Ici Radio-Canada Première

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Ici Radio-Canada Première
Type Radio network
Country Canada
Availability AM/FM: Canada; SiriusXM: Canada/United States
Slogan Écoutez pour voir (Listen, to see)
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Launch date
1937 (CBF)
Former names
Radio de Radio-Canada (1937–1997)
Première Chaîne (1997-2013)
Official website
Ici Radio-Canada Première

Ici Radio-Canada Première (formerly Première Chaîne) is a Canadian French-language radio network, the news and information service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (known as Société Radio-Canada in French), the public broadcaster of Canada. It is the French counterpart of CBC Radio One, the CBC's similar English-language radio network.

The service is available across Canada, although not as widely as CBC Radio One. Only the provinces of Quebec and Ontario are served by more than one Première originating station. In all other provinces, the whole province is served by a single station with multiple transmitters. The network does, however, reach 90 per cent of all Canadian francophones.

Each originating station outside of Montreal airs a national schedule, taken from flagship station CBF-FM, complete with opted-out local/regional shows at peak times, depending on each market. News bulletins are aired live, irrespective of location.

The network may broadcast on either the AM or FM bands, depending on the market. A national version is available across North America on Sirius XM Canada channel 170.[1] Première was available in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East live via the Hot Bird satellite.[2] The satellite service closed in June 2012 as part of the budget measures affecting Radio Canada International.[3]


Logo as Première Chaîne, used until August 2013.

Some French-language programming had aired on the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission's CRCM since 1933, but the French network was formally created on December 11, 1937, with the launch of CBF in Montreal.

In 1938, the station was expanded into a fledgling network with the launch of CBV in Quebec City and CBJ in Chicoutimi. Also that year, the long-running soap opera La Pension Velder, which ran until 1942 and was then revived in the 1950s as a television series, aired for the first time. The following year, the even more successful and influential Un Homme et son péché was launched.

For the first month of World War II, Radio-Canada aired 24 hours a day, broadcasting war news from Europe. Also that year, the network broadcast its first Montreal Canadiens hockey game.

In 1940, another popular radio soap, Jeunesse dorée, made its debut. In 1941, the network — which had previously relied on Canadian Press reporters — launched its own news division. Also that year, the network launched two shortwave radio stations in Montreal to serve francophones outside of Quebec. Throughout the 1940s, however, the network's expansion in Quebec was accomplished primarily through private affiliate stations.

In 1942, the network controversially refused to give airtime to the "No" side in the Conscription Plebiscite. Nonetheless, 72.9 per cent of Quebec voters were opposed.

In 1945, the International Service was launched. In 1946, the network launched an experimental FM station in Montreal (which would become CBFX), and expanded outside of Quebec for the first time with the launch of CKSB as a private affiliate in St. Boniface, Manitoba, near Winnipeg.

The network also had seven privately owned affiliates:

In 1948, the influential children's series Tante Lucille and Gérard Pelletier's public affairs program Les Idées en marche debuted. Also that year, three studios in Montreal's King's Hall building were destroyed in an explosion, leading Radio-Canada to centralize its operations in a new building on boulevard Dorchester.

In 1952, the network became autonomous from the CBC head office in Toronto. Previously, all programming decisions had to be reviewed by the Toronto staff in advance.

Through the 1960s, the network began to expand across Canada, taking over Toronto's CJBC in October 1964, and launching Ottawa's CBOF in 1964 and Vancouver's CBUF in 1967. As well, influential broadcaster Lise Payette launched her first program, Place aux femmes, in 1965.

The network eliminated tobacco advertising in 1969, and eventually dropped all commercial advertising in 1974, except for Montreal Canadiens hockey games (which would move to the Radiomédia network in 1997). The Maison Radio-Canada, which remains the flagship facility for all of Radio-Canada's broadcast services, was officially opened by Pierre Trudeau in 1973, and Radio-Canada's FM network was launched in 1974. Through the remainder of the 1970s, the network began to directly acquire many of its private affiliate stations, including CHFA in Edmonton, CFRG in Gravelbourg and CFNS in Saskatoon, although with the CBC's financial difficulties in the 1980s, this process was slowed down considerably.

The network was rebranded as Première Chaîne in 1997, concurrently with the rebranding of all of the CBC's radio networks.

