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We are in the midst of a pivotal time of change in the evolving Canadian media landscape, and it’s on that note that we have now started publishing daily feature stories at BroadcastDialogue.com.
The Weekly Briefing will continue to go out to subscribers unchanged from its current format, but for those who want to read expanded versions of some of our stories covering Canadian broadcast, film, telecommunications and digital media, full length reads are now being posted on both the website, as well as to our social platforms.
Editor, Broadcast Dialogue
The CRTC has approved the chance of effective control and ownership of Groupe Attraction Radio. The move transfers majority ownership of Groupe’s 14 regional, commercial French-language FM stations in Quebec to Sylvain Chamberland, the company’s current executive VP and CEO, who will have a 50.25 per cent stake in the new group. Taking into consideration Chamberland’s existing interest, the transaction is valued at $21,177,404, with the licencee to pay $1,270,644 in tangible benefits. Chamberland was recruited by Attraction founder Richard Speer in 2011 to set up the radio division.
CISN Country 103.9 Edmonton has added The Bobby Bones show to its lineup. The program has been awarded National On-Air Personality of the Year from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, with Bobby becoming the youngest personality to be elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2017. The show will air weeknights from 7 to 11 p.m. MT.
Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group launched OkanaganValleyRadio.com this week. Among the online station’s programming offerings are Good Morning Okanagan, produced and hosted by veteran radio personality Allan Holender, who formerly ran online oldies/jazz station Peachland Radio.
Radio Waterloo, a documentary that delves into “the advent of community radio in Canada as told by the people who struggled to create it,” is now available to stream online. The doc debuted part of the Deep Cut Film Festival in Kitchener in July. It follows Radio Waterloo (CKMS-FM) and CKWR-FM Kitchener through the community stations’ development from the 1960s through 2017.
Voicetracker Hub and RCS have launched a search for the inaugural Voice Tracker of the Year Award. Open to any on-air talent that voice tracks, the overall winner will receive $500 USD. Entry is free until the end of September, with the winners to be announced in October.
National Radio Day was celebrated this past Monday. Toronto-based, not-for-profit radio advocacy organization Radio Connects says AM/FM radio is still playing a critical role in the Canadian audio landscape and has maintained its relevance amidst the digital consumption revolution. According to the Share of Ear Canada audio measurement study from Edison Research, despite a constantly changing audio landscape, broadcast radio still accounts for over 60 per cent of the more than four hours a day that Canadians spend with all sources of audio. That compares to nine per cent of time spent listening to audio via pureplay streaming services in Canada. National Radio Day isn’t to be confused with World Radio Day, which is celebrated on Feb. 13. Read more here.
Spotify is moving forward with its own original, branded podcast content. The new podcast series Ebb & Flow, hosted by Jasmine Solano and sponsored by New Amsterdam Vodka, features five 30-minute episodes with hip-hop guests Saweetie, Bryce Vine, GASHI, J.I.D, and Skinny Mars.
Blain Henshaw is celebrating more than half a century in broadcasting. Henshaw, who is still on-air as a host at Halifax community station 105.9 Seaside FM (CFEP-FM), started his professional radio career in Aug. 1966 in the news department at CKBW Bridgewater, but his on-air debut actually came at age 12 on a CFBC Saint John, NB remote from the Digby County Exhibition where he was called upon to play accordion. In 1970, Henshaw moved on to CJCH Halifax as a reporter (referred to as ‘legmen’ in the day), and then CHNS/CHFX-FM. In 1973, he returned to CJCH Radio/TV, which became ATV. Since 2007, Henshaw has been a freelance writer and consultant and has hosted both the Saturday morning Maritime Express and afternoon shows on Seaside FM since 2013.
