At 12:19:28am on Wednesday Oct 10th 2012, there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake centred near Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu, and the whole Montreal island felt it, as well as northern parts of Vermont.

First instinct was to turn on the TV and look for what happened. Since no conventional or news channel was mentionning what was happening, well, going out on the balcony and look around if an accident happened. Nothing.

A look around at the medias at the time it happened,
- CTV Montreal was airing "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"
- Global Montreal was airing "The Talk"
- CBC Montreal was airing "Coronation Street"
- SRC Montreal was airing "Alors on jase!" (talk-show rerun)
- TVA Montreal was airing a movie
- V Montreal was airing live game/infomercial "L'instant gagnant"

On the specialty side, CTV News Network, RDI and LCN were on pre-taped clockwheel news, still at 1am (40 minutes after it happened).
None of which bothered adding a scroll at the bottom of the screen or put a live anchor on the air. CBC News Network phoned reporter Leah Hendry for a live report at 1am, who probably went back to bed after that.

In the aftermath, it's even more embarassing...
- During the live game/infomercial on V from Budapest, Hungary, when the host taking over at around 1:30am mentionned the earthquake. That was the only french-language mention it.
- On the english side, only Metro14 have a somewhat morning show from Channel Zero studios, but they were the first english-language media to mention it.

On the radio side,
- CJAD was airing syndicated "Coast to Coast AM", had pre-taped road closures updates and top-of-the-hour news, but nothing live.
- Most commercial radios were on live club music mode.
- Radio-Canada/CBC Radio didn't bother.
- TSN Radio 690 was live, and started talking about the earthquake, putting the sports aside for the moment.
- CHMP 98.5 (french) was also live and talked about the earthquake.

On the other hand, just opening Twitter or Facebook and you already knew it was an earthquake.
Details on Fagstein's blog : http://blog.fagstein.com/2012/10/10/...uake-coverage/


OK, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake is not the end of the world, but it brings good questions :
- Is there ANYONE in the news department at those stations doing the night shift ? If so, where were they ?
- Since local CBC, CTV and Global stations are remotely controlled from their respective automated video server at Toronto headquarters, who didn't felt it and weren't feeling a bit concerned, there was no decision-making person available to even suggest to at least give a minimal information in a bottom-screen scroll to that small money-losing market station. If an similar or inferior earthquake was felt in Toronto, you can bet nationwide network programming would have been interrupted, from Sydney to Vancouver.
- I can understand why are our specialty 24-hours-a-day-news-channel are on a pre-tape at night, but there should be at least one person able to modify the damn news ticker for anything happening overnight!

At long term, we can see the consequences of cost-cutting measures from big companies. It just gets worse.