The Sun discovers respect for CBC personnel when they’re fired

The Sun discovers respect for CBC personnel when they’re fired

With the blockbuster news that Richard Stursberg has allegedly been fired from the CBC, a lot of people are trying to explain what, precisely, was his career’s mortal sin. Not that Stursberg suffered from having too few enemies inside the Corp., but nobody, as yet, has explained why he left now. David Akin of Sun Media has a theory: the CBC is so dysfunctional that it fired a man who made it more popular.

And yet, when Stursberg arrived at CBC in October 2004, an average of 215,000 Canadians were watching the main network at any given minute during the day. For the 12-month period ending July 10, CBC was drawing an average minute audience, as it’s called in the trade, of 328,000, a jump of 52%.

As for CBC television’s overall market share, it grew 34% over the Stursberg’s tenure.

At CBC, that kind of ratings success doesn’t get you a bonus, it gets you a pink slip.

According to Akin, Stursberg is a casualty in the never-ending war between people who want the CBC to be a public-minded, non-commercial medium and the people who want CBC to actually have an audience.

After announcing his new piece on Twitter with the words “Only at #CBC,” the reaction has been pretty vocal, with many people questioning Akin’s argument and even the data he used. Kady O’Malley (herself a CBC blogger) responded with, “It’s weird, but I don’t remember Sun Media singing Richard Stursberg’s praises before his departure from CBC.”  Tim Falconer responded by snarking, “If those CBC lefties hate him, he must be okay, right?” And Paul Wells captured the absurdity of a CBC exec being defended by a Sun reporter nicely: “Richard Stursberg is a hero of the proletariat. Richard Stursberg has always been a hero of the proletariat.” But for sheer cattiness, nothing beats ottguy: “Best thing bout Stursberg ratings story in the Sun is it was printed in a newspaper that has had to resort to free distribution at McDonalds.”

Akin has been responding to a lot of the arguments around his piece on his Twitter feed, so catch up while you can.

CBC axes exec despite ratings success [Toronto Sun]