The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Stingray has moved to syndicate the morning shows across its Real Country and boom-branded radio stations in rural Alberta, leading to the elimination of 14 on-air positions. The Real Wake Up with Vinnie & Randi, which originates from Real Country 95.5 (CKGY-FM) Red Deer, launched on 15 stations Monday, including Real Country 93.3 (CKSQ-FM) Stettler; Real Country 105.7 (CIBQ-FM) Brooks; Real Country 94.9 (CJPR-FM) Blairmore; Real Country 910 (CKDQ-AM) Drumheller; Real Country 97.7 (CHSP-FM) St. Paul; Real Country 97.9 (CKWB-FM) Westlock; Real Country 93.5 (CKVH-FM) High Prairie; and adult hits stations boom 101.1 (CIXF-FM) Brooks; boom 92.7 (CHSL-FM) Slave Lake; boom 96.7 (CFXW-FM) Whitecourt; boom 104.9 (CFHI-FM) Hinton; boom 101.9 (CKKY-FM) Wainwright; boom 103.5 (CILB-FM) Lac La Biche; boom 94.1 (CKBA-FM) Athabasca; and boom 95.3 (CJXK-FM) Cold Lake. Dalen said the local news, as well as local breaks, are still being done by an announcer in each market, who will then host from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Additionally, the stations will have local voice tracking on the weekends. Stingray is also expanding the footprint of the Katie & Ed morning show, out of 90.3 AMP Radio (CKMP-FM) Calgary, which will now be heard on Hot AC stations Kool FM (CJEG-FM) Bonnyville and Wayne FM (CKWY-FM) Wainwright.

Joee Adams

Joee Adams firing from Q93 (CHLQ-FM) Charlottetown last week has spurred an online petition that’s been signed by more than 3,000 listeners calling for the morning man’s reinstatement. The host of Joee Adams and the Unbalanced Breakfast for the last four years, Adams was bounced by MBS Radio on Jan. 17 for inappropriate on-air content, including a recent “Q of the Day” segment about things people shouldn’t do in public. Adams told the Journal Pioneer, he gave examples from listeners such as “shaving your private parts at a PTA meeting” or “watching porn in a library.”

Corus Radio Edmonton’s 20th annual Stollery Radiothon raised $1,565,455 last Wednesday and Thursday, with live broadcasts on CISN Country 103.9 and 630 CHED from the lobby of the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Global Edmonton also brought two newscasts to the venue, during which $70,000 was pledged. Starting in 1999, the annual fundraiser has raised over $23 million for the hospital.

Robbie Robertson

Canadian Music Week (CMW) has announced that Robbie Robertson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. Born in Toronto, with roots in both the Mohawk community at the Six Nations Reserve and the Jewish enclave of the city’s downtown, Robertson is best known for his work with The Band and his five solo albums, with a sixth to be released later this year. Robertson has previously received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as lifetime awards from the National Academy of Songwriters and the Native American Music Awards, in addition to inductions into the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Order of Canada, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside the Band. He joins previously announced 2019 inductees Michael McCarty, SOCAN’s Chief Membership & Business Development Officer, and Steve Herman, SVP, Touring, Live Nation. Tickets for the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards are available via the CMW website here.

Pinna, a commercial-free podcast streaming service for kids has launched in Canada and the U.S. What began as a Panoply Media pilot project in 2017, now includes pods, audiobooks, and music for $7.99/month or $79.99/year. Pinna is launching with a catalog of more than 1,000 audio shows and podcast episodes, audiobooks and songs. Its programming partners include Scholastic, Highlights, and American Public Media.

Vividata’s Winter 2019 Study looking at consumer media habits, indicates one million, or seven per cent, of Canadian households now own a voice-activated smart speaker such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. Five per cent of those households bought their smart speaker in the last 12 months, with another 720,000 households indicating they intend to purchase one in the next year. When it comes to how Canadians are consuming content, one in 10 listen to radio/audio content while on public transit, with 52 per cent using a free audio streaming service. 37 per cent of Canadian adults agreed with the statement, “online TV streaming services have changed the way I watch TV.” Nearly 50 per cent of those respondents said because of TV streaming services, they now watch more TV than they used to. Read more here.

SIGN-OFFS:

Peter Watts

Peter Watts, 68, on Jan. 18, following an aneurysm in December. Born in Kingston, ON, Watts attended Queen’s University, where while studying history and politics, he found himself in the booth at campus station CRFC. At the same time, he also managed the university football and hockey teams. Watts would go on to positions at CKWS-TV Kingston, hosting news, weather and sports, and host CKLC radio show “Kingston Today.” He arrived at CBC Sports in Edmonton in 1977 where he reported on the Edmonton Eskimos Grey Cup runs and the arrival of Wayne Gretzky to the Oilers. He joined TSN’s SportsDesk as one of the original anchors, starting in 1984. In 1998, Watts landed at the Corus Radio network and 770 CHQR Calgary where he produced and hosted province-wide weekend morning show The Alberta Morning News, which also aired on 630 CHED Edmonton. He would go on to a 20-year run with the show, always signing off with “go out and make it a safe and happy day.” The Calgary Flames paid tribute to Watts before their Friday night game against the Detroit Red Wings with a video tribute and moment of silence.

