Tag Archives: Quebec City

Saroja Coelho named new host of CBC Quebec’s Breakaway

Breakaway, the afternoon drive show on CBC Radio One throughout Quebec (outside of Montreal and Gatineau), finally has a new permanent host: Saroja Coelho, a journalist who until recently was based in Germany.

Her first show is today.

The hiring of Coelho, who worked for Deutsche Welle and freelanced for several outlets including the CBC, might be a bit of a head-scratcher, considering listeners here are unfamiliar with her. But also because Rachelle Solomon, who had been hosting Breakaway since 2014, seemed to be an obvious choice for the job. She will stay with the station and contribute to Breakaway.

Jacquie Czernin, the last permanent host of Breakaway, left the show more than two years ago to be with her ailing mother in B.C. Last December, she made the departure permanent.

UPDATE: I spoke with Coelho for a short story in the Gazette. I’ll have more from her later.

CBC’s press release announcing the hire is below:

SAROJA COELHO NAMED NEW HOST OF CBC RADIO ONE’S BREAKAWAY IN QUEBEC

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 – CBC Quebec is pleased to announce Saroja Coelho as the new host of CBC Radio One’s Breakaway.

Saroja is an experienced journalist and public broadcaster. Prior to joining CBC, Saroja worked for Deutsche Welle in Germany for eight years, holding positions as a radio and television presenter, senior editor and producer, writer, event moderator and media trainer. During that time, Saroja also worked as a freelancer for CBC, BBC, NPR, Ms Magazine and other publications. She has also contributed to CBC Radio on Global Village, Outfront and Metro Morning. Saroja’s first day as host is Tuesday, September 6.

“Saroja brings strong news and broadcast experience to CBC Quebec,” said Meredith Dellandrea, Senior Program Manager, CBC Quebec. “An adventurous traveller in Quebec and around the world, she seeks to understand people and new perspectives. We’re excited to have her join our team.”

“I couldn’t be more delighted about taking over as the host of Breakaway,” said Saroja Coelho, Breakaway host. “Quebec has a rich history and a vibrant culture that is reinventing itself every day. I can’t wait to connect with people across the province and continue Breakaway’s tradition of being an on-air meeting place where people tell their stories, challenge each other with new thinking and, hopefully, have a good laugh.”

CRTC explores adding a new FM radio station in Quebec City, possibly an English one

The Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications commission is opening the door to adding another commercial FM radio station in Quebec City.

On Thursday, the commission issued a call for comments, prompted by two applications for new commercial radio stations in the provincial capital — one French, one English. The first step in the process is for people to comment on whether they believe the market can handle another station, and if so whether there should be a general call for applications from all interested parties.

The commission published basic information for the two applications it received. Both are for the same frequency, 105.7 MHz, with a power of a few thousand watts.

The French-language station is proposed by Gilles Lapointe and Nelson Sergerie. The English-language one is proposed by Dufferin Communications, a subsidiary of Evanov Radio Group.

Another chance for Evanov?

This isn’t Evanov’s first attempt at a Quebec City station. In 2010, the CRTC denied a similar application — for the same frequency — for an English-language commercial station using the same easy-listening format of Evanov’s Jewel network of stations. (The commission also denied an application by Evanov for a sister French-language station.)

The decision was controversial, even within the commission itself, prompting a dissenting opinion from commissioner Timothy Denton. The majority found, as it had with a similar application from Standard Radio in 2006, that because Quebec City’s anglophone population is so small, a new English-language music station would necessarily have to target francophone listeners, and would introduce unfair competition because English-language stations don’t have French-language music quotas. (A policy the commission is in the process of reviewing.)

Denton argued that it’s not up to the commission to protect French-language stations from competition from English-language stations, nor to protect Evanov from the danger of trying to make money by targeting only the anglophone community.

Has anything changed?

In the six years since that decision, there’s been enough turnover at the CRTC that none of the commissioners who were part of it are still there, including Denton. That could prompt a change in mentality.

The market, meanwhile, appears to have changed fairly little in the past half-decade. Its nine stations have had a profit margin around 20% over the past five years, which is actually down from 30-40% margins when the CRTC made its decision. And advertising revenue is also flat at around $45 million for the market.