Meech Kean, 27, on Aug. 18. After graduating from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Kean joined the VOCM St. John’s, NL news team three years ago as a reporter and soon became the station’s legislative reporter. Former VOCM news director Fred Hutton, who hired Kean, paid tribute to the young journalist on Facebook calling him a “news person through and through.” “Despite his size and presence, he disarmed people with his wide smile and sense of humour. He was direct, but fair. Firm, but compassionate. He was respectful, but still did his own thing. I liked all that about him,” Hutton wrote. VOCM Open Line host Paddy Daly took to the airwaves Tuesday, saying Kean’s unexpected death is an opportunity to open conversation around mental health in the workplace. “Meech died by suicide. It’s a shock, needless to say, to everyone here in this building and we’re deeply saddened by it.”
Jodi Taylor Orr, 53, suddenly on Aug. 18. Known as Jodi Taylor on-air, Orr had been doing fill-in swing and news at Bell Media London stations BX93 (CJBX-FM) and CJBK-AM for the last two and a half years. From 2001 to 2014, she was the midday host at 102.3 BOB FM (CHST-FM) London, and prior to that was marketing and promotions director at CFPL-AM 980. Over the years, Orr served on several boards, including as chair of the Southwestern Ontario chapter of Women in Communications (2009-13) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southwestern Ontario (2010-17).
Sandra Carusi, Aug. 13, from cancer. The longtime Corus Toronto sales rep and host of Inside Jokes on AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) lost her battle to breast cancer on Apr. 13, following a 2014 diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer. Carusi joined Corus Toronto in 1999 as an account executive for Q107 (CILQ-FM), 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM), 95.3 Fresh Radio (CING-FM), and AM640. It was while Carusi, a stand-up performer herself, was undergoing cancer treatment that she came up with the idea of hosting a talk show on the world of comedy and in 2015 became executive producer and host of Sunday evening show Inside Jokes on 640, as well as a comedy correspondent for the stations. Over the show’s run, Carusi welcomed guests like Russell Peters, Trevor Noah, Sugar Sammy, Jessica Holmes and Scott Thompson. Inside Jokes eventually led to Carusi producing two other shows for AM640, The Parenting Show with mommy blogger Pina Crispo, and The Dating & Relationship Show, hosted by matchmaker and relationship coach Laura Billota. Read more here.
Bryan Ellis, on Aug. 7. Ellis held the title of general manager at both CHEX-TV Peterborough and CHCH-TV Hamilton before 13 years with Corus Entertainment. Working closely with CEO John Cassaday as a member of his senior executive team, Ellis was involved in corporate development, conventional TV and radio, regulatory, Nelvana, and a wide variety of special projects. His experience and keen interest in technology and operations made him a vital part of the planning ahead of the opening of the new Corus Quay in early 2011 on the Toronto waterfront. His responsibilities included information technology planning and management, broadcast operations, and leadership on the overall media management strategy that would underpin the operation of the new broadcast facility. As part of the shared services group, he also managed the digital storage of content broadcast across Corus channels. As a testament to his hard work, planning, and strategizing – the media management teams operated without major incident and Corus’ waterfront broadcast facility continues to deliver more than 40 channels to Canadian viewers. After a successful career in broadcast and technology, Ellis retired to Mulmur, ON in 2013 where he put the same focus and attention to detail into the Dawn Brook Lavender Farm which he ran with wife, daughters and son-in-law.
Marc Charbonneau, 61, on Aug. 4 of cancer. Charbonneau was a host and station manager of CHOD 92.1 FM EST ONTARIEN for the last 15 years, which is licensed to Cornwall, but has its studios in Casselman, ON. His broadcasting career started at the former CFML-AM Cornwall and then CJRC-AM (now CKOF-FM) and the now-defunct CKCH-AM in Hull. From there, he worked as a reporter for The Canadian Press in Sherbrooke and Montréal, then returned to Hull to work at CIMF, better known as Rouge FM. Charbonneau also did a stint in radio and TV with Radio-Canada before joining CHOD in 2003. During his time as manager, the station marked a return to financial stability.
