CBC Radio 3

CBC Radio 3
CBC Radio 3
Broadcast area Worldwide on the Internet
Canada & Contiguous United States on Sirius Satellite Radio
Slogan Breaking New Sound
Frequency Sirius 152
First air date 2000 on the Internet
December 1, 2005 on Sirius
Format Canadian indie music
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Webcast Listen Live!
Website radio3.cbc.ca

CBC Radio 3 is a radio station that consists of two parts devoted to Canadian arts and music: a radio service which is available on Sirius Satellite Radio and streaming audio, and several daily and weekly podcasts from the CBC Radio 3 website. The audio stream is available from both the service's own website and from iTunes Radio.

The network evolved out of programming on CBC Radio 2, which also simulcasted the satellite network on Saturday and Sunday nights from its debut in December 2005 until March 17, 2007. Radio 3 is no longer heard on terrestrial radio, but is still available through its satellite radio and Internet operations. The French equivalent to CBC Radio 3 is Bande à part.

The network plays a relatively freeform mix of indie music, including rock, pop, alternative hip hop, folk, country and electronic music. An article on Nerve.com, published in October 2006, called CBC Radio 3 "possibly the world's best radio station".[1]

CBC Radio 3 was nominated for a Webby Award in 2007 and previously won the award in 2003.

The network's unofficial mascot is Bucky, a cartoon creature with the body of a goose and the head of a deer. Bucky is primarily seen in the introduction to the network's weekly R3TV video podcast, and also lends his name to the network's annual year-end music awards.



Operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio 3 had its genesis in a late-1990s proposal to launch a radio network devoted to youth culture, comparable to BBC Radio One and Australia's Triple J. The network, which would complement CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2, would build on existing CBC Radio programming such as Nightlines, Brave New Waves and Realtime. Although the original proposal was abandoned, one notable step in the evolution of Radio 3 took place in 1997, when Nightlines and Realtime were merged into the new program RadioSonic, cohosted by former Nightlines host David Wisdom and former Realtime host Leora Kornfeld.

A slightly different Radio 3 was launched in 2000 as a converged webcasting project based in Vancouver, with its own servers and managed by CBC Radio. The team consisted of Susan Englebert,[2] Robert Ouimet, Dave Tonner, Loc Dao, and other partners. CBC Radio 3 initially launched separate sites 120 Seconds, New Music Canada and Just Concerts through a collaboration between CBC Radio, media design company Dotaku Group, and technology company Internet Edge.

Each provided audio, video and Flash content as media-on-demand streaming for site users. 120 Seconds was a directory of user and artist-created video and documentary projects, New Music Canada was composed entirely of user-created and uploaded music by Canadian independent pop, rock, electronic and hip hop musicians, and Just Concerts included exclusive recordings of live performances by independent artists, both regular concert performances and Radio 3 studio sessions. Roots Music Canada was later added to the trio of websites, and offered songs uploaded by country and folk musicians.

In late 2002, the group, led by Robert Ouimet and Rob McLaughlin, created CBCRadio3.com, a full-screen online magazine which profiled Canadian music, literature and visual arts, accompanied by a set musical playlist which changed with each "issue". The site also served as a portal to the other content sites. The site was recognized internationally, winning three Webby Awards, including People's Voice Award for Best Broadband site, in 2003. The site won over 20 other awards, including the Art Director's Club, New York Festival Awards and Communication Arts Awards, as well as being published in several books.

In 2003, RadioSonic, hosted by Grant Lawrence since 2001, was integrated into the Radio 3 project, and was renamed CBC Radio 3 to reflect the change. With new host Alexis Mazurin, the program featured music and performances from the Radio 3 website.

