The Weekly Briefing


Tyson Parker

Tyson Parker has been named to an expanded role that will see the music industry veteran oversee Bell Media’s podcasting division. Parker, whose new title is Director, Podcasting and Artist & Music Industry Relations, will be responsible for developing and leading a centralized company podcast strategy across Bell Media Studios, CTV News, TSN, and iHeartRadio. Parker has been with Bell Media since 2015 as Head of Artist & Music Industry Relations. He was previously Vice-President, Communications and Artist Relations at Universal Music Canada. Gregg Stewart, Associate Director, Music Marketing Strategy, will continue to report to Parker, but will now be supported by Michelle Crespi. Leah Borkwood will support the music services team of Bobby Anderson and Mitchell Cook.

Dave Blezard

Dave Blezard has been promoted to program manager for 91.5 the Beat (CKBT-FM) and 107.5 Dave Rocks (CJDV-FM) Kitchener-Waterloo. Blezard has been with Corus Radio since 2014 as afternoon drive host on Fresh Radio 93.1 (CHAY-FM) Barrie.

Brian Stutz

Brian Stutz is retiring from the Canadian Traffic Network (CTN). Stutz has been national account manager with the company since its launch in 2005. He’s now relaunched his consultancy Stutz Entertainment Services, with CTN coming on as his first client. 

Laura Osman

Laura Osman is leaving CBC to join the The Canadian Press Ottawa bureau. Osman has been with CBC since 2010, most recently as an Ottawa City Hall reporter. 

Kevin Ritchie and Enzo DiMatteo

Media Central Corporation has appointed new senior editorial leads, following its acquisition of Toronto’s Now Magazine. Kevin Ritchie, previously Senior Culture Editor, has been promoted to Editor and will be overseeing the brand’s journalism across all platforms, including NOW Magazine, and As well as leading the print publication, he’ll be concentrating efforts to digitize and migrate NOW’s 1.38M monthly print readers to its digital platform. Enzo DiMatteo, who formerly held the title Editorial Director and has been with Now since 1989, has been appointed Political Editor.

Matthew Guite

Matt Guite is leaving CJAD 800 Montreal to join CFRA Ottawa as a producer. Guite has been with the station since 2013, much of that time producing the Tommy Schnurmacher Show.

Kelvin Gawley

Kelvin Gawley is joining News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver in February as a digital reporter. Gawley arrives via Burnaby NOW, with previous reporting experience at Abbotsford News and the Langley Times.

Michael Hall

Michael Hall is joining News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver as a web editor/reporter. Hall has been an editor and reporter with the Black Press newspapers in Metro Vancouver for the last two decades, most recently with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

Rebecca Morris and Sophie Bloomfield

WildBrain CPLG, Wildbrain’s entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency, is welcoming back Rebecca Morris to the newly-created role of Client Services Director. Morris will head up the rebranded Client Services unit, previously the Business Development team, at CPLG’s head office in London. Morris previously held the position of Director of Product Development & Brand Assurance at WildBrain CPLG for three years, before stepping away from the industry. WildBrain CPLG has also promoted Sophie Bloomfield to Head of Creative Services. Previously Design Manager, Bloomfield will now lead the Creative Services team responsible for branding, style guide direction and development, trend reports, trade marketing, creative strategy and look books in addition to creative pitches to licensees and retailers.

Peter Kvarnstrom

Peter Kvarnstrom, President of Community Media at Glacier Media Group, is the new Vividata Board Chair, transitioning from Robert Brown, Vice President of Cineplex Media. Vividata’s Board has also added three new members: Kevin Kivi, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Horizon Media; Tammy Gardner, Manager of Planning at The Home Depot Canada; and Andrew Rusk, Head of Marketing Communications at Canopy Growth Corporation. 


Erin Davis

Erin Davis has revealed that’s she’s a 2020 Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame inductee. Davis, who was an on-air staple at CHFI Toronto for decades and has also done stints with CKO Toronto, CKLW Windsor, and CFRA Ottawa, told Toronto Mike “it’s a tremendous honour and I never even dreamt of it really, honestly.” Davis left the CHFI morning show and Toronto for Vancouver Island at the end of 2016, following the sudden death of her 24-year-old daughter Lauren. She’s since penned memoir, Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss & Reclaiming Joy, which will see a soft cover release Feb. 18. Davis will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week in May.