The economics are the same, so if the commission does decide to go ahead with a new station, it will be because of a change of mentality of the commissioners or the strength of the applications.

What’s next?

Interested parties, including incumbent radio stations who want to stop competition, and others who might be interested in applying, have until May 30 to comment. After that, the commission will decide if it makes sense to add a new station. If it does, and there’s clear interest from other parties, it will issue a call for applications and set a hearing. If it’s just those two applicants that express interest, it could simply consider those applications without issuing a call or having the parties appear at a public hearing.

If you wish to add your two cents about whether Quebec City can handle another commercial radio station, you can file your comments here until 8pm ET on May 30. Note that all information submitted, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.

Radio host Jeff Fillion fired for insensitive use of sarcasm, emoji

Today, we learned that even Quebec City’s trash-talk radio has its limit.

Or, well, we learned that again. Because it’s happened several times before, including with the man at the centre of the issue today, the king of the format, Jeff Fillion.

At exactly 1pm on Wednesday, Bell Media and CHIK-FM (Énergie Québec 98.9) announced that Fillion, who hosted the afternoon drive show from 3-6pm weekdays, no longer works for the company. (It’s not explicitly clear if he was fired, quit or some mutual agreement was reached, but it’s clear this was more the company’s doing than his.) The station has put Maxime Tremblay in his timeslot for the time being.

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Radio stations rebranded in Cornwall, Quebec City

Less than a year after Mark Dickie was put in charge of Corus Radio’s four stations in Ottawa and Cornwall, three of them have new brands and the fourth has a new lineup.

On Monday, Corus announced the rebranding of the two Cornwall stations. CJSS 101.9 became Boom 101.9, and CFLG 104.5 went from Variety 104 to 104.5 Fresh FM. Their music (classic hits and top 40, respectively) remains the same.

In March, Corus killed Ottawa’s 106.9 The Bear, replacing the rock station with the new brand Jump! The other Ottawa station, Boom 99.7, put a new lineup in place this week that includes former Montreal broadcasters Pete Marier and Murray Sherriffs.

Boom is actually a former Astral Media (now Bell Media) brand, used for two Montérégie stations. It’s also used on CHBM-FM Toronto, which was sold to Newcap Radio as part of required Bell/Astral divestments. So we have one brand being used by five radio stations owned by three different companies in two languages.

More music (seriously) in Quebec City

In Quebec City, Cogeco’s CFOM-FM 102.9 has rebranded as M FM, with a focus on more music, fewer on-air hosts, no contests and fewer “irritants”, the Journal de Québec reports.

The station is keeping its classic hits format, but according to the Journal has reduced its music library to focus on hits.

The keep-it-music-stupid focus is reflected on the station’s website, which is pretty bare-bones.

It might also be a response to stations like Quebec City’s NRJ, which brought in Jeff Fillion to do a noon talk show and saw ratings for that hour skyrocket.

More rebrands

Other radio stations are also getting rebrands, since this is the season for that just before fall:

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph turns 250

The Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, whose claim to fame is billing itself as North America’s oldest newspaper (it predates The Gazette by 14 years), turns 250 years old on Saturday.

The English-language weekly in the provincial capital almost didn’t make it this far. In 2010, it almost folded, going online-only and raising both subscription and advertising prices while adopting a hard-line religious editorial line that turned many away. The paper was sold to a new owner who brought back the print paper and has been keeping it going since.

Since 250 is a pretty big deal, the paper has been going all out drawing attention to itself and the anniversary, and the media have taken notice. Here is a sample of the media coverage given to it:

The paper itself is keeping a running list on its website, and has a Storify of tweets and links.

Also worth delving into:

Happy birthday, QCT.

Why is CBC refusing ads from radio stations?

It sounded like the kind of story that even Sun News Network couldn’t make up: The CBC saying no to money from private industry for the sole reason that it wants to compete with it.

A complaint has been filed with the CRTC by Leclerc Communication, the company that bought Quebec City stations CKOI (CFEL-FM) and WKND (CJEC-FM) when Cogeco was told it couldn’t keep them after its purchase of Corus Quebec. The complaint alleges that the stations have been trying to book advertisements on Radio-Canada’s television station in Quebec City to promote the stations, and that Radio-Canada has issued a blanket refusal because it has a policy not to accept ads from competitors.

