Sunday, August 26, 2012 | Categories: Episodes |
Richard Stursberg: The jacket of his new book carries these words: "He was a bad man." Revisiting Michael's conversation with Richard Stursberg about his years as the head of English Services for the CBC.
Hartley's Violin: John Corcelli's documentary about Wallace Hartley
In the summer of 2004, there were rumblings of a seismic shift at the CBC.
It came with the arrival of a man who came to be known in these halls as King Richard. He was seen as imperious, dogmatic, bull-headed and self-righteous. He was also viewed as the man who would turn around the Queen Mary.
When Richard Stursberg became the head of CBC English Television, he wanted big changes.
Out with talk of mandates and missions; in with populist programming. Out with a schedule dominated by news and current affairs; in with reality TV.
On his watch, there were success stories like Little Mosque on the Prairie and Dragon's Den; there were resounding flops, like the reality series The One. We also saw the remake of CBC institutions like The National.
Four years ago, Richard Stursberg's kingdom expanded to include the senior service: CBC Radio. He presided over the transformation of Radio 2 from a classical music station to a showcase for different musical genres.
His goal was to grow the ratings. And by that measure, Richard Stursberg declared himself to be a resounding success - while he was here and even after he was fired.
His years at the Mother Corp. are chronicled in his book, The Tower of Babble: Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC. Richard Stursberg spoke with Michael Enright in April.
Music used in Hour Two
4th. Mvmt. from J.S. Bach's Sonata No. 2 for Violin, performed by James Ehnes
King of the Road, performed by Lenny Breau
contained in our documentary Hartley's Violin was And the Band Played On: Music Played On the Titanic, by I Salonisti
Strathcona Park, by Douglas Reach