The Weekly Briefing



Jack Sweeney and Matt DeBeurs broadcasting live

CISN Country 103.9 and Edmonton’s Corus stations raised over 1.4 million dollars during the 19th annual Corus Radiothon, in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Alberta. With the support of 92.5 Fresh Radio (CKNG-FM) and 630 CHED, along with a special live broadcast from Global News Edmonton, this year’s fundraiser hit one of its biggest totals in the last decade. Since 2000, the Corus Radiothon has raised more than $22 million for kids in need.

CICV-FM, Lake Cowichan, BC’s community radio station, has shut down for lack of volunteers.  At the request of the Cowichan Valley Community Radio Society, the CRTC has revoked the broadcasting license for the low-power, English-language station.

Rob Macleod

Rob Macleod has wrapped up the longest-running blues show on Canadian commercial radio after 10 years. Macleod started as a jock at The Coast FM (CIYN-FM) Kincardine, initially playing rare and obscure music, but when a group called the Bruce County Blues Society came onto the local scene they partnered to launch a one-hour blues show, starting in 2007. The show later went to two hours, and then extended to three after the station was relaunched as myFM in 2010. For the last five years, Macleod has recorded the show remotely from Germany.

Jim Robson

Jim Robson, the legendary Vancouver Canucks radio and television announcer, will be honoured by the City of Maple Ridge with a street to be renamed Jim Robson Way. Part of the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the Canucks’ current play-by-play announcer, John Shorthouse, will act as MC for the Jan. 27 event. Robson, 83, was born in Prince Albert, SK., but spent much of his childhood in Maple Ridge, and graduated from Maple Ridge Secondary School.

Vista Radio has voluntarily surrendered the licenses for all of its low power AM rebroadcast transmitters in B.C. Vista says the equipment is in a state of disrepair and it’s not economically viable to replace them. The stations affected are CIFJ-AM 1480 Fort St. James and CIFL-AM 1450 Fraser Lake, which both simulcast CIVH 1340 Vanderhoof; as well as CHLD-AM 1480 Granisle and CKBV-AM 1490 New Hazelton, which both simulcast CFBV-AM 870 Smithers.

The Bear 93.1 (CHLW-FM) Barriere, BC has been sold to Kenneth Brown. The license for the low-power, English-language commercial station was previously held by retired broadcaster Stephen Guay, who is best known for his time in Montreal under the on-air name Steve Shannon.

1940 RCA 50 kW shortwave transmitter

A 1940 RCA 50 kW shortwave transmitter, located at the decommissioned CBC/Radio- Canada International site in Sackville, NB is up for sale. The 222-acre property was bought last February by Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated, a group of Mi’kmaq First Nations, who are still taking electronic components apart at the site and removing old equipment. The group is asking $5,000 for the piece of Canadian radio history, which is no longer in working order. Read more here.


Antonio Biamonte

Antonio Biamonte, in late December, in Edmonton. Tony started his radio and television career in 1949 as an announcer for CKUA-AM Edmonton. He moved on to CKXL-AM Calgary, and later CFRN-TV and radio in Edmonton, where he worked for over 20 years. One of his career highlights was hosting one of the first television shows to air across the country, “Cross-Canada Barndance” with Gaby Haas, where he also appeared as a sometime vocalist. After retiring from broadcasting in 1973, Biamonte spent 15 years teaching for the Radio and Television Arts program at NAIT, until his second retirement in 1990.

Peter Kaczmarek

Peter Kaczmarek, 88, on Jan. 20. Kaczmarek immigrated to Manitoba from Poland in 1951. Despite no formal education, the natural artist landed a job as a set designer for CBC Winnipeg in 1955. Building sets for TV and game shows, Kaczmarek had to keep pace with evolving technology that allowed cameras to film in higher quality. Outside his 30-year career with the CBC, he also designed sets for Winnipeg’s Hollow Mug Dinner Theatre, Rainbow Stage, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Opera and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.



