The Weekly Briefing

GENERAL:

The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) handed out its Best in Province awards for Radio and Television at last week’s President’s Dinner & Awards Gala.

Radio Award Winners:

Best Commercial Creative – Large Market:
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – Straight Outta Brooklyn

Best Commercial Creative – Small/Medium Market:
EZ Rock Penticton – C.C. Jentsch Cellars

Best Station Imaging – Large Market:
Rock 101 Vancouver – Marlin Brown

Best Station Imaging – Small/Medium Market:
Vista Radio BC Stations – Radio Cool

Community Service Award – Large Market:
Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – This Neighbourhood Life Series

Excellence in News Reporting – Sponsored by Burli:
Vista Radio BC North – BC Wildfires

Television Award Winners:

Best Commercial Creative – Large Market:
Corus Creative Services – CFOX Rock is the Way We Roll

Best Commercial Creative – Small/Medium Market:
CFJC-TVMcHappy Day

Best Station Imaging – Large Market:
CTV Vancouver – Shot Worth Taking

Excellence in News Reporting – Sponsored by Burli:
CTV Vancouver – Officer Down

Industry and Performer Awards:

Broadcaster of the Year
Jeff O’Neil, Karen K and Scott Lowrey – The Jeff o’Neil Show

Broadcast Performer of Tomorrow
Neetu GarchaGlobal BC

Performer of the Year
Gerry BelecGlobal BC

Humanitarian Award Recipient
BC Society of Transition Houses

Stephen Simpson, CRTC Commissioner BC & Yukon

Steve Simpson gave a farewell speech to the BCAB Conference as his term as regional CRTC commissioner for BC & Yukon comes to an end. Making his last speech as commissioner where he made his first in 2009, Simpson reflected on changing consumer listening trends and the future of Canadian audio and video programming. Simpson signed-off with a quote from the movie Blade Runner, where a mortally wounded Rutger Hauer says his goodbye. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. It’s time to… golf.” Read his full address here.

Bill Boyd and Geoff Leo

Bill Boyd, former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, and the CBC have resolved the lawsuit brought about by Boyd in 2016 following the publication of two articles written by reporter Geoff Leo about a series of land transactions while Boyd was minister responsible for the Global Transportation Hub. The resolution was reached after a confidential mediation process, without financial consideration. The lawsuit claimed the stories entitled “Businessmen made millions on Regina land that wound up in taxpayers’ hands” and “Sask. politicians call for review of puzzling land transactions uncovered in iTeam investigation” had implied defamatory meaning.

Cogeco, Xplornet and Freedom Mobile were the top three successful bidders in the residual wireless spectrum auction results announced by Innovation, Science & Economic Development (ISED) Canada. Cogeco was the successful bidder on 23 licences of 2500 MHz and 2300 MHz spectrum, primarily in its Ontario and Québec wireline footprint, for a total price of $24.3 million. Ecotel, Iris, and Telus also obtained spectrum.

Statistics Canada has released telecommunications statistics for 2016. Industry operating revenues rose 1.0 per cent over 2015 to $60.9 billion, while operating expenses increased 1.4 per cent to $47.6 billion. As a result, the industry generated a 21.8 per cent operating profit margin. Mobile and internet services were largely behind the growth with internet service revenue rising 9.9 per cent to $10.5 billion in 2016, while revenues from mobile services (including paging) were up 3.1 per cent to $24.6 billion. Together, mobile and internet services accounted for 57.7 per cent of industry revenues. Operating revenues for other services were down. Wired telephony services (local, access services and long-distance) continued their downward trend, falling 6.0 per cent from 2015 to $10.0 billion in 2016. Data and private line service revenues decreased 4.8 per cent to $5.0 billion. Operating revenue for cable television fell 1.2 per cent to $9.3 billion in 2016, the second consecutive year of decreased revenues following several years of growth.

The Government of Canada is investing over $4.6 million through the Connect to Innovate program to bring new or improved high-speed Internet to nine Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories and one Indigenous community in Yukon. The funding will be allocated to Northwestel to build fibre-optic backbone in the community of Jean Marie River, NWT (Tthek’éhdél Dene First Nation) and extend satellite connection to nine remote northern communities beginning in April 2019. In addition to the federal funding, Northwestel is investing $1.5 million in building the backbone network in each of those communities.

Shaw Communications has announced the successful completion of its first 5G technical trials in Calgary. Conducted in collaboration with Nokia, CableLabs and Rohde & Schwarz, Shaw’s trials leveraged 28GHz mmWave and 3.5GHz spectrum. The 5G trials were conducted using pre-commercial equipment at Shaw’s Barlow Campus Technology Centre in Calgary, and leveraged developmental 28GHz licenses provided by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. As part of this trial, Shaw also conducted comparative testing between 28GHz and 3.5GHz spectrum to better understand the interoperability between two of the bands considered vital to the growth of 5G.

