Quebec radio deal for 2010 Olympics coverage

Corus Entertainment to provide French-language coverage

TORONTO -- The Canadian media consortium for the 2010 Olympic Games from Vancouver/Whistler on Thursday said radio broadcaster Corus Entertainment has been brought on board to provide French-language coverage of the marquee sporting event in Quebec.

The move comes two days after Canada's TV regulator threatened to force the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Canada's public broadcaster, to carry the upcoming Olympics in French.

Corus radio stations in Quebec will air exclusive French radio coverage of the Winter Games on 10 French-language stations across the province.

Rogers Communications, which joined with rival broadcaster CTVglobemedia to outbid the CBC for 2010 Olympic Games rights in 2004, is to carry the sporting event on its radio stations elsewhere in Canada.

Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, on Tuesday told an all-party parliamentary committee in Ottawa that the 2010 Olympics will air worldwide in a variety of languages, and yet French-speaking Canadian viewers that only receive a free, over-the-air TV signal may go without Games coverage in their mother tongue.

"In Canada, we face the prospect that some francophones may not have access to coverage of the Olympic Games in their own language on conventional television," von Finckenstein warned.

The CRTC chair proposed that the CBC be forced to carry the Olympics in Quebec if the Rogers and CTVglobemedia consortium did not make alternative arrangements.

The CBC in 2004 was heavily outbid by a consortium led by CTV and Rogers Communications for the exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games.

A spokesman for the Canadian Olympics media consortium said the deal with Corus Quebec has been in the works for some time, and was unrelated to any CRTC intervention.