This would seem to go against a very clear CRTC policy that says that media companies can’t give themselves preference over their competitors in things like this.

Convinced there must have been a misunderstanding, I contacted the CBC and asked the public broadcaster about the allegation.

Radio-Canada actually confirmed it. CBC and Radio-Canada don’t accept ads from commercial radio stations because they compete with CBC services. And they don’t see anything wrong with that.

I explain the positions of Leclerc and Radio-Canada in this story at Cartt.ca. In short, Leclerc wants to advertise on RadCan because it finds that the demographics of RadCan viewers match the listeners it’s trying to target. And Radio-Canada refuses because its advertising policy prevents it from accepting ads for competitors.

The policy is CBC Programming Policy 1.3.11: Unacceptable advertising. It bans tobacco ads, ads for religious viewpoints, “any advertisement that could place the CBC/Radio-Canada at the centre of a controversy or public debate” and “advertisements for services considered competitive with CBC/Radio-Canada services.”

Now, we can argue whether two Quebec City music stations with personalities like Les Justiciers masqués are competitive with Première and Espace Musique. But even if they were, so what? These are television ads, first of all, not radio ads, and if Leclerc wants to spend money this way, why should the public broadcaster say no?

More importantly, can it even do so legally?

The television broadcasting regulations, which Radio-Canada and all other television broadcasters have to abide by, says a licensee may not “give an undue preference to any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue disadvantage.”

A similar provision exists for TV distribution, which is why Videotron can’t give Quebecor-owned channels advantages over their competitors unless it can find a good reason to back it up.

But the CBC doesn’t quite see it that way. It argues that it’s not giving anyone an undue advantage, because it’s not accepting ads from anyone. Everyone’s being treated equally, so there’s no advantage.

Leclerc points out, though, that Radio-Canada’s radio services get plenty of advertisement on its television network. And giving free ads to its own radio stations and refusing ads from all competitors is pretty well exactly what this rule was meant to prevent.

Radio-Canada confirmed that the programming policy is set by the CBC board of directors, not by legislation or CRTC condition of licence. So logic would suggest that CRTC regulations take precedence over internal rules at the CBC.

The CBC rule becomes all the more absurd when you consider it in context. The CBC is facing a major cash crunch, seeing government funding tightened and now losing the rights to NHL games. CBC’s president is talking about “dark clouds on the horizon” because of lower revenue. So why say no to what is practically free money?

It would be one thing if this was a big corporate player wanting to buy airtime on the CBC to encourage people not to listen to Radio One or something. But this is a small independent broadcaster that just wants to expose his radio stations to Radio-Canada’s audience in Quebec City.

The CBC is going to have to come up with some real good justification for shutting the door to competitors. Bell or Shaw or Rogers would never be allowed to get away with something like this, and I don’t see why the CBC should be able to.

And if the CBC doesn’t come up with a good reason to refuse these ads, they should expect to be told to shut up and take Leclerc’s money.

Leclerc’s complaint letter can be read here. The full file is on the CRTC’s website in this .zip file. The CRTC is accepting comments on this complaint until March 6. You can submit comments here. Note that all information submitted, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.

(So far, only the Journal de Québec has covered this story aside from myself. We’ll see if others pick it up before the deadline.)

Last AM radio station in Quebec City to shut down

CHRC, Quebec’s oldest – and only – commercial AM radio station, is shutting down.

The owners (the Quebec Remparts hockey club) made the announcement on Friday, surprising few people but disappointing many, that they would pull the plug on the money-losing station at some unspecified time (probably within the next few weeks). UPDATE (Sept. 30): The station is being shut down at midnight on Sept. 30.

CHRC started in 1926, and spent most of its life as a talk station, notably the home of André Arthur (who expressed his thoughts to Radio-Canada). In 2005, it became Info 800, a sister station to Info 690 in Montreal. Then it was taken over by the Remparts and Patrick Roy. Its current format is mostly sports talk, with Quebec Remparts (QMHJL) and Laval Rouge et Or university football games (both of those will move to Cogeco’s FM93) and Quebec Capitales baseball games.

