Montreal Radio Blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We need a local English-Language cable news channel in Montreal

There ought to be an English-language local, or at the very least regional cable news television channel in Montreal. It’s all good and fine to have local newscasts, however when local news breaks, there is nowhere to turn. Right now, there aren’t any fully functional 24 hour newsrooms in English in Montreal, period - on any electronic medium.

There are nearly 4 million people in the Montreal area and live news events can occur at any time. Whether it’s a major accident, protest or weather situation, you should be able to hear/see it as it happens and not be expected to wait for it to be summarized later on.

You may also notice that local Anglo newsrooms in Montreal almost never interrupt programming for local bulletins or coverage. There was a time when it used to happen with events like this past week’s provincial budget. If you watch American stations often enough, many affiliates will not hesitate to break in with live local events.

In French, there are two channels that cover local breaking news, RDI and LCN. The latter is far and away the place you turn to when something is happening in Montreal.

We can argue about the true population numbers when it comes to the Montreal English-language market, but it should be large enough to sustain one regional news channel. There has to be a way, even if it means that a good portion of its schedule might be devoted to a wider national news network. That it still doesn’t exist is a damn shame.

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