some vacation!

When you're a rural telecommuter, being locked out is a lonely business.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

we interrupt this repeat...

It is discombobulating for those of us who are locked out to hear our old shows being played at odd times in the schedule, or in my case, on a different network altogether. At least they are identified as repeat programs.

I feel for the summer replacement hosts whose shows are being heard for the 1st time during the lockout. It sounds as if they've crossed the line to produce them. We who work for CBC know they got them in the can before the lockout. But does the public know?

I'm amazed at how few people understand the difference between a strike and a lockout. People ask me if I'll go back to work if I need to, or if I'm invited in. They can't quite comprehend when I say: "I'm not striking, I'm locked out. That means they won't LET me work, even if I wanted to, which I don't under the circumstances."

Then there are those listeners who tell me how great it is to hear all the repeats, and to get R2 shows on R1. I just paste a smile on my face and say "Come talk to me after a few weeks time and see how much you like it then..."

Let's be honest: what scares us all - on both sides of the line - is that maybe they DON'T really care what we're putting to air.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

a ray of hope?

let's all pray that cooler heads prevail and the hyperbole is kept down to a dull roar when everyone returns to the table tomorrow.

My fantasy world includes a scenario in which I don't have to spend $40 on gas to drive to the city and sleep on a sofa so I can do picket duty next week. actually, that's not entirely true - I want to get down there and see it for myself once the kids are back in school. I'm tired of simply tracking the action in the blogs.

In any event, later this week I plan to start adding music- and event-related info to this site. September is high season for record releases and for post-festival-season concert tours. Normally I'd be able to tell you all about it on air... but this will have to do!

To everyone who's taken the time to write - thanks for the encouraging words. they help a lot.

and to everyone going back to the table - do the right thing. please.

Now I know how this lockout makes me feel.
EARNEST. sheesh.

poster-girl for the CMG

Last week I wrote a feature about life as a long-term contract worker for the CMG's CBContheline website (see link, right - it's archived at "your stories"). The piece will be excerpted in upcoming flyers and print ads.

Today I'm making the most of being home with my son, who starts grade 1 next week, while his sister is away at camp. He made 2 funky cardboard-box dioramas (a winter scene and an underwater scene). We watched Peep and Pepper Pig together while I re-organized the contents of the bathroom cupboards by spreading everything across the floor in front of the TV. We snacked on crackers and cheese and outrageously delicious red plums. This afternoon we'll go down the road and shake the apple trees, then we'll cart home whatever we can and make a huge batch of applesauce.

I'm so fortunate that the kids keep me grounded and in the moment, or this lockout could consume my thoughts. They remind me that broadcasting is what I do, but it's not who I am.

Monday, August 29, 2005

to heck with anonimity

I won't bother to use a psuedonym. if you recognize my name, great. and if you don't, that's no problem... someday when the CBC website is back online you can google me and find out for yourself. FYI - I'm a host on a weekly specialty music show.

In June and July, I worked extra hours to get a much anticipated vacation in August. But instead of enjoying myself soaking up the sun on the beach, I've been worrying about this damned lockout for the last 2 weeks. maybe this blog will help exorcise some demons.

I work from home, which is about 200kms from the broadcast centre in Toronto. since this lockout has started, I've been a one-woman picket in my small town of 2,500 souls. its a lonely business, explaining the issues as best I understand them to everyone I meet, day after day. at first there was a palpable excitement around the whole situation, a kind of buzz. I'd hand out my CMG postcards and encourage people to write the PM and the Heritage Minister, and they'd gladly comply.

now it's 2 weeks in and I'm no longer excited. Formerly loyal CBC radio listeners tell me they can't stand the re-runs and the truncated and canned news. they're tuning out. furthermore, in Ottawa, Paul and Liza say they won't intervene to get the CBC and CMG back to the table.

I'm anxious and I'm discouraged. Can we afford to heat the house this winter if this goes on for months? And all the couples I know who both work at CBC and have mortgages to pay. How will they fare?

I'm also pissed off that the CBC cut our websites and email addresses. I know this is standard practice in labour conflict, but as a telecommuter, email is my lifeline (of course I have a couple of addresses, but not everyone does). I live too far away from the city to do picket duty, so I really feel out of the loop. at least on the picket line you have other people to share your frustration with. I miss my collegues.

I also miss good news coverage. and it's only entertaining to hear the weather for St. John's, Regina, and Iqaluit for the 1st three times, if that.

Some workers have reverse-locked-out the CBC...they are refusing to listen to the "labour disruption" broadcasts. I'll admit I've been tuning in to find out what management has cobbled together without us there - I've been an audio-voyeur, trying to peer into the wreckage. I feel for you, folks, I know how much time, effort and skill the work requires.

but as a life-long listener, I don't know how much more evergreen programming and rip-n-read news I can take before I start tuning out, too.

yup, as the tee-shirts say, THIS SUCKS.