The Weekly Briefing



CBC Radio 2 has been rebranded to CBC Music, aligning with the branding of the corporation’s website and digital music service. In a Q & A on the CBC Help Centre, the public broadcaster explains that “simply calling ourselves ‘Radio’ wasn’t enough to convey how everything we do is dedicated to music.” The format, programs, hosts and time slots are remaining unchanged, while sites like TuneIn, Apple Radio, Radio Player,; and Sonos will all list Radio 2 with the new CBC Music branding.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has concluded that the 1958 song Squaws Along the Yukon by Hank Thompson, which has aired on SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse, breaches the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Equitable Portrayal Code. The CBSC says the song also breaches the Human Rights clause of the CAB Code of Ethics due to the use of the word “squaw” and the portrayal of Indigenous women in the song. SiriusXM has agreed to abide by the broadcast code, but argued that the context of the song must be taken into consideration, namely that it’s an old song played on a “classic” country station and that “older recordings may at times reflect the insensitivity and ignorance of past eras…” The CBSC English-Language Panel says the age of a song will not “save” it from breaching the codes. Read the full decision here.

Hedley fans have launched a petition to lift the Canadian radio airplay ban on the band’s music following recent sexual misconduct allegations. The petition, which has roughly 1,800 signatures, is addressed to Randy Lennox, president of Bell Media, Doug Murphy, president and CEO of Corus Entertainment, and Hubert T. Lacroix, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. It reads in part: “These allegations are just that, allegations with no substance and or police involvement.”

The CRTC has posted 48 broadcast licence renewals. The deadline for comments on most of the applications is Mar. 26.

890 CJDC-AM Dawson Creek helped raise $17,908 for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation at last week’s Have a Heart Radiothon. The money will go toward the purchase of new beds for the hospital’s maternity ward.



Bruce Pearson

Bruce Pearson, 86, on Feb. 23 in Orillia. The former chairman of the Blackburn Group in London, On, Pearson oversaw the family-owned media group through the divestiture of its extensive assets in the 1990s, following the unexpected death in 1992 of chairperson Martha Blackburn. The London Free Press was sold in 1997, while the company’s three London radio stations were purchased by Corus Entertainment in 1999. Pearson is remembered as a leader with integrity who ran the media group with the transparency of a publicly-traded company.

Arthur Black

Arthur Black, 74, on Feb. 21 of pancreatic cancer. The humorist and media personality got his start with the CBC in Thunder Bay in 1972 as a farm market reporter, eventually coming to host Basic Black, the long-running Saturday morning show that aired on CBC Radio One for 19 years. The show was one of the network’s most popular variety programs and was heard by 600,000 listeners every week. Black signed off from the program when he retired in June 2002, but was still heard on CBC Victoria’s All Points West program with a segment called Planet Salt Spring. Black’s other projects included 19 books, as well as a weekly humour column that at its peak was syndicated to more than 50 newspapers. Black also took a turn as television host in the 1990s, writing and hosting Weird Homes and Weird Wheels on the Life Network.

Laurie Artiss

Laurie Artiss, 86, on Jan. 23 at Nanaimo Hospital. Artiss began his media career in his hometown of Winnipeg in 1948 in the Winnipeg Tribune sports department. He moved on to the Brandon Sun and then the Regina Leader-Post as sports editor, which led to a weekly show with CKCK-TV. In the early 70s, he left broadcasting to start Artiss Ltd., a curling equipment distribution company. Artiss was an inductee of the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Media Roll of Honor, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Donald Seel

Don Seel, 76, on Jan. 26. Seel was a 50-year veteran of TV and radio news, reporting in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. He began his broadcasting career at CJGX-AM Yorkton and then CHAB-AM Moose Jaw. In 1972, Don joined CFCN-AM and CFCN-TV Calgary, as assignment editor, later going to the CFAC-AM and its sister television station. In 1984, Seel joined 66 CFR (CFFR-AM) as a sportscaster where he went on to cover the Calgary Flames for the next two decades. Another of Seel’s career highlights was the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.


