Pontiac loses a local media champion

François Carrier and Journal GM Lynne Lavery at the 2022 Reader’s Choice awards. (File photo)

It was with mixed emotions that I learned about the departure of CHIP FM’s Director General, François Carrier:  sorrow because over the past 8 years I have come to consider François a good friend, and a respected professional colleague; but also excitement for him, as he takes another step along his long career, of bringing the best quality of management and journalism to his newest endeavor, as GM of Le Droit, Ottawa and Outaouais’ daily French language newspaper.

François’ experience in the field of radio journalism has been extensive; before his 12 years with CHIP, he worked in many different stations including Radio communautaire de Sherbrooke; Radio des Hauts-Plateaux in New Brunswick, as news director; and Radio communautaire de Radisson in James Bay.  This was followed by several management positions as a communications specialist with different French Language associations, and since 2021 as president of the Association des radios communautaires du Québec (ARCQ).  He has also contributed, in a unique collaboration with the Pontiac Journal, as a French language editorial writer.

Throughout his career he always maintained a commitment to fight against misinformation and “fake news”, seeing them as threats to our democracy. And, he has been a valuable mentor to many young journalists, both on the radio and with the Journal.

François is leaving behind big shoes to fill and a notable legacy.  In his work with CHIP FM, he quickly increased listeners by bringing forward many new innovations: a strong focus on local news;  a change in frequency to the current 101.9 FM, which extended CHIP’s broadcast range; bringing Montreal Canadiens hockey games to the radio; growing the popularity of CHIP’s Radio Bingo and then working in collaboration with the Fort-Coulonge Chevaliers de Colomb to help them during a time of financial difficulty; and providing 24 hour local emergency services updates during the devastating 2019 floods and the Covid 19 pandemic. According to Diane Grenier, president of the CHIP board, “The coverage of the 2019 floods was remarkable!

François and his team were very present and appreciated by the community.”

François has helped create a multi-platform medium that includes interviews, entertainment and an updated website with audio and video interviews; he’s had his own time-slot as an announcer on “Bonjour Pontiac” from 6 to 9 am, Monday to Friday, and he has organized political debates and sponsored many community events.

One such event has been the Journal’s own annual Readers’ Choice Awards, where he was not only a sponsor but shared the stage with me to present the nominees and winners, in French.  One special memory of his support is when, during the pandemic, we weren’t able to do our usual in-person awards presentation: François worked with me to do a live radio presentation of the nominees and winners over several nights.  It was a true testament to his commitment to cooperation and community.

Pontiac will miss François Carrier, his energy and vision.  I wish him well in his new position; and I hope the CHIP board will be fortunate enough to find a strong replacement to continue the good work and community collaborations he has created over the past 12 years.

Lynne Lavery,
General Manager
Pontiac Journal