The CRTC has approved power reductions for two Maritime Broadcasting System (MBS) stations, with the company citing system failures, repairs, the ever-increasing costs of operating an AM radio station, and a steady decline in station revenues. CFBC 930AM Saint John, NB will see a reduction in daytime transmitter power from 50,000 to 2,000 watts, and a night-time transmitter power decrease from 50,000 to 150 watts, changing the antenna radiation pattern from directional to non-directional. CKAD Middleton, NS will see a nighttime transmitter power decrease from 1,000 to 400 watts. All other technical parameters will remain unchanged.

K1037 (CKRK-FM), Kahnawake’s community radio station, has made changes due to what the board says are financial issues. In addition to several programs being cancelled due to audience metrics, Station Manager Cheryl Deer has been laid off. In the interim, board member and former station manager Heather Bauersfeld will step in to handle administration and assess the station’s financial and operational status. The board is also delaying filling three seats until the end of March.

SiriusXM will offer multiple live broadcasts of the Super Bowl in various languages and a dedicated Super Bowl LIV pop-up channel. Coverage of the game from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will include broadcasts from Westwood One; the San Francisco 49ers radio broadcast; and broadcasts in Spanish, Mandarin, German, French, Hungarian, and Portuguese. SiriusXM will also offer listeners a live broadcast of the on-field musical performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira on both Pop2K (SiriusXM 10) and Super Bowl LIV Radio (SiriusXM 105). SiriusXM’s 24/7 NFL channel – SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88) – will broadcast live from Radio Row at the Miami Convention Center throughout Super Bowl Week. Hosts in Miami will include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Gil Brandt, David Diehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Torry Holt, Pat Kirwan, Ed McCaffrey, Jim Miller, Kirk Morrison, Brady Quinn, Charlie Weis, Solomon Wilcots, Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Clayton and Howard Balzer. Brett Favre will also host a special edition of The SiriusXM Blitz with Brett Favre, live on Friday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. ET.

The Health Sciences Centre Foundation Hope to Life Radiothon, broadcast on 680 CJOB Winnipeg Jan. 24, raised $212,458.81, surpassing a goal of $175,000. Funds raised will support health care, medical research and hospital technology upgrades in Manitoba.


The 21st annual Corus Radiothon for Stollery Children’s Hospital raised $1,469,715. More than 30 families shared their stories Jan. 22-23 with CISN Country 103.9, 630 CHED, and Global Edmonton, while over 150 volunteers answered phones.


Canadian Music Week has announced additional panels joining the Radio Active conference lineup, May 20-21. They include a panel discussion on improving spoken word content, moderated by Toronto talent coach Dave Farough; an exploration on the new working relationship between music and radio in the age of streaming, moderated by Sean Ross, VP of Music & Programming at Edison Research; and a radio and automotive town hall, moderated by broadcast and music industry exec Chris Sisam, and featuring Michael Hill, Managing Director, Radioplayer UK, and Julie Adam, SVP, Rogers Radio. Find the Radio Active agenda here.

Canadian Podcast Listener (CPL) explores the mythology of The Joe Rogan Experience in its latest blog post. Boasting more than 7,000,000 YouTube subscribers, the podcast stands out as a multi-media success story. Rogan also bucks the trend of catering to a well-educated audience, with data showing he’s reaching the young, male, everyman. Read more here.

LISTEN: Roger Nairn, CEO of Vancouver-based branded content studio Jar Audio, is our guest on the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast. Nairn covers everything from the benefits of a virtual office to why 2020 is going to be the year of the branded podcast. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here.


Christopher “Kit” Hood

Christopher “Kit” Hood, 76, suddenly at his home in West Lawrencetown, NS, on Jan. 20. Hood emigrated to Canada from England in his mid-20s in 1969 after working as a film editor with Walt Disney Productions in London. He went on to a career as a writer, producer, and director, best known for co-creating The Kids of Degrassi Street (1979-86), Degrassi Junior High (1987-89), and Degrassi High (1989-91) with Linda Schulyer, his partner in prodco Playing With Time Inc. The Kids of Degrassi Street won an International Emmy Award, with he and Schulyer also claiming five Gemini Awards for Degrassi Junior High.

