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Paul Arcand is one of Québec’s best known opinion-maker talk-show radio hosts, and is best known in the Montréal area (where his daily radio show is broadcast). However, unlike many other Québec opinion makers, he rarely aligns himself with controversial subjects, and he keeps his show relevant to what the vast majority of people can relate to. It is one of the reasons why he is so popular, and in this sense, he is associated with being a man of the common people.
He has been on the radio for 35 years. Paul Arcand would be the first person many people in Québec would think of when their thoughts turn to Québec talk radio (simply by virtue that the region in which he is broadcast contains over half of Québec’s population).
To give you an idea of his popularity, this past week, the internet in Québec was abuzz regarding Paul Arcand “losing it” on the radio when he heard his name being used (not very flatteringly) in a radio advertisement for a product. (If you’re learning French, “losing it” or “freaking out” can be referred to as “péter une coche”). In short, Arcand did not give his consent for his name to be used in the advertisement. Needless to say, he did not take too kindly to the idea of his own station played such an advertisement, and he let his station have it on air.
It became one of the most viewed news stories of the week in Québec, which attests to his popularity with the public (this would not have been a story had someone less popular made a deal of a similar issue). Like I mentioned earlier, probably the reason why he is so popular is because his approach to topics, and the way he presents them resonates so well with the public (as does any popular radio host).
He hosts the morning show, “Puisqu’il faut se lever” (Since you have to get up) on 98,5 FM Montréal. It should therefore come as no surprise that he is the voice who many people in Montréal listen to while getting ready for work or during their morning commute.
98,5 FM’s official website is: http://www.985fm.ca/
You can listen to 98,5 FM at the above link.
Paul Arcand’s morning radio show can be listed to as an online re-broadcast at http://www.985fm.ca/em/puisqu-il-faut-se-lever-391.html
If you’re learning French, perhaps try listening to Arcand’s shows online for a week or two. See if it helps with your comprehension skills. The language he uses is at an average speed, but it not overly filled with Joual or slang. This might be a good way to ease yourself from “news reporter” French, towards more “street informal” French. In addition, the topics he discusses and how he discusses them are relevant and should also be of interest to the average Anglophone Canadian.
If you find you listen to 98,5 FM on a regular basis, they have a downloadable app which works quite as well (it covers all the Cogeco FM network radio stations – a grouping of various talk show radio stations in different cities of Québec).
Enjoy the programs!
This post will tie the last two posts together, and you can use the audio track to as an opportunity to work on improving your French (if you’re at an elementary or intermediary level), or to help you develop an ear for French (if you’re at a more basic level).
In the audio track of this episode of radio program “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” (The Other Afternoon, at the Next Table…”), Ariane Moffatt and Guylaine Tremblay sit down for a one-on-one meal together. I get the impression they have never met before, but they spend the hour learning about each other, and focusing on what they have in common.
Both are mothers, but both did not carry their own children (in Moffatt’s case, it was her spouse who carried their children, and in Tremblay’s case, her children were adopted). They also speak about a number of other topics regarding children (such as Christmas and childhood memories).
I think you’ll hear both of their personalities shine (the intimacy and one-on-one nature of the conversation greatly facilitates the conversation).
The dialogue summary (below) is written in chronological order with the audio track, highlighting various discussion points and the dialogue continues. You can use the summary as a crutch when listening and improving your French listening skills.
The official link-page for this episode of L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté can be opened by clicking HERE. (Click “Audio fil” half way down the page… that will open an audio window with the sound track).
- Both spoke of Christmas as children and their Christmas experiences with their own children, what they like about Christmas, and how it fits in with their own experiences.
- Guylaine talks about how Christmas in Québec used to be celebrated different than how it is celebrated now (mass traditions on Dec 24th have been moved to 7pm now from midnight decades ago). She says Christmas today seem to be all about gifts, whereas when Guylaine was a child, she could hardly remember receiving any gifts.
- Ariane talks of her family’s Christmas traditions.
- Ariane talks of how she slowly starting to fall into music as a child, and her family’s role in influencing her artistic talents. Guylaine also shares her childhood development stories and relates them to her family.
