The Weekly Briefing


The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards were handed out last weekend. Amanda Kingsland of Country 101.1 (CKBY-FM) Ottawa took home Music Director of the Year (large market), while Paul Ferguson of Cool 101.1 (CHCQ-FM) Belleville took home the medium/small market honour. Corus Entertainment special Jess Moskaluke: Home Movie won Country Music Program or Special of the Year. Steve Coady, vice president, radio promotions, Warner Music Canada won Industry Person of the Year, while Spotify was named Retailer of the Year. Video Director of the Year went to Stephano Barberis, whose credits include Dallas Smith’s Sky Stays This Blue, which claimed the prize for Video of the Year.

Sheryl Mackay, Michelle Eliot, Gregor Craigie and Robyn Burns

CBC Victoria will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Sept. 28 with a free concert and meet and greet with CBC Radio One hosts. The afternoon begins at the CBC Victoria station with a live broadcast of BC Today at 12 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. meet and greet with hosts Sheryl Mackay, Michelle Eliot, Gregor Craigie and Robyn Burns. The evening celebration takes place at Alix Goolden Hall with performances by local artists Towers and Trees and Fallbrigade. For those unable to attend, the concert will be broadcast live across the province on CBC Radio One from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Larry Gifford, senior program director at Corus Vancouver stations AM730 (CHMJ-AM) and CKNW-AM, debuted a new podcast Sept. 12. When Life Gives You Parkinson’s shares Gifford’s journey as he comes to terms with the disease following his Aug. 2017 diagnosis. In each episode, Gifford, 46, and co-host Niki Reitmayer will examine the impact that a Parkinson’s diagnosis has on a person, a family, a friendship, a colleague, a company, and a community. Parkinson Canada has signed on to the series as a content and promotional partner. As a companion to the podcast’s launch, Global BC is airing a three-part series about Gifford’s journey living and working with Parkinson’s, Sept. 12-14, on Global News Hour at 6. Read more here.

Rob Farina, Chris Duncombe, Leslie Merklinger, and Steve Jones

Rain Summit Canada will bring together Canadian thought leaders from the world of digital audio in Toronto on Oct. 10. Presented in partnership with TPX (The Podcast Exchange), the event features a half day of panels, presentations, and networking across the digital audio spectrum from podcasting to streaming and on-demand. A “Digital Audio Roundtable” will feature Rob Farina, head of Content & Strategy and iHeartRadio, Bell Media; Chris Duncombe, director of Streaming & Podcasting for Corus; Leslie Merklinger, senior director, Audio Innovation,; Steve Jones, VP Brands & Content, Newcap Radio; and Jordan Heath-Rawlings, director Digital Radio & Audio, Rogers. More info here.

Takara Small

The Globe and Mail tech reporter Takara Small is the host of new podcast I’ll Go First, launching Sept. 13, that will interview the trailblazers behind Canadian startups. Over the next 12 weeks, Small will explore what it’s like to be the first startup in a particular industry with the founders of some of Canada’s most disruptive startups.

Andrew Hyatt

Andrew Hyatt of Sudbury, ON has been crowned as the winner of the inaugural SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). Hyatt took home the grand prize of $25,000 and a SOCAN songwriting camp in Pender Island, BC. Taking place in the CCMA Fan Village as part of Country Music Week, the finale aired live Sept. 7 on SiriusXM’s CBC Country (ch. 171).

University of Toronto community radio station CIUT 89.5 FM is being sued by Lisabeth Pimentel, the former president of Unite Here Local 75. CIUT, one of many defendants in the case, is named in the suit for allegedly allowing defamatory content to be aired on its shows. The case stems from the union organizer’s claims that former colleagues made comments on air alleging her leadership was plagued with “racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying.” Some of those CIUT broadcasts were then posted on the internet as podcasts. Pimentel is seeking damages from the station.