It’s not terribly surprising that such a station wouldn’t find a way to work, especially since there’s no other AM radio in the region and so little reason for anyone to even switch over to the AM band.

There’s still some hope that someone else might step in to buy it. And there are a few options. Cogeco probably won’t want it if it can make news and sports work on FM93. Astral is in existential limbo at the moment. Bell might be interested, but it doesn’t know yet if its RDS Radio project is going to get off the ground. The Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy group is another possibility, if they want to make a sister station to their Montreal French AM talk station.

If the station does end up going off the air, it would probably be good news for CJAD, which operates on the same frequency. At least, the station’s coverage toward the northeast would improve, with no interference from the Quebec City station. A possibility exists that CJAD could apply to change its signal pattern to be better toward the northeast, though how that works procedurally I don’t know.

UPDATE: There was no last-minute miracle. The station shut down at 6pm on Sunday, Sept. 30. Its final moments are a montage of messages from the station’s employees. Its final word: “merci.”

CBC gets to keep some analog TV running

José Breton must be happy.*

He’s the guy in Quebec City who protested that CBC was going to shut down its TV transmitter there and not replace it with a digital one. Being a hockey fan, his main issue was that he wouldn’t be able to get Hockey Night in Canada without cable.

In a decision published Tuesday morning, the CRTC decided to give the CBC another year to make the conversion in 22 markets that are large enough that the CRTC designated them for mandatory conversion but small enough that they do not have original programming and the CBC was prepared to pull the plug on them rather than spend millions on new transmitters.

These include transmitters in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Chicoutimi that rebroadcast CBC Montreal. They also include a large number of Radio-Canada’s transmitters outside Quebec. The Globe and Mail has a map here.

Breton wasn’t the only one trying to stop his city from falling through the cracks. The city of London, Ont., actually passed a resolution demanding the CBC save its transmitter there.

Since Radio-Canada transmitters in Quebec are shutting down, the CBC is going to use the old Radio-Canada analog transmitters in Trois Rivières and Quebec City for CBC programming, taking advantage of the better coverage of those transmitters. On the flip side, its transmitter in Chicoutimi (Saguenay) will see its power drop significantly because it’s on a channel that is supposed to be vacated.

Here’s what’s going on for each transmitter:

  • CBMT Montreal must still terminate analog transmission on Channel 6 by Aug. 31. Its transitional digital transmitter on Channel 20 will move to Channel 21.
  • CBJET Saguenay will drop in power significantly, going from 12,000 watts to just 496. Because it’s running on Channel 58, which is one the government is forcing all television stations to move off of (big cities or small), it drops to low-power unprotected status. This also means that Industry Canada (which regulates frequency allocations) can force it to move frequencies if it wants to give it to someone else.
  • CBMT-1 Trois-Rivières switches from Channel 28 to Radio-Canada’s old spot on Channel 13, and gets a power boost from 33,000 to 47,000 watts, in order to increase its coverage area.
  • CBVE-TV Quebec City switches from Channel 5 to Radio-Canada’s old spot on Channel 11, and gets a power boost from 13,850 to 33,000 watts, increasing its coverage.
  • CBMT-3 Sherbrooke remains operational, unchanged at 14,000 watts on Channel 50.
  • Other retransmitters in Quebec (there are about 40 of them from Kuujuaq to Îles de la Madeleine) are not in mandatory markets and will remain running as they were before.

The CRTC’s decision is understandable. It was backed into a corner by the CBC. Not allowing the extension would have meant forcing the CBC to shut down these transmitters – many of which are in minority-language markets – and would have meant, some have argued, failing in its mandate.

It’s also the latest compromise on the digital transition. Originally the CRTC wanted every TV transmitter in Canada to be converted to digital. Then in 2009 it said only “mandatory markets” – capital cities, those with multiple stations and those with populations above 300,000. Then in March it removed the territorial capitals from the list of mandatory markets. And now CBC and Radio-Canada retransmitters won’t have to make the transition.

