The Weekly Briefing

 

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Rogers Radio has launched the Frequency Podcast Network and new original podcast series The Big Story. Available weekdays at 6 a.m. ET, The Big Story breaks down one critical story every day in 15 minutes. Hosted by Jordan Heath-Rawlings, director of Digital Radio & Audio for Rogers Media, topics will range from politics and entertainment, to sports, technology and human interest. Heath-Rawlings will be joined by a rotating roster of journalists from Rogers Media brands Maclean’s, MoneySense, Today’s Parent, Chatelaine, CityNews and Rogers Radio. Rogers intends to establish the network as a “home-base” for its podcasting content including Sportsnet offerings A Swing and a Belt with Dan Shulman and 31 Thoughts: The Podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek.

Rob Farina

Bell Media Radio has “refreshed” CHUM 104.5 Toronto. The live, on-air transformation from 104.5 CHUM FM to CHUM 104.5, was accompanied by a float in Toronto’s Pride Parade on June 24 featuring the station’s on-air hosts. Rob Farina, head of Radio Content, Strategy and iHeartRadio, says the move brings a “new energy to the CHUM brand…while continuing to deliver the pre-eminent pop music and programming [listeners] love.”

Ashiana Khan

Ashiana Khan, morning show host and CEO of Surrey, BC-based Indian internet radio station Media Waves Communications, believes she was the victim of a drive-by shooting on June 23 because of her outspoken views on gang violence. Vancouver Police are investigating the 11 p.m. report of shots fired in the 17600 block of Fraser Highway. Khan was also one of the organizers of the “Wake Up” anti-gang violence rally at Surrey City Hall earlier this month following the death of two teens.

Esther Enkin

Esther Enkin has delivered her final report as CBC English Ombudsman. The annual report for 2017-18 finds that the office received 4,069 comments, complaints and expressions of concern. Of the roughly 3,185 within mandate, 877 were sent to programmers for response. Of the 81 reviews completed as of Mar. 31, Enkin found violation of policy or some room for improvement in 15 cases. CBC’s coverage of the Gerald Stanley murder trial elicited the most complaints with Enkin writing that there was a belief that CBC News deliberately downplayed the actions of Colten Boushie and his companions. Enkin writes: “If anything, the depth of mistrust, anger and fragmentation has deepened. The epithet of fake news is still pervasive…this is no longer a question of journalistic ethics; it is a question of views of the world rooted in identity politics and an intolerance of any alternative views…the amount of racist, nativist and misogynist correspondence is definitely on the rise. The challenge for me and for the journalists is to continue to address those Canadians who are not extreme and who feel their perspective and worldview is not being given proper consideration. There is a need to address the complexities and perplexities of modern life, a need to cut through the social media noise and provide Canadians with context and information to help them navigate this increasingly hostile environment.”

Guy Gendron

CBC/Radio-Canada French services ombudsman Guy Gendron received 1,297 complaints during the 2017–18 year. Of that number, 977 complaints concerned news content with 108 concerning the same news story: the suspension of actor Gilbert Sicotte by the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal following allegations of psychological harassment. Gendron referred 359 complaints to CBC/Radio-Canada French Services for reply, and in 20 cases the complainants remained dissatisfied. In five cases, a review found in favour of the complainant, either fully or partly. Gendron notes that a growing number of listeners and viewers contacting the office are concerned with the gradual, ongoing deterioration in the quality of French at Radio-Canada. The main complaints have to do with poor vocabulary, borrowing of terms from English, and overall laxity when it comes to respecting the elementary rules of grammar, both in general programming and newscasts. He also writes that television viewers have begun noticing the increased use of graphics containing the English names of Canadian public institutions (e.g., Bank of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada, National Gallery of Canada, Canada Revenue Agency) to illustrate news stories despite the fact they all have official designations in French.

Ben Lai and Gunargie O’Sullivan

The National Campus and Community Radio Association handed out 21 Community Radio Awards in broadcast and online during its annual conference in Fredericton, June 6-10. CJRU-AM Toronto won the Community Engagement award for its #ChangeTheWorld national radio marathon which put the experiences of youth at the forefront. New music programming awards went to CJSW-FM Calgary for Unprocessed, which focuses on breaking down the barriers to classical music and A World of Chant from CFUZ-FM Penticton, which takes listeners on an audio journey from culture to culture. The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Ben Lai at CITR-FM Vancouver for over 24 years of volunteer service. Gunargie O’Sullivan was this year’s inductee into the Community Radio Hall of Legends, recognized for her work bridging the gap between community radio stations and their indigenous communities, both within Vancouver and at the national level.

