The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Glacier Media Inc. has announced the sale of its interest in investment data and analytics firm Fundata Canada for $55 million, and its subsequent acquisition of Castanet Media, which operates SOFT 103.9 (CKOO-FM) Kelowna and several digital news sites in B.C.’s Okanagan. Vancouver-based Glacier will pay $22 million for Castanet’s assets and $2 million for its Avenue Radio shares, subject to CRTC approval. Avenue Radio was formed in 2017 when Castanet founder Nick Frost acquired CJUI-FM from Vista Radio in late 2017. He subsequently received call sign change approval to CKOO-FM. Initially launched as Okanagan Oldies, the station flipped to Soft AC this past January, rebranding as Soft 103.9.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on market capacity and the appropriateness of issuing a call for radio applications to serve Vancouver. Rogers has applied for a licence to operate a new commercial station at 104.9 MHz FM (channel 285C) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 16,100 watts (maximum ERP of 31,000 watts). The proposed frequency is currently licensed to Rogers for its rebroadcasting transmitter for CKKS-FM Chilliwack. The deadline for the receipt of interventions is June 3.

The CRTC has denied an application by Four Senses Entertainment, which operates 101.5 Whistler FM (CKEE-FM), to establish a transmitter in Squamish. The licensee stated that the addition of a transmitter would address a technical deficiency in CKEE-FM’s coverage area, given that by omitting terrestrial coverage for the community of Squamish in its original licensing application, coverage is half of what it should have been. It also stated its current authorized contours have limited its ability to garner local advertising revenues. In denying the application, the commission concluded approval would serve to introduce a new radio service in Squamish without undergoing the standard call for applications process.

Trevor Doyle

Trevor Doyle, the longtime morning show host at Capital 106.9 FM (CIBX-FM) Fredericton, has been arrested by the FBI in Puerto Rico on child sex charges. Doyle, who has been with the Bell Media-owned station for 17 years, was one of two men taken into custody Mar. 29 in San Juan after separate operations by the FBI’s child exploitation human trafficking task force. Doyle has been charged with attempting to sexually entice a minor and is being held in custody. Trent McGrath, Bell Media Radio Atlantic vice-president and general manager, told Global News that Doyle has been suspended from his duties at the radio station.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) has released the agenda for this year’s Radio Interactive International Radio Summit May 9-10. Radio futurologist James Cridland will deliver Thursday’s opening keynote, with Edison Research’s Tom Webster also premiering the results of the 2nd annual Infinite Dial Canada research project. Friday’s agenda is highlighted by a tribute to artist Robbie Robertson, who’ll be in conversation with Denise Donlon. Other panels will explore Elevating Young and Diverse Voices, Broadcasting in the Age of Podcasting, and imaging in an ever-changing audio landscape, among other topics.

iHeartRadio Canada has unveiled electronic music producer and DJ, Marshmello, as its headliner for iHeartRadio FanFest, on Wednesday, May 8 at REBEL Nightclub in Toronto. One of the highlights of Canadian Music Week, the third installment of iHeartRadio FanFest also features Famba, Lu Kala, Neon Dreams, and The Launch’s Cassiøpeia and Olivia Lunny. More artists will be announced in the weeks to come.

SiriusXM Canada and Netflix have announced the launch of Netflix Is A Joke Radio, a full-time comedy channel to air exclusively on SiriusXM ch. 93. The partnership marks the first time the streaming company has worked with another major subscription media company to create a new outlet for their content. The channel, which will feature highlights from top Netflix talent including Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others, is set to go to air Apr. 15.  Segments from future stand-up specials will also debut on the channel. There are plans for a daily talk show as well to be broadcast from SiriusXM’s new Los Angeles studios. Read more here.

SiriusXM Canada’s 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage is underway with playoff action available on the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (ch. 91). This year’s rotation of guests and insiders during the playoffs includes Gord Stellick, Rob Simpson, Steve Kouleas, Mike Johnson, Scott Laughlin, Matthew Barnaby, Boomer Gordon, Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, Jeff Marek, Pierre McGuire, Mike Rupp, and Bill Watters, among others.

