Studios for CFCF-12 and RDS at 1205 Papineau Ave. are going to change over the next year.
Staff of both networks in the building were informed Monday of a capital spending plan approved by CTVglobemedia. That plan will see CFCF’s news studio move to what is now office space in the southwest corner of the building, after which RDS will setup two new studios where CFCF’s newscast and RDS’s Antichambre is shot now.
The move will be a welcome change for both networks. Outside of Canadiens games and Antichambre, RDS’s studios look dull and cramped (even in my tiny TV set). CFCF, meanwhile, consists of an anchor desk, a smaller sports anchor desk, a table and two chairs for interviews, and a green screen wall for weather. It’s also beginning to show its age.
Aside from a new look, CFCF’s new studio will have “storefront” exposure, which means people walking by on the street should get a chance to peek inside and see it in action. It will also be “HD-ready.”
But those looking forward to a high-definition newscast shouldn’t hold your breath. The station’s equipment will still need to be upgraded, and that’s not in the cards yet.
“Our new facilities will be ‘HD-ready’, so when the time comes to convert the rest of the shop (cameras, editing, etc), the studio will already be wired and ready,” said news director Jed Kahane. “But we don’t have a date yet for the HD conversion of our news.”
When I visited CFCF in September and asked him about a move to HD, Kahane said there wasn’t anything in the near future, since frankly there isn’t any serious competitive pressure from either CBC or Global to force the station to make such an expensive superficial change. (Kahane has since clarified that the station does want to move to HD as soon as it can, but that “other markets in the country, who don’t enjoy our success, may come first because they need it even more than we do.”)
The full memo to staff is below:
To: All personnel, CTV Montreal and RDS
From: Donald Bastien and Gerry Frappier
Date: November 8, 2010
Subject: Big changes are coming to CTV and RDS in Montreal
CTVglobemedia has approved a very extensive and comprehensive capital spending plan that will lead to important changes in the facilities of CTV and RDS in Montreal.
This significant investment is a vote of confidence and major step toward improving our on-air products. It will strengthen our ability to compete and maintain our leadership in an increasingly deregulated and more competitive industry landscape.
After careful analysis and review of the needs of both CTV and RDS, the joint CTV/RDS working group has decided on the following changes:
The CTV News Studio will move to the southwest ground floor corner of the building, where CTV National and Globe & Mail Sales are currently located. This new space is slightly larger than the current CTV Studio, and will be completely rebuilt to house a brand new, multifaceted, HD-ready set. This location will offer “storefront” exposure with a totally refreshed design and look.
RDS will move into the existing CTV studio facilities on the ground floor, where multiple programs will share the space with a studio look RDS has until now lacked the facilities to achieve. Currently, only about half the actual floor space in this studio is being used by CTV for its on-air look (the other half is occupied by CTV CCU and l’Antichambre). RDS, with its upcoming projects, will maximize the potential of this area by creating two separate and independent studios in the existing space. This move will also allow the RDS newsroom to expand and upgrade its own studio facilities on the third floor for the benefit of both Sports 30 and its RIS network .
In short, this project will allow CTV to acquire a brand new HD-ready set and a brand new look in a very short time frame: The expected launch date is Fall 2011. And as a result, RDS will be able to execute its own strategic plan, using a space that CTV does not exploit to its full potential.
We have put in place a multi-functional team to carry out this complex project. There will be separate working groups for CTV and RDS, working individually on their respective projects, and together as required.
Daniel Bienvenue, who is currently a member of both the CTV and RDS management teams, will lead overall project, reporting to Gerry Frappier and Don Bastien.
Dave Maynard, Operations Manager for CTV and Joanne Provost, Director of Finance and Administration for RDS, will play lead roles.
Both teams will report to Don Bastien on matters pertaining to redeployment of office space or that affect other building leaseholders.
In the coming days, you’ll be seeing some new faces walking the halls of CTV and RDS. Please welcome them and know that they are there to help take both networks to the next level in their development. They will of course aim to minimize the disruption to our daily operations.
We are excited by this important investment in our collective future, and by the opportunities it presents. And we are confident that our respective businesses and their employees will be well served and supported through this period of transition.
We will keep you updated as plans develop and work proceeds.
Thank you in advance for your support, your cooperation, and your continued dedication to the top-rated programming of both CTV and RDS.
Don Bastien and Gerry Frappier