CBC Radio-Canada French Radio Network
Radio-Canada thereby officially took possession of the facilities of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) and formally went on the air using the call letters CRCM (Commission de la Radio Canadienne à Montréal). The station broadcast its signal from the CFCF antenna. Thanks to revenues totalling some $130,000 during its first year of operations, Radio-Canada was able to purchase a mobile studio.
Paradoxically, "CBF" were not radio call letters that had been officially allocated to Canada, but had rather been assigned to Chile. CBF is the acronym for "Canadian Broadcasting French". An agreement had been reached between Chile and Canada regarding the use of these call letters, because there was indeed an "authentic" CBF in Chile, but it was a Chilean Coast Guard radio station.
The antenna (585 feet) and the transmitter were located at the boundary between the municipalities of Verchères and Contrecoeur. Construction had begun on June 10 under the direction of Auguste Frigon, Assistant Director at Radio-Canada. The cost for these facilities came to $278,000.
On May 8, His Grace Anastase Forget, the Bishop of Saint-Jean, blessed the facilities during another ceremony. He was accompanied by the Federal Minister of Public Works, the Honourable J.-Arthur Cardin.
The soap opera "La Pension Velder", written by Robert Choquette, went on the air for the first time. It was a resounding success and remained on the air until 1942, before being revived on TV in the 1950s, where it once again met with unqualified success.
Marcelle Barthe became the first female journalist on the Radio-Canada French language network. She will work there for some 25 years.
On September 25, CBV Québec the first regional radio station was launched. Initially, it was on the air eight hours a day, with 1,000 watts of transmitter power.
On October 16, CBJ Chicoutimi is the next regional station to begin broadcasting, thereby becoming the third station owned by the Radio-Canada French language radio network.
Radio-Canada was broadcasting four regular news bulletins a day, in cooperation with Canadian Press, but in September, when war was declared, Radio-Canada remained on the air 24 hours a day for a whole month in order to report on all the latest news coming from Europe.
Regular broadcasting of the Montreal Canadians' hockey games from the Montreal Forum began.
More than 90 programs were devoted to coverage of King George VI's Royal Visit, which arouses considerable public interest.
Radio-Canada sent a team of announcers and technicians to accompany the Canadian Armed Forces' First Division to England, right after the outbreak of World War II.
The War Measures Act took effect. The Montreal Censorship Bureau, created by the King Government, continually monitored all the information being broadcast by the French language network. Radio-Canada personnel worked very closely with the BBC.
Radio-Canada erected two high power regional transmitters, one in the Prairies (CBK, Watrous, Saskatchewan), and the other in the Maritimes (CBA, Sackville, New Brunswick) that were broadcasting programs of which less than 10% were bilingual.
Début of the soap opera Jeunesse dorée by Jean Desprez, which will remain on the air for 25 years.
The Havana agreement on the use of frequencies in North America, as well as in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba took effect, forcing Radio-Canada to reorganize several of its frequencies and to modify its antennas in order to reduce their transmitting power after sunset, so as to eliminate interference with various American radio stations.
Radio-Canada inaugurates a shortwave radio station CBFW-CBFY in the suburbs of Montreal, in order to broadcast French language programs to the Abitibi, Northern Ontario, as well as to the Maritimes and Prairies. However, this solution in no way meets the needs of francophones in Eastern and Central Canada, since the majority of them do not own shortwave radio receivers.
Début of Radio-College that broadcasts courses and conferences in numerous and diverse areas of interest ranging from geography, science and history, to literature and music. Radio-College will remain on the air for 15 years.
Father Marcel-Marie Desmarais hosts the program "L'heure dominicale" and answers written questions submitted to him by his listeners, thereby anticipating the open-line program formula.
Radio-Canada decided to refuse to broadcast the opinions of the "No" partisans during the vote on conscription.
The CBJ Chicoutimi radio station registered sales of $39,598. Even though the station belonged to Radio-Canada, it would not have been able to survive without its advertising revenue. It was then broadcasting about 90 hours of programming in French (83.4%) and 18 hours in English (16.6%).
The Trio lyrique begins its performances on Radio-Canada.
The Radio-Canada French language network then counted seven (7) private affiliated stations:
CHGB, Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, 250 watts
Creation of the station Radio Saint-Boniface, in Manitoba, which thereby became the first French language network station outside of the Province of Quebec.