Denis (Dee) Murphy

Denis (Dee) Murphy, 83, on Sept. 6. Murphy covered every level of hockey in his home province of Newfoundland for 50 years. He was a sports editor and writer with the Daily News, the Newfoundland Herald and the Telegram, a TV color commentator with CJON (NTV) and Cable Atlantic, and a sports announcer on CJON radio. Spending his entire life working and volunteering for sport, Murphy was inducted into numerous halls of fame including the Canadian, Provincial and St. John’s Softball Halls of Fame, Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame, Provincial Hockey Hall of Fame, Royal St. John’s Regatta Hall of Fame, Provincial Bowling Hall of Fame, Athletics Hall of Fame, Bell Island Sports Hall of Fame, and the Provincial Soccer Hall of Fame. He played an important role in the establishment of intermediate hockey in NL. He was the first chairman of the St. John’s Minor Hockey Association, and served as president of the St. John’s Mercantile Hockey League for 16 years. He also chaired the St. John’s Athlete of the Year Committee for 29 years, coached ladies’ softball and soccer teams for 25 years, and served on the National Advisory Council for Fitness and Amateur Sport. As a goalkeeper, he played St. John’s High School, junior and senior hockey and was a member of the St. Bon’s team that won the 1955-1956 St. John’s Junior Hockey Championship.

Lise Payette

Lise Payette, 87, on Sept. 5. Born in Verdun, Quebec, Payette started her broadcasting career at CKTR-AM Trois-Rivières in 1954. She held various jobs, including editor of the weekly Frontier Rouyn-Noranda and host of the show “La Femme dans le monde” on CKRN-DT (branded on-air as Radio-Canada Télévision CKRN) Rouyn-Noranda. She later lived in Paris and wrote for Petit Journal at the Patrie, New Journal and Châtelaine. Upon her return to Montreal, she worked on TV program “Interdit aux hommes” for Radio-Canada and on a series of animated television programs for the CBC French and English networks. From 1972-75, Payette was host of TV series “Appelez-moi Lise” (Call Me Lise) and “Lise Lib.” She entered provincial politics in 1976, representing the now-defunct riding of Dorion for the Parti Quebecois under Rene Levesque. Her portfolios included Minister for Consumer Affairs, Cooperatives and Financial Institutions; Minister of State for the Status of Women; and Minister of State for Social Development. Among Payette’s accomplishments during her time in office was getting the phrase “Je me souviens” (“I remember”) on Quebec license plates. She was also instrumental in founding Quebec public auto insurer SAAQ, and updates to the Civil Code of Quebec, allowing married women to keep their maiden names. Payette left political life in 1981 and returned to television, founding production company Focus, and writing and producing several documentary and fiction series.

Gerald (Jerry) MacLeod

Gerald (Jerry) MacLeod, 76, on June 24. MacLeod’s 43-year broadcasting career began in July 1958, at CFQC-TV (now CTV Saskatoon). He became production manager in 1974, then operations manager. In 1989, he was appointed VP of Operations for CFQC-TV and then served as general manager from 1995 until his retirement in 2001. MacLeod was involved in many community events over the years including serving on the board of the Saskatoon Prairieland Exhibition.


The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Netflix have announced the start of a new five-year funding partnership in support of Canadian talent. The Netflix-CFC Global Project will use a model of three distinct program accelerators aimed at fostering opportunities for Canadian creators and their film/TV projects in the international marketplace. As part of its commitment, Netflix will become the Presenting Sponsor of CFC’s Annual Gala & Auction, CFC’s Annual BBQ Fundraiser, CFC’s Annual Garden Party and CFC’s Annual Reception in L.A. In addition, a restored cottage on the CFC campus in Toronto will become the newly-named Netflix House, enabling different groups of talent to connect and collaborate in a shared central hub of creative activity. Read more here.

CBC is rolling out new brand CBC Films, which will encompass its funding, pre-buys and acquisitions, and become the rebrand for the CBC Breaking Barriers Film Fund. CBC Films currently has 12 films it supported screening at TIFF and has confirmed the next four features selected for funding. Read more here.

Cardinal and Alias Grace lead the nominations for The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) 2018 DGC Awards for Television Series, Movies for Television and Mini-SeriesCTV crime drama Cardinal earned four nominations including Directorial Achievement for Jeff Renfroe, Best Picture Editing and Best Sound Editing; while mini-series Alias Grace, which originally aired on CBC and is now available on Netflix, was nominated in three categories. DGC has also announced its Discovery Long-List, highlighting the top new Canadian filmmakers to watch. Find the full list of this year’s nominees here. Nominees for Feature Film, Documentary and Short Film will be announced after the DGC’s national awards juries meet on Sept. 15.

