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BriefsReportTable of ContentReport IndexRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences

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a. the average proportions of total broadcast hours devoted to music, whether serious or light.

b. the relative proportions of serious and light music broadcast.

c. the relative proportions of 'live' and 'recorded' music.

d. the proportions of serious and light music as compared with those of the networks' master schedule of programme output.

While wide individual variations of practice were observed with respect to each of the matters hereafter discussed, few significant differences were noted as between the performance of Group A and Group B stations taken as a whole. Hence, while the findings on these two groups are listed separately in Appendix B, they are consolidated in the following analysis.

Musical Programmes as Percentages of Total Broadcast Output From Sign-on to Midnight.
Group Number of
Stations in
of Serious
of Light
of All
CBC-Group A 412.831.744.5
Private-Group A 47.343.550.8
Private-Group B 28.8*42.651.4
Private-Group A 37.641.949.5
Private-Group B 78.138.446.5
Private-Group A 318.333.752.0
Private-Group B 0------

*The averaging of two stations only is here misleading. They are in fact sharply contrasted. One broadcasting 2.6% and the other 14.9% of serious music.

Total Musical Output.

The above chart shows only minor variations between station groups in their average total output of music, which for all groups amounts to approximately 50% of total broadcast hours.

Comparison of individual station performances, however, showed marked variations, ranging from a maximum of 66% to a minimum of 28% of total broadcast time.

Serious Music.

With serious music there is no longer the same relative consistency between the average output of different networks. While the average remains consistent on Private-Group A and B stations on both the Trans-Canada and Dominion networks, CBC Group A stations on Trans-Canada are distinguished by a significantly higher percentage (12.8%) of serious musical output, and Private Group A stations on the French network by a higher percentage still (18.3%). Indeed the devotion by this group of French stations of just less than one-fifth of all broadcasting time within the period examined to serious music makes them unique as a group among stations on the American continent.

Variations in the amount of serious music broadcast by different individual stations are even more marked than for music as a whole, ranging from 25.2% to 2.6% of total broadcast time. Nine stations (i.e. more than one-third of those examined) included less than one hour a day of serious music.


Light Music.

CBC Group A stations (Trans-Canada) and Private Group A stations (French network) are again distinguished from other groups by a distinctly smaller percentage of light musical programmes.

Output of light music also varies more markedly than for music as a whole between individual stations, ranging from a maximum of 53.5% to a minimum of 19.3%, or from approximately one-half to one-fifth of total broadcast time.

Ratios of Serious-Light Music.

By far the most striking contrasts between individual stations occur with respect to the relative amounts of serious and light music offered to the listener. Thus on one station an 8:9 ratio of serious to light music obtains (i.e. serious and light music are almost evenly balanced,) while on another the ratio of serious-light music is 1:19.

Only in seven out of twenty-three stations examined (i.e. almost one-third) was the ratio of light to serious music less than four to one.

On eleven out of twenty-three stations, (i.e. on nearly one-half), time devoted to light music exceeded that for serious music by five or more to one, and, on three of these, by ten, sixteen, and nineteen to one respectively.

Local Live and Recorded Music.

In view of the Commission's interest in the encouragement and reflection of native musical talent by radio, a special analysis was made of the amount of local live music (i.e. music performed by persons or groups) broadcast over different stations. The following statistics may prove of interest.

Of twenty-three stations examined, six (or 26%) broadcast no programme of either serious or light music performed by local talent throughout the week under review.

Ten stations (or 44%) broadcast no programme of serious music, and seven (or 30%) no programme of light music, performed by local talent, in the week.

Only six stations (or 26%) broadcast over thirty minutes of serious music performed by local talent. Thirteen stations (or 56%) broadcast over thirty minutes of light music performed by local talent.

The greatest amount of serious and light 'live' music broadcast in the week was two hours and forty-five minutes and four hours respectively.

For the first and only time in our entire analysis of broadcast music, significant differences were here observed between the performance of Group A and B stations. The reflection of local musical talent appears to be consistently higher over B Group than over A Group stations. This emerges clearly if the statistics cited above are represented as in the chart below.


  Group A
(14 stations)
Group B
(9 stations)
Number of stations with no 'live' music, serious or light. 60
Number of stations with no 'live' serious music. 82
Number of stations with no 'live' light music. 70
Number of stations with over 30 minutes 'live' serious music. 24
Number of stations with over 30 minutes 'live' light music. 67
Highest individual output of 'live' serious music in week. 1 hr. 30 min.2 hrs. 45 min.
Highest individual output of 'live' light music in week. 2 hrs. 55 min.4 hours

Comparison of Music Output on (1) Network Master Programme Schedules and (2) A and B Group Private Affiliates.

