Ever wanted to travel downtown at 5am on a weekday so you can see the hosts of a national morning show, watch a performance from 98 Degrees and maybe have people spot you in a crowd? No? Well, you’ll get a chance to do it anyway as Canada AM broadcasts from the esplanade of Place des Arts on Thursday morning.
To mark the beginning of the festival season, the show and its three hosts will set up in Montreal for one day (weather/sports/Internet video presenter Jeff Hutcheson will stay an extra day, doing Friday’s show from Place Jacques Cartier). The lineup is here in the press release.
As I point out in this Gazette story, none of the three hosts worked in Montreal, though they all have visited many times and their executive producer Lis Travers spent most of her career here. That’s not a bad thing, I hear people from Ontario are nice. I just thought it was interesting. So many people I talk to in Toronto media have worked in Montreal at some point in their careers (and trumpet that fact when I talk to them).
The show will be quite a production, requiring a crew of 30, split between people borrowed from CTV Montreal and those being brought in from Toronto.
Admission is free, and they’re even giving out a car to one of the people who shows up and fills out a ballot.
The show runs from 6am to 9am, but people are being asked to come early to ensure they get in.
I visited the setup on Wednesday afternoon. The cameras and stage are near Ste-Catherine Street, but the real technology is up the stairs. Parked near Salle Wilfrid Pelletier is a rental truck with a control room built inside. The camera feeds are sent here through cables on the ground. From here, the show is fed to Toronto via a fibre-optic link (there’s a satellite truck as a backup if it’s necessary), and the people in Toronto will handle things like on-screen graphics.
If all else fails, I’m told there’s a news reader in Toronto who can fill airtime. But the plan is for that not to be necessary.