Ici Radio-Canada Première
|Availability||AM/FM: Canada, Sirius XM: Canada/United States|
|Slogan||Écoutez pour voir (Listen, to see)|
|Owner||Canadian Broadcasting Corporation|
|Radio de Radio-Canada (1937–1997)
Première Chaîne (1997-2013)
|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 percent 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. Première was available in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East live via the Hot Bird satellite. The satellite service closed in June 2012 as part of the budget measures affecting Radio Canada International.
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.
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:
- CHGB, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, 250 watts
- CHLT, Sherbrooke, 1,000 watts
- CHNC, New Carlisle, 1,000 watts
- CJBR, Rimouski, 1,000 watts
- CJFP, Rivière-du-Loup, 250 watts
- CKRN, Rouyn, 250 watts
- CKCH, Hull, 250 watts
- CKCV, Quebec City, 1,000 watts
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.
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.
All Première outlets produce a regional program in the morning (Monday to Friday) from their respective studios. For afternoon programs, in some provinces or regions, a program may originate from a studio in the largest station in their area and broadcast to all stations in a given region; for example: stations in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and St. John's broadcasts the program produced in Moncton and CBEF Windsor broadcast the show produced in Toronto at CJBC.
In the summer, the morning show produced in Moncton is broadcast throughout the Maritimes provinces, the afternoon program produced by CJBC Toronto is heard provincewide in Ontario except for Ottawa and the afternoon program of the Rimouski, Matane and Sept-Îles stations is produced alternately in each of the stations and broadcast on these three stations.
For Saturday morning shows, they are produced respectively in Moncton (for the Maritimes), Montreal (for the province of Quebec, except the Outaouais region), Ottawa (for Eastern Ontario and the Outaouais region), Sudbury (for Ontario, except Ottawa and Kenora), and Winnipeg (for the Western provinces, as well as Kenora, Ontario).
In Northern Canada, CFWY-FM in Whitehorse, Yukon rebroadcasts the programs of CBUF-FM Vancouver. This station is not owned by the CBC, but by the Franco-Yukon Association. Conversely, Ici Nord Québec, anchored by CBFG-FM Chisasibi and transmitted to nine other First Nations communities in the Nord-du-Québec region via FM repeater transmitters, airs the same schedule as CBF-FM, but with four hours of regional programming inserted on weekdays, three of these in the Cree language.
The feed for Sirius XM Canada airs live across North America and simulcasted from CBF-FM in Montreal, meaning programmes are broadcast using the Eastern Time Zone. The entire schedule is aired as of 2016.
Listeners in Europe, Middle East and North Africa were able to receive direct programming from CBF-FM Montreal, with RCI's own shows inserted into the schedule in the morning and evening. This ceased in June 2012.
During certain holidays, a single program may be heard on a provincewide or a regionwide basis. In Quebec, stations outside of Montreal, Quebec City and Outaouais airs a morning program and an afternoon show produced by different outlets in turn. The CBON-FM network in Northern Ontario still produce a morning show, but simulcasts CJBC Toronto's afternoon show on holidays. And all Première outlets in Western Canada present special pan-regional programming on holidays replacing local programs - Les matins de l'Ouest and Le monde chez nous.
On Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, all stations nationwide carry the same schedule from Montreal, live or taped, depending on location. Also, on the weeks of Christmas and New Year's, regional morning shows begin at 6:00 in all areas, including Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal.
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.
Some of the former Radio-Canada French network transmitters that once operated on AM can be viewed here. 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 AM have either moved to FM or had shut down completely. See: List of defunct CBC radio transmitters in Canada (Première Chaîne)
- Radio Canada Sirius, retrieved 22-10-2011
- Radio Canada International - RCI-2 French-language schedule (pdf). Retrieved 22-10-2011
-  Retrieved 01-02-2014
- CBC Radio-Canada French Radio Network - at the Canadian Communications Foundation website
- "New Brand Architecture" (PDF). News Releases. CBC/Radio-Canada French Services. June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- "ICI Radio-Canada: We’ve heard you" (Press release). CBC/Radio-Canada. June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- "Radio-Canada retreats on rebranding company as ICI". CBC News. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Radio-Canada president apologizes for ‘Ici’ rebranding plan". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Radio-Canada: "Horaire des émissions d’ICI Nord-Québec"
- Per Radio-Canada's SiriusXM site
- List of Radio-Canada rebroadcasters from 1985 (French) page 86.