Broadcaster blames bankruptcy on public radio

A few years back, “Blame Canada” was the catchphrase in Hollywood. Now, up north, the Canucks have edited it to “Blame Radio-Canada.”

Broadcaster Cogeco recently blamed the French-language pubcaster (which covers TV and radio) for problems that are driving its network TQS into bankruptcy protection.

Cogeco boss Louis Audet says Radio-Canada muscled into the private network’s turf by acting more like a commercial broadcaster than a pubcaster. TQS’ contract to run three Radio-Canada outlets in the province is about to revert to the pubcaster.

“It’s a debate that’s been around for years and it’ll last as long as Radio-Canada remains a threat to the private networks,” says Claire Samson, prexy of the Quebec producers association.

Radio-Canada execs shot back after the Cogeco accusation, arguing that the network has always been a general-interest web that makes part of its revenue via advertising sales.

In other words, they’re not going to stop chasing ratings any time soon.

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