On June 2, 2005, CBC Radio 3 also launched a weekly podcast, hosted by Grant Lawrence. The hour-long podcast, which has also aired as a program on the satellite radio network, has ranked as the most downloaded Canadian podcast on the Internet, with an estimated 125,000 weekly listeners in 2006.[3]

Satellite radio

Satellite radio was approved in Canada by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on June 18, 2005. Over the next several months, Radio 3 was relaunched as a channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. The main CBC Radio 3 site was shut down for part of 2005 to facilitate the relaunch, although the podcast, the media-on-demand subsites and the Saturday night Radio Two program remained active.

The satellite radio service launched on December 3, 2005, at which time the weekend program on CBC Radio 2 became a live simulcast of the satellite radio service. The main CBC Radio 3 website was relaunched a few days earlier, now featuring a collaborative music blog and an Icecast stream of Canadian music.

The network's primary studio is located in the CBC Regional Broadcast Centre in Vancouver, although Craig Norris hosts from Toronto, and guest hosts typically host from a CBC studio in their home city. Alexis Mazurin, the original host of CBC Radio 3 in its radio show format, died in October 2005, and the main Vancouver studio was named the Alexis Mazurin Studio in his memory.

Most music playlisted on CBC Radio Three comes from the New Music Canada site while all music played on the podcast must first be uploaded by the artist to the New Music Canada site. In August 2006, Radio 3 launched its own weekly chart show, The R3-30.

On December 25, 2006, CBC Radio 3 held its first annual "Bucky Awards". The Bucky Awards is an awards celebration to promote independent Canadian music, and fans decide who wins the awards in each category.[4]

The station aired on Sirius 94 from its launch until June 24, 2008, when it moved to Sirius 86 as part of a major realignment of the Sirius lineup. On May 4, 2011, the channel was again moved as part of a reorganization of Sirius' channel lineup to channel 152.

Radio 3 leaves Radio Two

On January 17, 2007, the CBC announced that as part of a major programming realignment on CBC Radio 2, that network would discontinue its Radio 3 simulcast in March of that year. The final simulcast, which aired on March 17, was a retrospective broadcast which included past interviews with William Shatner and John Lydon, visits from past hosts David Wisdom and Leora Kornfeld, phone interviews with Buck 65, Joel Plaskett, Sara Quin and Jim Bryson, and live in-studio performances by John K. Samson and Christine Fellows, as well as listener requests for classic songs from any era in which Radio 3 or its predecessors aired.

The R3-30, which was usually taped in advance and rebroadcast on Radio Two in a later time slot, also aired live from Vancouver that evening and incorporated listener phone calls into the program's usual format.


From 2005 to 2009, the Icecast stream available from the network's website was not a simulcast of the satellite radio broadcast, but was programmed separately. Initially, the webstream consisted exclusively of music with the occasional identification break, but on September 14, 2007 it was relaunched with hosts and feature content, similar to but still programmed separately from the satellite radio station. Due to funding cuts, however, the two services were merged in June 2009, such that the webstream is now a straight simulcast of the satellite radio channel.

Prior to the merger, the two services had slightly different programming strategies – the satellite radio station aired a music mix of 85 per cent Canadian and 15 per cent international, while the web service's mix was 100 per cent Canadian. With the merger of the two services, the station announced that the program mix would be 100 per cent Canadian music on both platforms, although exceptions will be permitted for international music with some Canadian character – such as international artists covering Canadian songs, collaborations between Canadian and non-Canadian artists, international artists appearing on the bill with Canadian artists when the network is airing a live concert, or "honourary Canadian" artists such as Neko Case and Rose Melberg.

In addition to the service's conventional radio programming, any song in the network's music library can also be played on demand from the artist's profile page on the site. In May 2011, Joel Plaskett became the first artist in the network's history to reach one million on-demand plays.[5]


Unlike Bande à part, which has produced a number of special short run podcasts in addition to its regular weekly music podcast, Radio 3 only produced its main music podcast through 2006.

As a result of the Radio Two schedule changes, on February 26, 2007 CBC Radio 3 created several new podcasts to complement the original CBC Radio 3 podcast – the podcasts include a daily New Music Canada Track of the Day, the weekly CBC Radio 3 podcast with host Grant Lawrence and an hour-long weekly R3-30 podcast.

