French CBC announces new name: 'Radio' and 'Canada' are out

MONTREAL – The French-language CBC has announced plans to change its name. Radio-Canada will lose the words, “radio,” and, “Canada.”

Instead, the federally funded broadcaster will be known in French by the name “ICI” — which means “here,” in French.

The name change had been rumoured for months but was made official today with an announcement from the Crown corporation.

Founded in 1936, the institution says the brand change will allow for greater uniformity. Its different platforms currently carry a hodge-podge of names. Now its different platforms will all contain the word “ICI.”

“We want to remake Radio-Canada because more than ever it must be a living space, an open organization, flexible and agile,” said Louis Lalande, executive vice-president of French services.

“(It’ll be) just as creative as ever, but more innovative and better attuned to our audience.”

The broadcaster says the name is also a nod to its past. Over the years it has commonly used the promotional slogan, “Ici Radio-Canada,” or, “Radio-Canada Here.”

It’s keeping the reference to “here.”

“‘ICI’ is rooted in our history and in people’s memories, and is true to the personality of the public broadcaster,” it said in a statement Wednesday.

“This term fits naturally with our platforms and reflects the scope of the services we offer.”

The broadcaster says it won’t need to change the federal Broadcast Act under which it is regulated. Under the plan, the name Radio-Canada would continue to exist under the law but it would disappear from public platforms.

Radio-Canada has deep cultural roots in French Canada, as a creator of original programs and as a rare source of French-language for smaller francophone communities across the country.

The broadcaster has issued a video to explain its decision.

Six ads of 15 seconds each will be aired over the next month to explain it.

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.