Vidéotron has been ordered to refund $6.7 million to its customers because of billing issues related to the Local Programming Improvement Fund. The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld a superior court decision concluding that the company overcharged 1.5 million customers between 2009 and 2014. A class action suit filed on behalf of 1.5 million customers alleged the fee – initially 1.5 per cent of the bill, but later reduced to 0.5 per cent – was applied to customer’s full monthly bill for those who bought pay-per-view services, when it should have only applied to TV services. In addition, Vidéotron based the fee for cable customers on its regular monthly rate, even if they had bundling discount. Videotron hasn’t indicated whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The CRTC will introduce a new area code for British Columbia, starting May 4, 2019. The new area code 672 will be added to the current 604, 250, 778 and 236 area codes already in use in BC. Numbers with the new 672 area code will only be assigned to customers once there is no longer a sufficient supply of numbers with the existing area codes.

Nanos research has conducted a survey for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) that suggests a strong majority of Canadians (67 per cent) believe journalists should not be required to turn over confidential information to police. However Canadians are divided over whether national security agencies should have the power to collect and analyze publicly available information on Canadians. The survey comes as the Supreme Court of Canada considers whether journalists have a constitutional right to protect material supplied by sources from police agencies. The case is an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that police had the right to force Vice News journalist Ben Makuch to provide them with material he gathered through interviews with an alleged ISIS terrorist in 2014. CJFE, together with a coalition of media and free expression organizations, has been granted leave to intervene in the case.

Avis Favaro

Avis Favaro, medical correspondent at CTV National News, was presented this week with an honorary degree during spring convocation ceremonies for McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. One of the country’s longest-serving TV reporters covering medicine and health, Favaro has previously won a Gemini Award, an International Health and Medical Media Award, and a Gold Medal from the New York Film and TV Festival. She’s also been recognized by the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and the Ontario Registered Nurses Association.

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Corus-owned iNews 880 (CHQT-AM) Edmonton rebranded this week to Global News Radio 880. An internal memo indicates the rebrand comes with further integration of the newsroom with Global Edmonton and that some positions have been eliminated as a result.

Deya Miller

The Indigenous Music Awards were handed out in Winnipeg on May 18 with Native Communications’ Indigenous Music Countdown awarded Best Radio Station Program Promoting Indigenous Music. Also nominated in the category were CBC Radio: Unreserved; Deya Miller Indigenous Hour, Jukasa Radio 93.5 FM (CJKS-FM) Caledonia, ON; Indigenous in Music with Larry K on web station Native Voice One and Reclaimed on CBC Music.

Golden West Broadcasting’s Manitoba stations raised $105,203 during the Critical Care On the Air Radiothon in support of Stars Air Ambulance. Broadcast over 24 hours on May 16-17, the radiothon was heard live on AM 1250 (CHSM-AM), Mix 96.7 (CILT-FM) and Country 107.1 (CJXR-FM) in Steinbach; 950 AM (CFAM-AM) Altona; The Eagle 93.5 (CJEL-FM) and Country 88.9 (CKMW-FM) in Winkler; and 920AM (CFRY-AM), Mix 96.5 (CJPG-FM) and Country 93.1 FM (CHPO-FM) Portage la Prairie.

SiriusXM Canada has opened nationwide voting for the first SiriusXM Top of the Country contest in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). Nine semi-finalists from coast-to-coast now face off as Canada picks the top three to move on to the finals for their chance at $25,000 and more.

Joe O’Herlihy

SiriusXM Canada will launch limited-run channel The U2 Experience on channel 30, from June 1-30. The U2 Experience will showcase music from the band’s latest album Songs of Experience, historic performances, rarities, as well as stories from the band and its long-time sound engineer Joe O’Herlihy. On June 11, U2 will take a one night detour from the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour 2018 to perform at Harlem’s Apollo Theater for a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM subscribers. The concert will also air simultaneously on Howard Stern’s Howard 101 channel.

Centennial College and non-profit Many Hands, Doing Good have partnered to establish an annual radio scholarship honouring King City, ON resident Gary Neville. The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a qualified student interested in studying radio broadcasting. Many Hands, Doing Good was started in response to the outpouring of community support after a Sept. 2015 crash that took the lives of Neville and his three grandchildren. Neville studied accounting at Centennial College, starting in 1968, and went on to work in the accounting department at CFRB-AM Toronto from 1979-89.

Mark Summers

K97 (CIRK-FM) Edmonton alumni Mark Summers, Anna Posteraro & Kathy Salloum have organized the inaugural Edmonton Radio Reunion on June 23. Past and present radio employees are invited to gather at the Local Public Eatery from 3 – 6 p.m. RSVP to mark@sharkbytes-studios.com.

