Bell Media has rolled out a rebrand of 13 of its iHeartRadio Canada stations. It’s billing “Pure Country” as the first-ever national country music radio brand encompassing stations from Northern B.C. to Nova Scotia including Pure Country 94 (CKKL-FM) Ottawa; 103.5 (CKHJ-FM) Fredericton; 99.5 Truro, NS (CKTY-FM); 93 (CJBX-FM) London; 106 Orillia (CICX-FM); 96.7 (CHVR-FM) Pembroke; 105 (CKQM-FM) Peterborough; 91.7 (CICS-FM) Sudbury; 890 (CJDC-FM) Dawson Creek; (CJFW-FM) Terrace, BC; 101 (CKXA-FM) Brandon, MB; 92.7 (CHBD-FM) Regina and 99 (CKLC-FM) Kingston. The stations will be anchored by local morning and drive home shows, but will feature syndicated midday, evening and weekend programming. Shannon Ella , previously with BX93 London and KHJ Fredericton, will host middays across the network. Syndicated Nashville-based offering The Bobby Bones Daily Show will air evenings, with Bones’ Country Top 30 Countdown also airing on weekends. Sophie Moroz and Jeff Hopper, co-hosts of The Morning Pickup on the Pure Country Ottawa station, will host the iHeartRadio Pure Country Countdown, Saturday and Sundays. A Bell Media spokesperson said there are no staff reductions as a result of the rebrand, with midday on-air announcers at affected stations to be reassigned. Twelve of the 13 rebranded stations were already country format with the exception of Kingston, which was formerly modern rock station 98.9 The Drive. The Drive had been running without announcers since January when most of its staff were laid off or moved over to sister station 98.3 Fly FM (CFLY-FM). Its new on-air lineup, starting June 24, will feature Gord St. Denis and Chelsea Lacroix (previously both on-air at Corus Ottawa) on mornings; Trinette Atkinson (who also serves as music director and is former PD at Larche Communications’ Sudbury stations) on afternoons; and program director Brittany Thompson, who is also a weekend personality CFLY-FM, on evenings. Read more here.
CBC has plans to roll out a new national business show originating out of Calgary this fall. The Cost of Living, hosted by Paul Haavardsrud, will debut on CBC Radio One on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11:30 a.m. (noon NT). The weekly 30-minute show will cover business and economic stories and how they affect the day-to-day lives of Canadians. Susan Marjetti, executive director of CBC Radio and Audio, said the show is part of the public broadcaster’s commitment to better reflect a wider range of experiences and perspectives from across the country.
CBC’s Upfront presentation on Wednesday included the unveiling of plans to launch the new CBC LISTEN app this fall as the one-stop destination for all CBC Music, CBC Podcasts and CBC Radio content. Listeners will be able to tap in to local and national CBC Radio One and CBC Music shows, live or on-demand, for free, and gain access to more than 175 curated music playlists featuring new releases from Canadian artists. The public broadcaster also revealed its slate of new and returning original podcasts for the upcoming year. They include: Chosen Family (June 19, Season 2) with Montreal comedians and queer BFFs Thomas LeBlanc and Tranna Wintour exploring the intersection of art, community and sexuality; Uncover: The Cat Lady Case (July 9, Season 4), the investigative series looks into the cold case of seniors who went missing from the Muskokas without a trace; Uncover: Sharmini (Sept. 10, Season 5), the investigative series follows reporter Michelle Shephard as she revisits a 20-year-old unsolved murder; Hunting Warhead (Fall), an exploration of the dark web with a task force that includes journalists and police officers; The Story Store (Fall), a collaboration between CBC Podcasts and CBC Kids, The Story Store is open for business, taking orders from real kids across Canada and turning their suggestions into fun-filled adventures; Asking For It (Winter), Kaitlin Prest (The Shadows) helms this fiction series that centres around one woman’s tumultuous journey through three relationships; Someone Knows Something: Izzett (Winter, Season 6), host David Ridgen investigates the 1995 disappearance of Don Izzett, who was discharged from the military for being gay, embarked on a road trip – and never made it home. There will also be new seasons of Tai Asks Why, The Secret Life of Canada, and PlayMe.
SiriusXM Canada has revealed the three finalists in its second annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). They are Matt Lang (Maniwaki, QC); Kelsi Mayne (Windsor, ON); and Tim & The Glory Boys (Winnipeg, MB). The grand prize winner will be chosen live at SiriusXM Top of the Country Finale during Country Music Week in Calgary Sept. 5-8. The winner will receive the $25,000 grand prize, plus an international SOCAN songwriting camp and more.