CBC/Radio-Canada says between the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 and the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 25, 31 million Canadians tuned in to watch its coverage of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 across all English and French television network partners, digital streaming simulcasts and its Olympics apps. Many Canadians adapted to the 14- to 17-hour time difference with audiences for CBC’s overnight coverage of the Games alone, 767 per cent higher than its average overnight block. The most-watched moment of the Games was Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s gold-medal winning ice dance free skate performance on Feb. 19 which drew 5.7 million viewers (CBC, TSN1, TSN3 and TSN4), with the sudden-death shootout at the end of the Canada vs. USA women’s gold medal hockey game coming in second with 4.8 million viewers (CBC, TSN1,  TSN2, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE). Read more here.

The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of BCE Inc., Rogers, Videotron and TVA Group in their copyright infringement case against Adam Lackman, the man behind TV AddOns, a software application used with Kodi. A civil search warrant order was carried out a property connected to Lackman last June, which a second judge found to be unlawful. Justice Yves de Montigny has now ruled in favour of the telecoms’ appeal, saying they have a strong case.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says the contest program Game Time, broadcast on CHCH-TV Hamilton, breached the Contest provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics for the display of an inaccurate puzzle answer and for lack of transparency in a word-search solution. Viewers of the show are invited to call to solve puzzles and win cash prizes. Each call costs $1 regardless of whether or not the call is randomly selected to be put through to the host. The CBSC investigated two complaints, one over a graphic that involved counting triangles, showing the solution contained triangles that were not in the original picture. The second complaint was that the program is generally unclear about the rules and telephone selection process. The CBSC recommended the program ensure its on-screen scroll is clearly legible and that the information also be provided verbally by the host.

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has secured international distribution rights to Bell Media and Big Machine Label Group collaboration The Launch. SPT will distribute the reality competition music format worldwide, excluding Canada, and has its production company, Electric Ray, on board to produce the show in the U.K. The historic deal represents the first time a Bell Media original television format for CTV has been sold for international distribution. In addition, SPT will also distribute the Canadian series for sale outside of Canada.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire will be recognized with The JUNO International Achievement Award at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards Presented by SOCAN and perform on CBC’s broadcast of The JUNO Awards on Sunday, Mar. 25. The award recognizes Canadian artists who have achieved exemplary success on a global scale. Arcade Fire head into the JUNOs with four nominations, including Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Alternative Album of the Year and Single of the Year for Everything Now.

CTV and CTV GO will air the 90th Oscars, live on Sunday, Mar. 4. Their coverage begins with live red carpet special ETalk at the Oscars, leading into Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From The Red Carpet, prior to the main event hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

ACTRA Toronto has announced the winners of its 16th Annual ACTRA AwardsSheila McCarthy took home the prize for Outstanding Performance for Cardinal, while Stuart Hughes won in the male category for The Drawer Boy. Outstanding Performance – Voice was awarded to Saara Chaudry for her role in The Breadwinner. Baroness Von Sketch Show snagged the The Members Choice Series Ensemble Award. Jennifer Podemski was presented ACTRA Toronto’s 2018 Award of Excellence.

Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse

Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse will be the face of new television dance competition Revolution, developed by TVA, Québecor Content and Fair-Play. Set to air this fall, TVA is holding auditions in Montreal, starting Mar. 10.

CTV’s The Social will celebrate its milestone 1,000th episode on Friday, Mar. 9 on CTV and CTV GO. CTV plans to produce a Facebook Live 360 degree broadcast of the episode simultaneously on, providing an in-depth, interactive companion viewing experience. Now in its fifth season, CTV says The Social garners an average weekly reach of 3 million viewers on CTV, CTV Two, and E!.

Space has the exclusive Canadian broadcast premiere of much-anticipated Superman prologue series Krypton. Celebrating the 80th anniversary of Superman, the series will make its debut Mar. 21 at 10 p.m. ET.


Stéphane Desjardins, which covered the Montreal neighbourhoods of Mercier East, La Petite-Patrie and Plateau Mont-Royal, has shut down after almost five years and 5,000 articles. Founder and editor Stéphane Desjardins says he had hopes to save the indie, online publication by moving to a cooperative model, but cash flow failed before that could materialize.

Barry Wilson

Barry Wilson, former executive producer at CTV Montreal, has launched a YouTube version of his Postscript political opinion segments, that aired on the station before Wilson’s position was eliminated in November. Wilson has also launched a website.

