The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Dave Wheeler

Dave Wheeler, the former 92 CITI FM Winnipeg morning man fired by Rogers in July after controversial on-air comments about transgender people, is suing the company for more than $1.4 million. Wheeler claims Rogers violated his employment contract and publicly defamed him following his highly-publicized dismissal. The lawsuit seeks lost wages, plus $80,000 in bonuses and benefits Wheeler would have received had his contract not been cancelled. The suit maintains that Rogers “condoned, encouraged and promoted Wheeler for being controversial, agitating and provocative,” using words like “edgy,” “uncensored,” “uncut” and “imbalanced” to promote Wheeler In The Morning. Wheeler’s lucrative contract with Rogers is detailed in the suit. His 2017 renewal, through 2022, saw his salary bumped to $335,000 per year, in addition to a one-time $100,000 signing bonus. Since his dismissal, Wheeler has been hosting a weekday morning podcast with his wife Candace from a home studio in the couple’s basement. Read the full story here.

SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in an all-stock transaction valued at $3.5 billion U.S. The subscription satellite radio service says its acquisition of the music platform will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company, with more than $7 billion in expected pro-forma revenue in 2018. SiriusXM says acquiring the platform will allow it to expand its presence beyond vehicles into the home and other mobile areas. There will be no immediate change in listener offerings following completion of the transaction which is expected in the first quarter of 2019. Read more here.

Jeff Vidler

Audience Insights and Ulster Media have published more details from their 2018 Canadian Podcast Listener survey of 1,500 Canadians. In a post this week to Medium, Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler revealed most podcast growth is coming from listeners “inside the club, not those knocking on the door.” In sync with Edison Research in the U.S., the study shows steady, but slow growth: 26 per cent of Canadian adults now listen to podcasts at least once a month, up from 24 per cent last year. Within that group of monthly listeners, nearly three-in-four say they listen weekly, compared to just two-in-three last year. Nearly half of those monthly podcast listeners – 11 per cent – say they just started listening to podcasts in the past year. Vidler chalks up the finding to “churn” or listener turnover. He suggests driving growth by leveraging the rise of Smart Speakers, which are evolving as a conduit for home audio consumption and not discounting the shelf life of past podcast episodes.

Golden West Radio has issued an apology after airing a paid advertisement on some of its Western Canadian stations from independent think tank The Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP). The ads, voiced by well-known broadcaster Roger Currie, described some of the effects of residential schools as myths. Golden West’s statement said the one-time paid ad “does not reflect the views of Golden West in any way. We apologize for the aired commercial, and for the impact it had on our listeners. An apology is being issued on the affected stations, and measures are being taken to ensure material like this does not air on our stations in the future.” CJNU-FM Winnipeg, the station Currie now volunteers with as a news director, also issued an apology, saying it does not endorse the commentary in any way.  

Today’s Country QX104 (CFQX-FM) Winnipeg raised $100,000 for the Manitoba chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation during this year’s QX104 Slo-Pitch for a Wish event held over the weekend of Sept. 14-16. The Slo-Pitch tournament was launched in 2017, raising $65,000 in its inaugural year. Country music artists also take part in the event, playing in a celebrity game and performing live at a Saturday evening concert. This year’s performers included Doc Walker, The Washboard Union, Petric, David James, Jojo Mason and Leanne Pearson.

Jesse Reynolds and Jenna Mosher have launched a podcast just weeks after their morning show on JUMP! 106.9 (CKQB-FM) Ottawa was replaced by syndicated U.S. programming. “Jesse and Jenna’s Messy Podcast” can be heard weekly Fridays at 8 a.m. on Ottawa-based internet radio station BlastTheRadio.com. It’s also available on iTunes and Google Podcasts.

SIGN-OFFS:

Richard Coleman

Richard Coleman, 74, on Sept. 25. Coleman started at CFCN-TV Calgary in Dec. 1965 and retired as VP of Engineering for CTV Alberta, 43 years later in Dec. 2008. Respected for his knowledge, passion and devotion to the broadcast industry, Coleman was honoured with the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) Bob Lamp Award for Engineering Excellence in 2007.