- They talk about their different styles of communication and how they perceive their respective styles.
- Guylaine took her two daughters to the 2012 protests, “le Printemps érable” to protest university tuition hikes
- (Comment: “Le Printemps érable” (the “Maple Spring”) was a period of mass student protests in Québec in the spring of 2012, which greatly divided Québec society as a whole. Students refused to accept government tuition hikes – and (in a very very general sense) it pitted right-against-left, and opposition parties against the government at the time. Many believe it had a direct impact in the defeat of the Charest government, but it left much bitterness in Québec’s society – involving accusations flying everywhere; against the government, the opposition, school bodies, and even the media. It also greatly divided student bodies).
- Guylaine talks about having being an angry child, and how she still becomes vexed and involved if she believes there’s an action she judges to be unjust.
- (Comment: This actually surprised me when she said this – she seems like such a calm, cool headed person whenever I have seen her in interviews, the type of person with measured and empathetic emotions. It seems like this is a part of her character which she doesn’t regularly show in interviews – but she also seems very self-aware, which in itself is a very good thing – regardless if you do or do not agree with her politics or the battles she chooses to fight, and how she chooses to fight them. Something also quite interesting is that she states she took her children to the protests. I also found this surprising because many people were criticized for taking their minor children to events which (a) involved much emotion which minor perhaps could not have conscious control over, and (b) periodically turned quite violent, resulting in many arrest and police action. However, I do not know the context in which she involved her own children. All-in-all, I find what Tremblay says to be extremely interesting. I will probably pay much more attention to her public appearances in the future. Like I said in the earlier post about her, she has a personality I really like and greatly identify with, even if I don’t agree with her politics. And I have learned many other things about her in the last couple of years, which makes her a very intriguing figure. I don’t have to agree with her views on various issues to have to like her – and I still very much like her. She’s the type of person who is difficult not to like – and as you listen to the audio track, I venture to say you’ll agree with me).
- Both spoke about how they act upon what they feel is right (Ariane speaks about her own coming out, and both talk about how society has changed to be accepting of the new normal).
- Both speak about their choices to have children which they didn’t carry themselves, and what their children signify to them in this context, and in general. Guylaine said people often ask her “Do you love your children as much as if you had carried them yourself?”
- They speak of their worries as mothers.
- At 44:00 minutes, they sing a Capella songs which bring back Christmas memories for both. For the remaining 15 minutes of their meal, they just sing Christmas carols. You may be interested in this part, because they sing certain carols which do not exist in English – and even for me, they brought back memories from my childhood when much of that period of my life was in French.
I hope you enjoyed this 3-part mini blog series, and found it insightful on a few fronts.
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
- Ariane Moffatt – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 1 of 3 (#150)
- Guylaine Tremblay – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 2 of 3 (#151)
- “L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Moffatt-Tremblay discussion summary post 3 of 3 (#152) (with link to the radio episode)
This post can be useful for you if you’re learning French, if your French is already at an intermediate level. In this post, I’ll offer you a summary of what the subjects of our last two posts spoke about; Patrice Roy and Charles Lafortune.
You can also listen to the conversation yourself. For learners of French: Without translating the entire show, I’m providing you with summaries of various parts of the show. The summary below is in chronological order. You can use the summary as a “crutch” to try to stay on track. It might be able to help with your language learning, and can fill in the holes as you move through the diaglogue.
The radio show “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is the brainchild of François Legault. Regardless of where you are in Canada, you can listen to a new episode, with new people, during weekdays from 11:00am to 12:00. It airs nationwide on Radio Première (you’ll have to check the internet to see where Radio Première falls on your radio dial in your part of the Canada).
The web-link for the Patrice Roy – Charles Lafortune audio episode can be heard by clicking HERE.
- Charles Lafortune is introduced as having been the host of many shows; La voix, impro, comedy, variety. In his 20’s, he appeared on various youth programs (Watatatow, Tam-tam, etc.).
- Patrice Roy = the chief anchor of the Téléjournal de Montréal. (Montréal’s nightly RC TV newscast).
