Radio-Canada name change puts CBC back in the headlines

Radio Canada's new logo is "here." Image: ICI Radio Canada

Radio Canada’s new logo is “here.” Image: ICI Radio Canada

Fresh from controversy over adding advertisements to its music service outlets, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is back in the news on this side of the border for a “re-branding” shift.

CBC’s French programing has long operated under the dignified moniker of “Radio-Canada”.

This past Wednesday, CBC announced that name would be bumped down as a sub-heading, under a new, one-word symbol: ICI. News reports had plenty to say, including statements of concern from the Heritage Minister. By Thursday, CBC’s initial announcement was already being clarified, which isn’t usually necessary if announcements are welcomed, or ignored.

Reaction has been critical on the whole. Here’s a sample editorial from the Toronto Star:

Can anyone imagine the British Broadcasting Corp. dropping the BBC thing and rebranding itself as THIS on the Internet, as in THIS.uk? You know, from the old-time BBC Empire Service call signal: This is London calling. They’d have been laughed to scorn.

Well, Société Radio-Canada has just rebaptized its operations HERE, from its own call signal Ici Radio-Canada. And that’s no joke.

The Sun news chain has been a voracious critic of the CBC, frequently portraying CBC as a bloated, secretive organization feasting off tax dollars. So it’s no surprise that columnists there are heaping scorn on the move, as with this reaction by Brian Lilley of the Ottawa Sun. He rounded up various responses worth quoting:

“Well, first of all, as a consumer, I’m quite disappointed,” NDP heritage critic and CBC/Radio-Canada booster Pierre Nantel told reporters after the announcement. Later, Nantel added, “This is a weird call.”

I’d have to agree and so would former Liberal leader and Montreal MP Stephane Dion, who thought people were playing a joke on him when he was first asked about it.

What did the re-branding cost? According to this CBC Montreal article:

Radio-Canada hasn’t said how much money is being spent on the rebranding effort, but says $400,000 was spent on external consultants while 95 per cent of the work was covered by existing communications budgets.

More background from CBC Radio-Canada on the name change can also be found here.

 

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