The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Rogers has announced it’s acquiring Vancouver-based branded podcast company Pacific Content. Launched in 2015 by co-founders Steve Pratt, Chris Boyce, and Jennifer Ouano, who are all former CBC’ers, as well as business consultant Rob Leadley, the company is a branded podcast content pioneer. Among its clients are brands like Facebook, Slack, Dell Technologies, Mozilla, Audible and Prudential. The company will continue to operate as it has, reporting to the Radio division. In a news release, Rogers says that with 26% of Canadians tuning into podcasts monthly and 18% listening weekly – according to the 2018 Canadian Podcast Listener survey – podcasting is a big part of the future of audio. Rogers Radio SVP Julie Adam says developing new audio content for mobile platforms and smart speakers is among the collaborations on the agenda. Read more here.

Nielsen Music has extended its relationship with SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) to remain the exclusive provider of detailed radio airplay data from more than 500 Canadian stations. As part of the deal, Nielsen has increased coverage by adding 200 new stations to its BDSradio metrics platform. The data analytics and measurement company says increased monitoring will provide deeper insight into Christian radio formats for the first time and include additional French-language stations in Canada. SOCAN members use BDSradio data to access more detailed reporting of ISRC numbers (the code rights and royalty organizations use to track royalty payments) across a wide range of platforms, including online streaming services, for more accurate and timely data.

CHOI-FM Quebec City and 91.9 Sports (CKLX-FM) Montreal will remain property of RNC Media following an Apr. 30 CRTC decision that approved Leclerc Communication’s application to acquire the radio stations, but refused its request for an exception to the Common Ownership Policy to operate more than two French-language commercial FM radio stations in the Quebec City market. Leclerc says it won’t sell one of its other stations – WKND 91.9 (CJEC-FM) or BLVD 102.1 (CFEL-FM) – to proceed with the deal.

The CRTC has approved an application by Five Amigos Broadcasting Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial FM radio station in Listowel, ON. The station will be the first local commercial radio service in the municipality of North Perth. The station would operate at 100.1 MHz (channel 261B1) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,900 watts (maximum ERP of 8,000 watts. The station will offer an Adult Contemporary music format targeting adults 18-54. Five Amigos proposes to broadcast 126 hours of local programming per broadcast week, with 3.7 hours devoted to news, of which 2.7 hours would be local and regional news.

The CRTC has approved a new radio station for Afton Station, NS. The not-for-profit Paqtnkek Radio Society has been granted a broadcasting licence to operate a Type B Native (Indigenous) English- and Indigenous-language FM radio station in Afton Station.The station will operate at 104.5 MHz (channel 283LP) with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.

The CRTC has extended the licence terms of nearly two dozen Indigenous radio stations, including CFNR-FM Terrace, CKHQ-FM Kanesatake/Oka, Que., CICY-FM Selkirk, MB, and CKLB-FM Yellowknife, to 2022 as it prepares to undertake a review of Indigenous radio policy framework. The commission says the administrative renewals will allow for an assessment of all the stations under the revised framework.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in the U.S. has filed a proposal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling for more deregulation of radio and TV. NAB argues that the media landscape has changed drastically since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and radio no longer only competes with radio. The NAB proposal suggests in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets, a single entity could own or control up to eight commercial FM stations, with no cap on AM ownership; an owner in the top 75 markets would be permitted to own up to two additional commercial FM stations (for a total of 10); and in unrated and Nielsen markets outside the top 75, there would be no restrictions on the number of stations, FM or AM, a single entity could own.

Dr. Jada Watson

Gender Representation on Country Format Radio, a new study from the University of Ottawa’s Dr. Jada Watson, and the first to to examine Mediabase data, finds that women are getting less airplay than ever on country music radio. In 2000, women accounted for 33.3% of songs on year-end airplay reports, while last year they came in at 11.3%. In terms of spins, the ratio of men to women on country radio was 9.7 to 1. The top-played male artist Kenny Chesney had almost twice as many spins (6,047,111) as the top-selling woman, Carrie Underwood, who was played 3,182,237 times. The study only looked at American country radio, but Watson has plans to delve into Canadian country radio playlists, starting this summer. Watson will be a guest on this Friday’s Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast.

Gord Downie

Gord Downie is the 2019 recipient of the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. Prior to his death in 2017, the Tragically Hip frontman dedicated the last years of his life to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, founding the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. He also served on the board of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, working to protect Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes. Members of the Downie family will accept the award at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala in Toronto on May 9.

