There has been no shortage of criticism levied at the CBC for the handling of the continually spiralling Jian Ghomeshi story. This week, the public broadcaster noted that they planned to remove Q‘s archives from the Internet. Backlash was immediate, and was largely against the planned removal of the archives.
CBC media relations chief Chuck Thompson told the Toronto Star that the network wasn’t erasing the archives, just taking them offline “for now.” The CBC also clarified that “after a period of roughly two years archival material automatically moves off CBC Radio websites to make room for new content, but all interviews remain in our servers. Podcasts are typically available for three months”
A source who currently works on the show told AUX that the removal might be more permanent than the network is leading on, meaning the end of its extensive digital archives on YouTube and CBC’s website. They aren’t necessarily nuking the show’s masters, but they at least seem to be burying them.
Thompson told the Star “There is no obvious right or wrong approach here.”
It’s important to consider that, outside of preserving a large body of information, Q was more than Jian Ghomeshi. Countless people worked on that show—producers, writers, assistants. People booked bands, filmed and recorded them, mixed and edited both the radio and television broadcasts.
It goes without saying that the show’s past, present, and future, is still very much in flux.
“There are so many great interviews there that need to be available,” Thompson said, “and we may look to bring the archival material back online at some point or we’ll reversion it in some way.”
There are plans to try and alter the archives moving forward, to try and preserve band performances and let the music live on without Jian. That, suggests the producer, is entirely unrealistic.
The CBC’s hardships have been well documented—lay-offs over the past few years have numbered in the hundreds, and our source speculates editing Ghomeshi out of the show’s many musical performances would likely be a full time job.