Today I was downtown for some other business and dropped by the CBC lockout picket line to say hi to Pietro Pietropaolo, who's perhaps best known for producing the outstanding documentary "The Wire" on CBC Radio earlier this year (the official site is down during the lockout).
I've never been on a picket line myself (my few union jobs were brief, long ago, and were thankfully undisrupted by strikes or lockouts), but I did walk a few circuits of the Vancouver CBC building with Pietro and his picket sign, during which we talked about the lockout and his bizarre status as a CBC staffer who gets less work than some contractors, music (he's a taiko drummer), and the contentious issue of copyrights in the digital age. Pietro is the one who stumbled across my podcast, which provided soundtrack music to last week's CBC Unplugged podcast from him and his colleagues. (They have another episode today, by the way.)
My overall impression of this lockout is that the CBC employees on the line are angry, sure, but they're more sad to see the fine work of the network not getting done. The two sides are talking, so maybe we can get our programs back soon. However, they're going to have to find a way for those of us who've been listening to local podcasts from other cities (like Ottawa's excellent shows) to hear them again. Ontario's gardening expert Ed Lawrence was a total revelation: I'd never heard of him, and I'm not much interested in gardening, but in one podcast he blew every other gardening call-in host I've ever heard out of the water. He should go national.
Anyway, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet JJ Lee or Tod Maffin (curator of CBC Unplugged), with whom I'd also chatted online or on the phone. And I'm looking forward to the Shelagh Rogers Caravan too. Without being able to plug in my iPod in the car, I'm not sure what I'd listen to while driving these days.