Tag Archives: Radio-Canada

Radio-Canada shutting down its costume department

Here’s a story that’s getting very little attention in the anglophone media: Radio-Canada is shutting down its costume department at the Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal, which will cease activities on Dec. 7 and shut down entirely at the end of March.

It’s a cut that’s expected to result in three job losses.

What’s upsetting about this to people like C’est juste de la TV’s Dave Ouellet, seen in the video above, is that the costume department isn’t just a closet of dresses. It’s a tool used by television and theatre productions, whether associated with Radio-Canada or not (Les Appendices, a Télé-Québec show, makes use of it), and it’s a cultural archive with many pieces that are historic because they were worn by important figures in Quebec’s cultural history.


And because it rents out costumes, but few people seem to know about this, there’s an argument that it could be made to pay for itself or even make a profit for the CBC if properly managed.

There’s a Facebook page and a petition to save the costume department, but it looks like the decision is made and unlikely to be reversed.

The good news is that heritage costumes won’t be thrown into the garbage. Radio-Canada has identified 72 of the more than 90,000 costumes that would be saved. The rest would be auctioned off, given to the highest bidder — presumably a private costume company — who can continue to make them available to Quebecers.

That wouldn’t be the worst outcome. If the CBC can’t make a collection of 90,000 costumes profitable, then maybe it should go to a private company who can. But taking this collection out of the public control and leaving it to the whims of a private company is a big risk.

I can only hope that Radio-Canada structures its tender for bids and eventual contract so that our cultural institutions can still make use of these costumes without paying through the nose for them.

More from La Presse and Radio-Canada.

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.)

The beginning of the end for over-the-air TV

See this map full-screen

  • Red: CBC
  • Blue: Radio-Canada
  • Yellow: TVO
  • Purple: TFO
  • Green: Télé-Québec

Small dots are transmitters being shut down (text appears in grey), large dots are transmitters that will keep running; dots marked “A” are privately-owned affiliates unaffected by this move.

This is a map I created (through a combination of a list from the CBC and Industry Canada’s database) of all 658 CBC and Radio-Canada television transmitters in Canada, plus those of provincial public broadcasters TVO, TFO and Télé-Québec. As of today, more than 600 CBC and Radio-Canada transmitters are no longer licensed by the CRTC and are in the process of being shut down if they aren’t already. Ditto for more than 100 TVO transmitters and four TFO ones.

The CBC’s mass shutdown of television retransmitters (all of them analog) is part of a budget-cutting process that is expected to save $10 million a year in maintenance costs.

The CBC littered the country with television retransmitters, most of them low-power, from 1977 to 1984 as part of its Accelerated Coverage Plan. The goal was to make sure that every community of 500 people or more was served by a CBC and/or Radio-Canada television transmitter (depending on their mother tongue).

But the transition to digital television and the need to cut costs has made the case for keeping these transmitters running much weaker. For one, more than 90% of Canadian television viewers have a subscription to a cable or satellite service. And most of the remaining viewers will be served by one of the 27 digital television transmitters running in markets where CBC and Radio-Canada offer local programming.

(This includes CFYK in Yellowknife, the flagship station of CBC North, which until now has been operating as an analog station. The CBC has replaced it with a digital one, CFYK-DT, effective Aug. 1.)

According to the CBC, only 2% of Canadian television viewers will be affected by this shutdown. The rest either have a television subscription or are within range of one of its digital transmitters.

What’s more, the CBC says in its submission to the CRTC, maintenance is becoming more difficult and expensive because of the lack of availability of spare parts for analog transmitters. Since the U.S. has already undergone a complete transition to digital, there’s little demand for analog transmitter servicing, and the companies that once did that have stopped. Price for parts has increased, in some cases as much as 100%, the CBC says.

And so, with the CRTC’s reluctant blessing (the commission explains in its decision that its licenses are authorizations to operate stations, and it cannot force a broadcaster to operate a station it doesn’t want to), the 607 analog retransmitters were remotely shut down Tuesday night by CBC technicians, the satellite feeds to them replaced with color bars. The equipment will be removed, says Martin Marcotte, director of CBC Transmission.

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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.

The ho-hum Bye-Bye

This parody of Céline Dion and Julie Snyder: Funniest segment of the night, or mean-spirited attack on Quebecor? In this case, funny is in the eye of your employer

It’s tradition in Quebec media to review each year’s end-of-year special from Radio-Canada, the Bye-Bye. It went a bit crazy two years ago when Véronique Cloutier and Louis Morissette decided to take their first crack at it. So much so that there wasn’t one to end 2009.

So you can imagine how much everyone was anxious to see what would happen when Cloutier and Morissette decided they would throw themselves into the gauntlet again and host the Bye-Bye 2010.

I watched it, along with my family, on New Year’s Eve, and followed the reaction live on Twitter. My first thoughts were that it was pretty impressive, that they weren’t overcompensating by pulling their punches compared to 2008, and that it wasn’t likely to offend anyone … or at least, no one not working for Quebecor.

The consensus was that the production values were good (particularly makeup and prosthetics, which in some cases made the actors barely recognizable as themselves and instantly recognizable as their targets), the parodies were well done, and the music videos were great, but the jokes fell flat, which is kind of the most important part.

The first professional reviews came quickly afterward (Richard Therrien’s was up in less than an hour). But many others waited because they were to go in newspapers, and many of them published neither on New Year’s Day nor on Sundays. It would be more than 48 hours before some people would read anything about it.

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Bye-Bye 2010: Redemption

If you haven’t seen this video yet, the rest of this post probably won’t interest you.

So a year and a half after a rather disastrous end-of-year Bye-Bye special that got a bit of media coverage and resulted in complaints to the CRTC, Radio-Canada has decided that, what they hey, they’ll bring back the team that produced it to try again. Véronique Cloutier and Louis Morissette will be at the helm of Bye-Bye 2010. They announced the move with a parody of their well-publicized apology from January 2009.

The media, after receiving assurances that this wasn’t some strange joke and getting their web geeks to setup the YouTube embed codes, reacted much as you might expect: “kamikazes de l’humour“, “perplexing“, or, simply, “pourquoi?

While I was one of those people who didn’t think highly of Bye-Bye 2008, Cloutier and Morissette deserve a chance to make amends. They screwed up, and while it took them forever to realize that, I think they’ll do a better job for 2010.

Radio-Canada is making sure the same mistakes don’t repeat. This year’s special will have no live component, which means lawyers and political-correctness censors will be all over the entire show before it goes to air.

Expect an overreaction to the problems of 2008, and perhaps a bit too much sensitivity to visible and cultural minorities. And don’t expect any mention of Nathalie Simard, unless she’s on it as a guest.

And really, who else could do this? The insane media coverage, and the cancellation of Bye-Bye 2009, ensured that any future show would have no choice but to reference – and be compared to – the one from 2008.

If this video is any indication, Cloutier and Morissette will put targets on their own backs for the sake of comedy. That alone makes me want to give them a second chance.

Happy Birthday, CBWFT

Today marks the 50th anniversary of CBWFT, Radio-Canada’s station in Winnipeg and the only francophone television station serving Manitoba.

The local station has gone all out with the anniversary, producing special programs looking back at the station’s history. Radio-Canada even sent Céline Galipeau to St. Boniface on Thursday to host the national Téléjournal there in honour of the occasion, the most attention Radio-Canada has paid to something outside Quebec in quite some time.

CBWFT is also launching a weekend local newscast starting this evening. Aside from a regional lifestyle show covering the prairies, there’s not much local programming produced out of there outside of the newscasts. Still, despite the dwindling francophone population (and hence the difficulty in getting good French-speaking journalists to work there), they produce quite a bit of local news – and as of this weekend there will be more local news for franco-Manitobans than English-speaking Quebecers.

As you’d see looking at some of the retrospectives, the history of Radio-Canada in Manitoba is fundamentally tied to the history of the francophone community there. Debates over official bilingualism, the Société franco-manitobaine, and the rift between anglo and franco Manitobans all have direct impact over CBWFT.

