Leonard Cohen On CBC – Tuning In From The US

In response to yesterday’s post, which passed along information about Everybody Knows – A Very Special Leonard Cohen Episode On CBC TV, I received not only the expected adoration and appreciation from my colleagues and fellow fans of the featured Mr. Cohen but also a number of emails focusing on the inability of most US residents to tap into the CBC1 transmission. Happily (although it is counterproductive to building drama), most of these messages were polite inquiries about possible means by which a native Floridian, for example, might pick up the program. There were, however, some emails chauvinistically asking why I published information that most  US viewers couldn’t use2 and a few which seemed to hold me accountable for the lack of CBC transmitting towers near Texarkana, Texas.

Aspiring to Heck Of A Guyness, I offer in reply this overview of …

How To Watch Leonard Cohen On  CBC From The USA

1. The Geographical Strategies. Broadcast signals do not have to pass through customs. Wikipedia notes that

CBC Television stations can be received in many United States communities along the Canadian border over-the-air and have a significant audience. Such a phenomenon can also take place within Great Lakes communities such as Ashtabula, Ohio, which receives programming from CBC’s London, Ontario transmitter, based upon prevailing atmospheric conditions over Lake Erie.

* Southeastern Michigan (including Detroit), and Northern Ohio, (including Toledo, Bowling Green, Findlay, and surrounding areas) receive local Windsor CBC-owned station CBET over the air, and on local cable systems, such as Bright House, Wide Open West, Charter, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Buckeye Cable. The station can also be seen as far as Cleveland, Ohio with a strong antenna.

* Montreal CBC O&O station CBMT can be seen on various cable systems in the northern parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, including Charter cable systems in Michigan cities like Alpena, Bay City, Midland, Mount Pleasant and Marquette.

* In Maine, Time Warner Cable (formerly Adelphia Cable) carries CBMT in Bangor; cable viewers along the border can receive CBAT-TV. The Bangor Daily News carries listings for CBAT (and CKLT-TV Saint John as well).

* In northwest Washington state, CBC O&O station CBUT is distributed to almost one million Comcast cable subscribers in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Olympia, and Everett.

* In the Champlain Valley of Northern Upstate New York and Vermont, local cable systems in Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington, Vermont (Charter and Comcast, respectively) carry the Montreal affiliate CBMT.

* In addition, many cable systems in northern Minnesota and northern North Dakota carry CBWT, CBC’s Winnipeg affiliate.

* The Buffalo, NY cable systems carry CBLT from Toronto. It is also easily receivable via antenna as far south as Cattaraugus County and some communities in Niagara County can receive the HD feed via an antenna.

* The SUNY Oswego campus cable system carries CKWS-TV in Kingston, although it is only a part-time CBC affiliate and not owned by the CBC. On public cable systems, Time Warner carries CKWS in Jefferson and western St. Lawrence counties, and as far south as Utica. In eastern St. Lawrence County, CBC O&O CBOT from Ottawa is carried instead.

* Some communities in the US, such as Alexandria, Minnesota, offer CBC North on low-powered repeaters, courtesy of the local TV association.

* Many northern communities have high viewership of the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. The CBC’s coverage of hockey events, including NHL finals, is generally considered more complete and consistent than coverage by other networks. The CBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games has also found a significant audience in American border regions. The CBC is also the only network that consistently carries coverage of curling.3

So, drag that flat screen toward the border – of Canada or the Great Lakes – until you can secure a signal, an area that shifts daily with atmospheric changes.

For those with an aversion to snow, slush, and the wind chill concept, there is a loophole. Again, from Wikipedia , we learn the key fact that “Several Caribbean nations carry feeds of CBC TV.4

2. The Satellite Ploy. I’m told by a hockey fan with CBC sports programming lust that one can sign up for a Canadian satellite TV service using a Canadian address for billing while placing the satellite dish is ones back yard in rural Wisconsin and pick up not only the same major networks, HBO, Showtime, etc., but also CBC. This has the modest disadvantages of requiring some bureaucratic hassles and being  – oh, let’s call it a gray area legally.

3. The High Tech Approach. There are web sites through which one can download and watch movies. Some of these also offer certain CBC shows. Again, it is a gray area legally. It also requires a modicum of technical skill and some luck. In my quickie search today, none of the sites I checked had the CBC Leonard Cohen program from last night.

4. Winning The CBC Goodness Of Heart Lottery. The CBC offers a batch of programs via live or archived web broadcast.  The problem here, of course, is that not everyone wins the lottery. In this case, those fixated on watching last night’s Cohen special were losers – beautiful losers of course, but losers nonetheless.

5. Flexibility of Mind + Time Travel (AKA If they give you sour grapes, make cheap wine – or Grapette). Hey, Leonard Cohen on CBC is Leonard Cohen on CBC.5 Step into your handy Time Machine …

and revel the The Leonard Cohen CBC Interviews. As I pointed out in that post, The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has conveniently packaged a series of performances by and interviews with Leonard Cohen from their TV and radio archives under the title, Leonard Cohen: Canada’s Melancholy Bard, beginning with Poet, 22, splashes on to world stage in 1958 to Leonard Cohen looks back (two parts), an interview that took place in February 2006.

They are all delightful, but whatever you do, Do not miss The Leonard Cohen -This Hour Has Seven Days Interview.6

These interviews await your viewing pleasure at your convenience.  Eventually, last night’s program will, one suspects, join this lineup.

Just be patient.

And flexible.

In the meantime, click on one of the TVs and enjoy the CBC’s current Leonard Cohen offerings.

Sample from Leonard Cohen-This Hour Has Seven Days Interview


  1. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation []
  2. As it turns out, Heck Of A Guy is relatively popular north of the Canadian border []
  3. I am, alas, unaware of the Cohn-Curling Correlation Coefficient []
  4. Specifically, according to Wikipedia, Bahamas, on the CoralWave (Cable Bahamas) TV system in the Northern Bahamas (Channel 8);  Barbados, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation Multi-Choice TV Cable system (Channel 703); Bermuda, on the CableVision digital cable service; and Trinidad and Tobago, on the Columbus Communications Trinidad Ltd. (CCTL) TV system []
  5. This is the “Flexibility of Mind” part. []
  6. The Leonard Cohen -This Hour Has Seven Days Interview is labeled “On the road to singing sensation” in the CBC series []

0 Responses to Leonard Cohen On CBC – Tuning In From The US

  1. Pingback: Trinidad » IMG_0664

  2. Alas, cold and alone in the UK, I was unable to find ANY means of receiving this programme – legally grey or otherwise!
    However, I shall enjoy the archive clips – TOMORROW.
    Because tonight…I have a front row ticket to see the man himself!
    Woo, and indeed, hoo!!!