UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Over the airwaves: school radio broadcasts in British Columbia 1960-1982 Ion, Laurie E.


Generations of Canadians are familiar with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's school radio broadcasts. Agreement between the CBC and the Ministry of Education ensured that the CBC provided the necessary technical arrangements required to air and distribute the broadcasts, while the Ministry of Education agreed to provide the creative component for the programs - script writers, actors and actresses, musicians, and others. The broadcasts came to include music, art, social studies, science, and language arts. This thesis examined the historical development of British Columbia school radio, the shape of the broadcasts themselves, and British Columbia teachers' experiences associated with school radio. This study also examined the experiences of CBC and Ministry of Education personnel who were involved in the production and distribution of British Columbia school radio. Interviews with British Columbia teachers who listened to the broadcasts from 1960-1982, and Ministry of Education and CBC employees whose work brought them in contact with the school radio broadcasts, provided the core evidence for this study. Ministry of Education and CBC employees provided the context for the interviews. Interviews, combined with the Ministry of Education Reports, enabled the re-creation of the experiences associated with British Columbia school radio. Although there were differences amongst classroom eachers' reactions to the programs, there were some striking similarities. On the whole, British Columbia teachers found school radio interesting, informative, and purposeful. School broadcasts allowed teachers a moment to 'catch their breath' when preparation time was not the norm. Interviews with CBC employees revealed more similarities than differences with respect to their experiences. They reported that the broadcasts provided British Columbia schools with educationally sound material. Although CBC personnel did not find the broadcasts professionally challenging, they had fond memories of their association with the programs. Ministry of Education employees interviewed reflected very different opinions relating to their experiences as script writers, producers, directors, performers, and others. Nonetheless, they provided valuable information as to how school broadcasts were put together for pupils and teachers. Changing instructional technology, which included the introduction of a visually stimulating medium such as television, the introduction of audio-visual equipment such as tape-recorders which enabled the delay of broadcasts, and the implementation of a restrictive CBC budget brought the British Columbia school broadcasts to an end in 1982.

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