Terry Moore

Terry Moore, 82, on Sept. 24, following a short battle with cancer. Moore had a 62-year broadcasting career that started in 1956 at CKUA Edmonton. He moved on to CFCN Calgary, and then CKFH and CFRB Toronto. A stint doing mornings and holding down APD duties followed at WTFM-FM New York, while Moore studied opera and acting. He relocated to the West Coast in the 1970s where he hosted talk on CJOR Vancouver, then CKWX Vancouver and CKNW from 1980 to 1992. In 1992 he returned to Calgary and CHQR-AM, also anchoring evening news on CICT-TV (now Global). He eventually returned to Vancouver Island and hosted various programs over the years on CFAX 1070 Victoria, including Wine Talk. While he retired in 2016, he was a regular fill-in host on the station up until recently. Moore’s talents outside radio extended to a role in feature films “My American Cousin” and sequel “My American Boyfriend.” He also authored 1987 Canadian best seller “Toothpaste and Peanut Butter,” a how-to collection of household hints. Upon news of his passing, CFAX broke format on Monday and opened the lines to remember the broadcaster. Watch CTV Vancouver Island’s tribute here.

George Grant

George Grant, 76, on Sept. 17 of complications from prostate cancer. Grant spent 50 years in the broadcast industry as a host, sales manager, programmer, and operations executive. He started in radio in 1964 at CKAR-AM Huntsville, ON as both morning show host and salesman. A stint at VOCM-AM in St. John’s, NL followed where he assumed program director duties. Upon returning to Toronto, he joined Rogers Broadcasting and CHFI-FM in a sales role, and acted as the station’s helicopter traffic reporter. Grant quickly moved up to VP of Sales and general manager. During those years, he also produced “On the Slopes” – a skiing show that aired on Citytv and a number of Ontario radio stations. In 1979, Grant branched out on his own, acquiring CKQT-FM and CKAR-AM Oshawa. He grew and operated the stations up until 1990 when he sold them to Power Broadcasting. He then took a break from broadcasting and moved into sports ownership, becoming a founding partner of the Ottawa Senators in 1992 and investing in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats a year later, as part of a Limited Partnership formed to rescue the team. He subsequently was co-owner of the Ti-Cats from 1995-2003, with the team winning the Grey Cup Championship in 1999. In 2004, Grant rekindled his relationship with Moses Znaimer becoming the founding president and CEO of MZ Media, ZoomerMedia’s radio division where he helped orchestrate the purchase of The New Classical 96.3 (CFMZ-FM) Toronto. Grant retired in 2013, but continued to work on new projects. Most recently he had been involved in helping launch APTN’s new Indigenous radio stations in Ottawa and Toronto.

Frank Babich

Frank Babich, 74, on Sept. 14. Babich started out as one of youngest salesman in the Toronto office for CHCH-TV before relocating to Vancouver and becoming the VP of sales for BCTV Vancouver and CHEK-TV Victoria. He served in the role for 19 years up until his retirement in June 1997. Babich then joined the BC Lions and Vancouver 86ers Soccer Club in the roles of vice-president & director of sales, responsible for all non-league-generated revenue acquired by the club, including corporate sales, ticket sales, merchandising and hospitality suites. Babich was an inductee of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters’ Quarter Century Club. He was also a past board member of the Television Bureau (TVB), the first collective sales and marketing team for the Canadian television industry.

Edward (Ted) Marshall

Edward (Ted) Marshall, 73, on Sept. 8. Marshall worked with the CBC as a recording engineer for 30 years, starting in 1966. He played an integral role in the development of the CBC’s SM5000 recording catalog. Following his work with the public broadcaster, Marshall then grew his own company, Marshall Arts Productions. At the forefront of classical music recording for over 50 years, he recorded hundreds of solo artists, orchestras, bands, choral and chamber ensembles, in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Retired CBC host Howard Dyck interviewed Marshall earlier this year for the Toronto section of the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Listen here.

