The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Brian Madore

Brian Madore is the winner of this year’s RTDNA Lifetime Achievement Award for the East Region. Madore, a 1980 graduate of the radio broadcasting course at the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology in Halifax, started his broadcast career at CRXL, which broadcast over the Dartmouth Community Cable Channel. After seven months, he was hired in news by CKYQ in Grand Banks, NL and quickly promoted to flagship station CJYQ St. John’s. Madore spent a short time at CFNB Fredericton, NB before returning to St. John’s and VOCM in 1984. Madore has been with the station ever since, including a three-year stint serving as news director. He’ll be presented with his RTDNA Canada Lifetime Achievement Award during the East Regional Meeting on Mar. 30.

Lisa Keys and David Kaye

Benztown’s Top 50 list of radio imaging voice talent in the U.S. and Canada is out. The index is devised surveying over 300 broadcast groups using a proprietary formula weighting voice talent visibility from a number of factors, including station count, station information, and audience. Several Canadians made the list including Lisa Keys, who does voice work for The Bear (CFBR-FM) Edmonton, Hot 100.5 (CFJL-FM) Winnipeg, and Rogers’ country stations in eight markets. Loyalist College ’86 grad David Kaye, who is now based in Los Angeles, also made the list. A special highlight of this year’s Benztown 50 was the first-ever presentation of the Benztown Iconic Voice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Voiceover presented to legendary voiceover talent Chris Corley. Corley, 55, best known as the voice of FOX, MLB, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon and the Broadway show and tour of Book of Mormon, passed away Mar. 21 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Corus’ 104.3 Fresh Radio (CKWS-FM) Kingston is the new radio home of Toronto Blue Jays games in the market, starting with the season home opener on Thurs., Mar. 28. 104.3 Fresh Radio will carry every evening and weekend games throughout the regular season, with both a pre-game and post-game show for each broadcast.

Fairchild Radio (CHKT-AM) Toronto held an 11-hour radiothon on Mar. 7 at Toronto Western Hospital. The on-location event raised over $190,000 the hospital foundation.

KiSS 99.3’s Mark Kinsman

The KiSS Minutes Matter Radiothon on Mar. 22 raised more than $52,000 for the Timmins and District Hospital Foundation. Airing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on KiSS 99.3 (CKGB-FM), local doctors, nurses and patients shared their stories on-air to raise funds aimed at improving patient service times in the hospital’s challenged emergency department.

The Rosalie Award nomination deadline has been extended until Apr. 1. Named for Rosalie Trombley, the longtime music director at CKLW-AM Windsor-Detroit, Rosalie Award recipients are women who have had successful careers in the radio industry and are seen as leaders, mentors, and people making a difference in our business. Last year’s winner was CHFI Toronto personality Maureen Holloway. Find nomination info here.

Radioplayer Canada celebrates its second anniversary this month of streaming Canadian radio stations to millions of listeners each week. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, our publisher Shawn Smith in conversation with Michael Hill, managing director of Radioplayer Worldwide, on the rise of radio streaming, the future of the in-dash radio experience and the challenges of smart speaker adoption.

SIGN-OFFS:

Vera Good

Vera Mary Good, 104, on Mar. 19, at Norview Lodge in Simcoe, ON. Born to a Mennonite farm family in Hawkesville, ON, Good completed Grade 8 and then took a job at Kaufmann Rubber. She completed Grades 9 to 12 privately while working, and graduated Grade 13 at Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate top of her class. She was awarded a $100 scholarship, enough to pay tuition for the one-year program at Stratford Teachers College. Upon graduation, Good took a position teaching in a one-room school in Breslau, but hungry for adventure she signed up to volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee and went to serve as a secretary in MCC’s India headquarters. After three years, she returned to her studies, earning a degree in Social Work from Goshen College in Indiana and later a Master’s Degree in Education for Gifted Children from Northwestern. That was followed by a PhD in Education from Columbia University. Good eventually returned to Canada and started teaching in Etobicoke where she became the region’s second female principal and first female inspector for the Ontario Ministry of Education. Good was part of the original team that launched educational television in Ontario in 1965 and the original producer of Gemini Award-winning pre-school series Polka Dot Door. She worked with TVO in an executive producer capacity for 15 years. In June of 2010, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Wilfred Laurier University. Legally blind by that time, she delivered the convocation address to a standing ovation. Good’s life is chronicled in 2017 biography The Exceptional Vera Good: A Life Beyond the Polka Dot Door.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

