Weekly Briefing


Chris Biggs and Jason Barr

Chris Biggs and Jason Barr are leaving HTZ-FM (CHTZ-FM) Kitchener to replace the retiring Doc & Woody at Rogers’ 106.1 CHEZ Ottawa. Biggs & Barr have been helming mornings at HTZ-FM for the past eight years.

Lindsay Jackson

Lindsay Jackson is leaving her program director role at UP! 93.1 (CIHI-FM) and New Country 92.3 (CFRK-FM) Fredericton, but staying within Stingray and heading to Edmonton to take on PD and afternoon drive duties at The Breeze (CKRA-FM). Jackson had been with Up! And New Country since Jan. 2018.

Mark Prasuhn

Mark Prasuhn is the new president and general manager of WPBS-TV Watertown, New York, starting in June. Prasuhn is currently president of CMU College of Makeup Art and Design in Toronto.  He has also served in senior leadership positions at Gusto TV, Jumpwire Media, Zoomer Media, Vision TV, Mind’s Eye Pictures, Saskatchewan Film and Video Development Corp., and TV Ontario. He succeeds Lynn Brown, who had been with WPBS for two decades, and president and GM since 2013.

Erin Setch

Erin Setch is now the imaging voice of Rogers’ KISS-branded stations, including CKIS-FM Toronto, CKKS-FM Vancouver, CHBN-FM Edmonton, CHTT-FM Victoria, CISS-FM Ottawa and WLYK-FM Kingston. Setch joins Trevor Shand as the brand’s other voice.

Mel Woods

Mel Woods has joined HuffPost Canada as an associate editor in the viral/trending portfolio. Based in Vancouver, Woods has been a freelance contributor to CBC, The Globe and Mail, and Slate, among other publications.

Rhett Mappin

Rhett Mappin has joined Broadcast Pix as a regional sales manager, effective May 1, overseeing Central Canada, the Southeast and Central U.S., as well as the Caribbean and Mexico. Mappin started his career as a broadcast engineer for local TV, moving into sales in 1989 for Abekas Video Systems. Since then, he’s served as regional sales manager for Telestream, Vizrt, Discreet, and Pinnacle Systems, and most recently was VP of sales for ONE CONNXT. Mappin has been an active member of SMPTE since 1986.

Rich Zabel

Rich Zabel is Riedel Communications’ new VP of Sales for North America. Reporting to Joyce Bente, president and CEO of Riedel Communications North America, Zabel will take the helm of the entire sales organization and also focus on expanding Riedel’s presence in key vertical markets. Zabel joins Riedel from Evertz Microsystems, where he was Director of Sales, Northeast and Strategic Accounts. He also previously served for more than two years as Director of Sales, Eastern Region, for Grass Valley.

Slav Kornik

Slav Kornik has left Global Edmonton to serve as head coach of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) men’s basketball team. Kornik had been with Global for the last nine years, starting as a reporter and producer in 2010.


Canadian Music Week (CMW) hosted the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala Thursday evening in Toronto, where 2019 Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame inductees Guy Brouillard, longtime music director at Montreal’s CKOI;Gerry Forbes, who recently retired as the longtime morning man at CJAY 92 Calgary; and coast-to-coast radio veteran Brother Jake Edwards of TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver, were honoured for their decades-long careers in Canadian broadcasting. Leslie Sole and Terri Michael were also inducted posthumously. The broadcasting power couple, who met at CHOM-FM in the 1970s, were tragically killed last November in an accident in Mexico. The 2019 recipient of the Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award, in memory of legendary Radio Programmer Steve Young, was Brad Karp from Country 93.3 FM (CJOK-FM) Fort McMurray. Other inductees included Michael McCarty, Chief Membership and Business Development Officer at SOCAN, Steve Herman, Senior Vice President, Touring – North America at Live Nation, and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robbie Robertson. Read more here.

The Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards also recognized the following winners:

Lisa Grossi – CHUM FM – Toronto                                          

Barry Stewart – Hot Country 103.5/Jewel 105 – Halifax      

Shilo Bellis – New Country 96.9 – Moncton               

Garner Andrews – Sonic 102.9 – Edmonton                           

Jeff & Rachel – 97.5 Virgin – London                                       

Sarah Cummings – CHUM FM – Toronto                   

(A Tie!)
Brad Gibb – FM96/Fresh –London                                           
Jim McCourtie – 89X/93.9 The River – Windsor                    

Matt Cleveland – Capital FM 106.9 – Fredericton                                        

Kiss Your Ashby Goodbye – CHUM FM – Toronto               

96.3 Cruz-FM – Saskatoon                                                                     

98.1 CHFI – Toronto                                                                      

The New Hot 899 – Ottawa                                                                     

Boom 97.3 – Toronto                                                                               

Country 105 – Calgary                                                                         

CHIN – Toronto                                                                  

680 News – Toronto                                                                     

Indie 88 – Toronto                                                             

K-Rock 105.7 – Kingston

CMW PromoSuite Simple Booth Gallery by Momentum Media Networks

Edison Research and Triton Digital previewed the second annual Infinite Dial Canada research project at last week’s Radio Interactive conference at Canadian Music Week. However, Edison Research SVP Tom Webster cautions that the high cost of data plans in Canada may be holding the growth of online audio listening back, which was relatively flat, monthly, moving from 57 to 59%. The survey finds technology adoption continues to grow in Canada with 82% of Canadians 18+ now owning a smartphone. Smart speaker penetration also continues to grow with 26% of Canadians owning a smart speaker vs. 23% in the U.S. While Webster says that presents an opportunity for radio – increasing the number of people who say they have a radio in their home – AM/FM online tuning was flat on a monthly basis at 22%. Webster and Stephanie Donovan, SVP, Publisher Sales, Triton Digital, believe the comparatively punishing cost of data plans in Canada is stifling growth when compared to its findings in the U.S. and Australia. Read more here.

Stingray has agreed to acquire the assets of CIXL-FM and CKYY-FM in Welland, ON, from Wellport Broadcasting Limited/RB Communications Ltd, subject to CRTC approval. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to enter the Welland market, where GIANT FM and COUNTRY 89 already have a strong presence in the community,” Ian Lurie, President, Radio Operations of Stingray, said in a press release. “This acquisition expands our already significant presence in Ontario and makes certain that Stingray will continue to offer the best services to classic rock and country music listeners in the Niagara region.” Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in fall 2019 following CRTC approval, have not been disclosed.

Tamara Khandaker

Global News has announced the forthcoming launch of the network’s first original daily news podcast Wait, There’s More, hosted by Toronto-based Global News journalist Tamara Khandaker. The podcast will be available daily – Monday through Friday – starting June 10. Prior to joining Global, Khandaker was a reporter for VICE and the Toronto Star.

The 11th Annual Radio for Cardiology radiothon in support of the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s cardiac care unit reached its $1M goal May 10-11. The two-day event was hosted by Bell Media stations 104.1 The Dock (CICZ-FM) Midland and KICX 106 (CICX-FM) Orillia.

The 2019 Critical Care on the Air Radiothon for STARS Air Ambulance Presented by Bayer wrapped up May 10, raising $108,000. The Radiothon aired on Golden West Broadcasting’s stations in Portage, Steinbach and Winkler, with the support of over 40 volunteers.

The 13th annual GX94 and FOX FM Airwaves for Health Radiothon raised $143,128 for the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan. Held Apr. 29-30 and broadcast live from the Regional Hospital in Yorkton, Harvard Broadcasting covered costs so 100% of donations could go toward buying medical equipment.

The 88.7 the River (CIWN-FM) Radiothon held May 3 in support of the Let’s Build it Campaign – a collaboration between the Mount Forest Aquatic Committee and the Mount Forest Lion’s Club – raised over $25,000. The funds will go towards building a splash pad in Mount Forest this summer at Bill Moody Park. The Radiothon was a first for Saugeen Community Radio (88.7 The River) – a not-for-profit community station covering the area from Arthur to Chatsworth, Shelbourne to Mitchell, up to Kincardine.

Google has rolled-out podcast search results, complete with links to recent episodes and play buttons. Announced at Google’s I/O Developer Conference, the move is seen by many as the removal of a major barrier to improved podcast discovery. Web searchers will be able to listen to the podcast right in Google’s Search results, or save episodes for later. It’s not clear if Google will offer podcast analytics tracking.  

On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk digital strategy for broadcast with Futuri Media’s Zena Burns, SVP Strategic Marketing and Brand Development, and formerly part of the team that built the iHeartRadio brand. Burns lays claim to the title of radio’s first digital program director, hired back in 2006 to lead content strategy for iHeart’s NYC stations. We’re also joined by Jim Tarantine, Engagement and Insights Consultant, who was previously with Nielsen for a decade.

