The Weekly Briefing


Evan Solomon

Bell Media launches a new national talk radio show Sept. 5. The Evan Solomon Show will air at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on the network’s full slate of talk stations including CFAX 1070 Victoria, CKFR-AM Kelowna, CKLW-AM Windsor, Newstalk 1290 CJBK London, Newstalk 610 CKTB St. Catharines, Newstalk 1010 Toronto (CFRB-AM), 580 CFRA Ottawa and CJAD 800 Montreal. The show will focus on breaking news and in-depth interviews with national and international newsmakers, in addition to listener opinion via call-in, email, text and social media. Based in Ottawa, the show complements Solomon’s existing role as National Affairs Specialist for Bell Media Radio. He’ll also continue to host CTV’s Question Period, which begins its new season Sept. 10.

DJ Tootall

Longtime CHOM 97.7 Montreal DJ Tootall will be inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame in May. Neill Dixon, president of Canadian Music Week, broke the news live on the air to an unsuspecting Tootall last week during the CHOM morning show, with host Terry DiMonte. Tootall is set to retire next month after a 40-year career.

The CRTC can’t reach Native radio station CKBK-FM Thamesville, ON, but has renewed its licence for a two-year period anyway. The commission notes that no annual returns for the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 broadcast years were submitted. Moreover, the licensee hasn’t responded to any CRTC letters, emails or phone calls. The commission has set a deadline of Sept. 30 for CKBK-FM to file annual returns and a date of Oct. 31 to implement a public alerting system.

The CRTC has granted a short-term renewal of the broadcasting licence for predominantly religious French-language radio station Radio Ville-Marie (CIRA-FM) Montréal and its transmitters CIRA-FM-2 Trois-Rivières, CIRA-FM-3 Victoriaville and CIRA-FM-4 Rimouski, through Aug. 2022. The commission says the short-term renewal will allow for a review of compliance issues including broadcasting messages soliciting funds that violate the Religious Broadcasting Policy, absence of program logs for some time periods and late or incomplete filing of annual returns.

The JUNO Awards category for Comedy Album of the Year has been reinstated after a 33-year hiatus. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has re-established the award, with sponsorship from SiriusXM Canada. Albums eligible for submission must be recorded by a comedic performer or performers of any of the following disciplines: stand-up, sketch, improvisation or musical comedy. Submissions for the 2018 JUNO Awards open on Oct. 2 and close Nov. 10.

Sitting on floor: Bill Buchberger and Wayne McDonald
Sitting in chairs: Heidi St. Onge, Taylor Charette, Kathy Foley, Bonnie Desjardins, Nicole Bryant, Gisele Sauve, Kathryn Fraser and Lindsay Smylie Smith
Standing: Cliff Connelly, Mark Taylor, Walter Lawrence, Jack Morin, Julian Tuck, Kailyn Shreiner, Mike Cutting, Mike McArthur, Jeff Turl, Wally Lennox, Michael Strah
Back row: Rob Connelly, Mike Hall, Shannon Manary, Suzanne Ramsay, Gail Moore, Stephen Morin and Brian Matheson
Hidden: Allan Huisman

1230 CJTT-AM Radio emerged as the voice of South Temiskaming, ON, 50 years ago this month in Aug. 1967. To mark the milestone, an alumni 50th Anniversary Reunion Dinner was held with current and former staff. Since 1998, CJTT has been at 104.5 on the FM dial, with a format of Today’s Hits and Yesterday’s Classics.

Ottawa’s Real Rock REBEL 101.7 (CIDG-FM) celebrated its 1st anniversary Aug. 30.  Operations director Tim Wieczorek says support for the station has proven there is a huge appetite for rock radio within the city. REBEL 101.7 is owned and operated by Torres Media Ottawa.


