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Re: Changes to CBC's The National

Aug 13, 2009

The following is a form letter response from the CBC President's Chief of Staff to a number of FRIENDS' supporters denying that CBC has plans to move The National to 11 pm.

Hello,

On behalf of Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, I wish to thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the timeslot for CBC News: The National on CBC Television.  I want to assure you that there is no plan to change the schedule for The National, and that such a change has not been, and is not being contemplated at CBC/Radio-Canada.

We have heard from a number of audience members in recent days who have been led to believe that The National’s schedule would change; that its duration would be reduced from 60 to 30 minutes; that the diversity of voices would be lessened; and that foreign programming could replace The National in its current timeslot.  None of this is true.  Audience members have been misinformed by “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting”.  At no time did “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting” contact CBC for verification prior to sounding an alarm that they, no doubt, hope will help them raise funds for their organisation.

CBC News: The National will continue to be broadcast from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (10:30-11:30 p.m. NT) and will continue to deliver excellent coverage of national and international news.  Over the course of the fall, we will introduce new features and a new graphic look to the newscast which we expect to enhance audiences’ appreciation of the show.

CBC is indeed engaged in a News Renewal process in order to provide even stronger and more diverse programming.  Audiences will see new features not only on The National, but also on our news programming across all of our platforms.  We remain committed to providing Canadians with the news they want, when and how and where they want it.  For instance, we have already announced an expanded -- not reduced -- local supper hour newscast from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. across the country, beginning August 31st.  This demonstrates CBC’s leadership at a time when the CRTC has asked all broadcasters to invest more in their local stations.

Finally, I want to point out very clearly that “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting” is not in any way related to CBC/Radio-Canada.  CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster.  Its purpose is to deliver public broadcasting services to all Canadians.  “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting” is a private organisation which uses fundraising to finance its own activities which are not related, directly or indirectly, to CBC/Radio-Canada’s programming services for Canadians.

Thank you for writing to us.  We are happy to provide you with accurate information, and trust that this will lay to rest these completely unfounded rumours.

Sincerely,

Francine Létourneau
Chief of Staff
Office of the President and CEO

Related Documents:

Aug 5, 2009 — Toronto Star: CBC denies The National is moving by Greg Quill
FRIENDS says CBC's senior programming brass has a plan to move the public broadcaster's flagship nightly news program The National from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. to make room for prime-time entertainment programming.

Aug 4, 2009 — Cartt.ca: CBC slams Friends' National rumour as 100% false by Greg O'Brien
CBC Media Relations says there are no plans to move The National from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Aug 4, 2009 — Letter: Re: The National
Response from Kirstine Layfield, CBC's General Manager TV, regarding FRIENDS statement that there are plans to move The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.

Aug 4, 2009 — Letter: Request for retraction - CBC's secret plan to move The National
Letter from CBC Media Relations requesting a retraction of FRIENDS statement that there are plans to move The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.

Aug 4, 2009 — News Release: CBC's secret plan to move The National
FRIENDS says CBC has a closely guarded secret plan to move its flagship news program The National from 10 pm to 11 pm weeknights.