A new Futuri-Nielsen study concludes that there is a “profound appetite” for time-shifted content among radio listeners, particularly among younger audiences, yet those opportunities remain largely untapped. The study, conducted this past January, looked at perceptions and attitudes of a variety of audiences to time-shifted audio. The email survey involved 602 radio listeners, A18+, who listened for at least one hour in the past week. Nielsen also compared minute-by-minute PPM data against server logs from Futuri’s podcasting, on-demand, and digital audio management system POST. Among the study’s key takeaways is that just like time-shifting revolutionized TV, it is revolutionizing audio with the same shifts being observed that happened around video consumption in the early days of DVRs. It found more than half of radio listeners 18+ would listen to short audio clips on social media. Among that group, nearly eight in 10 would listen to time-shifted clips of radio station content. Younger audiences and heavy radio users, leaning male, are the sweet spot for time-shifted radio content. Radio has yet to actualize its potential in the time-shifted space, according to Futuri-Nielsen’s findings. Awareness of time-shifted radio content remains low with only three-in-10 radio listeners aware of its availability Futuri-Nielsen goes further to say that station programmers need to stop thinking in dayparts, in favour of segments. Download the full study here.

Futuri Media and the University of Florida presented a study at the NAB Show that asserts that YouTube is the number one destination for podcast listening. The study, which included a national survey and in-depth interviews, was conducted in February with 2,000 regular podcast users who listened to podcasts in the past six months. It found that nearly three-quarters of users have been listening to podcasts for less than three years and, on average, listen to 4 podcasts per week for either 30 or 60 minutes. Users listen to podcasts on multiple platforms, but YouTube is far and away the dominant platform (70%), followed by Spotify (34%), iTunes/Apple Podcasts app (33%), Pandora (30%), and Google Play music app (23%). Not surprisingly, nearly 80% of survey respondents listen to podcasts on their mobile devices. What is somewhat surprising is that the users listen to podcast most frequently at home (3.9 on a 5-point frequency scale), followed by in vehicles (2.8/5). Read more here.

SIGN-OFFS:

John Clark

John Clark, 67, on Mar. 27, of cancer. Clark left his studies at Thompson Rivers University early to get into radio, beginning his career in 1970 at CHNL Kamloops. He moved on to CKXL-AM Calgary in 1974, one of the city’s most popular Top 40 stations of the day, as a production manager and announcer. In 1982, he moved to helm middays on CJAY 92. He also hosted weekday, syndicated music program “Stereotypes” which ran for seven years. Clark left CJAY in 1993 after more than a decade with the station and went on to a number of roles outside of radio, including sales at Long & McQuade in Calgary were he could put some of his experience as a touring musician to use. In recent years, he’d been working as a freelance voiceover talent and in local film and television productions as an extra, including CBC’s Heartland.

Lloyd Ingraham

Lloyd Ingraham, 102, on Mar. 24. One of the country’s cable pioneers, Ingraham was working as an electrical contractor when he started the Squamish Cable TV system in 1957. The family sold the business to Shaw in 2000. Over the years, Ingraham was a member of the Cable TV Pioneers’ Club, the Board of the Western Society of Cable Television Engineers and the Canadian Cable TV Association, among other organizations. Community-minded, he was one of the founding members of the Squamish Valley Golf & Country Club, and donated generously to many causes including the Squamish Hospital Foundation, Squamish Community Foundation, and Squamish Hospice Society. 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

“Next-Gen TV” broadcasting standards will start to roll out in the 40 largest TV markets in the U.S. by the end of 2020, a coalition of station groups revealed Monday at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas. Optional capabilities of the new standard include the ability to get an over-the-air TV signal on a cellphone without cellular service or a data plan, in addition to 4K and HDR. Which features each broadcaster decides to rollout will be voluntary. It’s expected that supporting TV receivers, connected cars, cellphones, tablets, and other devices, will be on display at CES 2020.

Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has announced the nominees for its 2019 Awards of Excellence. A new Award of Excellence for Outstanding Youth Performer will be awarded by special committee to a performer under 18, who stands out for uniqueness, audacity and positive presence on all platforms. The inaugural nominees are Anna Cathcart, Saara Chaudry, Millie Davis, Isaac Kragten, and Michela Luci. The winners will be revealed at a May 29 gala at the CBC Glenn-Gould Studio in Toronto.

Lionsgate has announced a multi-platform content partnership with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver and their Point Grey Pictures prodco. They’ll develop new programming for the Lionsgate’s 360 entertainment ecosystem, including Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, Lionsgate Television, and STARZ. Point Grey and Lionsgate recently partnered on feature film Long Shot, starring Rogen and Charlize Theron, which opens May 3.

DHX Media is selling its Bartley Drive studio in Toronto for $12 million. Set to close on June 6, proceeds from the deal will be used to pay down company debt.

CBC has confirmed that its Street Legal reboot has been cancelled after the six-episode first season. CBC said the show resonated with a smaller audience than hoped. The original series, one of the longest-running Canadian scripted dramas in history, ran from 1987 to 1994.

Tracey Kim Bonneau

APTN has renewed Quest Out West: Wild Food for a third season. Production on 13 new episodes will start in late spring in the B.C. Interior and air on APTN in early 2020. The new season will be executive produced by Brightlight Pictures’ Shawn Williamson (The Good Doctor) and hosted, written and produced by Tracey Kim Bonneau. Quest Out West: Wild Food allows viewers to experience what it’s like to hunt for big game, fish for wild salmon, dig for edible roots and berries, and turn them into a meal.

Super Channel will premiere STARZ Original Limited series The Spanish Princess May 5, day and date with its U.S. premiere. The third installment follows the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated STARZ Original Miniseries The White Queen and STARZ Original Limited Series The White Princess. Based on the best-selling Philippa Gregory novels, English actress Charlotte Hope stars as a young Catherine of Aragon.

Storyhive’s 2019 Documentary Edition has opened for applications. Open to creators in B.C. and Alberta until May 7, 30 projects will be selected to receive production funding, training and mentorship, and distribution support. Each awarded project will receive a $50,000 production grant; with teams working with mentors to produce a project 20 – 60 minutes in duration. Projects will be featured on select TELUS platforms in 2020.

Propeller Insights, on behalf of ExpressVPN, has undertaken a national online survey, asking over 1,000 U.S. consumers 18+ if they would subscribe to a streaming video service to watch just one TV series. 32% of respondents said they would in order to watch Game of Thrones, 22% said the same for Stranger Things and another 20% would to watch the new Twilight Zone. A total of 37% said they would not subscribe just to watch one series. Of those who participated in the survey, 65% said they use Netflix to watch streaming video content most often, followed by Amazon Prime (41%), Hulu (36%), YouTube TV (26%), HBO Now (13%), Showtime (10%) and CBS All Access (9%). Only 17% said they do not use streaming video services.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

A Canadian Journalism Foundation-commissioned poll, conducted by Maru/Matchbox, shows that while social media is a top news source for both Canadians and Americans, it is among the least trusted sources for Canadians. While social media (such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) is cited as a top news source for 52% of Canadians (alongside news websites) it was also the least trusted, at just 32%. This is especially true for Canadian millennials with social media the most common (73%) but least trusted news source at 36%. In the U.S., social media is also one of the top news sources at 48%. However, Americans trust in social media is higher than among Canadians at 43%. Trust in social media rises to 60% among American millennials. The poll found that both Canadian (53%) and American respondents (54%) believe “fake news” is most likely to dominate politics. Americans (51%) are more likely than Canadians (37%) to believe that fake news is easy to spot. A representative sample of 1,516 Canadians and 1,523 Americans were interviewed via online survey Mar. 27-28.