Marion Schwarz

Marion Schwarz, 92, on Jan. 11 of pneumonia. Schwarz was the host of “The Bubbie Break” on CHEX-TV Peterborough from 1991-96, a show featuring the Jewish grandmother dispensing advice and welcoming guests. Despite the fact, it was slotted against NFL Football on Sunday afternoons, the show flourished. A huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan, Schwarz put in requests to interview players and their grandmothers which led to episodes featuring Doug Gilmour and then-coach Pat Burns. She did the same with the Blue Jays. ”The Bubbie Break – A Grandmother In Any Language Means Love” also aired in a more limited run on The W Network and in some U.S. markets. Raised in Toronto, Schwarz moved to rural Ontario when she married Joe Schwarz of Schwarz Brothers Livestock. In 2011, the Oshawa resident created and voiced an audio book of stories for children based on memories of their farm.

Ernest Tucker

Ernest Tucker, 87, on Jan. 3. Born and raised in Bermuda, Tucker relocated to Toronto at age 14, with his older brother who had won a teacher-training scholarship. He went on to become the first black graduate of the journalism program at Toronto’s Ryerson University in 1954. Unable to find work in Canada, he wrote for the Bermuda Recorder and later The Royal Gazette. One of his pieces caught the attention of an editor at the Toronto Telegram, which brought him back to Canada where he joined the CBC Toronto newsroom in 1961, believed to be the public broadcaster’s first black journalist. Tucker was famously on the desk alone when John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963 and wrote the breaking story that went to air. His quick work ended in a promotion. He later moved to CBC Montreal, covering the FLQ October Crisis, among other big stories of the day, eventually retiring in the mid-1990s. He continued teaching at John Abbott College for 36 years, up until 2008. He authored two books, Underworld Dwellers, published in 1994, and Lost Boundaries in 2004, which tackled the subject of police harassment of black Montrealers.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Domee Shi and Trevor Jimenez

Domee Shi and Trevor Jimenez are among the Canadians nominated for Oscars in the Animated Short Film category. Three of the five films nominated in the cateogry are from Canadians, including Pixar’s Bao, directed by Toronto-raised Shi –  the first woman to direct a short film for Pixar. Hamilton native Jimenez is nominated for his hand-animated Weekends, set in 1980s Toronto. Also nominated in the category is National Film Board-produced short Animal Behaviour from Vancouver-based husband and wife filmmaking team David Fine and Alison Snowden. They previously won an Oscar in 1994 for animated short Bob’s Birthday. In the Live Action Short Film category, two Montreal teams are nominated — director Marianne Farley and producer Marie-Hélène Panisset for Marguerite; and director Jeremy Comte and producer Maria Gracia Turgeon for Fauve. Other Canadians receiving nominations include Paul Massey for Sound Mixing on Bohemian Rhapsody, and set decorator Gordon Sim in the Production Design category for Mary Poppins Returns. The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will take place Sunday, Feb. 24, and air on CTV in Canada.

Jayne Eastwood

ACTRA Toronto has announced the nominees for the 17th Annual ACTRA Awards, set to take place at The Carlu on Feb. 23. Among them are the nominees for the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award which include Anne with an E, Baroness Von Sketch Show, Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek and Workin’ Moms. ACTRA Toronto Stunt Awards will be presented to stunt performers and animal wranglers Rick and Sue Parker, while sketch troupe Women Fully Clothed will present fellow member Jayne Eastwood with the 2019 Award of Excellence.

Entertainment One (eOne) will receive the Canadian Screen Awards inaugural Industry Leadership Award during Canadian Screen Week, Mar 25-31. Other honourees include Travelers creator Brad Wright, who will receive the Margaret Collier Award for his body of work. Late Montreal producer Kevin Tierney, best known for bilingual hit Bon Cop, Bad Cop, will receive a posthumous Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute, along with visual researcher Elizabeth Klinck, Manitoba Film & Music head Carole Vivier, and late producer/director Roman Bittman.

