Breakfast Television Montreal fills out its staff

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:

Name Position Previous job
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
Martin Daigle Cameraman/editor

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.

5 thoughts on “Breakfast Television Montreal fills out its staff

  1. Steve W

    Elias Makos still keeping his current Concordia teaching gig? Breakfast Television Montreal staff has a much bigger staff than Global Montreal Morning Show? The behind the scenes people taken from the competition, did they apply for these jobs, or were they pursued by City Montreal? Laura Casella did she apply, or was she pursued? BTW, L. Casella started her Montreal media career in television, not on CJAD(I still remember her start on Montreal TV predating her CJAD days).

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Elias Makos still keeping his current Concordia teaching gig?

      It’s not current, and no.

      Breakfast Television Montreal staff has a much bigger staff than Global Montreal Morning Show?

      Yes.

      The behind the scenes people taken from the competition, did they apply for these jobs, or were they pursued by City Montreal?

      I don’t know everyone’s back story, but I suspect a mixture of both.

      Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Lots of CTV Montreal people made the jump. Better wages?

      A lot of these moves have more to do with the type of job than the money. Some of these people were part-time, contract or freelance workers who were offered a permanent full-time job. Others wanted to, as they say, explore a new opportunity with a more high-profile job.

      Reply

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