In federal elections, it’s customary for television networks to suspend normal programming and air an election special with the big national anchors sitting at Parliament Hill or at a special “election desk” in an undisclosed (but elaborately decorated) location.
In provincial elections, much the same thing, but on a more local level. The graphics aren’t as cool, and the sets aren’t as elaborate, but still attention is given to the big event.
In municipal elections today, even though they’re happening in cities across Quebec, the amount of coverage depends entirely on what language you speak.
If you’re a francophone, you’re in luck, because Montreal is the centre of your media universe. Both LCN and RDI will have election specials all evening, and the main networks Radio-Canada and TVA will have results specials later.
If you’re an anglophone well, election coverage is expensive, and there are cheap rerun movies or U.S. programming to run instead. Not a single anglo network (not even the all-news networks) has special coverage planned for the election. You’ll have to wait for the regular local newscast.
Here’s how it breaks down, ordered by the amount of coverage:
- RDI: Live coverage from 6:30pm to 12:30am (anyone thinking RDI is a national network serving all French Canadians – including those outside Quebec – is clearly delusional)
- LCN: Live coverage from 7:30pm
- CBFT/Radio-Canada: Because of the ADISQ gala tonight, election coverage will begin once it’s over at about 10pm. They expect to be done by 11:30
- CFTM/TVA: Occupation Double is more important than the news. After that, there’s Dominic Arpin’s Vlog. They might get to it at 10:30. A movie is scheduled at 11.
- CKMI/Global: News Final is at 11:30, giving a total of 30 minutes for election and other local news.
- CFCF/CTV: The Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives tonight. Regular local newscast is at 11:30, which will have up to 15 minutes of coverage before it gives way to SportsNight. UPDATE: CTV says it won’t have SportsNight tonight in favour of election coverage, and will have updates during primetime commercials.
- CBMT/CBC: Battle of the Blades and The Nature of Things are on for tonight. There’s no local news on weekends, so the best hope is a mention on The National at 10.
- CTV News Channel: No special coverage is planned, but it’s live from the newsroom all night, so they’ll probably air significant developments live if they’re of national interest.
- CBC News Network: No special coverage is planned. A documentary on Barack Obama will be airing when election results start coming in. The National is at 9, which will probably mention the results, at least in brief.
- CFJP/V: Their only news bulletin is at 5:30pm. No election coverage is scheduled.
- CIVM/Télé-Québec: No news department means no election coverage whatsoever.
- VOX: Haha, just kidding.
This information is based on published schedules, so it’s possible there might be special coverage on one of these networks that they havn’t told the TV guide (and on-screen digital schedules) people about. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for the conventional TV stations.
Better options on radio, online
So what’s an anglo to do when you can’t get local news before 11?
- CBC Radio is a solution. Nancy Wood (host of Daybreak, who hopefully isn’t working tomorrow) and Andrew Chang (host of the TV newscast) will be live in the radio studio tonight from 9pm to 11pm, and they will be streaming live video online. They’re also live-blogging the results.
- CJAD also has live election coverage this evening.
- And, of course, if you don’t need the voice of gravitas from a radio or television anchor, don’t forget about the print media. The Gazette will have liveblogging from reporter Jim Mennie, and Cyberpresse is all over this.
Montreal City Hall will be hosting a results party tonight, with everyone welcome as of 7:45pm.
And if you don’t want the media filter, you can get the results straight from the source.
I’m heading to work, where I’ll be in the thick of it tonight putting together election pages for a special section of The Gazette tomorrow, which means I won’t have time to liveblog the results (or coverage thereof). Feel free to share what you see and hear below.
Some polling stations were delayed in opening so they’re being kept open later. Expect results no earlier than 9pm.