Not that you’d hear about any of that stuff from watching Radio-Canada and RDI outside of those local newscasts. Even as a Montrealer, it’s patently obvious how the importance of news on that network is directly proportional to its proximity to 1400 René-Lévesque East. Montreal mayoral debates air nationally, the national Téléjournal leads with what Jean Charest had for breakfast, La Petite séduction – a show about small francophone communities – has visited Manitoba only once in more than 65 episodes (it’s been outside Quebec only nine times, by my count), and Infoman treats going to Vancouver like he needs a visa to get there. The occasional new story or interview with Régis Labeaume is about as regional as it gets most of the time.

Maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe Radio-Canada should concentrate on where its viewers are, and the vast majority are in Quebec, going to work in Montreal or Quebec City.

But as CBWFT has shown for the past 50 years, the French language doesn’t stop at the Outaouais, and there are francophones in Canada who have kept their culture going in areas where their language is truly in danger of extinction.

Here’s hoping it will keep the struggle going for another 50.

Just call him MiCam

You know, if I’m going to make fun of V for spelling mistakes, it’s only fair that I point out errors by the networks with higher budgets:

A typo during Le Verdict (Episode 3)

I realize even Habs players can’t spell Cammalleri (and I’m sure it’s been wrong at least a dozen times in my newspaper), but this is Radio-Canada primetime, folks.

UPDATE: A bunch of people have pointed out that Bell also has trouble checking the spelling of “Cammalleri”.

Tou.tv: Menace to society?

Pierre-Karl Péladeau, the big cheese behind Quebecor, caused a bit of a stink this week when he wrote an op-ed (published in French in Le Devoir and in English in the Financial Post) attacking the CBC over the fee-for-carriage debate, even though the CRTC has already decided that the CBC shouldn’t be able to charge cable and satellite providers for permission to rebroadcast its signals.

The CBC (or, more accurately, Radio-Canada) has been a bug up Péladeau’s butt for quite a while now. He’s angry that the government-funded broadcaster competes with his privately-run TVA network, and similarly how its all-news network RDI competes with TVA’s all-news network LCN.

It’s not that he doesn’t think there should be a public broadcaster. He just doesn’t want there to be one that competes with the private networks, offering popular programming and in particular taking U.S. programs and re-airing them for profit. The Radio-Canada envisioned by Péladeau is more like CPAC, contributing to the public dialogue but not with anything that people actually want to watch. Certainly nothing anyone would want to pay to advertise on.

In a way, I can see where he’s coming from. Imagine if you ran a business, and next door there’s a competing business that gets heavily subsidized by the government. I’m sure the CBC bosses and supporters have a ready-made retort to attack that comparison (CBC boss Hubert Lacroix touched on some of them in the National Post), but even if it’s not perfect, it still makes a strong point.

If only someone who’s not Pierre-Karl Péladeau (or from some government-hating conservative think-tank) would make it, it might carry more weight.

This week, though, Péladeau added another aspect to his anti-CBC rant:

Furthermore, the CBC has launched the Tou.tv website without consulting the industry, a move that jeopardizes Canada’s broadcasting system by providing free, heavily subsidized television content on the Internet without concern for the revenue losses that may result, not only for the CBC but also for other stakeholders, including writers and directors.

By “without consulting the industry”, he means, well, him. Tou.tv has programming from Télé-Québec, TV5, TFO and others. V and RDS aren’t included, but they have their own websites that provide video on demand.

TVA, meanwhile, doesn’t offer shows on demand online, even those shows that you’d think would get a pretty high audience there. Instead, it offers them on Videotron’s Illico on demand (Videotron, by wacky coincidence, is also owned by Quebecor).

Péladeau argues about “heavily subsidized television content”, which is hardly new to Tou.tv. Somehow, I suspect he might be a bit more angry at the fact that Tou.tv has become popular, and might even become a Québécois Hulu, leaving TVA in the dark.

Mind you, Hulu isn’t making money either.

Tou.tv, not quite tout

3600 secondes d'extase is all over Tou.tv. Marc Labrèche will show his face anywhere.

In case you hadn’t noticed from coverage by La Presse, Canoe, Rue Frontenac, Branchez-Vous, MSN, Radio-Canada and, like, every other news media in Quebec, Radio-Canada last week launched tou.tv, a video portal with content from Radio-Canada but also some other television networks like Télé-Québec, TV5, ARTV, TFO and others, including some European francophone channels. (The inevitable comparisons to Hulu followed quickly, even though Canadians can’t use Hulu and therefore don’t have much basis for comparison).