Bayshore Broadcasting’s 97.7 MAX FM (CHGB-FM) Wasaga Beach is pledging to change the station’s handle to 97.7 Kawhi FM if and when Kawhi Leonard re-signs with the Toronto Raptors. Morning man Ben McCully says the station would also offer up a playlist selected and approved by Leonard.
Jocelyne Blouin, 68, on May 27, of cancer. Blouin started her career as a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) in 1974 in Edmonton, also contributing to local Radio-Canada broadcasts. She was transferred to Montreal with MSC in 1976 and was offered a part-time position as a weather presenter with Radio-Canada television two years later. She committed herself full-time to television in 1980. After 33 years with the public broadcaster, Blouin retired from Le Telejournal in June 2011. It’s estimated she delivered over 15,000 weather forecasts over the course of her career. In 2016, Blouin and fellow meteorologist Jean-Charles Beaubois launched the Blisly app which predicts how the weather might affect your health, including asthma, allergies, and migraines.
Sarika Sehgal, 42. Sehgal, who had a career that took her from CICI-TV Sudbury to the network anchor desks at CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel, had left journalism behind in the last 10 years to become the founder and director of the Khel Centre for Creativity & Inner Peace, a creative and spiritual retreat near Erin, ON. After graduating from Humber College, Sehgal had a meteoric rise starting as producer on a national morning show in Toronto before stints at CTV News Sudbury and A-Channel in Edmonton. Within a year, she joined CTV Calgary (CFCN) to co-produce and anchor the station’s noon-hour newscasts. She then landed in Hamilton to executive producer and co-anchor for CH News. In 2003, Sehgal returned to Toronto to co-anchorToronto Tonight on Toronto 1 (CKXT-TV). Following the show’s cancellation in 2005, she joined CBC Newsworld as host of one-hour current affairs and news program CBC News: Today, also taking turns hosting CBC News: Tonight and CBC News: Around the World. She left the public broadcaster in Aug. 2007 to travel the world on a soul-searching journey that would take her to 15 countries. She joined CTV News Channel in late 2011. In a manifesto Sehgal wrote for the Khel website, she explained her decision to walk away from television saying “Like so many North Americans, my entire identity and ego were tied to my work. And that happened for nearly 20 years.” Read more here. A memorial will take place June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Bellfountain Village Church in Caledon, ON.
Gord Kidder, 74, on May 22. A graduate of Mohawk College, Kidder had a long broadcast sales career that included 17 years with CHUM Radio, and seven years with CFRB-AM Toronto. He became a partner in Muskoka Information Radio in 2011, serving the South Muskoka Region. A resident of Port Sydney, ON Kidder was named for an uncle who was killed while a PoW at Stalag Luft III during WWII. He was in the Czech Republic to take part in 75th anniversary ceremonies around The Great Escape, in honour of his uncle, when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and fell into a coma. He never regained consciousness. Nearly $100,000 was raised to airlift Kidder back to Canada that included matched donation pledges from Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications, and former CHUM Group chairman Jim Waters. Read more here.
Garfield Ogilvie, 61, on Jan. 31, in Las Vegas from pancreatic cancer. Ogilvie started his broadcast sales career at OZ FM in St. John’s, NL, in 1980. He moved on to CJSB Ottawa in 1982 and then Urban Outdoor Trans Ad in Toronto where he was director of Eastern Canadian sales. He forayed back into radio in 1995, becoming the general sales manager of the CHUM Radio Group in Kitchener (CKWW and CFCA), and later spent several years as vice-president of business development with the Radio Marketing Bureau. In 2000, Ogilvie joined Clear Channel Outdoor as vice-president of national sales, based in Toronto. That was the start of 10 years with Clear Channel that would see him move to Chicago, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and Dallas-Forth Worth with the company. For the last eight years, he’d been director of sales and marketing for PGA Tour facility TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. A celebration of life will take place in Toronto on June 22. Those interested in service details are asked to reach out directly to Garfield’s son Mitchell, via email at email@example.com.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) have reached an agreement in principle on the terms for a new Independent Production Agreement (IPA). The CMPA-WGC IPA establishes the terms, conditions and rates for writers, story editors, and story consultants. The terms for the new three-year deal will be sent to the CMPA’s Board of Directors, and distributed by the WGC, for ratification. The current agreement expires on June 30.