Netflix reported total Q4 revenue of $4.187 billion with total paid subscribers increasing by 8.8 million to reach 139.26 million worldwide. Earnings per share of 30 cents beat analyst expectations of 24 cents. The company released some viewership numbers alongside its financials, revealing that Sandra Bullock-vehicle Bird Box has now been viewed by 80 million homes. New series You and Sex Education each reached 40 million viewers, while Spanish-language original Elite received 20 million views.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Wallimage, the development fund for audiovisual content in Wallonia (Belgium), has announced $599,000 in funding to support the coproduction of two virtual reality projects under the Canada–Wallonia Digital Media Incentive for Multiplatform Projects. For this fourth edition of the Canada–Wallonia matching fund, the two funding agencies joined with Pôle Media Grand Paris, which will act as the logistical partner in the production phase. Canadian prodco’s Item 7 Inc. and Les productions 55 inc. will work with two Walloon companies to develop surrealistic love story Marco Polo Go Round and -22.7°C, a sensory and musical immersive experience that takes place in the Arctic Circle.

Matthew Ball, Prentiss Fraser, Pablo Rodriguez, Derek Thompson, and Catherine Winder

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has announced the speakers lineup for its 24th edition of Prime Time in Ottawa. This year’s keynote speakers include Prentiss Fraser, EVP & MD, Content Distribution, Fox Networks Group; Derek Thompson, senior editor of The Atlantic and author of bestseller Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction; Matthew Ball, global SVOD investor and influencer and former head of strategy for Amazon Studios; and Catherine Winder, CEO of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment and Skybound North Entertainment. Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez will also appear in a keynote conversation with CMPA president and CEO Reynolds Mastin. This year’s conference takes place Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at The Westin in Ottawa and registration is now open at primetimeinottawa.ca.

Engraved On A Nation returns to TSN, starting Feb. 6. The new six-part season of the original series focusing on stories that have sculpted the Canadian sports landscape, starts with an in-depth look at Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey in The Bailey Experience. Each episode of the 60-minute series is available for on-demand viewing via TSN, TSN.ca and the TSN app, with its Crave premiere TBA.

TSN and RDS have launched what Bell Media is billing as a Canadian first, offering 24-hour digital subscriptions to its TSN Direct and RDS Direct streaming services. The single day subscriptions are being strategically rolled out in time for NCAA March Madness. Launched in June 2018, TSN Direct features access to the network’s five feeds, on-demand content, and exclusive bonus streams. RDS Direct delivers French-language content from RDS, RDS2, and RDS INFO. Viewers can watch on a multitude of platforms including Apple TV, with TSN Direct also available on Samsung SmartTV and Xbox One. Bell says more platforms will be announced soon.

CTV, in partnership with Sony Pictures Television and WGN America, has announced the renewal of procedural detective comedy Carter for a second season. Starring Jerry O’Connell (Billions), Sydney Poitier Heartsong (Chicago P.D.) and Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), this season sees Andy Berman (Psych, Rosewood) sign on as showrunner and executive producer. Series creator Garry Campbell (Kids in The Hall, MADtv) returns as an executive producer and writer. Carter revolves around Harley Carter (O’Connell), the star of a hit detective TV show, who decides he needs a break from Hollywood and returns to his northern hometown. The series was commissioned by Sony Pictures Television for AXN in Spain, Latin America, Brazil, Japan, Central Europe and Russia; and by CTV in Canada.

 

Khaled Sabawi

Open Screenplay – a free, online platform for screenwriters that supports those struggling to break into the entertainment business has been launched by Canadian entrepreneur Khaled Sabawi, the founder of green energy startup MENA Geothermal. Billed as a global community where members can write individually or collaborate with other writers around the world, the platform aims to increase diversity in Hollywood. The venture is backed by business and entertainment industry veterans like Sandy Climan, CEO of Entertainment Media Ventures; and Nancy Peterson, founder & CEO of Canadian home improvement marketplace HomeStars. Read the full story here.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Rogers Media isn’t commenting on two incidents last week that saw hackers gain control of radio station Twitter accounts in Halifax and Vancouver. The first attack happened Tuesday evening (Jan. 15) when Tweets coloured with offensive language began to post from the News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax Twitter account. A group called the “Spank Gang” claimed credit and suggested that its next intended target was @CTVNews. The hackers struck again the next night, targeting Rogers’ Vancouver station News 1130 (CKWX-AM) and its @News1130traffic account. The Spank Gang is the same group that hacked the account of Conservative Canadian Senator Linda Frum on Jan. 6 and shared her personal information, including a photo of her driver’s license. Read the full story here.

Momentum Media Marketing’s in-house digital experts James Wallace and Christian Lind offer insight into how the hacks occurred and how media organizations can take steps to protect themselves.

