The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced Thursday that a wave of cutbacks, slated for later this year, will punt CBC Edmonton from its plush headquarters downtown and drastically axe most of its employees.
Besides massive layoffs among English staff, the entire radio and television staff at Francophone service Radio-Canada will also be terminated, with French services to be relocated to Calgary. Local English radio and television news will still be broadcast with a skeleton staff, which may also include real skeletons with mini-cams wired atop their skulls.
Contingency plans are reportedly in motion to move roughly 12 remaining workers to the residence of Holger Petersen, host of Saturday Night Blues, one of only two national radio programs broadcasting from Edmonton. The other show, the sketch comedy The Irrelevant Show, will remain irrelevant as personnel will camp out at the Varscona Theatre, where several of them have day jobs anyway.
One staffer said that Petersen isn’t impressed over the station invading his premises which also houses his Stony Plain record label.
“He’s wondering how much of his record collection will have to be moved to create a makeshift studio,” said the employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And if the situation calls for creating an LGBTQ washroom in his house, Holger’s constantly prodding us over whether the CBC brass in Toronto will foot the plumbing bill.”
For the most part, higher-ups in Toronto were relatively more gleeful, as the gouging in Edmonton will free up enough public funding to create more Toronto-based national programming that Canadians won’t be bothered to check out.
“We’re pretty stoked about the decision, actually,” commented one Toronto executive. “We’re really excited to get the chance to green-light compelling and stimulating specials like David Suzuki’s The Fruit Fly Files and The Life and Times of Peter Mansbridge as well as new programs like Bowling With Bisexuals and Cape Breton Harp Player of the Week.” The whole country will love all of it!”
CBC Edmonton’s apparent relocation will leave behind a massive vacancy at Edmonton City Centre, the mall where the local affiliate has based itself since 2004. While a mall executive said the public media service will be missed by many, he added that custodial staff were doing cartwheels upon hearing the news.
“You’d be surprised about how many janitors complained about trying to vacuum all the granola out of the rugs at CBC,” he said. “They’re at least happy they soon won’t have to endure performing that task anymore.”