Retirement of Joel Le Bigot The old sea bass goes offshore

The thing is known: Joel Le Bigot and I have a stormy relationship. But for the columnist I am, whose radio is a passion, it would be inappropriate to ignore the departure of this pillar of the ICI Première.

Posted on May 21st

After a 45-year career, the leader of Saturday and nothing else, broadcast Saturday morning, decided to end up there for him. His departure significantly changes the media landscape already upset by the announcement of many other departures.

There is no doubt that the fans of this show, which he has been presenting for 24 years, will have to experience a form of mourning. Many expressed him on social media as soon as he was notified of his departure. But others also expressed their satisfaction.

This colorful and controversial character (he has kept the Radio Canada ombudsman busy in recent years) leaves no one indifferent. He is probably the first to know her.

His admirers adore his touching style, his great culture and his unconditional love for the French language. I remember this program that brought together French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian public radios. A representative of each country had to make others guess the meaning of a word or phrase typical of his country. Joel Le Bigot has always been a very good ambassador for us.

Although his family emigrated to Quebec when he was only 2 years old, in 1948, Joel Le Bigot could never put aside his French origins (some remain convinced that he grew up in France until adulthood). In the various programs he directed, he always gave a lot of space to the actuality and reality of his “cousins”. This fascinated some listeners so much that it upset others.

I belong to the second category. His obsession with “motherland” has always irritated me. I have already written it in a tough column for it in 2016. This text has also caused me the wrath of the host of a certain Saturday morning. Even if his comments contained some lies to me, his response was fair play! I had asked for it.

His opponents have often fought with the fierce side he had with his associates, not hesitating to cut their whistle at any moment. His passions and obsessions also affected the nerves of some people. His lyrical boating and offshore flights had become caricatured over time.

But let’s return to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Joel Le Bigot is an excellent communicator and an attentive interviewer. As much as he could be “square” with friends, he was always warm with the guests. He then became the one who wanted to stand out rather than the one who wanted to oppress. Then we had the right to the hospitable gentleman, dear Le Bigot.

If there is one thing I have always truly appreciated in him, it is the energy and passion he has put in tirelessly to serve our heritage and products. Joel Le Bigot has always done his duty to encourage the initiatives of local creators, craftsmen and entrepreneurs.

His best meetings remain for me, beyond those he had with many giants, like Philippe Noiret or Gilles Vigneault (whom he interviewed endlessly), those he had with farmers and producers. He could then emphatically show listeners the importance of recognizing and encouraging our knowledge.

Throughout these years, Joel Le Bigot has shown extreme loyalty to his collaborators. Caroline Morin, Ariane Cipriani, Christianve Christian, Guy Bois, Lionel Levac, Philippe Mollé, Jean-Claude Vigor, Christophe Huss, Stéphane Garneau, Jean-François Kahn, Michel Coulombe and Isabelle Porter gravitated around him.

Ahead of the current team, he was able to count on his inseparable Francine Grimaldi, as well as Richard Garneau, Gilles Archambault, Jacques Languirand and Edgar Fruitier to multiply the jokes about the advanced age of those around him. We have often felt that the renovation operation that the management of this chain has been carrying out for several years is something that bothers him deeply.

A controversy particularly marked his years at the microphone of Saturday and nothing elsethat of the dismissal of François Parenteau, in December 2005. To everyone’s surprise, the executives abruptly ended the posts of the former Zapartist, who every Saturday was invited to deal with actuality with “mind, humor and fantasy”.

But as we discovered that “humor” had invaded “humor,” Parenteau’s presence stopped here. Some saw there a request coming from “beyond”.

Joel Le Bigot comes from a long line of animators who were once called advertisers. With his departure, a generation of communicators for whom respect for the French language is fundamental is fading.

On Saturday morning, when he addressed the audience, he said he was making this decision while he is still able to control his life, decide what his life will be like and not wait for life to decide for him.

Bigot was not unanimous. But he could not take care of it. It was to him a fortune of his personality. And a way to control your life.

Come on, I wish you good smells, dear old sea dog!

Who will succeed Le Bigot?

The departure of Joel Le Bigot further complicates the enigma of the schedule that ICI Première executives will have to face in anticipation of the start of autumn. Additionally you need to fill in the blanks for the afternoon on weekdays (leave blank The more, the more we are in bed) and Sunday afternoon (left blank by the team of The evening is (still) new), we will need to find the right person to fill the big place on Saturday morning.

Some names come to mind. First, obvious: Franco Nuovo, whom management could ask to host Saturday morning and Sunday morning shows, as it was in the past. It was understood that Le Bigot’s associates would be staying in place next fall. Would Nuovo compose with two different teams? It seems impossible to me.

And then I’m thinking about Isabelle Craig, which would be perfect for the tone this show requires. Also, Karyne Lefebvre or Catherine Perrin. And then, I imagine that Stéphane Garneau, Le Bigot’s faithful replacement, will raise his hand.

Management could also consider Philippe Fehmiu, who will lead this season this summer, or André Robitaille. Moreover, Jean-Philippe Wauthier, in my opinion, would be a great candidate. But he no longer wants to work on the weekends.

Let’s get a little out of the box, as the English say. And why not Monique Giroux? This experienced animator is able to talk about something other than song.

Bigot is a big size. Management may be tempted to look for a “star” from outside. But getting a big name just because having a big name is a risky bet.

Finally, I want to add that it is just as ironic that the announcement of Joel Le Bigot’s departure comes a week after that of Paul Houde from 98.5 FM. The two animators occupy the same slots.

Would the Cogeco bosses have made the same decision if they had known that Saturday morning prince would bow?

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