CJAM, the University of Windsor campus radio station, is eliminating its part-time music director position ahead of anticipated funding cuts under the province’s Student Choice Initiative. The new legislation allows students to opt out of fees for any campus service deemed non-essential, including student media. CJAM’s board of directors has voted not to renew Lauren Hedges’ one-year contract and won’t be replacing her. Hedges has been a host with the station since 2010. It’s expected volunteers will assume her music director duties.

Lucas Meyer

Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto reporter/anchor Lucas Meyer was a guest voice on Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons. Meyer acted as the voice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the “D’Oh Canada” episode, which saw Lisa granted asylum in Canada following a family trip to Niagara Falls. Meyer was cast after recording a 2017 YouTube video that included impressions of the PM. Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry, and U.S. President Donald Trump, among others.

Sun FM (CICF-FM) Vernon helped raise over $57,000 for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation on Apr. 26. The 16th annual Have a Heart Radiothon saw station personalities camped out in front of the Village Green Mall for 12 hours to raise funds for new equipment for newborn babies and their moms. The money will go towards replacing baby bassinets and a newborn isolette, which provides thermoregulation for babies that need additional support, among other items.

Edison Research has introduced the Podcast Consumer Quarterly Tracking Report, described as a “bespoke” first-of-its-kind research product designed to serve the ongoing needs of podcast networks, agencies, and consultancies. Comprised of a 2,000 person, 18+ sample, the report will provide charter members with a “regular checkup” on the podcast audience, what they are listening to, and the relative reach and awareness of the leading podcast networks. Edison says it will continue to provide basic consumption metrics in its annual Infinite Dial releases, but the previous Podcast Consumer report will now be subsumed into this new quarterly tracking product.

CBC Vancouver is taking a deep dive into the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou with new original podcast Sanctioned: the Arrest of a Telecom Giant. Narrated by Stephen Quinn, Sanctioned delves into the context behind Meng Wanzhou’s arrest including the technological arms race over 5G, trade wars, and geopolitics.

National Post has launched Down to Business, a new podcast tackling Canadian business. Hosted by Financial Post reporter Emily Jackson, the 20-minute podcast promises to speak to key industry players “to break down the latest developments in major stories – from cannabis to pipelines, real estate to international trade wars.” Tech entrepreneur Michele Romanow was the podcast’s first guest.

SIGN-OFFS:

Fitzroy Gordon

Fitzroy Gordon, 65, on Apr. 30. The founder and CEO of G98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto, Gordon is credited with bringing radio reflective of the city’s Caribbean community to the airwaves. Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Gordon arrived in Canada in 1979. His first foray into radio was on multicultural station CHIN where he started hosting a midnight to 6 a.m. call-in show that earned him the nickname “Dr. Love.” He also took turns as a cricket writer for the Toronto Sun and as a co-host on The Fan 590’s (CJCL-AM) World Sports Report. He left CHIN in 1998 and started work to obtain a broadcast licence to serve Greater Toronto’s Caribbean and African communities. The proposed frequency, 98.7 FM, was met with opposition. Milestone Radio, the founder of urban station Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM), also had concerns about duplication. After three weeks of testing in 2010, the CRTC finally gave Gordon’s Intercity Broadcasting Network approval to use the frequency over the objections of CBC, Rogers Media, Astral Media, Bell Media and Durham Radio. G98.7 went live on Nov. 28, 2011. The last two letters of the station’s call sign – CKFG – are a permanent tribute to its founder. Read more here.

Jason Botchford

Jason Botchford, 48, on Apr. 28, of apparent heart failure. Botchford grew up in Aurora, ON. After graduating from Western University, he entered the advanced journalism program at Centennial College in Toronto, and began his journalism career at the Toronto Sun. He joined The Vancouver Province in 2005 and quickly moved from news into sports, covering the NHL and Vancouver Canucks. His post-game Provies Report, which debuted during the 2013-14 season, became one of the paper’s most popular posts. After 13 years, Botchford left The Province in the fall of 2018 to join The Athletic Vancouver. He was also a longtime contributor to TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) and TSN’s That’s Hockey. Read more here.

Don Taylor

Don Taylor, 75, on Apr. 24. Taylor started his career in radio in Portage La Prairie, MB in 1966. He went on to work in North Battleford, SK, before landing at Golden West Broadcasting’s flagship station CFAM Altona, MB where he worked until 1997 as the longtime overnight operator, among other roles. Taylor retired to his hometown of Minnedosa, MB in 2009.

