Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – BTLR panel makes 97 recommendations to government

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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