Notably absent from that list are V, the former TQS network that already puts all its content online on its own website, and anything owned by Quebecor, including TVA. Quebecor’s strategy is to leverage its video content to improve the bottom line for its Videotron cable service. So the only way to get TVA shows on demand is to use Videotron’s Illico video-on-demand service (which has most TVA content for free).

Still, even if it was just Radio-Canada stuff, it would be pretty cool. I’d finally get a chance to see two of my favourite shows – Tout le monde en parle and Infoman – on demand (I usually miss the initial airings of both).

Oh but wait, neither show is part of Tou.tv’s vast repertoire.

How can that be? They’re both Radio-Canada series. And because they’re both about the news, you’d think they’d have a short shelf life. Wouldn’t you want them to get maximum exposure in a short period of time? Are people going to buy DVDs of these shows in three years? (Well, maybe…)

Despite being on Facebook and Twitter, Tou.tv hasn’t been communicating very well with users. Its first response on Twitter came a week after it launched, in which it reassured me (don’t I feel special) that it’s just getting started. I can understand that, though there’s still a lot of viewer inquiries and stuff that’s not being responded to, making it seem like it’s being ignored.

There’s also technical problems, like videos freezing halfway through, or (as I experienced) not being able to resume after a long pause. But I can understand that too, assuming they eventually fix it.

So what’s up with TLMEP and Infoman? I sought out to inquire. I sent messages to Radio-Canada (for both shows), and to the production houses behind those shows: Avanti Ciné Video and Les productions Jacques K Primeau (TLMEP) and Zone 3 (Infoman). The only response I got was from Radio-Canada’s Marie Tetreault, who said that they couldn’t include these programs because of rights issues. (One of those annoying problems that even forced them to temporarily pull their own launch video).

“Il n’est pas prévu d’offrir la version intégrale en différé de Tout le monde en parle” was the final word.

So those hoping that these shows would soon be added to Tou.tv, don’t hold your breath. They’ll have the entire series of Et Dieu créa … Laflaque!, Virginie, Tout sur moi, and the RBO Bye-Byes, but two of its biggest shows won’t be added because Radio-Canada doesn’t want to go through whatever trouble is necessary to secure the appropriate rights.

I could understand if this was a 20-year-old TV show, conceived long before the Internet existed, and which has some rights holders who can’t be reached or something, but surely RadCan can come to some arrangement with its own shows to clear online on-demand rights for new episodes.


UPDATE (Feb. 16): La Presse explores producers’ worries about Tou.tv eating into their revenue.

Set phasers to “nosebleed”

You know what, I have to admit the Olympic Stadium actually makes kind of a cool futuristic-looking spaceship.

This is the starship Entrecrise of Stade Trek, part of the end-of-year special of Et dieu créa … Laflaque. It and the other new year’s eve special programming of Radio-Canada (Infoman, Tout le monde en parle) is available for online streaming until the end of January.

Alouettes parade to get live coverage on TV

Championships in Montreal are more rare than we’d like them to be, yet this year we’ve had two – the Impact and the Alouettes. (And with the Habs being shut out at home to the Leafs, a trifecta seems unlikely.)

Wednesday sees the players and fans meet to celebrate for the victory parade down Ste. Catherine St., from Crescent to Jeanne-Mance starting at 11:40am.

Surprisingly, despite it being a local event (and one coming with little advance notice), there’s going to be actual live coverage of it by local television.