Shania Twain

Rogers’ Country 101.1 (CKBY-FM) Ottawa flipped to Shania 101.1 for the day on June 25 in honour of Shania Twain playing the nation’s capital. Starting at 6 a.m., every piece of station imaging was changed to reflect its new name…from news, traffic and weather intros to station IDs and splitters. In addition to playing Shania every hour, the station aired a 6 p.m. Up Close & Personal with Shania, followed by 100 per cent Shania tunes before and after the concert, up until midnight.

Vista Radio stations 94.3 The Goat (CIRX-FM) Prince George, Country 97 (CJCI-FM) Prince George, and Valley Country AM (CIVH-AM) Vanderhoof, BC helped raise $60,419 on June 20-21 during the 2018 Variety BC Radiothon. Over the 14 years the radiothon has been held, more than $800,000 has been raised.

CFAM staff and YFC volunteers

CFAM Altona, MB raised $860 to help offset the cost of running summer programs at the local Youth for Christ drop-in centre through a vinyl record sale. The sale was held during the Golden West Broadcasting station’s First Day of Summer BBQ on June 21.

SiriusXM Canada is launching limited run channel Dave Matthews Band Radio on July 2. Broadcast on channel 3, Dave Matthews Band Radio will feature music from the band’s extensive career, live and demo tracks, and musical influences, in addition to the DMB Friday Night Concert Series – four live concerts to air on Friday nights in July.

SIGN-OFFS:

Agnes Gould aka “Aggie Baby” (Photo courtesy of Kukukwes.com)

Agnes Gould, 62, on June 20, at Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Gould, aka “Aggie Baby,” began her radio career at 94.1 FM (CICU-FM) Eskasoni, NS before establishing herself as a local icon as host of Membertou Morning on C99 FM (CJIJ-FM) Membertou. Gould was dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) movement and just last fall spoke at the MMIWG inquiry about her sister Virginia Pictou, who went missing in Maine in 1993.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

CBC News Network will no longer be live during the full broadcast day, starting June 29, at least for the summer. The all-news network is moving to a half-hour cycle between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., that will see 30-minutes of live programming in the first half of every hour, followed by a 30-minute taped repeat. CBC says it will reassess the format, which has previously been used during holiday periods, at the end of the summer.

Peter Armstrong

CBC is cancelling On the Money, its afternoon business show. Hosted by Peter Armstrong, the show rebranded from The Exchange to On the Money last fall. Its final broadcast is June 28. Jenner McGuire, CBC News general manager and editor-in-chief, told staff in a memo that the move is due to budget constraints as the broadcaster focuses its resources on enhancing its digital offerings.

Sportsnet has unveiled its 2018-19 NHL national broadcast schedule, which features more than 150 English-language matchups. The coverage is spread across three marquee nights: Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday evenings, Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sundays, and Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey. Sportsnet’s regular season coverage kicks off Weds., Oct. 3 with an opening night doubleheader featuring Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, and Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW and Rogers NHL LIVE.

TSN, in partnership with the Humboldt Broncos and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), will broadcast the Broncos’ season opener against the Nipawin Hawks, live on Sept. 12 on TSN and CTV Saskatchewan. In advance of the game, an hour-long pre-game show will air on TSN to honour those lost and affected by the team’s Apr. 6 tragedy. The TSN Original features group led by senior producer Josh Shiaman will spend time with the families and in the community of Humboldt for a documentary to air on CTV and TSN this fall.

The Comedy Network says Corner Gas Animated is its #1 original series of all time. Following its debut as the most-watched series premiere in the channel’s history, the show is now Comedy’s most-watched series this broadcast year among total viewers and key demos (A18-34, A18-49, A25-54). Already renewed for a second season, Corner Gas Animated wrapped up its debut season on June 25.

Family Channel debuts two new series as it rolls out its summer schedule shift. Polly Pocket and Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia premiere, along with daily fan-favourite series marathons; back-to-back summer movies; and the continuation of the Super Awesome Fun Time lineup. The Family Channel App will also feature a Summer Feels playlist with summer episodes and movie titles.

