An aspect of CBC/Radio-Canada’s wide-ranging mandate is to reflect Canada and its regions, as well as its multicultural and multiracial make-up. Given that Toronto is not only the most multicultural city in Canada, but also considered to be one of the most diverse cities in the world, reaching and bringing together such a diverse audience is a complex, sophisticated challenge indeed.
A little over 10 years ago, Susan Marjetti, managing director of CBC Toronto, along with her team, saw that diversity challenge as an opportunity to contribute to building a cohesive and inclusive society while raising CBC’s position in the local market.
What they did: in 2001, CBC Toronto made the decision to boldly create authentic local programming that looked and sounded like the city it needed to serve. At CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning, Susan Marjetti hired hosts, columnists and contributors to bring in a range of guests from the city’s diverse communities. The goal — to authentically cover homegrown stories, issues, culture, and society. CBC Toronto also strategically chose outreach activities that would engage citizens from every neighbourhood. During that time, CBC News Toronto reimagined and recast itself as well, such that it now features the first anchor team of colour on a flagship television newscast in a Canadian major market.
How to measure CBC Toronto’s success? By 2003, CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning had increased its audience ratings in the market to the première position — a first in CBC Toronto’s history. It has held that position consistently 45 times in the past nine years (Source: both BBM and PPM).
CBC Toronto has won recognition for its commitment to diversity from numerous national and international sources over the years. These include the Gabriels, New York Festivals and the regional and national RTNDA awards. The latest accolade has gone to Susan Marjetti, managing director of CBC Toronto, who was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award at the Innoversity Creative Summit in May 2012. The Innoversity presentations opened with video highlights of CBC Toronto that tell the story.
And CBC Toronto’s work has been noticed in other ways, too: Susan Marjetti and her team have been invited to talk to international broadcasters and world leaders about their progression — from a vision of innovative, inclusive programming, to a highly successful cultural and business model for public service broadcasting that profoundly addresses and reflects diversity. CBC Toronto’s turnaround has been well-documented and is taught in a prestigious Canadian business school as both a highly successful change management process and a successful business case for diversity and inclusion.
CBC Toronto’s success in reaching out to its diverse audiences is part of CBC/Radio-Canada’s effort to deepen our relationship with, and engage with Canadians. That commitment is articulated in the Corporation’s five-year strategy, 2015: Everyone, Every way, which promises more regional presence, more Canadian content and more digital services.
Since we wrote this story in July 2012, CBC Toronto has continued to lead in reaching and bringing together a far greater number of listeners and viewers in Canada’s most multicultural city. With CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning achieving number one standing in the Toronto region for the 56th time since the station launched its new inclusive strategy in 2002 (October 2013 ppms) ─ and CBC Toronto’s television and online services drawing in more and more viewers and clicks ─ we are able to provide even more public value and benefit to a vast group of diverse Canadians.
That is the story at home, but on the international scene, CBC Toronto is increasingly celebrated as a world leader in terms of diversity and inclusion. In fact, CBC Toronto is regarded as the most successful model for media striving to remain relevant and to reach more people, on traditional and new platforms, and in new ways, in places where the demographic is changing. As such, Susan Marjetti and the CBC Toronto team are invited to speak at conferences of media and community leaders, and to advise various broadcasters. Here are a few examples: presentations in various cities in the US, and in Holland; at Radio Days Europe 2013 in Berlin and at Radio Sweden in Stockholm (at no cost to CBC/Radio-Canada); webinars from Toronto for BBC diversity champions and leaders, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and for world leaders in Spain. CBC Toronto has also received guest delegations from Radio Sweden, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the German public broadcaster, who have come to see the CBC Toronto team in action and to take home lessons for their own diversity challenges.
Bravo CBC Toronto!
CBC Toronto Highlights Reel
CBC Sounds of the Season 2012