The Canadian Screen Awards recognizing Non-Fiction Programming were handed out Tuesday night in Toronto. Among the evening’s big winners was CBC‘s the fifth estate which earned four awards including Best News or Information Series. The Amazing Race Canada, which airs on CTV, also claimed four honours including the Golden Screen Award for TV Reality. CBC documentary Equus: Story of the Horse picked up three awards, while Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert (CBC), The Detectives (CBC), You Are Here (HBO Canada) and Still Standing (CBC) were also recognized in multiple categories. Global National anchor Dawna Friesen claimed the honour for Best News Anchor, National, while CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme won Best National Newscast. Find the complete list of winners here.

CBC has announced its first round of returning series for the 2019/20 season. The 17 titles include Anne With an E (Season 3), Baroness Von Sketch Show (S4), Burden of Truth (S3), CBC Arts: Exhibitionists (S5), CBC Docs POV (S5), Coroner (S2), The Detectives (S3), Dragons’ Den (S14), Frankie Drake Mysteries (S3), The Great Canadian Baking Show (S3), Heartland (S13), In The Making (S2), Kim’s Convenience (S4), Murdoch Mysteries (S13), The Nature Of Things (S59), Schitt’s Creek (S6), and Still Standing (S5).

CBC has greenlit new half-hour sketch comedy series TALLBOYZ (8×30) from Accent Entertainment and executive producers Bruce McCulloch (The Kids in the Hall, Young Drunk Punk) and Susan Cavan (The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town, Young Drunk Punk). Starring the four members of acclaimed Toronto-based sketch comedy troupe TallBoyz II Men Vance Banzo, Guled Abdi, Franco Nguyen, and Tim Blair, the series will start production in Toronto in April for broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem in fall 2019. McCulloch and his fellow The Kids in the Hall troupe members will receive the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Academy Icon Award at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards this Sunday, Mar. 31, broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. AT/ 9:30 p.m. NT).

Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy

Schitt’s Creek co-creators Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy have announced that the series will come to an end next year. The sixth and final 14-episode season will start airing in Jan. 2020 on CBC in Canada and Pop TV in the U.S.

Supernatural’s upcoming 15th season will be its last. Since 2005, the B.C.-based production has filmed in locations across Metro Vancouver, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. According to the latest data available from the Motion Picture Association of Canada, the series’ first 10 seasons contributed more than $509 million to the B.C. economy and supported the equivalent of over 9,600 full-time jobs.

 

Front Street Pictures, the Vancouver-based prodco behind the Garage Sale Mystery franchise, has halted production on the latest TV movie following The Hallmark Channel’s decision to cut ties with actress Lori Loughlin. Loughlin, the star and an executive producer of the franchise, in addition to Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart, which both shoot in and around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, was among those indicted in the U.S. college admissions scam. Garage Sale Mystery: Three Little Murders was due to wrap production this month. When Calls The Heart is on a “retooling” hiatus.