Don LeBlanc, 92, on July 25 in Halifax. The longtime program director of CJOY-AM/CKLA-FM Guelph, LeBlanc’s interest in radio started early. LeBlanc grew up next door to CJLS-FM Yarmouth, NS and was able to look out his bedroom window to watch the announcers while listening to them on his crystal radio set. In 1945, he enrolled in Lorne Greene’s Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto and landed a job in 1948 as PD of new radio station CJOY Guelph, owned by future cable pioneer Fred Metcalf. LeBlanc worked alongside Gordie Tapp, Lloyd Robertson and Bob McAdorey, among others, then moved to CFRB-AM Toronto in 1966, where his colleagues included broadcast legends Pierre Berton, Charles Templeton, Gordon Sinclair, Betty Kennedy and Wally Crouter. He returned to Guelph in 1972 and retired as PD of CKLA-FM in 1991.
Bell Media and VICE Media have struck a long-term programming deal that will see VICE content air and stream across Bell television, mobile, and digital platforms. Bell Media will become the exclusive Canadian broadcast home to new original programming from VICE’s U.S. linear network VICELAND, along with 650 hours of previously-produced VICE programming, set to debut this fall on Much, MTV Canada, Bell’s CraveTV streaming service, mobile app SnackableTV, and the yet to launch CTV digital SuperHub, among other platforms. Read more here.
CHEX-TV is rebranding its newscasts as CHEX News on Global Peterborough, starting Aug. 27. CHEX-TV will air three daily newscasts at noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., in addition to the Morning Show, however the CHEX Daily Show is being cancelled. The Young and the Restless will air in its 5 – 6 p.m. timeslot. CTV programming will also disappear from the station, to be replaced by Global shows. Like several other markets across the country, the two local Corus Radio stations – Fresh Radio and The Wolf – will also soon be under the same roof as CHEX-TV. The move is expected in mid-December when major renovations of the Monaghan Road TV station are expected to be complete.
The CRTC has renewed the licence of Silver Screen Classics and imposed a standard minimum 10 per cent Canadian programming expenditure quota, rather than the five per cent requested. In its application for renewal, Silver Screen cited limited Canadian feature films and programs available from the 1940s-60s, due to the maturity of the Canadian industry at the time, and the challenge of competing with out-of-market, big-budget services like Turner Classic Movies. The licensee argued that an onerous CPE requirement would put it at a further competitive disadvantage.
APTN is set to premiere three-part documentary series First Contact, Sept. 11-13, aimed at challenging the average Canadian’s stereotypical perceptions of Indigenous people. Narrated by George Stroumboulopoulos, the series takes six Canadians on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous Canada, visiting Winnipeg, Nunavut, Alberta, Northern Ontario and the BC coast. The three-part series will air consecutively Sept. 11-13 at 7 p.m. ET, with the second and third episodes followed by a two-part reunion special. Following the Thursday evening series finale, First Contact’s six participants will appear before a live studio audience to reflect on their experience during and since their journey together.
CBC, Citytv, CTV and Global will once again simulcast the Stand Up To Cancer (SUC2) fundraising telecast on Sept. 7, in addition to AMI, A.Side, BBC Earth, CHCH, CHEK, Cottage Life, Fight Network, Game TV, HIFI, Hollywood Suite, Love Nature, Makeful, NTV, OUTtv, Smithsonian Channel Canada, T+E, and YES TV (8-9 P.M. ET/PT / 7 P.M. CT). The broadcast will also stream live on the CBC TV App, cbc.ca/watch, CBS All Access, CTV GO, CTV.ca, Global GO and GlobalTV.com, and be available on-demand on TELUS Optik TV in Canada. Broadcast live from Santa Monica, CA, stars confirmed to take part in the sixth biennial event include Mahershala Ali, Kathy Bates, Katie Couric, Jennifer Garner, Keith Urban, Reese Witherspoon and Canadian Italia Ricci (Designated Survivor). Bradley Cooper returns as co-executive producer, along with live-event producing team Done + Dusted. To date, more than $480 million (USD) has been pledged in support of SU2C cancer research.
