We’re now less than three weeks until the launch of Breakfast Television Montreal, the flagship program on City Montreal, and most of the staff is in place. Bob Babinski, the station’s executive producer, tells me he still has one position to fill and another person has been hired but hasn’t started yet, but here’s the staff in place that I know about for the show:
|Bob Babinski||Executive Producer||Concordia University/freelance|
|Jeffrey Feldman||Supervising Producer||eTalk/Fashion Television producer|
|Alexandre Despatie||Host||Olympic diver/commentator/reality show judge|
|Joanne Vrakas||Host||CBC Montreal reporter|
|Wilder Weir||Live Eye host||Cosmo TV host|
|Catherine Verdon-Diamond||Weather/traffic||CBC Montreal weather presenter|
|Laura Casella||Reporter||CJAD reporter (also freelanced at CTV Montreal)|
|Elias Makos||New Media Producer||Freelance/CTV Montreal columnist|
|Melanie Porco||Segment Producer||CTV Montreal researcher|
|Kelly Albert||Segment Producer||CTV Montreal researcher|
|Genevieve Skelton||Segment Producer||Breakfast Television Edmonton producer|
|Levon Sevunts||News writer/reporter||Radio Canada International producer/researcher|
|Elysha del Giusto-Enos||Production Assistant||The Link (Concordia University)/freelance|
|Chelsea Nicole||ENG editor||City Toronto|
|Cosmo Santamaria||Cameraman/editor||CTV Montreal cameraman|
Add on to this list the people who are working for Montreal Connected (Alyson Lozoff, George Athans, Kelly Greig, Ian Graham, etc.) and there’s a decent starting crew at this station, though it’s nowhere near the staff you’ll find at market leader CTV Montreal.
Biographies of the five on-air personalities are posted on City’s website, and Elias Makos has created a Twitter list of BT Montreal’s Twitter-enabled staff. (I have a larger list of the people connected with all three local shows on the station.)
Looking at the list, and particularly where they come from, you can see that some talent has been taken from the competition. But there haven’t been any high-profile steals. None of the three competitors have lost any of their anchors or senior managers. Joanne Vrakas (CBC) and Laura Casella (CJAD) are the only reporters that have been snatched up. And other than Alexandre Despatie, most of the names on this list are probably as little known to anglo Montreal as they are to francophones.
But that’s not to say there isn’t talent here. People I’ve talked to say that City has taken some of their best (and in some cases most underrated) people. Jeffrey Feldman, Vrakas and Casella had a lot of praise from their former colleagues. Grabbing two of CTV Montreal’s four researchers was also cited as a big coup for the startup station, along with luring away talented cameraman Cosmo Santamaria, who couldn’t get a permanent full-time job at CTV.
I should also note that the word “Global” doesn’t appear on this list. It’s a phenomenon I’ve looked at in the past, but despite its poor ratings, Global Montreal doesn’t tend to lose talent to the competition. The last two high-profile departures, assistant news director Alexandra Henderson and reporter Mike Le Couteur, were both for jobs within Global (in Toronto and Ottawa, respectively). There is no shortage of people doing remarkable things with very limited resources at that station, but they’re not being lured away.
Note that this is a list of employees. Columnists and regular contributors are still to come, though we know of at least one already.
Breakfast Television begins Aug. 26 at 6am on City Montreal.