Thursday, February 3, 2011 | Categories: Episodes |
Rewind is on hiatus on Radio One for the next few months. It will return for the 75th anniversary of CBC Radio later in 2011. But you can still hear the show every day of the week on Sirius Satellite Radio 137. And every week Rewind will feature one of those shows right here on the Rewind webpage. So make sure to check us out every week.
Coming up on this show, the National Farm Radio Forum. For 25 seasons- between 1941 and 1965, groups of rural people gathered to discuss hot topics like food rationing to the role of women- and then the discussions were edited and aired.
Today on Rewind, sounds from a program that had a long and illustrious history on CBC Radio. It was called the National Farm Radio Forum, or Farm Forum for short. The program debuted in January 1941 and at first was heard only in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The following autumn, the program was extended to Western Canada.
National Farm Radio Forum was the brainchild of Orville Shugg, a young farmer from southern Ontario. His career in radio had begun in 1939 with the daily 15-minute CBC Farm Broadcast.
Shugg described Farm Forum as "a sophisticated extension of the old 'New Canada Movement.'" Started in 1933, the New Canada Movement aimed to make young farmers into activists and achieve a "new deal" for rural Canadians.
In the 1940s, a little less than half of Canada's population lived in rural communities, and almost one third worked in agriculture.
Three objectives drove Shugg and his writing partner, Neil Morrison, in producing the Farm Forum broadcast. The CBC Program Schedule for the week of Nov. 23, 1941, outlined the objectives:
- To present authentic social and economic background material for discussion
- To translate such material into terms that will appeal to the imagination and interest of farm listeners
- To serve as a link between listening groups spread over a wide area.
The "Forum" part of National Radio Farm Forum referred to the groups of farmers that gathered to hear and debate each program. Each forum read prepared study guides in advance, took notes on their discussion and sent them to the provincial Farm Forum secretaries.
At the end of each program, the secretaries summarized the forums' response to the previous week's topic and reported forum statistics.
By its fifth broadcast, the program had an estimated 9,000 participants in registered forums in Ontario alone.