The Weekly Briefing



The Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards nominations are out with voting open as of Mar. 28. Industry members can register to vote here. The awards will be handed out on May 10, during Canadian Music Week in Toronto.

Sylvain Chamberland

Attraction Radio, which owns 15 radio stations in Quebec, is being sold to its own vice-president Sylvain Chamberland. Attaction’s founder Richard Speer recruited Chamberland in 2011 to help develop the radio network. The sale is subject to approval by the CRTC.

CJYR-AM Edson is celebrating 50 years of broadcasting. On Apr. 4, 1968 Yellowhead Broadcasting opened up the microphone and the voice of morning-man Wax Williams was heard for the first time on frequency 970, soon to be known as YR Radio. In due time, re-broadcasting transmitters were established in Hinton, Jasper, Grande Cache and Whitecourt. Today, “Real Country West” is owned and operated by Newcap Radio.

Cam Dennison

Tuff City Radio (CHMZ-FM) Tofino remains off the air. Station manager Cam Dennison issued a statement to Tofino business owners last week informing them that licence holder McBride Communications had failed to pay CBC for use of tower space, which resulted in transmission being cut off on Feb. 15. Dennison says he’s currently trying to purchase the licence and that of sister station Ukee Radio (CIMM-FM) Ucluelet, which is unaffected by the issue, from Matthew McBride.

The CRTC is accepting comments until Apr. 26 on several broadcasting applications including Newcap’s bid to purchase New Glasgow stations CKEC-FM and CKEZ-FM from Hector Broadcasting. Rogers Media is also looking to acquire CJCY-FM Medicine Hat from Clear Sky Radio, while International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association seeks to establish Christian stations in Saskatoon and Kelowna.

LIFE 100.3 (CJLF-FM) Barrie’s annual Sharathon fundraiser Mar. 21-22 finished with a combined total of $4,167 in new monthly pledges (104 per cent of the station’s $4,000 goal) and $149,699 in one-time donations, provided by over 800 donors. LIFE 100.3 has repeater stations in Owen Sound at 90.1 FM, Peterborough at 89.3 FM and Huntsville at 98.9 FM.  


SiriusXM Canada has announced the launch of LL COOL J’s  new SiriusXM classic Hip-Hop channel dubbed LL COOL J’s “Rock the Bells Radio.”  The channel will feature a wide range of classic hip-hop content, music, interviews and retrospectives curated and presented by LL, as well as other hip-hop innovators like Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Snoop Dogg, Outkast, Kool Moe Dee, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Run-DMC, De La Soul and others. Rock the Bells Radio aims to bring audiences classic Hip-Hop through the lens of current culture and music.


The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released a new report providing insight into how Canadians are living without paid TV subscriptions. Highlights from the TV My Way Report suggest 27 per cent of Anglophone Canadians are now without a paid linear TV service (cable, satellite or fibre optic); 14 per cent (who tend to be younger, students who live in cel phone only households) are consuming all of their television via the internet. One-third are watching online TV via their smartphones.

AMI-tv will kick off its Toronto Blue Jays baseball coverage broadcasting the season opener on Mar. 29 at 3:30 pm ET. Games are “Live Described” for the blind & partially-sighted community. AMI-tv will broadcast two games each month through the end of the season.

WOW! Unlimited Networks Inc. has applied to the CRTC to acquire Comedy Gold from Bell Media. WOW would purchase the channel’s assets for $6,866,892. Comments are open until Apr. 26.

Kim Cloutier, Joe Zee, and Vanessa Craft

Corus Studios has started production and international sales on Stitched (12×60), an original fashion competition series that “fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion.” Hosted by Canadian fashion model Kim Cloutier, the series boasts resident judges including style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada editor-in-chief Vanessa Craft. Produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Slice, Stitched is shooting in Toronto and slated to premiere this fall.

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) and Corus Entertainment have opened submissions for the 2018 Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program. Attracting experienced writers from across Canada each year, this program offers training and insights into the demands of writing successful television programs. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by Apr. 20. Selected candidates will attend BANFF on a full-access pass and benefit from networking, pitching, and business-building opportunities, in addition to a two-week internship in the writer’s room of a current Canadian comedy or drama series.

Scott Christian Sava

Portfolio Entertainment has partnered with award-winning creator Scott Christian Sava (Animal Crackers, Hyperactive), to develop his graphic novel Pet Robots into an animated comedy series for six to nine year-olds.  Under the terms of the agreement, the Toronto-based producer and distributor will hold worldwide distribution, licensing and merchandising rights for the series.

Julianna Baggott

Mainframe Studios, WOW! Unlimited Media’s Vancouver based animated and live-action television production studio, is about to debut several projects including hybrid live-action /CG animated series ReBoot: The Guardian Code, which will premiere as a Netflix original series on Mar. 30, followed by Canadian distribution on YTV in June. Mainframe is also currently developing The Anybodies, an animated comedy/adventure series, based on the successful book trilogy by author Julianna Baggott (aka N.E. Bode). Mark Risley is on board to direct. The studio has produced 30+ animated Barbie movies with Mattel over the past 17 years.


James Stewart, Fiona Reid, Kate Ross, and Luke Humphrey

Chateau Laurier, the new low-budget Canadian web series from producer/director James Stewart, has made its debut with 300,000 views and 40,000 followers on Facebook in its first week. Featuring a Canadian cast including Fiona Reid (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Kate Ross (Alias Grace), Luke Humphrey (Stratford’s Shakespeare in Love), and the late Bruce Gray (Traders) in his last role, the first season of the web series launched on Mar. 13 with three episodes of three minutes each. Set in turn-of-the-century Ottawa, the series was filmed in one day and produced with the assistance of BravoFACT. The producers are developing additional webisodes and plan to pitch the show as a primetime drama series.

Netflix and similar digital services will be required by the Province of Quebec to collect provincial sales tax as of 2019. Announced in Tuesday’s budget, both Canadian and foreign companies will be required to pay QST once they exceed the $30,000 a year revenue mark.


Marie-Maude Denis

Radio-Canada’s Marie-Maude Denis has been ordered by Quebec Superior Court to reveal who leaked confidential information to her. Last week’s ruling says Denis, one of Quebec’s best-known investigative reporters, must identify sources used for a story on alleged collusion in the awarding of public contracts. The public broadcaster says it will appeal the decision. Michel Cormier, Radio-Canada’s head of news and current affairs, says the ruling threatens the public’s right to be informed.

The CRTC has launched a public process to make lower-cost data-only wireless plans more widely available to Canadians. The commission is also seeking comments on what specific rules, if any, are needed to ensure they are widely available to Canadians. Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus must provide their proposals for lower-cost data-only plans by Apr. 23. The CRTC will then publish for public comment. It’s also announced final rates for wholesale roaming services, the fees national carriers can charge smaller wireless providers to access their networks while roaming. The final rates are between 44 per cent and 99 per cent lower depending on carrier, wireless service and whether it’s voice, data or text. The commission also upheld its decision discounting wi-fi as a home network, which for now, closes the door to wi-fi-first mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

Brett Ruskin, Danielle Barron, Philippe Grenier, and Sheldon MacLeod

The Atlantic Journalism Awards have announced 2017 finalists. Among the nominees are Brett RuskinCBC Halifax; Danielle BarronNTV St. John’s and Philippe Grenier, Radio-Canada Acadie St. John’s for Best Video Journalist. CBC Maritime Noon; The Sheldon MacLeod Show on News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax and Radio-Canada Acadie Moncton are nominated for Best Information News Radio Program. View the complete list of nominees here. The gold and silver awards will be presented Apr. 28 at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel.

The 2018 Emerge Media Awards celebrated the best of Canadian student media in conjunction with the Emerge Media Conference in Toronto. Now in their fourth year, the EMAs showcase the achievements of journalism, media studies and communications students. Find the list of this year’s winners here.


On Broadcast Dialogue, the podcast, publisher Shawn Smith talks to Glyn Evans, one of the founding partners of Stonehenge Digital about the triumphant return of the Great Canadian Suite at NAB Las Vegas.