Is it just a song? Articles, editorials, and interviews on the street suggest that it is more than just a simple tune. Many cite it as being “iconic” or “cultural”. With words like these being tossed around CTV has boldly claimed that it has “saved the song” for Canada. Today, the private network purchased the rights in perpetuity to the Hockey Night in Canada Theme. A few days earlier, CBC, a public network, had announced that they were unable to renew their contract with the composer Dolores Claman. She claims to have been underpaid by the national broadcaster in recent years. In news stories published today she appears to be quite happy with the agreement she has reached with CTV, and feels they have respected her and her music.
No doubt some will lament this transfer of the song as an example of our national culture being sold off. However, it should be considered that the song was a mainstay of marketing for the CBC – and ultimately the private for-profit companies that advertised on the CBC benefited as well. There is no mistaking that it is a catchy tune, and that it elicits memories that span decades. However, the draw of the song is part of the marketing package to bring you in and have you watch the show and the ads. Had the song not been “saved” by the CTV our culture would have endured. The game would have gone on – as would have all the other current commercial aspects of it. CBC’s coverage needs to change to stay current. Maybe this is something that needed to happen?
Is it just a song?