The Weekly Briefing


Bob ‘the Moj’ Marjanovich, Giulio Caravatta, Farhan Lalji, and Dave Naylor

TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver will remain the official radio broadcaster of the BC Lions with a new deal that extends the partnership through to 2022. Coverage of the coming season will kick off live from training camp in Kamloops on May 20. The 2018 broadcast team will include play-by-play commentator Bob ‘the Moj’ Marjanovich, alongside analyst and former Lions quarterback Giulio Caravatta. Contributing insight and analysis will be CFL Insiders Farhan Lalji, Dave Naylor and Glen Suitor.  

Justin “Drex” Wilcomes

Corus Radio is launching a new late-night, national talk show The Shift with Drex. Starting Jan. 22, host Justin “Drex” Wilcomes will offer a take on the day’s headlines. The four-hour show, will air on 980 CKNW Vancouver, 770 CHQR Calgary, 630 CHED Edmonton, 680 CJOB Winnipeg, AM 640 Toronto (CFMJ-AM), 900 CHML Hamilton, and 980 CFPL London, is promising interviews with newsmakers and lively, audience-driven debate via listener calls and online commenting. Drex, an Australian import, has most recently been co-host of the weekday afternoon show Steele & Drex on 980 CKNW, alongside Lynda Steele.

Samsung is the latest company to announce it’s unlocking FM chips in all its upcoming smartphones in the U.S. and Canada. Samsung will partner with the NextRadio app, which connects to local FM stations, using 20 per cent less data and three times less battery than traditional streaming. NextRadio partnered with LG to activate FM in its phones last August and Sprint back in 2013.

The CRTC has approved an application by Byrnes Communications Inc. to acquire CJED-FM Niagara Falls and CFLZ-FM Fort Erie from Vista Radio Ltd. for $800,000. The commission is waiving the payment of tangible benefits, with Byrnes arguing the public interest is better served by it investing in the two stations, which have experienced significant financial losses over the last five years.

Rogers Media has entered into an agreement with Clear Sky Radio Inc. to acquire the broadcasting license for 102.1 CJCY-FM Medicine Hat, subject to CRTC approval. CJCY-FM will join Rogers station 105.3 ROCK (CKMH-FM) Medicine Hat, rounding out the company’s portfolio of 55 radio stations across the country.

The CRTC has approved an application from Comité de la Radio communautaire Huronne-Wyandot inc. for a new broadcasting licence to operate a Type B Native FM radio station in Wendake, Quebec. The not-for-profit currently operates low-power, Native radio station CIHW-FM Wendake. The new station would operate at 100.3 MHz (channel 262A) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 239 watts (maximum ERP of 400 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 18.9 metres).

Bell Media has applied to increase the signal strength of KFUN 99.5 (CKKW-FM) Kitchener from 4.3kW to 37.5kW, in part to counter interference from WDCX-FM Buffalo. The move would improve the signal toward Hamilton and Guelph, in addition to Kitchener-Waterloo. The intervention deadline is Feb. 9.

‘El Presidente’ Dave Portnoy, Kevin ‘KFC’ Clancy, Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, and Pat McAfee

SiriusXM has launched men’s lifestyle channel Barstool Radio, featuring what it’s billing as an “irreverent and unfiltered approach” to covering sports and popular culture. Live, original weekday programming will include call-in shows hosted by ‘El Presidente’ Dave Portnoy, Kevin ‘KFC’ Clancy, Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, Pat McAfee and others, in addition to airing popular podcasts like Pardon My Take, Laces Out, KFC Radio, and I Am Rapaport.

SiriusXM Canada has unveiled its new platform SiriusXM with 360L, featuring thousands of hours of on-demand content and 200+ live channels. The platform will make its debut in the 2019 Ram 1500 truck. SiriusXM says 360L offers content recommendations based on listening preferences; more variety, including exclusive content; and the ability to sync with a listener’s mobile phone, among other features.


Bill McCambly

Bill McCambly, 84, on Dec. 17 in Calgary. McCambly served in the Royal Canadian Navy for six years and was a veteran of the Korean War, before starting a career as a broadcasting engineer at CJLH-TV Lethbridge. He later moved to CFAC-TV Calgary, which became Global Television. McCambly retired in 1996 after 41 years in broadcasting.

Ron Wray

Ron Wray, 80, on Dec. 17 in Owen Sound. Wray started with CFOS-AM Owen Sound in Jan. 1957, after coming to town with the intention of joining the RCMP. The office was closed and when it started to rain, he went into the radio station across the street, never having stepped foot in one. Wray went in, applied for a job, had an audition and started work the following Monday. He stayed with the station for 42 years in a variety of roles, from on-air work to running the station’s creative department. Listen to a 2010 interview with Wray here.

Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson, 74, on Jan. 14. Wilson was the creator and executive producer of the “WKRP in Cincinnati” sitcom, which chronicled life at a struggling radio station. Airing for four seasons on CBS from 1978-82, Wilson loosely based the sitcom on real life events, using WQXI-AM Atlanta as his inspiration. The infamous “Turkeys Away” Thanksgiving-stunt episode was inspired by a turkey giveaway WQXI general manager Jerry Blum conjured up in the late 1950s in Dallas when he dropped turkeys off a pickup truck. The series was nominated for an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy three times, losing twice to Taxi and once to Barney Miller. Nearly a decade after the show ended, Wilson created “The New WKRP in Cincinnati,” which aired briefly in syndication in 1991. Wilson also wrote and directed a number of feature films, including Stroker Ace and 1984’s Police Academy.


CBC/Radio-Canada has announced Telelatino Network as an official licensed broadcaster for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and Tokyo 2020. TLN coverage of PyeongChang will include Italian and Spanish language broadcasts from featured men’s and women’s ice hockey games and daily highlights. Tokyo 2020 coverage will feature select, live soccer broadcasts in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese on the network.

TSN has unveiled its 2018 MLS ON TSN regular season broadcast schedule, which kicks off Mar. 3. Headlined by 75 games featuring Canadian teams, including every match of defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC, the roster also includes every Vancouver Whitecaps FC match, 12 Montreal Impact matches, and a slate of marquee games featuring U.S.-based teams. CTV will air nine Saturday afternoon games featuring Canadian teams from mid-March until mid-May. Find the complete schedule here.

Logan Staats

CTV says the premiere of it’s highly-promoted music competition series The Launch won its time slot among key demos, with artist Logan Staats single The Lucky Ones debuting at #1 on iTunes. The Launch: Director’s Cut also premiered on CraveTV as one of the Top 2 most-streamed series.


Margaret Atwood, Pat Ellingson, Clark Johnson, and Peter Mansbridge

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced the nominees in 30 categories for the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala. The Canadian Screen Awards will be presented over four nights during Canadian Screen Week (Mar. 5-11), culminating with the gala, which will be televised live on CBC. The winners in each of the 30 categories, as well as the Special Award recipients announced last fall (Margaret Atwood, Pat Ellingson, Clark Johnson, Peter Mansbridge, Denis McGrath, Karyn Pugliese, Jay Switzer, Rick Mercer Report, and Bell Let’s Talk) will be honoured. Find the complete list of nominees here.

Jennifer Podemski

ACTRA Toronto has announced the nominees for the 16th Annual ACTRA Awards in Toronto, a celebration of the organization’s 75th anniversary. Happening at The Carlu on Feb. 24, ACTRA Toronto performer Tamara Podemski will present her sister Jennifer Podemski with the Award of Excellence. Colin Mochrie hosts. Following the lead of #TIMESUP, the dress code will be black. Find the full list of nominees here.

Angela Santomero and Samantha Freeman

9 Story Media Group has acquired NYC-based children’s content creator Out of the Blue Enterprises. Founded in 2005 by Blue’s Clues co-creator Angela Santomero and former Nickelodeon exec Samantha Freeman, Out of the Blue is best known for Super WHY; Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; and interactive art adventure program Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Out of the Blue will become a wholly owned subsidiary of 9 Story Media Group with Freeman staying on to lead the company and Santomero continuing to serve as creator and executive producer.

DHX Media has announced that a second season of its animated series Supernoobs has been exclusively licensed by Turner’s Cartoon Networks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and in Asia Pacific. The 26-episode order is produced by DHX’s Vancouver animation studio. The broadcast deals come on the heels of a recent agreement with Hulu, which saw the digital service take exclusive SVOD and FVOD rights for Season 1 of Supernoobs in the U.S.

DHX Media and Nickelodeon have a new international broadcast agreement for Season One of original DHX Media series Massive Monster Mayhem. Following the show’s successful premiere on Nicktoons in the U.S., Nickelodeon International has picked it up for air across more than 140 territories.

Look Mom! Productions, Blue Ant Media’s Toronto-based animation studio, has started production on comedy Gary & His Demons. Produced in partnership with L.A.-based MONDO, the series is set to premiere on MONDO’s channel on VRV in Spring 2018 and will be offered to buyers worldwide late this year. The series is created by Mark Little, known for his work on Picnicface, Space Riders and Mr. D, who also serves as head writer, co-director and the voice of Gary.

Bryan and Sarah Baeumler

Corus Entertainment has struck a three-year partnership with Royal Bank of Canada and HGTV Canada’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler. The multi-platform partnership launches Jan. 14 with the RBC Home Someday Contest in tandem with the Season 2 premiere of Bryan Inc. on HGTV Canada. Promotion will be featured on multiple Corus networks including HGTV Canada, Global Television, DIY, and DejaView in broadcast and online.

The CRTC has sided with Bell over Quebecor Media in a dispute over distribution of TVA Sports in the francophone market. The commission says it found no evidence to support the rate increase proposed by Quebecor and that Bell’s offer is therefore more reasonable. In October, Quebecor asked the commission to initiate a final offer arbitration process relating to the distribution of the sports service, stating that despite efforts to reach a mutual agreement, the parties were at an impasse and third-party intervention had become necessary.