 

Jenn Grant, Kacy & Clayton, Zaki Ibrahim, and TOBi

Jenn Grant, Saskatchewan folk duo Kacy & Clayton and South African-Canadian singer-songwriter Zaki Ibrahim are the latest acts to join the CBC Music Festival’s all-Canadian lineup at RBC Echo Beach on May 26. New this year, CBC Music will present a fifth stage showcasing emerging acts from around the Greater Toronto Area, including R&B artist TOBi; pop singer JXCK KXLLY; soul/R&B singer-songwriter Alcordo; and indie-folk duo Moscow Apartment. For the first time, the festival will also feature a CBC Comedy Stage. All performances on the Main Stage and q Stage will be streamed at cbcmusic.ca/festival and CBC Music’s Facebook and YouTube pages. A one-hour special featuring festival highlights and backstage interviews will air on CBC TV on July 1 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Super Channel has unveiled its new corporate branding and channel logos. As previously announced, Super Channel 1 (SC1) and Super Channel 2 (SC2) will be rebranded as Super Channel Fuse and Super Channel Heart & Home, starting June 4. They join existing channels Super Channel Vault and GINX Esports TV Canada under the Super Channel Entertainment Network umbrella, which will offer a free preview from June 15 – July 2 with participating TV providers across the country.

Shaun Hatton and Bohus Blahut

Discovery has announced that production is underway for its latest original Canadian series, Vintage Tech Hunters, which sees collectors Shaun Hatton and Bohus Blahut scour attics and flea markets for items like original Nintendo Game Boys and first-edition computers. Co-commissioned by Discovery and Boat Rocker Studios, and distributed internationally by Boat Rocker Rights, the series is produced by Crooked Horse Productions. The half-hour show is filming in cities across North America, including Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, Ont., Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago.

The Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts and Design (CAFTCAD) will have film and television costumes from Canadian productions on display during Toronto Doors Open 2018. More than 25 original costumes from Star Trek: Discovery, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Strain, Odd Squad, Anne with an E, Murdoch Mysteries, Backstage, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Saw II, and The Shape of Water will be featured.The exhibit will be on display in the Toronto City Hall Rotunda May 26-27.

marblemedia has announced that 22 new episodes of Just Like Mom and Dad have been officially greenlit by YES TV in Canada and BYUtv in the U.S., slated to launch in Fall 2018. The first 20 episodes of the family game show are still rolling out. marblemedia has secured all production and distribution rights in an agreement with Bell Media.

Creative BC and the Irish Film Board have announced a new funding partnership that will encourage development of motion picture projects between British Columbian and Irish production companies. Each agency will contribute $75,000 toward the $150,000 fund. Originating through a trade mission to Ireland in Nov. 2016, the partnership grew from a successful pilot program in 2017. Applying projects must be scripted fiction; have an Irish resident producer and a BC resident producer. At least 50 per cent of the fund will be dedicated to projects with a female writer or director attached to the project.

John Brunton

Boat Rocker Media has acquired a majority stake in Toronto television production company Insight Productions. John Brunton, Insight’s founder, chairman and CEO, and its senior management team and showrunners remain in place. Under the new structure, Insight will operate as an independent business unit, with Boat Rocker providing capital investment in addition to business and strategic support.

Lisa LaFlamme

CTV News says its live special Harry and Meghan: The Royal Wedding attracted an average audience of 1.1 million preliminary overnight viewers across CTV, CTV News Channel, and CP24 from 4 – 11 a.m. ET on Saturday morning. The Lisa LaFlamme-anchored special drew 18 per cent more viewers than CBC (997,000 viewers on CBC and CBC News Network), and more than triple that of Global (371,000 viewers) during the head-to-head broadcast period of 4:30 – 10 a.m. ET. The network’s prime-time recap special attracted an average audience of 606,000 preliminary overnight viewers, making it the most-watched non-sports broadcast in the timeslot.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

YouTube has launched a new version of its music subscription service in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. It includes an ad-supported free tier and a $9.99/month YouTube Music Premium package. YouTube has also announced it will rebrand its premium subscription YouTube Red as YouTube Premium. YouTube Music is promised to launch “soon” in Canada, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, Derik Murray and Paul Gertz, and Jenna Santoianni

YouTube has announced its order for a new series on artificial intelligence that will be executive produced by Team Downey partners Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, Network Entertainment’s Derik Murray and Paul Gertz, and Sonar Entertainment’s Jenna Santoianni and Tom Lesinski. The eight-episode hour-long series will debut exclusively on YouTube Red in 2019. Downey Jr. will narrate the series which will explore the impact of A.I. and how it’s transforming the way we live and work.

SUPPLY LINES:

SoCast has signed a partner agreement with Toronto-based AcuityAds Holdings Inc. to offer digital advertising solutions to its U.S.-based radio clients by licensing the company’s programmatic advertising platform. AcuityAds cites industry forecasts predicting that the $15B U.S. broadcast radio ad industry will continue to grow its share of the digital advertising pie by extending radio’s traditional ad model utilizing digital delivery systems.