Walter Unger

Walter Unger, 81, on Aug. 25. Unger was born in 1936 in Saskatchewan to a Mennonite farming family. Following studies at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Edinburgh, he went on to a 37-year career at the CBC. He held roles in Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa from announcer and reporter to executive producer and senior network manager. Following his retirement, Unger and his wife Marina founded the Mennonite Heritage Cruises. From 1995 – 2010, they hosted over 3,000 Mennonites returning to their home villages in Ukraine. He also supported archival research through the Transnational Mennonite Studies program at the University of Winnipeg.

Don Goodwin

Don Goodwin, 88, on Aug. 21. Goodwin’s broadcasting career started following a short stint in the army with the Black Watch Regiment that brought him to Nova Scotia. Veteran broadcaster Senator Finlay Macdonald recruited him for his radio station CJCH Halifax. He joined CBC Halifax in the 1950s as a television sportscaster. Working on some of the first live sports telecasts originating from the Maritimes, he was eventually asked to assist with CBC’s Olympic, Pan Am, Commonwealth and Canada Games coverage. Goodwin rose to become head of CBC Sports. Among his career highlights was serving as the announcer for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Atlanta Olympics. In addition to his broadcasting career, Goodwin was heavily involved in the promotion of amateur sport. He served as deputy Chef de Mission for the Canadian team, alongside Dick Pound, at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and led the team for the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. Together with George Gross, Goodwin also created Sports Media Canada and the annual SMC Awards recognizing excellence in sports media excellence. Their legacy, the Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards Luncheon, launched in 1996.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

DHX Media has concluded a strategic review, announcing that its refocusing its content strategy on growing its WildBrain YouTube network and developing premium originals. As part of the review, the Halifax-based children’s entertainment company has signed a multi-million-dollar agency agreement for the Peanuts brand in China and Asia with CAA Global Brand Management Group LLP. The move follows the previously-announced sale of a minority stake in Peanuts to Sony for $235.6 million CDN. Additionally, DHX Media’s board of directors has suspended the company’s quarterly dividend, freeing up approximately $10 million in annual funds, to invest in the company’s WildBrain business and continue paying down debt. The company plans to invest in more short-form content, leveraging data from WildBrain’s 2.4 billion monthly views and over 50 million subscribers. It will also prioritize new content development on premium, original long-form series to meet rising demand for exclusive programming from major streaming platforms. Read more here.

The CRTC has approved the addition of La7 Italia to the list of foreign channels authorized for distribution in Canada. The commission approved an application from Ethnic Channels Group Limited (ECGL), the service’s Canadian sponsor. La7 Italia is described as an Italian-language television service that offers a wide range of programming of interest to the Italian community, including news and information, lifestyle, health and wellness, documentaries and current affairs programming.

Vic Sarin

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced its full list of nominees for the 2018 DGC Awards. Vic Sarin will be honoured with this year’s DGC Lifetime Achievement AwardThe Indian-born Canadian film director, producer and screenwriter is best known for his work as a cinematographer on films including Partition, Margaret’s Museum, Whale Music, Nowhere to Hide, and Riel. Montreal-based Indigenous documentary filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin, who has over 50 films to her credit including Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, will receive this year’s DGC Honourary Life Member Award. Norma Bailey will be honoured with the Don Haldane Distinguished Service Award. The Manitoba-born director has most recently directed episodes of Anne With An E, Mary Kills People, Ransom and Outlander, among other series.

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is accepting applications for the 2019 edition of NSI IndigiDocs. The program offers development and mentorship for up to four producer/director teams to create a short documentary, including up to $16K in cash toward production of their films. Find out more and apply for NSI IndigiDocs by Nov. 5.

