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Première Chaîne is a Canadianmarker French language radio network, the news and information service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Société Radio-Canada, the public broadcaster in Canadamarker. Its sibling network CBC Radio One is a generally equivalent service.

The service is available across Canada, although not as widely as CBC Radio One. Only the provinces of Quebecmarker and Ontariomarker are served by more than one Première Chaîne production centre — in all other provinces, the whole province is served by a single station with multiple transmitters. The network does, however, reach 90 per cent of all Canadian francophones.

Première Plus logo, available on Sirus Radio
network may broadcast on either the AM or FM bands, depending on the market. Première Chaîne programming also airs on Première Plus, Sirius Satellite Radio channel 94.


Some French language programming had aired on the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission's CRCM since 1933, but the French network was formally created on December 11, 1937 with the launch of CBF.

In 1938, the station was expanded into a fledgling network with the launch of CBV in Quebec Citymarker and CBJ in Chicoutimimarker. Also that year, the long-running soap opera La Pension Velder, which ran until 1942 and was then revived in the 1950s as a television series, aired for the first time. The following year, the even more successful and influential Un Homme et son péché was launched.

For the first month of World War II, Radio-Canada aired 24 hours a day, broadcasting war news from Europe. Also that year, the network broadcast its first Montreal Canadiens hockey game.

In 1940, another popular radio soap, Jeunesse dorée, made its debut. In 1941, the network — which had previously relied on Canadian Press reporters — launched its own news division. Also that year, the network launched two shortwave radio stations in Montreal to serve francophones outside of Quebec. Throughout the 1940s, however, the network's expansion in Quebec was accomplished primarily through private affiliate stations.

In 1942, the network controversially refused to give airtime to the "No" side in the Conscription Plebiscite. Nonetheless, 72.9 per cent of Quebec voters were opposed.

In 1945, the International Service was launched. In 1946, the network launched an experimental FM station in Montreal (which would become CBFX), and expanded outside of Quebec for the first time with the launch of CKSB as a private affiliate in St. Boniface, Manitobamarker.

The network also had seven privately-owned affiliates:
  • CHGB, Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, 250 watts
  • CHLT, Sherbrooke, 1,000 watts
  • CHNC, New Carlisle, 1,000 watts
  • CJBR, Rimouski, 1,000 watts
  • CJFP, Rivière-du-Loup, 250 watts
  • CKRN, Rouyn, 250 watts
  • CKCH, Hull, 250 watts
  • CKCV, Quebec City, 1,000 watts

In 1948, the influential children's series Tante Lucille and Gérard Pelletier's public affairs program Les Idées en marche debuted. Also that year, three studios in Montreal's King's Hall building were destroyed in an explosion, leading Radio-Canada to centralize its operations in a new building on boulevard Dorchestermarker.

In 1952, the network became autonomous from CBC head office in Torontomarker. Previously, all programming decisions had to be reviewed by the Toronto staff in advance.

Through the 1960s, the network began to expand, taking over Torontomarker's CJBC in October 1964, and launching Ottawamarker's CBOF in 1964 and Vancouvermarker's CBUFmarker in 1967. As well, influential broadcaster Lise Payette launched her first program, Place aux femmes, in 1965.

The network eliminated tobacco advertising in 1969, and eventually dropped all commercial advertising in 1974, except for Montreal Canadiens hockey games (which would move to the Radiomédia network in 1997). The Maison Radio-Canadamarker, which remains the flagship facility for all of Radio-Canada's broadcast services, was officially opened by Pierre Trudeau in 1973, and Radio-Canada's FM network was launched in 1974. Through the remainder of the 1970s, the network began to directly acquire many of its private affiliate stations, including CHFA in Edmontonmarker, CFRG in Gravelbourgmarker and CFNS in Saskatoonmarker, although with the CBC's financial difficulties in the 1980s, this process was slowed down considerably.

The network was rebranded as Première Chaîne in 1997, concurrently with the rebranding of all of the CBC's radio networks.

In 1999, Radio-Canada applied to the CRTC for a license to launch a third all-news station in Montreal, on the 690 AM frequency CBF had surrendered in 1997 when it moved to FM. The application was rejected. Radio-Canada filed an appeal of the decision with the Federal Court of Appeal, which denied the request in October of that year.

In 2002, two of the network's last three remaining private affiliate stations, CKVM in Ville-Mariemarker and CFLM in La Tuquemarker, disaffiliated from the network, and the final private affiliate, CHLM in Rouyn-Norandamarker, was directly acquired by the network in 2004. The network now directly owns all of the stations that broadcast its programming.


National news is read at the top of every hour. Extended newscasts, called the Radiojournal air at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; other newscasts are brief summaries of headlines. Local newscasts air throughout the morning and afternoon on weekdays, either on the half hour or immediately following a national newscast. Local newscasts only air in the morning on weekends.

