The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) handed out its Best in Province awards for Radio and Television at last week’s President’s Dinner & Awards Gala

The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) handed out its Best in Province awards for Radio and Television at last week’s President’s Dinner & Awards Gala.

Radio Award Winners:

Best Commercial Creative – Large Market:
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – Straight Outta Brooklyn

Best Commercial Creative – Small/Medium Market:
EZ Rock Penticton – C.C. Jentsch Cellars

Best Station Imaging – Large Market:
Rock 101 Vancouver – Marlin Brown

Best Station Imaging – Small/Medium Market:
Vista Radio BC Stations – Radio Cool

Community Service Award – Large Market:
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – This Neighbourhood Life Series

Excellence in News Reporting – Sponsored by Burli:
Vista Radio BC North – BC Wildfires

Television Award Winners:

Best Commercial Creative – Large Market:
Corus Creative Services – CFOX Rock is the Way We Roll

Best Commercial Creative – Small/Medium Market:
CFJC-TVMcHappy Day

Best Station Imaging – Large Market:
CTV Vancouver – Shot Worth Taking

Excellence in News Reporting – Sponsored by Burli:
CTV Vancouver – Officer Down

Industry and Performer Awards:

Broadcaster of the Year
Jeff O’Neil, Karen K and Scott Lowrey – The Jeff o’Neil Show

Broadcast Performer of Tomorrow
Neetu GarchaGlobal BC

Performer of the Year
Gerry BelecGlobal BC

Humanitarian Award Recipient
BC Society of Transition Houses

Stephen Simpson, CRTC Commissioner BC & Yukon

Steve Simpson gave a farewell speech to the BCAB Conference as his term as regional CRTC commissioner for BC & Yukon comes to an end. Making his last speech as commissioner where he made his first in 2009, Simpson reflected on changing consumer listening trends and the future of Canadian audio and video programming. Simpson signed-off with a quote from the movie Blade Runner, where a mortally wounded Rutger Hauer says his goodbye. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. It’s time to… golf.” Read his full address here.

Bill Boyd and Geoff Leo

Bill Boyd, former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, and the CBC have resolved the lawsuit brought about by Boyd in 2016 following the publication of two articles written by reporter Geoff Leo about a series of land transactions while Boyd was minister responsible for the Global Transportation Hub. The resolution was reached after a confidential mediation process, without financial consideration. The lawsuit claimed the stories entitled “Businessmen made millions on Regina land that wound up in taxpayers’ hands” and “Sask. politicians call for review of puzzling land transactions uncovered in iTeam investigation” had implied defamatory meaning.

Cogeco, Xplornet and Freedom Mobile were the top three successful bidders in the residual wireless spectrum auction results announced by Innovation, Science & Economic Development (ISED) Canada. Cogeco was the successful bidder on 23 licences of 2500 MHz and 2300 MHz spectrum, primarily in its Ontario and Québec wireline footprint, for a total price of $24.3 million. Ecotel, Iris, and Telus also obtained spectrum.

Statistics Canada has released telecommunications statistics for 2016. Industry operating revenues rose 1.0 per cent over 2015 to $60.9 billion, while operating expenses increased 1.4 per cent to $47.6 billion. As a result, the industry generated a 21.8 per cent operating profit margin. Mobile and internet services were largely behind the growth with internet service revenue rising 9.9 per cent to $10.5 billion in 2016, while revenues from mobile services (including paging) were up 3.1 per cent to $24.6 billion. Together, mobile and internet services accounted for 57.7 per cent of industry revenues. Operating revenues for other services were down. Wired telephony services (local, access services and long-distance) continued their downward trend, falling 6.0 per cent from 2015 to $10.0 billion in 2016. Data and private line service revenues decreased 4.8 per cent to $5.0 billion. Operating revenue for cable television fell 1.2 per cent to $9.3 billion in 2016, the second consecutive year of decreased revenues following several years of growth.

The Government of Canada is investing over $4.6 million through the Connect to Innovate program to bring new or improved high-speed Internet to nine Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories and one Indigenous community in Yukon. The funding will be allocated to Northwestel to build fibre-optic backbone in the community of Jean Marie River, NWT (Tthek’éhdél Dene First Nation) and extend satellite connection to nine remote northern communities beginning in April 2019. In addition to the federal funding, Northwestel is investing $1.5 million in building the backbone network in each of those communities.

Shaw Communications has announced the successful completion of its first 5G technical trials in Calgary. Conducted in collaboration with Nokia, CableLabs and Rohde & Schwarz, Shaw’s trials leveraged 28GHz mmWave and 3.5GHz spectrum. The 5G trials were conducted using pre-commercial equipment at Shaw’s Barlow Campus Technology Centre in Calgary, and leveraged developmental 28GHz licenses provided by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. As part of this trial, Shaw also conducted comparative testing between 28GHz and 3.5GHz spectrum to better understand the interoperability between two of the bands considered vital to the growth of 5G.

Vidéotron has been ordered to refund $6.7 million to its customers because of billing issues related to the Local Programming Improvement Fund. The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld a superior court decision concluding that the company overcharged 1.5 million customers between 2009 and 2014. A class action suit filed on behalf of 1.5 million customers alleged the fee – initially 1.5 per cent of the bill, but later reduced to 0.5 per cent – was applied to customer’s full monthly bill for those who bought pay-per-view services, when it should have only applied to TV services. In addition, Vidéotron based the fee for cable customers on its regular monthly rate, even if they had bundling discount. Videotron hasn’t indicated whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The CRTC will introduce a new area code for British Columbia, starting May 4, 2019. The new area code 672 will be added to the current 604, 250, 778 and 236 area codes already in use in BC. Numbers with the new 672 area code will only be assigned to customers once there is no longer a sufficient supply of numbers with the existing area codes.

Nanos research has conducted a survey for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) that suggests a strong majority of Canadians (67 per cent) believe journalists should not be required to turn over confidential information to police. However Canadians are divided over whether national security agencies should have the power to collect and analyze publicly available information on Canadians. The survey comes as the Supreme Court of Canada considers whether journalists have a constitutional right to protect material supplied by sources from police agencies. The case is an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that police had the right to force Vice News journalist Ben Makuch to provide them with material he gathered through interviews with an alleged ISIS terrorist in 2014. CJFE, together with a coalition of media and free expression organizations, has been granted leave to intervene in the case.

Avis Favaro

Avis Favaro, medical correspondent at CTV National News, was presented this week with an honorary degree during spring convocation ceremonies for McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. One of the country’s longest-serving TV reporters covering medicine and health, Favaro has previously won a Gemini Award, an International Health and Medical Media Award, and a Gold Medal from the New York Film and TV Festival. She’s also been recognized by the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and the Ontario Registered Nurses Association.