You should be hearing more Canadian music on your favourite radio station this weekend. Canadian content officially increased for most stations from 30 to 35 percent, as of New Yearís Day. The 30 per cent quota was first instituted by the C.R.T.C. (Canadian Radio Television Commission) in 1971, back when Carroll Baker, the Mercey Brothers, Anne Murray and Stompiní Tom ruled the country air waves.
This five per cent Canadian content boost should benefit some up-coming, independent artists, seeking that initial radio exposure. Stations will now have more opportunities to feature newer acts in their daily rotations.
However, there were a number of high profile station owners and managers who vigorously opposed this mandatory increase. There are concerns among some radio programers that more frequent spins of Canadian artists will adversely affect their stationís ratings. After all, this does mean that fewer hits from Nashville will be played. Many country stations, especially in competitive larger markets, will simply play more Shania Twain, Paul Brandt and Terri Clark, to conform to the revised regulation. (Conversely, some rock music stations will air more Tom Cochrane, while pop adult stations will opt for additional Amanda Marshall music in the mix.)
Thereís still no such requirement for stations to include non-established acts in their daily music totals. However, radio stations are now obliged to evenly distribute songs by Canadian artists, throughout the entire broadcast day. Many simply crammed the Canadian tunes in the evening hours in the past, when there were fewer listeners and less advertising dollars. They are probably the same programers who complained about the increase of Canadian Content, or Can. Con., as it is affectionately called.
Itís unfortunate that radio stations are required by law to play Canadian artists, after all these years. However, if supporting homegrown talent was an option for programers, there wouldnít be much of a Canadian music industry today. Most would only play Canadian acts with International careers, such as Celine, Shania and Alanis.