Sophia Fabiilli, Jessica Meya, Michael Rinaldi, and Mackenzie Sinclair

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced the six new residents joining the 2018 Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, presented in association with ABC Signature Studios. This year’s group includes Sophia Fabiilli, whose co-created comedy-horror web series Fatal Murder is in development with Shaftesbury; writer and community leader Jessica Meya – the 2018 recipient of the Breakthrough Artist Award at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference; Michael Rinaldi, an actor and writer whose play Toothpaste and Cigars, (co-written with TJ Dawe), was adapted as 2013 feature film The F Word; Mackenzie Sinclair, originally from Edmonton, a 2017 Toronto Screenwriting Conference Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Award recipient; Veronika Paz, an actor, playwright, director and TV writer, who was the 2018 recipient of the Al Magee Diverse Screenwriters Award; and Heather Taylor, a writer, director and co-founder of New York creative studio Cereal Made, with writing credits on feature The Last Thakur; sci-fi web series Raptured, and the award-winning short Stitched. The group will work with CFC alumna and writer-producer Alexandra Zarowny. Her work spans Degrassi: The Next Generation to Wynonna Earp, Murdoch Mysteries, Bellevue and Private Eyes.

CTV has unveiled a simplified logo in conjunction with the launch of the 2018 Fall Season. A cross-platform campaign calling on viewers to “Get Into It” features a pared down version of the CTV logo, the network’s first brand refresh since 2011. In addition to CTV’s digital and social channels, the new branding will be leveraged across Bell Media’s assets including national promotion across its 88 English radio stations; featured amongst the movie trailers in Cineplex’s Showtime theatre platform; and an ad roll-out in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver that will include a high impact transit presence and a hand-painted mural at Bell’s 299 Queen Street West location in Toronto. Read more here.

Ryan Tedder, Sarah McLachlan, Marie-Mai, and Scott Borchetta

Ryan Tedder, Sarah McLachlan, and Arkells’ Max Kerman have been confirmed as the first wave of celebrity mentors for Season 2 of CTV’s The Launch. Québec pop icon Marie-Mai (Star Academie, La Voix) also joins the seriems’ as a permanent mentor on the weekly celebrity panel, alongside music industry veteran Scott Borchetta. Liz Trinnear (ETALK) joins the show in a new hosting role. The Launch began production this week in Toronto on its second season.

Timothy Caulfield A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, a Canadian docuseries challenging health trends from laser fillers to holistic medicine, is set to premiere on Netflix this month. Season 1 is set to stream North-America-wide, starting Sept. 28, while Season 2 will begin airing on VisionTV on Oct. 15. Produced by Toronto-based Peacock Alley Entertainment, the series is hosted by University of Alberta law professor Timothy Caulfield, known for his book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? The series first season has become an international hit since premiering on VisionTV last fall. It’s now seen in 67 territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Africa, India, much of Europe and the Far East.

CBC’s new competition series Canada’s Smartest Person Junior premieres Nov. 14. Like Canada’s Smartest Person, the junior format is inspired by psychologist Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Over six weeks, 12 Canadian kids aged 9–12 will showcase their smarts in challenges across six categories: physical, musical, social, linguistic, logical and visual. The series is hosted by two-time Canadian Screen Award winner Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience).

CraveTV is ramping up its marijuana-themed offerings in conjunction with Canadian legalization on Oct. 17. Its expanded 420 Collection is anchored by the addition of Season 1 of HBO comedy-drama High Maitenance, exploring the eccentric private lives of New Yorkers with one connection: their weed dealer. Other titles include The High Court, Broad City, Workaholics, HBO’s Bored To Death, reality-documentary Weed Wars; and VICE series Bong Apetit and Weediquette. October also sees CraveTV launch the new VICE Collection, following Bell Media’s new partnership with the media brand. It will include Season 1 of the Emmy-nominated Gaycation with Ellen Page; Season 1 of Most Expensivest, starring 2 Chainz; Seasons 1 and 2 of F*ck That’s Delicious with Action Bronson; and Slutever, among other titles.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Amazon Music Unlimited has launched in Canada, giving Canadian customers access to its catalogue of songs, playlists and personalized stations. Joining the previously-launched Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited unlocks millions more songs, including localized programming featuring Canadian artists. Customers have the ability to ask for music on any Alexa-enabled device, including in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android, by mood, era, genre and title. They can also request a playlist based on activity, set music alarms to wake up to, or return to a song listened to earlier in the day. Eligible customers can enjoy a free 90-day trial for a limited time and choose between a variety of plan options ranging from the Single Device Plan ($3.99/month) to the Family Plan, which allows up to six members of a household to share a subscription for $14.99/month or $149/year for Prime members.

