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FIRST OFF . . .

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Radio and television programming across Canada was disrupted Thursday when the country’s largest network was hit by a nationwide strike. Management at the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp., however, expected to keep most news programs on the air. Viewers and listeners across the country noticed an almost immediate change when familiar voices and faces on the stations were replaced by those of management staff. Contract talks between the CBC and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents production workers, script assistants and stage hands, broke off Tuesday, and no new talks were scheduled after that. Some stations were hit by wildcat walkouts Wednesday as the 2,600 union members got ready to strike. A shorter work week is one of the major issues at stake. CBC is trying to “maintain the service as much as possible,” said a spokesman, but in Ottawa, an evening newscast was replaced by a special program about apes, and instead of a late-night newscast, viewers saw a documentary on the top news of 1963.


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