Simone Urd, Caitlin Grabham, and Jennifer Weiss

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has announced the winners of its 2018 CMPA Indiescreen Awards. Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss (The Film Farm) were named joint winners of the CMPA’s Established Producer Award in recognition of their impressive collective body of work, including latest feature Falls Around Her premiering in the Contemporary World Cinema category at TIFF. Caitlin Grabham (Prowler Film) was the recipient of the newly-dedicated Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award for her inspiring early-career accomplishments, including her first feature Firecrackers, also screening at TIFF.

Comweb Corporation/William F. White Int’l and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) have announced the creation of the Jay Switzer Comweb/William F. White Int’l Indigenous Creator Scholarship as a tribute to the late CHUM president & CEO, who passed away from brain cancer in January. Administered through the CFC, the $100,000 award will be distributed over the next 10 years. Further details will be announced at a later date.

RBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television are partnering on the new Music Video Production Project (MVP Project). Established by RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize, the MVP Project is open to recording artists and/or directors who identify as “Emerging Artists“. Over two rounds of funding, support will be offered through music video production grants valued between $5,000 and $15,000. In addition to the grants, successful candidates will receive mentorship and networking opportunities. Submissions for the first round of the MVP Project will be open from Oct. 1 – Nov. 1. The second round will open in Jan. 2019.

CBC’s Street Legal revival (6×60) is officially in production. The reboot of the series sees Cynthia Dale reprise her role as Olivia Novak, with Cara Ricketts (The Book of Negroes), Steve Lund (Haven) and Yvonne Chapman (The Crossing) joining the series as the next generation of Toronto lawyers fighting the good fight. Original cast members Eric Peterson (“Leon Robinovitch”) and Anthony Sherwood (“Dillon Beck”) are also confirmed to return for special guest appearances. The series starts production this week for a winter 2019 premiere on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and

Global is adding to its roster of original series with new primetime medical drama Nurses (working title), set to premiere on the network in 2019. From independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), the 10×60 series is executive produced by Ilana Frank (Rookie Blue) of ICF Films and Vanessa Piazza (Dark Matter) of Piazza Entertainment. Adam Pettle serves as writer, showrunner, and executive producer, with Tassie Cameron as executive producer. The series follows four young nurses working on the frontlines of St. Jude’s hospital dedicating their lives to helping others, while figuring out how to help themselves. The newly-greenlit series comes on the heels of Global renewals for original series Ransom, Mary Kills People, Private Eyes and Big Brother Canada.

Clodagh McKenna and Tommy Smythe

The Marilyn Denis Show kicked off its ninth season Monday, Sept. 10 on CTV. The show will go international this season as Denis travels to Ireland (Sept. 27) with chef Clodagh McKenna and design expert Tommy Smythe (Where To I Do?) in a special episode that chronicles the host’s summer travels.

Jann Arden

CTV, in association with Project 10 Productions and Seven24 Films, has started production on the inaugural season of new original comedy series JANN. Starring Canadian singer, songwriter, broadcaster, and author Jann Arden as a fictionalized version of herself, the six-episode comedy series takes viewers on “Jann’s” quest for renewed fame in the wake of a waning career, while also dealing with the obligations and pressures of her real life. The cast includes Zoie Palmer (Sex After Kids, Dark Matter), Patrick Gilmore (Travelers; You, Me, Her), Deborah Grover (Anne With An “E”), Alexa Rose Steele (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Jason Blicker (F/X: The Series), Sharon Taylor (Bad Blood), and Elena Juatco (Open Heart), in addition to surprise celebrity cameos. JANN shoots in Calgary until Oct. 4, and is set to premiere as part of CTV’s 2018/19 schedule.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has released its schedule for the 2018 fall season. AMI original productions are the centrepiece of the schedule with Season 2 of the award-winning Employable Me, the debut season of dating series There’s Something You Should Know and new episodes of Eyes for the Job, which moves to a new night and timeslot. AMI This Week kicks off its seventh season on Sept. 10, sharing events and interesting stories from coast to coast. New additions include Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award-winning series Breaking Bad and The Shield, available in described video for the first time. Other newly-acquired dramas include Rescue Me, private investigation drama Hack, and Tom Selleck drama Blue Bloods.

CraveTV has added 200 hours of children’s programming, including The Adventures of Paddington Bear, League of Super Evil and Peppa Pig. The move follows last year’s Bell Media and WOW! Unlimited Media strategic partnership with kids’ programming now available to stream in two collections: WOW! Preschool Playdate (targeted at kids aged 0-5) and WOW! World Kids (ages 6 and up). Additional titles including Teletubbies, Mona The Vampire, Doodlebops Roadshow and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! are set to join the service later this year.

