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EMERGENCY EPISODE: Catherine Tait makes her case for the CBC

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EMERGENCY EPISODE: Catherine Tait makes her case for the CBC

The public broadcaster's CEO in an exclusive layoff-eve interview
Catherine Tait at the NAC, Nov. 24. Photo: PW

I’m shipping the podcast early this week, because it’s essential background for some breaking news. Twelve days ago I interviewed Catherine Tait, the CEO of the CBC. Her office requested the interview. A few hours ago, she told CBC employees the Corp will lay off 600 people and eliminate 200 more currently-vacant positions over the next year.

When I interviewed Tait, I didn’t know this announcement was coming. But I found our conversation so interesting — we discussed Pierre Poilievre’s promise to “defund” the CBC, the parlous state of the corporation’s finances, the debate over its ideological orientation and its place in an ever-more-complex media environment — that I considered putting the episode out ahead of schedule, last week. Her office didn’t like that news, and asked us to stick to the original plan. I thought that was weird, but we had an excellent episode ready to go, so sure, whatever.

Now I know why they were concerned about scheduling. They knew today’s news was coming, even if I didn’t. I appear to have been part of a communications strategy. Which isn’t nefarious — these days everything is part of somebody’s communications strategy — but given the circumstances, I decided to push the episode out into the world while the news is still freshly breaking.

A few thoughts on all of this:

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Paul Wells
The Paul Wells Show podcast
Canada's leading podcast for serious, respectful interviews with leading newsmakers, thinkers and creators from Canada and around the world.
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