CRTC, Awards & Conference News – TVA Sports defies CRTC order amidst Bell carriage dispute

The Hurt Locker

Broadcast Dialogue was the proud media sponsor of the Great Canadian Suite at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas this week. The Great Canadian Suite welcomed a special guest this year, Zaib Shaikh, the Consul General of Canada for Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

RTDNA Canada recognized journalistic excellence in the West, Prairie and Central Regions on Saturday with the 2019 RTDNA Awards of Excellence. In the West, Global News BC won Best TV Newscast (Large Market), with CTV Vancouver Island – CTV News at 6 claiming the Small/Medium Market honour. Best Radio Newscast (Large Market) went to 980 CKNW Vancouver, while CBC Kamloops won the Small/Medium Market award for their coverage of the Batchelor Heights Wildfire. CKNW also claimed Best Podcast for This Is Why. In the Prairie region, CBC Manitoba won the Best TV Newscast (Large Market) honour, while the Small/Medium Market award went to CBC Saskatchewan for its Humboldt Crash coverage. Corus’ 680 CJOB won Best Radio Newscast (Large Market), with 650 CKOM Saskatoon taking the Small Market honour. CBC Saskatchewan claimed the Best Podcast Award for Boushie. In the Central region, CTV News Toronto – CTV News at Six won Best TV Newscast (Large Market), while CTV Kitchener earned the Small/Medium Market honour. In the Radio categories, Best Newscast (Large Market) went to CBC Montreal, with 570 News Kitchener winning the Small/Medium Market award. Best Podcast went to CBC Montreal for Mic Drop.

TVA Sports has gone dark on Bell TV in Quebec, amidst an ongoing carriage dispute between Bell and Quebecor. In an update for subscribers posted to its website Wednesday evening, Bell says it will temporarily offer Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360 at no additional cost, to ensure that its customers don’t miss any NHL playoff games. TVA Sports had cautioned Bell customers the move was coming, airing a message during the Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs matchup Saturday night that the sports channel, which has the French-language rights to the NHL playoffs, would be removed from Bell TV. Bell says the move contravenes two CRTC directives, issued on Apr. 8 and 10, requiring Quebecor, which also owns cable service provider Videotron, to continue to provide TVA Sports to Bell customers. Bell has filed a request with the CRTC to resolve the dispute by way of final offer arbitration. Read the full story here.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has released the results of the 600 MHz spectrum auction that concluded Apr. 4. In total, 104 licences were awarded to nine Canadian companies, including 40 licences to regional providers, who more than doubled their share of low-band spectrum. Rogers obtained 52 licences, spending $1.7 billion for spectrum covering a population of 35.2 million; Telus followed with 12; Freedom captured 11 licenses; in addition to Videotron (10), Iristel (7), Xplornet (4), Bragg (4), and Tbaytel (1). Bell opted not to enter the auction.

Corus Entertainment has announced second quarter financial results. Consolidated revenues increased 4% for the quarter and 3% year-to-date, driven by an 11% increase in Television advertising revenues for the quarter and 7% year-to-date. Radio segment revenues decreased 8% in Q2 2019 and 4% year-to-date. Corus reported net income attributable to shareholders of $6.3 million ($0.03 per share basic) for the quarter and $66.8 million ($0.31 per share basic) year-to-date. President and CEO Doug Murphy said Corus delivered another strong quarter, with double-digit Television advertising revenue growth exceeding expectations. “The benefits of our ongoing progress in advanced advertising and data initiatives, our client centric approach and robust advertising demand are reflected in these positive results, partially offset by softness in our Radio segment and timing-related variability in our content business. Notably, the strength of our free cash flow in the quarter is accelerating our progress towards our leverage targets and supporting the advancement of our strategic priorities as we continue to build for the future,” Murphy said in an earnings release.

Shaw Communications has released its Q2 financial results for the quarter ended Feb. 28. Consolidated revenue decreased by 1.0% to $1.32 billion compared to Q2 2018. Operating income before restructuring costs and amortization increased 13.7% year-over-year to $549 million. Wireless results include postpaid net subscriber additions of approximately 65,000, bringing the total Freedom Mobile customer base to over 1.5 million as of the end of February. Wireless service revenue for the three-month period increased by 26% to $169 million over the comparable period in fiscal 2018 due to the growing penetration of Big Gig data plans. As part of its network expansion plans in fiscal 2019, the company launched wireless services in several new markets, including Victoria and Red Deer in February, and an additional six communities in Eastern Ontario in early March. Freedom Mobile will continue to launch in new markets throughout fiscal 2019, primarily in Western Canada. Other wireline enhancements include the Apr. 4 release of Shaw BlueCurve Pods, which expand in-home coverage by creating a mesh wi-fi network that reduces dead spots. The pods are self-installed, plug directly into indoor electrical outlets, and can be easily moved to meet customers’ distinct coverage needs. In Q2, another 200 employees exited Shaw under its voluntary departure program (VDP), bringing that number to over 1,700 since the program started in March 2018. This led to operating cost savings of approximately $27 million and capital cost savings of approximately $6 million in the quarter.

Steve Vogelsang

Steve Vogelsang, former CTV Winnipeg sportscaster and news director, has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of 2017 bank robberies in Saskatchewan. Vogelsang, 55, was sentenced in Regina on Thursday after pleading guilty to four charges related to holdups in Regina and Saskatoon between July and October of that year. Three other charges were stayed. With credit for time served, it’s expected he’ll serve another three years in remand. Vogelsang was with CKY-TV for a decade, starting in 1992. He went on to teach journalism at Red River College between 2002 and 2011. Friday, he’s scheduled to appear in a Medicine Hat, AB courtroom on a separate set of charges related to a series of bank robberies there in Oct. 2017. Vogelsang has yet to enter a plea to those charges, but has elected to be tried by judge and jury. At the time of his initial arrest, court documents revealed that Vogelsang had fallen on hard times financially after he and his wife divorced.

Alana Gieck

The Canadian Media Educators (CME) 2019 Conference in Canmore, AB, May 28 – June 1, will explore keeping pace with the rapidly-changing tech environment and mental health, among other topics. Formerly the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada, this year’s conference is the first event being held under the association’s new moniker with the name change reflecting the increasingly blurred lines between the digital and broadcast mediums. Read our interview with CME President Alana Gieck here.

The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) has unveiled its 2019 Conference agenda. Among the speakers who’ll be in Banff June 5-6 are Dr. Peter Popplewell, Chief Technology Officer, Canopy Growth; CRTC Chairman Ian Scott; four-time Olympic champion Hayley Wickenheiser; former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall; and media strategist Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Media. More info here.

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