James Deacon

James Deacon, 65, on Jan. 20, following a battle with cancer. After earning his journalism degree from Langara College in Vancouver, Deacon embarked on a career as a reporter, features writer and editor, establishing himself as a sportswriter and editor for special projects at Maclean’s magazine. Deacon was a regular contributor to the Fan 590’s PrimeTime Sports with Bob McCown, in addition to appearances on TVO. Deacon left Maclean’s in 2005, before joining The Globe and Mail a year later. He was also a long-serving board member of the Michener Foundation, which annually recognizes public service journalism.

Hank Imes

Hank Imes, 71, suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 20. Following his graduation from SAIT, Imes started his career as a cameraman with CKRD Red Deer in 1975. From there, he did a two-year stint with CKCK-TV Regina (CTV), before landing at ITV (now Global) Edmonton in 1979. He went on to work for the station for 27 years, up until his retirement in Oct. 2006. Among the awards Imes was recognized with over the years, was an AMPIA (Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association) honour for Best News Video in 1982 for his footage of Eva Pocklington escaping from her home during the hostage taking of her husband, former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. Imes, along with reporter Tim Spelliscy, was the first and only camera on the scene when she made her escape.


The 47th Annual Annie Awards – “the Oscars of the Animation World” – were handed out in Los Angeles on Jan. 25. Among the Canadian productions recognized were Wildbrain’s Carmen Sandiego, which won for Best Character Design and Best Storyboarding. Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days (Ciclope Filmes, National Film Board of Canada, Les Armateurs) won for Best Short Subject, while Sheridan College student Michelle Chua took the Best Student Film category with The Fox & The Pigeon. Find the full list of winners and nominees here.

Star Trek: Picard had the highest Live + Same Day audience of any series or mini-series episode ever on Canadian entertainment specialty television, according to Numeris data provided by Bell Media. More than 1.1 million viewers tuned in for the return of the iconic Jean-Luc Picard, featuring Sir Patrick Stewart reprising the role he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Jan. 23 premiere, broadcast on CTV Sci-Fi (formerly Space) becomes the most-watched specialty series debut of the year.

Bell Media’s first post-simsub ban Super Bowl presentation in three years will include advertising from Bell, BMW Canada, Budweiser, Genesis Auto Canada, Hyundai Auto Canada, Maple Leaf, Nissan Canada, and SkipTheDishes. Airing live on CTV and TSN on Sunday, Feb. 2 beginning at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT, the TSN Super Bowl panel will be led by host James Duthie, alongside analysts Jabari Greer, Jesse Palmer and Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, in addition to TSN reporter Farhan Lalji. Following the game, a special edition of Sportscentre with Jay and Dan will air. Coverage will start at 10 a.m., with French-language covering on RDS, and live radio coverage on TSN 690 Montreal, TSN 1200 Ottawa, TSN 1050 Toronto, TSN 1150 Hamilton, TSN 1290 Winnipeg, TSN 1260 Edmonton, and TSN 1040 Vancouver.

Animal Planet airs Puppy Bowl XVI, Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. ET. The game day television event sees puppies play inside a model stadium, accompanied by commentary, as they vy for the coveted “Lombarky” Trophy.


Spike Lee

The 8th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF), running Feb. 12-17, will present Spike LeeCannes Film Festival’s first Black Jury President – with TBFF’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award during an intimate evening where festival goers can watch a restored version of his film Bamboozled and hear the Academy Award-winning director discuss his journey as a filmmaker as well as his views on today’s socio-economic environment. This year’s festival will present nine World Premieres, five International Premieres, one North-American premiere, 20 Canadian Premieres and 34 Ontario Premieres, and will include over 75 films from 20 countries.

The Canada Media Fund, Creative BC and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) are partnering to support early-stage development of children’s and youth, and scripted drama projects. Click here to access the guidelines. The program budget is set at $400,000. B.C.-based producers will be eligible for up to $30,000 in support for early stage development. Applications for financing must be submitted by Mar. 11.

Dan Levy

Dan Levy’s next project – post Schitt’s Creek – is a role in Happiest Season, a romantic comedy currently shooting in Pittsburgh. Kristen Stewart stars with Mackenzie Davis, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, Allison Brie and Aubrey Plaza also attached to the film. eOne will distribute in Canada and the UK.