Cineflix Media prodco Connect3 Media Inc. and France’s Lincoln TV have started production on six-episode, one-hour scripted series Mirage, a spy thriller with an emotional love triangle at its heart. Mirage is the first project created by the European Alliance union of public broadcasters France Télévisions, RAI and ZDF, founded in May 2018. The series stars Marie-Josée Croze (Jack Ryan, The Barbarian Invasions), Clive Standen (Vikings, Taken), Hannes Jaenicke (Sardsch, Code Name: Eternity), Shawn Doyle (House of Cards, Frontier), and Grégory Fitoussi (Spiral, Spin). It begins shooting in Abu Dhabi and Morocco in early April and is slated to deliver in late 2019. A France/Canada production commissioned by France Télévisions, ZDF, Bell Media and Super Channel, Mirage is produced by Lincoln TV and Connect3 in partnership with Wild Bunch Germany. Cineflix Rights has secured worldwide distribution rights to the series, including the U.S. and UK.

Mae Martin

Mae Martin, Canadian comedian and writer, will star in a semi-autobiographical comedy for Netflix and British broadcaster Channel 4. The tentatively titled Mae and George is a six-part series that follows the recovering addict and comedian as she navigates her relationship with new girlfriend George. Martin, who has previously written for Baroness Von Sketch Show, is co-writing with Joe Hampson (Skins, The News Quiz). The series will air on Netflix globally, excluding the UK where it will run on E4, Channel 4’s youth-driven network. The show will be produced by Kelly McGolpin for Objective Fiction and directed by Ally Pankiw (Schitt’s Creek).

TVA Sports has launched new streaming platform TVA Sports Direct. The French-language service is available for $14.99 for the first month using a promo code and thereafter will be priced at $19.99/mo or $199.99/year. Viewers can stream offerings like the NHL playoffs and Montreal Impact games in high definition and on up to two devices simultaneously via desktop; smartphone and tablet by downloading the TVA Sports app on iOS or Android platforms; or on TV with AirPlay, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Apple is set to launch its own Apple TV+ OTT streaming service this fall featuring Oprah Winfrey-produced documentaries, and original series from Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and M. Night Shyamalan, among others. The tech giant’s plans include a redesign of its Apple TV app allowing a user’s satellite, cable, and subscription digital services to be accessed in one place from within the app. Starting in May, users will also be able to subscribe to Apple channels like HBO, Starz, and SHOWTIME à la carte. Later this spring, the Apple TV app will also launch on Samsung, Sony, LG and Visio smart TVs, in addition to Roku and Amazon. Currently available in 10 countries, the app’s reach will go global expanding to over 100 countries and regions. Other announcements unveiled by CEO Tim Cook included Apple News+, an expansion of the Apple News app that will now include 300 magazine titles including Time, National Geographic, The Hollywood Reporter, In Style, Essence, in addition to 30 Canadian titles here in Canada. Apple also offered a preview of Apple Arcade, a new tab in the App Store, set to launch this fall, that will give subscribers access to 100+ exclusive games. Read the full story here.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Gala Honouring Digital Storytelling, as part of the Canadian Screen Awards, will stream live on CBC Gem, starting at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Mar. 28. Co-presented by CBC Gem and the Independent Production Fund, and featuring comedians Bit Playas (Kris Siddiqi and Nigel Downer), the Digital Gala will recognize Canadian content makers in 13 categories, including new categories Best Supporting Performance, Web Program or Series; Best Writing, Web Program or Series; Best Immersive Experience – Non-Fiction; Best Immersive Experience – Fiction; and Best Virtual Reality Game. Presenters for the evening include Keara Graves (Lost & Found Music Studios); nominee Mark Little (Gary and His Demons); nominee Vanessa Matsui (Ghost BFF); Justine Nelson (Mind Fudge); nominee Alex Ozerov (PYOTR495); Jae and Trey Richards of 4YE Media; and Kate Ross from nominated series Chateau Laurier.

chillTV, the grassroots Chilliwack, BC YouTube channel, launched to fill the void left by the shuttering of the local Shaw cable outlet, is set to launch a News of the Week segment, starting Mar. 28. The weekly news magazine show, anchored by broadcast veteran Don Lehn, who runs online startup Fraser Valley News (FVN), will highlight events in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison, Cultus Lake, Rosedale, Yarrow and Greendale. chillTV was first started  last fall to provide a streaming outlet for local municipal election debates.