Canadians will soon be able to file complaints about television service providers with the ombudsman for communications services. As of Sept. 1, the mandatory Television Service Provider Code will come into effect. Administered by the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS), anyone unable to resolve a dispute directly with their television service provider can file a complaint, but only about issues that take place after the Sept. 1 effective date. The move is in response to consumer frustration expressed during the Let’s Talk TV proceedings that TV service providers don’t always provide adequate information about service packages and pricing. The CCTS can resolve complaints about billing disputes, service delivery, contract compliance and credit management. Complaints about broadcast content will continue to go through the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

Videotron is following the lead of Shaw and Rogers, announcing it has struck a strategic partnership with Comcast, aimed at developing and delivering an IPTV service based on its Xfinity X1 platform. There are no details on when a rollout could happen.

The CRTC has granted Shaw a temporary exception to the way it distributes television channels. The company requested the exception around the quota of how many independent channels it has to distribute related to the number of Shaw or Corus-owned channels. Shaw submitted the situation is unique due to the significant number of Category A programming services owned by Corus and that it would be placed at a competitive disadvantage if the exception were not granted.

Richard Crouse

Richard Crouse is set to host a new weekly talk show on CTV News Channel. Pop Life premieres Sept. 16. Crouse will moderate weekly panel discussions featuring actors, musicians, authors, and journalists breaking down hot button topics from the worlds of show business, pop culture, and media. In addition to being CTV News Channel and CP24’s resident film critic, Crouse hosts syndicated Saturday afternoon radio show The Richard Crouse Show, originating from NEWSTALK 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto. He also writes a weekly column for Metro newspaper.

CTV has confirmed the network’s fall premiere dates, with the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards kicking off the 2017/2018 television season on Sept. 17. As previously announced, CTV’s premiere week begins with the highly-anticipated premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on Sept. 24, to be simulcast on CTV and Space. New debuts include Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette comedy Me, Myself, & I; Marvel’s Inhumans, starring Canadian Serinda Swan (Ballers); and family adventure series The Gifted, based on Marvel Comics’ X-Men properties and starring Stephen Moyer (True Blood). Read more here.

Aden Young and Peter Coyote

CTV’s new original mystery series The Disappearance debuts this fall, airing Sundays starting Oct. 1 on CTV and CTV GO. Shot in Montreal, the six-part, hour-long series stars Peter Coyote (E.T.) and Aden Young (Rectify). A special sneak peek of the series premiere will be available Sept. 17 on and on demand. The Disappearance will also be available as a CraveTV FIRST LOOK every Saturday, beginning Sept. 30. The French language version of the series airs Sundays on Super Écran, beginning Oct. 1.

CTV will broadcast the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Opening Ceremony on Sept. 23 and the closing ceremony on Sept. 30, featuring rock n’ roll icon Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Kelly Clarkson, among others. Bell Media is the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the Games, with TSN and RDS airing competition coverage throughout the week. Established by Prince Harry in 2014, the games are the only international adaptive sporting event for injured active duty and veteran service members.

Production is underway on Season 4 of CBC original comedy The Amazing Gayl Pile. Production will continue in Toronto and the Kawartha Lakes until Sept. 10 with the new season set to begin streaming at in winter 2018. The winner of two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Original Scripted Series and Best Direction for a Program Produced for Digital Media, the third season featured guest performances from Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock). The series is distributed by LaRue Entertainment.

Amazon Prime Video has picked up Saint John, NB comedian James Mullinger’s stand-up special Anything Is Possible. Recorded live at Saint John’s Harbour Station Arena, Mullinger riffs on moving from his homeland of London, England to the small East Coast city. Mullinger was previously the subject of CBC documentary City On Fire, also produced by Hemmings House Pictures, which aired nationally last September.


According to Twitter, 71 per cent of Canadians use the platform to enhance their TV viewing experience. Twitter says 33 per cent of Canadian users talk about their favourite shows on the platform before they start, while 67 per cent use it during the show. Another 50 per cent Tweet after the program has ended. 36 per cent of Canadian users say the platform helps them discover new shows, while 35 per cent credit it with helping them decide what to watch. The three most-mentioned shows on the platform, between April 2016 and May 2017, were Game of Thrones, Big Brother and Saturday Night Live.

