Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and Groupe Média TFO (Télévision française de l'Ontario), the leading French educational provider in North America, have partnered to bring French language children’s programming to LPB2 for the Francophones and future Francophones across Louisiana.
The deal was announced last week at the Louisiana State Capitol where members of the Acadiana Delegation in the House of Representatives recognized special guests from Groupe Média TFO, including its president and CEO, Glenn O'Farrell.
Groupe Média TFO is a public educational media enterprise funded by the Ontario Government in Canada and serves as the premium destination for audiences seeking educational and cultural content in French across Ontario and all of Canada.
"We are delighted to be able to contribute to the growth and fulfillment of Louisiana's Francophone communities with this first French-language educational content partnership between Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Groupe Média TFO,” says O’Farrell in a prepared statement. “By teaming up with Louisiana's public broadcaster to bring our high-quality French-language educational and cultural content to the state's Francophone communities, we are celebrating the presence and the recognition of French in North America."
The award-winning TFO educational content for ages 2-8 year olds premiered on LPB2 on Monday, April 18, and consists of 14 hours a week of French-language kids programming. During this initial 18-month partnership children will be able to watch, discover, and learn en français in the comfort of their own homes. This partnership is an international, educational and pioneering initiative that brings French language and cultural based programming to Louisiana.
“It’s an historical agreement,” says Peggy Feehan, Language Education Specialist at CODOFIL. “It’s the first time they have broadcast in the U.S.”
According to Feehan, the talks for this agreement started back in September when the CEO of TFO came to Acadiana and met with local delegates including LUS Director Terry Huval as well as representatives with LPB.
“LPB is educational and they are educational, so they saw that it would be a great collaboration,” Feehan tells the IND. “It’s been a long and arduous process, but they finally came to an agreement and they launched last week.”
Feehan says the ultimate goal for TFO would be to start core production in Louisiana and eventually create Louisiana-produced content.
“TFO means Télévision française de l'Ontario and Ontario is not a majority French,” says Feehan. “So being a French speaker in Ontario, you’re in a minority situation like the French speakers here in Louisiana. That’s why they are drawn because of this French minority in a sea of English. They’re drawn to us because of that. That’s why they want to work with Louisiana.”
CODOFIL Executive Director Charles Larroque sees the collaboration as another step in preserving Louisiana's French language heritage.
“This historic partnership between LPB and TFO will not only offer excellent children’s programming in French to thousands of Louisiana families, it will also prime the pump for new emergent career paths for bilingual stakeholders in areas such as media production,” says Larroque. “There is a reason TFO launched this initiative first in Louisiana and that is due mainly to our authentic French brand. We definitely expect a rising demand for Louisiana French home-grown media content.”