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In Praise of the CBC

February 9, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

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The Winter Olympics are here. And, thank god, Canada’s CBC is broadcasting them. No need to wait for NBC’s evening tape-delayed evening prime time coverage. No need to have events broken into little pieces to allow for frequent ad breaks. The CBC shows events live, as is.

I came to appreciate their coverage years ago. To my dismay, the CBC didn’t have the contract for the 2010 Winter Olympics. As I wrote four years ago,

Yes, NBC’s coverage is inane. But it’s always inane. Why would this time be different? One reason might be that with each passing Olympics, availability of information increases, so their penchant for tape delaying and dramatizing gets sillier and sillier. The real problem for us, though, is that our usual antidote to NBC is gone. When we got sick of it, we would just switch to CBC. We’d get to see the major events live. We’d get a little less drama, though they did follow the NBCs script (or, really, Roone Arledge’s ABC script from long ago, to give credit where it’s due) of up close and personal background stories. Alas, the CBC did not win the contract for Canadian television coverage for this Olympics. Cable network TSN did, and they’re not available as part of our cable package. We are reduced to watching on NBC or not watching at all.

What a relief that they have the coverage this year.

I had ignored the buildup last week, so I hadn’t even thought about how we would follow events. We were out at a dinner Friday night, so Gail set the DVR to record NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremonies. Last night I began to worry about how I would watch today’s men’s downhill, one of (to my mind) the two signature events of the Olympics along with its women’s counterpart. I checked the schedule for today’s events and saw that it was the first one, starting at just a couple of hours later at 11:00 PM local time here. Waiting for tonight’s NBC coverage was unimaginable.

That’s when I remembered to check the CBC website for their schedule. There it was, the downhill, due to be shown live from 11:00 PM to 1:30 AM Pacific Standard Time. I could even watch it as it happened, if I could stay awake. Or record it and watch first thing this morning.

We turned on the pre-race coverage last night, but couldn’t stay awake. This morning, I dared not open my iPad and look at any news. Downstairs I went, turning on the TV and watching the recording straight through. Perfect.

My pal Russ is up at Whistler now. (A little quieter than four years ago, when Ollympic skiing took place outside his door.) I wrote last night to share my excitement about watching the downhill. He responded, “the Canadian coverage is extraordinary. Starting with the opening ceremonies commercial free and live.”

Darn, why didn’t we think to record the opening ceremonies on CBC rather than NBC? I better check tomorrow’s schedule and figure out what essential events to record overnight.

My one complaint: why did the IOC schedule the Winter Olympics at the same time as Westminster? I have dogs to watch tomorrow and Tuesday. A Wednesday start would have been better.

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Categories: Skiing, Sports
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