As well, the network also launched a new internet streaming program titled CBC Radio 3 Sessions, which features live performances by artists at the CBC Radio 3 studio.[6] The Sessions also air as a program on Sirius 86. As of September 12, 2007, the Sessions program also appears in podcast format. Sessions concerts have also aired on the CBC's cable television service bold.

On April 20, 2007, as part of CBC Radio 3's 100th podcast, a weekly video podcast was introduced. The new video-based podcast, R3TV, revolves around the personalities at CBC Radio 3 and features a particular artist each week, who provides commentary for the podcast and has their music videos featured in the show.[7] R3TV is also available as a channel on Internet television services such as Joost, YouTube and Miro Media Player.

Notably, all Radio 3 podcasts are available in ogg, a freely-licensed audio format, in addition to the more conventional mp3 format.


As well as the on-air studio sessions, the network also regularly sponsors public concerts in music venues. The network also broadcasts the annual Polaris Music Prize gala.

The Connect the Dots Tour in 2004 featured a different lineup of bands in each city, including p:ano, Ninja High School, The Russian Futurists, Young and Sexy, The Unicorns, The Super Friendz, Lederhosen Lucil, Dragon Fli Empire and controller.controller.

Tour Tournée in the winter of 2006, jointly sponsored by CBC Radio 3 and Bande à part, included bands such as Wintersleep, Two Hours Traffic, Konflit dramatiK, Hexes and Ohs, Great Aunt Ida, Shout Out Out Out Out, Novillero, Les Breastfeeders, SS Cardiacs, Les Dales Hawerchuk, Pony Up! and The Deadly Snakes. Each of the eight locations had a different lineup of predominantly local bands, and at least one francophone band performed at each venue. On October 1, 2006, Radio 3 and Bande à part again jointly sponsored See Vous Play, a show in Toronto featuring Les Breastfeeders, Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, Les Trois Accords and The Joel Plaskett Emergency.

Also in October, the network was a sponsor of the Exclaim! Mint Road Show, a cross-Canada tour featuring The New Pornographers, Immaculate Machine and Novillero to celebrate the 15th birthdays of Exclaim!, a Canadian music magazine, and Mint Records, a Vancouver independent record label.

CBC Radio 3 was also the sponsor of a nation-wide tour in March and April 2007 featuring The Constantines and Jon-Rae and the River. The tour also featured Shotgun & Jaybird for the Eastern Canada portion of the tour while Ladyhawk toured for the Western Canadian portion of the tour.

On April 27, 2007, CBC Radio 3 and Bande à part jointly presented Quebec Scene, an Ottawa concert featuring The Stills, The Besnard Lakes, Karkwa and Mahjor Bidet.

On June 9, 2007, as a part of the annual NXNE festival, CBC Radio 3 presented a concert in Toronto featuring United Steel Workers of Montreal, Ohbijou, Sebastien Grainger et Les Montagnes, You Say Party, In-Flight Safety and Two Hours Traffic.[8]

In 2008, the network sponsored and broadcast several live shows at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, including performances by Basia Bulat, The Constantines, The Most Serene Republic, The Stills, Shout Out Louds, Christine Fellows, Grand Analog and Hot Springs.

The network's live broadcast from the 2009 NXNE festival featured Woodpigeon, DD/MM/YYYY, Ruby Coast, Jason Collett, Hot Panda and The Lovely Feathers.[9]


Each host appears in between five to eight program blocks during the week, which may be either live, prerecorded or a repeat of an earlier broadcast. The network also has three program blocks on weekends set aside for guest hosts, who may be musicians or broadcasters not regularly associated with the network. During the overnight hours, an unhosted music mix airs. The podcast, The R3-30 and the CBC Radio One program Fuse have also aired on the network.

