Comedians force U-turn over radio plans that would have cost them dear
Canadian comedians have forced Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival into a major U-turn over plans that would have robbed them of income.
Last week, the festival announced a new tie-up with satellite radio operator Sirius XM Canada, which would have seen the Canada Laughs channel become Just For Laughs Radio.
However the move would also come with a format change that woking comics said was a threat to their livelihoods.
Since it launched in 2005, the Canada Laughs channel showcased only Canadian comedians, giving them a platform as well as royalties that could run into thousands of dollars a year.
But the new channel promised a mix of ‘stand-up recorded at various Just For Laughs festivals and events’ – which the company owns the rights to – along with content from independent comedy albums. And although JFL hosts its biggest event in its Montreal hometown, the programming is dominated by American and international acts.