Spotify has launched Soundtrap for Storytellers, a cloud-based podcast creation platform that features editing, automatic transcription, audio processing and cloud collaboration capabilities at a cost of $14.99/month USD or $11.99 if billed annually. Spotify acquired the online music studio in late 2017.


Walt Buehler

Walt Buehler, on May 11 of cancer. Buehler was instrumental in his role as the sound engineer on three decades of Edmonton Oilers radio broadcasts, first for CFRN Radio and later for 630 CHED. Buehler helped bring the voices of play-by-play broadcasters and analysts like Rod Phillips, Ken Brown, Dave Semenko, Morley Scott and Bob Stauffer to listeners.

Maurice Foisy

Maurice Foisy, 86, on May 10. Foisy started his career at CKEN Kentville in 1950. He would go on to work at CFAB Windsor, NS, CJCH Halifax, CBC Sydney, NS, and then CBC Radio and TV in Halifax. Foisy eventually was lured to the West Coast by CHQM Vancouver founder Bill Bellman and helped launch the station, where he served as VP of Programming and afternoon drive host for more than three decades up until 1993. He later landed at CKST in 1993, before retiring from broadcasting in 1995. In more recent years, he’d been a volunteer with Voiceprint Canada reading books for the visually impaired.

Bruce Bedford

Bruce Bedford, 69, on May 7. Originally from Montreal, Bedford graduated from electronic engineering in 1972 and started out working in the RCA Tuner Lab and RCA Systems. He was involved in the design and installation of sound systems at Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, and the Olympic Swimming Pools, and designed and supervised the installation of the Communication and Translation systems for the International Civil Aviation Organization building. He and wife Maureen moved to Edmonton in 1977 where he designed and installed communication systems for Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk, Norman Wells and other northern communities. Bedford started his broadcasting career in 1980 in Edmonton at Sunwapta (CFRN 1260) where he was chief engineer and later 100.3 The Bear (CFBR-FM). In 2007, he retired and he and his wife moved to BC’s Comox Valley.

Bruce Fletcher

Bruce Fletcher, 68, on May 6, suddenly from a heart attack. Fletcher worked in the B.C. film and television industry for three decades. Based in Gibsons, BC, he was the best boy for 32 episodes of The Beachcombers on CBC Television between 1988 and 1990. He went on to work in the lighting and camera departments on other series including Northwood and Edgemont.


Bell has told journalists and field technicians to expect a mix of retraining, layoffs, and new “digital” jobs, with a net reduction of staffing, according to Unifor which represents local TV news staff across the CTV chain. Stations affected by the digital-first restructuring include the CTV1 stations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The union says cameraman and reporters have been told they must reapply for new classifications that involve a mix of duties, or take severance packages (reportedly equivalent to 66 weeks). Editors and cameramen in some bureaus have been issued layoff notices or severance packages. “Retooling local news for digital is necessary and, hopefully, a successful business plan because local TV is being starved for advertising revenues and anything that brings in a bigger audience and more ad revenue is welcome,” saied Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a release. Dias is urging the federal government to accelerate its review of Canadian broadcasting. “There are obvious actions the CRTC and the federal government can take to strengthen Canadian programming,” said Dias, referring to the commission’s “Harnessing Change” report on Internet-broadcasting issued last June.

Rogers Media has made the move to cancel its fall UPfront presentation where its programming lineup for Citytv, FX, OMNI, and Sportsnet is rolled out to ad buyers. In an email to agencies, Rogers says it’s made the “difficult, but fiscally responsible decision” to instead focus on customized agency presentations that offer more of a two-way dialogue.

Global TV has announced that all of its programming is now available on Roku streaming devices in Canada. Global becomes the first Canadian broadcaster to join the platform, making its television offerings available via the Global TV App on Roku streaming players and Roku TVs. Full episodes of Global series will be available, free, on Roku streaming devices for the first seven days after they air on television. Viewers with cable subscriptions will be able to access Global’s full lineup by signing in to the Global TV App with their TV service provider credentials. Global News will be available in the “Live” feature, meaning viewers can watch the news broadcast live from the app when it’s on air. Additionally, full episodes of various Global newscasts, including Global Toronto, Global BC, Global National, The Morning Show, and The West Block, are available on demand for free. Global’s offering through Roku is ad-supported and sold through Corus. Read more here.

Groupe V Media  is partnering with Lagardère Group to launch ELLE fictions – the new channel that will replace MusiquePlus – starting this fall. Aimed at female viewers, the channel will predominantly feature scripted drama like Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and Road to Avonlea, among others.