Douglas Linn

Doug Linn, 79, on Apr. 20 in Chilliwack. Linn was part of the JR Country (CJJR-FM) Vancouver morning show from 1985-87. He then signed on as one of the original voices on Star FM (CKSR-FM) Chilliwack, retiring in 1996. In addition to his love for radio, Linn was an artist and cartoonist, using his talents to create logos and greeting cards, among other work.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Convergence Research Group (CRG) says there’ll be more Canadians subscribed to OTT services, like Netflix and Crave, by next year than traditional television. The Battle for the Canadian Couch Potato: OTT and TV report says based on 28 OTT providers, led by Netflix (the report does not assign revenue to Amazon Prime which did not increase price with its addition of video in Canada), it’s estimated Canadian OTT access revenue grew 33% to $1.12 billion in 2018. It predicts revenue will hit the $1.51 billion mark in 2019 and that by 2020 there will be more OTT subscriber households than TV subscribers in Canada. The report says with a decline of an estimated 204,000 Canadian TV subscribers in 2018, an additional 253,000 customers will unsubscribe from traditional TV service in 2019. Read more here.

Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN) employees have voted 98 per cent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement. The three-year deal sees significant improvements to the existing pay grid and in working conditions for 72 members of the Canadian Media Guild. In most cases, pay scales will now start at a higher level and salary steps will rise over two years. Pay rates will increase 3.5 per cent on the anniversary of the APTN hire date as well as on that date the following year. The agreement also provides additional market-rate wage adjustments for video journalists, reporters, investigative journalists and graphic artists. There will also be across-the-board annual increases of 1.25, 1.0 and 0.75 per cent. APTN, which has more than 160 employees (including part-time and casual), also agreed to have workplace problems dealt with through a union-management joint committee, with the aim of resolving issues as they develop.

RDS employees have organized in Montreal. Approximately 85 employees of the Bell Media-owned French-language sports network have joined the union which will include employees assigned to the news service, excluding columnists, analysts, and senior producers. Bell Media had objected to certain positions being included in union certification unit, namely producer, content producer, administrative coordinator and administrative assistant, however the Canada Industrial Relations Board disagreed.

Sportsnet says an average of 909,500 Canadians tuned in to watch Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s Major League Baseball debut. The network says Friday’s Toronto Blue Jays game was the most-watched matchup of the season thus far. Overall, the game that saw Toronto trump the Oakland Athletics reached four million Canadians.

Emily Andras

The Writers Guild of Canada handed out its WGC Screenwriting Awards Monday night, recognizing the writers behind Canadian series Schitt’s Creek and Cardinal: Blackfly Season, among others. WGC special awards were also presented at the gala, with the WGC Showrunner Award going to Wynonna Earp executive producer Emily Andras, the McGrath Service Award to Bruce Smith (19-2, Cracked, The Hunger), and the Sondra Kelly Award to Jinder Oujla-Chalmers (Combat Hospital). Pat Holden (When The Lights Went Out, Dangerous Arrangement) and Amir Kahnamouee (Port of Call) each received the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize. Find the full list of winners here.

Niobe Thompson

Niobe Thompson was one of the big winners at the 2019 Alberta Film and Television Awards. The Edmonton-based filmmaker picked up five “Rosies” including Best Director (Non-fiction under 30 minutes) for Boy Nomad and Best Screenwriter (Non-fiction over 30 minutes) for Equus: Story of the Horse. Wynonna Earp and Heartland also picked up multiple honours. Find the complete list of winners here.

Bravo says production is underway on Season 2 of its mystery-crime drama Carter, starring Jerry O’Connell. Shot in North Bay, ON, the sophomore season will debut later this year. The 10-episode, one-hour series sees the return of co-stars Sydney Poitier Heartsong (Homecoming) and Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), as well as Brenda Kamino (The Glass Castle). Canadian Lyriq Bent (The Affair) also joins the cast for S2. Outside of Canada, the series was commissioned by Sony Pictures Television (SPT) for AXN, returning for Season 2 in Spain, Latin America, Brazil, Japan, Central Europe, and Russia. Carter will also return to WGN America in the U.S.

Crave’s newest original series We’re All Gonna Die is a caustic documentary about the end of the world. The six-episode docuseries, developed in partnership with 90th Parallel Productions, goes into production this summer. Drawing together science, psychology, pop culture, and philosophy, each episode explores one of the ways that humanity could meet its end – from nuclear war and asteroids to insect Armageddon and aliens. Crave has also confirmed its upcoming slate of Original Documentaries including Ron Mann’s Carmine Street Guitars, Bruce McDonald’s Hippie Highrise, and Triumph: Lay It On The Line from Banger Films and Revolver Films.

