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John Bertrand: What CBC is fighting for in face of cuts

There has been a lot of recent public and media discussion across the country about the future of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Digital, local focus areas in A Space for us All, a plan to bring CBC closer to audiences

CBC has launched a new strategy dubbed A Space for Us All in an effort to bring the company closer to audiences amid cuts.

There has been a lot of recent public and media discussion across the country about the future of CBC/Radio-Canada.

These are conversations that we, as your public broadcaster, welcome.

To make sure that these discussions continue with real, factual information, I’d like to take a moment to tell you just what it is we’re fighting for.

In June, we launched a new strategy, designed to reinvent public broadcasting in a very tumultuous time in the industry. Moving ahead of events, not merely reacting to them, we are building the public broadcaster of the future.

Every broadcaster in Canada and around the world, public and private, will have to go through this process.

In taking the lead, our goal is to ensure Canadians have a sustainable, publicly-owned and public-minded broadcaster that honours our past, preserves the best of what we do now and sets the stage for us to lead in the digital world.

So, this is a truly transformational moment for the national public broadcaster.

Our new strategy, A Space for Us All, is a plan to bring us much closer to our audiences. We want to be a part of daily life -- on your phone, in your living room and in your car.

Much more present, much more relevant with programming tailored to your community and to your personal interests.

The content you know and trust but on multiple platforms -- for your needs and delivered where and when you need it -- lighter and faster.

Never doubt, though, that local services remain essential to a changing but smaller CBC.

Local is where we connect one-on-one with audiences. Local is the front door to the entire CBC.

Throughout this change process, we will be driven by values such as editorial leadership; our strength in investigative and original story telling; and leading the way with breaking news, depth and context.

We want to find new and innovative ways to tell stories as well as connect and engage with this community.

We want to continue our quest for the strongest possible diversity of ideas, opinions and people. We want to be even more visible and build deeper, more personal relationships that enhance our story telling and community reflection.

In short, here in Manitoba we want to build on our strengths in programs like Information Radio with host Marcy Markusa (89.3 FM and 990 AM), CBC News with Janet Stewart and meteorologist John Sauder and the Weekend Morning Show with long-time CBC Radio One host Terry MacLeod.

Under our new overarching strategy for CBC/Radio-Canada, our programming will not only be Canadian, it will be smart, unique, distinctive, creatively ambitious and risky.

Our biggest investments will be in prime-time television, and we will continue to create the highest quality, most successful radio programs possible.

But our strategy can’t happen unless we can balance the books. That’s why, to support our content strategy, we will turn bricks and mortar into programs. That means reducing in-house production and cutting our real estate portfolio.

We won’t stop delivering service to you, but we will change how we deliver it -- and that will help us sustain your public broadcaster now and for future generations.

This is a pivotal moment and a challenging but exciting time for public broadcasting in Canada and around the world -- a rare opportunity to shape our collective future and to make our mark.

That’s why we’re fighting for a brighter future for CBC/Radio-Canada. I hope you’ll join us.

As always, you can contact me directly at john.bertrand@cbc.ca or by calling 204-788-3213 or on Twitter @CBCjohnbertrand

I’d love to hear what you think.

About the Author

John Bertrand

John Bertrand is CBC's senior managing director for the Prairie/North region. He is based in Winnipeg.

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