THE TOWER OF BABBLE: SINS, SECRETS AND SUCCESSES INSIDE THE CBC
Richard Stursberg spent six turbulent and controversial years as Executive Vice-President of CBC English Services enjoying the highs of unprecedented ratings successes and contract wins and surviving the lows of battles, flops and an employee lockout. Join Stursberg in conversation with Don Ferguson of the Royal Canadian Air Farce as the ultimate CBC insider shares his story about shows, stars, hits, arguments and deals at the Toronto launch of his new book The Tower of Babble: Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC. Presented by This Is Not a Reading Series, D&M Publishers, the Gladstone Hotel, and The Toronto Review of Books.
Tuesday April 24, 2012
The Gladstone Hotel, Main Ballroom, 1214 Queen Street West
Doors open at 7pm; Event starts at 7:30 pm
Admission is $5 or FREE with purchase of a book
THE TOWER OF BABBLE: Sins, Secrets and Successes Inside the CBC
The ultimate CBC insider reveals the controversies, successes and dead ends of his time at the top.
In 2004, CBC television had sunk to its lowest audience share in its history. That same year, Richard Stursberg, an avowed popularizer with a reputation for radical action, was hired to run CBC’s Television services, by 2008 his role was expanded to head of all English services: television, online and radio. With incisive wit, Stursberg tells the story of the struggle that resulted—a struggle that lasted for six turbulent and controversial years.
Shortly after Stursberg arrived, the corporation locked out its employees for two months. Four years later, he signed the most harmonious labour contract to date. He lost the television rights for the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. He won the biggest NHL contract in history. He had unprecedented ratings successes. He had terrible flops. He enjoyed the best radio, television and online ratings in CBC’s history. He fought endless wars with the CBC president and board about the direction of the corporation and ultimately was dismissed.
This is the story of our most loved and reviled cultural institution during its most convulsive and far-reaching period of change. It is for those who think the CBC has lost its way, those who love where it is, and those who think it should not exist in the first place.
RICHARD STURSBERG was born in London, England and grew up in New York in the same neighbourhood as Fifty Cent, the distinguished rapper and social critic. He went to university in Canada, France and the United Kingdom.
For most of his adult life, he has been involved with media. He has been Assistant Deputy Minister, Culture and Broadcasting at the federal department of Communications, President of the Canadian Cable Television association, Chairman of the Canadian Television Fund, Executive Director of Telefilm Canda (the national film financing agency) and Executive Vice President of English services at the CBC.
He has been variously been described as "brilliant", "bad", overbearing", "charming", "machiavellian" and "unpleasant". Those who know him best agree with these assessments.
Don Ferguson was born and grew up in Montreal, where he earned his way through university by playing trumpet in local dance bands and working part-time in radio stations. He graduated in 1970 with an Honours BA from Loyola College (now Concordia University), and moved to Toronto to work as an audio-visual producer and photographer. He was soon lured to the stage becoming an original member of an improvisational stage comedy troupe, The Jest Society, which in 1973 evolved into Royal Canadian Air Farce, the weekly comedy show on CBC Radio that ran until 1997 and transitioned to CBC Television in 1992. Popularity and ratings success continued for Air Farce until the series wrapped with its traditional New Year’s Eve special in 2008.
As an Air Farce writer and performer, he has won 13 ACTRA Awards, a Gemini, a Juno Award for Best Comedy Album, and been inducted in Canada’s Comedy Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.
This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS) offers a ground-breaking theatrical dimension to the appreciation of fine writing. Employing music, comedy, psychodrama, dance, multimedia performance, lectures, dialogue—everything but reading—TINARS investigates the creative process behind literary works.
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