News Talk Sauga 960 AM (CKNT-AM) Mississauga officially launched daily programming Monday morning, with its on-air lineup featuring Mike Bullard and former CRTC commissioner Marc Patrone, among other personalities. The station soft-launched Sept. 4, nearly seven years after getting approval from the CRTC. Its owner Elliott Kerr also owns local OHL team the Mississauga Steelheads, which Sauga 960 AM is broadcast home to. Joty Pannu, the station’s general manager, said up to this point the station has been test-driving a handful of shows as it looks to fill a localized hole in the market that’s reflective of the community. A morning show has yet to be announced with the station’s current on-air schedule featuring The Marc Patrone Show from 9 – 11 a.m., focusing on politics and business. A broadcast journalist and columnist, Patrone served as CRTC commissioner from 2008-13 before taking a job with Sun News heading the specialty channel’s Western Canadian operations. He’s also been a commentator with Rebel Media. Bullard will host drive-home show The Getaway from 4 – 7 p.m. with co-host Lawrence Morganstern, a Toronto-based writer and comedian. The show marks Bullard’s return to talk radio after he was relieved as host of Beyond the Mic with Mike Bullard on NewsTalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto in 2016, following allegations he later pleaded guilty to of harassing ex-girlfriend and CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan. Read more here.
TVO podcast On Docs has launched. Hosted by Colin Ellis, each episode welcomes documentary filmmakers in conversation. The first two episodes feature Winnipeg-born documentarian Astra Taylor (What Is Democracy) and Emmy Award-winning director/producer Deeyah Khan (White Right: Meeting The Enemy).
CBC daily news podcast Front Burner, hosted by former Toronto Star investigative reproter Jayme Poisson, launched Monday. Dropping weekday mornings at 6 a.m. ET, Front Burner aims to bring context to big national and international stories. Read more here.
SiriusXM Canada’s 200+ channels are now available to subscribers via Amazon Alexa. Content available on Amazon Alexa will mirror what is available to subscribers streaming on the SiriusXM app, based on level of subscription.
The 25th Annual XFM Hospital Help Day Raffle raised $66,190 on Oct. 24. Broadcast on 98.9 XFM (CJFX-FM) Antigonish, NS, this year’s fundraising brings the event’s 25-year total to $1.2 million, benefiting the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation.
90.5 myFM (CKXM-FM) Exeter, ON once again partnered with The South Huron Hospital Foundation in another successful radiothon Oct. 19 to raise nearly $20,000 Throughout the seven-hour live broadcast, myFM hosts Chris Soares and JD Moffat interviewed guests whose stories helped inspire donations from around the region. The event was part of the year-long campaign to help cover the cost of new x-ray equipment for SHH including a new portable ultrasound machine.
101.5 myFM (CKMO-FM) Orangeville, ON received the 2018 Business of the Year Award (under 10 employees) at this year’s Dufferin Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards on Oct. 18. The station’s nomination reads “Each day, their teams leverage the power of local radio and their local websites to help make a difference in our community. myFM’s mandate has been to always provide a price point that every business can afford. The General Managers, News Teams, On-Air Personalities and support staff take great pride in their responsiveness to the issues and events impacting the lives of their audiences. MyFM Orangeville’s local staff in Dufferin County volunteer, show-up, sit on committees, speak at events and donate to local charities.”
David Johnston, Canada’s former governor general, has been nominated to be the country’s first-ever debates commissioner. Nominated by the Liberal government, Johnston would be tasked with organizing two leaders’ debates (one in each official language) during the 2019 federal election campaign, ensure they are broadcast to the greatest number of Canadians, and focus on greater accessibility for linguistic minorities and those with disabilities. Johnston would be supported with a $5.5 million budget and a seven-member advisory body, made up of former politicians and journalists. Minister for Democratic Reform Karina Gould said Ottawa is changing its approach to debates ahead of the election due to the cancellation of the televised English debate in 2015 when the Conservatives refused to participate.
CBC is set to release original series From The Vaults that will take viewers on an all-access journey into the public broadcaster’s music archives. Hosted by Amanda Parris and Tom Power, the six-part series spans six decades of Canadian music history, spotlighting moments like Sammy Davis Jr.’s first-ever solo television special Parade on CBC, Shania Twain performing on The Tommy Hunter Show at age 14, and Leonard Cohen’s television debut on CBC’s Take 30 in 1966. Banger Films produced From The Vaults, sorting through 600 hours of content over a five-month period to gather the 200 minutes of footage that appear in the series which premieres Thursday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC, the CBC TV app and cbc.ca/watch. Read the full story here.
Corus Entertainment and Crown Media Family Network have announced a multi-year, multi-platform partnership that will bring Hallmark Channel content to the W Network. Beginning Nov. 1, Hallmark Channel original movies will air in conjunction with seasonal programming and branded weekend movie blocks. The partnership grants W Network exclusive Canadian licensing rights to all movies and scripted series produced by Crown for Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Read the full story here.
Peacock Alley Entertainment and action sports media company King Network are joining forces to begin production on Disorganized Sport, a feature documentary that dives into the hotly-debated addition of skateboarding as an official demonstrations sport in the 2020 Olympic Games. Featuring interviews with pro skateboarders and the people behind the Olympic skateboard movement, Disorganized Sport will explore how the world’s most lawless and unsystematic “sport” will fit into the pinnacle of organized sports. It will be co-produced by legendary skateboard journalists Dave Carnie (Big Brother Skateboard Magazine) and Giovanni Reda (Webby Award-winning director of the Vice Sports doc Brian Anderson on Being a Gay Professional Skateboarder).
CraveTV is dropping several Canadian offerings in November including The Comedy Network Canadian original special Homegrown Comics on Nov. 2. Filmed on location at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival, Letterkenny’s K. Trevor Wilson hosts a celebration of Canadian stand-up comedy at the 20th edition of Homegrown Comics. Produced for television for the first time ever, the one-hour special features stand-up sets from up-and-coming talent including Adrienne Fish, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Cara Connors, and Hoodo Hersi. Also coming to the streaming service Nov. 9 is multi-award winning Canadian doc Rumble: Indians Who Rocked The World. From director Catherine Bainbridge (Reel Injun), the film explores how the Native American influence is an integral part of music history, despite attempts to ban, censor, and erase Indian culture in the U.S. and abroad.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and NABET 700-M UNIFOR have reached a new collective agreement. The tentative deal will establish the terms, conditions and rates for a number of technical crew members engaged in film, TV and digital media productions in Ontario, including construction, hair, makeup, props, transportation, lighting, sound and set dressing. Details of the new agreement in principle will be presented to the CMPA board and NABET 700-M UNIFOR membership for ratification in the coming weeks. The current agreement expires Dec. 31.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and NZ On Air announced today the renewal of their partnership, now in its fifth year, to encourage the coproduction of digital media content between Canadian and New Zealand creators. Click here to access the guidelines. This year, the fund is open to projects with a target audience of children, aged 12 and under, with a particular focus for children between 5 to 9 years old. The budget for the Canada – New Zealand Digital Media Fund is $800,000 CAD, with both organizations contributing equally. The deadline to submit an application is Jan. 17, 2019.
Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) has announced the five women to be honoured at its 31st annual Crystal Awards Gala on Dec. 4 in Toronto. The Crystal Awards, established in 1988, is WIFT-T’s annual tribute to women who have made significant contributions to Canada’s screen-based media industry, as well as the men who champion them. This year’s honourees are: Grace Carnale-Davis, Vice President of Sales and Client Service at Technicolor; Deborah Day, CEO and Chief Strategist at Innovate By Day; Zoe Dirse, CSC, Director of Photography; Edwina Follows, General Manager of Discovery Networks; and Karen Thorne-Stone, President and CEO at Ontario Creates.
The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative, designed to offer a professional springboard for 100 Francophone, Indigenous and women creators, is now open for applications. Supported by Netflix, as well as the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office and the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), selected participants receive a full access pass to BANFF 2019; inclusion in a customized professional development program; and exclusive networking opportunities with senior media industry executives. Select “Pitch Program” participants also receive a travel stipend and additional mentorship & networking opportunities. Deadline for entries is Nov. 30.
YouTube is still the most popular music streaming service among Anglophone Canadians, according to the latest report from the Media Technology Monitor (MTM). While MTM says other services show more potential for growth, 93 per cent of music streaming service listeners are using YouTube, up slightly from 85 per cent last year. MTM’s Music Streaming Services report says with a strong desire for curated, on-demand content, one-third of Anglophones now listen to a music streaming service. As with other forms of online audio, Gen Zs (age 18-28), Gen Ys (age 29-37) and students are the most likely to use a music streaming service. Smartphones have solidified their position as the mostly commonly used devices to listen to music streaming services at 77 per cent among Anglophone listeners, ahead of computers (66 per cent), tablets (31 per cent) and smart speakers (16 per cent).
The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has delved into how concerned Canadians are about the impact of fake news in the 2019 federal election, as well as their level of trust in traditional, social media, independent and alternative/non-traditional media. The Information Disorder report found that three-quarters of Canadians indicated they have at least some level of concern about the potential impact of fake news on next year’s federal election. Canadians still put the most trust in traditional, mainstream media over online alternatives. The results are based on a Spring 2018 mixed-methodology survey (telephone and follow-up online surveys) of 4,100 Canadian respondents across the country.
Waze has launched a beta version of its new “Waze Audio Player,” that will allow users of its traffic app to listen to a range of audio platforms without having to toggle between apps while driving. Bell Media is among the radio owner groups using Waze to help power its traffic.
The 2018 Jack Webster Awards, recognizing excellence in B.C. journalism, were handed out Monday night. Among this year’s winners were Global BC’s Jill Bennett, John Hua, Catherine Urquhart and Grace Ke for Soliris Fight (Excellence in Feature/Enterprise Reporting – Television); CBC Radio One team Bal Brach, Laura Palmer, Stephen Quinn, Matthew Parsons and Lee Rosevere won in the radio category for SOLD!, while CBC.ca’s Justin McElroy claimed the Excellence in Digital Journalism award for We’ve Tracked Every Promise the B.C. NDP Made in the Last Election: Here’s Where They Stand. The 2018 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to retired Global BC managing editor Clive Jackson, with the 2018 Bill Good Award presented to former CBC Radio VP Donna Logan. Find the full list of winners here.
Innovation and Economic Development ministers at the federal, provincial and territorial level have agreed to making broadband a priority and develop a long-term strategy to improve access to high-speed Internet services for all Canadians. The pledge comes as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) proposes a national broadband strategy. FCM says many remote communities still rely on dial-up and have spotty mobile connections with nearly four-fifths of Canadians unable to access 50 Mbps download speeds – the CRTC’s universal service objective. Calling for federal investment of $400 million a year for 10 years, FCM recommends clear standards and timelines to achieve CRTC speed targets for fixed broadband (50/10 Mbps upload/download), and a new target for rural mobile access; long-term, predictable funding for broadband and mobile internet in rural, remote and northern communities; and affordable and accessible internet in rural communities matching that of big cities, guaranteeing access to the hardest-to serve populations.
CRTC hearings on misleading and aggressive sales practices by the country’s telecom providers concluded Friday afternoon, with Shaw, Rogers and Bell disputing that questionable sales practices are a systemic issue. A full commission panel sat for five days hearing from a range of consumer groups, in addition to both small and large wireless carriers. The commission panel challenged the providers on a range of issues raised on the record earlier in the week, including upselling bundles of unwanted services, levels of escalation required to cancel services or resolve complaints, confusion around discounts available to the deaf and hard of hearing community, employee bonus structures and commissions, and sales support training. Bell came armed with a proposal for new rules that would apply to all service providers, recommending compliance with a modified version of the Television Service Providers Code (TVPC) “clarity of offer provision” which stipulates clear communication of offers to consumers including the minimum commitment period during which an early cancellation fee can be applied. Read more here.
CRTC chair Ian Scott appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications (TRCM) on Tuesday to offer testimony for its study on the modernization of the Telecommunications Act, Broadcasting Act and Radiocommunications Act. Scott used his appearance in part, to talk about the implications of deploying 5G network technology. Rolling out 5G tech will require small cell radio and antenna installations on both public and private property such as lampposts and bus shelters. Scott is advocating for increased CRTC jurisdiction that would allow the commission to resolve disputes, order access and set guidelines. Scott also testified that “all players that benefit from participating in the Canadian broadcasting system should contribute to it in an appropriate and equitable manner. It’s no longer enough for new players to draw significant revenues from the system without giving back to it. There are social and cultural responsibilities that come with operating in Canada.”
The CRTC has given CBC/Radio-Canada a second one-year extension on its broadcasting licences, citing the transition to a new president and CEO. The commission has renewed all licences until Aug. 31, 2020.
Rogers is extending wireless service to the Witset First Nation along Highway 16, BC’s so-called “Highway of Tears.” The project will result in continuous network coverage from New Hazelton to Smithers. Approximately 900 people in Witset First Nation and 5,000 Smithers-and-area residents will benefit from improved cell service. Construction of the Rogers cell tower began in late September and is expected to be completed in the coming months. When operational, the cell tower will enable voice, data and text services via high-speed wireless and internet coverage on 4G and LTE networks for Rogers and Fido customers. Customers using other providers will also be able to dial 9-1-1 in the community and along the highway.
Rogers has announced it’s made wireless service improvements in three Ottawa neighbourhoods: Manotick Main Street and O’Grady, McKeown and Coker, and Orleans Village. It’s also announced improvements in Maple Ridge, BC near the Abernathy Connector and at Rupert Street and East 45th Avenue in Vancouver.
Shaw Communications Inc. has announced consolidated financial and operating results for the quarter ended Aug. 31, 2018. Revenue from continuing operations increased by approximately seven per cent both in the fourth quarter and for fiscal 2018 to $1.34 billion and $5.24 billion respectively, compared to the same periods in fiscal 2017. Operating income before restructuring costs and amortization of $560 million for the quarter and $2.09 billion for the year increased 16.9 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively. Wireless postpaid net additions of 85,000 in the quarter and average revenue per unit (ARPU) growth of nine per cent year-over-year. Wireline operating income before restructuring costs and amortization improved 15.7 per cent in the quarter primarily due to continued revenue growth in Business and Internet combined with approximately nine per cent lower operating costs year-over-year. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, approximately 460 employees exited the company, bringing the total number of employees who departed under the Voluntary Departure Program (VDP) to approximately 1,300 employees. Shaw incurred an additional restructuring charge of $16 million in Q4 for a total of $446 million in fiscal 2018, primarily related to severance and other employee-related costs, as well as additional costs associated with its Total Business Transformation (TBT) initiative. The company still anticipates total restructuring costs to not exceed $450 million.
Videotron has revealed the name of its new enhanced TV distribution system Helix, based on Comcast’s X1 platform. Videotron president and CEO Manon Brouillette spoke about the new tech in a speech delivered at the Canadian Club of Montreal. Helix, set to launch in the “coming weeks,” will be built around voice-controlled assistant technology.
CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin says there were an unacceptable number of errors and a lack of context in a CBC Ottawa story about a new bylaw allowing for construction on private property within Gatineau Park, a conservation area, administered by the National Capital Commission (NCC). However, Enkin did not find bias. The complainant, Jean-Paul Murray, secretary of The Gatineau Park Protection Committee, appeared as a voice in the radio and web story, but found it biased in favour of private landowners. Enkin says the story was under-researched and failed to meet CBC’s standards of accuracy. In her review, she writes “I do not believe that this, in any way, was deliberate or arose out of any agenda. You are an advocate with decades of knowledge and activity and a very strong point of view. It is not realistic to expect daily news reporters to have that depth of knowledge – but it is for them to get it right and have enough background to provide context for listeners and readers to make up their own minds about the issue.”
TVO has asked a man who dresses up as a spoof mascot of its Polkaroo TV character to cease and desist. Mark Scott has been attending cannabis legalization events dressed as “Tokaroo” – a parody of the beloved children’s character that’s been around since the 1970s. The Ontario public broadcaster is threatening legal action if Scott doesn’t stop use of the character.
PrimeTime 2019 will kick off Jan. 30 with the event’s opening reception at the Westin Ottawa. This year’s speakers lineup includes Stephane Cardin, director, Public Policy, Canada, Netflix; Eagle Vision partner Lisa Meeches; and Banger Films co-founder Scot McFadyen. Find the full list here.
Mark Kassof will speak about the importance of radio at OAB Connection/18 in Toronto on Nov. 8. Kassof will share Ontario research on where radio stands in the consumer choice landscape as it competes with podcasting, streaming, and social media. Other speakers include radio futurologist James Cridland, consultant Valerie Geller and Caroline Gianis from Radio Connects. Find this year’s full speakers list and registration info here.
The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) 2018 Convention gets underway Nov. 4 in Vancouver. Among this year’s speakers is Hugo Gaggioni from CTO Sony North America who will delve into IP networking for studio and outside broadcasting production applications. Find the full convention schedule here.
The Sidney Hillman Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Canadian Hillman Prize honouring excellence in investigative journalism. The Hillman Prize celebrates print, digital and broadcast reporting that highlights social or economic injustice and hopefully leads to meaningful public policy change. Entries must be published or broadcast in 2018 and have been made widely available to a Canadian audience. Nominated material and a cover letter explaining how the entry meets the requirements can be submitted here. There is no fee to enter. The Canadian Hillman Prize winner will be awarded a certificate, a $5,000 honorarium and travel to New York City. This year’s Canadian judges are Tony Burman, former managing director, Al Jazeera English and editor-in-chief, CBC News; Garvia Bailey, arts journalist and former Jazz.FM host; and Bonnie Brown, documentary and news producer, CBC. The deadline for entries is Jan. 15.
Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software and election module helped power live results on Global TV stations and websites as Canadians headed to the municipal polls in BC, Manitoba and Ontario. Headquartered in Cambridge, ON, Bannister Lake tracked over 1,400 individual races and thousands of candidates with multiple data feeds used to bring in results data in real-time. Global also used Chameleon’s BLADE RESTful API to populate graphics on-set using augmented reality systems and to feed web objects that provided online users with race results. Chameleon software is managed via a web-based interface that allows an unlimited number of production and technical users to access election results data. Teams can then integrate results into various election graphics templates, reformat data and redistribute it to other devices or production systems.
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