Bell Media will rebrand its TMN Encore channel early next year to bring Lionsgate’s Starz premium pay television platform to Canada. The collaboration marks the first international launch of Starz since Lionsgate acquired the network in Dec. 2016. Starz content will be introduced across Bell Media platforms, including CraveTV, with Lionsgate films also available to subscribers of French-language Pay TV service Super Écran. Bell Media’s collaboration with Lionsgate also encompasses future exclusive first-window access to the studio’s slate of Hollywood movies.

Rogers Media is ending its three-year joint venture with VICE Canada, saying it wants to redirect money toward content that better aligns with its brand. The VICELAND channel, which launched in Feb. 2016, will remain on air until Mar. 31. Rogers has transferred its interest in VICE Studios to VICE Canada, which has acquired full ownership of the VICELAND content library. VICE says it will be announcing new Canadian partnerships shortly. It currently has a deal with Bell Media to broadcast VICE News Tonight and a partnership with W5 to produce two documentaries focused on the opioid crisis.

BCE Inc. has asked the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC) for an expedited court process and a stay of the CRTC’s decision to ban simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl. The move comes just weeks ahead of the 2018 event on Feb. 4, with Bell Media’s hope that a stay would allow it to sell unsold Super Bowl ad slots for full price. The application follows a December Federal Court of Appeal decision denying Bell’s challenge. The National Football League (NFL) filed a separate notice of application this month for leave to appeal to the SCOC.

The CRTC has approved an an application by Vintage TV Canada (VTC) for a broadcasting licence to operate the “vintage” music programming channel as a licensed discretionary service. Vintage TV Canada, which launched in Oct. 2016, has confirmed that it’s exceeded the 200,000 subscriber threshold for the operation of an exempt service.

The CRTC has granted TVA Group Inc., an amendment to its broadcasting licence for TVA Sports. Specifically, Quebecor had requested that licence conditions be eased to allow the service to average the maximum amount of 12 minutes of advertising material offered in each clock hour over the broadcast day. The CRTC previously granted the same amendment to RDS, to allow for flexibility during live sporting events where advertising windows are influenced by the course of the event being broadcast.

The CRTC has approved Stingray Digital Group’s application for broadcasting licences to operate national, English-language discretionary services Stingray Juicebox, Stingray Loud, Stingray Retro and Stingray Vibe. The former Much-branded channels were abandoned when they no longer qualified for exempt status.

Ericsson has been selected by Bell Canada to power its next generation multiscreen TV services. Bell says Ericsson’s cloud-based MediaFirst TV Platform will enable it to offer an enhanced, personalized and converged multiscreen TV experience to its Fibe TV and Alt TV subscribers. The multi-year deal expands on the companies’ long-term relationship, which dates back to the 2010 launch of Bell’s Fibe TV service and deployment of IPTV platform Mediaroom. When integrated with Mediaroom, MediaFirst will deliver a platform with the ability to easily incorporate third party apps.

DHX Media and Mattel Creations, the television and digital content creation division of Mattel Inc., have inked several international deals for the latest seasons of Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder. Season 11 of Fireman Sam have been struck with France Télévisions; Hop! Media Group (Israel); and MiniMini+, part of Canal+ International (Poland). In home entertainment, rights for Season 11 of Fireman Sam have been signed to Universal Home Video (France), ABC Commercial (Australia) and justbridge (Germany and Austria), while theatrical rights have been signed to Pathé Live (France). Additionally, Season 3 of Bob the Builder has been picked up by SuperRTL (Germany); Télé-Québec (Canada); Hop! Media Group; and MiniMini+. ABC Commercial has also picked up home entertainment and SVOD rights for Australia.

CraveTV’s HBO offerings are getting a boost with Game of Thrones joining its streaming lineup on Feb. 16. Crave’s HBO Collection is expanding over the coming months to include new titles Girls (Feb. 9), The Young Pope (Feb. 23), Silicon Valley (March), The Leftovers (April), Ballers (May), and Vice Principals (Fall 2018).