Geoffrey Baumann

Scanline VFX has announced that it will be opening a new studio in Montréal that will create 300 jobs within the next three years. Slated to open next month, this will be Scanline’s fifth international facility, joining studios in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Munich, and Stuttgart. VFX Geoffrey Baumann, who recently supervised all visual effects on Marvel’s Black Panther, will lead the Montreal team. The company, which will need a wide range of talent in visual effects, technical and support roles, hopes to take in about 100 specialists annually by 2021. Upcoming projects include Ant-Man and the Wasp, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The CRTC has agreed to revoke Colba.Net Telecom’s broadcasting license to operate a regional TV distribution service in Hamilton/Niagara, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Oshawa, Ottawa, Peterborough, Stratford, Toronto, Windsor, and their surrounding areas. The Montreal-based independent telecom provider advised the commission in May that it’s abandoned plans to expand its IPTV service into Ontario.

The TVA Employees Union has voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. The approximately 830 TVA Montréal employees have been without a collective agreement since Dec. 31, 2016. One of the union’s main concerns is labour outsourcing to other Quebecor subsidiaries, like Quebecor Media and MELS Studios and Post-production. The union represents all TVA employees including journalists, clerks and technicians, with the exception of its sales staff.

CBC has announced broadcast and streaming premiere dates for its fall 2018 lineup of new and returning series, including a new primetime schedule launching Sept. 18. In addition to TV broadcast, all programming will be available to stream free, live and on demand, via the CBC TV app for iOs and Android and cbc.ca/watch. The schedule includes several digital-first premieres including CBC original family adventure drama Northern Rescue, BBC period drama The Last Post, and Australian miniseries Sunshine Kings.

Rosemary Barton, Tashauna Reid, Vassy Kapelos, and Charlsie Agro

CBC/Radio-Canada’s Canada Day lineup will include three-hour CBC News special Canada Day 2018, hosted by Rosemary Barton. Airing on CBC, CBC News Network and cbc.ca/watch (11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET), the special will feature CBC reporters Tashauna Reid, Vassy Kapelos, Charlsie Agro, Renée Filippone and Kayla Hounsell reporting from Canada Day celebrations across the country. Bilingual Canada Day special Canada Day In The Capital/La Fete Du Canada Dans La Capitale will air from 9-10 p.m. ET featuring fireworks and musical performances by Arkells, DJ Shub, Lights, Klô Pelgag, Iskwé, Boogát, Jean-Marc Couture, Rose Cousins, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Ruth B, The Dead South and Brigitte Boisjoli. The special will air on CBC, ICI Radio-Canada, CBC Radio One, CBC Music and cbc.ca/ watch. A one-hour lead-in radio program hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe and Pete Morey will air before the special at 8 p.m. ET on CBC Radio One and CBC Music.

Ryan Robbins, Alex Paxton-Beesley, Alyson Hannigan, and Chris Heyerdahl

Super Channel has announced casting details for the second season of Mennonite drug drama Pure, currently shooting in Nova Scotia. The six-part second season is anticipated to premiere on Super Channel Fuse in 2019. Ryan Robbins (Arrow, The Killing) and Alex Paxton-Beesley (The Strain, Cardinal, Copper) return as Noah and Anna Funk, while Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, American Pie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) joins the cast as a recurring guest star. Also joining the cast are Chris Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels), Zoie Palmer (Ransom) and Victor Gomez (Orphan Black).

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says an episode of La belle gang broadcast on Canal Vie on Nov. 8, 2017 was not so explicit as to require a post-9 p.m. time slot. The talk show’s topic of the day was age and sexuality and included a sexologist showing sex toys, adolescents discussing their views on sex, a comedienne talking about masturbation, and a swinger-porn actor who talked about making pornographic movies with his wife. A viewer complained about the content of the episode, which aired at 6 p.m. and was seen by the complainant’s children. The CBSC’s French-Language Panel concluded there were undeniably sexual conversations in the program, but that they were not so explicit as to constitute material “intended exclusively for adults.” The panel also noted that the station could have worded advisories better to alert viewers to the sexual discussions, but they were adequate and did not breach the code.  

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Facebook Canada, in collaboration with Agence France-Presse (AFP), has launched its third-party fact-checking program in Canada. Aimed at helping combat fake news, the program is part of Facebook Canada’s ongoing Elections Integrity Initiative to ensure the platform is a space for authentic civic engagement. AFP has been certified through Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles, a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network. Through the program, AFP fact-checkers on the ground in Canada will review Canadian news stories on Facebook in English and French and rate their accuracy. Canadians will be informed if a story they shared on Facebook has been rated as false. As well, Pages on Facebook that repeatedly share fake news will be seen less across people’s News Feeds.

Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, aimed at children under 13, is now available in Canada. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) penned an open letter to Facebook urging it not to launch the app in Canada. PIAC has serious concerns about the use of the data collected, saying the app can equally be viewed as a form of surveillance: “a pre-consented-to ‘wiretap’ of children’s communications that is retained indefinitely for unknown purposes.”