During hosted blocks, content may include band interviews, recorded music, live in-studio performances or remote broadcasts from concert venues. In addition to extended band interviews, the network also airs a number of shorter interstitial one to three-minute features profiling bands and musicians through humour:

  • The Canadian Dictionary, where a musician provides a definition of a Canadian colloquialism,
  • 90-Second Egg, a series of questions about a musician's favourite things,
  • Stand By Your Van, where a musician relates a story of something funny or strange that happened to them on tour,
  • Occupational Hazard, where a musician talks about the worst job they ever had,
  • Ask Shane, advice from musician and "amateur rocktologist" Shane Nelken of The Awkward Stage,
  • So Sue Me, in which two songs are compared to detect intentional or unintentional plagiarism,
  • Dudes Where's My Tour Diary?, an audio tour diary filed by Calgary band The Dudes,
  • Tour Diary, where artists tell what is happening on tour, the artists are interviewed by Lisa Christiansen,
  • Gearheads, where a musician talks about their instruments or other musical gear,
  • Then and Now, two songs from a band's discography, one early and one recent, are contrasted to show how the band has evolved and changed,
  • Lisa Retort, where Lisa Christiansen rants on an issue or two that is currently on the news, such as Britney Spears shaving her head,
  • Indieland Who's Who, a humorous profile of a musician in the style of Canadian television's Hinterland Who's Who commercials (e.g. the wild danbejar)
  • The French Connection, where Lauren Burrows and Bande à part host Alexandre Courteau discuss an up-and-coming Québécois music act that has not been featured on CBC Radio 3 before. Courteau also teaches Burrows a new French word or phrase in each interview.
  • Yes, No, Maybe, similar to the 90-second egg, musicians are given rapid-fire questions to which they can only answer "Yes" "No" or "Maybe".
  • City of the Week, a short informational profile of a Canadian city, followed by music from three or four local artists who may or may not have previously been played on Radio 3.
  • 3 to 1 Ratio, where host Lisa Christiansian talks to CBC Radio One journalist Matthew Lazin-Ryder for critical analysis of Canadian indie music.

The network also broadcasts the annual Polaris Music Prize gala, as well as live concert showcases from festivals such as SXSW, Canadian Music Week, NXNE and the Halifax Pop Explosion.

In February 2009, CBC Radio 3 participated with Exclaim! and aux.tv to launch X3, a new collaborative cross-promotional platform which sees all three outlets air feature content spotlighting a particular "Artist of the Month". X3 artists of the month have included K'naan, Malajube, Thunderheist, Japandroids, Apostle of Hustle, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Owen Pallett, and Jenn Grant.[10]

CBC Radio 3 hosts

The regular hosts currently heard on the network are Grant Lawrence, Lisa Christiansen, Craig Norris, Lana Gay and Vish Khanna. Past hosts have included Tariq Hussain, Amanda Putz and Lauren Burrows.

Guest hosts such as Chris Alscher, Dave Shumka, Zena Sharman, Raji Sohal, Chris Kelly and Shane Nelken fill in when regular hosts are away. Canadian musicians and other media personalities have also sometimes appeared as guest hosts, including Joel Plaskett, Carolyn Mark, Buck 65, Nirmala Basnayake, Hannah Sung, Brent Bambury and Nardwuar the Human Serviette. Although no longer heard on the network's regular schedule, Hussain and Putz also occasionally continue to appear as fill-in hosts.

Some personalities associated with sister service Bande à part have also appeared on the network as reporters or correspondents covering Quebec's music scene, and several of the network's technical producers are also occasionally heard as segment contributors.

Bucky Awards

Since 2006, CBC Radio 3 has presented the annual Bucky Awards,[11][12][13][14] which honour Canadian indie pop and rock music. The awards, determined by listener vote, include such non-traditional categories as "most Canadian tune" and "sexiest musician."[15]


Several compilation albums featuring CBC Radio 3 artists and live performances have also been released:

See also


External links

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