In the early 1970s, Canadian radio began using the Canadian Content (CanCon) system, meaning every radio station must broadcast a certain amount of music (usually 35 per cent) that was produced, written or performed by Canadians. Before this, Canadian radio was essentially the same as American radio, broadcasting the same music and artists you would hear in the United States.
The system was brought in to protect our culture from the massive influence that our American neighbours had upon Canada. And, for the most part, the system has worked with radio.
You can hear many homegrown artists on our airwaves and our country continues to produce excellent Canadian musicians.
Call it a leftover of colonial thinking.
Somehow, despite the vast cultural history and variety our country has, we still tend to think of culture coming from Canada as somehow inferior to the culture of the U.S., or even the United Kingdom.
In the early days of CanCon, commercial radio was reluctant to support our own culture. Even today, it takes a Canadian artist hitting down south before they’re truly adopted here.
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Steve Marlow is program co-ordinator at CFBX, an independent radio station in Kamloops. Tune in at 92.5 FM on the dial or go online to thex.ca.