Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?

Protecting cultural industries from competition and propping them up with public money is just wasteful

Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?Many advocates for cultural diversity have a sudden change of heart when the topic turns to Canada's ‘cultural industries.’ As they say in Argentina, for money, the monkey will dance. What constitutes Canadian heritage, given its complex milieu, tends to be in the eye of the beholder. However, the heritage is so weak that, supposedly,…

Legacy media is in a zombie state, so why waste public money on it?

Leave reporting to independent innovators who build the public trust honestly. Any government subsidy surely undermines that trust

Legacy media is in a zombie state, so why waste public money on it?A little over nine years ago, in the midst of the chaotic collapse of the Canwest media empire, CHCA-TV of Red Deer, Alta., died. It was considered shocking at the time that a legacy TV station (it launched in 1957) could actually close. Other stations – CHEK in Victoria and CHCH in Hamilton – were…

Fred Jung’s incredible journey from Calgary to Hollywood

The Shatner Universe executive talks about developing entertainment projects and working with an icon, William Shatner

Fred Jung’s incredible journey from Calgary to HollywoodFred Jung is president of acquisitions and development of Shatner Universe LLC in North Hollywood. Can you explain your journey on how you got from Calgary to Los Angeles in your career? Jung: Boy, it really has been an incredible journey! Growing up in Calgary in the early ’70s, I was always intrigued with the entertainment…

TV’s Vikings is good fun and semi-reasonable history

But large-scale medieval violence and plundering wasn’t uniquely Viking – not by a long stretch

TV’s Vikings is good fun and semi-reasonable historyVikings returns to TV screens on Nov. 28, courtesy of the History Channel. The Canadian-Irish co-production will embark on the second half of its fifth season and there’ll be more to come after that. If you like historical drama with interesting characters and plenty of action, this is good news. Vikings’ storyline is inspired by…

The many voices of Doug de Nance

Voice artist, skybox announcer and on-the-floor host of live events across the globe

The many voices of Doug de NanceDoug de Nance is a voice artist, skybox announcer and on-the-floor host of live events across the globe. Tell me what you do and the range of services you’ve been hired to do over the years? Doug: My brand – When he speaks, it’s an event – really covers what I do. I call it voice…

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warrior

Under his leadership, Marvel directly challenged societal norms on race, religion, war, gender and sexuality

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warriorStan Lee passed away on Nov. 12. The larger-than-life personality of Marvel Comics for seven decades, he helped create some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Black Panther. The 95-year-old son of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, Lee was a genius and great innovator in the comic book industry –…

Shaking things up and raising the profile of clients

Diana Ruff, founder of She Devil Productions, talks about how to make an impact in an increasingly visual world

Shaking things up and raising the profile of clientsDiana Ruff is founder of She Devil Productions. What’s She Devil Productions and when did you start the company? Ruff: In 2012, I was heavily involved in broadcast, media production and documentary work. Most of this was for various other production companies and I said to myself it’s my turn. I’ve done well for others,…

We need a new kind of weather forecast

More regular reporting on extreme weather patterns would help Canadians understand the real threat of climate change

We need a new kind of weather forecastThe tornadoes that recently hit the Ottawa area can’t be blamed specifically on global climate change. But they are consistent with the long-predicted pattern of increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events, highlighted in the most recent report of the International Panel on Climate Change. Unfortunately, too many Canadians still don’t believe that human activity…

Revisiting The Boondocks in the Trump era

The comic strip turned TV show didn't just raise eyebrows, it raised blood pressure by poking aggressively at race relations

Revisiting The Boondocks in the Trump eraIt’s interesting how the smallest of events can sometimes trigger a significant flood of memories. That happened to me recently when my eyes gazed over a DVD box set of Season 1 of The Boondocks in a remainder bin. The Boondocks was based on Aaron McGruder’s controversial comic strip of the same name, which ran…

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dine

The CRTC has backed away from a 21st-century funding model for the creation of Canadian content. We'll all be poorer as a result

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dineThe leaders of Canada’s creative rebellion have emerged victorious after two years of struggle. That means consumers will almost certainly pay more for years to come for their much-loved Canadian television content. The news came just prior to the Labour Day weekend. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision confirming that it…

Is the CFL kicking off a new sports era with live on-field audio?

For as long as the lens has followed sports, broadcasters have denied fans the language, noise and strategy of the game – until now

Is the CFL kicking off a new sports era with live on-field audio?It’s the next frontier of TV sports broadcasting. Naturally, the Canadian Football League is leading the way. What? The CFL schooling all the big boys on cutting-edge audio technology? Yup. The final frontier of live broadcasting is going inside the audio of the game. Since TSN and the league gave it the go-ahead, we’ve had…

Mister Rogers’ well-lived life in the neighbourhood

A new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, examines the extraordinary life and career of Fred Rogers

Mister Rogers’ well-lived life in the neighbourhoodGrowing up in the 1970s, I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to some exceptional children’s television programs. My memories of Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Dressup and Vegetable Soup are as vivid now as they were then. But there will always be a special place for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred…

Using laughter to revive a struggling community

The National Comedy Center will open its doors on Aug. 1 in Jamestown, N.Y., the birthplace of Lucille Ball

Using laughter to revive a struggling communityIn a Western New York city of about 30,000 residents, a first-of-its-kind attraction dedicated to the art, history and social significance of comedy is set to open. The National Comedy Center will open its doors in Jamestown, N.Y., on Aug 1. More than US$50 million have already been spent in building the brand-spanking-new facility. It’s…

Tax the Internet in the name of Canadian culture?

Canadian production is booming. It hardly needs more official intervention – and funding – to continue to grow

Tax the Internet in the name of Canadian culture?Those of you who have fled the walled garden that constitutes Canada’s regulated Can-con broadcasting system for the freedom of the Internet, beware: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is ready to round you up. After years of news, information, education and entertainment being available unregulated from whatever source you want on a platform…