The CBC has obtained a federal government advertising ‘blacklist’ of websites, obtained through a freedom of information request, that includes far-right outlets like The Rebel and Breitbart, as well as TMZ, Esquire and Cosmopolitan. The internal blacklist contains more than 3,000 websites federal government advertising won’t appear on, including sites promoting hate, porn and gambling. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) tells the public broadcaster, sites can also be blacklisted if they consistently underperform in advertising campaigns.

theScore has redesigned its flagship app, based on analyzing data and direct user feedback. Available now on the App Store and launching soon on Google Play, fans can now use the app to build a personalized Favorites feed of multimedia content from their top teams, players and leagues, stories from theScore newsroom and curated social content from around the web. The new Discover section also helps users uncover trending stories and topics.


The CRTC has opened the door for greater competition in the broadband internet market by setting interim wholesale rates for broadband internet access in Quebec and Ontario. After its initial decision in 2015, the commission promised to roll out the new architecture in phases. An in-depth review to establish final rates for what companies like Bell, Rogers, Cogeco and Videotron may sell disaggregated wholesale high-speed access to smaller ISPs for is ongoing. The commission says transition in other parts of Canada will be announced at a later date.

Rogers has improved wireless coverage in several key areas of Alberta, including expanded LTE wireless service in Lethbridge and between Banff and Calgary. The improvements include a new cell tower in West Lethbridge at the city’s ATB Centre and improved service for travellers along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Bell Mobility has launched Advanced Messaging, billing it as Canada’s first integrated Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging experience. Available first on Samsung’s latest-generation smartphones, Advanced Messaging offers a suite of mobile messaging features previously available through specialized third-party applications, like high-res photo sharing, read receipts and group chat. Bell says more smartphones will be enabled with Advanced Messaging in future.

Mike Duffy

PEI Senator and former broadcaster Mike Duffy is suing the federal government for nearly $8-million, saying he was singled out by RCMP during the Senate spending scandal investigation because he was a high-profile target. The former CTV Newsnet host, 71, says in his statement of claim that he continues to suffer physical, emotional and financial hardship. Duffy says his acquittal last year on 31 criminal charges is evidence he was treated unfairly.

An anonymous submission to Montreal website entitled No face, no case: in defence of smashing corporate media cameras, warns journalists against showing showing the faces of anti-fascist protestors, even if they’re masked. The message comes following an Aug. 20 Antifa protest in Quebec City that saw Global News cameraman Jean-Vincent Verveille assaulted and his camera smashed, while reporter Mike Armstrong was pushed down a flight of stairs. The post includes guidelines for movement media and a tutorial on how to blur faces.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s Annual Public Meeting has been set for Sept. 26 at the University of Ottawa. The event will be broadcast live on Facebook and webcast, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Pierre Marchand

MusiquePlus co-founder Pierre Marchand is facing four counts of sexual assault in connection with an incident alleged to have taken place in the early 1980s. Marchand, 59,  denies the allegations involving a now 50-year-old woman, who was 13 at the time. No date has been set for a possible trial. In 1986, Marchand co-founded French-language music television channel MusiquePlus with Moses Znaimer. He also helped launch the MusiMax channel, later working for the Archambault Group until 2013.

David Bannerman

Dave Bannerman, radio-TV-journalism instructor at Nova Scotia Community College, has been honoured by the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada (BEAC). Bannerman has received the Michael Monty Distinguished Teacher Service Award for 2017, given annually to a media instructor chosen from Canada’s BEAC member post–secondary universities and colleges. The award honours the late Michael Monty, who taught electronic media at Seneca College in Toronto. Bannerman started teaching at the NSCC Kingstec campus in 1994 and then moved with the program to the NSCC Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth in 2007.