The Weekly Briefing



Marie-France Bazzo, Bruno Blanchet, Jean-René Dufort, and Monique Giroux

CIBL-FM Montreal employees are mobilizing to try to save the French-language community radio station. All 13 of the station’s employees were laid off last Friday, with the station’s board of directors saying it’s financially impossible for it to continue. Opened in 1980, CIBL has been a springboard for the careers of a number of Quebec media personalities including Marie-France Bazzo, Bruno Blanchet, Jean-René Dufort, Monique Giroux, Philippe Renaud, and others.

The CRTC has approved Klondike Broadcasting’s application for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM station in Whitehorse to replace its AM station CKRW. The new FM station will operate at 96.1 MHz (channel 241B) with an effective radiated power of 4,400 watts. The new FM station will maintain the Adult Contemporary music format currently offered on the AM station.

Tom Korski

The National NewsMedia Council has dismissed a conflict of interest complaint related to a Sept. 2016 Canadaland podcast. The complaint was lodged by Blacklock’s Reporter managing editor Tom Korski, who submitted that the Paywall ‘Blackmail’ episode featuring discussion between host Jesse Brown and Dr. Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa about a federal copyright case involving Blacklock’s, contained a concealed conflict of interest. According to an FOI request sought by Korski, Geist had sent an email to the University Library in Nov. 2015, suggesting it cancel a contract with Blacklock’s. Korski suggested Geist “had surreptitiously organized a boycott of their family business a year prior to the podcast, then posed as a dispassionate legal expert in criticizing the company.” Canadaland said it had no reason to know about the email and had nothing to conceal. In dismissing the complaint, the NNC noted Prof. Geist’s email was addressed to one person and no evidence of a wider boycott was offered.

Steve Paikin

TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin podcast is now available on Amazon Alexa. TVO has partnered with VoiceX Labs to make the current affairs program a free Alexa skill. It can be accessed within Alexa’s Flash Briefing, a service that provides an overview of the latest news and other content.


Donnelly Rhodes

Donnelly Rhodes, 80, on Jan. 8, of cancer. Born in Winnipeg, Rhodes joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as an airman-mechanic, before starting his career as an actor. He studied at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada. He made his professional stage debut at Stratford as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire before becoming a contract player for Universal in the U.S. where he appeared on Bonanza, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Cheers, Golden Girls, and the Young and the Restless, as well as ABC spoof Soap. Rhodes was best known to Canadian audiences for roles on Sidestreet, Street Legal, Battlestar Galactica and as Grant “Doc” Roberts in Danger Bay. He earned a Gemini award for playing detective Leo Shannon in Da Vinci’s Inquest in 2002 and a Gemini Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. Rhodes was also recognized by the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame with a star on Vancouver’s Granville Street Star Walk.

Vernon Traill

Vern Traill, 92, on Jan. 3, in Moose Jaw. Traill, who earned the nickname “The Cowboy,” started his career with CHAB Moose Jaw, moving to Edmonton in 1980 to take on general manager duties at CHED. He returned to Moose Jaw to manage CHAB in 1988. For a number of years, Traill also served as chairman of the Radio Bureau of Canada. Notorious for his love of good fun, he leaves a legacy of stories from filling the swimming pool at Moose Jaw’s Heritage Inn with lake water and trout for a charity fishing derby, to the time he moved the vacationing CHAB sales manager’s home from its foundation after he complained about the area he lived in. Read more on Edmonton Sun contributor Cam Tait’s blog here.

Alan Bleviss

Alan Bleviss, 76, on Dec. 30 after a long battle with lung cancer. Edmonton-born Bleviss took theatrical training at the University of Alberta drama school and the National Theatre School of Canada, before starting an unexpected career as a voiceover artist when his agent sent him to an audition for a Canada Dry commercial. That led to more TV spots and trailers for Hollywood movies like Scarface, Dirty Dancing and Flashdance. He eventually became the voice of Enterprise Rental Cars, AT&T, American Express Gold and the Democratic Party during the Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Michael Dukakis campaigns. His success in the U.S. led him to move to New York City in 1976. In 1992, Bleviss developed chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, which left him with partial paralysis and damage to his voice. Therapy eventually allowed him to work again. Bleviss earned six Clio awards during his career and was honoured by the Cannes Film Festival in 1985. He funded the Bleviss Laboratory Theatre at the University of Alberta and the Bleviss Family Library at the National Theatre School of Canada, where he also sat on the board of directors.