Rebel Media is facing a possible $5,500 fine after a complaint by Elections Alberta that the right-wing, online publication engaged in political advertising while not registered as a third-party advertiser in violation of election financing laws. The alleged breach is connected to a billboard, unveiled in November near Innisfail, AB, targeting provincial Education Min. David Eggen. An investigation by election commissioner Lorne Gibson revealed the company spent $2,730 on a billboard containing the message “40% of Grade 9 students failed provincial exams — Alberta can do better than David Eggen www.FireEggen.ca.” Considered a political ad, a third party is required to register with Elections Alberta when it spends more than $1,000 on election or political advertising. The Rebel has indicated it intends to file an appeal.

Spotify has launched an app called Car View with a goal to making the audio streaming app easier to use while in your vehicle. When users connect to their car’s Bluetooth, Car View is enabled automatically as music or podcasts start playing. The app is initially rolling out to Android users globally.

 

Amazon is test driving giving Alexa a “newscaster” voice in the U.S. When American users now ask to hear the latest news, Alexa will respond using a voice similar to a professional newscaster. Amazon says the voice intuitively knows which words should be emphasized for more realistic delivery thanks to Neural TTS technology, or NTTS. Amazon developers additionally applied direct waveform modeling to produce the speech signal.

Deezer has launched a new, free dedicated mobile app for radio listening. Radio by Deezer offers access to 30,000 radio stations, however the app’s initial rollout is limited to Android devices in the UK market. Deezer expects the app to gradually be extended to the rest of Europe, with an iOS version available soon.

 

Buzzfeed announced its intention Wednesday to layoff 200 staffers, or 15 per cent of its workforce. Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and CEO, sent a memo to staff indicating the cuts will hit the web content and international units, including the news division, starting next week. This is the company’s third round of layoffs in 14 months, following cutbacks in Nov. 2017 and Sept. 2018.

GENERAL:

Concordia University’s Journalism department is joining thousands of Quebec students who’ve moved to strike to protest unpaid internships. Concordia joins McGill’s School of Social Work as the second English university to get involved in the student effort. A strike will take place once a minimum of 20,000 students from at least three regions of the province have taken up the strike mandate.

The CJF-Facebook Journalism Project News Literacy Award, is open for applications until Feb. 22. The award, which carries a $10,000 prize, celebrates journalistic efforts that encourage Canadians to understand and assess the quality of news. Last year’s inaugural award went to Radio-Canada for its weekly television program Corde sensible that confronted misinformation and false stories where they flourish – on social media.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), together with CBC News, is now accepting applications to its CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships program. The annual fellowships provide an opportunity for two early-career Indigenous journalists, with one-to-10 years’ experience, to explore Indigenous issues while being hosted for one month at CBC’s Indigenous Unit in Winnipeg. The application deadline is Feb. 22. Fellows receive a $3,000 stipend, while the CJF covers travel and accommodation costs, a per diem for meals and other reasonable expenses. Last year’s recipients were Ntawnis Piapot and Jasmine Kabatay. For her fellowship, Piapot, a Nehiyaw Iskwew from the Piapot Cree Nation in southern Saskatchewan, explored varying levels of commitment by universities to Indigenization. Read about her experience here. She’s joined CBC Saskatoon as a reporter. Kabatay, an Anishinaabe journalist from Seine River First Nation in northwestern Ontario, explored the challenges and confusion faced by those using Indian status cards. Read about her experience here. Kabatay splits her time between CBC Hamilton and CBC Kitchener-Waterloo as part of an internship.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and The Canadian Women’s Foundation, are encouraging journalists who highlight women’s equality issues to apply for The Landsberg Award. Named for Canadian journalist, author and social activist Michele Landsberg, the award was established to increase women’s voices and awareness of women’s issues in the media, and recognizes a working journalist—staff or freelance—doing exceptional research, analysis and reporting through a gender lens about women’s issues. Journalists working in print, broadcast and online news reporting are eligible to apply by Feb. 22. Last year’s winner was The Globe and Mail’s Robyn Doolittle, in recognition of her “Unfounded” investigation exposing a pattern of mishandling sexual assault cases by police across the country. The winner, who will be selected by Landsberg and a jury of working journalists, will be recognized at the CJF Awards on June 13 in Toronto.

Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) submissions are due at midnight on Feb. 1. Atlantic Canadian journalists are reminded to submit their newspaper, magazine, radio, television, online stories and images to the 39th AJAs, which will take place May 11 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. New categories include Excellence in Digital Journalism; Breaking News/Daily; and Excellence in Digital Journalism – Enterprise/Long FormCategory descriptions, and other information can be found at AJAs.ca

SUPPLY LINES:

Davicom has issued a call for presenters for its 5th annual Davicom EXchange (DEX) breakfast on Tuesday, April 9, during the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas. If you are a current Davicom user and would like to exchange ideas with broadcast industry colleagues on how you’re using your Davicom unit(s), contact dex@davicom.com. Presentations of about 10 minutes can consist of either a Power Point presentation, slide show or live connection to your remote unit (Internet access will be available).


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