Telefilm Canada is inviting applications to its Production Program for francophone projects with budgets of $2.5M and more. The call follows a $7.5M funding intervention from Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez following reports that Telefilm had already exhausted its 2019-20 budget for French-language feature films. The deadline to apply is June 10. Guidelines, eligibility and evaluation criteria are available here.

A Maru/Blue survey finds The Big Bang Theory ranks as Canada’s favourite comedy, ahead of ratings contemporaries Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, The Office and I Love Lucy. The Big Bang Theory hour-long series finale is set to air May 16 on CTV. According to the network, the show has been the most-watched comedy series in Canada 10 years in a row.

Sir Patrick Stewart

Bell Media will be the Canadian home to the new untitled Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard television series. With Bell Media’s acquisition of the linear television and subscription video on demand (SVOD) rights in English and French in Canada, each episode will be available simultaneously with its release in the U.S. on Bell’s Space and Z channels, streaming the following day on Crave. The new series features Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as the venerable Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the U.S., the series will be available exclusively on CBS All Access, CBS’ direct-to-consumer digital SVOD and live streaming service.

Robbie Robertson

Imagine Documentaries, White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios and Universal Music Canada’s Shed Creative have partnered on feature documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, about legendary musician and founding member of The Band, Robbie Robertson. The film is directed by Daniel Roher (Survivors Rowe) and will be executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Inspired by Robertson’s bestselling 2017 memoir Testimony, the film blends rare archival footage and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Martin Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen and Ronnie Hawkins, among others.

Grant Hardy

AMI-tv has unveiled its summer lineup. Sea School Marine Science Camp debuts May 24 with AMI This Week’s Grant Hardy joining a group of blind and partially sighted high school students as they travel to the remote village of Bamfield, BC to learn about the sea. Level Playing Field premieres May 31 featuring Keely Shaw, who had a promising future in hockey until a brain injury left her with partial paralysis and an eating disorder on the road to becoming one of the Top 5 Para-cyclists in the world. Accidental Activist (June 21) is an in-depth documentary looking at the life of Halifax disability activist Paul Vienneau, while Sound Insight premieres June 28 exploring the impact sound has on the lives of people with disabilities.

Atomic Cartoons, the kids and family division of Thunderbird Entertainment Group, and Cyber Group Studios have entered into a Master Toy Agreement with JAKKS Pacific Inc., for The Last Kids on Earth series created by Max Brallier. JAKKS Pacific will develop and bring to market a range of merchandise inspired by the bestselling book series and upcoming Netflix production about the post-apocalyptic adventures of Jack Sullivan and his friends. The consumer brand will debut at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in June 2019, and the animated series will premiere on Netflix later in 2019. The star-studded voice cast includes Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, Catherine O’Hara, Keith David, Bruce Campbell, Garland Whitt, Montse Hernandez and Charles Demers, in addition to Nick Wolfhard as the lead character Jack Sullivan.

Encore+! – the Canada Media Fund YouTube channel featuring iconic Canadian television and film – recently surpassed eight million public views and 42,000 subscribers. CMF says thus far, 1.5M hours of content has been viewed on the channel. Interestingly, 60 per cent of that viewership is coming from outside Canada.


Shaw Communications has announced its intent to divest itself of its 38.6% stake in Corus Entertainment. Shaw says it’s entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities, who have agreed to purchase an aggregate of 80,630,383 “Class B” Corus shares at $6.80 per share, amounting to more than $548 million. Corus will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering. The deal is expected to close May 31, subject to conditions. The Calgary-based telecommunications company had been trying to sell its stake in Corus for the past 10 months, according to reports, to fund the expansion of its flanker brand Freedom Mobile. TD Securities had been hired to find a buyer, but a sale to any of the incumbent broadcasters like Rogers, Bell or Quebecor, would likely have faced intense scrutiny from the Competition Bureau.

The CRTC has directed 14 broadcasters, including APTN, Super Channel, Bell, Channel Zero, Corus, DHX, Fairchild, V, Pattison, Quebecor, RNC, Rogers, TV5 and Zoomer, to comply with a request for information. The commission is seeking financial data on digital media broadcasting activities to better understand their impact on traditional television services. The broadcasters had expressed concern regarding the disclosure of confidential financial information, the difficulty involved in separating traditional and digital data, and potential variations in the accounting practices of respondents.

