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Biography

Ideas is a program about contemporary thought. It explores social issues, culture and the arts, geopolitics, history, biography, science and technology, and the humanities.
Ideas is CBC Radio's premier program of contemporary thought, with an audience of approximately 400,000 listeners.

Ideas is broadcast Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 pm and is heard throughout Canada and the northern United States on the 402 radio stations and transmitters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada's public broadcaster.

Ideas is eclectic in form and content. The show covers social issues, culture and the arts, geopolitics, history, biography, science and technology, and the humanities. Most of our programs are documentaries in which thoughts are gathered, contexts explored, and connections made.

The 1965 premiere broadcast of Ideas (at first called The Best Ideas You'll Hear Tonight) was on the CBC-FM network, amalgamating two former series titled University of the Air and The Learning Stage. The first three programs featured a discussion of Charles Darwin 's theory of evolution and an interview with members of the CBC Galapagos Expedition, a series called Peace on Earth, the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos , and a talk by Earle Birney about poetry and creativity. Back in 1965 The CBC Times announced that "full-attention programming is what CBC-FM radio offers its listeners. IDEAS is a series prepared for people who just enjoy thinking."

Ideas also plays host to The Massey Lectures, sponsored by CBC Radio in cooperation with Massey College at the University of Toronto, and created to honour Vincent Massey , former Governor-General of Canada and an energetic advocate for the humanities in Canada. Inaugurated in 1961, and heard on IDEAS since the program's creation in 1965, the Massey Lectures "enable distinguished authorities to communicate the results of original study on important subjects of contemporary interest".

The 2009 Massey Lectures are entitled The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Cultures Matter in the Modern World. Anthropologist Wade Davis argues that the myriad of cultures that make up our world are “humanity’s greatest legacy…the product of our dreams, the embodiment of our hopes, the symbol of all we are and all that we have created as a wildly inquisitive and astonishingly adaptive species.” Wade Davis takes us on an astonishing journey through some of the great cultures and civilizations on earth, fragile and endangered, yet essential to our survival as a species.

Paul Kennedy has been the host of Ideas since 1999, when he succeeded the legendary Lister Sinclair. But Paul’s association with the program goes back more than thirty years, to 1977. That year, he made his first contribution to Ideas with a documentary called, The Fur Trade Revisited. The project took him on a 1,600 kilometer journey paddling down the Mackenzie River from Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean. Paul’s interests encompass the environment, sport, travel, food, music, art and biography. His work engages what he describes as, “the core curriculum of contemporary culture.” In the course of his work, he has traveled across Canada, throughout North America, to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has won national and international recognition for his work, including an ACTRA award for best Canadian radio documentary for a program called, War on the Home Front, co-authored with Timothy Findley; the B’nai Brith Media Human Rights Award for a series called, Nuremberg on Trial; an Armstrong Award presented by Columbia University. In 2005, he was awarded the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Special Citation for Excellence in Ocean Science Journalism for his eight-part series, Learning from the Oceans.

Paul has a BA from Queen's University, an MLitt from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He did post-graduate work at the University of Toronto where he studied with Marshall McLuhan.

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