A page of history turns on Radio Canada with the passing of Joel Le Bigot, the steadfast king of the weekend airwaves for nearly 25 years, on Saturday. Emotions were palpable at the ICI Première studios, where several of his former aides gathered to pay tribute to the “intractable post”. However, the rebellious painter has always steered clear of the world of media criticizing him unabashedly.
After more than 50 years of his career, Joël Le Bigot came to the conclusion that the information environment has not developed for the better. He hates social networks, avoids constant news channels, but above all abhors political correctness. The 76-year-old host fears that his successors will never be able to aspire to the freedom of tone that has been his lifelong theme. Who would manage to take on the bosses without enjoying Joël Le Bigot’s popularity rating?
“I have never prevented myself from speaking in public, though I know it annoyed the management. Indeed, it was a pleasure to annoy the management. But now, the animators are watching,” he laments with the liveliness we know.
Joel Le Bigot is not without Radio Canada accusing him of straying from his international mandate in recent decades. On a daily basis, great importance is given to news which, in his opinion, is not news. News items, semantic debates, and other Byzantine controversies spanning days, never given importance by Joël Le Bigot.
This disguised nationalist, who made no secret that he voted yes in 1980 and 1995, also questions the Canadian mandate for public radio, which in its news coverage should reflect the reality of Canadians from coast to coast.
I never stopped myself from giving my opinion, even if I knew it upset the management
“Hearing about a fake eight-minute tornado is not news. It’s news for a minute, then we have to move on to something else, to international news, to Africa for example. Criss! There’s a fire in Bathurst and it’s on TV, it’s not normal It’s OK to talk to us about the opioid crisis in Vancouver.But why do you piss us off when someone knocks on a fire hydrant in Alberta?Joël Le Bigot gets swept up in the bold humor he knows his listeners to appreciate.
However, Radio Canada never sought to expel him, admits the new retiree. And with good reason, it has allowed ICI Première to remain at number one in the rankings on Saturday morning, poll after poll, for nearly a quarter of a century.
This sometimes frankness, which has made him successful, has kept the governmental institution ombudsman busy in recent years. In 2019, Joël Le Bigot was reprimanded for rejoicing in the assassination of a Christian missionary in India by the isolated Sentinels tribe, which he was trying to evangelize. The host, who has never hidden his hostility to religions, also received a reprimand a few years ago for making remarks suggesting a link between pedophilia and Islam.
“There is a good woman who complained about something I said about Islam. Only one! If twenty people said I had gone too far, I wouldn’t have a hard time apologizing. But with every complaint we only talk about one person. It is a pity that the Ombudsman defends the interests of Radio Canada instead of of the interests of the public,” the man who claims to have been maliciously pleased during his career at “being always on the line” insists in his remarks.
hail of praise
This style, very unique to the Radio Canada antenna, earned him his share of detractors during his career. He has been accused of being outdated, and even reactionary. lacking objectivity. Being disrespectful, especially to the women on his team.
Joël Le Bigot has always been completely indifferent to this blame. But among his collaborators, we realize that for some people, it was fashionable to hate a host Saturday and nothing else.
“Even though he teases us, even though he can be tough and can cut things off, he’s always been very respectful. To me, he’s the patriarch of radio. When I started participating on his show, I was scared, because I heard all sorts of things. But it turns out. That, under his angry appearance, he is someone who listens. Who leads his assistants to be better ”, said cultural writer Arian Cipriani, who is very impressed.
The same sentiment is shared by Francine Grimaldi, a loyal collaborator until her retirement in 2019.
“It was generous to put others in the spotlight. He never boasted, even though he had an exceptional culture. There aren’t many animators at this level of knowledge anymore”, confirms the former columnist, who believes that Joël Le Bigot cannot to get ride of it.
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