During its last CRTC licence renewal hearing, the CBC committed to increasing the amount of local programming it airs on its stations in large markets, including Montreal, bumping it up to 14 hours a week, consistent with private stations in large markets.
But rather than just adding more newscasts, CBC also committed that for these markets, at least one hour a week would be non-news local programming. Even after their licence renewal was approved, the CBC couldn’t say what form that programming would take. And even after the new licence came into effect on Sept. 1, there was no announcement, just confirmation that the new program would be an hour a week repeated twice over the weekend.
So without a new show ready, CBC Montreal has met its requirements for non-news local programming since Sept. 1 by re-airing the Absolutely Quebec series produced this summer.
Finally, today, even though the new show has been on the electronic schedule for a week and a half, we’re just now getting information from the public broadcaster about what these new shows are.
Here’s what we know so far. The new show is called “Our Montreal” (There’s also “Our Toronto”, “Our Ottawa”, “Our Calgary”, “Our Edmonton” and “Our Vancouver”, because local programming is still very much decided in Toronto). It’s an hour-long current affairs show, hosted by Sonali Karnick.
What will be on the show? According to the press release, it’s “the stories that made headlines and had everyone talking … weekly highlights plus a look behind the headlines on the issues everyone’s been buzzing about … the week’s top news stories plus timely features on books, health, one-on-one interviews and an interactive web column.”
The shows debut Saturday at 6am in every market — what kind of audience they can expect to get with this horrible time slot I have no idea* — and repeats at 11am on Sundays and 11am on Mondays.
Karnick will continue to host All in a Weekend on CBC Radio One in Quebec. Which means that her radio show and her television show will be on the air at the same time. Which also doesn’t make much sense.
I’ll be speaking with Karnick tomorrow for a story for The Gazette. I’ll ask her and others at the CBC about what they want the show to be, and which show she wants fans to listen to on Saturday mornings. If you have any other questions, let me know.
*Okay, I have some idea. Ratings for that timeslot show 1,700 viewers on average in Montreal last fall and spring. But will early risers for kids shows translate well into early risers (or insomniacs) among local current affairs watchers? We’ll see.
UPDATE: The story is here and in Friday’s paper. It goes into a bit of Karnick’s background, including her 2011 departure for Toronto and her quick return to Montreal. It also goes a bit into the timeslot. I never did get a very good answer, either from the local office or CBC nationally, about why 6am Saturday was chosen. Everyone reminded me that the show airs three times and is available online, and that some people are up that early on Saturday.
But while airing local shows at 6am is not unusual, it’s odd for that airing to be the premiere (unless it’s a three-hour morning show). Global Montreal used to repeat its evening newscasts at 6am the next day to meet CRTC local programming requirements. Some other stations elsewhere in Canada still do this, and even CTV Montreal has done it on occasion when pre-empted or cancelled newscasts have pushed it below its weekly minimum.
Maybe it’s just semantics here, and having a show air at 6am Saturday and repeat at 11am Sunday is no different from premiering at 11am and repeating at 6am.
But that 6am Saturday time slot still seems odd, especially because the Absolutely Quebec reruns were done at a much more reasonable hour of 11am or noon on Saturdays.
The press release
CBC Montreal launches “Our Montreal”: A weekly review program
Starting Saturday, October 12th on CBC Television
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 — Join CBC Television this Saturday, October 12 for Our Montreal an hour-long current affairs review program that looks at the best of Montreal.
“Each week, Our Montreal will bring you the stories that made headlines and had everyone talking,” says Shelagh Kinch, Managing Director, CBC Quebec “At CBC Montreal, we’re dedicated to sharing local stories and issues that matter to Montrealers. This program gives weekly highlights plus a look behind the headlines on the issues everyone’s been buzzing about.”
Hosted by Sonali Karnick, Our Montreal includes the week’s top news stories plus timely features on books, health, one-on-one interviews and an interactive web column.
“Montrealers love to boast about their city and what secret gems they’ve uncovered. And I’m no exception,” says Karnick. “It’s really a privilege to host this new program and talk about the people and places that make our city one of the best places to live.”
In addition to Our Montreal, Sonali Karnick will continue as host of All in a Weekend, Saturday and Sunday mornings, 6-9am (88.5/104.7FM). Our Montreal airs on Saturdays at 6 am on CBC Television with encore presentations on Sundays and Mondays at 11am.
The other shows
The CBC’s commitment applies to its stations in large “metropolitan” markets, which are defined as those in which the population “with knowledge of the official language of the station” is one million or more. The six largest metro areas in Canada each have a CBC station meeting this criteria. (The next largest is Quebec City, whose population is mainly French, and then Winnipeg, with a population of 730,018.)
- Our Toronto, hosted by Marivel Taruc
- Our Ottawa, hosted by Lucy van Oldenbarneveld
- Our Calgary, hosted by Holly Preston
- Our Edmonton, hosted by Adrienne Lamb
- Our Vancouver, hosted by Gloria Macarenko
Which question, you already mentioned it.what’s the point at 6 a.m… Is is that bad that they want to hide it in that slot….did Montreal agree to this or again, is this another edict from Toronto..
