"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The sound of authority

There's this little tune that just spells "news":
DUNH dunh-dunh-DUNH!
Du-duhn du-dee-duhn duhn-duhn-duhn!
OK, it actually spells "nouvelles". It's the jingle that introduces the hourly newscasts on the airwaves of Radio-Canada.

CBC used to have one, too. A good old standard, one that just spelled "news". It had the air of authority about it. Just like Radio-Canada's.

Then they changed it.

And they changed it again. And again.

And then they changed it to this god-awful Associated-Press-Reports-That-President-Kennedy-Has-Died dirge.

And then a slighly less dirgeful — but just — version of The Dirge. And there were variations on The Dirge.

And then they changed it again.

And it still sucks.

And on the TV, for a while they made the theme for the hourly newscasts on CBCNW indistinguishable from the opening of The National.

Real smart.

Meanwhile, Radio-Canada has stuck with the same, familiar number for years. Stateside, so has ABC's evening news half-hour program, the one that Peter Jennings anchored. It, too, has the well-worn imprimatur of authority about it.

Familiarity: good.

Fixing things that aren't broken, then fixing them again by breaking them more: not good.

The entire wing of the National Broadcast Centre that is responsible for deciding that existing themes are no longer any good, then replacing them, then re-replacing them — there must be hundreds of people working in that division by now — should look up "New Coke".

While they are doing that, they should listen to the Radio-Canada jingle. It's catchy.


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