Murray Johns

Murray Johns, 63, on Jan. 4, following a lengthy illness. Johns’ radio career spanned 30 years with among his senior positions, retail sales manager at CFRB-AM Toronto, general sales manager at Q107 (CILQ-FM) and director of sales for Corus Radio Toronto.

Paola Melania Italia Simonetto and Aldo Nova

Paola Melania Italia Simonetto, 56, on Dec. 25, of pancreatic cancer. Simonetto was head of development and talent recruitment for Musiqueplus and MusiMax from 1998 to 2004 and served as senior producer between 1998 and 2001, championing the careers of many Quebec musicians along the way, including her partner – musician and producer Aldo Nova. In 2015, she joined Montreal firm CMJ Productions II where she was part of a development team creating HD documentaries, moving on to boutique marketing and firm LGG Inc. In 2016, Simonetto launched online boutique Femme Fatale Glamour, focused on retro Hollywood fashion. She was developing another site geared toward a younger market when she died.


Bell Media and Bloomberg Media are partnering to create business news brand BNN Bloomberg. Launching this Spring, the partnership will see the addition of international programs like Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia and Bloomberg Markets: European Open added to the BNN broadcast schedule. BNN will also draw on Bloomberg journalists from across Canada and around the world to bolster its daytime coverage. BNN’s syndicated radio content will be made available for distribution to Bell Media Radio stations, including rights to distribute the Bloomberg Radio livestream in Canada and a new channel on will relaunch as with an expanded offering of articles, video, and market data.

Scott Russell, Andi Petrillo, Alexandre Despatie, and Kelly VanderBeek

CBC has unveiled its full hosting lineup ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Joining previously-announced hosts Scott Russell (Olympic Games Primetime); Andi Petrillo and Alexandre Despatie (co-hosts, Olympic Games Morning); and Kelly VanderBeek and Craig McMorris (co-hosts, Olympic Games Overnight) are Cassie Campbell-Pascall; Kurt Browning; Jennifer Heil; Jon Montgomery; Perdita Felicien; and Kerrin Lee-Gartner, among others. Live coverage of PyeongChang 2018 on CBC’s partner networks will be hosted on TSN by Nabil Karim, Kara Wagland and Cory Woron, while coverage on Sportsnet will be hosted by Brad Fay and Caroline Cameron, with Arash Madani reporting from Pyeongchang. Special editions of Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will be part of CBC broadcasts during select men’s and women’s ice hockey games, as the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast schedule permits.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada is the lead sponsorship partner of the inaugural season of CTV’s The Launch. Coinciding with the series premiere on Jan. 10, the partnership will see co-branded promos featuring an emerging artist from the show introducing an upcoming Marvel or Disney film trailer. Emerging artists from The Launch will also release content on their social media accounts.

Shonda Rhimes

CTV has announced some of the offerings on its 2018 midseason schedule, featuring premiere dates for new dramas Deception (Mar. 11), The Crossing (Apr. 2), Shonda Rhimes’ For The People (Mar. 13) and an as yet untitled Grey’s Anatomy spinoff (Mar. 22), as well as the return of Quantico (Apr. 26). In addition, the network has announced the pick-up of three new comedies for CTV Two’s midseason schedule Splitting Up Together, Living Biblically, and Alex Inc.

Vidéotron is dropping American cable channel AMC. The channel, which the cable provider picked up in 2013, will disappear on Feb. 12. A statement from the company says as a regional carrier, it could not meet AMC’s demands and financial requirements.

DHX Brands, the brand management and consumer products arm of DHX Media has signed its first two consumer products deals in China for the preschool hit Teletubbies, appointing licensees to launch a new range of toys and produce a children’s publishing line. The agreements follow the successful rollout of the new Teletubbies series in China on the country’s most popular streaming services, including iQIYI, Youku, and Tencent.

Ashley McKenzie

Ashley McKenzie has won the $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award for her film Werewolf, about a homeless Cape Breton couple struggling with methadone addiction. Runner-up awards were presented to Kevan Funk for Hello Destroyer and Joyce Wong for Wexford Plaza. The honours were handed out at the Toronto Film Critics Association gala on Tuesday night. Sean Baker drama The Florida Project won best picture, while The Breadwinner took the best animated feature category.