Here’s what’s been announced:

  • Global (CKMI) will have live coverage from 11:30am to 1:30pm (Mike LeCouteur with The Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky and the Q’s Ken Connors). It will also be streaming the parade live at globalmontreal.com
  • CTV (CFCF) will have live coverage from noon to 1:30pm, preempting its entire noon newscast. Sports reporters will be in the crowd, Mutsumi Takahashi and Randy Tieman at the end of the route. Lori Graham and Todd van der Heyden will be in the parade itself. It will livestream the entire parade at montreal.ctv.ca
  • CBC (CBMT) has no announced live coverage
  • Radio-Canada will not have live TV coverage on the main network, but will be livestreaming the parade at radio-canada.ca/sports
  • TVA and V have nothing announced as far as live coverage
  • RDI will have a live special from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Simon Durivage hosts with Marc André Masson, Jean St-Onge, Jacinthe Taillon, Antoine Deshaies and former Als player Bruno Heppell
  • LCN has not announced anything, but expect it to give good coverage to the parade
  • RDS will have live parade coverage from 11:30am to 2pm (it’s the only network to actually change its electronic and online schedule to reflect the coverage) with David Arsenault, Marc Labrecque, Pierre Vercheval and Denis Casavant.
  • TSN has not announced anything, but considering their current plan for noon is World Championship Darts…

So that’s four channels carrying live TV specials (CFCF, CKMI, RDI and RDS), and three sources for live online streaming, at least.

Maybe what’s surprising is that, in this local TV death spiral, I find this surprising.

(Of course, you won’t be watching the parade on TV because you’ll be on Ste. Catherine St. celebrating, right?)

UPDATE: CTV Montreal and RDS have archived footage of the parade and party afterward. The Gazette and Rue Frontenac have put together artisty videos.

Battle of the MS Paint

According to La Presse, Radio-Canada is considering a French version of Battle of the Blades. That’s interesting news.


But I’m not sure about the picture they used to illustrate it.

I realize cutouts like this are used often in printed newspapers without an indication that the photo has been manipulated, but it’s clearly called for here, no?

I mean, some people notice these things.

UPDATE (Nov. 13): After being alerted to the error, Cyberpresse has fixed the image. Apparently an online editor took the cutout (used for a section front) and didn’t think to replace it with the original photo.

The end of the Bye-Bye saga?

Remember Bye-Bye 2008, the Radio-Canada New Year’s Eve special?

You must remember it. There were dozens of articles written in January about it.

Anyway, the special was criticized for crossing the lines a few times, particularly with jokes about Barack Obama, Jonathan Roy, Nathalie Simard and anglophones. Hundreds of complaints were registered with the CRTC, whom we learned is responsible for regulating such things with the CBC.

Because of the nature of these complaints, the CRTC decided to do something a bit unusual and referred the case to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. The CBSC is an independent body setup by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters that judges just these sorts of things. But the CAB is an association of private broadcasters, and the CBC/Radio-Canada isn’t part of it. Instead, the CRTC itself must judge violations of ethics codes and anti-discrimination laws by the public broadcaster.

The CBSC met in March and in May it released a decision that judged Radio-Canada to be in violation on three points:

  • Jokes against blacks, particularly the sketch involving Denis Lévesque and Barack Obama as well as comments from Jean-François Mercier about Obama being easier to shoot in front of the White House.
  • The portrayal of violence against women in a sketch involving the family of Patrick Roy.
  • The rebroadcast of the show the next evening without viewer advisories.

But it dismissed a bunch of other complaints, including:

  • Jokes about Nathalie Simard
  • Jokes about anglophones
  • Jokes about the poor
  • Jokes about immigrants, dépanneur owners and Indian call centres
  • Jokes about Julie Couillard
  • Jokes about Céline Dion
  • Jokes about politicians
  • Jokes about General Motors

The CSBC didn’t call for any pennance for these misdeeds. Instead, the report went to the CRTC for it to judge.

On Monday, the CRTC issued its decision (with accompanying press release) that upheld most of what the CBSC judged, with one notable exception: no fault was found with the Patrick Roy/Jonathan Roy sketch, which the CRTC judged did not glorify violence and did not show it in a positive light that might suggest it was promoting it.

The CRTC has called for Radio-Canada to issue a full, unequivocal apology (RadCan and the show’s creators have made a lot of “I’m sorry but” statements) and put procedures in place so that this doesn’t happen again, but no fines or other punishments have been levied for these violations.

That apology will no doubt generate another news cycle for this story (RadCan’s immediate response was to say they’re studying the decision), and then we’ll be finally done with it.

At least, until the next Bye-Bye appears on the horizon. New Year’s Eve is only four months away.

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