Faith Goldy

Faith Goldy, former Rebel Media reporter and Toronto mayoral candidate, has been banned from Facebook. Goldy, who is known for her white nationalist sympathies, was banned along with anti-immigrant group Soldiers of Odin and the Canadian Nationalist Front, which Facebook says are all guilty of violating policies prohibiting the promotion of “terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, organized violence or criminal activity.”

Spotify has extended its promo giving Premium subscribers a free Google Home Mini to Canada. The two companies have offered the same promo in the U.S. and UK. Spotify Premium subscribers can take advantage of the offer through May 9 by using a promo code in the Google Store.

GENERAL:

Broadcast Dialogue was the proud media sponsor of the Great Canadian Suite at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas this week. The Great Canadian Suite welcomed a special guest this year, Zaib Shaikh, the Consul General of Canada for Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

RTDNA Canada recognized journalistic excellence in the West, Prairie and Central Regions on Saturday with the 2019 RTDNA Awards of Excellence. In the West, Global News BC won Best TV Newscast (Large Market), with CTV Vancouver Island – CTV News at 6 claiming the Small/Medium Market honour. Best Radio Newscast (Large Market) went to 980 CKNW Vancouver, while CBC Kamloops won the Small/Medium Market award for their coverage of the Batchelor Heights Wildfire. CKNW also claimed Best Podcast for This Is Why. In the Prairie region, CBC Manitoba won the Best TV Newscast (Large Market) honour, while the Small/Medium Market award went to CBC Saskatchewan for its Humboldt Crash coverage. Corus’ 680 CJOB won Best Radio Newscast (Large Market), with 650 CKOM Saskatoon taking the Small Market honour. CBC Saskatchewan claimed the Best Podcast Award for Boushie. In the Central region, CTV News Toronto – CTV News at Six won Best TV Newscast (Large Market), while CTV Kitchener earned the Small/Medium Market honour. In the Radio categories, Best Newscast (Large Market) went to CBC Montreal, with 570 News Kitchener winning the Small/Medium Market award. Best Podcast went to CBC Montreal for Mic Drop.

TVA Sports has gone dark on Bell TV in Quebec, amidst an ongoing carriage dispute between Bell and Quebecor. In an update for subscribers posted to its website Wednesday evening, Bell says it will temporarily offer Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360 at no additional cost, to ensure that its customers don’t miss any NHL playoff games. TVA Sports had cautioned Bell customers the move was coming, airing a message during the Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs matchup Saturday night that the sports channel, which has the French-language rights to the NHL playoffs, would be removed from Bell TV. Bell says the move contravenes two CRTC directives, issued on Apr. 8 and 10, requiring Quebecor, which also owns cable service provider Videotron, to continue to provide TVA Sports to Bell customers. Bell has filed a request with the CRTC to resolve the dispute by way of final offer arbitration. Read the full story here.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has released the results of the 600 MHz spectrum auction that concluded Apr. 4. In total, 104 licences were awarded to nine Canadian companies, including 40 licences to regional providers, who more than doubled their share of low-band spectrum. Rogers obtained 52 licences, spending $1.7 billion for spectrum covering a population of 35.2 million; Telus followed with 12; Freedom captured 11 licenses; in addition to Videotron (10), Iristel (7), Xplornet (4), Bragg (4), and Tbaytel (1). Bell opted not to enter the auction.

