Friday, September 29, 2023

Revolving Door

Originally published in the May 4, 2023 edition of The Weekly Briefing

Amar Sodhi and Amber LeBlanc have expanded roles at Rogers Sports & Media as part of restructuring announced Tuesday.

Rogers Sports & Media has made changes to its radio and television management structure that see Amber LeBlanc promoted to National Programmer, News & Talk, in an expanded role leading all CityNews news and talk radio stations across all markets, while still running the day-to-day of CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) Toronto. OMNI and CityNews Director Amar Sodhi, who oversees OMNI News and the CityNews newscasts in Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, is adding CityNews Vancouver and Calgary to his oversight, with all local supervising producers now reporting to him. Charmaine de Silva, who had been with Rogers since 2018 and News Director of both CityNews 1130 (CKWX-AM) and the Vancouver television newsroom since 2020, adding Calgary in 2021, has decided to leave the company. Mark Day has additionally been hired as the local News Director for CityNews 660 (CFFR-AM) Calgary. Currently covering a mat leave at CityNews Ottawa (CJET-FM/CIWW-AM), Day will transition over to the new role in a few months. Read more here.


Andrew Wilcox, Stephanie Turchyn, Nick Kaczmar, Dave Morgan

Harvard Media has completed a round of layoffs that it says amount to roughly 10% of the company’s workforce as the media group moves forward with a digital-first business model. In Regina, the casualties include Andrew Wilcox, Program Director at 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM) and Play 92 (CHMX-FM); 620 CKRM PD Abbey White and CKRM host Nick Kaczmar, in addition to marketing consultant Dave Hanni, sales rep Bhavik Shah, and creative writer Rob McWhinnie. 96.3 CRUZ FM (CFWD-FM) host Dave Morgan was impacted in Saskatoon, along with FOX FM (CFGW-FM) Yorkton morning co-host Avery Leblanc; afternoon host Calvin Tokarchuk and GX94 (CJGX-FM) Yorkton weekend host Stephanie Turchyn, in addition to Riley Barton, the recently-hired swing host for both Yorkton stations. In Fort McMurray, the layoffs included Mix 103.7 (CFVR-FM) afternoon host and music director Marc O’Connor and midday host and assistant music director Lauren (Lita) Squires; as well as 100.5 CRUZ FM (CHFT-FM) afternoon drive personality Jackson Ducharme. As previously reported, layoffs were initiated in the Edmonton cluster, including Program Director Chris Myers. Read more here


Meredith Geddes & Jason Manning

Meredith Geddes and Jason Manning are joining JACK 96.9 (CJAX-FM) Vancouver. Geddes arrives from the afternoon drive show at 102.1 the Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto, while Manning was released from Pattison Media’s The Peak in January as part of the brand’s transition to HD Radio. The hires mark a return to announcers outside the morning show daypart.

Eleanor Wachtel

Eleanor Wachtel has announced she’ll be retiring from CBC Radio next month, concluding a more than 35-year career with the public broadcaster. Wachtel officially began working with the CBC in 1987 as a literary commentator on CBC’s State of the Arts, although she started contributing as a freelancer for CBC Radio in Vancouver prior to that. Following a move to Toronto, she hosted shows including The Arts Tonight and Wachtel on the Arts. She helped co-create Writers & Company in 1990, which she’s hosted ever since, engaging world-renowned writers from Alice Munro to John Grisham with her intimate conversation style. Her final show will be taped in front of a live studio audience at Toronto’s Luminato Festival on June 16 and air Sunday, June 25, marking the finale of Writers & Company after 33 years as CBC moves to develop a new literary program. Read more here.

Karyn Pugliese

Karyn Pugliese has been named the new editor-in-chief of Canadaland as founder and publisher Jesse Brown steps back from the podcast network’s chief editorial post. Pugliese, who’ll take up her new position in July, has already been working with the network as host and co-producer of canadaLANDBACK, which explores the history of Indigenous resistance, produced in partnership with Canada’s National Observer, where she’s served as editor-in-chief for the past year. Early in her career, Pugliese worked for APTN as a Parliament Hill correspondent, going on to take up the position of Director of News and Current Affairs in 2012. She also served briefly as Managing Editor of Investigative for CBC Television. Read more here.

Steve Futterman

Steve Futterman has been caught up in layoffs at CBS News after nearly 25 years. The former CBC correspondent, who has also done work for NBC Radio, NPR and the BBC, joined CBS in 1998 as its West Coast correspondent, based out of Los Angeles. 

Bill Barker

Bill Barker has retired from Global News Toronto, capping a 43-year career shooting television news. Prior to Global, Barker worked with Citytv and CKCO Kitchener.