Début of the children's show "Tante Lucille". From 1948 to 1973, every Saturday morning, children could listen in to some 1,500 stories, from which Lucille Desparois eventually produced around forty books and about ten LPs.
In January, an explosion in the King's Hall building in Montreal destroyed three radio studios. The incident will lead Radio-Canada to bring its employees all together under one roof and rethink the plan to centralize all its activities on Dorchester Boulevard West.
The first airing of the public affairs program, Les idées en marche, with Gérard Pelletier.
On May 18, inauguration of the new Radio-Canada studios in the old Ford Hotel on Dorchester Street.
Program début of Le cabaret du soir qui penche with host Guy Mauffette, which will remain on the air until 1973, and where music and poetry are married together.
The French network purchased radio station CKSB St-Boniface in Manitoba, as well as other stations in Gravelbourg and Saskatoon.
Radio-Canada acquired the CFHA Edmonton station and extends its coverage of Western Canada.
Nearly total abandonment of advertising on the Radio-Canada radio network.
The CJBR and CJBR-FM Rimouski stations became the property of Radio-Canada.
The French network was renamed the Première chaîne.
In June 1999, the CRTC rejected Radio-Canada's application to create InfoRadio, a round-the-clock news network, by using it former 690 AM frequency. The CRTC preferred granting the frequency to CKVL. Seeing as during the process, the CRTC had allegedly erred in law and in exercising its jurisdiction, as well as allegedly basing its decisions solely upon technical considerations, rather than upon matters of content, Radio-Canada appealed the foregoing before the Federal Court of Appeal, on July 21. The appeal was dismissed by the Court in October.
Radio-Canada signed an agreement with CHLM FM, Rouyn-Noranda/Amos/Val d'Or, in order that the latter broadcast all Première chaîne programming throughout the Abitibi region.
The lockout began after 15 months of unsuccessful negotiations. The labour dispute was essentially triggered by the Corporation’s desire to obtain more flexibility in its use of contract employees. The lockout deprived the French network of its regular news reports from other provinces, mainly from Ottawa, and foreign news reporters shared with the CBC English Network.
On October 11, after a 88.4% majority vote, employees started returning to work after accepting a new collective agreement which limited the number of contract employees that Radio-Canada/CDC could use.
Written by Yvon Chouinard - 2005
References:Frequence/Frequency – 1997, 7-8; 2002, 9-10; 2004, 11-12; Association des études sur la radio-télévision canadienne
InfoScan - http://db.infoscan.urgence.qc.ca/crhono_rad.asp
Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française – Vol. 51, no 3, hiver 1998 – Alain Canuel – Les avatars de la radio publique d'expression française au Canada 1932-1939
Idem – Vol. 52, no 2, automne 1998 – Alain Canuel – La censure en temps de guerre : Radio-Canada et le plébiscite de 1942.
SCHEC, Études d'histoire religieuses, 68 (2002), 7-23 – Pierre Pagé - Cinquante ans d'émissions religieuses à la radio québécoise, 1931-1983. De l'apologétique au dialogue avec les grandes religions.
Phonothèque québécoise http://www.phonotheque.org/radio/bibliographie.html
Radio UQAM – CHOQ FM - http://web.choq.fm/section.php?ssection=9&format=
DXingInfo - http://www.dxing.info/
L'encyclopédie canadienne - http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=Q1SEC795709
Ville de Montréal – Montréal Clic - http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/chm/clic/clic13.htm
Office de la langue française du Québec - http://www.olf.gouv.qc.ca/ressources/bibliotheque/
Rapport Juneau 1995 - http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/ac-ca/progs/ri-bpi/pubs/juneau/francais/chap2/ch2s2.htm
Le Devoir - http://www.ledevoir.com/2004/06/05/56232.html
Early Radio History US - http://earlyradiohistory.us/1913call.htm
Université de Sherbrooke – Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines - Bilan du siècle - http://bilan.usherbrooke.ca/bilan/albumspublics.jsp
CBC/Radio-Canada - http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/historique/index.shtml
Érudit - http://www.erudit.org/revue/haf/1998/v51/n3/005348ar.html
Études d'histoires religieuses, 68(2202), Pierre Pagé – Cinquante ans d'émissions religieuses à la radio québécoise, 1931-1983. De l'apologétique au dialogue avec les grandes religions.
Association des réalisateurs de Radio-Canada, http://www.realisateur.com/index.asp