Coroner, CBC’s newest original drama series, started production in Toronto Monday. With a broadcast and streaming premiere set for winter 2019, the cast is led by Canadian actress Serinda Swan (Inhumans, Ballers) who stars as newly-appointed coroner Jenny Cooper as she investigates suspicious deaths in Toronto. Based on the best-selling novels by M.R. Hall and created by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope), who also acts as showrunner and executive producer, Coroner also stars Roger Cross (The X-Files), Éric Bruneau (Blue Moon), Ehren Kassam (DeGrassi: Next Class), and TamaraPodemski (Rabbit Fall). Read more here.
Natasha Henstridge (Species), C. David Johnson (Street Legal), Stacey Farber (Grace and Frankie), Brandon Oakes (Arctic Air), Shailene Garnett (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments), Tim Rozon (Wynonna Earp), and Dwain Murphy (Titans), have joined the cast of new CBC original drama Diggstown (6×60), shooting in Halifax. They join Vinessa Antoine (Being Erica, Heartland) who stars as Marcie Diggs, a corporate lawyer who takes up work in community justice following the suicide of an aunt. Created by Halifax’s Floyd Kane (Across The Line), the series is set for a winter 2019 broadcast and streaming premiere on CBC, the CBC TV app and cbc.ca/watch. Diggstown is co-produced by Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc., and DHX Media.
Canadian Strain, a feature comedy about Canada’s upcoming cannabis legalization, has started production in Toronto. Written and directed by Geordie Sabbagh (A Sunday Kind of Love) the film stars Winnipeg actress Jess Salgueiro (Workin’ Moms, Mary Kills People) as a boutique weed dealer put out of business by legalization. Her dad is played by Colin Mochrie, while Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D.) rounds out the cast as an uptight retail co-worker.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, have launched a codevelopment incentive for television projects between Canadian and South African producers. Eligible projects include TV programs in the drama, documentary, or children and youth genres, which can be funded up to $40,000 CAD or 200,000 ZAR. Learn more here. Closing date for applications is Oct. 10. Producers interested in finding an international partner as part of this incentive are invited to post a company profile on the CMF website by clicking here.
MarVista Entertainment is forming a strategic alliance with Canadian producer Arnie Zipursky that will see the formation of Toronto-headquartered Neshama Entertainment. Neshama will focus on sourcing Canadian creative content for development, production and distribution, in addition to seeking Canadian co-production partners and talent. MarVista will be a minority shareholder in the new venture and handle international distribution, excluding Canada, for content developed and produced under the Neshama banner. Zipursky will serve as co-founder and executive producer.
Telefilm Canada and Birks have announced the honourees for the sixth annual Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film. This year’s honourees include director Nettie Wild (KONELĪNE: our land beautiful, Interrupted); actors Tantoo Cardinal (Godless, North of 60) and Pascale Bussières (Nous sommes les autres, Innocent); screenwriter Susan Coyne (Slings and Arrows, The Man Who Invented Christmas); and emerging directors Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) and Jeanne Leblanc (Isla Blanca). They’ll be celebrated at a private event on Sept. 10 during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has unveiled the nominees for the 2018 Indiescreen Awards. CMPA also announced it’s dedicating its Emerging Producer Award to the memory of late Canadian film producer Kevin Tierney. Going forward, the award will be known as the Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award. Tierney, who passed away in June and was the recipient of an Indiescreen Award in 2009, is best known for producing Bon Cop, Bad Cop, the top-grossing Canadian theatrical release of all time domestically. Read the full story here.