OMNI will air the 64th Annual Eurovision Song Contest, starting May 14. Competing for the chance to be named the best song in Europe, 41 countries will go head to head in Tel Aviv, Israel for the title. The contest will also be streamed nationally on OMNITV.ca

Supinder Wraich

CBC Gem will unveil a slate of new original Canadian series in May, including The 410 (Drama, 3×25), co-produced by and starring Supinder Wraich (The Good Doctor, Crawford), a South Asian female and aspiring influencer who turns to a life of crime to bail her truck driver father out of prison; Detention Adventure (Tween action-adventure, 10×11) following three nerdy friends and the school bully who must get themselves thrown into detention to find the entrance to a labyrinth of trap-laden tunnels protecting the fabled hidden lab of Alexander Graham Bell; and The Ninth (Comedy, 8×10) a baseball comedy that follows a sub-par Southern Ontario Intercity Baseball League team owned by a discount mattress impresario. Find a complete list of new content coming to CBC Gem in May here.

CBC Sports has announced extensive coverage plans for the 2019 IAAF Diamond League track and field series, ahead of the IAAF World Championships later this year and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year. Beginning with the first event in Doha, Qatar, on May 3, CBC Sports will provide live streaming coverage of every meet, while broadcast coverage will be featured as part of CBC Sports’ weekend staple Road To The Olympic Games throughout the summer on CBC and CBC Gem. Radio-Canada Sports will also offer live streaming coverage of every Diamond League meet. Scott Russell and Olympian and World Championship sprinter Anson Henry will host CBC Sports’ coverage.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Vice Media is consolidating its online brands like Noisey, Munchies, and Motherboard and bringing all of its content under Vice.com as feature sections like News, Identity, Entertainment, Music, Food, Tech, Games, Health, and Drugs. Vice says the move will “unify and strengthen its offering to audiences and advertisers alike.” Its redesigned website will also feature Vice Stories, a home for vertical video.

Hootsuite has laid off dozens of staff at its Vancouver headquarters. The social media and marketing management giant declined to reveal the exact number of staff let go, their positions or which departments were affected Tuesday, but a report by CTV suggested the cuts amounted to more than 100 employees. Hootsuite shared a statement saying the changes are aimed at driving “greater alignment” with its strategic priorities. Valued at $1 billion dollars, the company previously made layoffs in 2015 to help it achieve cash-flow positive status. Hootsuite’s social management platform boasts 16 million global users. The company has nearly 1,000 employees in 13 cities, including Toronto and Mexico City.

Tubular Labs, a leader in digital video measurement and sponsored video intelligence, has announced that Viacom, Ellen Digital Network and Corus Entertainment have joined the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA) to establish new digital video measurement standards, beginning with social video. They join VICE, BuzzFeed and Group Nine as additional founding members. As a result of its work with GVMA, Tubular Labs has announced that new global, cross-platform reach and engagement metrics will be available this summer including de-duplicated unique viewers and minutes watched.

Facebook and Canada’s privacy commissioner are heading to Federal Court following a report that finds the digital giant has ignored guidance bringing it into compliance with Canadian privacy laws. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said the situation highlights the lack of enforcement tools at his disposal as his office is unable to levy fines or compel companies to produce evidence. The report concludes Facebook failed to get meaningful consent from users installing third party quiz apps that gathered data from participating users and their friends, which was then passed along to political consulting agency Cambridge Analytica. Therrien also indicated The Office of the Privacy Commissioner plans to delete its Facebook presence to dissolve any association with the social platform.

Frank Giustra

Lionsgate Entertainment founder Frank Giustra has filed suit against Twitter for publishing tweets during the 2016 U.S. election that he claims amounted to a targeted attack. The B.C. businessman, who is also CEO of the Fiore Group of Companies, has filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court. Giustra is seeking a mandatory permanent injunction requiring Twitter to delete or prevent publication of the tweets, and prohibit publication of defamatory tweets against him on an indefinite basis, in addition to general damages and costs. The tweets in question included allegations that Guistra, who sits on the board of the Clinton Foundation, was involved in the ‘pizzagate’ conspiracy theory.

Postmedia has joined the list of Canadian media organizations using audience engagement company Viafoura to moderate online user comments. Viafoura uses a combination of human and AI moderation to identify disruptive user comments and enhance the overall user experience. National Post onboarded Viafoura in January, which is also used by the CBC and Sportsnet.

GENERAL:

Bell has slapped Quebecor with a $150 million lawsuit over its “Fair Value” campaign in the latest development in the Bell v. Group TVA carriage dispute saga. Quebecor revealed in a post to its corporate website that it received notice of the suit last Thursday. The company says that instead of responding to its invitation to negotiate, Bell has chosen to use “diversionary tactics” and accuses the company of “monopoly behaviour.” Read more here.