BuzzFeed Canada editorial staff have successfully received union certification, becoming the first employees in the digital company to unionize. They’ve joined the Canadian Media Guild (CMG). BuzzFeed News employees in the U.S. are still in talks as they also pursue unionization. Employees first announced the move in February following a round of layoffs.

McDonald’s is the first brand in Canada to launch ‘Snapplications’, a one-day virtual hiring event held Mar. 27, that allowed job seekers to apply at McDonald’s through the Snapchat app. A unique lens enabled applicants to film a 30-second video capturing why they want to work for McDonald’s that could be submitted to the McDonald’s Canada hiring portal. Later this month, the brand will also launch a first-in-Canada partnership with Google Voice. Canadians will be able to discover local offers available in the MyMcD’s app by asking their Google voice-activated devices.

The Quebec Press Council appeals panel has ruled that blocking a user from Twitter is not a matter of journalistic ethics. The complaints concerned Marc Cassivi and Patrick Lagacé of La Presse, Rebecca Makonnen of Radio-Canada, and David Rémillard of Le Soleil. The Council initially ruled that Luc Archambault’s complaints were inadmissible because they did not fall within journalistic ethics. It’s concluded journalists are free to manage the settings of their Twitter account as they please.

Facebook has announced it will start enforcing a ban next week on “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on both Facebook and Instagram. In a post Wednesday, the digital giant stated “It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services…Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism.” Those searching for terms associated with white supremacy will now be directed to Life After Hate, an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach.

GENERAL:

Bell Media is asking the CRTC for permission to shutter 28 rebroadcasting transmitters that it says either require significant repair or are at the end of their useful life. Bell has already shut down 40 transmitters after a similar application two years ago. With many Canadians now accessing television in other ways, Bell maintains that repeater network distribution is becoming an “increasingly lower priority and an outmoded business model.” Comments are due Apr. 24. Corus asked for permission last fall to shut down 44, small market, television rebroadcasting transmitters, arguing they’ve become too expensive to operate and maintain.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says the federal government’s exclusion of broadcast media from journalism support tax credits in Budget 2019 is unfair. Last week’s budget detailed a $595 million, five-year plan to support Canadian journalism that includes a labour tax credit for qualifying media outlets, a non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news, and access to charitable tax incentives for not-for-profit journalism. Broadcast media is ineligible for both tax credits, which Lenore Gibson, chair of the CAB board of directors, says flies in the face of numerous studies on how Canadians are consuming news content. The CAB touts the Reuters Institute’s 2018 Digital News Report, which indicates more than 75 per cent of Canadians are getting their news from television and radio, while just 31 per cent cite newspapers as their primary source. Reuters found the majority of Canadians are regularly (three days or more per week) turning to CTV (27 per cent), Global (21 per cent) and CBC (20 per cent) for their news. Just 13 per cent are regularly reading a community or local newspaper. Eight per cent indicated they regularly read the Toronto Star, while six per cent indicated they were regular Globe and Mail readers. The association says it will be consulting its member broadcasters to explore next steps. CAB vice-president of Finance and Administration and CFO Sylvie Bissonnette told Broadcast Dialogue, CAB hopes to go back to government with potential solutions, generated by its membership.

Global’s complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director has resulted in charges against a Hamilton police officer who arrested two photojournalists – Jeremy Cohn and freelancer Dave Ritchie – at the scene of a fatal crash in Waterdown, ON in May 2017. Const. Jeff Todoruck seized a camera belonging to Ritchie, cuffed him and put him in the back of a cruiser. Global’s Cohn called a police media relations officer to express concern about the arrest and that’s when he too was arrested, with his camera rolling. Andrew Collins, another freelance journalist captured a second video which shows Todoruck pushing Cohn to the ground, kneeing him in the back, zip-tying his hands and roughly moving Cohn toward a police vehicle. No charges were ever laid against Cohn. Charges of obstructing police and resisting arrest laid against Ritchie were later dropped after he reached an agreement with the Crown to do 10 hours of community services and donate $250. Todoruck faces five acts of misconduct, including two counts of discreditable conduct, two counts of neglect of duty, and unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority.

