Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, members of the committee, for inviting us here today.
We welcome this opportunity to meet with you to talk about local services. Canadians have told us, as you have heard through the CRTC hearings, that local news is of utmost importance to them.
We're somewhat unique in the ecosystem, so we thought we would begin by talking about CBC locally and what's going on in the country for us right now.
In Newfoundland and Atlantic time zones, the day is well under way. About 80 of our news gatherers are already chasing stories. They'll file them across platforms for mobile, desktop, radio, and television. Soon our radio noontime programs will connect neighbours with issues in their community. Our other teams are preparing for our afternoon shows on radio and our six o'clock television supper hours in every province.
In the digital world, our deadlines are continuous. On our site and on other social channels, stories are being posted, published, tweeted, broadcast, telecast, and updated all through the waking hours. When breaking news deserves immediate attention, it goes first as a push alert. Here in the eastern time zone, daily story meetings are getting under way right now. Every day is different, yet every day is in some ways the same. There are always more stories than reporters we have to cover them. Or as the case may be, uncover them.
Local editorial choices are always a balance of dealing with breaking news and, particularly for CBC, leadership in stories that no one else is doing. These for us take two forms, what we call enterprise stories, which are generated from the native curiosity of our reporters and staff; and investigative stories, probing for facts and patterns, asking questions previously unasked, and if need be and often, holding principles to account. I am proud to say that we have more than 70 CBC journalists dedicated to investigative reporting today. This has grown. They're based in cities across the country.
To the west of here, in the central time zone, our Winnipeg morning show just wrapped up. It's the most listened to morning radio program in its market. Canadians across this country wake up to CBC Radio. We're number one in 13 of the 23 markets where ratings are taken, and we're in the top three in almost every rated community in the country. Ratings are not the driver for a public service broadcaster, but they are an indicator of our relevance to Canadians.
Over the next hours, about 150 more CBC news gatherers will be at work across our four western provinces. In the north, our day takes on many more dimensions. We broadcast in eight aboriginal languages from stations across 3,500 kilometres of Canada, from Whitehorse eastward to Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq.
I've used a lot of numbers. Let me gather the math for you. Altogether we have 350 news gatherers in our local stations, who work alongside 650 writers, editors, producers, and hosts. All of them work in an integrated way to present our radio and television programs plus our continuous publishing of digital content on all of our platforms and other people's platforms.
Our local programming across the country exceeds 8,000 broadcast minutes a day, Monday to Friday, plus digital, plus additional content all weekend long, on all platforms. We originate from 33 stations including one all-digital station in Hamilton and three in the north.
To do this we have about 1,150 people working today in local services to cover this large country that we live in. This is fewer than before. We've made reductions and faced the same pressures others have. We have taken difficult but considered steps we thought were important to ensure sustainability in the long term.
We have re-imagined everything. It's led to the largest transformation ever in local broadcasting within CBC/Radio-Canada. Today our local services are central to our long-term corporate plan, strategy 2020. Local is at the forefront of the digital shift for the whole company and is key to us being able to deliver more local services, where audiences are moving, at lower cost, on mobile, desktop, radio, and television.
Many of our reporters will end the day after doing a story that doesn't even exist, or that they don't even know about right now. We resource our stations and train our people for many eventualities, among them the ability to stream or broadcast live from anywhere at a moment's notice, through satellite technology or through their smartphone.
We have a brief video to show to you today, that started that way about two weeks ago.
That was a sizzle reel and not a newscast. You saw from the tape, our coverage of Fort McMurray in the midst of the fury of the fires. CBC provided up-to-the-minute coverage in both official languages that residents needed, including survival information through the early hours and continuing through the evacuation, details on where to get help, ways to lend a helping hand in contributions to charities, expanded local footprint in the local service we were providing, and of course, the local programming was supported by the network and vice versa.
On our website we were continuous. People were able to reach us with timely information they could rely on. CBC was there giving essential information, helping the community navigate its choices, challenges, and causes for relief or celebration in service to the local community, but as important, sharing those local stories across the country. That's what we do every day.
Thank you for your attention. I look forward to our discussion afterwards but now I would like to introduce my colleague from Radio-Canada, Michel Cormier, general manager of news and current affairs.