Gregg Zaun

Gregg Zaun has re-emerged in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations and his dismissal from Sportsnet, with a new YouTube channel. Manalyst TV makes its debut on Mar. 1, promising an unfiltered Zaun “untethered by the constraints of network cable television.”




Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) received a pledge of $172 million over five years in this week’s federal budget to keep it at its 2016-17 funding level of $350 million annually, as private sector contributions decline. The budget also opened the door to granting charitable status to news organizations to support investigative and public interest journalism, as well as proposing $50 million over five years to support independent local journalism in underserved communities. While money was earmarked to collect data on foreign OTT services operating in Canada, Unifor was among the groups decrying a lack of measures to close the so-called “digital loophole” in the Income Tax Act that would place Google and Facebook advertising under the same rules as TV and print advertising. In an effort to “fill gaps in knowledge for new and emerging cross-border services industries, such as content streaming services,” the government is pledging $15.1 million over five years to help Statistics Canada “address data gaps in international trade in services” including digital products and services. Addressing the taxation controversy, Finance Min. Bill Morneau said a tax system for the digital sector needs to be determined on a global scale.

Patrick Brown, former Ontario PC leader, has sent a notice of libel to Bell Media. In the notice, Brown alleges CTV engaged in “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” reporting, naming the network, Bell Media, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, reporters Glen McGregor and Rachel Aiello, as well as producers, editors, researchers and fact checkers who worked on the story. CP24, which is also owned by Bell Media, and reporter Travis Dhanraj are also named. Brown resigned his leadership post on Jan. 24 hours after a CTV News report aired in which he was accused of sexual misconduct by two women.

Videotron is now enabling its customers traveling abroad to place toll-free calls over Wi-Fi to a local or Canadian number in more than 100 countries. The new Wi-Fi Calling service lets eligible mobile customers connect to a Wi-Fi network to make voice calls and send text messages. It’s currently available for the iPhone 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X, Samsung S7 and S7 Edge with more devices to be added in the coming weeks.

Huawei and Bell Canada have announced successful Wireless to the Home (WTTH) trials in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands utilizing Huawei’s 5G-oriented Massive MIMO and 8T8R technology. The trials were conducted in the small Ontario communities of Orangeville, Feversham and Bethany. Bell plans deployment of WTTH to rural locations beginning in the second quarter of 2018.

The CRTC has granted Telus, Rogers and TBayTel Inc. more time to implement new requirements of the Wireless Code. The regulator says the companies demonstrated they are facing barriers that made it “financially unreasonable” and “technically impossible” to make required changes to their billing management systems by the original deadline, which was Dec. 1, 2017. TBayTel has an extra year to move to a new billing system, while Rogers has until May 31 and Telus, Mar. 31.

Bloomberg Canada and journalist Andreo Calonzo are among those nominated for the 2018 Financial Journalism Awards. Sponsored by the CFA Society Toronto, the awards recognize the contributions of Canadian-based publications and journalists in helping consumers and advisors gain a better understanding of the investment profession. The winners for each award category will be announced at the awards reception in March.

Anthony Chelvanathan, Julie Markle, Leia Rogers, and Neil Shapiro

Astral has announced that its ninth annual Carte Blanche ad agency competition will feature a a national jury this year, eliminating a general vote from industry members. The 2018 Carte Blanche jury is composed of: Anthony Chelvanathan, Leo Burnett; Julie Markle, Ogilvy; Leia Rogers, Rethink; Neil Shapiro, DDB; Anne-Claude Chénier, Cossette; and Luc Du Sault, lg2. Once again this year, all entrants will be working with the same format: large format digital billboard.


Hunter Communications has been contracted to provide Satellite Space Segment Services to CBC/Radio-Canada. Using its own Ku-band beam that Hunter designed to service Canada and specifically for its far north, Hunter will provide CBC/Radio-Canada with more transmission throughput and the ability to use smaller antennas that are easier to move to remote transmission sites. The long-term agreement officially begins Feb. 2018, however dual illumination and transition has been ongoing since Sept. 2017 while CBC/Radio-Canada re-points nearly 800 antennas across Canada to take advantage of the new capacity.