The basic network programme schedules are conceived and planned by CBC as part of its nationwide service to the listener. Its programmes are, as we have seen, only partially incorporated in those of Group A and B affiliated stations, the bulk of whose output is planned and executed independently.

CBC is a non-profit organization and aims at service to the nation. Private affiliated stations are profit seeking entities and (other than when serving as network outlets) are concerned with serving their local or regional community. Either or both of these factors might well account for variant programme policies and output. It seemed of interest, therefore, to discover how far such independent planning by a variety of stations resulted in variations from CBC's own concepts of the appropriate apportionment of time to serious and light music.

In the chart below the percentages of total time devoted to music in CBC's master programme schedules are therefore juxtaposed with the equivalent average percentages of the combined Group A and B affiliated stations of each of the three networks.

Comparative Percentage of Serious and Light Music, All Day, on
1. Network Master Programme Schedules.
2. Network Private A and B Affiliates.
Group Serious Music Light Music
Master Schedule 16.123.0
A and B Stations 8.043.3
Master Schedule 5.033.7
A and B Stations 7.940.2
Master Schedule 23.324.6
A and B Stations 18.033.7


With respect to serious music, it will be seen that, while on each network (except Dominion) the average output of Group A and B affiliates is less than in the master schedule, no very marked difference appears--except on Trans-Canada, where the percentage on private affiliated stations is half that of the master schedule.

*Comparison of affiliated Stations' programmes with those of the Dominion network schedule is not entirely fair, in that affiliated stations broadcast all day while the Dominion network functions only from 7:30 to 11:15 p.m.

With respect to light music the situation is reversed, private affiliated stations carrying a higher percentage than appears on the master schedules. But again, with the exception of Trans-Canada, the variation is in no instance as much as 10%. On Trans-Canada, while private affiliated stations broadcast half as much serious music, they include nearly twice as much light music as appears on the CBC master schedule.

As in the corresponding CBC master schedule, the private affiliated stations of the French network carry by far the highest percentage of serious music (more than double that on either Dominion or Trans-Canada) and the lowest percentage of light music. This would appear to confirm the view, tentatively advanced earlier, that cultural differences, within the region served, may account for this marked departure from the norm of broadcasting in Canada as a whole.


Records and Transcriptions as Percentages of Total Broadcast Hours.
Group Number of
Canada Transcriptions
Total Records Total
Records & Transcr.
CBC-Group A
Private-Basic 122.917.7.220.818.739.5
Private-Group A 41.523.7.225.431.657.0
Private-Group B
CBC-Basic 1----.8.844.245.0
Private-Group A
Private-Group B 76.623.
CBC-Basic 3--------22.022.0
Private-Group A 33.14.2--7.341.648.9

Notes and Comments:

a. On each of the three networks and in each station group (with the one exception of CBC owned Basic stations on Trans-Canada) the percentage of total broadcast hours devoted to record and transcription programmes is high. It ranges, with the exception named, from a minimum of nearly one-quarter of total broadcast time (CBC Basic, French network) to a maximum of nearly two-thirds (Private Group A and B stations, Dominion network).

A markedly lower percentage of recorded and transcribed material is carried on CBC owned stations than on privately owned stations on each of the three networks.


b. One would have to go beyond the bare figures analyzed to account for this high incidence of recorded matter. Absence of native talent, or failure to discover and exploit it, limited finances, the popularity of recorded and transcribed material--these may be among the contributory factors. Unchallengeable is the fact that an outstanding characteristic of Canadian broadcasting is this prevalence of recorded and transcribed material.*

*It may be of interest to note that the spread in the incidence of recorded and transcribed programmes corresponds very closely to that which obtains over large, medium and small stations in the United States. For details, see Communications research 1948-49, Lazarsfeld and Stanton, Harper Bros. pp. 61, 64.

c. Combing all station groups, the average percentage figures of recorded and transcribed material on each of the three networks are as follows:

Trans-Canada, 38.1%; Dominion, 56.3%; French, 35.5%. As in our analysis of the master programme schedules of three networks, the Dominion is again distinguished from the Trans-Canada and French networks, with an excess of recorded and transcribed material of 18.2% over either of the other networks.

d. CBC owned stations as a whole, whether Basic or Group A, are sharply distinguished from equivalent Private affiliated stations in their relatively lower output of recorded and transcribed material. Their output of recorded and transcribed programmes ranges from 15.2% to a maximum of 25.7%.

e. On the other hand over Private stations in all groups the percentages of recorded and transcribed material ranges from a minimum (in round figures) of 40% to a maximum (in two groups) of 64%. Again the bare figures do not disclose what accounts for this disparity of practice as between CBC owned and Privately owned stations in comparable groups.