CTV MADE-in-Canada series Transplant is set to air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Feb. 26. The CTV Original drama comes from Sphère Média Plus, the producers behind International Emmy-nominated drama 19-2, in association with NBCUniversal International Studios. NBCUniversal is also handling global distribution. Transplant stars Hamza Haq (The Indian Detective) as a Syrian doctor who makes the difficult decision to flee his country with his younger sister and his struggle to rebuild his career in emergency medicine. Shot in Montreal and set in Toronto, the series also stars Laurence Leboeuf (19-2) and John Hannah (MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., Four Weddings and a Funeral).

Love Nature 4K has greenlit Wild Pacific Rescue, a new natural history series being produced in partnership with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association. The six-episode, one-hour first season, produced by White Pine Pictures, will premiere on Cottage Life in Canada in Spring of 2021 and roll out across Love Nature linear and streaming video platforms internationally. Blue Ant International will handle licensing opportunities worldwide, including the U.S. The series takes viewers along the rugged, mountain-ringed coastline of the Pacific Northwest, with veterinarian, Dr. Marty Haulena and his team as they rescue and rehabilitate orcas, sea lions, dolphins and sea turtles at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) Centre.

Big Brother Canada kicks off Season 8 with a two-night premiere Wednesday, Mar. 4 and Thursday, Mar. 5. Arisa Cox is back hosting the series, which returns three nights a week (Wednesdays (7 p.m. ET/PT), Thursdays (8 p.m. ET/PT), and Sundays 8 p.m. ET/PT) in addition to live feeds from inside the house at Last season, Big Brother Canada averaged 1.2 million viewers (Ind. 2+) per episode, making it the highest-rated season to date.

Island of Bryan (8×60) returns for a second season Feb. 23 as Bryan and Sarah Baeumler put the finishing touches on their Bahamian beachfront resort. Season 1 of the series broke HGTV Canada ratings records last Spring to become the network’s most-watched series of the past 10 years. The channel will air a Season 1 marathon in the lead up to the premiere.

The Africa Channel is now available on Rogers’ Ignite TV in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. The channel features English-language, Pan-African television series, specials, documentaries, feature films, and music, among other content. The Africa Channel is currently on free preview on Channel 886.

Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has announced that entries are now open for the 2020 edition of the French Language Awards of Excellence, honouring the best Canadian-made youth productions originally released in French in the last two years. The full list of awards can be found here. The deadline for submissions is Mar. 3.

RBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced 11 grant recipients for the third round of the MVP Project – a joint initiative between RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize, providing support to emerging Canadian musicians and filmmakers for music video creation and production. Recipients include: Recording artist Bad Child (Kitchener), Director Clara Milo (Montreal), and Producers Lou Bélanger (Montreal) and Rafael Perez (Quebec); Recording artist Begonia (Winnipeg), Director Emma Higgins (Vancouver), and Producer Sebastien Galina (Vancouver); Recording artist Raahiem, Director Vishan Butt, and Producer Meika Wagner (Toronto); and Recording artist Rich Aucoin, Director Jason Levangie, and Producer Marc Tetreault (Halifax). Find the full list here. The next round of submissions opens May 15.

Telefilm Canada is currently accepting Canadian entries on behalf of the Cannes Film Festival for the selection screenings of feature films to be held in Montréal from Feb. 24 to Mar. 13. Each year, Telefilm invites members of the selection committees from Cannes to travel to Canada and screen Canadian feature films in a private theatre in Montreal. Entry fees are waived for Canadian feature-length films submitted to the selection screenings held in Montreal. Deadline to submit is Feb. 14.


Global News’ YouTube channel has hit the 1 million subscriber milestone, with the network noting that it’s the lone private Canadian news broadcaster to achieve that feat, crediting its digital first strategy. The CTV News YouTube channel boasts 293K subscribers, while by comparison public broadcaster CBC News boasts 1.72M.

Lisa Colalillo

Lisa Colalillo, the former host of HGTV series Critical Listing, is starring in new YouTube reality series Lisa In The City. Debuting Feb. 27, show will follow the entrepreneur mom’s personal and professional highs and lows. The series is being produced by Woodbridge Media.

Enthusiast Gaming has graduated from the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) and is now trading on the TSX under the symbol “EGLX.” Enthusiast Gaming’s digital media platform includes 100+ gaming-related websites and 900 YouTube channels which collectively reach an estimated 150 million visitors monthly. Enthusiast’s esports division, Luminosity Gaming, also encompasses seven professional esports teams, including the Vancouver Titans Overwatch team and the Seattle-based Call of Duty team. On its events side, it owns and operates Canada’s largest gaming expo, EGLX, and the largest mobile gaming event in Europe, Pocket Gamer Connects.


