IDEAS hosts 1965-2015
A short history of the show
"Ideas... The Best Ideas You'll Hear Tonight" intoned CBC announcer Ken Haslam. With those words, spoken in his cultivated, baritone voice, Haslam launched the first episode of what was described as "the new look in CBC educational broadcasting" an hour-long show of "radio for the mind" to be heard each weeknight. It was Monday, October 25th, 1965.
Phyllis Webb talking to Paul Kennedy about the early days of IDEAS -- from our 40th anniversary program
Bill Young recalls attending a meeting at which producers were asked to consider amalgamating programs with similar mandates. The CBC needed to save money. Plus ça change. Webb was enthusiastic. She felt the lecture format of her program was too constraining and wanted to try doing something livelier. She and Young worked together on a proposal to merge University of the Air and The Learning Stage to create a new nightly program that would take the best of each series and present adult education on radio using a variety of approaches. They sent the proposal to CBC management, and it was accepted.
"Idea Number One for Monday" Haslam announced briskly, "Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution" and the show began with a discussion about Darwin's 1831 trip to the Galapagos. Webb was disappointed with that first show and says the series got off to a "horrible start." Janet Somerville says it was "class-roomy" and "text-bookish" But the new series quickly found its feet. The second program was much better and eventually won an award.
What IDEAS sounded like in 1965. "The World of IDEAS" -- from our 30th anniversary celebration
Ideas underlie every aspect of our lives. They shape how we think and speak about the world, how we behave, how we see ourselves, individually and in society. Ideas drive imagination; they determine how we conceive the past, the present and the future; they inform our political and social arrangements, our arts and culture, science, technology, and religion, our personal relationships and beliefs.
-- by Bernie Lucht (executive producer of IDEAS from 1984-2012), excerpted with permission from the introduction to IDEAS: Brilliant Thinkers Speak Their Minds, Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2005.
A look back at 50 years of IDEAS