Unifor is seeking assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service after weeks of unproductive talks with SaskTel in an effort to negotiate a new collective agreement for 3,000 workers. Unifor says its bargaining committee has declared an impasse and hopes the assistance of an independent third party will move talks in the right direction towards a fair tentative agreement. The bargaining committee says it has yet to receive monetary proposals from the employer, despite repeated requests.

The Western Association of Broadcasters Awards nomination deadline is Mar. 29. Nominations are open for the following categories: Gold Medal Award for Community Service for Radio & Television; Gold Medal Award for Digital Innovation; Leader of Tomorrow; and Broadcast Hall of Fame. Details on criteria for each award category is available at wab.ca. Nominations are open to WAB member stations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.    

The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom and Carleton J-School will talk fake news and politics on Mar. 30 with CBC’s Rosie Barton and BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman. Journalists, decision-makers and all those who care about civic democracy are invited to the day-long 2019 federal election boot camp in the Richcraft Hall Atrium at Carleton. Find ticket info here.

Vassy Kapelos, Sarah Kendzior, and Alison Smith

The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) annual Ottawa J-Talk will feature Sarah Kendzior, popular St. Louis-based op-ed columnist for The Globe and Mail and co-host of the Gaslit Nation podcast along with Vassy Kapelos, host of Power & Politics on CBC News. The event, The Fight for Truth: Political Journalism in 2019, takes place on Apr. 9 at the National Arts Centre. Ticket info here.

RTDNA Canada’s (Radio Television and Digital News Association of Canada) annual conference will be held May 10-11 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto. This year’s conference will explore what the future holds for the journalism profession with sessions on Strategies to Preserve and Strengthen Local News Coverage; Election Year 2019 – the Bureau Chief’s Perspective; New News Business Models; and using AI in newsrooms. Early bird registration ends Apr. 19.

SUPPLY LINES:

Sony Electronics has introduced what it’s billing as the world’s smallest and lightest premium compact camera, the RX0 II (model DSC-RX0M2). Building upon the waterproof/dustproof, shockproof, crushproof and ultra-compact qualities of the original RX0, the new model now offers internal 4K recording, an adjustable LCD screen that tilts upward 180 degrees and downward 90 degrees and works underwater, and new image stabilization solutions for video recording. At the heart of the RX0 II sits a 1.0-type stacked 15.3-megapixel Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor and an advanced BIONZ X™ image processing engine that offer enhanced color reproduction.The RX0 II offers 4K 30p internal movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect approximately 1.7 times the amount of data required for 4K video. Using the recently introduced Sony Imaging Edge™ mobile applications, footage can be transferred to a smartphone, edited and shared easily across social networks. The RX0 II also introduces in-body electronic stabilization for steady footage, even when shot handheld. This can be enhanced even further when footage is exported to a smartphone or tablet running the “Movie Edit add-on” application, where the additional information captured during filming can be processed to produce a video with gimbal-like smoothness. Additional movie features of the RX0 II include Super Slow Motion recording at up to 1,000 fps, uncompressed 4K HDMI output and simultaneous proxy movie recording. The RX0 II camera will ship this April with a price tag of approximately $700 USD and $900 CDN.

