Ici Radio-Canada Télé (stylized as ICI Radio-Canada TēLē, and formerly known as Télévision de Radio-Canada) is a Canadian French-language broadcast television network that is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (known in French as Société Radio-Canada), the national public broadcaster. It is the French-language counterpart of CBC Television, the broadcaster's English-language television network.
Its headquarters are at Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal, which is also home to the network's flagship station, CBFT-DT. It is the only francophone network in Canada to broadcast over-the-air in all Canadian provinces.
This network is considered[according to whom?] more populist than CBC Television. It does not face such intense competition from American networks. Despite this, it has trailed TVA in the ratings for most of the last 30 years, roughly as long as its English counterpart has trailed CTV. Its ratings have improved with offbeat sitcoms, and the talk show Tout le monde en parle. With this success, however, have come accusations of dumbing down. For instance, Tout le monde en parle replaced the long-running Sunday night arts series Les Beaux Dimanches.
News programming is anchored by Le Téléjournal, which airs nightly at 10:00 p.m. Local newscasts, which air during the lunch and supper hours, now also carry the Téléjournal name, i.e., Le Téléjournal Montréal. The regional newscasts used to be called Ce Soir (This Evening).
All Radio-Canada newscasts are broadcast under the name Le Téléjournal. The main evening broadcast airs most nights at 10:00 p.m. local time (11:00 p.m. in the Maritimes). Le Téléjournal is also seen live and as a repeat broadcast on sister cable news channel RDI and on time-delay worldwide via international francophone channel TV5. There are no morning newscasts. Local and regional news also takes the Téléjournal name followed by the name of a city, region or province, or by the time of day (for example Le Téléjournal Montréal, Le Téléjournal Midi, etc.) CBVT-DT Quebec City, CBLFT-DT Toronto and CBOFT-DT Ottawa, and CBAFT-DT in the Atlantic provinces run local midday bulletins whilst all affiliates run supper-hour bulletins which run from Monday to Fridays, with the exception of CBVT-DT, CBOFT-DT and CBAFT-DT, which run seven days a week.
Investigative reporting is broadcast weekly as Enquête. In 2008, the program tested the safety levels of Tasers in the wake of concerns raised after a Polish immigrant died after RCMP police officers fired a Taser in Vancouver International Airport. Other shows such as Découverte raised concerns about the safety of overhead bridges in Montreal after the collapse of a bridge in 2007.
There is also weekly programming on political affairs concerning the National Assembly of Quebec and the House of Commons of Canada with Les coulisses du pouvoir (The Corridors of Power). Science and technology issues are covered in Découverte and agricultural and rural topics in La semaine verte. Consumer affairs are covered in L'épicerie and Facture
From 1952 to 2004, the network was home to weekly French-language broadcasts of ice hockey matches involving the Montreal Canadiens, called La Soirée du hockey. The show was discontinued when broadcast rights reverted to RDS. Viewers outside Quebec were able to continue watching games via Radio-Canada stations until 2006 when RDS became exclusive broadcasters. Radio-Canada were also the home of the Montreal Alouettes before moving also to RDS. The SRC network was also home for many years to French-language television broadcasts of the Montreal Expos.
Since 2014, the network broadcasts the Olympic Games in French starting with the 2014 Winter Olympics since CBC/Radio-Canada obtains the Broadcasting Rights for the Olympic Games. SRC, along with RDS, shares the broadcasting rights for the Olympic Games in Canada for French viewers until the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The most popular entertainment shows on the network are variety shows such as Tout le monde en parle and M pour musique, sketch shows like Les invincibles and Et Dieu créa Laflaque and dramas such as Les Hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin, Virginie and Tout sur moi.
Tout le monde en parle in particular is a long running talk show imported from the same show of the same name in France and has featured high-profile guests, such as Julie Couillard and former Action démocratique du Québec leader Mario Dumont. A weekly music show called Studio 12 makes an appearance on Sundays.
On New Year's Eve, Radio-Canada presents a live comedy special, Bye Bye, which features musical and comedy guests, performing live.
Non-news regional programming is usually programmed for broadcast on weekends. It is limited to arts and culture and typically airs outside Quebec, especially in Acadia and the Western provinces. For example, Zeste broadcasts on stations in the Western provinces on Saturday early evenings, while Luc et Luc airs Sunday evenings in the Maritimes.
Of Canada's three major French-language television networks, Radio-Canada is the only one that broadcasts terrestrially in all Canadian provinces. With the exception of Atlantic Canada, where a single station serves all four provinces, the network has at least one originating station in every province. These stations serve every major market in French and English Canada, with privately owned affiliates serving smaller markets in Quebec.
Unlike CBC Television affiliates, which often have several alternative programming sources, Radio-Canada affiliates are effectively constrained to carry network programming throughout the day in pattern with no preemptions. The only exceptions are for local and regional programming and commercials.
