It felt good. The CBC was a church. The President was the Pope and the Vice Presidents the cardinals. Middle managers were high priests and a few Mothers Superior and the rest of us were monks and nuns.
The Mandate was our Gospel and the Broadcasting Act our Scripture. It asked us to “provide radio and television services that inform, enlighten and entertain.” We were idealists. The word “elitism” may have been invented but we had never heard of it. Ratings did not exist. We knew we did not have a mass audience. We didn’t mind. We told ourselves those who liked us were people who mattered.
We were interested in Quebec and were very much aware of the solitude of those outside the big cities for whom we were the only game in town. We believed that Canada could not be a nation without a broadcasting system of its own. We believed that it must be of high quality and insulated from government and other extraneous influences. The airwaves were a scarce commodity that belonged to the public. In journalism we cared about balance and fairness. Our ethics had not yet been codified. We worried whether we should give the communists equal time. (We did not.)
The women in my department – Talks and Public Affairs – were the predecessors of the Women’s Movement and deserve to be remembered. They were determined to make the afternoon programs they masterminded not women’s programs but general information programs, preferring national and international affairs to diapers. Head Office thought divorce was a taboo subject and had to be outwitted by calling it marriage.
Our salaries were low but adequate. We thought we were richly rewarded by being allowed to serve the public. Our work was stimulating and we enjoyed the friendships with many of our colleagues.
Those who served other churches, or none, were pagans.