CBC Vancouver Newsletter




Thursday April 9th, 2020                             A SALUTE TO YOU!


As we head into the April long weekend, I wanted to take a moment to salute you, and to acknowledge your feelings and how everything is different from just one month ago.

First, please know that there's an army of people across the Corporation that is working very hard every single day to ensure your health and safety, and your overall well-being. However, I have heard from many of you about the various feelings you're experiencing, and I can relate because I feel many of them too.

I know this is not easy. It is hard. It’s challenging to be working from home alone and/or parenting at the same time. It’s hard to come in to work at a time when all you hear is to ‘stay home’. It’s hard when you are working in the field or trying to figure out a new workflow or technology.  Things that seemed simpler before, seem to take longer and the process is sometimes unfamiliar and is frustrating. And it may also be hard to maintain work/life/social balance when we're asked to be physically distancing. I can understand and empathize.

But this tough and challenging situation has also allowed you to shine.

I want to take a minute to highlight and celebrate some of the many amazing things you have done this month (even if it feels like a year). I'm so proud of our entire team in the West. Your resiliency is unmatched, your ingenuity in the face of difficulty is apparent, and your creativity speaks for itself.

The Edmonton AM on-air team working mostly from home, recognized that their radio programs sounded a little different - so they turned the unusual background noises into a "Pandemic Bingo" game for listeners by encouraging them to listen for strange sounds such as dog barks, toilet flushes, and cats meows. This not only built audience tune in through the week, but also drove to digital to access the bingo card. And by the way, during the month of March CBC Radio in Edmonton was the number one most listened to station. A first ever.

Physical distancing has spawned genius ideas, as teams have sought to keep themselves and others safe, while still news gathering. In Calgary, a video producer story-boarded a video he was producing about an Okotoks teen who is making plastic face shields with a 3D printer. He sent his story board with desired shots to the teen's family. The family shot the video as he described and took the photos, sending them back to the producer, where he edited it all together. The result was an outstanding video, collected in a creative way, that was posted to online and aired on TV, all while keeping everyone safe.

In Vancouver, the tech services team figured out a way to have live video of The Early Edition host from home for Visual Radio, using an iPhone and an automated switch from our in studio cameras. And it was back to business for the 6pm news team as the reality of juggling a co-hosted news program seemed a mammoth project. But with thoughtful planning the team blew their return to air out of the park - not only informing the audience with the news they needed, but giving them a visual treat as well, with the hosts all together but not ‘together’.

And speaking of local news teams, I want to say a huge thank you to all our supperhour teams in the West - who have been on air, off air, on air again. Your flexibility is so appreciated. The same goes for our latenight news and Our Vancouver teams as they gear up to restore their shows this coming Tuesday.

These are just a small sample of the many ways your creativity is astounding. Every single day I hear of a new approach you have tried and it makes me so proud of all of you.

I know this weekend many of you will be working, keeping our programs on air and our audience informed. Thank you for your passion and your dedication. Try to take breaks when you can. For those of you who are off, enjoy this time to unwind. Connect with your loved ones, and know that your work is admired, valued, and appreciated.

I salute this strong and resilient Western team. Stay safe and healthy, and we WILL get through this together.

Thank YOU!


Johnny Michel
Senior Managing Director
British Columbia & Alberta
CBC English Services

The Insider BC

A monthly newsletter from my office, updating you on what’s ahead for CBC British Columbia. 

Welcome to March 2020!

While The Insider is intended to always be forward looking, I believe this month it is worthwhile revisiting, and adding further context to last week’s Town Hall meeting where Barbara Williams announced a very bold and forward thinking structure for the CBC.  A structure based on three pillars - Content, Audience, and Business.

One key bit of information that you need to know is that Local Services will be changed.