Nelvana has inked a multi-year home entertainment deal with Cinedigm for multiple titles from its children’s content library including classic series like Babar and Bakugan Battle Brawlers. The Los Angeles-based company has taken DVD and transactional digital rights for more than 3,000 episodes and will be kicking off the deal with Nelvana preschool series Ranger Rob. Additionally, Cinedigm will be releasing DVDs of The ZhuZhus, the Disney Channel series based on the $2-billion USD toy brand. Nelvana series 6Teen, and CGI interactive series Little Charmers are also included in the deal. Cinedigm has also renewed streaming rights for six Nelvana series, including Babar and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, for its Dove and ConTV streaming networks.

Tyler Labine, Eric McCormack, Keanu Reeves, and Italia Ricci were among the Canadians who took part in Friday night’s Stand Up To Cancer telecast which raised $162.7 million CDN. For the third time, the telecast aired simultaneously on Canada’s four major English-language Canadian broadcasters: CBC, Citytv, CTV, and Global, as well as Canadian services 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. Read more here.

TSN and CTV Saskatchewan aired the Humboldt Broncos season opener, live and commercial-free, on Sept. 12 with game coverage also heard on TSN 1290 Winnipeg, TSN 1260 Edmonton, TSN 1200 Ottawa, TSN 1050 Toronto, TSN 690 Montreal, TSN 1150 Hamilton, and BNN Bloomberg 1410 Vancouver. Hosted by James Duthie, the broadcast featured Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, with play-by-play from Chris Cuthbert and colour commentary from Ray Ferraro. Sportscentre reporter Ryan Rishaug reported rinkside, along with senior hockey reporter Frank Seravalli. The TSN Original features group has been spending time in the community of Humboldt for a documentary set to air on CTV and TSN later this year.

Jonathan and Justin Gajewski have optioned the rights for a biopic on Rocky Johnson, the African Nova Scotian professional wrestler and father of actor Dwayne Johnson. Ring King will tell Johnson’s life story from the 1950s to the late ’90s. The Gajewski brothers are assistant directors and producers with previous credits on Avengers: Infinity War, Total Recall (2012), Suicide Squad, and Room, among other films.


CBC has unveiled plans to launch streaming service CBC Gem, promising a less commercial, Canadian experience. Speaking at industry event Content Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, CBC/Radio-Canada president & CEO Catherine Tait said the new OTT service will be available before the end of the year on the CBC TV app, which will be rebranded. Subscribers have the option of an ad-supported, free option, or the ad-free version for $4.99 a month. The service mirrors what Radio-Canada has already done in the French market with its ICI TOU.TV streaming service. Telefilm Canada will sponsor the Canadian feature film section of CBC Gem—allowing Canadians to watch upwards of 150 Canadian films on the service commercial free. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will also contribute titles. Read more here.

Twitter has launched a live audio broadcast feature allowing users to broadcast audio only through the Periscope video platform. Users can also use the chatroom and other interactive features simultaneously while they broadcast. For now, the service is only available to iOS users.

Spotify is adopting Nielsen Brand Effect across its platform in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, U.K., Spain, France, Netherlands, Japan and Australia allowing advertisers to delve deeper into how their ads are connecting with audiences and examine brand awareness, perception and purchase intent. The integration captures exposure to audio, video, and display formats heard or seen across desktop, mobile and connected devices. Spotify’s adoption of Nielsen Brand Effect marks the latest expansion in the two companies’ collaboration. The company currently provides clients with the ability to use Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to measure audience reach across campaigns on Spotify. In addition, Spotify uses Nielsen Catalina Solutions to demonstrate offline sales lift and works with Nielsen Media Lab and Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience to capture audience engagement.

The Globe and Mail is testing a new approach to comment moderation on its web stories. Over the month of September, all stories on are automatically being set to pre-moderation, regardless of topic. Previously, editors decided on a case-by-case basis which articles would be subject to pre-moderation, meaning all comments posted to that article are reviewed by at least one editor before being approved to appear on the site. In addition to pre-moderation, The Globe uses automated filters to help catch toxic language. The Globe says it has also learned which sections and topics lead to the greatest number of reader contributions: “Articles published to our Opinion, Politics, and Canada sections receive the most comments. Topics that draw the most comments include NAFTA, housing affordability, immigration and anything to do with U.S. President Donald Trump.”