The Nielsen Music 2017 Year-End Report shows overall consumption of albums, songs and On-Demand Audio streaming grew 13.6 per cent year-over-year and on Dec. 3 surpassed the 900 million per week mark for the first time. R&B/Hip-Hop was Canada’s fastest-growing music genre of the year, with an 86 per cent increase in streaming consumption over 2016. Download the full report here.

theScore has launched the first-ever fantasy sports game for the Instant Games platform on Messenger and Facebook News Feed. theScore Fantasy Sports offers contests for NFL Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, and EPL Soccer, with support for more leagues coming soon. Since launching just over a year ago, the Instant Games platform now offers more than 70 games.

Connect to Innovate, along with in-kind funding from the Province of Manitoba and Indigenous Services Canada, will see $83.9 million put into building digital backbone networks to get 112 rural and remote communities online and able to access high-speed Internet. Of those 112 communities, 48 are First Nations and 21 located in regions without year-round road access. First Nations-owned Clear Sky Connections will receive the bulk of the funding ($33.5 million) to provide 72 communities with online access, while the rest of funding will be distributed between Valley Fiber Ltd. ($10.3 million), Bell MTS ($2.7 million) and Broadband Communications North ($673,000).

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced that it’s the first Canadian public sector incubator to take advantage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) programs available for Canadian public sector startups. Projects from CIRA’s Community Investment Program will have access to a variety of AWS programs to help scale up online activities and accelerate delivery of new products and services.


The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has formally asked the CRTC to hold a public inquiry into allegations of aggressive and misleading sales practices at telecom and broadcast service providers in the wake of recent media reports. PIAC submits that many of the aggressive sales practices appear to have targeted vulnerable consumers and that it “would be surprised, given the nature of the markets and market players involved, if these practices were not widespread across the industry, rather than being the property of one provider.” Read the full letter here.

The CRTC has launched a survey asking Canadians about their viewing and listening habits. Part of the consultation on the future of programming distribution in Canada, the survey aims to better understand why some Canadians still watch traditional TV and listen to traditional radio, while others watch and listen online only. Canadians can fill out the survey until Jan. 31, and submit comments until Feb. 13.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) will honour broadcast and music industry leader Gary Slaight with the 2018 Humanitarian Award. Given out annually at the JUNO Awards, the award recognizes philanthropic efforts made by Canadian artists or industry leaders who have made a positive impact on social welfare worldwide. This year’s award will be presented at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards Presented by SOCAN on Mar. 24 in Vancouver.

The CRTC has cited six telecommunications service providers for failing to join the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services Inc. (CCTS). BV Communications, Connexio Inc., ICA Microsystems Inc., Mazagan Telecommunications, Toronto Telecom, and VerseTEL Communications Inc. have until Feb. 22 to respond and show cause as to why the provider shouldn’t be fined $50,000 and their directors $15,000 each.

The CRTC has set out directives for wireless service providers to follow with respect to enabling customers to make Internet Protocol (IP)-based 9-1-1 voice calls over wi-fi networks. In addition, the commission is seeking recommendations from the Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) of the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee, which is researching a standardized solution to determine the location of wireless 9-1-1 calls processed over wi-fi networks. The CRTC is also encouraging wireless device manufacturers to implement the best practice of having all wi-fi 9-1-1 calls made on their devices automatically default to a cellular network when one is available.

TELUS has acquired all of the customers, assets and operations of AlarmForce Industries Inc. in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. BCE Inc. announced its agreement to acquire AlarmForce in Nov. 2017. With the deal closed Jan. 5, TELUS has purchased the western operations of AlarmForce from Bell for approximately $66.5 million.

Corus Entertainment Inc.’s first quarter results were below expectations, as gains in local Radio advertising and the company’s Nelvana content business were offset by weak television advertising market conditions. Consolidated revenues for the three months ended Nov. 30 were $457.4 million, down two per cent from $468 million last year. Net income attributable to shareholders for the quarter was $77.7 million ($0.38 per share basic and diluted), as compared to $71.1 million ($0.36 per share basic and diluted) last year.

The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) is establishing the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame to recognize journalists and journalism builders who have made a significant contribution to the profession of journalism. Anyone can nominate an individual at any stage of a journalism career in Atlantic Canada, retired from journalism, posthumously, or as a journalism educator. Applications can be submitted online at by Mar. 31 each year. The submission deadline for the 37th Atlantic Journalism Awards is Feb. 1. Details of the 28 categories and entry guidelines can be found at