In 1999, Radio-Canada applied to the CRTC for a license to launch a third all-news station in Montreal, on the 690 AM frequency CBF had surrendered in 1997 when it moved to FM. The application was rejected. Radio-Canada filed an appeal of the decision with the Federal Court of Appeal, which denied the request in October of that year.

In 2002, two of the network's last three remaining private affiliate stations, CKVM in Ville-Marie and CFLM in La Tuque, disaffiliated from the network, and the final private affiliate, CHLM in Rouyn-Noranda, was directly acquired by the network in 2004. The network now directly owns all of the stations that broadcast its programming.

On June 5, 2013, it was announced that Première Chaîne would be re-branded as Ici Première on August 9, 2013 as part of a wider re-branding of the CBC's French-language outlets. Following highly publicized complaints surrounding the new "Ici" name (which primarily centered around the removal of the historic "Radio-Canada" brand), the new name was changed to Ici Radio-Canada Première instead.[5][6][7][8]


The majority of the national schedule is produced for flagship station CBF-FM in studios at Maison Radio-Canada in Montréal and aired live across Québec, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. In the Western provinces, programmes are delayed according to the respective local time zone, with local programming aired live.

National news is read at the top of every hour. Extended newscasts, called the Radiojournal air at 8:00, 9:00, 12:00, 17:00 and 18:00; other newscasts are brief summaries of headlines. Local newscasts air throughout the morning and afternoon on weekdays, either on the half hour or immediately following a national newscast. Local newscasts only air in the morning on weekends. Note: The brief National Research Council Time Signal airs daily at 12:00 Eastern Time Zone across the network.

Regional differences[edit]

There are various regional adjustments to the national schedule. In the Atlantic provinces the national schedule airs live, with programme trailers announcing the broadcast time as one hour later (for example- "huit heures, neuf heures dans les Maritimes"). Due to the time difference, local programming airs one hour earlier to schedule, with Le réveil starting at 6:00 AM AT, 6:30 AM NT. An hour-long filler programme, Au rythme des courants also airs at 9:00 AM AT.

In Northern Canada, CFWY-FM in Whitehorse, Yukon rebroadcasts the programs of CBUF Vancouver. This station is not owned by the CBC, but by the Franco-Yukon Association. Conversely, Radio Nord Québec (part of the CBC Radio One network) airs a hybrid French/English schedule, produced from CBF-FM and transmitted via satellite to communities in the Nord-du-Québec region using either FM or AM repeater transmitters.

The schedule for Sirius XM Canada airs live across North America from CBF-FM in Montréal, meaning programmes are broadcast using the Eastern Time Zone. The entire schedule is aired as of 2013.[9]

Listeners in Europe, Middle East and North Africa were able to receive direct programming from CBF-FM Montréal, with RCI's own shows inserted into the schedule in the morning and evening. This ceased in June 2012.

Schedule (as of January 2014)[edit]

In June 2011 it was announced that Christiane Charette is to stand down from her self-titled mid-morning show.[10] It was replaced in September 2011 by a similar programme, Médium large, hosted by Catherine Perrin.

From 2013, overnight programming consists of repeats of programmes aired earlier in the main schedule.[11] Previously, the overnight block was given over to programming from francophone public broadcasters in Europe, such as Radio France, RTBF Belgium and RTS Switzerland.


  • 5:00 - 5:30 - Info matin
  • 5:30 - 9:00 - Local morning shows
  • 9:00 - 11:00 - Médium large - current affairs
  • 11:00 - 13:00 - Pas de midi sans info
  • 13:00 - 14:00 - Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! (M-Th); La bibliothèque de René (F)
  • 14:00 - 15:00 - PM
  • 15:00 - 18:00 - Local afternoon shows
  • 18:00 - 19:00 - L'heure du monde
  • 19:00 - 20:00 - Bien dans son assiette (M-Th); La soirée est (encore) jeune (F)
  • 20:00 - 21:00 - Plus on est de fous, plus on lit! (M-Th); La bibliothèque de René (F)
  • 21:00 - 23:00 - Médium large (R)
  • 23:00 - 0:00 - L'heure du monde (R)
  • 0:00 - 2:00 - PM (R)
  • 2:00 - 4:00 - Quand le jazz est là... (R)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - Bien dans son assiette (R, M-Th), Par quatre chemins (F)