In 2007, Radio-Canada announced its intention to terminate its long-time affiliation with three regional affiliates in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, and Saguenay. These stations were owned by Cogeco, at the time a majority owner of commercial rival TQS (now V). By the end of the year, TQS had filed for bankruptcy; as part of exiting bankruptcy, a deal was announced the following spring for Radio-Canada to directly acquire the stations. The transaction was approved by the CRTC on June 26, 2008. Only the stations in Rouyn-Noranda (CKRN-DT) and Rivière-du-Loup (CKRT-DT) remain as private affiliates, rather than owned-and-operated stations.
On February 27, 2009 CBC/Radio-Canada President Hubert Lacroix admitted at the Empire Club of Canada that the corporation is facing a budget shortfall and as a result some services may be forced to close down and/or stations merged or sold off, saying:
"La crise économique nous force à revoir toutes les facettes de nos activités."
("The economic crisis forced us to review all facets of our activities.")
It is not yet clear how the announcement will affect stations owned by either CBC Television or Télévision de Radio-Canada, however it is envisaged that regional news programming may be merged in the regions outside Quebec.
Radio-Canada once operated an extensive network of rebroadcasters, but they were closed by 2012. However, few people lost access to the network's programming because of the very high penetration of cable and satellite, which is all but essential for acceptable television in much of Canada (particularly rural areas).
SRC converted its originating station transmitters to digital as part of the digital transition deadline in mandatory markets, which took place on August 31, 2011.
On July 31, 2012, all of the corporation's 620 analog television transmitters were permanently shut down, leaving CBC's English and French television network with a total of 27 digital transmitters.
In television listings such as TV Guide or TV Hebdo, where space limitations usually require television networks to be referred to by a three-letter abbreviation; while its full name was previously Télévision de Radio-Canada, the network was normally coded as SRC (for Société Radio-Canada, the French language corporate name of the CBC as a whole.) This has no official standing as a name for the network. While the network experimented with using SRC as its on-air brand in the 1990s, within a few months it reverted to using "Radio-Canada" for nearly all verbal references. The experiment ended later in the decade. In 2009 Radio-Canada refreshed its branding featuring the word "Télévision" underneath the corporate logo; in promos, it features the logo, without any wording or slogans.
This particular method of branding can cause confusion amongst Canadians. An exclusive interview with freed murderer Karla Homolka by Radio-Canada journalist Joyce Napier was hailed as a scoop for "Radio-Canada" in the English-language media. Whilst correct, technically the name "Radio-Canada" refers to the television, radio and internet operations in the French-language, not just "la télévision de Radio-Canada". This same confusion however can extend to CBC Television, where on-air it is branded "CBC".
On June 5, 2013, it was announced that as part of an overall effort to unify CBC's French-language platforms and outlets under a common name, Télévision de Radio-Canada was to be renamed Ici Télé on September 9, 2013—a nod to its longtime system cue dating back to the 1930s on radio, Ici Radio-Canada. The re-branding was panned by critics and politicians, who felt that the new brand was too confusing, and criticized the CBC's plans to downplay the historic "Radio-Canada" name as a viewer-facing brand, along with the reported $400,000 cost of the new campaign in the midst of budget cuts. In response to the criticism, Hubert Lacroix announced a compromise, where the Radio-Canada name would be added to the revised branding, resulting in Ici Radio-Canada Télé as its official name.
The ombudsman of Radio-Canada has been Pierre Tourangeau since July 2011. He was preceded by Julie Miville-Dechêne(2007–2011) Renaud Gilbert (2000–2007), Marcel Pépin (1997–1999), Mario Cardinal (1993–1997) and Bruno Gauron (1992).
On March 5, 2005, Télévision de Radio-Canada launched an HD simulcast of its Montreal station CBFT-DT. Since that time they have also launched HD simulcasts in Quebec City (CBVT-DT), Ottawa (CBOFT-DT), Toronto (CBLFT-DT) and Vancouver (CBUFT-DT). The HD feed is available through both pay television services, and through ATSC digital terrestrial television on the following channels:
On September 10, 2007, the network (as well as sister cable news network RDI) began broadcasting all programming solely in the 16:9 aspect ratio with few exceptions, and began letterboxing its widescreen feed for standard definition viewers.
Certain shows such as Virginie and Le Téléjournal are carried on international francophone channel TV5MONDE.
As with CBC Television, Ici Télé stations can be viewed over-the-air in the northern United States including the border areas of eastern Maine via CBAFT-DT Moncton or CKRT-DT Rivière-du-Loup; northern and central New England via CKSH-DT Sherbrooke; the border areas of New York State and Vermont via CBFT-DT Montreal, CBOFT-DT Ottawa-Gatineau or CBLFT-DT Toronto; or in northwest Washington via CBUFT-DT Vancouver.