Schedule (as of September 2009)


  • 5:00 - 9:00 - Y a pas deux matins pareils (from CJBC)
  • 5:30 - 9:00 - Local morning shows (C'est bien meilleur le matin on CBF-FM)
  • 9:00 - 11:00 - Christiane Charette
  • 11:00 - 1:30 - Regional noon shows
  • 1:00 - 3:00 - L'après-midi porte conseil
  • 3:00 - 5:30 - Local afternoon shows (Désautels on CBF-FM)
  • 5:30 - 6:30 - Désautels
  • 6:30 - 7:00 - Classe économique
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - 275-Allô
  • 7:30 - 8:00 - Ados-radio
  • 8:00 - 10:00 - Christiane Charette (repeat)
  • 10:00 - 12:00 - L'après-midi porte conseil (repeat)
  • 12:00 - 4:00 - Les nuits internationales (programming from RTBF, France Inter and Radio Suisse Romande)
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - Tam-tam Canada (from Radio Canada International)


as Monday to Thursday except:
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - Le Sportnographe


  • 5:00 - 6:00 - Tam-tam Canada (Hour 2; from Radio Canada International)
  • 6:00 - 7:00 - La semaine verte
  • 6:00 - 11:00 - Local morning shows (Samedi et rien d'autre on CBF-FM)
  • 11:00 - 12:00 - Attendez qu'on se souvienne
  • 12:15 - 2:00 - Ouvert le samedi
  • 2:00 - 4:00 - Je l'ai vu à la radio
  • 4:00 - 7:00 - La tête ailleurs
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - Euromag
  • 8:00 - 12:00 - Par 4 chemins
  • 12:00 - 1:00 - Studio 12 (simulcast of program of same name with Télévision de Radio-Canada)
  • 1:00 - 5:00 - Vent d'Est (from CBAF-FM)


  • 5:00 - 6:00 - Pomme et mandarine (from Radio Canada International)
  • 6:00 - 7:00 - La semaine verte
  • 7:00 - 10:00 - Pourquoi pas dimanche?
  • 10:00 - 12:00 - Dimanche magazine
  • 12:15 - 2:00 - Les années lumières
  • 2:00 - 4:00 - Vous m'en lirez tant
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - A la semaine prochaine
  • 5:00 - 7:00 - Beaulieu pour la musique
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - La librairie francophone (from Parismarker, co-production between Radio France, RTBF and Radio Suisse Romande )
  • 8:00 - 11:00 - Tout le monde en parle (simulcast of program of same name with Télévision de Radio-Canada)
  • 11:00 - 12:00 - Le Sportnographe (repeat)
  • 12:00 - 4:00 - Le temps d'une nuit
  • 4:00 - 5:00 - Le courrier mondial (from Radio Canada International)

Note: The brief National Research Council Time Signal airs daily at 12 Noon Eastern time across the network.


In addition to primary production centres listed here, most stations in the network also serve a larger region through rebroadcasters. Due to the significant number of such rebroadcast frequencies, those are listed in each individual station's article rather than here.

Frequency Call sign Location Region served
FM 88.1 CBAF-FM-15 Charlottetownmarker Prince Edward Islandmarker
AM 680 CHFA Edmontonmarker Albertamarker
FM 92.3 CBAF-FM-5 Halifaxmarker Nova Scotiamarker, Newfoundland and Labradormarker
FM 102.1 CBGA-FM Matanemarker Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleinemarker
FM 88.5 CBAF-FM Monctonmarker New Brunswickmarker
FM 95.1 CBF-FM Montrealmarker Greater Montreal Area, Nord-du-Québec
FM 90.7 CBOF-FM Ottawamarker Eastern Ontario, Outaouaismarker
FM 106.3 CBV-FM Quebec Citymarker Capitale-Nationalemarker, Chaudière-Appalaches
FM 97.7 CBKF-FM Reginamarker Saskatchewanmarker
FM 89.1 CJBR-FM Rimouskimarker Bas-Saint-Laurentmarker
FM 90.7 CHLM-FM Rouyn-Norandamarker Abitibi-Témiscamingue
FM 93.7 CBJ-FM Saguenaymarker Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
FM 98.1 CBSI-FM Sept-Îlesmarker Côte-Nordmarker
FM 101.1 CBF-FM-10 Sherbrookemarker Estriemarker
FM 98.1 CBON-FM Sudburymarker Northern Ontario
AM 860 CJBC Torontomarker Greater Toronto Area, Central Ontario
FM 96.5 CBF-FM-8 Trois-Rivièresmarker Mauriciemarker
FM 97.7 CBUF-FMmarker Vancouvermarker British Columbiamarker, Yukonmarker
AM 540 CBEF Windsormarker Southwestern Ontario
AM 1050 CKSB Winnipegmarker Manitobamarker
Sirius 94 Première Plus Montréalmarker North America

Some of the former Radio-Canada French network transmitters that once operated on the AM dial can be viewed here. Historically, Première Chaîne has broadcast primarily on the AM band, but many stations have moved over to FM. Over the years, a number of CBC radio transmitters with a majority of them on the AM band have either moved to FM or had shutdown completely. See: List of defunct CBC radio transmitters in Canada


  1. CBC Radio-Canada French Radio Network - at the Canadian Communications Foundation website
  2. List of Radio-Canada rebroadcasters from 1985 (French) page 86.

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