on the 16th day of December my blogger gave to me...

the best of CBC radio

25 years ago when I became a mum for the first time and suddenly found myself spending hours a day with a non-verbal, but adorable, little creature, living in a town with a very limited range of radio options available, I turned to the CBC. It has changed a lot since then. Best of all, through the magic of the internet, programs are available almost on demand either as podcasts or by playing around with time zones. I pretty much avoid the Classical music and political analysis programming in favour of the more entertaining (lowbrow) stuff. Here are my suggestions to get you started. Actually, my best suggestion is that you just try it out for yourself and find something you like. It's so Canadian that it tries desperately to please everyone; if ever there was a something-for-everyone provider this is it. In order of greatness:

1.  Q with Tom Power (on Radio 1)-- with a charming host, in a flannel shirt kind-of-way, this brilliant show epitomizes the all-things-for-all-people ideal of public broadcasting. In one episode they'll cover everything from Metallica to jazz to art photography. Go to the website to listen to specific interviews or listen to the whole episode or podcast as I do because I've often tuned in for one thing specifically then found myself enjoying something else even more in spite of myself. Fun fact: podcasts are about the length of a public transit ride from the burbs to the city.

2.  Shift with Tom Allen (afternoons on Radio 2)-- a daily lesson in music theory, history, or trivia. This host's personal reflections and often surprising connections pepper a musical "shift" from the classical music program that precedes this one to the popular (indie) "Drive" show that follows. I confess, I'll usually tune in for just the last hour of this one at which point the music is more to my liking.

3.  Quirks and Quarks with Bob McDonald (Radio 1) -- I listen to this one exclusively as a podcast. It's a science program for the non-scientific. A more nerdy cousin of the American Radiolab (which I highly recommend too!)

4.  The Signal with Laurie Brown (Radio 2) -- If you're a late night radio listener, the soothing talk of this veteran host and her eclectic music selection are just the thing.


  1. Older Sister of Your Man16 December 2016 at 08:20

    Yes!!! CBC. Also the perfect travel companion on road trips. This is That is really fun too.

    1. "This is That" is painfully hilarious! But sooooo many people are fooled into thinking it's real (because it is done so well) that I decided not to put it on the list! If you tune in to CBC at a random time and what you're hearing is making your jaw drop in disbelief, it's either current American politics, or "This is That".

    2. Older Sister of Your Man16 December 2016 at 23:13

      You've described the program perfectly. I have totally fallen for it many times over the years, only to realize that it is "This is "That" and then have a good laugh at the show and at myself.


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