Was there a better time considered for the first airing. GLOBAL with their Focus Montreal show has it right with first airing at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays..
It seems this is just a fill-in arrangement.
And why not get a new name out there, not just a recycled internal person..
I’m not sure why you think Sonali Karnick should be disqualified simply because she already works for CBC. Also keep in mind that the CBC is trying to do more with a smaller budget, so it can’t hire a bunch of new people.
6am is a bit early on a Saturday, but having the repeats at 11am on Sundays is not a bad timeslot. That’s around the time other Sunday current affairs programming is on (West Block, QP, Focus Manitoba, etc). Plus, there is a market for local news on weekend mornings, as seen on various stations such as Global Edmonton, and CTV Two Ottawa.
The problem with CBC, on any local program, is the lack of promotion for their local shows. Take Calgary for example. On any other station, you’d see the new anchors plastered on billboards, buses, and on promos running during primetime. Yet, with CBC Calgary, they’re relying on word of mouth and the odd promos on Radio One to announce their new anchor team.
Doesn’t that make it a bad timeslot if it’s up against current affairs shows from the other networks?
“Doesn’t that make it a bad timeslot if it’s up against current affairs shows from the other networks?”
Nope, it means it’s being placed in time slots where people are looking for this sort of programming. It’s the same reason most stations run their news at or around the same time – it’s when people are looking for it.
The initial time of 6AM is pretty meaningless, just sort of “look, it’s on the air” time that is just inside the CRTC “broadcast day”. The Sunday replay is pretty much key, and the monday morning one is a nice extra pickup that might let the show hit an entirely different market of people. Who knows, perhaps with three kicks at the can they can find some semblance of a market and become relevant, at least a bit.
For me though these shows have a bit of a doomed feel about them, they are sort of “forced” programming to match a CRTC mandate and not something that specifically is in demand by the public, which means that push comes to shove, those hours could get handed back to cheaper talking head “news” programming.
6 am Saturday?
There’s a word for that: insulting
I’m not quite sure what’s insulting about this. You don’t want local programming at 6am?
Yup don’t want local programming when people asleep like the 9 to 5 er’s who like to sleep in on weekends ….simple it seems…
Are people still sleeping at 11am on Sundays?
It’s insulting because nobody will be watching it.
What’s the audience at 6 am Saturday? 25 people?
As I say in the post, the last ratings for that timeslot show 1,700 viewers on CBC Montreal. Adding a local program would probably bring those numbers up. And, of course, there are the other time slots that will have a larger audience. The Sunday and Monday late-morning audience hovers around 4,000 viewers, give or take a thousand.
I just can’t believe this city needs yet another bland bubble gum show about nothing. Our politics are in crisis, our city is absolutely corrupt, our streets are crumbling and no one is reporting WHY or WHO is responsible for the digging and paving for years on the same streets (most recently Pine). Our health system is in crisis…. There are a grand total of zero anglo reporters in this city of 4 million. And by reporters, I mean people who dont simply reiterate what others have told them. A parrot can do that. And a monkey. Where are the reports on the crews who mess up our roads (sometimes for years)? Where are the reports on WHY it is so tough to run a proper ER ward? Or where various units will go when the new hospital opens (ie: dialysis patients)? So please. Enough of this generic nothing TV, with people telling us where to find the Jazz Festival. We need real, thinking, intelligent, experienced reporters in this city. People who ask questions and then seek the answers. It’s time!
This is what I was trying to say earlier,they get somebody already on the payroll from the radio side. but can’t get an ace reporter, like the currently unemployed Claude Beaulieu, who knows the ropes..
We haven’t had a serious newsmagazine type show since the ones Bill Haugland used to do from 405 Ogilvy like As it Is or the last gig, I think it was On Assignment…
again, the corporate media conglomerates don’t like ruffling feathers by having reporters chasing down stories like the ones cited above…Good posting Steve Banyan..!
You realize this is a post about the CBC, right?
Yes I do realize, they may not be A Bell or Rogers multi-national, but with some funding from Ottawa, so its hands could be tied somewhat..
So the clear answer for hard-hitting journalism is a good question but as long as revenue comes from advertising especially big national accounts, then the fear is always there. but like a network like Fox is pretty well owned by one guy,Mr.Murdoch, this is why they are less skiddish, at least to me.
You seem quick to judge a show that hasn’t even aired its first episode yet.
Well, not all of those 4 million people speak English, for one. And your gratuitous insult against my colleagues is curious considering we probably wouldn’t know about all the corruption going on if it wasn’t for journalists from various media, including anglophone ones.
I’m curious why you use the term “crews” here. It implies that the problem of road quality is caused by negligence on behalf of construction crews, as opposed to decisions made by their employers or by the government. The problem of Quebec road maintenance is complex, and I don’t think you can blame it on one thing. For one example of problems with road repair, you can read this story, reported by one of those zero anglo reporters.
