Citytv to launch local evening newscasts in Montreal Sept. 3

More than a year after it was announced that Citytv is creating local evening newscasts in markets including Montreal, we finally have a launch date: Sept. 3.

On that date, CityNews launches newscasts at 6pm and 11pm in Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

Rogers has also announced staffing for those newscasts. In Montreal, the anchorless newscasts will be staffed by the following reporters (bios from the press release):

  • Akil Alleyne – Alleyne is a graduate of Princeton University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he studied constitutional and international law. His previous experience includes stops at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) as a Research and Program Associate; and CBC where he assisted with production, and writing.
  • Andrew Brennan – A newly-minted reporter with Breakfast Television Montreal, Brennan will continue to engage Montrealers with the local buzz on CityNews. For the last five years, Brennan has been a news anchor and reporter at CJAD 800. He graduated from Concordia University with a double-degree in Communication Studies and Journalism. (He announced his move last week.)
  • Emily Campbell – Campbell is an experienced video journalist, most recently having worked in reporting and as an anchor with CJAD 800 News and her work has appeared on CNN.
  • Giordano Cescutti – With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Concordia University, Cescutti is a recipient of the Sportsnet Scholarship in Sports Journalism for excellence in journalism and sports reporting. His previous experience includes MAtv, Montreal Gazette and CJLO 1690AM, where he was co-host and producer of award-winning sports talk show The Starting Rotation.

They will work under Supervising Producer Melanie Porco, who has been with Citytv Montreal since its launch in 2013. Two people have also been hired to work behind the scenes with the newscast in Montreal, which will be directed out of a centralized control room in Vancouver.

Last fall, Citytv hired two reporters in Montreal in preparation for the new newscasts: Tina Tenneriello and Cora MacDonald. MacDonald left Citytv recently to join Global Montreal. (UPDATE July 20: Tenneriello is also gone. She’s leaving to host a web series about “inspiring people transforming their communities through social initiatives”)

As previously announced, the newscasts will be an hour long, at 6pm and 11pm, seven days a week.

When the announcement was made, the plan was to have the newscasts running in the winter. Rogers wouldn’t say what caused the delay, beyond this: “The fall launch is reflective of our commitment to ensuring we are delivering a gold standard of local news in these markets.”

In Vancouver, the staff is:

  • Ashley Burr, formerly of CKPG in Prince George, Alta.
  • Kyle Donaldson, producer and on-air personality with Breakfast Television Vancouver
  • Travis Prasad, formerly a news writer at CTV Vancouver
  • Isabelle Raghem, formerly of CHEK News and CHCH
  • Tom Walsh, Breakfast Television reporter since 2017
  • David Zura, formerly of Roundhouse Radio in Vancouver
  • Mary Cranston, Thor Diakow and Greg Harper, existing Breakfast Television Vancouver reporters

In Calgary, the newly announced staff is:

  • Kristen Fong, formerly of Global News Radio
  • Kendra Fowler, formerly of 660 News
  • Crystal Laderas, formerly of 660 News.
  • Michael Lumsden, reporter for Breakfast Television Calgary since 2017
  • Jonathan Mumam, formerly of 660 News
  • Brittany Rosen, formerly of CTV Regina

CityNews launched in Edmonton and Winnipeg last fall (those stations had dropped their Breakfast Television programs, so launching newscasts became a requirement to meet new local news quotas). Once the new newscasts are running, City will be able to meet its local programming and local news conditions of licence with just the evening newscasts, meaning Breakfast Television will no longer be required.

“There will be no changes to BT as a result of the launch of CityNews Montreal,” Rogers spokesperson Michelle Lomack tells me, repeating what has been said previously. But that could always change as the decline of ad revenue puts more pressure to cut costs.

11 thoughts on “Citytv to launch local evening newscasts in Montreal Sept. 3

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Does this possibly mean a reduction in hours, for example, by an hour ,for Breakfast Television ?

      They could reduce hours, or eliminate BT entirely, or make it national. But nothing has been announced for the short term.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      How does an anchorless newscast work?

      The newscast jumps straight from story to story, and the reporters introduce themselves. It’s designed to have a faster pace and be more dynamic. And of course it’s cheaper. In practice there’s usually a reporter in a studio to do briefs.

  1. Anonymous

    A one hour newscast at 6pm & 11pm! They’ll be lucky to have 15 minutes of local news content out of that 60 min.

    Also placing it up against the already in place CFCF (12.1), CBMT (6.1), and CKMI (15.1) news is crazy. No original programming, or counter programming. They’re filling in blanks on a schedule. And like trained dogs, they place their local news in those blank spots on the schedule.

    And if its anything like their BT Montreal show, it’ll be a lot of chatter, and opinion, and stretching and teasing everything to fill in the time. Very little, if no news at all. And as the song lyrics go from a certain 80’s band, “Why kill time when you can go kill yourself”

    Filling in blank holes on a schedule. That’s all it is. They would be better off running music videos with a real VJ at 6pm and 11pm instead.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      And if its anything like their BT Montreal show, it’ll be a lot of chatter, and opinion, and stretching and teasing everything to fill in the time. Very little, if no news at all.

      If you want an idea of what it will look like, you can check out the newscasts already being done this way in Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton. There’s no chatter.

  2. dilbert

    Anchorless and a common graphics and appearance package in every city is very useful for running stories from different markets within the package. They only have to set the lineup and not worry about writing or re-writing an anchor script to cover it. You just switch the stories around without any worry, and use them all over the country. Particularly good if they have a breaking story that is bigger than a local story.

    My guess is that BT will go national or be toast soon enough. With the anchorless news system, they could of course run BT as national with local news, weather, and even sports inserts from the previous night. So it’s all good.

  3. mbr

    That Vancouver control room is busy. They’re already broadcasting CityNews Edmonton (and I’m assuming Winnipeg) out of Vancouver, now they’re going to add Montreal as well.

    Interesting where Calgary’s newscasts will be originating from, or if they are going to use their own control room still.

    1. Alain

      They will figure it out. Global does it. Like it, or not , it’s the only sustainable way to produce news these days especially in a city the size of Montréal where English audiences are minuscule.

      Hard to imagine Rogers will continue to shell out host salaries for a morning show with all this emphasis on anchorless in primetime! Pink slips imminent.

      CTV will still reign supreme once the dusts settles. They still have a few good years ahead of them and the lead the rest by a landslide. Global is locked in to second. It’s hard to imagine that CIty will have any impact whatsoever on the dial in the evening. Can you imagine tuning into to City if another Dawson College story broke ? Nah , nobody would.

      CBC from local to national needs to step it up. We need to demand more. Free streaming , updated apps , better resources and digitally ahead of the rest should be the norm for our public broadcaster. We pay for it.

  4. Pingback: What to expect from CityNews Montreal, which launches Monday | Fagstein

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