The CRTC and participating Internet service providers (ISPs) are seeking participants for the Measuring Broadband Canada project, which tests the speeds of home wireline broadband internet services. Participants will receive a device, called a “Whitebox,” that will connect directly to their modem or router. The Whitebox will periodically measure broadband performance, testing a number of parameters, including download and upload speeds. The measurement tests will run when users are not actively using their internet connection. The results will give Canadians, the CRTC and ISPs a better understanding of whether consumers of broadband services from participating ISPs are getting the advertised speeds they expect. It will also provide additional insight into network performance, including actual connection speeds. Using the results as a baseline, the CRTC will publish a report. Canadians who wish to participate can apply by completing an online form.

Quebecor has announced consolidated financial results for the first quarter of 2019, including an increase of more than 100% in its quarterly dividend. Highlights include revenues of $1.03 billion in Q1, up $25.3 million or 2.5% from the same period of 2018. Adjusted EBITDA was $420.7 million, up $4.8 million (1.2%). Adjusted EBITDA increased by $15.9 million (3.9%), without restatement of comparative figures following the adoption of IFRS 16. Net income attributable to shareholders of $189.0 million ($ 0.74 per basic share), compared to $ 57.1 million ($ 0.24 per basic share) in the same period of 2018, a favorable variance of $ 131.9 million ($ 0.50 per basic share). Quebecor’s Telecommunications segment posted revenue growth of $22.0 million (2.7%) and adjusted EBITDA of $5.8 million (1.4%). Videotron revenues were also up in the first quarter for mobile telephony ($15.6 million or 12.4%), Internet access ($12 million or 4.6%) and equipment sold to customers ($3.7 million or 8.1%).

The Atlantic Journalism Awards were presented Saturday night at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott. News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax won gold in the Best Radio Newscast category, while CBC PEI’s Compass won Best Television News Broadcast. Find the list of finalists here.

RTDNA Canada handed out its National & Network Awards of Excellence at a gala event in Toronto Saturday night. Find the full list of winners here.

RTDNA Canada has commissioned a new poll that finds Canadians trust in traditional news media is beginning to rebound, with the exception of talk radio, online publications or social media. Seven in 10 (72%) Canadians surveyed by Ipsos say they have confidence in traditional news media – such as TV and radio news, newspapers, and news magazines – when it comes to fully, accurately and fairly reporting. That’s up seven points from 2018, however Millennials (those aged 18-34) are much less trusting (60%) than Gen X’ers aged 35-54 (74%) or Boomers aged 55+ (79%). Looking at news sources individually, trust in broadcast TV news is up two points over last year to 61%, print newspapers (58%, -1), news radio (54%, +3), news websites (52%, +1) and cable news (51%, unchanged). However, talk radio (42%, +2), online-only news publications (28%, -6), social media in general (14%, -3), and more specifically Facebook (11%, -3) and Twitter (10%, -2) are all less trusted with most online and social media channels declining in trust. Read more here.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has commissioned a new poll from Nanos that finds a majority of respondents believe increasing CBC funding would strengthen democracy, with most (76%) saying they would advise their MP to vote to increase (46%) or maintain (33%) funding to the public broadcaster. A strong majority (84%) of respondents said the decline in print media is cause for a stronger and more independent CBC. Nanos also found that 77% of those polled agree (52%) or somewhat agree (25%) that foreign companies like Netflix that broadcast into Canada over the internet should be subject to the same rules as Canadian companies that broadcast by cable, satellite or over the air.


Dejero has launched the WayPoint 204 receiver that supports SMPTE ST 2110 for customers who are in the process of shifting their infrastructures and workflows to IP. Launched at NAB 2019 as the first Dejero product to support the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for professional media industries, WayPoint 204 reconstructs video transported over multiple IP connections from Dejero transmitters, decodes HEVC or AVC, delivers four channels of balanced IFB, and provides four outputs supporting SMPTE ST 2110.  

VuWall, the Montreal-based video wall management and AV distribution solutions provider, is now available in Asia, the Middle East and Brazil via Mindstec Distribution. Mindstec will demonstrate VuWall’s product portfolio at its showrooms in United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. VuWall will also have a dedicated presence at Mindstec booths at industry events, including InfoComm SEA in Bangkok, InfoComm China, and InfoComm India.

Sony Canada and the News Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) have struck a partnership to offer a $5,000 grant to assist with a freelance project by a Canadian photojournalist. The goal is to celebrate the photojournalism community while also shining a light on issues including diversity, conservation, and equality. NPAC members can receive up to $5,000 along with Sony mirrorless cameras on loan for the duration of a project that must feature Canadian content or a Canadian subject. Submission forms and rules are available on the NPAC website.


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