Marci Ien

Marci Ien will host primetime special In Their Own Words: A Bell Let’s Talk Day Special on Jan. 31. The one-hour special, airing on CTV and CTV Two, was filmed in Halifax, Regina, Iqaluit, and Toronto. Ien travels to each city to be welcomed into the homes of Canadians coping with mental illness.


Rogers Media has beta launched dynamic ad insertion (DAI) advertising on live and on-demand audio streams for all 55 of its radio stations.  Using ad tech platform AdsWizz, the in-stream digital audio insertion capability will target listeners with tailored, unskippable ads. Ad buyers will be able to access inventory via AudioMatic, AdsWizz’s own audio DSP, as well as TheTradeDesk, MediaMath, AppNexus and Adobe (formally TubeMogul). Rogers Radio live streams are available on owned and operated sites and mobile apps, and through Radioplayer, TuneIn, and smart speakers.

The Coalition for Culture and Media, made up of nearly 50 creative industries associations including the Directors Guild of Canada and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, has requested a meeting with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The coalition is once again calling on Morneau to tax foreign streaming services like Netflix, saying it is not too late to take action before the next budget.

BritBox, the SVoD streaming service from BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, will launch in Canada in early 2018. Launched in the U.S. last March, the service is offered as a monthly subscription without a contract, and will be available online, via mobile (iOS and Android), Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is funding 19 interactive digital media projects as part of the second round of production support from the 2017-18 Experimental Stream Innovation Program. Total funding of $11.3 million will support development of 12 games, five rich and interactive media, and two software applications. Find the list of projects here.

Facebook is making more changes to its News Feed algorithm that will prioritize posts from friends and family over public content. Facebook says posts that inspire back-and-forth commenting, shares and reactions will appear higher in the feed. Publishers and businesses are being warned they may see their Page reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease, dependant on the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.

Facebook and We Matter will host the first-ever #HopeForum on Jan. 21-22 for Indigenous youth to address the suicide crisis impacting their communities. Last fall, We Matter and Facebook partnered on the launch of a PSA targeting Indigenous youth, which Facebook says are super users of the platform. #HopeForum participants will be offered a special training session on Facebook’s suicide prevention tools.


Evan Kosiner

Evan Kosiner, Canadian broadcaster and philanthropist, is suing the CRTC for refusing to unpublish allegedly defamatory statements. The suit pertains to Accessible Media Incorporated (AMI) and president and CEO David Errington’s alleged defamation of Kosiner in AMI’s response to interventions regarding its licence for AMI-tv and AMI-audio.

Jeremy Cohn and Constable Todoruck

Jeremy Cohn, the Global News cameraman arrested by Hamilton Police while covering a fatal May 2017 accident, has filed a wrongful arrest suit against the officer and police service. Cohn’s lawsuit seeks $700,000 in general damages for negligence, false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of mental suffering and breach of Charter rights, as well as $200,000 for punitive damages. According to the statement of claim, Cohn was held for 45 minutes without being told why or informed of his right to contact a lawyer, before being released without charge.

Heather Butts

Halifax Regional Police have arrested a man in connection with a Dec. 29 incident in which a man walked into a CTV Atlantic live shot featuring reporter Heather Butts and uttered the offensive “FHRITP” phrase. CTV News at Six was on location at a Halifax pub, reporting on the World Junior Hockey Championship. Police have charged Nash John Gracie, 25, with public mischief and causing a disturbance. He’s due to appear in court Mar. 1.

Brian Masse

Brian Masse, the NDP’s Innovation Critic, is calling on the Parliamentary Committee on Industry Science and Technology (INDU) to invite Apple to defend its 10.2.1 Operating System software update. Apple recently acknowledged that the performance of the iPhone 6 or older was deliberately slowed down in the update, it says to avoid device shutdown caused by a decline over time of the output capability of lithium-ion batteries. Masse says Apple should have been more transparent with consumers.

Bell has acquired Quebec’s Groupe Maskatel LP. The regional telecommunications company provides internet access, digital television and phone services for residential and business clients. The company also operates community cable channel ZoneTV which broadcasts to Saint-Hyacinthe, Drummondville, and surrounding areas.

Bell is doubling its annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to $2 million. The fund supports local mental health programs that improve access to care. Since it was established in 2011, it’s provided 414 individual grants of up to $25,000 to registered Canadian charities. Bell Let’s Talk Day is approaching on Jan. 31.

The CBC/Radio Canada president’s position has been re-posted with a new deadline of Jan. 29. The independent committee charged with finding Hubert Lacroix’s successor has asked the federal government to reopen the posting to include qualified Canadians living abroad, after clarification of the parameters. The original deadline for applications was Aug. 15, 2017. Lacroix, who has served in the role since 2008, has agreed to stay on until his replacement is chosen.

The new CJF-Facebook Journalism Project News Literacy Award is now accepting applications. The deadline is Feb. 16. A joint initiative by The Canadian Journalism Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project, the award was established to promote news literacy among Canadians and carries a $10,000 prize. It will be presented at the annual CJF Awards on June 14 at the Fairmont Royal York. Early-bird tickets and tables are available until Jan. 31.