh Rogers, host of Radio One’s daily “Sounds Like Canada” magazine show, has been visiting CMG picket lines across the country on her Caravan Unlocked tour, delivering podcasts and blogs from shelagh.blogspot.com.

The CBC is faced with a serious deadline, however, as the NHL season draws near. Unless the dispute can be settled by October 8th, the CBC management will be forced to produce coverage without standard play-by-play announces or unionized voices. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers