The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

The CRTC has approved Stingray Digital Group’s purchase of Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited (NCCL) and its radio and television stations for $523,949,242. Stingray will take ownership and effective control of Newcap’s 71 radio stations and 29 rebroadcasting transmitters in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, and two conventional television stations in Alberta, where the company also operates an exempt tourist information radio station. Stingray’s application to the CRTC indicates that it plans to leverage that experience intending “to build on the strong local focus of the current programming of the NCCL stations by bringing its financial resources, music programming experience, multi-platform reach and committed personnel to the existing NCCL operation.” Read more here.

First Peoples Radio Inc. officially launched its ELMNT FM stations in Toronto and Ottawa Wednesday. FPR aims to fill the gap for urban Indigenous listeners who don’t hear themselves represented in the current radio landscape. The “Indigenous-variety” format will feature both English and Indigenous-language spoken-word and musical programming with 25 per cent of its playlist dedicated to Indigenous talent. In addition to local and national news and current affairs segments, the stations will feature content generated by APTN National News and The Canadian Press with plans for a network call-in talk show hosted by journalist David Moses, that will also air on stations operated by Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation in Saskatchewan and Native Communications Incorporated in Manitoba. LISTEN to our full interview with Jean La Rose, chair of First Peoples Radio and CEO of APTN, on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast.

CBC is merging its radio morning shows in central and western Newfoundland into regional program CBC Newfoundland Morning. Both the Corner Brook and Gander studios will remain in operation with Martin Jones co-hosting from Gander and Bernice Hillier co-hosting from Corner Brook. CBC Newfoundland Morning will be broadcast across western and central Newfoundland, as well as the Labrador Straits with its first broadcast on Monday.

Sportsnet 650 (CISL-AM) Vancouver has acquired radio rights to the Vancouver Canadians, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The all-sports radio station will broadcast home games and select road games beginning with the 2019 season. Canadians play-by-play announcer Rob Fai will have the call. Sportsnet will also televise six games on Sportsnet Pacific throughout the 2019 season.

The CKNX Health Care Heroes Radiothon raised $313,419 for eight regional hospitals on Oct. 20. Broadcast on Blackburn Radio’s AM920 Wingham, ON, the 17th annual event supported Chesley and District Health Services Foundation, Clinton Hospital Foundation, Goderich Alexandra Marine and General Hospital Foundation, Listowel Memorial Hospital Foundation, Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation, Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation, Seaforth Community Hospital Foundation and the Wingham and District Hospital Foundation. Since 2002, the event has raised over $11 million.

The Hot Docs Podcast Festival happens Nov. 1-5 in Toronto with the event’s third incarnation featuring podcasts Criminal, StartUp and LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! Two live, variety-style showcases will also highlight Canadian talent, hosted and produced by Matt Galloway and Lindsay Michael from CBC’s Podcast Playlist.

Ryan McMahon

Canadaland has released its serialized podcast Thunder Bay, delving into the northern Ontario community’s high homicide rate, racism, and the tragic deaths of nine Indigenous teenagers. Hosted by Ryan McMahon, who hails from the troubled city, the first two episodes have been released to an average five-star listener rating on iTunes.

SiriusXM Canada’s holiday music lineup will feature 15 commercial free channels, including five available exclusively on SiriusXM’s streaming platforms. Seven of the channels will start broadcasting Nov. 1. New to the lineup this year is an exclusive Mannheim Steamroller channel, 70s/80s Christmas, Rockin’ Xmas, Holiday Chill-Out and Jazz Holidays. Find the full list here.

SIGN-OFFS:

Tim Klassen

Tim Klassen, 56, on Oct. 23, of a heart attack. Klassen had a 30-year career in broadcasting which started at CKRD Red Deer in 1981. Over the years, Klassen held roles from imaging producer to morning show host, moving on to K-97 (CIRK-FM) Edmonton, CKIK-FM (now CFGQ-FM) Calgary, CHFM-FM Edmonton, 100.3 The Bear (CFBR-FM) Edmonton, CJFM-FM Montreal, CJMX-FM Sudbury and CKMX-AM Regina. In 2002, he left Canada for Dubai, United Arab Emirates to act as station manager and morning host at Channel 4 FM. He left the broadcaster in 2007, to form Entertainment Media Professionals, his own audio/video production company.

Fred Ennis

Fred Ennis, 71, on Oct. 21. Ennis started his career at CKLW Windsor across the border from his childhood home of Rochester, Michigan. His booming delivery took him to CHUM Toronto, news management at CHNS Halifax and then CFGO Ottawa in 1976. He was later named bureau chief for News Radio the CBS-affiliated News/Radio network. Ennis concluded his career as the Ottawa Sun’s first “Page Six” columnist, and as a commentator on CFRA Radio. He ran unsuccessfully for office twice, in the Nepean, ON mayoralty race in 1997 and for Ottawa City Council in 2010.

Kirk Ryan

Kirk Ryan, 58, on Oct. 15. Ryan worked in sales and marketing at Calgary radio stations CJAY 92 and QR77 (CHQR-AM) from 1986-1998. In the late 1990s, he decided to leave broadcasting and became the owner-operator of The Bean Scene in Strathcona. Ryan ran the shop for 12 years, opening two subsequent locations (Lakeview and Princess Island). In 2013, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. Despite surgery that left Ryan with partial paralysis and limited use of his left arm and hand, he remained positive until the end.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Paul Austerberry, Sidney Wolinsky, Mary Harron, and Arvinder Greywal

The 2018 DGC (Directors Guild of Canada) Awards were handed out Saturday night with Oscar-winning feature film The Shape of Water and television miniseries Alias Grace the big winners. Academy Award Best Picture winner The Shape of Water took home three DGC Awards for Best Production Design (Paul Austerberry), Best Picture Editing (Sidney Wolinsky) and Best Sound Editing. Alias Grace claimed three television awards including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series (Mary Harron), Best Production Design (Arvinder Greywal), and Best Picture Editing (David Wharnsby). Find the full list of winners here.

John Ross

John Ross will receive the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) Presidential Proclamation award in recognition of his pioneering work in the development of production switchers, signal processing, chroma keying, and analog and digital systems design. In 1954, the CBC hired Ross as part of the initial staff of CBWT Winnipeg, the youngest member of the pioneering “start-up” crew of the first TV Station between Toronto and Vancouver. In 1955, while still a teen, he created an advanced vacuum tube production switcher with wipes and keys, the first of its kind in Canada. In 1963, Ross founded the broadcasting equipment division of Central Dynamics Ltd. where he built the world’s first entirely solid-state production switcher and was granted a patent for the first chroma keyer to enable remote selection of any background color, rather than just blue. This invention led directly to the use of the green screen. He founded Ross Video Ltd. in 1974, where he developed a series of production switchers incorporating many revolutionary features now in common use. He also developed the first card-based high-quality 10-bit digital 4:2:2-to-analog encoder and decoder, which were selected by NASA for use on the International Space Station. Ross is a SMPTE Fellow, Officer of the Order of Canada, and was awarded Honorary Membership by IABM (International Association for Broadcast & Media Technology Suppliers).

CTV News has announced a new content partnership with U.S.-based subscription service POLITICO, which recently launched on this side of the border as POLITICO Pro CanadaHeadquartered in Arlington, VA, Politico was founded in 2007 and has established itself as a leader in political and policy news with 250 journalists across the U.S. The collaboration will kick off with a co-branded weekly segment focusing on Canada-U.S. issues on CTV News Channel’s daily political program Power Play. “Inside Washington with POLITICO Pro” will air every Friday, beginning Oct. 26. POLITICO Pro Canada reporters Alex Panetta and Lauren Gardner will join CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier to discuss significant cross-border stories. The partnership will also see both organizations contribute to political reporting on the other’s platforms, including a range of exclusive stories and digital content on CTVNews.ca.

Channel Zero has announced that its purchased a new, permanent home for CHCH-TV Hamilton and is in the process of designing and building a new broadcast centre to be located at 4 Innovation Drive in Flamborough. Design and construction of the building will commence in 2019, with operations set to be live by Spring 2021. Broadcast operations will be relocated to the new facility from the current site at 163 Jackson Street West. The development plan also includes the creation of a local news bureau to be located in the heart of downtown Hamilton, placing CHCH-TV reporters in close proximity to City Hall, municipal courthouses, and the FirstOntario Centre.

Jonathan and Drew Scott

Fox is developing a scripted comedy series based on Property Brothers’ Jonathan and Drew Scott, according to Variety. It Takes Two will be based on the Canadian reality show duo’s memoir of the same name. Produced by Cineflix and broadcast on HGTV in the U.S., the Property Brothers franchise has inspired spin-off shows Brother vs. Brother and Property Brothers: At Home. The scripted series will be executive produced and written by Jon and Josh Silberman, whose credits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Nile Rodgers and Bebe Rexha

CTV has announced multiple grammy-winner Nile Rodgers and singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha as its final celebrity mentors joining reality competition series The Launch. With Season 2 currently in production in Toronto, Rodgers joins as celebrity producer, while Rexha comes on board in a celebrity mentor role.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has invested $9M in 43 projects that applied for funding through the 2018-2019 Convergent Digital Media Incentive. The incentive is designed to encourage the production of digital media components related to CMF-funded television productions to allow audiences to access content on different platforms. Of the 43 selected projects, 15 are in English and 28 in French; 12 are children’s and youth projects, 13 are documentaries, 17 are drama projects, and one is in the Variety and Performing Arts genre. To view a complete list of new projects that received funding, please click here.

Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFT-V) is holding two Indigenous Storytelling and Screenwriting Seminars in Kamloops Oct. 27 and Enderby on Oct. 28. In an effort to increase the participation of Indigenous women in the film industry, WIFT-V launched its Vancouver-based Tricksters and Writers program last year offering master classes to 13 women, and further developing the screenplays of six writers through story editing sessions and actor table read workshops. WIFT-V is now looking to implement a similar program for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. The seminars are free to attend.

CTV and TSN will broadcast live coverage of the 2018 Skate Canada International from Laval, Québec, starting with the Men’s and Pairs Short Programs on Friday, Oct. 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET on TSN1 and TSN4. French-language coverage will be available on RDS and RDS2. For the eighth consecutive year, coverage will be led by the broadcast team of Brian Williams, Rod Black, Tracy Wilson and Sara Orlesky. The complete broadcast schedule is available here.

Thom Fitzgerald

Forgive Me, from writer and director Thom Fitzgerald, returns to Super Channel for a third season Oct. 29 on Super Channel Fuse. Starring Mike McLeod (Haven, Sex & Violence) and Emmy Award-winner Ed Asner, Season 3 sees Bruce Davison (Designated Survivor, Blindspot) join the cast of the Halifax-filmed series. Each half-hour episode of the eight-part third season will be available to viewers on Super Channel On Demand the day following its linear broadcast.  

Withoutabox, the Amazon-owned film festival submission platform, will phase out service over the next year. Used by TIFF, Sundance and numerous other festivals over the last decade, the company says festivals currently using Withoutabox will be able to complete their current submission season, as long as submissions close on or before Sept. 16, 2019. The service will be completely disabled on Oct. 30, 2019.

Angus Reid Institute’s latest public opinion poll indicates Canadian millennials are increasingly opting out of traditional television and home phone service. The survey finds nearly half (48 per cent) of those surveyed under the age of 35 have either cancelled their cable or satellite service or never signed up for it in the first place, and an even greater number (63 per cent) are eschewing landline phones. Angus Reid found age is highly correlated with current television subscription. Nearly nine-in-ten of those ages 55 and older (87 per cent) say their household has either cable or satellite TV. Among the youngest Canadian adults (18-34), that percentage drops to slightly more than half (52 per cent). Read the full findings here.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

MAtv, Videotron’s community channel, has launched new website matv.ca a regionalized platform for online viewing. The site features MAtv programs and free localized content.

The Encore+ YouTube channel dedicated to streaming memorable Canadian film and TV shows from the past, has announced a partnership with the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival that will see the launch of the imagineNATIVE Festival Collection on the channel. It will stream a curated selection of Canadian shorts and feature-length films by Canadian Indigenous filmmakers including Zacharias Kunuk, Michelle Latimer, Kent Monkman and Alanis Obomsawin. Click here to access the playlist.

Bell has launched its new Virtual Network Services (VNS) platform, which offers enterprise business customers a catalogue of on-demand network functions that reside in Bell’s private cloud. The first of its kind in Canada, Bell also announced it will be the first Canadian service provider to offer a managed SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) solution powered by Cisco Viptela, the first Virtual Network Function offered on the Bell VNS platform.

theScore has year-end financial results announcing revenue of $27.7 million, up from $26.3 million in 2017. Revenue for Q4 2018 grew to $5.1 million versus $4.8 million in the same period the previous year. Monthly active users of theScore mobile app on iOS grew by 12.5 per cent year-over-year, including growth of almost 17 per cent in July, driven in part by theScore’s coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. As a result, total average monthly active users of theScore mobile app grew by five per cent to 3.7 million in Q4 F2018 versus 3.5 million for the same period in 2017.

GENERAL:

CRTC hearings into questionable sales practices by the country’s big telcos opened with the full commission panel hearing that the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing community face barriers in both accessing information and negotiating affordable wireless plans. Hundreds of Canadians have now chimed in on the record via Twitter using the hashtag #CRTCforum sharing their personal experiences with aggressive or misleading sales tactics. Thursday and Friday, the panel will hear from Quebecor Média, on behalf of Vidéotron; SaskTel; Cogeco; TELUS; Shaw; Rogers and Bell.

Marissa Nelson

CBC’s senior managing director for Ontario is defending a decision not to air live, municipal election coverage on the public broadcaster’s television stations Monday night. Marissa Nelson responded after a group of more than three dozen staff from the Ottawa bureau wrote a letter to upper management last week appealing for the decision to be reconsidered, saying the move would “inevitably erode our standing with our audience and Canadians at large.” Instead of airing municipal election coverage on CBC television stations in Ontario, the network aired an episode of Murdoch Mysteries at 8 p.m. ET when the polls closed. While CBC did provide coverage on radio and its internet platforms, it didn’t air results on television until its late night local news shows at 11 p.m. In her response to employees, Nelson reiterated the CBC’s commitment to its “digital-first” strategy, writing “As the public broadcaster, we have to continue to evolve how we serve Canadians. I understand change is difficult — but we will lose relevance if we don’t change to meet our audience’s needs and we know digital is where we can reach the most Canadians.” CTV Toronto was the only television broadcaster in the city to deliver a live, primetime municipal election special featuring up-to-the-minute results. Read the full story here.

Unifor, which represents 11,000 workers in Canada’s media sector, was lobbying on Parliament Hill this week, asking MPs to support tax incentives for Canadian advertisers to keep their media spends within Canada, adequate financial assistance for small market newspapers, and end Netflix’s exemption from Canadian content contributions. Unifor is asking the federal government to change Income Tax Act rules that disqualify non-profit news organizations from accepting charitable funding. It also wants changes to the Act that would see Canadian internet companies subject to the same financial contributions that cable TV companies make to the Canada Media Fund and Independent Local TV News Fund.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has decided that a one-time unexpected use of the f-word in a live news report did not violate the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics, nor did the characterization of Ontario Progressive Conservative leader as “a bit of a dick”. On Apr. 20 at 2:00 pm, CP24 provided live on site coverage of a pro-marijuana rally in Toronto. As the reporter was speaking, a man ran into the shot and unexpectedly yelled the f-word. The reporter immediately commented and moved on, and also apologized at the end of the report. A viewer complained that the station had allowed the word to go to air. The CBSC’s English-Language Panel ruled that in this instance of “mic-bombing”, whereby a bystander suddenly inserted himself into the scene to shout a coarse word, the broadcaster did not violate the code. At 2:13 pm, CP24 broadcast a panel discussion about the upcoming Ontario election featuring representatives from each major party. At one point, the Liberal representative suggested that the electorate felt that PC leader Doug Ford was “a bit of a dick”.  The same viewer complained about this remark. The CBSC Panel concluded that the word “dick” is not in and of itself a word that must be relegated to post-9 p.m. The majority of the panel also concluded that its specific usage here did not amount to a code breach, particularly since the host immediately apologized for the language.

Corus Entertainment announced its fourth quarter and year end financial results reporting net income attributable to shareholders of $33.7 million ($0.16 per share basic) for the quarter and net loss attributable to shareholders of $784.5 million ($3.77 loss per share basic) for the year due to broadcast license and goodwill impairment charges of $1,013.7 million recorded in the third quarter. Consolidated revenues for the three months ended Aug. 31 were $379.1 million, down less than one per cent from $381.2 million last year. Consolidated revenues for the year ended Aug. 31 were $1,647.3 million, down two per cent from $1,679.0 million last year. In Television, segment revenues were flat in Q4 2018 and decreased two per cent for the year. Ad revenue was down four per cent in Q4 2018 and for the year. Subscriber revenues increased one per cent in Q4 2018 and were flat for the year In Radio, segment revenues decreased two per cent in Q4 2018 and one per cent for the year. Segment profit increased two per cent for the quarter and the year.

Rogers Communications has released Q3 2018 results, reporting total revenue growth of three per cent and adjusted EBITDA growth of eight per cent. The company reported strong financial and operational performance in its Wireless division with postpaid net additions of 124,000 and churn of 1.09 per cent, which improved seven basis points and was the best Q3 postpaid churn result in nine years. Cable revenue grew one per cent with adjusted EBITDA growth of four per cent. Internet net additions amounted to 35,000, up 6,000.

Rogers says the national rollout of its LTE Cat M1 network (LTE-M) to help businesses connect and track assets in real time using solutions like logistics tracking, alarm monitoring and smart metering, will launch in Ontario by the end of 2018. Additional provinces will follow next year with a full national rollout by 2020. LTE-M will connect fixed and mobile low-power IoT devices to carry information over long distances, with longer battery life and better network coverage in hard to reach areas. The investment is part of Rogers multi-year technology plan to bring 5G to Canadians with network partner Ericsson.

The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) online entry system will open for entries starting Dec. 1 and close on Feb. 1, 2019. There are 28 individual categories covering newspaper, radio, television, magazines and online. Details of the categories and judges guidelines can be found at AJAs.ca. The gala dinner and award show, to celebrate 2018 journalism, will be held on Saturday, May 11 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel.

Hugo Gaggioni and Jeff McGinley

The WABE (Western Association of Broadcast Engineers) annual convention is fast-approaching Nov. 4-6 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. Highlights include presentations from CTO Sony North America’s Hugo Gaggioni on IP-based broadcast infrastructure. Jeff McGinley of The Telos Alliance will also speak on Pathfinder Core Pro and Windows Tips & Tricks for the Radio Engineer. Find the full schedule here.


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