CBC is not to blame

What’s this I hear about CBC seemingly prepared to give the “Hockey Night in Canada theme”—a beloved musical rendering that is as synonymous as beer and hockey among Canadians—the boot after 40 years of use?
On the surface, that seems about as comparable to the Philadelphia Flyers dropping their pre-game “God Bless America” with Kate Smith singing along on the video screen.
However, it seems as though Copyright Music & Visuals—the company which controls the song—made the CBC’s decision to end their relationship public knowledge to back the broadcaster into a corner.
The CBC had been paying $500 per use to date, but that contract expired at the end of this season. The contract currently offered would stay at the same rate for two years, but then increase by 15 percent thereafter.
There’s also news that the two parties have an ongoing lawsuit that CMV and song composer Dolores Claman filed against the CBC in 2004 that claimed the television network was using the song beyond the confines of the contract.
“You wouldn’t do business with someone who’s suing you,” CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore told the Globe and Mail last week. “So we’ve offered many different ways to settle that litigation.”
The CBC shouldn’t be made out like the bad guys in this. Clearly their backs are against the wall and it’ll be tough to come out of this without keeping the song, but CMV knew what they were doing and took full advantage.
The latest news out of this is that CTV has bought the rights to the song and will use it on their sister station TSN’s NHL broadcasts and during the Olympic Games.
This just doesn’t seem right. It’s a CBC “Hockey Night in Canada” theme and should stay with its original network or not be used at all. CTV, much like CMV, seem to be using this whole incident to gain publicity and shine themselves in a better light.
And that, my friends, is offside.
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Sometimes the best stories are found away from the spotlight.
Ted Corrigan celebrated his 75th birthday during the Emo Walleye Classic late last month, and was presented with a small token of appreciation for his volunteer efforts selling tickets since the tournament first got off the ground.
“Yeah, I volunteered to sell tickets for them eight years ago and all the years are printed there on the shirt they gave me,” Corrigan noted. “Boy, the years do slip by, don’t they?”
The modest retired store owner and former advertising salesman didn’t want to be featured in the newspaper, but it seemed unreasonable not to give a good guy his due.
“I’m not one of those guys who wants to be in the headlines a lot,” Corrigan remarked. “I get a lot of credit from various parts, but I don’t really look for it. I don’t really feel comfortable with it.”
Despite his resistance, I felt he was deserving of at least an honourable mention here in my column. The countless volunteers who help put on the EWC certainly deserve to be here along with him, but it’d be impossible to list them all.
From a city kid’s perspective, it’s a pretty amazing feat to see an event of that size with such a small population base supporting it. Full marks from this reporter.
Corrigan has lived in Emo most of his life and ran the former Fairway Store for 28 years. He also worked for the Fort Frances Times selling advertising for five-and-a-half years.
He seems to enjoy giving back to the community that has given him a place to call home all these years.
“Well, I’ll do it as long as I can. I don’t do a lot [of volunteering] but I do whatever I can,” Corrigan said nonchalantly.
“They had a tough time getting ticket-sellers for the [EWC raffle] tickets so I thought I’d take it on and try it and so far it’s worked out pretty good,” he added. “Every year’s been a success so far, so let’s hope it keeps up.”
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If you have scores to submit or an interesting sports-related story, e-mail me at mcalvert@fortfrances.com

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