"For release Friday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. Mr. Garneau" [note écrite à la main - Rédacteur.]
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS OF UNITED
STATES AND CANADA
A SUBMISSION TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARTS, LETTERS AND SCIENCES*
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May we place on record our congratulations to the Canadian Government on the appointment of this Royal Commission. We trust that the Commission's deliberations will make all Canada conscious of the unique contribution Canadians have made and can in the future make in the field of Arts, Letters and Sciences.
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has a membership of over 230,000 and practically all of the instrumental music used by radio and television stations on this continent is supplied by its members. Much of this music is recorded or transcribed on platters and sound track. Unfortunately, Canadian radio stations are presently using an excessive amount of recorded and transcribed music rather than using and encouraging live Canadian artists, with the result that the development of Canadian talent is being retarded.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation originates chain broadcasts non commercial from the following cities: Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. Members of the Federation who live in these cities were paid for their talents on these programmes from April 1948 to April 1949, some $1,214,487.00. In addition, our members have also had substantial earnings from 1,574 commercial programmes carried on the two Corporation networks. We gladly pay tribute to the Corporation for the opportunities it has given to both experienced and inexperienced instrumental musicians in local and national broadcasts. With the possible exception of three or four independent radio stations, the C.B.C. has largely provided the employment and encouragement to instrumental artists.
Several years ago at a meeting of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, our representative suggested to the Broadcasters the setting aside of 5% of the Broadcasters' gross revenue to be used for the development and employment of Canadian artists in
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the Broadcasters community. This suggestion apparently met with the approval of the delegates who were there, and the Federation was advised that the C.A.B. would take the matter under immediate consideration. Unfortunately, no serious effort has ever been made to implement our suggestion. This Commission may be informed by some independent radio station operators of the services which they have given the community, and of the encouragement and employment given to some Canadian actors, artists and musicians. If such representations are made to this Commission, may we suggest that the operators be asked to supply supporting data, showing the monies paid to native actors, artists and musicians.
Because of our experience for more than twenty years in dealing with independent Canadian radio stations we are forced to recommend that the control of broadcasting and television in Canada remain under the control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or similar Authority.
We have reached the conclusion that the independent radio stations are primarily interested in a profitable operation and not too greatly if at all concerned with the development or employment of Canadian artists. There are hundreds of independent radio stations in the United States and Canada who do not offer employment to one musician. These stations operate many hours a day, deriving their entire musical output from recordings and transcriptions. We do not think such operation is in the public interest, in as much as it does little or nothing to improve the literary or artistic tastes of the Canadians.
We also plead that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation more strictly enforce the Canadian Broadcasting Act of 1936, particularly in connection with the excessive use of recordings and transcriptions.
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We therefore, respectfully submit -
- - That musicians who give more than half of the C.B.C. non commercial radio programmes should be given direct representation on the C.B.C. Board of Governors. Our members create the musical ideas, the inspiration, thousands of original compositions and musical arrangements for practically every broadcast on the trans-Canada and Dominion networks. We are grateful that labour has had representation on the C.B.C. Board for some years. Undoubtedly, labour's representatives have made important contributions to the deliberations of the Board. Notwithstanding this, we know that a musician as a member on the C.B.C. Board could make a unique contribution to the improving of Canadian broadcasting.
- - That there should be an increase in the radio license fee with the following qualification,- That the entire revenue derived from radio licenses should be placed at the disposal of the C.B.C. Programme Department for the giving of live broadcasts. The adoption of this suggestion would mean that the ten provinces of Canada could be assured of an improved programme standard which would not be lowered when capital expenditures were required. We suggest that capital expenditure in connection with the C.B.C. should be provided for from a special parliamentary grant as from time to time required. We feel sure that the people of Canada would not object to an increased radio fee if they had assurance that every cent collected in fees would be spent on Canadian programmes by Canadian artists and for the cultural benefit of the country as a whole.
We have read with keen interest the Brief submitted to this Commission by the National Association of Radio Artists. We, too are concerned with the great quantity of transcriptions and recordings supplied by American and European musicians;
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in fact, tailor made transcriptions featuring actors, singers and musicians are dumped on our Canadian market at a fraction of their original cost. Our Canadian branches constantly advise us that their local radio stations are largely concerned in receiving chain broadcasts from the C.B.C. and American networks. This is quite natural because they receive a substantial revenue from these sources, but the balance of their broadcasting time is almost exclusively made up of newscasts, transcriptions and recordings. Instead of professional actors and musicians appearing on Canadian radio stations the time is largely filled by "disc jockeys," who, not too infrequently attempt to give the listener the impression that the live artist is actually appearing in the studio. There is not any hope for the development of Canadian talent in Canada if our radio stations are permitted to live on transcribed shows and recordings that frequently represent the tag end of a foreign transcription interest.
*From: American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. A Submission to the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences. [s.l. : s.n., 1949]. 4 leaves. By permission of the Privy Council Office.