The Senate Committee on Transport and Communications is recommending the federal government revisit tax measures that right now allow advertisers to write off foreign-ad spending. The Tax Deductibility of Foreign Internet Advertising in Canada recommends the government study Section 19 of the Income Tax Act, which makes advertising in newspapers, magazines and online publications a tax-deductible expense. Foreign-based companies like Facebook and Google now account for as much as 80 per cent of Canadian online advertising revenues, competing for ad dollars with traditional Canadian broadcast and print media outlets. According to the report, annual internet advertising revenues surged from $901 million in 2006 to $5.5 billion in 2016, while daily newspapers saw ad revenue decline over the same period from $2.7 billion to $1.6 billion. The committee has resolved to undertake a more detailed study of the Telecommunications Act, Broadcasting Act, and Radiocommunication Act this fall, looking at how they can be modernized. Read the full story here.
Amazon has unveiled a new Alexa experience featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who hosts 36 short episodes, guiding the listener through the classical compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ma’s recently-released album Six Evolutions — Bach: Cello Suites. Listeners can activate the skill by saying, “Alexa, open Yo-Yo Ma’s Musical Moments.” The cellist is expected to be the first of a series of well-known musicians who’ll host smart speaker-geared content. Amazon’s Alexa continues to be the world leader in smart speakers, with more than 25 million sold as of last year. Canalys estimates the market will grow to more than 300 million devices by 2022.
Quebecor is going to court to try to prevent the Québec Press Council from making decisions about its news coverage. Quebecor media properties Le Journal de Montréal, Le Journal de Québec, 24 heures and TVA Group filed a motion in Québec Superior Court on Wednesday seeking an injunction and damages. TVA Group and Quebecor’s newspapers withdrew from the council in 2008 and 2010 respectively, and according to a press release want “their right not to be associated with the private organization, which is neither a tribunal nor an ethics committee under the law, to be respected.”
Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Pablo Rodriguez kicked off his inaugural tour of Western Canada on Monday. The Montreal MP is hosting a series of stakeholder meetings with multicultural organizations and representatives from the creative industries in BC this week, marking his first official visit to Western Canada since he took over the culture portfolio from Melanie Joly on July 18. When he returns from a two-day cabinet retreat on Vancouver Island Friday, he’s set to meet with Vancouver’s screen industries, with an anticipated funding announcement set against the backdrop of the Vancouver Film School (VFS).
The CRTC has published its snapshot of use of phone, mobile and internet service in Canadian households between 2012 and 2016. Drawn from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending and CRTC sources, the data shows that Canadian households have continued to abandon landline telephone service in favour of mobile service, with almost a third (32.5 per cent) subscribing to mobile service only in 2016. Household subscriptions to television distribution services slowly declined, with about three in four households subscribing, while the percentage of households with Internet service slowly increased, passing 87 per cent. Canadian households spent an average of $222.83 per month for their communications services, an increase of $4.41 (2.02 per cent) from 2015. Canadians continued to spend more per month on mobile services ($92.08) and television distribution services ($53.75) than on Internet services ($49.50) and landline services ($27.50).
Bell has announced an increase in its Fibe Internet access speeds to 1.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps), the fastest access speed to the home available in Canada. Unlimited Fibe 1.5 Gbps service is now available in Ontario with rollouts to Québec, the Atlantic provinces and Manitoba to follow. In PCMag’s The Fastest ISPs of 2018: Canada report in June, Bell delivered the highest overall internet speed index ever recorded in Canada by the magazine. Atlantic Canada’s Bell Aliant took second place in the national ranking.
Rogers says its improved wireless service in more micro-markets including Modeland Road and Michigan Line in Sarnia, and in the Dundas Street and Franklin Boulevard areas of Cambridge. The network enhancements are part of a multi-year national network plan, and follow similar upgrades in Brampton and Port Dover.
Civilized, the cannabis media brand with headquarters in Saint John, NB and California, is partnering with comedienne Chelsea Handler on a cross-Canada tour. The Canadian ‘A Civilized Conversation With Chelsea Handler’ tour follows a successful debut event in Saint John in association with the World Cannabis Congress. Modelled after town hall events Handler has been doing in cities across the U.S. that have been centered around social and political activism, Handler will appear with Civilized founder/publisher Derek Riedle. The tour kicks off in Calgary on Sept. 20.