There are four ways in which programmes of United States Origin may reach the Canadian listeners:

  1. Through direct reception of programmes broadcast in the United States by Canadian listeners within the coverage area of United States stations. (We have no evidence of the extent of such direct listening.)
  2. Through carriage of programmes of United States origin by CBC networks as part of their national programme service. (For the nature and extent of such relays totalling forty hours and 15 minutes a week on all three networks combined, see p. 449.)
  3. Through carriage of United States programmes by a few stations affiliated with one or other of the United States networks or making special contracts for ad hoc service of this kind.
  4. By far the greatest amount of United States originated programme material (other than from United States stations direct) reaches Canadian listeners through use of transcriptions. Their incidence, over A and B group stations, is shown in the chart below. The figures indicate percentages of total broadcast time.

Transcribed United States Programmes.
a. from sign-on to sign-off.
b. from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Group Number of
All Day 6:00-11:00 p.m.
CBC-Group A 413.211.6
Private-Group A 423.726.3
Private-Group B 25.510.2
Private-Group A 313.09.4
Private-Group B 723.423.3
Private-Group A 34.24.4

Notes and Comments:

a. No very significant variation occurs (in the incidence of transcribed programmes) as between broadcasts all day and between the hours of 6.00 and 11:00 p.m. The one exception is the group of Private B stations on Trans-Canada which has twice the relative percentage of transcriptions in evening hours.

b. There are marked variations between different station groups in the extent to which transcriptions are used. Such use ranges from a low of 4.2% of total broadcast time on Private Group B stations (French network) to a high of 26.3% of evening hours on Private Group A stations (Trans-Canada network). In two groups throughout the day, and again in the same two groups between 6:00 and 11:00 p.m., use of transcriptions approximates 25% of the total period analyzed.

c. A spot check indicates that the programme content of United States transcriptions consists in the main of music, mostly of a popular variety. Dramatic programmes run a poor second. (The ratio of music to drama is approximately 6:1.) Other types of programmes are nowhere in the race.

d. The above analysis presents only a partial picture of the infiltration of United States originated programmes into Canadian homes. For, in addition to the three other channels, earlier referred to, along which such infiltration can take place, account must be taken of record programmes. While we had no means of identifying the origin of such recorded programmes, it seems a safe assumption that a high percentage of them were of United States manufacture. For this reason the percentages of total broadcast time devoted to programmes of records and transcriptions combined (see chart on p. 457) are probably truer (though by no means accurate or complete) index of the infiltration of United States originated matter.

It will be remembered (1) that an overwhelming percentage of recorded programmes consisted of music, mostly of a popular variety. (2) That, of eleven station groups examined, four devoted about half and two nearly two-thirds, of total broadcast time to records and transcriptions. This (subject to some discount for record programmes of other than United States manufacture) would make the presumed infiltration of United States originated matter significantly high.

The high incidence of popular music as the programme component of both records and transcriptions suggests that this is the United States' major export to Canada over the station groups here analyzed.



Commercial and Sustaining Programmes as Percentages of Total
Broadcasting Time.*
Group Number of
Commercial Sustaining
CBC-Basic 1023.776.3
CBC-Group A 428.971.1
Private-Basic 1245.754.3
Private-Group A 439.360.7
Private-Group B 254.645.4
CBC-Basic 117.882.2
Private-Basic 2137.262.8
Private-Group A 332.367.7
Private-Group B 730.070.0
CBC-Basic 328.271.8
Private-Group A 323.876.2

*The averaging of stations' performance again conspires to obscure the true picture. For the hours of operation of the stations vary all the way from part time to continuous twenty-four hour service. By including stations which operate throughout the night, when sponsorship is very sparse, the true incidence of sponsorship in significant listening hours is markedly reduced.