In 2009, I argued that the digital TV transition is a counterproductive waste of money. Two years later, with the deadline only two weeks away, this seems even more clear. Broadcasters are waiting in some cases until literally the last minute (midnight from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1) to switch their analog transmitters with digital ones, because they know that the analog transmitters reach a larger audience. The fact that the CBC is pushing for a delay and that so few transmitters are being changed outside of mandatory markets is a clear indication that market forces aren’t pushing hard in the direction of digital TV.

And why should they? Having high definition is nice, but the vast majority of people rich enough to have purchased high-definition TVs also have cable or satellite service. Most of those on analog TV are either too poor to afford a subscription service or are too disinterested in TV to spend the money.

Digital television is being forced on us for reasons that still elude me. The government wants to auction off TV channels 52-69 for wireless services, but analog transmitters in those frequencies can be reassigned lower channels without converting them to digital (there certainly aren’t more than 50 television transmitters operating within range of Quebec City or Moncton).

Analog over-the-air television has existed using roughly the same technology for more than half a century. Forcing broadcasters to spend millions on hundreds of new transmitters and consumers to spend hundreds on millions of new televisions (or digital converters for their existing sets) without a clear need seems ridiculous.

UPDATE (Aug. 17): Actually, Breton isn’t happy. He’s calling the decision a “false compromise”, says the CRTC should have forced the CBC to install a digital transmitter in all mandatory markets, and points out that because most digital converter boxes don’t pick up analog signals, people won’t be able to easily switch between CBC and other channels in these markets.

Google Street View coverage maps

I won’t bother reporting that Google Street View launched in Montreal and other Canadian cities today, since everyone else is already doing that.

But I’ll add this map so you can see what areas are covered (sorry Châteauguay, Vaudreuil-Dorion and St. Bruno, it seems you’ve been left out):

Google Street View coverage map for Montreal

Google Street View coverage map for Montreal

To check it out, we’ll start you off in true Gazette style, at the corner of Peel and Ste. Catherine. Now go and find all those embarrassing or quirky photos hidden in the city.

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The Rest of Quebec

Patrick Lagacé has a column this week about how people in the Rest of Quebec hate Montreal. How they judge everything based on a comparison with Montreal. How they judge themselves by whether they’re better than Montreal.

Even though I’m a life-long Montrealer, I see where they’re coming from.

And I point at least one finger at the media.

When Global Television’s CKMI-TV regional station in Quebec City officially became a Montreal station on Sept. 1, I understood the reasoning (mainly to gain access to local advertising, but also to acknowledge the de facto change to a Montreal station), but I was also a bit disappointed.

At its peak, Global Quebec had an active Quebec City station and a bureau in the Eastern Townships. The only other anglophone television stations in Quebec were both local stations based in Montreal (with at most a reporter at the National Assembly). I had wondered if, instead of focusing on its largest cities, Global could set itself apart from the other two by being a truly regional network, by covering the far-away communities ignored buy CTV and CBC. It would, effectively, be the local station for anglos in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Gaspé, and even some places in the Montreal metropolitan area that the city’s reporters hesitate to venture to.

But the economics of that proposition apparently don’t hold. It’s expensive to cover such a large area, and the anglophone population outside Montreal is simply too small and too widespread to be able to create that critical mass of loyal viewership.

Instead, Global concluded that it would be better as the #3 station in Montreal than the #1 station elsewhere in Quebec.

(Of course, this logic applies only to local programming, of which CKMI and CBC’s CBMT produce a pathetic 7.5 hours a week. The rest would have no difference in content or reach if the station were based in Montreal or St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!)

And today in Montreal…

It’s easy to get local news as a Montrealer. Three nightly TV newscasts in English, two in French (not counting what’s on TQS V). An all-news French radio station, and news/talk radio stations in both languages. Six daily newspapers, of which two are free. And, of course, blogs and online sources such as this one.

But it goes farther than that. Two all-news TV channels, Radio-Canada’s RDI and Quebecor’s LCN, are headquartered here. LCN is often on the TV in the newsroom because it’s essentially become a Montreal local all-news channel.

If I wanted to, say, get a story about a local event in Quebec City told by local English media, I’d have to scratch my head a bit figuring out where to go. CBC has an English radio station there, but it doesn’t even have a website (it piggybacks off CBC Montreal, and calls itself the Quebec Community Network). My other option is the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, a weekly community newspaper.

