Of all things Canadian, few are more tied to our history than CBC Radio. But for the most part, once a show is finished it is forever banished to the archives basement at CBC’s Toronto headquarters.
Iceberg Media.com Inc. has ventured into the crypt and returned with a licensing agreement with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and hours of content dating back some 70 years. For thousands of young Canadians this will be the first opportunity to listen to the medium that dominated Canadian culture from coast to coast long before the advent of television and the Internet.
According to Ted Boyd, a North Bay, Ont., native and president of Iceberg, CBC Radio was the link that brought Canada together much the same way the railroad’s ribbon of steel joined the country.
Launched in December 2000, preservatory.com’s first month of content, not surprisingly, had a Christmas theme. CBC classics from days of yore such as Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Gracie Fields performing a special Christmas concert for the enlisted men in Vancouver were some of the offerings.
“It is a unique piece of Canadian history,” said Kevin O’Leary, preservatory.com’s producer.
Aimee Coueslan, licensing and programming manager at preservatory.com, particularly liked the Thomas reading. “It is amazing to hear him do his own piece,” she said. Coueslan was also the one who spent many an hour in the archives sorting through material. She said it took about 25 hours of listening of old recordings to get one hour for the Web site. She was not alone in the bowels of CBC.
“We spent about eight months buried in the archives,” O’Leary said. The site divides the 15 hours of content into five categories including music, drama, documentary, comedy and the time tunnel. The content changes each month with some going into the preservatory.com archives and others taken off the site to abide with licensing agreements. Each month of new content follows a specific theme.
Once the content was recorded to DAT, it had to be encoded to run with Real Player, a challenge that was no easy task, O’Leary said. So the content can have as widespread an audience as possible, O’Leary said it has to run on older versions of the Real Player.
Iceberg Media (www.theiceberg.com) also has several other on-line radio stations.