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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 171 / 185

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Appendix D: – Canadian Radio, Some Background

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233). The series was a huge production and laid the groundwork of actors, technicians, and facilities that would later become the CRBC and CBC Drama Departments (Signing On 192).

These drama departments (of the CRBC and later the CBC) would have been a powerful tool in fulfilling the Aird report’s vision of radio being “a great force in fostering a national spirit and interpreting national citizenship” (Troyer 37). When, in 1932, the CRBC brought public, nationalized radio to Canada, regional dramatic series began to develop across the country: in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and even Kamloops (Fink 234). With the public broadcasting re-organization of 1936, the CBC took over Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission’s broadcasting duties, which included “The Drama Department of the CRBC [which] carried over to the CBC and was the most important program department” (Fink 228).

The reach of the new national network was immense, covering 90% of the country. Onto this national network another boom of national and regional dramatic series were soon broadcast. From 1936 to 1939, “almost fifty new series had their inception” (Fink, 235). These early series would lay the foundation for later, much- renowned series like CBC Stage and CBC Wednesday Night that were to become the flower of the CBC Drama Department’s Golden Age (Fink 229).

Fink also touches briefly on the tradition of French language radio drama. There was a significant and unique tradition of French radio drama that grew in Quebec. Due to the language barrier, imported American programs didn’t have the impact in Quebec that they had in English-speaking Canada. While much French-language radio drama in Quebec came from the Radio-Canada French network of the CBC, established by 1938, there were also a great number of private stations offering high quality serious-dramatic series (Fink 232).

Saskatchewan saw its own birth of a titanic force in radio broadcasting in July of 1939 when CBK Watrous began broadcasting on 540 kHz86 at 50,000 watts. Because of its combination of power and the flatness of the surrounding prairie, CBK was hailed as one of the most powerful stations on the continent, if not the world, in terms of the area it could reach (Schmalz 67). The Saskatchewan Archives Sound Collection does have a

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a frequency that Wayne Schmalz says was “confiscated from CJRM” (On Air 67).

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