Sony Crackle, Sony’s free video streaming service, will no longer be available in Canada as of June 28. The ad-supported movie and TV platform had been available in Canada since 2010. Under a partnership with Bell Media, some of the content previously available on Crackle will be accessible on new VOD services CTV Vault and CTV Movies later this year.

The Canada Cup International Softball Championship and CBC Sports have struck a new five-year partnership. The agreement sees CBC Sports livestream every international game of the six-day tournament at cbcsports.ca as well as via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android, including the 2018 event from July 17–22. The Canada Cup is held in Surrey, BC annually drawing top female athletes and teams from around the world.

Nolan Crouse

CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin says the public broadcaster can’t delete an online article about the former mayor of St. Albert, AB violating the Municipal Government Act, even though he was later found to have been acting in “good faith.” While Nolan Crouse took issue with the story’s phrasing and characterization, Enkin says CBC Journalistic Policy does not allow for the removal of articles except in extraordinary circumstances where there are purveiling personal safety or legal concerns. Enkin writes: “Our published content is a matter of public record. To change the content of previously published material alters that record. Altering the record could undermine our credibility and the public’s trust in our journalism.” Enkin also discounts claims by Crouse that CBC has the power to influence Google search rankings.

GENERAL:

PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022 predicts Canadian entertainment and media industry ad revenue is set to grow by 3.7 per cent per year through 2022. Canada’s traditional television sector is expected to remain the fourth largest market globally by subscription revenues through 2022. Among the report’s findings are that advertisers are continuing to shift from traditional TV or print to internet advertising, which totalled $6.5 billion in 2017, up 10.6 per cent from 2016 due to an increase in mobile internet advertising.

Mélanie Joly

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly has outlined the government’s Creative Export Strategy for creative industries, highlighted by a new $7 million-per-year Creative Export Canada fund. A budget allowance of $125 million over five years will be allocated across three key areas: existing Canadian Heritage programs, including increased funding for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, Canada Book Fund, Canada Music Fund, Canada Periodical Fund, and Telefilm Canada; additional resources in key Canadian embassies and consulates, such as New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Shanghai, Mumbai, Mexico City, Tokyo and Sydney, that will provide exporters with relevant information to help them better understand their target markets; and the new creative export funding program that will provide export-ready companies and organizations with funding to make it easier for buyers and audiences abroad to discover Canadian content. The maximum amount companies will be able to access under the fund is $2.5 million over five years.

Bell Canada has claimed top spot in PCMag’s The Fastest ISPs of 2018: Canada delivering the highest overall internet speed index ever recorded in Canada by the magazine at 115 Megabits per second. Atlantic Canada’s Bell Aliant took second place with 88.0 Mbps in the speed tests, while Rogers was a close third at 87.6 Mbps. PCMag’s conclusions were based on nearly 12,000 tests of Canadian internet service providers large and small between Sept. 2017 and June 2018.

Corus Entertainment shares plunged 19 per cent to $5.05, following release of the company’s Q3 2018 results. The parent company of Global TV, Corus Radio and a host of speciality channels is taking a billion-dollar non-cash write down on the value of its broadcast licenses citing “challenging television market conditions.” Consolidated revenues for the three months ended May 31 were $441.4 million, down four per cent from $461.6 million last year. Net loss attributable to shareholders for the quarter was $935.9 million ($4.49 loss per share basic and diluted), compared to net income attributable to shareholders of $66.7 million ($0.33 income per share basic and diluted) last year. Television segment revenues decreased five per cent in Q3 2018 and two per cent year-to-date; while ad revenue was down five per cent in the quarter. Radio segment revenues decreased two per cent in Q3 2018 and were flat for the year-to-date. 

Northwestel, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and the Government of Yukon are making a $79 million investment in high-speed internet, benefitting 63 Indigenous communities, in Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Northern BC. Funding will be used to build a 777-kilometre-long fibre network between Dawson City, YK, and Inuvik, NWT. The new fibre network line will also help close the 4,000-kilometre-long Canada North Fibre Loop.

The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) has announced that its 72nd Annual Conference will take place May 14-16, 2019, at the Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria. For more information, visit www.bcab.ca.

Syndicat des Communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC), representing CBC/Radio-Canada employees in Quebec and Moncton, has rejected another contract offer. The union voted 78 per cent to reject the public broadcaster’s latest proposal, following its previous rejection vote Apr. 21. The union says creation of permanent positions, salary increases, and relaxation of temporary employee assignment rules are among the contract sticking points.