AB Today is set to launch ahead of the next Alberta provincial election. The online subscription-based legislative news service is the third offering from publisher Allison Smith, who launched Queen’s Park Today six years ago and its follow-up BC Today last year. The daily newsletters offer news briefs, a detailed account of the previous day’s Question Period, and legislative schedules.  


The CRTC has laid out its priorities for the next two fiscal years in its CRTC Forecast 2019-20. Under the purview of Broadcasting, the commission says it intends to consider applications for a new multi-ethnic TV channel; launch a review of the Indigenous broadcasting policy framework; consider renewal of broadcast licences for CBC/Radio-Canada; in addition to several initiatives under the commission’s May 2018 report Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada, The CRTC says it may also consider re-examining the regulatory approach to radio – including common ownership policy, Canadian content levels, French vocal music requirements, Canadian content development and group-based approaches; examine ways to support television news production through increased access to subscription revenues; re-examine the role and effectiveness of the existing regulatory approach to broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDU); implementing new approaches and technologies for content identification and tracking to provide improved data analytics and remove the need for traditional logs and monitoring requirements for television and radio programming services; and update its definition of “Canadian programming expenditures” in the context of the digital environment.

Bell, Rogers, and Telus have come back to the CRTC with new low-cost wireless data plan proposals. The large telcos were responding to a July request from the commission to provide cheaper plans than were originally pitched to the regulator. Each are offering plans through their flanker brands that in some cases are half what was originally proposed – at $15/month. Telus is proposing two new monthly low-cost, data-only plans at $30 a month for 1 GB of data at LTE speeds, available through Koodo, with another prepaid plan through Public Mobile. Bell proposed three new plans: two from Virgin Mobile that would both run $28/month for 1 GB at LTE speeds, and another prepaid $15 plan through Lucky Mobile for 500 MB at 3G speeds. Rogers is proposing three new lower-cost, data-only plans through Fido, and two through Chatr. The first would run at $15 for 250 MB and include 100 outgoing Canada-wide voice calling minutes, and unlimited Canada-wide texting and incoming calls. The second is $25 a month for 1 GB and is based on an automatic payment plan. Both are offered on a 3G network. The Fido plans include one at $15 for 250 MB, another at $25 a month for 500 MB, and another option offering 1 GB for $30, all on LTE speeds.

Carleton University is now accepting applications for the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship for a project to be completed in 2019. The application deadline is Oct. 22 at noon ET. The fund provides an annual award of $25,000 to cover travel, reporting and research expenses and a stipend for a journalist. The fellowship commemorates the career and ideals of Jim Travers – reporter, foreign correspondent, general manager for Southam News, editor of The Ottawa Citizen, executive managing editor of the Toronto Star and national columnist at the time of his death in 2011. Last year’s recipients, Canadian Press reporting team Aleksandra Sagan and Laura Kane, used the fellowship to travel to India and South Africa to examine antimicrobial resistance and innovative approaches to combat an impending global crisis. Read the resulting stories here.

The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group has announced its 2018 Prairie Equity Scholarship competition aimed at broadcast students in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, who are part of under-represented groups. The Equity Scholarship was instituted in 2009 to address the shortage of broadcasters from four groups; Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Visible Minorities, and Women. This year, two $2,000 awards will be made to students attending or planning to attend a recognized broadcast program at a post-secondary institution in one of those provinces. Applicants can access scholarship information through the websites of the Prairie stations of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, or through their post-secondary institution. Deadline for applications is Oct. 5 with the award to be announced in November.

CCBE 2018 takes place Sept. 27-30 in King City, ON with Friday’s keynote address to be delivered by Ross Davies, general manager, Member Engagement for Numeris. Find registration information here.

Valerie Geller, president of Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants, will be the keynote speaker at the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Conference – Connection/18. Geller has worked with broadcasters at more than 500 stations in 35 countries including CBC, Rogers, Corus, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, NBC, iHeart, Cumulus, the BBC in the UK, ABC in Australia and more. Find the full Nov. 8 conference agenda here


Bell Media’s out-of-home advertising division, Astral, has struck a new partnership with Campsite, a Montréal based leader in programmatic out-of-home campaigns. The agreement is set to add 240 Astral Digital large format and street furniture faces across Canada through Campsite’s programmatic platform. Launched in 2016, Campsite offers advertising solutions for companies wanting to expand their digital reach and optimize data strategies.

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