What happened to the arts report on Montréal’s News at 6?

It disappeared last December.
Members of the English arts community in Montréal complained that the CBC was cutting it’s arts coverage, and CBC Media Relations swung into action. They play dumb on the “rumour” and then suggest listeners tune in on Thursday to hear Pierre Landry, leaving out that this weekly report is replacing the daily news report of the original “rumour.”
Wrap it up inexplicably with a mangled Mark Twain quote, and call it a day.
Incidentally, weather reporting has increased to 8 hits an hour.
The words are theirs. The bold is mine.


Dear Sir or Madam;

I’m not sure where the rumours started but we have no intention of eliminating arts coverage from CBC-TV, radio or the web. In fact, the CBC’s commitment to support and reflect contemporary arts and culture is as strong as ever. We are continuing to cover arts in our own region and to cover national arts stories.

We continue to do so in an evolving cultural and media environment and we continue as ever to do so in different ways, best adapted to changing programs and audience needs.

We are very clear about our raison d’être and we meet our mandate as a public broadcaster vigorously and creatively. In fact the CBC’s commitment to strong local programming and a strong local involvement has never been deeper or more evident. No other medium in this city is as involved in the arts and culture of Montreal and all of Quebec as we are. We are partners with Just For Laughs, The Jazz festival, Blue Metropolis, Festival Voix D’Amerique, RIDM, Court Ecrire Ton Court, Doc Shop to name only a few. We not only cover but we create and initiate artistic and cultural events. We support talent development and emerging artists. Jeff Barnaby is now an award winning national filmmaker because of the support of CBC-TV in Montreal.

CBC Montreal is proud to have on staff outstanding producers and journalists to cover the arts. Their knowledge and expertise is deep and ensures our coverage is unlike anything else that private Broadcasters can offer. In quantity and quality, we are second to none when it comes to arts development, arts coverage as well as arts journalism.

What is true is that we are continuing to renew our programs, to introduce new elements or features and to challenge ourselves to serve our audiences’ information needs with innovative, relevant content and a responsible use of production resources.

I hope that in your busy schedule you find time to watch CBC TV in Montreal. You will continue to see arts as well as science, health and other stories that reflect our city. In fact do join us tonight when we introduce a new element in our arts coverage. Pierre Landry, whom viewers may have heard on Daybreak on CBC radio One, will be featured every Thursday evening on CBC News At Six and will bring news about what the city has to offer in theater, music and the arts. Also this week, reporter Leah Hendry will be doing a story on the two young Montreal animators whose film Madame Tuttli Puttli has been nominated for the Oscars. Do make sure you catch that segment.

So, what can I say? This little bit of rumour or mischief is unfortunate. To do a little paraphrasing myself, and with apologies to Mark Twain, the news of the demise of arts on CBC TV is greatly exaggerated.

Jeff Keay
Head of Media Relations
English Communications
416 205 3987


  1. traffic reporter
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 10:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    oh my god: if this segment is anything like Pierre Landry’s arts coverage on Daybreak, then please kill it off entirely.

    He covers Celine Dion albums. And what concerts are coming up at the Bell Centre.

    The arts coverage at the same time on Radio Canada is much better. They cover movies you might actually want to see. And concerts that don’t already have full page ads in the newspapers. And…. get this, visual arts, which go largely unnoticed on the English side.

    If I want to hear about Celine Dion and the latest crap concerts, I’ll listen to commercial radio.

    It’s all part of the general decline of arts coverage on english radio (see: Q).

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No, it is only a good thing that Canadian television in a concept completely divorced from culture, the former wasn’t doing the later any good anyway. Let television do what it does and stop trying to pretend it is ever going to be significant. Television is a shit distribution machine. That’s fine. People want erudition, go to a library.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the CBC that has cut its local arts coverage. CTV and Global have done the same. It is a sad world that we live in where the people that control the media are making decisions about the value of art and culture in society.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 7:13 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Might be partly explained by why there were 4 to 5 times more hires at SRC Montreal than CBC Montreal.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:17 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    John Cruickshank’s blog

    Headline: We have to stand apart

    As Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC has a special responsibility to our national audience.

    But our role at the CBC is different from the private media whose obligation is, ultimately, only to their shareholders.

    We have to stand apart. Our mandate demands it and our audience, the people of Canada, deserve it.

    So why are the CBC supper hours becoming just like WGN, WMAQ and all the other stations in Chicago? And Boston? and Santa Fe? and everyplace else Magid says weather=$$$$$
    (I know this isn’t exactly fair, Richard was imposing Magid before Cruickshank came but why is it continuing???)
    In the reign of Richard the need for arts coverage for the English speaking people of Montreal is much less than important than following the Magid formula.
    So where are Montreal’s Members of Parliament and why aren’t they screaming about this????? (Not that it would do any good)

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