Notes and Comments:

a. As with respect to 'local live' and 'record and transcription' programmes, it will be seen that there are marked variations as between station groups in the ratios of commercial and sustaining time.

b. The percentage of commercial broadcasting ranges from a low of 17.8% (CBC owned Basic, Dominion) to a high of 54.6% (Group B stations, Trans-Canada); that of sustaining programmes from 45.2% to 82.2%.

c. On the Trans-Canada and Dominion networks, both CBC owned Basic and Group A stations contrast with Private stations in the same group in their relatively lower percentages of commercial programmes. Private Basic stations, on both the Trans-Canada and Dominion networks, carry approximately twice as much commercial programming as do their CBC owned equivalents.

d. On the French network, on the other hand, the amount of sponsored programmes carried by CBC owned Basic stations exceeds by 4.4% that over Private Group A stations.

e. The average percentage of commercial and sustaining broadcasting of all stations on the three networks combined amounts to 32.86% and 67.13% respectively.


If the total incidence of commercial advertising on the air is being sought, caution is necessary in the interpretation of these figures in that they do not include


consideration of commercial spot announcements introduced in many programmes listed as sustaining.

Scrutiny of the questionnaire returns suggests that the distinction between commercial and sustaining programmes was variantly interpreted, some stations listing programmes as 'commercial' which, while not sponsored, had spot announcements interspersed therein. It seems clear, however, that the majority of stations listed programmes as sustaining despite the introduction of spot announcements. The incidence of advertising matter is thus unquestionably far higher over Private affiliated stations than is suggested by the figures cited above, as the following analysis makes clear.

The average incidence of commercial spot announcements (non-commercial time signals and weather reports and public service announcements are excluded) is indicated in the following chart.

Incidence of Commercial Spot Announcements.
Group Number of
Average Number
Commercial Spot
CBC-Basic 106215121
Private-Basic 12453631315
CBC-Group A 47911956
Private-Group A 4299609132
Private-Group B 2589642535
CBC-Basic 1656565
Private-Basic 21403668156
Private-Group A 3318398232
Private-Group B 7294454219
CBC-Basic 3344022
Private-Group A 3328410232

Notes and Comments:

Under CBC regulations no station is allowed to broadcast commercial spot announcements between 7:30 and 11:00 p.m. or at any time on Sunday. (Concession is made for the time signals and weather reports where no more than a sponsor's name is mentioned.) Taking an average output per station of seventeen hours daily, the actual period within which the incidence of commercial spot announcements must be reckoned is, therefore, eighty-one hours. Some allowance must be made for authorized sponsored time signal and weather reports in the reserved periods. (On the other hand, some discount is necessary for sponsored programmes in which the sponsor does not permit the inclusion of spot announcements.) On this basis of calculation the following facts emerge from the above chart and from further detailed analysis of individual returns.

a. The relative infrequency of commercial spot announcements on CBC owned stations in all groups is in marked contrast to that on private stations in equivalent (or any other) groups.


b. Private Basic and Group B stations, on Trans-Canada, and Private Basic stations on Dominion are distinguished from all other groups by the high average incidence of spot announcements, amounting to five or more spot announcements an hour.

c. Of fifty-two private stations analyzed, twenty-three included an average of five or more commercial spot announcements every hour throughout the entire week.

d. The highest incidence of spot announcements on any station is 668, or an average of over eight spots an hour.

e. On the two Trans-Canada B stations examined, one had over six and the other nearly eight spot announcements an hour.

f. On Trans-Canada Private Basic stations nine out of twelve stations have five or more spot announcements an hour.

g. On Dominion Private Basic stations nine out of twenty-one have over five spot announcements an hour.

h. In every group of private stations the variation between individual stations in the frequency of spot announcements is very marked.

i. There is nothing in the returns to indicate the cause of such marked variation.


The numerical extent of public service announcements is indicated in the chart below. The returns gave no clue as to the amount of time devoted to such announcements, nor as to their variant nature. The total absence of community service announcements on one station in the Trans-Canada, Private Group B group, is, (according to the questionnaire return) an abnormality of the particular week chosen for analysis.

Number of Non-Commercial Community Service Spot Announcements.
Group Number of
High Low Average
CBC-Basic 101391040
Private-Basic 122321966
CBC-Group A 4311618
Private-Group A 418942100
Private-Group B 220010
CBC-Basic 1333
Private-Basic 215251182
Private-Group A 3761543
Private-Group B 7943657
CBC-Basic 3841542
Private-Group A 31038793


B. Programme Characteristics of CBC Owned and Private Affiliated Network Outlets, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.

