Appendix D: – Canadian Radio, Some Background
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (the CRBC) was created in 1932. In the United States, however, the National Radio Commission, or NRC82, was created in 1927 to bring order to the robust, private American broadcasting industry.
In Canada, the newly-formed CRBC was in charge of both broadcasting and regulation (Schmalz, 49)83. This situation would last for four years, until 1936, when out of the CRBC would be created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the CBC. Regulation was removed from the mandate of the CBC, ending what many saw as a conflict of interest inherent in the CRBC, it being regulator over and competitor with private radio stations84 (Fink 228). Canadian Radio Drama, Beginnings to 1945
The earliest developments in Canadian radio drama date back to the mid-1920s. For most of the 1920s, there was a lot of cross-over programming from the US into Canada. Powerful transmitters beamed US programs north and US programs were carried over Canadian Stations (Fink 230). By 1925, performers in both Moncton, NB and Vancouver, BC were reading plays on the radio. By 1928, there were plays by Canadian authors appearing on the radio (Drainie 9; Fink 233).
In 1931, the CNR radio department produced The Romance of Canada series. Tyrone Guthrie credits The Romance of Canada as being “certainly the first dramatic effort of any scale on the Canadian air” (Signing On, 192). It was the first nationally broadcast series of plays that dealt with Canadian history. The writer was Merrill Denison85, “a young Canadian with radio experience” (Fink 233). Tyrone Guthrie was imported from Britain to produce and direct the 20 plays. Guthrie was sought because of his experience as a director in London and a producer of radio plays for the BBC (Fink
82 83 The NRC became the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934. The political and financial growing pains of the public and private broadcasting systems are well documented from a Saskatchewan point of view in Wayne Schmalz’s On Air. Fink also writes about the infamously political Mr. Sage broadcasts that, some contend, led to the break- up of the CRBC. 84
85 Encyclopaedia of Canadian Theatre Denison, Merrill - “Playwright of realistic dramas and satire born in Detroit, Michigan, 1893, died in San Diego, California, 1975. Considered to be one of Canada's first important 20th century playwrights” (<http://www.canadiantheatre.com/dict.pl?term=Merrill%20Denison>).