The Competition Bureau has issued letters to operators of online video streaming services in Canada, warning them to review their marketing practices and related terms and conditions. During a review of streaming service websites and applications, the bureau noticed that information provided is not always clear and the language used difficult to understand. The bureau said in some cases important information related to pricing or cancellation rights is buried or simply missing.The intervention is the result of the annual International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) internet sweep, which this year focused on terms and conditions in the digital economy.

Torstar Corporation has announced that through one of its subsidiaries, it has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of iPolitics Inc., the Ottawa-based online political news outlet. Following closure of the deal, which is expected on or around Oct. 1, Torstar daily newspapers and websites across the country will begin publishing articles from iPolitics. Launched in 2010 by founder and editor James Baxter, iPolitics serves its subscribers through a network of digital and social media sites, providing daily political news and industry briefs, a quarterly magazine, policy-oriented podcasts and parliamentary monitoring services. The Toronto Star and iPolitics will retain separate news bureaus in Ottawa, headed respectively by a separate bureau chief and a separate editor. Read the full story here.

Google’s recently-named Chief Privacy Officer has posted a proposed framework for data protection legislation as the U.S. Congress prepares to write legislation governing how digital companies can collect, use and monetize user data. Keith Enright formerly led Google’s privacy legal team for the past decade, before taking up his new post in May. Google has shared its view on the requirements, scope, and enforcement expectations the company believes should be reflected in all responsible data protection laws. Among its baseline recommendations is that countries adopt a globally-integrated framework of privacy regulations to avoid small business running afoul of foreign regulators. Read more here.

Google has signed a deal with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to provide in-car infotainment systems that will run on the Android operating system. The Google-powered media display, which will integrate Google Maps and the company’s apps, will be in cars starting in 2021. Google will have access to data generated through the car units, but can only collect it with customer permission.

GENERAL:

Janet Yale

The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel launched its consultation process this week with the release of Responding to the New Environment: A Call for Comments. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 30. The panel, led by former TELUS EVP Janet Yale, aims to provide relevant, practical and implementable recommendations to the federal government that will ensure Canada has effective legislative and regulatory tools in place to support increased innovation, competition, diversity and choice in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors in the digital age. The consultation process will also include participating in a number of industry and academic conferences and meeting with a cross-section of experts, creators, stakeholders and other interested parties, including those from Indigenous and official-language minority communities. A final report will be presented to government by Jan. 31, 2020. Read more here.

Clive Jackson and Donna Logan

The Jack Webster Foundation has announced that Clive Jackson is the recipient of the 2018 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award, while Donna Logan will be honoured with this year’s Bill Good Award. Jackson is a former BCTV reporter, who transitioned to the assignment desk and helped build what’s now the Global BC brand. Donna Logan is the founding director of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism (1997-2007). She’s also a past president of the Canadian Media Research Consortium (2005-14), former deputy managing editor of the Montreal Star (1976-79) and has held several senior executive positions with the CBC, including Regional Director for BC. The awards will be handed out Oct. 29 at the Jack Webster Awards dinner in Vancouver.  

Catherine Tait

Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada’s first female president, is on a tour of CBC newsrooms across the country following her appointment in July. Tait sat down this week with CBC Vancouver Early Edition host Stephen Quinn to talk about the future of public broadcasting in the digital age. On the heels of the public broadcaster’s announcement that it’s launching new OTT service Gem, Tait told Quinn consumer behaviour is shifting online and the CBC has to be where Canadians are. Listen to the full interview here.

