CBC_Infographic2The debate about the value and purpose of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) at a national level is being waged within the CBC itself and in the national media among journalists, academics, pundits and politicians all presenting differing views about the CBC’s future. While the national discussion is certainly an important and valuable one, it is also important to engage in a discussion about how well the CBC is serving local communities, including the Hamilton region.

In May 2014, CBC Hamilton marked its second anniversary in the community. The push to get CBC in Hamilton has been underway for a long time and this is an example of a successful community effort to ensure Hamilton’s needs are addressed by a national institution that was virtually absent from the city. Going back to 2004, Hamiltonians voiced their interest in seeing CBC provide local service to this region, the largest underserved market in Canada without a local CBC radio station. Local political leadership at the municipal and federal levels took on the issue before the federal regulator and at parliamentary committees. In a 2008 parliamentary report that reviewed the CBC’s mandate, Hamilton was singled out for its lack of local CBC service. Finally, as part of CBC’s local expansion plan, service to Hamilton was announced in 2011, but due to the current lack of available radio frequencies, CBC launched a local digital service in May 2012.

It has been over two years since the launch of CBC Hamilton’s digital service. So what do Hamiltonians think about it?

Over the summer of 2014, Civicplan conducted a survey of Hamiltonians to gauge their knowledge and use of CBC Hamilton’s digital service. There were 217 responses to the survey from across the city.

Summary of Survey Results

The vast majority of survey respondents were individuals who are CBC radio listeners with a high awareness of CBC Hamilton digital.

  • The largest segment of participants (45%) were from the 36-55 age bracket
  • The vast majority of respondents (84%) are CBC Radio listeners
  • 83 percent indicated that they are aware of the CBC Hamilton digital service and 74 percent use it on a daily or weekly basis
  • Respondents provided positive comments about CBC Hamilton’s local content generated by CBC’s local reporters.
  • Respondents indicated that CBC Hamilton is an important alternative to local commercial media

The majority of respondents indicated that the CBC Hamilton local service was not meeting their expectations of the national public broadcaster in their city, and specified areas for improvement.

  • Close to 70 percent indicated that the local digital service was not meeting their expectations of the national public broadcaster in their city
  • 91 percent wanted to see local audio programming on par with other communities, such as Toronto or Kitchener/Waterloo
  • Specifically, respondents would like to see a morning show or public affairs show
  • While close to 90 percent of respondents indicated they would like a traditional local CBC radio station, there is strong support for alternative methods of delivering audio services, in the interim, including:
    • live streamed daily programming
    • partnerships with other local radio stations to broadcast CBC Hamilton content

The accompanying infographic offers a snapshot of the results. Beyond this summary, the survey results provided more detailed insight into CBC Hamilton. For more information on the survey results, please contact Civicplan.