- Roy – Is a father with twins. Both Roy & Lafortune speak about how children tend to view the world, and how to relate the world to their children so children can understand the world.
- They speak about how growing up in working families affected their personalities.
- Lafortune said he can live with the idea of not having a job in front of the camera precisely because he’s able to take pleasure in other aspects of work. Roy agrees because he says he too loves the behind-the-scenes aspect of preparing for the work day. However Roy said he still loves being in front of the camera and presenting.
- Both agree they are under tremendous public pressure owing to the information age provides them with immediate public feedback, both good and bad. They speak about how they attempt to adjust themselves to deal with such pressures. Lafortune comically says that if someone tweets him a criticism, his way of “dealing” with it and with that person is to re-tweet it to 90,000 of his followers – which usually takes care of the problem 😉
- Roy says that when he was a news bureau chief in Ottawa, he felt the need to “shake things up”. He chose to take a flight to Afghanistan, and pursue his national reporting from there. He spoke about the fear he felt, in a very human sense, when bombs fell around him and his crew, injuring many people (including his cameraman who had to have his leg amputated). Roy had to step up to the plate to help. He also spoke about post-traumatic stress and how his thoughts have changed on numerous topics.
- Roy speaks about how his upbringing in a journalist family influenced his own work style and work values, as well as his values towards journalism.
- Lafortune speaks about challenges he has in raising an autistic child in a family environment (he has to pay attention to many small things, such as having to remain standing when watching hockey games on TV at home so as to keep an eye on what his child is doing). He talks about his biggest anxiety in life, which isn’t his television career, but rather what will happen to his child once Lafortune passes away (he’s worried it could happen sooner than later, as an early heart attack, etc.). He speaks very much from the heart about quite intimate subjects in this respect.
- They both speak about Roy watching his father’s health deteriorate and eventually pass away (his father was Canada’s ambassador in Tunisia).
- They speak of their thoughts regarding how they physically appear on television and what value they give (or don’t give) to it, and why. Lafortune’s first faced public criticism in his 20’s when he say an article about his entitled “Good Looking, but Insignificant).
- Patrice Roy admits that all television managers he knows in Radio-Canada consider viewership numbers important, and this has a bearing on individual’s behaviour and decisions within the organization, just it does in a private company such as TVA (which Lafortune discusses).
- Lafortune admits that most of the successful TV productions he is involved in are often most often modeled after those in the Netherlands and Israel (rather than being home-grown ideas. Nor are they modeled after American productions, contrary to what the public may believe).
- Lafortune speaks about the delicate situation he ran into earlier in 2014 when presenting La Voix the night before the last provincial elections. The show that night was watched by over 2,700,000 people, it was produced by Julie Snyder (the wife of Pierre Karl Péladeau, PKP), who himself was running for election. He talked of having to be very conscious on stage about how he said things (so as not to be perceived as taking political sides). (Note for reader… this whole issue regarding PKP, and the influence his role as Québecor’s owner has on the media, is currently a very serious debate in Québec. Here we hear an on-the-ground 3rd party account which shows it is a consideration which is making some pretty big celebrities feel uneasy or feeling they’re walking on egg shells).
- Roy speaks of some of his thoughts when covering political matters… and how he approaches certain issues. He also speaks of his thoughts regarding individuals he has interviewed. (It’s quite interesting to hear his personal thoughts in this sense, since he has to play a completely neutral role on air). Lafortune then jumps in with some of his own thoughts regarding how political parties and politicians tend to behave. He speaks about what gets on his nerves.
If your French is at a basic or elementary level, do not get discouraged if you find Roy and Lafortune are speaking too fast. I’ve studied a few languages, and I know that it can be frustrating when you can’t understand everything, or you feel the dialogue has left you behind as you’re still trying to figure things out. But you’ll find that, with time, the more & more you listen, the more words will take anchor in your brain, and you won’t have to always stop and try to figure out what’s being said. Stick with it and give yourself a pat on the back… after all, you’re further along than where you were 1, 3 or 5 months ago 🙂 .
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES