The Weekly Briefing

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg is being honoured by the Venice International Film Festival with its Golden Lion for lifetime achievement. The Canadian director and screenwriter, 75, is best known for dark, edgy films like Dead Ringers, A History of Violence, Crash and Maps to the Stars. Cronenberg was previously awarded the Cannes’ lifetime achievement award – the Carrosse d’Or – in 2006.

Netflix is developing a new film and television apprenticeship program with Quebec’s INIS (L’institut national de l’image et du son). Netflix’s first partnership agreement with a Quebec organization as part of its commitment to support industry development opportunities in Canada, the program is aimed at those from First Nations, Aboriginal communities or diverse cultural backgrounds in Quebec, to counter the exclusion often experienced by members of those communities. INIS plans to recruit nine students – three scriptwriters, three directors and three producers – for each edition of the program to be offered in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The agreement also includes scholarships for emerging professionals from those communities.

Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen

Netflix has greenlit The Order, a 10-part werewolf drama from Nomadic Pictures, created and written by Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen. Shooting is underway in Vancouver. Netflix has also commissioned V-Wars, set to begin shooting in Sudbury in June. The 10-part vampire series will be produced by Toronto’s High Park Entertainment, in partnership with IDW Entertainment.

Discovery’s latest original Canadian series Hellfire Heroes follows two rural Alberta fire departments working in isolated areas of the province. Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, beginning May 22, the show features the men and women of the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service and Yellowhead County Fire Department, which protect a combined area spanning more than 30,000 square kilometres.

Jean-Marc Vallée, Gillian Flynn, Amy Adams, and Patricia Clarkson

HBO has dropped a trailer for Sharp Objects, the new eight-episode drama from award-winning Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée. Based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Sharp Objects stars Amy Adams as a reporter who returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two pre-teen girls. Also starring Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven, the series will premiere in July on HBO Canada.

CityNews will host the first televised debate featuring all three major Ontario provincial party leaders in advance of the June election. #CityVote: The Debate will air commercial-free on Monday, May 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. ET on City, CityNews.ca, the CityNews Apps and the CityNews Facebook page. For multilingual audiences in Ontario, the debate will also air on OMNI2 at 6 p.m. ET in Punjabi and at 10 p.m. ET in Mandarin. Additionally, analysis of the debate will be featured on OMNI Television’s daily current affairs programs that evening – Focus Punjabi at 7:30 p.m. ET, Focus Cantonese at 8:30 p.m. ET, and Focus Mandarin at 9:30 p.m. ET.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says the f-word should be avoided during sports broadcasts after coarse language was aired during a CFL game on TSN 4 last October. The CBSC found a breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics, concluding that the f-word and variations thereof should not have aired during an Oct. 27 broadcast that began before 9 p.m. and that the broadcast should have contained viewer advisories. Microphones on the field at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats/Ottawa Redblacks game picked up coarse language from the players. There were no viewer advisories during the broadcast or any admonishment by the on-air hosts.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says an episode of Code F broadcast on VRAK at 6 p.m. on May 26, 2017 wasn’t sexually explicit enough to necessitate a post-9 p.m. scheduling. Code F is a program where young women give their opinions on various topics with the episode in question focused on sex shops. The CBSC’s French-Language Panel concluded that VRAK did not breach code because the content was mild and vague rather than explicit. However, VRAK failed to provide an official logger copy of the program for CBSC review purposes, which the panel found breached its CBSC responsibilities.

Raina Douris and Odario Williams

Canadian Music Week and The Guild of Music Supervisors, Canada will present the 1st Annual Canadian Sync Awards on May 12 in Toronto. Hosted by Raina Douris and Odario Williams of CBC Radio 2, the awards will recognize the contribution sync makes to the creative industries with awards for Best Music Supervision – Scripted or Factual TV Production/Series; Best Music Supervision – Feature or Documentary Film; and Best Sync – Commercial, among other awards. Presenters will include legendary producer Nile Rodgers and composer and sound designer Jesper Kyd.

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:


Susan Clairmont, David Crosbie, and Barbara Brown

Cogeco is acquiring 10 regional radio stations owned by RNC Média, including Planète 104.5 (CFGT-FM) Alma, Planète 93.5 (CKXO-FM) Chibougamau, Planète 99.5 (CHRL-FM) Roberval, Planète 100.3 (CHVD-FM) Dolbeau-Mistassini, Radio X 95.7 (CKYK-FM) Saguenay, Capitale Rock 104.3 (CHGO-FM) Val-d’Or, Capitale Rock 102.1 (CJGO-FM) La Sarre, and WOW 96.5 (CHOA-FM) Val-d’Or, Pop 104.9 (CJLA-FM) Lachute and Pop 102.1 (CHPR-FM) Hawkesbury. The total value of the transaction is $18.5 million. Cogeco Media already owns and operates 13 radio stations across Québec.

Graham Gillies, Bella Alphonse, Rob Hopkins, and Crystal Rain Harry

The Tŝilhqot’in Community Radio project in Williams Lake has received $180,500 in federal funding, under the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting component of the Aboriginal Peoples’ Program. Launched in December, the project is a new platform for the Tŝilhqot’in Nation to assist in the revitalization of their language and culture. Broadcasting to the six Tŝilhqot’in communities in B.C., the station plans to provide its audience with a variety of programs in Tŝilhqot’in, Carrier, Nuxalk and English, including language lessons and interviews, news and community updates, traditional stories and songs, music and comedy segments, and a community morning show.

Terry Struthers

The Rock 98five (CJJC-FM) Yorkton broadcast an Apr. 19 Humboldt Broncos benefit hockey game that raised $65,000 for the player’s families. Former Yorkton Terriers play-by-play voices Terry Struthers, Craig Stein and Randy Atkinson called the game which featured teams comprised of former Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League players. The Rock has made copies of the broadcast available on their website with proceeds going to the benefit fund.

Susan Clairmont, David Crosbie, and Barbara Brown

The Hamilton Spectator has debuted a new podcast called Covering Diane, looking at the more than 30-year-old murder case of Robert Badgerow, the first Canadian tried four times for the same murder. He was eventually found guilty in the 1981 death of Diane Werendowicz, a 23 year old nursing assistant. Over its five episodes, the podcast interviews original reporter Barbara Brown and includes audio clips from original interviews. The podcast was produced by columnist Susan Clairmont and the Spec’s former web editor David Crosbie, who is now a producer with Canadaland.

101.5 my FM (CKMO-FM) Orangeville, ON helped Headwaters Health Care Foundation (HHCF) reach its fundraising goal of $20,000 during its second annual radiothon on Apr. 11. Airing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the 12-hour event featured on-air personalities in conversation with hospital patients, staff, sponsors, and physicians. Money raised will go toward the purchase of an ICU specialty bed.

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is raising funds for the Tyler Bieber and Brody Hinz Memorial Bursary, honouring the two young broadcasters killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy. The scholarship, based on financial need, would go to a Radio Television Journalism program student “with an interest in a career in sports broadcasting and a commitment to community service, particularly within the sports community.”

SIGN-OFFS:

Audrey Nelson

Audrey Nelson, 83, on Apr. 16, of complications from COPD. Nelson is remembered as the longtime engineering secretary for CFRN Edmonton for several decades. She retired in the late 1990s.

Cyril Hunt, 93, on Apr. 3. Hunt started his career with CBC Alberta’s engineering department in 1954 at CBX-AM Lacombe, the CBC’s first 50 KW regional transmitter in the province. In 1964, he moved to CBX Edmonton, working over the years with CBXT-TV, French signal CBXFT-TV which signed on in 1970, CHFA-AM (when the station was bought by the CBC in 1974), and CBX-FM when it signed on in 1978. He also took care of all the LPRTs (40 watt AM transmitters in remote communities) that were fed from CBX-AM. Hunt eventually became supervisor of the Edmonton Transmitter Group. He retired in 1985.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Brodie Fenlon

Brodie Fenlon, CBC’s senior director of Daily News and Bureaus, is this year’s recipient of the Digital Publishing Leadership Award, which honours an individual whose career contributions to Canadian digital publishing deserve recognition and celebration. Brodie will be presented with his award at the DPA Soirée in Toronto on May 29. Brodie spent four years at The Globe and Mail before becoming managing editor of news at The Huffington Post Canada where played a strategic role in launching the first international edition of the U.S. website. At the CBC, Brodie has overseen the launch of new iOS and Android apps, the mobile site, and a number of interactive tools and templates.

Monika Bickert

Facebook has published the internal guidelines the social platform uses to enforce its standards policy determining what does and doesn’t belong. Monika Bickert, vice-president of Global Policy Management, says Facebook decided to publish the guidelines to help people understand where they draw the line on nuanced issues, and to make it easier to obtain feedback so those guidelines can be improved as social norms and language evolve. The 27-pages of Community Standards spell out which groups are banned from Facebook (mass murderers, terrorists, human traffickers, organized hate or violence); markers for objectionable content; and respect for intellectual property rights, among other policy rationale.

Bell is investing more than $100 million to bring its all-fibre optic network to the City of Oshawa. The Oshawa network is part of Bell’s plan to deploy all-fibre connections to an additional 1.3 million homes and businesses throughout the GTA/905 region. Working closely with the Oshawa Power & Utilities Commission (OPUC) as well as local contractors Telecon for fibre installation, the deployment will include more than 240 kilometres of new fibre installed underground and on several hundred Bell and OPUC poles. The all-fibre connections are expected to be accessible starting this fall.

CBS All Access streaming service is now available in Canada, ahead of what was an anticipated June launch. The service, which costs $5.99 a month, boasts more than 7,500 commercial-free episodes on demand, and the ability to live stream CBSN and CBS News’ 24/7 streaming news service. Canada marks its first international expansion.

GENERAL:

Ronald Lund

Rogers and BCE Inc. have registered to lobby the government on proposed Senate legislation aimed at banning junk food advertising to kids under 17. Corus already had Bill S-228 or the Child Health Protection Act on its radar. Ronald Lund, president of the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) told the standing committee on health that while supportive of the government’s objective to reduce childhood obesity, the legislation would be a “regulatory overreach” with economic consequences.

Rogers, Bell and Telus have submitted their proposals to the CRTC for low-cost data-only plans. While varying in price, each plan offers unlimited data, talk and text over Wi-Fi. Rogers offers a $25 plan with 400MB of LTE data; Telus proposes a $30 plan through flanker brand Koodo with 500MB LTE data, while Bell proposes a $30 500MB LTE data plan through Virgin Mobile. The CRTC has called for comments with the deadline May 23.

Rogers Communications has released its Q1 2018 results for the quarter ended Mar. 31. The results reflect the newly adopted IFRS 15 (Revenue from contracts with customers) which impacted Wireless and Consolidated results. Total revenue increased 8 per cent during the quarter (or 6 per cent under the prior accounting basis), largely driven by Wireless revenue growth of five per cent (or 7 per cent under the prior accounting basis). Wireless equipment revenue grew 27 per cent (or 8 per cent under prior accounting) as more devices were activated, driven by the highest level of first quarter gross additions of 377,000 and lowest churn of 1.08 per cent in 15 years. Cable revenue increased one per cent. Media revenue, for which sports continues to be the primary driver of growth, increased 12 per cent driven by a higher distribution to the Toronto Blue Jays from Major League Baseball.

Heather Butts

Nash John Gracie, the Halifax man accused of hurling the FHRITP slur at CTV reporter Heather Butts during a live broadcast on Dec. 29, has been referred to Nova Scotia’s restorative justice program. Gracie, 25, was charged with public mischief and causing a disturbance at a Halifax bar after interrupting Butts during a live report on the World Junior Hockey Championship. Restorative justice can involve the accused meeting with the victim and determining what can be done to make amends. If followed through, Gracie could see the charges dropped.

Nadia Stewart, David Thurton, and Adetayo Bero

The Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) is relaunching after several years of inactivity. The relaunch team includes Nadia Stewart, a Global News reporter in Vancouver; CBC Fort McMurray reporter David Thurton; Adetayo Bero, an associate producer at CBC Toronto; and former CABJ president Michelle Lynch.

Joanne Johnson and Bob Layton

The Western Association of Broadcasters has announced that Joanne Johnson and Bob Layton are the 2018 inductees into the WAB Hall of Fame. Johnson, who recently retired, spent the last 25 years of her career as co-host of the Don, Joanne & The Coach morning show on Lite 96 (CHFM-FM) and XL 103 (CFXL-FM) Calgary. Layton, is the longtime news manager, anchor and editorialist at 630 CHED Edmonton. Their induction ceremony will take place June 7 at the WAB President’s Dinner & Awards Gala at the Fairmont Banff Springs. The WAB Gold Medal Awards for Community Service and Leader of Tomorrow Award will also be presented that evening. Find ticket info here.

RTDNA Canada handed out its regional awards on Apr. 22. In the West Region, CBC Vancouver and CTV Vancouver were among the night’s big winners. In the Prairie Region, Global Edmonton was among the outlets to pick up multiple awards, while CBC Montreal, CBC Sudbury, and CTV News Ottawa dominated in the Central Region. In the East Region, News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) and CTV Atlantic won multiple honours, including Best Newscast in their respective categories.

Sheila Coles and Geoff Stickle

Sheila Coles and Geoff Stickle are this year’s RTDNA Canada Lifetime Achievement Award honorees in the Prairie Region. Coles started at CBC 34 years ago as a reporter before moving into the host chair of the CBC Saskatchewan’s Morning Edition in 1993. Geoff Stickle retired as camera supervisor this past February, after 42 years with Global Edmonton.

RTDNA has also announced this year’s National Award and Network Award finalists. National and Network winners will be announced at the RTDNA Canada 2018 National Conference & Awards Gala on May 25-26 at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto.

Sylvie Courtemanche, Geoff Poulton, Bonnie Brownlee, and Mina Chan

Canadian Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) celebrated the recipients of its 2018 WCT Annual Leadership Awards on Apr. 16 in Ottawa: Woman of the Year: Sylvie Courtemanche, Chair, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council; Company of the Year: Cogeco Connexion; Diversity Champion: Geoff Poulton, President, Vista Radio; Mentor: Bonnie Brownlee, Executive Director, Communications, Marketing, Brand and Research, CBC; Technology Innovator: Mina Chan, Director, Technology Development Video, Rogers; Trailblazer: Zainul Mawji, VP Home Solutions and Complementary Channels, TELUS; Innovator: Willa Black, VP Corporate Affairs, Cisco; Public Sector Leadership: Brigadier-General Frances Allen, Department of National Defence; Rising Star: Fatima Khalid, Developer, Digital Echidna; WCT Leader: Laurie Hause, Chief Information Officer & Director of Marketing, McKenzie Lake Lake Lawyers LLP.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), in association with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, has announced the finalists for the annual Landsberg Award, recognizing exceptional coverage of women’s equality issues. They include the team behind CBC Radio’s The Current for exploring topics ranging from a Canadian soldier whose military career was threatened for reporting workplace sexual misconduct to the work of the National Inquiry into MMIWG, leadership and reconciliation. Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête is also nominated for “Le cercle vicieux,” (English version available) a documentary which examined Indigenous women denouncing pedophilia in their communities. The winner will be announced at the CJF Awards, June 14 in Toronto.

Patrick McCurdy

Male CBC/Radio Canada hosts earn nearly 9.5 per cent more on average than their female counterparts, according to data released under an Access to Information Act request from University of Ottawa associate professor Patrick McCurdy, shared with the Globe and Mail. McMurdy made the request following wide wage disparity reporting at the BBC. The data shows that male CBC/Radio-Canada hosts, editors, managers and producers all make more than their female counterparts. The one exception is female reporters, who make on average 3.5 per cent more than men. When negotiating for additional remuneration, men also earned an additional $32,600, compared to an extra $23,700, for women.

The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation (CBMF) has asked CBC to stop destroying master copies of its original radio and television programs following digitization. CBMF says CBC English Services began destroying original radio and TV programming at the beginning of April and has declined a request to delay the process while a home for the master recordings can be found. CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson says digitization will make the archives easier to access for its production teams. Just over 20 per cent of audio and video collections have already been digitized, with another 1.1 million hours to be archived by 2022. CBMF says French-language counterpart Radio-Canada plans to preserve its master recordings following digitization.

Tell a great story. Entertain your audience.

Advice for podcasters from a broadcaster.

By Dave Farough

Radio is here to stay and continues to show great promise, especially in small markets. Radio is the industry I started in, first on-air and then as a manager of talent behind the scenes. So creating compelling audio is in my DNA. For me, podcasting is now like radio was in the 80s and 90s – fearless, experimental, and driven by passion, not by revenue or share price. (At least not yet.)

Podcasters can and should take lessons from the great broadcasters and apply them to the podcast genre. It’s all about creating great content. And, podcast hosts are hungry for and appreciate the feedback.