Rogers and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have announced a three year, multi-million dollar partnership to build a real-world 5G Hub on campus that will be a testbed for 5G innovation in Canada. Starting early next year, Rogers will deploy 5G-ready network equipment and infrastructure at UBC. The partnership will study 5G applications such as monitoring cars and traffic to develop smarter and safer cities. Other research interests include autonomous vehicles, machine learning, artificial intelligence and network slicing technology for use in robotics, farming and medical applications. The partnership will also develop skills in computer science, applied mathematics, machine learning and software development. Read the full story here.

Bell MTS has announced the latest expansion of its leading LTE Advanced (LTE-A) wireless coverage in Manitoba, extending wireless service for the first time to the Southeastern communities of Stuartburn, Woodridge and Zhoda. Part of the $1-billion Bell MTS infrastructure investment plan for the province, LTE-A wireless service will be available in Woodridge this week, and launches in Stuartburn and Zhoda in 2019.

Jeff Elgie

Jeff Elgie, CEO of Village Media, who is finding success expanding hyper-local Ontario online news sites across smaller cities, and David Skok, CEO and editor-in-chief of media start-up The Logic, a subscription news site focused on Canada’s innovation economy, will talk about the decline of local news and creative use of technology in bridging information gaps at Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) J-Talk Going Local or Going Niche: New News Opportunities on Oct. 4 at the Google offices in Toronto. This event is part of the annual J-Talks series. Ticket info here.

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow, the investigative journalist behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker investigation on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault, is set to speak at an upcoming Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) J-Talk in Toronto. Ronan Farrow: Power, Media and Politics will take place Nov. 4 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The event, part of the annual J-Talks series exploring pressing media issues, will see Farrow in conversation with The Globe and Mail investigative reporter Robyn Doolittle. Doolittle’s own reporting on the way Canadian police services handle sexual assault cases prompted a national overhaul of policy, training and practices. She’s also the author national bestseller Crazy Town: the Rob Ford Story. Find more info here.

SUPPLY LINES:

Francois Vaillant (CBC) and Philipp Lawo (Lawo)

CBC/Radio-Canada has chosen the Lawo VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) as the master IP control system for its new Montreal Broadcast Centre. The planned 39,000 m² (418,000 sq. ft.) Montreal broadcast facility will host several production areas dedicated to news, TV and post production activities, fed by dozens of studios, control rooms, editing and infographic workstations and audio mixing suites. Its massive Master Control and Playout Room is designed to host 40 TV channels, 40 Web channels and 160 Radio channels. The control and management of this broadcast infrastructure, and accompanying integrated technical resources, is based on Lawo VSM.

Xperi Corporation has announced that its subsidiary DTS, a global leader in high-definition audio solutions, has reached an agreement with PILOT, an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), to prototype new broadcast radio services and user experiences in the vehicle using the DTS® Connected Radio™ ecosystem. The program will leverage the same development tools and platform Xperi provides to automotive OEMs and their suppliers for development of DTS Connected Radio receivers. While the program will focus on domestic HD Radio and analog broadcast radio stations, PILOT will be able to prototype services with content from broadcasters, offering a global radio user experience. Jeff Jury, general manager, automotive at Xperi says PILOT and Xperi have similar goals in wanting to ensure radio remains dominant in the vehicle. Utilizing an IP connection installed in a vehicle, DTS Connected Radio delivers an analog FM and digital (DAB and HD Radio®) experience by pairing broadcast programming with IP-delivered content. Xperi has also announced an agreement between DTS and BBC Radio to run a hybrid radio trial for 18 months. Under terms of the agreement, the UK public service broadcaster will provide content directly into the DTS® Connected Radio platform. This trial will allow the refining of system operations, support on-going global automotive field testing and product development of hybrid radio, and validate the implementation and listener experience in connected analog and DAB equipped radios.


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