Christopher Plummer, Denis Villeneuve, J. Miles Dale, and Guillermo Del Toro

Oscar nominations announced so far include Canadian Christopher Plummer, who has received a supporting actor nod for his role in All the Money in the World. Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 received multiple nominations in the craft categories, while Toronto’s J. Miles Dale shares in the best-picture nomination for The Shape of Water. Filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, the dark, Guillermo Del Toro fantasy came just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations shared by All About Eve, Titanic and La La Land. Bell Media co-production The Breadwinner was also nominated for best animated feature.


Spotify has launched new multimedia format Spotlight, that offers news and political coverage, in addition to adding visual elements to podcasts. BuzzFeed, which will produce a daily four to seven minute newscast, is one of eight companies producing programming for the new feature. Spotlight is initially only rolling out to U.S. users.

Facebook began tests in the U.S. this week prioritizing news from “publications that the community rates as trustworthy,” as part of an ongoing effort to reduce fake news and clickbait. Users can still decide which stories appear at the top of News Feed with the See First feature. For publishers, the move means publications deemed trustworthy by users may see an increase in their distribution, while publications that do not score highly could see a decrease.

Andree Lau

HuffPost U.S. is ending its unpaid contributor platform, while HuffPost Canada’s blogging platform will continue unchanged. Editor-in-chief Andree Lau says HuffPost Canada has always differed from its American counterpart in that a team of editors assesses and edits what will be published on a case-by-case basis. In cutting the contributor platform, HuffPost U.S. will add an Opinion section featuring guests columnists and writers, and a Personal section focused on first-person essays, features and Q&A’s with newsmakers, to be written by HuffPost staff.


Bell has experienced its second data breach in less than 12 months. The company says fewer than 100,000 customers were affected by the breach, with hackers illegally accessing customer information, including names and email addresses, and for a smaller number of customers phone numbers, user names and account numbers. Last May, 1.9 million active email addresses and 1,700 names and phone numbers were potentially compromised in another security breach at Bell.

Unifor, the union representing almost 5,000 clerical workers at Bell Canada in Ontario and Quebec, has reached a tentative agreement. Membership meetings and ratification votes will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Mélanie Joly

Mélanie Joly, Min. of Canadian Heritage, has participated in two stakeholder meetings on the best ways to support culture change to curb harassment in the cultural sector. One of the meetings was hosted by the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (Equity), and the other by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). On Jan. 5, Joly requested a review of Canadian Heritage funding policies to ensure that organizations receiving funding promote safe and harassment-free workplaces.

Jean Pelletier

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is calling for nominations for its Lifetime Achievement Award before the Feb. 16 deadline. Among the achievements to be considered are: body of journalistic work during his/her career, contribution to society through outstanding journalism, and recognition and respect from peers and community. Individuals who have worked in any media or journalism category are eligible for consideration. Last year’s recipient was Jean Pelletier, senior director of television current affairs and documentaries for Radio-Canada. The winner will be presented at the CJF Awards in Toronto on June 14.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), together with CBC News, is now accepting applications to its CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships program. The annual award provides a unique opportunity to 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 deadline to apply is Feb. 16.

Erin Davis and Roger Haskett

The BC Association of Broadcasters’ 71st Annual Conference will be held May 15-17 in Kelowna. This year’s speakers include longtime CHFI-FM Toronto host Erin Davis and engagement expert Roger Haskett, among others. Registration is now open. Nominations for the 2018 Humanitarian Award are also open until Jan. 31. The award gives one local non-profit one year of free advertising on television and radio, valued at $1 million. Find more information here.


Triton Digital and Edison Research will release the results of the 2018 U.S. Infinite Dial via Facebook Live on Mar. 8 at 2 p.m. EST. The Infinite Dial remains the longest running study of consumer behaviors related to media and technology in America, including time spent with digital audio, podcasts, smart speakers, social media, video, and mobile.

Videology has introduced its Impact Suite, a collection of video ad measurement studies, to the Canadian market. The measurement tools provide real-time, brand metrics to determine the impact of digital video campaigns on different measures of brand health, including message recall, awareness, consideration, purchase intent and brand favorability. Brand Impact studies are available for desktop video, mobile video, and OTT/Connected TV. For desktop campaigns, online actions are determined via a Videology pixel placed on the advertiser’s website.