Janet Yale, chair of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel

The Broadcasting Telecommunications Legislative Review panel has issued 97 recommendations to government, including a redefinition of what classifies as “media” under the CRTC’s jurisdiction and an accompanying name change for the commission. Canada’s communications future: Time to act also recommends mandating that streaming services contribute to Canadian content production, that sales tax be collected by foreign media content providers, that CBC/Radio-Canada be weaned off advertising in favour of a more stable funding model, and that the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada be combined into a singular entity. Under the panel’s recommendations, the CRTC would be renamed the Canadian Communications Commission and its jurisdiction broadened. The panel recommends that the Broadcasting Act extend to “media content undertakings” which would include both licensed broadcasters and those coming into Canada by way of the internet. Read more of our coverage here.

The CRTC has initiated its review of the policy framework governing commercial radio. The first policy update since 2014, it will encompass issues from whether Canadians are well-served by local programming requirements to the number of stations that a licensee can own in a given market. The proceeding will include three phases: a conversation with Canadians through public opinion research that will include an online survey; a notice of consultation whereby comments will be collected from the radio sector and any interested parties; followed by a public hearing, if deemed necessary. Read more here

The CRTC is extending the public consultation period on CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal by one week. The commission says the extension follows the submission of a study on public broadcasters in other jurisdictions, which has been added to the public record of the renewal proceeding. Comments can now be submitted until Feb. 20. Meanwhile, public broadcaster watchdog FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting has released a preview of the results of responses to its survey on how the CBC is performing, collected from 3,000 Canadians. Among those results, FRIENDS says 91% of survey respondents believe increased funding to the CBC would strengthen Canadian democracy. 99% of respondents also asserted the importance of local news. The full survey results will be published as part of FRIENDS’ submission to the CRTC.

Canadian Heritage is soliciting bids for a contract to assess the social, cultural and economic impacts of CBC/Radio-Canada on the Canadian media and production sectors, and on Canadian audiences. In an email to Broadcast Dialogue, the department says the research is part of the department’s ongoing work to ensure its policies and programs keep pace with societal and technological changes, noting that other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have conducted similar research.

Stingray’s commercial services division, Stingray Business, has announced its acquiring Chatter Research, a Toronto-based company servicing the retail and hospitality sectors, that uses a proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution to collect customer feedback, improving customer experience and sales. Among Chatter’s clients are brands like Lush and Purdys Chocolatier. Stingray said in a release that the acquisition supports its business plan and growth strategy “by offering Stingray Business customers a ‘one-stop’ shop for background music, digital signage and – now -customer insights.” It will fully own and operate Chatter under the direction of the company’s current leadership team. Read more here.

Anna Maria Tremonti

Anna Maria Tremonti, is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Tribute honour, recognizing a journalist who has made an exceptional impact. Tremonti, 62, is a former foreign correspondent and Parliament Hill reporter for the public broadcaster, and up until last June was the longtime host of CBC Radio’s flagship current affairs program The Current. She’s now transitioned into a producing and hosting role with CBC Podcasts, with her first effort – More with Anna Maria Tremonti – debuting this week. Tremonti will receive the honour at the CJF Awards on June 10 at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, hosted by Rick Mercer. Read more here.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is inviting news organizations whose reporting triggered profound and positive change in their communities to apply for its Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism. Two winners are selected annually, one for large media and one for small. Last year’s winners were CBC News for its podcast Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo, exploring the disappearance of a Cree girl taken from her Saskatchewan home in the Sixties Scoop, and the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix for their joint coverage of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Those making submissions can use a joint online form to apply simultaneously for the Michener Award, which recognizes public service journalism. The deadline is Feb. 21.

Charnel Anderson and Logan Perley

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), together with CBC News, is now accepting applications to its CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships program. The annual fellowships provide an opportunity for two early-career Indigenous journalists, with one-to-10 years’ experience, to explore Indigenous issues while being hosted for one month at the CBC’s Indigenous Unit in Winnipeg. The application deadline is Feb. 21. Last year’s recipients were Charnel Anderson, a Toronto-based freelance journalist, and Logan Perley, a reporter for CBC New Brunswick.

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