We have thus far examined the characteristics of stations associated with the task of network broadcasting as these relate to their total programme output. It seemed of interest also to examine these same station groups with reference to their output in the main evening listening hours when maximum audiences could be expected. What are the characteristics of broadcasting in evening hours and how, if at all, do they differ from those of programming during the total hours of broadcasting?

We proceed, first to a comparison of the time percentages devoted by Group A and B stations,* on each of the three networks, to:

1. CBC network programme acceptance.
2. 'Local live' programmes.
3. Record and Transcription Programmes.

Basic stations have been eliminated on the assumption that their primary task, particularly in evening hours, is to provide an outlet for network programmes to an extent that differentiates them functionally from Group A and B stations which have greater latitude for individual initiative.

Comparison, By Programme Type, of Output on All Day and 6:00 to
11:00 P.M. Schedules.
Type of
Group A
Group A
Group B
Group A
Group B
Group A
Network Programmes:
a. All hours 67.024.722.012.03.538.5
b. 6-11 p.m. 68.140.926.337.48.447.0
Local Live Programmes:
a. All hours
b. 6-11 p.m. 8.517.527.918.035.715.1
Records and Transcriptions:
a. All hours 25.757.
b. 6-11 p.m. 20.740.745.843.655.834.8

Figures represent percentage of total broadcast hours in period. Numbers in parenthesis equal number of stations examined.

*Allowance must be made for the fact that Dominion network services are available only from 7:3O to 11:15 p.m.

Notes and Comments:

a. Network Acceptance.*
Network acceptance is here measured as a percentage of total broadcast hours. For purposes of comparison between evening and all day broadcasting it seemed unnecessary to use the form of comparison previously adopted, i.e. acceptance measured by availability.

  1. Increased acceptance of network programmes is to be noted in every station group between the 6:00 to 11.00 p.m. period as compared with all day broadcasting. The advantages of network service thus accrue specially to listeners in hours at which most of them can tune in most conveniently.
  2. The highest and lowest percentage increases recorded in the chart above are both deceptive. Thus, an apparent jump from 12% (all day schedule) to 37.4%


  1. (6:00-11:00 p.m.) over Private Group A (Dominion) stations is, of course, accounted for by the fact that the Dominion network operates only from 7:30 to 11:15 p.m. The minuscule increase in evening hours (1.1%) over the all day network acceptance rate of CBC owned Group A stations (Trans-Canada) is explained by the fact that this group's all day acceptance of network programmes is higher, by a very wide margin indeed, than that of any other station group on any network.

b. 'Local Live' Programmes.

  1. There is no significant difference, as between evening and all day broadcasts in the percentages of total time devoted to 'local live' programmes.
  2. The highest evening percentage of local live programmes (35.7%) is that of Private Group B stations (Dominion). But note here, by contrast, the low percentage (8.4%) of network programmes carried, amounting to somewhat less than three hours in the week.
  3. The lowest representation of local live broadcasts in evening hours (8.5%) occurs among CBC Group A stations (Trans-Canada). Note, however, their very high percentage of network originated programmes.
  4. On Group B stations (Trans-Canada) local live broadcasting amounts to approximately one-quarter of the total evening hours (29.7%). In no other group does it amount to 20% of the time.
  5. Of 'local live' broadcasting in all groups approximately one-half consists of news and sports. All other subjects amount to fragmentary percentages of total time, with music in the lead.
  6. Controversial discussion is, on the whole, conspicuous by its absence, amounting to 1.6% of the total evening hours of broadcasting of all station groups on all three networks combined. It is absent entirely from programme schedules in the CBC Group A and Group B stations on Trans-Canada.

C. Programmes of United States' Origin.

We were able to identify programmes of United States origin in two categories only: (a) United States transcription (b) United States programmes embodied in CBC network programmes and carried by the affiliated stations here examined. The extent of record material of United States origin was not identifiable. The average amount of identifiable United States material included between 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. is indicated in the chart below.

Programmes of United States Origin as Percentage of Total
6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Period.
Group Number of
United States
Programmes from
United States
CBC-Group A 411.64.015.6
Private-Group A 426.35.031.3
Private-Group B 210.214.324.5
Private-Group A 39.410.219.6
Private-Group B 723.35.028.3
Private-Group A

* From: Canada. Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences. Report. Ottawa : King's Printer, 1951. By permission of the Privy Council Office.

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