Alicia Draus

Alicia Draus has moved on from Global Halifax where she’s been a digital broadcast journalist for the last five years. Prior to joining Global, Draus was the afternoon news anchor at CityNews (CJNI-FM) Halifax and before that a reporter for Pattison Media’s stations in Medicine Hat.

Simone Gavros

Simone Gavros has joined CHCH News Hamilton as a video journalist. Gavros arrives from CTV Toronto where she’s been a freelance chase producer for the past year.

Katie Girard

Katie Girard has left Acadia Broadcasting to join Dougall Media’s TBNewswatch as an online reporter. Girard had served as morning news announcer at Acadia’s Thunder Bay stations since Sept. 2021.

Ben Makuch

Ben Makuch has been caught up in layoffs at VICE News, which is reportedly headed for bankruptcy. Most recently covering National Security for VICE, based in New York, Makuch joined the outlet in 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a Parliament Hill reporter for The Canadian Press. Makuch made headlines in 2018 when he was compelled by the Supreme Court of Canada to hand over communications with a source to RCMP.

Kayla Goodfield

Kayla Goodfield has been upped at The Canadian Press to the role of Assistant Managing Editor. Goodfield has been with CP for the past year in the role of Assistant Business Editor. Prior to that, she was a Senior Digital Producer with BNN Bloomberg and an online journalist with CTV News Toronto and CP24.

Srushti Gangdev

Srushti Gangdev and Simran Singh have been released from the Burnaby Beacon and Overstory Media Group, almost two years to the day of the online news outlet’s launch. Singh, former Vancouver City Editor at Daily Hive, had served as Managing Editor since the Beacon’s launch, while Gangdev, a former 980 CKNW Vancouver anchor was a reporter.

Mel Woods

Mel Woods has a new role with Pink Triangle Press (PTP) as Senior Editor, Audience Engagement, at Xtra. In the newly-created role, Woods’ duties will include hosting to “bring content and advocacy to life” on Xtra’s social media channels, including a new TikTok channel, as the company moves to establish a strong presence in podcasting and more video-based storytelling moving forward. A graduate of UBC’s Master of Journalism program, Woods’ has been with Xtra since 2021, most recently serving as Senior Editor of Culture.


Joanne Levy

Joanne Levy, the CRTC’s commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, has extended for a five-year term, starting in July. Levy has already served one full term, starting in 2018. A former reporter for CBC Calgary and Director of Programming for APTN, Levy was also previously a television producer under her Scorpio Productions banner, and served as Head of Convergent Content for Winnipeg’s Buffalo Gal Pictures.

Juan Cruz Baldassarre

Juan Cruz Baldassarre has announced his departure from Halifax-based Copernicus Animation Studios as co-founder and CEO, as he pursues a new opportunity in emerging technologies for animation and virtual production. Alongside Paul Rigg, Andrew Holland and Murray Bain, Baldassarre co-founded Copernicus in 2003 and has led the company to produce top-tier 2D shows like Teen Titans Go!, Care Bears – Unlock the Magic, and Solar Opposites, in addition to expanding into IP development and production. Baldassarre will continue to assist Copernicus as a non-executive, advising on the studio’s service productions.

Marie Nelson

Marie Nelson is the new President of Hot Docs, starting June 1. Nelson has held senior positions at American networks, most recently as Senior Vice President at ABC News/Disney where she led brand and content strategy. Prior to ABC News, Nelson was VP of News and Independent Film at PBS where she oversaw programming for documentary series Frontline, Independent Lens and POV. She has also held executive positions at WGBH Boston, National Public Radio as well as at Viacom/BET Networks. After 25 years, first as Executive Director and then as President, Chris McDonald has decided to step back from his role on the Executive team. He will continue to work with Hot Docs in a voluntary capacity on special projects.

Lindsay Monture has been named the new Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and David Morrison as Associate Director, in advance of the 24th Annual Festival this fall, Oct. 17-22 in Toronto. Monture is Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Among the non-profit organizations she’s worked with are Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, imagineNATIVE, Maoriland Film Festival, Revolutions Per Minute, Royal Conservatory of Music, Woodland Cultural Centre, and Indigenous Climate Action. Morrison is Dene from Yellowknives Dene First Nation and has been with imagineNATIVE since 2019, most recently as Fundraising Manager. 

Catherine Mitro

Catherine Mitro has stepped down as Chair of the Board of Directors for not-for-profit Toronto station JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM). Peter von Schilling, currently Vice Chair, has been appointed by the Board of Directors to take over from Mitro. Marc Paris and Thompson Egbo-Egbo, also directors, have been appointed Vice Chairs. Serving as Chair since March 2022 and Vice Chair since Feb. 2019, Mitro will continue to serve as a director, lending her expertise in music education and artist outreach.

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