Years ago, before Youtube even existed, CityTV founder Moses Znaimer came up with an idea which was thought of as revolutionary at the time.
Ordinary people submit $1.00 at a specially designed video booth dubbed “Speaker’s Corner” which would be donated to the CHUM Charities and they can sound off on whatever was on their minds, it was an example of his philosophy of “Interactive Broadcasting” and essentially created what some 20th century media outlets would retroactively label as the precursor to Youtube.
Speakers’ Corner began in 1990 with a video booth outside the Citytv studios in Toronto. The booth’s original intent was for viewers to record news commentary and “letter to the editor” segments for broadcast on CityPulse, but the booth soon proved so popular, with many segments being recorded that fell far outside the initial concept, that the decision was soon made to create a full half-hour weekly series. Segments that were relevant in a news context continued to appear on CityPulse, and entertainment-oriented segments also sometimes appeared on other CHUM television outlets, such as MuchMusic and Space, as interstitials or in lamens terms “Filler”
It was so immensely popular that it courted the likes of well established celebrities including Mike Myers, The Barenaked Ladies, Aqua, and Michael J. Fox among others.
Even Satire King “Weird Al” Yankovic couldn’t help himself….
Rogers Media, which had acquired the CityTV stations from CHUM Limited in 2007, announced the cancellation of the series on August 31, 2008. According to the company, the 21st-century emergence of other interactive media, such as YouTube and social media, had diminished the cultural value of Speaker’s Corner.
However, I will be the first to point out that thanks to these new emerging creations like youtube we can enjoy the Speaker’s Corner that we all knew and loved