The most asked question I receive as a talent coach is this: What makes a good podcast? The answer contains many of the same ingredients that go into a good radio show, minus the rigid time and format constraints.

Some podcasts are very compelling with strong content and slick production. However, many are almost unlistenable, lacking emotion and structure, featuring boring interviews and multiple hosts attempting humour and a whole lot of blah blah blah.  Having a car does not make one a good driver. Having a mic and some software does not a great podcaster make.

Prep is King

Like a good radio show, a podcast takes preparation. Not only do you need to know what you’re talking about and have an educated opinion, you also need to know how you’re going to get from point A to B in a way that’s easy to follow. Stay on the highway instead of taking the scenic route. You may think you can hit “record” and wing-it. You can’t. But don’t fret, most radio personalities can’t either, without a lot of work and dedication.

Oh the Humanity

Good content pushes the listener emotionally. It makes them laugh, cry, or react in some way other than just wanting to hit stop. Too many podcasters refuse to bring themselves and the things they care about to each episode. Be vulnerable. Open up and show your listener that you are human. Audiences bond with people – not hosts.

Fun versus Funny

Fun and humour can be hard for podcasters and broadcasters to master. A good podcast is fun. The hosts are energetic, enthusiastic, quick-witted and the topics never get bogged down with too much blah blah blah. Fun is good. Funny is hard. Listening to two hosts riffing, attempting to be funny? Not good. Ask yourself this: When you’re at a party, are you the one in the kitchen telling the stories and making people laugh? People other than your mom, that is. Or are you a bystander to the funny? You probably have many friends who are fun – very few are truly funny. Know thyself!

Get Off The Stage

Like radio, podcasts should be intimate, one-on-one listening experiences. Using phrases like “Hey everybody” and “How is everyone today” puts you on stage. Talk to one person, not an entire audience.

How Long It Is

Most podcasters become preoccupied with the acceptable length of an episode. Some say it should be short and shareable. Others say Free Willy: two, three, or even five hours is perfectly fine! Like radio, if the content is great (emotional, relevant to the target, and prepped in advance) and delivered in a compelling way by an excellent storyteller, then one or two hours (or even more) is fine. However, there are very few podcasters that possess this calibre of talent. Sadly, there are very few on radio who can hold attention that long either.

Three Critical Elements for Success

  1. Learn how to structure a good story. Start strong and get to the key points quickly in a way that’s easy to follow as opposed to veering all over the road and eventually ending up in the ditch. End with a payoff, a key takeaway, something actionable or something that might elicit an emotional reaction instead of just ending when the hosts get tired of talking. This takes advanced planning (show-prep). Think. Write. Edit. Repeat. When you think you’ve edited enough, go back and do it again. Most podcasters think they need to fill thirty minutes, so they end up saying the same things over and over which is frustrating for the audience.
  2. Learn how to use your voice effectively. Use your vocal range, as well as tempo and pausing effectively so you don’t sound monotone and boring. If you have kids at home, practice by reading to them. What happens when you deliver a story to a child that sounds too scripted or lacks energy and enthusiasm? They get bored and scramble for the exit. The audience does too.
  3. Learn how to conduct an interview. So many podcasts feature guests or experts and so many go horribly wrong. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine, you?” “Thank you so much for being on my podcast!” “No problem. Thanks for having me.” “How’s the weather where you are?” “Funny you should ask. I’m usually golfing at this time of year, but we have two feet of snow on the ground.” “Wow. Not here. It’s beautiful.” “Remind me where we saw each other last.” “Oh, it was at a conference in Miami.” Blah blah blah. Nobody cares. Drop the pleasantries. The number one rule when interviewing a guest is listen more than you talk. By listening to the answer, you’ll naturally be guided to the next question. Many podcasters are so concerned with sticking to the prepared list of questions, they miss opportunities to react to answers. The interview comes off stiff instead of being a natural conversation.

So much more goes into it, but hopefully this inspires you to Be a Better Podcaster

Dave Farough

Whether you are a podcaster or broadcaster who struggles to get feedback on your performance, you’re not alone. Ask for help and embrace the well-informed critique you receive. Content is the future. And content can only be created by human beings who create meaningful connections.

Dave Farough is a Programming and Talent Coach and works with broadcast companies in Canada teaching and mentoring Program Directors and on-air talent along with podcast clients in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Mexico. www.beabetterpodcaster.ca