Published Dec 03, 2008A major blow was struck against music fans in Canada when CTVglobemedia decided to axe the informative and long-running CityTV original series, The NewMusic from MuchMusic's programming schedule. The cancellation came amidst the 105 job cuts made by the company this past week, which mostly affected channels such as MTV Canada, MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic.
The influential weekly program was launched in 1979 by Toronto's CityTV network and over its 29 years featured various research features on musical trends, in-depth interviews with established and breaking artists, as well as socially conscious examinations both on the creative and business sides of the industry. Most importantly, however, was the show's good taste in music, which educated and shaped the minds and record collections of Canadian viewers each week.
Furthermore, the series was a launching pad for its hosts, many of whom went on to pursue other avenues in Canadian media and entertainment: Jeanne Beker (Fashion TV), J.D. Roberts (CNN), Denise Donlon (Sony Music), Daniel Richler (Reach for the Top), Janna Lynne White (Jana Creative Inc.), Laurie Brown (CBC Radio 2's The Signal), Avi Lewis (The Take), Byron Wong (Random Media), Sook-Yin Lee (Shortbus, Definitely Not The Opera), George Stroumboulopoulos (The Hour), Hannah Sung (CBC Radio 3) and most recently, Hannah Simone.
Sung, who hosted The NewMusic from 2002 to 2006, spoke to CBC's Q about the cancellation. "You don't really think with something so long-running about the day it will be cancelled," she said. "When it was and when I heard about it, I was surprised. I was really sad, I was sad for my friends - the producers at NewMusic are brilliant. What else out there is like The NewMusic right now? I just don't see anything like it."
Despite video's viral dominance online, Sung added that the impact of its loss will be felt. "You can see interviews with bands online, you see their videos online, but do you get that credibility, the kind of journalism involved, the archives, do you get the collective knowledge that was passed on through the staff over 30 years?
"The NewMusic was very influential. It helped [us] take pop culture and rock music really seriously as something to be discussed and to think deeply about, for sure. And that permeates all of our culture today in media."
Once the proud little sibling to MTV when it went all "reality" and forgot its definition of what a "music network" was all about, perusing MuchMusic's current schedule demonstrates how little music there actually is on Much, which is irony in its truest sense especially since it went out of its way to prevent MTV Canada from airing music videos.
It appears that instead of being our nation's network to air those videos or at least focus on music in even half its programming, it would rather rehash previously viewed episodes of Gossip Girl and The O.C., air movies with no musical association whatsoever (Charlies Angels?), and feed viewers interactive and completely non-music-related drivel that nobody over the age of 14 would ever watch (The Shift).
I guess something's got to pay the bills. It's unfortunate that "music" becomes the victim in order to stay afloat, however. I suppose it's just a sign o' the times, but it must then be only a matter of time before the axe falls on Rap City, The Wedge or French Kiss, which at one time were all great at breaking ground in their respective scenes, and now, at least focus on what should be important for a "music network" - some actual music.
Sonic Youth on The NewMusic