Corus Entertainment has announced second quarter financial results. Consolidated revenues increased 4% for the quarter and 3% year-to-date, driven by an 11% increase in Television advertising revenues for the quarter and 7% year-to-date. Radio segment revenues decreased 8% in Q2 2019 and 4% year-to-date. Corus reported net income attributable to shareholders of $6.3 million ($0.03 per share basic) for the quarter and $66.8 million ($0.31 per share basic) year-to-date. President and CEO Doug Murphy said Corus delivered another strong quarter, with double-digit Television advertising revenue growth exceeding expectations. “The benefits of our ongoing progress in advanced advertising and data initiatives, our client centric approach and robust advertising demand are reflected in these positive results, partially offset by softness in our Radio segment and timing-related variability in our content business. Notably, the strength of our free cash flow in the quarter is accelerating our progress towards our leverage targets and supporting the advancement of our strategic priorities as we continue to build for the future,” Murphy said in an earnings release.

Shaw Communications has released its Q2 financial results for the quarter ended Feb. 28. Consolidated revenue decreased by 1.0% to $1.32 billion compared to Q2 2018. Operating income before restructuring costs and amortization increased 13.7% year-over-year to $549 million. Wireless results include postpaid net subscriber additions of approximately 65,000, bringing the total Freedom Mobile customer base to over 1.5 million as of the end of February. Wireless service revenue for the three-month period increased by 26% to $169 million over the comparable period in fiscal 2018 due to the growing penetration of Big Gig data plans. As part of its network expansion plans in fiscal 2019, the company launched wireless services in several new markets, including Victoria and Red Deer in February, and an additional six communities in Eastern Ontario in early March. Freedom Mobile will continue to launch in new markets throughout fiscal 2019, primarily in Western Canada. Other wireline enhancements include the Apr. 4 release of Shaw BlueCurve Pods, which expand in-home coverage by creating a mesh wi-fi network that reduces dead spots. The pods are self-installed, plug directly into indoor electrical outlets, and can be easily moved to meet customers’ distinct coverage needs. In Q2, another 200 employees exited Shaw under its voluntary departure program (VDP), bringing that number to over 1,700 since the program started in March 2018. This led to operating cost savings of approximately $27 million and capital cost savings of approximately $6 million in the quarter.

Steve Vogelsang

Steve Vogelsang, former CTV Winnipeg sportscaster and news director, has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of 2017 bank robberies in Saskatchewan. Vogelsang, 55, was sentenced in Regina on Thursday after pleading guilty to four charges related to holdups in Regina and Saskatoon between July and October of that year. Three other charges were stayed. With credit for time served, it’s expected he’ll serve another three years in remand. Vogelsang was with CKY-TV for a decade, starting in 1992. He went on to teach journalism at Red River College between 2002 and 2011. Friday, he’s scheduled to appear in a Medicine Hat, AB courtroom on a separate set of charges related to a series of bank robberies there in Oct. 2017. Vogelsang has yet to enter a plea to those charges, but has elected to be tried by judge and jury. At the time of his initial arrest, court documents revealed that Vogelsang had fallen on hard times financially after he and his wife divorced.

Alana Gieck

The Canadian Media Educators (CME) 2019 Conference in Canmore, AB, May 28 – June 1, will explore keeping pace with the rapidly-changing tech environment and mental health, among other topics. Formerly the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada, this year’s conference is the first event being held under the association’s new moniker with the name change reflecting the increasingly blurred lines between the digital and broadcast mediums. Read our interview with CME President Alana Gieck here.

The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) has unveiled its 2019 Conference agenda. Among the speakers who’ll be in Banff June 5-6 are Dr. Peter Popplewell, Chief Technology Officer, Canopy Growth; CRTC Chairman Ian Scott; four-time Olympic champion Hayley Wickenheiser; former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall; and media strategist Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Media. More info here.

SUPPLY LINES:

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s Broadcast System Technology (BXST) program has completed the move into new lab facilities.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Broadcast System Technology (BXST) program is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a move into new lab facilities. Located in Calgary, the program graduated its first class of Broadcast Technologists in 1969, with the original facility housed in the John Ware building at SAIT’s main campus. Over the past 50 years as the broadcast industry migrated from analog to digital, the equipment and facilities in the John Ware building also changed. 50 years of upgrades and modification on an older facility took its toll and money was allocated to move to a new facility as part of a larger investment and upgrade to SAIT’s 20-acre main campus. The new facility is located on the fourth floor of the NJ wing of the Senator Burns complex. The tiered classroom is acoustically treated for sound isolation, to minimize reflections and provide a space where the students can listen and hear the differences in the many audio formats and codecs used in radio and television. Garry Shepherd, BXST Program Specialist, utilizing his past experience as Chief Engineer for CJFB-TV in Swift Current, SK, led a team of seven instructors and support staff, in coordinating the design and move to the new facilities. Read the full story here.

Dejero has unveiled its IronRoute blended connectivity and cloud-based content distribution solution at NAB 2019, which wraps up Apr. 11 in Las Vegas. IronRoute offers broadcasters, programmers, media organizations, and other content providers scalable cloud-based content distribution, while solving the challenge of first- and last-mile connectivity to and from the cloud. IronRoute for media delivers reliable connectivity by blending broadband, cellular (3G/4G/5G), and satellite connectivity from Intelsat’s global network. Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology combines all available network connections to create a virtual ‘network of networks’ with the necessary bandwidth to deliver broadcast-quality content. The cloud-based solution also simplifies the simultaneous distribution of content to multiple locations anywhere in the world, whether it be network affiliates, station groups, or to other broadcasters and media organizations. Live and file-based content can be distributed point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and multipoint-to-multipoint with a simple drag and drop interface in a web browser.

Bannister Lake has entered into a joint sales, marketing, and distribution agreement with Avid®. Avid will serve as a non-exclusive distributor of Bannister Lake’s Chameleon data aggregation and management solution. With integration between Chameleon and Avid Maestro™ Graphics, Avid users will be able to aggregate, moderate, and populate data-driven graphics for news, sports, financial, and other productions. Chameleon will be available through Avid’s sales channels. Chameleon provides a link between data and graphics for broadcast, OTT, digital signage, HTML5, online, and mobile applications. Customized data is imported into graphic templates directly or through Chameleon’s RESTful API for use in news, sports, elections, financial, and other content genres. Chameleon data can also be imported into augmented reality and virtual reality products as well as IP-based solutions. It has also become a popular solution in data-intensive scenarios such as eSports and sports wagering.

Xperi Corporation and LG Electronics have announced that the first integration of DTS® Connected Radio™ technology into automobiles will arrive at dealerships in 2020 with a major global car brand, to be announced at a later date. Xperi will deliver to LG the DTS Connected Radio platform, which enables an in-car radio experience combining over-the-air radio with IP delivered content. The DTS Connected Radio system will be the first global system to enable car makers to create a common radio experience across different analog and digital broadcast systems deployed regionally. Utilizing an IP connection installed in a vehicle, DTS Connected Radio delivers an analog and digital (DAB and HD Radio) FM experience by pairing broadcast programming with IP-delivered content. DTS Connected Radio aggregates metadata, such as on-air radio program and talent information, artist and song information, station contact information and more, directly from broadcasters around the world to deliver an enhanced in-vehicle radio experience.

SMPTE has announced that the SMPTE 2019 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2019) will run Oct. 21-24 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. Program sessions will address advancements in current technology, plus future-looking developments in media technology, content creation, image and sound, and the allied arts and sciences. SMPTE is seeking technical manuscript proposals for the event, with abstracts due by May 3. Authors of proposals selected by the program committee will have the opportunity to present at the event and network with technology thought leaders and engineering executives. Following SMPTE 2019, accepted manuscripts will be published to the SMPTE digital library, hosted on the IEEE Xplore platform, and posted on SMPTE’s YouTube channel. Submitted manuscripts will also go through peer review for possible publication in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. Details on SMPTE’s call for papers is available at 2019.smpte.org. Early-bird registration pricing is available now through July 27. Prospective exhibitors can find information regarding booth selection at https://2019.smpte.org/home/exhibits. Sponsorship information is available at https://2019.smpte.org/home/sponsorship.


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