Dejero is launching CuePoint, a new low-latency return feed server that keeps live broadcast production and remote teams synchronized, at the upcoming NAB 2019 show, Apr. 8-11, in Las Vegas. The new rack-mounted return feed server sends low-latency video and audio, alongside teleprompting feeds, to live broadcast production teams in the field to help them create live content. Return video and teleprompting feeds from the broadcast centre can be seen in the field by the talent on a tablet or dedicated screen above or below the camera, or on multiple mobile devices by camera operators, field directors and technicians. The high-performance server delivers return feeds with as little as 250 milliseconds of latency, so that field crews can collaborate with resources from the broadcast center in real-time. The CuePoint server makes talent cueing and production monitoring easier to manage in the field, as remote talent, field directors, and technicians can see when live shots are about to start and what’s currently on air. Camera operators can use CuePoint to confirm that a remote feed is on air and adjust their camera framing to account for graphics, overlays, and split screens. The server also sends teleprompter feeds to the on-air talent, enabling real-time updates.

The RIST Forum has been established by 21 founding companies to promote the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST), a new interoperable and royalty free standard for low-latency video transport over unmanaged networks for contribution and distribution applications. In its efforts to promote worldwide adoption of RIST, the new industry association engages both users and vendors of RIST technology and products. The RIST Forum will host a panel discussion during the 2019 NAB Show on Apr. 9, at 2 p.m. in the South Hall Learning Lab, Room S210, in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Representatives from members Cobalt Digital, Net Insight, VideoFlow, and Zixi will provide a detailed overview of the technology, as well as plans for further adoption of the standard. NAB attendees are encouraged to register for the panel. For more information, visit rist.tv.

The Immersive Digital Experiences Alliance (IDEA) will launch at the 2019 NAB Show with the goal of creating a suite of royalty-free specifications that address all immersive media formats, including emerging light field technology. Founding members, including CableLabs®, Light Field Lab Inc, Otoy, and Visby, created IDEA to serve as an alliance of like-minded technology, infrastructure, and creative innovators working to facilitate the development of an end-to-end ecosystem for the capture, distribution, and display of immersive media. Recognizing that the essential launch point is to create a common media format specification that can be deployed on commercial networks, IDEA already has begun work on the new Immersive Technology Media Format (ITMF). ITMF will serve as an interchange and distribution format that will enable high-quality conveyance of complex image scenes, including six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF), to an immersive display for viewing. Moreover, ITMF will enable the support of immersive experience applications including gaming, VR, and AR, on top of commercial networks.

The IP Showcase returns to the 2019 NAB Show for the third year, once again providing educational opportunities for learning about implementation of standards-based IP infrastructures for real-time professional media applications, demonstrations of the latest technical achievements and a clear view of advances on the horizon, and highlights of market deployments from facilities around the world. Sponsored by the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), and Video Services Forum (VSF), new this year is the IP Showcase Future Zone, where visitors will be able to see demonstrations of Part 1 of the new Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) Tech Stack (JT-NM TR-1001-1). More info here.

Wheatstone is introducing Switchblade at NAB, an AoIP appliance that removes the barriers to seamlessly sharing studio operation and programming between facilities, sports venues, and other sites in separate locations. SwitchBlade is a 1RU appliance for the WheatNet-IP audio network that includes audio codecs, SIP messaging and ACI control interface. Wheatstone says it’s the first product of its kind to combine AoIP logic control with SIP connectivity and codec bandwidth optimization to transport both high-quality programming and the control logic critical for full studio operation between sites. SwitchBlade includes WheatNet-IP’s Application Control Interface (ACI) for remotely triggering events and elements in the WheatNet-IP environment, such as turning mics on or off, setting levels and adjusting EQ dynamics through software logic (SLIO) control. SwitchBlade can be used in conjunction with WheatNet-IP for a number of applications, including consolidating program operations for several stations scattered across a region; live remote production, including high-quality programming and console/mic control between home studio and sports or concert venues; sharing program and operating control between sister studios over an IP link; one-to-many STL codecs between one studio and several transmitter sites; 1RU SwitchBlade at the studio feeds two, four, six or more existing SIP-compliant codec units at each transmitter site; and transferring high-quality music between two facilities or from a cloud-based automation system over the internet.


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