You mean like this one? Or this one? Or this one?
That’s kind of specific, and the MUHC has been covered extensively by the anglo media. But okay, here’s one that seems directly on point.
If you think it’s easy to do “real” reporting for television all by yourself, by all means send your CV to the local stations. I’m sure they’d hire you in an instant.
And if you think that local television shouldn’t talk about local culture, you’ll probably find a bunch of people who disagree with you.
I do not think it is easy to be a reporter but I sure see a lot of serious problems to report on. And again, by reporting, I don’t mean simply stating there is a problem – we all know what the problems are in this city – what I want to see is WHY there are problems and who is responsible for them and what the consequences are, etc. Where is the anglo Enquete? or JE? Or even La Facture? Your Gazette examples are fine but those articles didn’t seem to attract much attention or lead to much change. I stand by my point: this is supposed to be a major city and our anglo media does not reflect this fact. By minute 8, news shows like CTV Montreal are already on a cute missing cat or a new summer camp in the Laurentians. Small town nothing reporting in a big city filled with problems. But hey, maybe there’s a new potato recipe to focus on.
They’re The Fifth Estate, W5 and Marketplace, respectively.
Those are not Montreal or Quebec focused. Not even a little bit. May as well use 20/20 or Dateline as examples.
Right. So the Radio-Canada shows are Quebec-centric, and the CBC shows are Ontario-centric. How does that make the French shows better than the English ones?
I mentioned this in another posting, but do timeslots matter as much now since more and more people are getting PVRs?
It makes it a lot more difficult to discover a show when it’s not on when you’re awake. To set the PVR, you have to be already familiar with the show.
Faguy, just read your Gazette story last hour. Sonali Karnick’s All In A Weekend gig is considered full-time(I think her work week for the All In A Weekend is Wed-Sun). Also in the past, I’ve been critical of Karnick for being frequently absent hosting her CBC Montreal radio gig(in addition she has the whole summer off from All In A Weekend). From reading your story, Our Montreal program will run all year(52 weeks a year, no repeats), not from say October to June? The regular features for music, books, tech & etc. are they local, or from national columnists(appearing on all 6 local CBC tv editions)? BTW, I recognize the Our Montreal producer Luise Massari(the former Living in Montreal producer). Do you know what Luise has been doing at CBC Montreal for last several years after Living in Montreal was cancelled by CBC nationally?
Yep. Her work week remains the same.
Because it meets a CRTC licence requirement, it will need to be on all year. That doesn’t mean there won’t be repeats or best-of episodes, though. Or they could replace it with Absolutely Quebec episodes next summer.
Everything is local.
She’s remained as a producer at CBC, working in news.
Thanks for responses. Sonali Karnick moving back to Montreal in late-2011, was it because her national CBC Sports gig in Toronto was cut, or was it originally to temporarily(& later became permanent) replace Dave Bronstetter on All In A Weekend?
Essentially, yes. There were budget cuts coming, and Karnick moved back to Montreal before they would have put her out of a job.
Fagstein, you haven’t reviewed Our Montreal show yet on this blog. I’m guessing there’s not much of a show to review. It’s basically a ‘Best of’ show of the past week at CBC Montreal. The special interview that Sonali conducts weekly now, is just taken straight from her ‘All in a Weekend’ radio program. I’ve been so disappointed with this new CBC TV program(almost a waste of time & resources). I’ve checked the other local versions of this CBC program across the country, Our Montreal is by far the worst. And contrary to what you were originally told, not everything is local(several regular national segments appear).
OK. And contrary to what they told you originally, the whole Our Montreal program is not available online weekly. They put up the one segment weekly, & it’s about the only one that’s original content from the tv program(it’s only thing I like about the program).
“Maybe it’s just semantics here, and having a show air at 6am Saturday and repeat at 11am Sunday is no different from premiering at 11am and repeating at 6am.”
This is something I want to pick at. If the show was premiered at 11 am on Sunday, then the Saturday 6am play would be 6 days “out of date”. I know that wasn’t what you meant, but you have to consider that the 11AM saturday slot isn’t appropriate for the show (it’s much better on Sunday) so the three airings in a timely manner means the first show happens to be saturday.
Honestly, they don’t even really have to mention the Saturday showing, they could have just said “Sunday 11AM” and you wouldn’t be worried about it.
For curiosity sake, where can I find the Our Montreal full episodes online? I’ve looked & looked at CBC Montreal website, CBC website etc.? CBC Montreal did say the Our Montreal show will be available online. Can I find any of the Absolutely Quebec documentaries that first aired this summer on CBC Montreal(I’ve also searched & searched)?
I haven’t seen them yet. I suspect they just haven’t gotten around to uploading them yet.
Yes. You can find links to them in this blog post. All but the first one are online. They also have the Looming Large textile doc that aired last month.
The first episode of Absolutely Quebec is online here: http://music.cbc.ca/blogs/2013/6/An-evening-with-Janina-Fialkowska-a-video-documentary