800. It’s really just a number, an abstract concept that we sort of understand. Most of us don’t even have 800 Facebook friends. Our high schools didn’t have 800 students. It’s hard to imagine that many people losing their jobs.
So when the CBC announced it was cutting 800 jobs on Wednesday, we knew it was bad, but we didn’t know how.
Now, details are beginning to emerge about more specific cuts to CBC programming. There are already lists of cuts nationally for English and French services, mainly from the English headquarters in Toronto and the French headquarters in Montreal.
In Quebec, as far as local programming goes, Quebec City will be hit worse than Montreal. Here’s what’s on the chopping block:
- Living Montreal, the last English-language non-news local program in Quebec, will be cancelled, as will similar shows across Canada. This completely rids English Montreal of television programming about arts, life and culture in the city, outside of the newscasts and what you’ll find on CJNT or VOX. Much as I think Living Montreal was a bit too fluffy and relied too much on regular columnists, this cut bothers me the most because it was the last of its kind here. Sue Smith, its host, gets a fairly soft landing, having already taken up a job hosting Radio Noon. Which brings us to…
- Radio Noon, the Montreal-based Quebec-wide call-in show, will be reduced from two hours to one.
- English and French services in Quebec City will be cut, with 15 jobs lost.
- Téléjournal midi Québec with Caroline Gaudreault and Téléjournal midi Estrie with Réjean Blais will be cancelled at the end of June, as will noon-hour news shows in Ottawa and Moncton. Staff will instead combine resources on the 6pm newscasts in those markets. Which brings us to…
- The 6pm Téléjournal in Quebec City and Sherbrooke (along with Ottawa and Moncton) will be cut from an hour to half an hour
- Un dimanche à Québec with Michel Lamarche, the last remaining locally-produced programming in Quebec City on Sundays, will be cancelled.
- The CBC won’t be covering CONCACAF Champions League games anymore, which means if the Impact (or Whitecaps or Toronto FC) make another deep run into the tournament, we won’t see it on TV.
Even with these cuts, it’s apparent that it could have been a lot worse. The network level is taking the brunt of the job losses, and the CBC has promised that no regional stations will be shut down.
Employees at the Téléjournal serving eastern Quebec are breathing a sigh of relief (and perhaps disbelief) that their broadcast won’t be cancelled.
News about cuts at CBC News in Montreal won’t come until mid-April, after employees decide whether or not to take buyouts.
Even with all this, I know of only one person who’s actually been cut. No doubt there will be more in the weeks ahead.