Patrick Munro, center at BCIT TV studio 1966

 

 

Patrick Munro - BCIT Broadcast Program trainee; news CJOR Vancouver circa 1969; announcer/host/news CBC Radio Vancouver late 1960s-current; co-hosted afternoon show Three's Company with Anne Petrie 1970s; host first food bank broadcast CBC Radio Vancouver 1986; Patrick Munro Show CBC Radio Vancouver 1980s

 

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CBC Radio has adapted the mantra of the environmental movement as its new way of operating. A once-devoted fan goes behind the scenes to find out why his favorite station just isn't the same any more.

 

He used to be on TV occasionally, but nowadays it would be a surprise to see him because he wears a bushy white beard.

 

7:40 a.m. Patrick Munro walks out of a small third-floor studio, where he's been delivering the news to listeners outside the Lower Mainland and nods in our direction. A decades-long CBC veteran, Munro has spent most of his career as an announcer. In his current incarnation, however, he's a walking, talking, news writing, studio teaching example of the CBC's new workplace flexibility.

 

In the wake of the cuts, CBC management put a gun to the head of its many unions and made a proposal: accept what we're offering or eat lead. The unions quite sensibly decided to cooperate. Twenty-seven separate bargaining units were consolidated into four, and the myriad rules and regulations dictating who was allowed do what (that is, announcers talk into microphones, researchers talk into telephones, technicians talk to nobody because they're busy fiddling with the innumerable little knobs on the big confusing soundboards) were either relaxed or eliminated completely. The new rules were dead simple: do what it takes to get out the news.

 

In Munro's case, what it takes is everything. Starting every morning at 5 a.m., he chooses the day's top stories from the wire, writes them out in broadcast form, arranges them in order, then every half-hour heads into a studio and reads them to listeners 'out there', all the while fiddling with the requisite buttons so that his voice makes it out over the airwaves. The bureaucratese used to describe this new work arrangement is either 'multi-skilling' or 'cross-skilling', depending upon which former workplace rules are being broken. Munro is easily the CBC's most extreme example of multi-skilling but hardly the only one. The technician for the Early Edition (the local morning show which runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) now selects the listener comments from the talk-back line, and writes and announces the afternoon community notes. Other techs research and read out sports reports and weather forecasts. Most reporters do double duty as announcers and sometimes technicians....

 

 

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In December of 1986 Afternoon Show host Patrick Munro hosted the first CBC Radio Food Bank Day broadcast. Vancouver was basking in the afterglow of the highly successful Expo 86 yet the line-ups at the newly established Vancouver food bank continued to grow. That first show was two hours long and raised about $400 as well as two or three boxes of canned goods. Today the charity raises nearly a half million dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

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