Previously, our news-gathering and programming was organized in this way:

- Network News (which included TV, digital and radio news as well as investigative under Jennifer McGuire)

- Local Services (under Fred Mattocks)

- Network Radio (which included network current affairs, podcasts and CBC Music under Susan Marjetti)

These three pillars individually reported to Barbara Williams. Not only did that mean competing interests, but it meant a structure organized more around platform than content type.

Going forward, Susan will become the head of News, Current Affairs and Local.  And then beneath Susan, will be three divisions, divided by type of work, not platform: Long-form journalism (including current affairs and investigative), Daily News, and Local.  

I, along with the other three Senior Managing Directors, will be reporting directly to Susan, and we will be part of her senior management team.

In the short term, this represents very little change to our daily lives.

In the long term, I believe this will mean better collaboration and cooperation with our colleagues in Toronto -- the move to bring all news, current affairs and local programming under one umbrella, across all platforms, will really help this to happen.

We will soon engage in robust conversations about how to best organize ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities of the new structure.  We will commit to keeping you informed and engaged in the transformation process.

For now, it’s business as usual. We will continue to do the great work you do every day.

Johnny Michel


March begins with a News/Current affairs investigative project produced by Jeremy Allingham and Liam Britten called Brain Trust, with a look at who controls the concussion protocol around the world, and who benefits from that control, plus asks tough questions about the lack of a link between concussion and neurodegenerative brain disease CTE. Rollout begins Monday March 2nd.

We’re having a conversation about systemic racism on all our programs leading up to the March 11 Town Hall in studio 700 (see below) 

Our Treading Water series continues every Wednesday into March, and after last month’s great sessions with Al Tomkins from the Poynter Institute, we plan to follow up on the story of the apartment dwellers who had no heat for days over the December holidays.  We’re always looking for great pitches for Treading Water, so please direct those great pitches to either Fiona Hopewell Jensen or Treena Wood!

A months-in-the-making original investigation from regions across Canada also debuts early in the month:

Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians are harassed, assaulted, victimized or murdered by their intimate partners. How many of those outcomes might have been averted if timely interventions had happened along the way?
CBC News will reveal findings of our national examination of Intimate Partner Violence drawing from our data journalists and investigative teams.
We will frame Intimate Partner Violence not just as a national crisis, but as a preventable crime - much as authorities in the U.S. have done. The goal of this Impact Project is to change the narrative around Intimate Partner Violence in Canada, seeing it through the lens of preventability.

CBC Vancouver has stories planned around how many women are turned away from shelters in small communities, how tough it is for women to escape the home where they’re being abused, and how to overcome the barrier of allowing women to take their pets with them into shelters. Watch for the rollout on Thursday March 5th.

Secret Spaces is a new, social-media friendly feature from CBC Vancouver News at 6. Hosts Anita Bathe and Mike Killeen explore the world of closed-off, secret spaces around Metro Vancouver, and get a peek inside to answer the question “what’s in there, anyway?” This weekly feature debuts Friday March 6th.


CBC BC is hosting two Canada Reads events this month and you can hear them on North By Northwest! 

March 5: Radio West's Sarah Penton hosts a public event at Kelowna's main library with the author of Radicalized Cory Doctorow.  His book is being defended for CANADA READS this month by Toronto Raptors host Akil Augustine.  Thanks to Courtney Dickson for producing this event and Ross Bragg for technical support.

March 6: Award-winning Haisla author and 2020 CBC Canada Reads contender, Eden Robinson visits the Prince Rupert Library for a special evening of conversation and story-telling with Daybreak North Host, Carolina de Ryk. A well-known Indigenous writer, Eden Robinson is the author of Son of a Trickster which is being defended for CANADA READS by actor Kaniehtiio Horn.  Thanks to Will Howie for tech support and Daybreak North producer Catherine Hansen will also be present.

March 11  7:30-9:00pm: CBC British Columbia hosts a live radio and GEM streaming Town Hall, Racism: the Uncomfortable Truth.  Stay tuned for more details. 