  • 5:00 - 6:00 - Détours
  • 6:00 - 7:00 - Bien dans son assiette - highlights from the past week. Produced by CBV-FM
  • 7:00 - 11:00 - Local morning shows (Samedi et rien d'autre on CBF-FM)
  • 11:00 - 12:00 - Sous les étoiles
  • 12:00 - 13:00 - Faut pas croire tout ce qu'on dit - political magazine
  • 13:00 - 14:00 - La sphère
  • 14:00 - 16:00 - Culture club
  • 16:00 - 17:00 - Pouvez-vous répéter la question?
  • 17:00 - 19:00 - La tête ailleurs
  • 19:00 - 20:00 - La force des mots
  • 20:00 - 21:00 - Par 4 chemins
  • 21:00 - 22:00 - Euromag (R)
  • 22:00 - 0:00 - Culture club (R)
  • 0:00 - 2:00 - L'ascenseur pour les étoiles
  • 2:00 - 4:00 - La tête ailleurs (R)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - Les années lumière (R)


  • 5:00 - 6:00 - Les années lumière (R)
  • 6:00 - 10:00 - Dessine-moi un dimanche - current affairs
  • 10:00 - 12:00 - Désautels le dimanche
  • 12:00 - 14:00 - Les années lumières
  • 14:00 - 16:00 - Culture physique
  • 16:00 - 17:00 - Rencontre imaginaire
  • 17:00 - 19:00 - La tête ailleurs
  • 19:00 - 20:00 - La librairie francophone - Produced by Radio France in Paris. Co-production between Radio France, Ici Radio-Canada, RTBF and Radio Suisse Romande
  • 20:00 - 23:00 - Tout le monde en parle - Simulcast of the television program on Ici Radio-Canada Télé
  • 23:00 - 0:00 - La sphère
  • 0:00 - 2:00 - L'ascenseur pour les étoiles
  • 2:00 - 4:00 - La tête ailleurs (R)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - Euromag (R)


In addition to primary production centres listed here, most stations in the network also serve a larger region through rebroadcasters. Due to the significant number of such rebroadcast frequencies, those are listed in each individual station's article rather than here.

Frequency Call sign Location Region served
FM 88.1 CBAF-FM-15 Charlottetown Prince Edward Island
FM 90.1 CHFA-FM Edmonton Alberta
FM 92.3 CBAF-FM-5 Halifax Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
FM 102.1 CBGA-FM Matane Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine
FM 88.5 CBAF-FM Moncton New Brunswick
FM 95.1 CBF-FM Montreal Greater Montreal Area, Nord-du-Québec
FM 90.7 CBOF-FM Ottawa Eastern Ontario, Outaouais
FM 106.3 CBV-FM Quebec City Capitale-Nationale, Chaudière-Appalaches
FM 97.7 CBKF-FM Regina Saskatchewan
FM 89.1 CJBR-FM Rimouski Bas-Saint-Laurent
FM 90.7 CHLM-FM Rouyn-Noranda Abitibi-Témiscamingue
FM 93.7 CBJ-FM Saguenay Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
FM 98.1 CBSI-FM Sept-Îles Côte-Nord
FM 101.1 CBF-FM-10 Sherbrooke Estrie
FM 98.1 CBON-FM Sudbury Northern Ontario
AM 860 CJBC Toronto Greater Toronto Area, Central Ontario
FM 96.5 CBF-FM-8 Trois-Rivières Mauricie
FM 97.7 CBUF-FM Vancouver British Columbia, Yukon
AM 1550 CBEF Windsor Southwestern Ontario and Southeastern Michigan
FM 88.1 CKSB-10-FM Winnipeg Manitoba; Kenora and Rainy River Districts, Ontario
Sirius XM 170 Première Montreal North America

Some of the former Radio-Canada French network transmitters that once operated on the AM dial can be viewed here.[12] Historically, Première has broadcast primarily on the AM band, but many stations have moved over to FM. Over the years, a number of CBC radio transmitters with a majority of them on the AM band have either moved to FM or had shutdown completely. See: List of defunct CBC radio transmitters in Canada (Première Chaîne)


External links[edit]