Bell has announced a new hybrid cloud connectivity solution that enables Bell Cloud Connect business customers to connect to the Google Cloud platform globally via Bell’s private network through Google Cloud Partner Interconnect locations in Toronto and Montréal. With dedicated fibre links to Google Cloud, business customers can select from a variety of data speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

Boyd Kozak and Bob Ridley

Boyd Kozak and Bob Ridley have been announced as this year’s inductees into the Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) Hall of Fame. Kozak retired last year as news director at QX104 (CFQX-FM) Winnipeg. His 59-year career started right out of high school in 1959 at CFSL-AM Weyburn, SK, quickly moving on to CHAB Radio & TV in Moose Jaw, CFQC-AM Saskatoon and then CKRC-AM Winnipeg where he landed in 1963. He joined CFQX-FM in 1995 as news and community relations director. Bob Ridley, who just passed the 55-year mark in his career, started out working weekends at CJDV Drumheller while attending Mount Royal College. Upon graduation he got his first full-time job at CKSW Swift Current as a disc jockey and hockey and baseball play-by play voice. In 1966, he moved to CKKR Rosetown before landing at CHAT Medicine Hat as sports director in April 1968. He’s been the voice of the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club since the team’s introduction in 1970. In 49 years as the Tigers’ play-by-play announcer, he has missed just a single game, calling over 3,900 contests. This year’s induction ceremony will take place June 6, at the WAB President’s Dinner & Awards Gala at the Fairmont Banff Springs. The WAB Leader of Tomorrow Award as well as the Gold Medal Awards for Community Service and Digital Innovation will also be presented. Find ticket info here.

RTDNA Canada will bestow its President’s Award to its volunteer Regional Chairs: Dan Appleby, Rhonda Brown, Ron Kronstein, Liam Nixon, Manny Paiva, Jill Smith, Les Staff and Kathryn Stewart. They’ll receive their awards at the President’s Reception on May 10 during the 2019 RTDNA National Conference & Awards Gala.

The 2019 Michener-Deacon Fellowships will be awarded to journalists Corbett Hancey, Greg Mercer and Jim Poling. This year, the foundation has awarded two fellowships for investigative work, each worth $40,000 plus $5,000 in expenses. Corbett Hancey will produce a series of investigative articles for both print and broadcast on the recent federal government move to allow Canadian defence contractors to sell weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian-backed rebels. Greg Mercer and Jim Poling are proposing to examine the hidden problem of occupational disease in Canada, to promote better understanding of why the situation is so under-reported and victims rarely compensated. The resulting series will be published widely in print and on media websites. Governor General Julie Payette will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 14.

Agence Science-Presse, an independent, Montreal-based non-profit media organization, is the recipient of the CJF-Facebook Journalism Project News Literacy Award, presented by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and the Facebook Journalism Project. Agence Science-Presse‘s eight-week winning effort took place in a Montreal high school, where a journalist-in-residence helped students verify the news found on social media and explored disinformation in science with a critical eye. Once debunked, the rumour became the subject of a written, audio or video document published to the agency’s website in the “Détecteur de rumeur” (Rumour Detector) section. The award, which carries a $10,000 prize, celebrates journalistic efforts that encourage Canadians to better understand and assess the quality of news they consume and promote news literacy, generally. The winner will be presented with the award at the annual CJF Awards June 13 at the Fairmont Royal York.

Rogers is donating $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to provide support to flooded communities in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Rogers is also offering rocket sticks and loaner phones to emergency centres to help those displaced stay connected. The company says many of the communities impacted are home to its employees.

On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, Bryan Press, director of sales, for NABS Media. Since 1983, NABS Canada, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, has quietly been working behind the scenes as a support system for media, marketing and communications professionals who find themselves in need of counselling, financial assistance or career advice. With demand for its services at an all-time high, this May marks the second annual NABS month, raising awareness of the charity.

SUPPLY LINES:

JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) Toronto has adopted Specialty Data Systems (SDS) broadcast management software as part of ongoing changes at the station. JAZZ.FM91 managing director Lorie Russell says implementing the software will cut down on duplication of work and increase efficiencies. SDS Symphony encompasses traffic, sales, CRM, creative, reports and A/R.

SMPTE has expanded its SMPTE Virtual Classroom offerings with new course “Imaging System Fundamentals: From Light to Lenses.” Led by instructors from the Rochester Institute of Technology, David Long and Ricardo Figueroa, the eight-week course will cover the underpinning concepts and scientific principles as the basis for understanding how imaging systems work and the physics of image capture. The program is available online to participants around the world, who can opt to do the independent self-study version of the course. Additional SMPTE Virtual Classroom courses include:

Find details and registration info here.


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