March 19-20- Kelowna based afternoon show Radio West will be in Prince George for World Curling Championships March 19/20 


It’s Dialogue Survey Action Planning time for our Vancouver News and Operations staff! This year Treena and N.J. are combining forces and will hold one joint meeting on Monday March 9th to discuss the overall Dialogue Survey results from 2019 and create an action plan to help make our workplace the best it can be. Watch for an official invitation coming soon!

BC Current Affairs, Programming & Bureau team conversations are already underway and happening throughout the month as we continue to talk about how to make this a better place to work everyday. 

A reminder that our Book An Expert sessions are back - performance mentoring with Mike Killeen and radio/broadcast with Stephanie Mercier. You can email Michelle Siu for available sessions. 


We’re stepping into spring with fun-fuelled community engagement and events that support men and women. 

March 1    Mike Killeen will host Prostate Cancer Canada's Step Up Challenge, Sunday, March 1. Registrants will climb the 35 floors of the MNP Tower while helping to raise funds to improve prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship of prostate cancer -- the most common cancer among Canadian men.

March 6   Anita Bathe will host West Coast LEAF's annual fundraiser - the Equality Breakfast - on March 6. Now in its 35th year, the event celebrates International Women's Day and raises much needed support for the organization's work in equality rights litigation, law reform and public legal education.

March 6   Business in Vancouver’s Influential Women in Business Awards returns March 6 and recognizes B.C.’s most outstanding business women. Anita Bathe will return as host of this inspirational event.  

March 7-8  The HSBC World Rugby Seven Series is coming to Vancouver March 7 and 8, bringing 208 athletes from 16 nations to BC Place Stadium for two days of back-to-back games. CBC Vancouver will be at the event offering Instagrammable moments with a Tokyo 2020 podium.

March 14  The public is invited to a special live-to-air broadcast of CBC Radio One's Hot Air, featuring live performances from some of Vancouver's most respected jazz artists. After the live broadcast, musician Sharon Minemoto will lead a jam session with young, up and coming local jazz musicians.

March 23-27  With the kiddos out of school for Spring Break, what better time to launch a Musical Treasure Hunt! This fun activity - promoted through CBC Vancouver’s social accounts - will take “detectives” to musical landmarks in Metro Vancouver communities where they can score their very own CBC Vancouver backpack filled with top-notch musical goodies. March is Music Therapy Awareness Month, and this fun event recognizes the power of music.


The 2020 Juno Awards:  Full list of nominees and full coverage available now at  We have 35 Juno themed playlists at CBC Listen and on the CBC Listen App. The Juno Awards will be broadcast on CBC television, CBC Gem, Radio 1 and CBC Music on Sunday March 15th at 8pm ET (5pm PT).  Also streaming on Alessia Cara is hosting. She is also up for Fan Choice, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year AND Songwriter of the Year. Jann Arden will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and will be performing at the Junos on March 15th

Music Day on CBC: is a multi-platform, day-long, celebration of Canadian Music leading into the 2020 JUNO Awards broadcast. CBC Music will have special Juno programming all day on Sunday March 15th starting at 6 am.  

Searchlight 2020:  Searchlight returns!  The yearly competition is CBC Music's long-running hunt for Canada's undiscovered musical talent.  This year, CBC Music has partnered with the Juno Awards to search for that one artist or band that could be a Juno Award winner soon.  Searchlight 2020’s grand prize winner will be announced on q on Thursday, March 5. Prize includes: AllanSlaight Juno Master Class and Juno Awards experience, A week in a recording studio at the National Music Centre in Calgary, CBC Music Festival performance

CBC Music Playlist Highlights: Round Dance -  From the heart of the Prairies, out across Turtle Island, discover songs to honour the round dance—a social and ceremonial time to get together and dance for life, love, and healing. Hear songs and roundys from Young Spirit, Blackstone, Big Bear, Randy Wood, Randall Paskemin, Harvey Dreaver, and much more. So, circle up, join hands, and follow the direction of the sun around the drummers and singers. Aho!