In other cities in Quebec, the options for local news – in either language – become even bleaker than that. The Sherbrooke Record is the only English daily outside of Montreal. Outside of some low-budget community initiatives, there are no English news media and few French media. And much of that media contains news from the big-budget corporate headquarters of Montreal in between the bits of local flavour. Like Toronto is the media capital of Canada, Montreal is the media capital of Quebec.

What this all means is that when people outside Montreal turn on their TVs, turn on their radios, open their newspapers or go on the Internet, they’re bombarded with news from Montreal, while in many cases their local news consists of gallery openings, petty crimes in police blotters, and grandmas turning 100.

One city down, 1109 to go

The big news in Montreal this week is the release of an auditor’s report into a water meter contract, which led to its cancellation. That whole ordeal might not have come to light had it not been for local media and reporters like La Presse’s André Noël and (I’d say especially, but perhaps that would be biased) The Gazette’s Linda Gyulai (I give her the plug here because I gave her a length for her story last night and she astonishingly filed to exactly that length). Gyulai is a dedicated city hall reporter who doesn’t have to spend (much) time chasing ambulances and rewriting press releases. She can focus strictly on her beat and spend days reading massive reports and digging for information.

With the exceptions of Le Soleil and the Journal de Québec in Quebec City (both of which still contain quite a bit of Montreal-produced news), few other newspapers in Quebec have such resources (and TV and radio certainly don’t).

I wonder about those cities that don’t have such a strong watchdog press. As I told CJAD’s Ric Peterson the other day: who’s watching Beaconsfield City Hall? Or Repentigny City Hall? Or St. Jerome City Hall? How many skeletons do they have in their closets because the media there consist of no-budget community papers that get all their news from press releases, or big Montreal media that swoop into town for a day or two when something big catches their attention?

Lagacé thinks the Rest of Quebec should get over its inferiority complex in constantly comparing itself to Montreal. I agree. But he should also acknowledge that he and the rest of the Montreal media are part of the problem.

UPDATE: Similar thoughts from Matthieu Dugal: “nos médias sont tiers-mondistes”

CBC cuts hit closer to home

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:

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.

Wikimocracifying Quebec

Saturday’s Gazette has a feature piece from civic affairs reporter Linda Gyulai on Julie Graff and her Wiki Démocratie party (which, despite its name and look, uses a website that is not a wiki). She wants to become mayor of Quebec City so she can, among other things, use its employees’ pension plan to buy an NHL team and bring it there.

(The story is illustrated in the paper with a photo from Francis Vachon. He has another version of the profile shot on his blog.)

Quebec City goes crashy-crashy Saturday night

If you’ve never seen Red Bull’s Crashed Ice event, you need an immediate injection of testosterone. Every year, “competitors” in this event gather in Quebec City to “skate” down a 550-metre track whose grade is better suited for tobogganing than anything one would do on skates. (It’s a 56-metre vertical drop, according to this PDF press release).

The point is not important, I guess it’s a race of some sort. The fun is watching everyone crash as the tumble down the ice. And this year, for the first time, they’re opening it up to women.

Of course, because it’s harmless fun, there’s gotta be someone out there to spoil it. The Mouvement Montréal Français, apparently confused because this event is in Quebec City, is demanding that Red Bull give it a proper French name. The government, desperate to appease francophone activists, has passed on the request with official backing, though they’re stopping short of asking Red Bull to change its own name.

I think it’s a bit insulting to have an event like this in Quebec City with an English name. I’m sure Red Bull’s marketing people could come up with a bilingual one or a clever French name that would solve this situation easily. (They’ve already done it for Italy’s Toro Rosso F1 team) But this should be a result of grassroots pressure, not government fiat.

Either way, let’s not let the political discussion ruin the fun.

Crashed Ice is being broadcast live at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday in French on TVA and in English on TSN HD.

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph archives on Google

As part of a big announcement this week that Google would be offering to digitize newspapers’ archives (with their permission) and put them online for free, the Quebec Chonicle-Telegraph, North America’s oldest newspaper and the only anglo paper in Quebec City, has jumped on board and some of its archives are already available on Google’s site, mainly from the 50s and 60s. (The QCT even got some link love on the Google Blog.)

(via Le Devoir)