Sportsnet has released its NBA Finals broadcast schedule, following the Toronto Raptors’ victory Saturday night which sees the team head to finals for the first time in franchise history. Sportsnet will air Games 1, 3, 5, and 7 vs. the Golden State Warriors on TV, exclusively on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE, and online via Sportsnet NOW. Games 2, 4, and 6 will air on radio on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and 680 NEWS. Sportsnet’s coverage tips off this Thursday, May 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT with Game 1 on Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE, and Sportsnet NOW. Matt Devlin will handle TV play-by-play, alongside game analyst Leo Rautins. On radio, Eric Smith has the call with analysis from Paul Jones. Brad Fay, Alvin Williams and Sherman Hamilton will provide analysis courtside, in addition to NBA insiders Michael Grange and Arden Zwelling. Tim & Sid will have interviews and analysis at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT to tee up pre-game action on Sportsnet, while Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro will join fans live from Jurassic Park at Maple Leafs Square for Games 1, 5 and 7. Sportsnet’s Raptors and NBA podcast Free Association with Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis will also produce new episodes throughout the finals. Find the full schedule here.
TSN’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs starts with Game 2: Golden State @ Toronto on June 2 at 8 p.m. ET on TSN and TSN Direct. The network will air ESPN’s NBA Finals Preview Show before and after the games. Additionally, CTV2 will simulcast ABC’s coverage of Games 2, 4 and 6. The TSN Broadcast Schedule includes Games 2, 4, and 6 on TV, and on radio, TSN 1050 will broadcast Games 1, 3, and 5. Paul Jones will do 1050 play-by-play alongside Jack “The Coach” Armstrong and Sherman Hamilton, while Matt Devlin does the TV call, alongside Armstrong. Rod Black hosts pre-game, halftime, and post-game coverage alongside Leo Rautins and former Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell. TSN’s coverage also features long-time Raptor and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, James Duthie, and Josh Lewenberg, among others.
Sportsnet says Saturday night’s game drew an average of 3.1 million viewers. The Raptors’ series-clinching victory over the Milwaukee Bucks reached 6.8 million Canadians, as Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals now becomes the most-watched NBA game ever in Canada. Audience levels peaked on Sportsnet at 5.3 million viewers at 11:10 p.m. ET, just as the Raptors booked the franchise’s first ticket to the NBA Finals. Rogers says Saturday also marked the biggest single-day sales ever for the Sportsnet NOW streaming service. Sportsnet’s coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals (Game 1, 3 & 6) had a series average audience of 2.1 million viewers and reached a total of 8.4 million Canadians, marking a 77% increase over the Raptors previous Conference Final appearance in 2016.
CFL ON TSN will feature live coverage of four pre-season games leading up to the start of the 2019 CFL season on Thursday, June 13. Pre-season coverage kicks off with the Saskatchewan Roughriders heading to McMahon Stadium to face the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders on Friday, May 31 at 9 p.m. ET on TSN. The other pre-season games are June 1 – Hamilton @ Ottawa; June 6 – Ottawa @ Montreal; and June 7 – Calgary @ BC.
The Leo Awards, recognizing the best of British Columbia film and television, have held the first two of three celebrations, leading up to its Gala Awards event June 1. Some of the big winners so far are Haida-language feature film Edge of the Knife (SGaawaay K’uuna) which won Leo Awards for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Make-up. CBC series Scout & the Gumboot Kids won four Leos in the Youth category including Best Program, Best Screenwriting, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture Editing. Find the full list of winners here.
Sherry White is the recipient of the 6th annual Nell Shipman Award, presented annually by the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (TAWC) to honour a female-identifying producer, writer, showrunner, mentor or programmer who has advanced gender equity in front of and behind the camera in the Canadian film and television industry. White recently directed an episode of upcoming Global drama series Nurses after showrunning and directing Season 2 of Little Dog for CBC. She’s previously been an executive producer on ABC drama Ten Days in the Valley, a writer and executive producer on Seasons 2 and 3 of Netflix/Discovery’s period drama Frontier, and wrote award-winning feature film Maudie, among other credits.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) is accepting applications for the third edition of its Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women until June 21. Formerly known as the Academy Apprenticeship for Women Directors, the program is designed to bolster the professional development of Canada’s women directors. Its activities provide hands-on experiences, including a professional development symposium, an online learning module, and curated on-set placements with high-profile directors and established production companies.
Bell Media has commissioned two new series for Crave from Bell Media Studios, along with the renewal of 13 other programs for 2019/20. A yet-to-titled Lainey Lui series will see the The Social co-host and ETALK correspondent delve into some of Crave’s “buzz-worthy” programming. Fellow ETALK personality Chloe Wilde is also getting a series based on her lifestyle website Healthy is Hot. Healthy Is will see Wilde present healthy living tips in each episode.
CTV has unveiled its slate of new and returning series on its summer schedule, headlined by international reality hit Love Island, to air weeknights at 8 p.m. ET/PT, starting July 9. New drama Grand Hotel from executive producer Eva Longoria also hits the schedule June 17, in addition to limited drama series The Red Line, starring Noah Wyle (July 2). The Amazing Race Canada returns for Season 7, airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, starting July 2. Also returning to the CTV schedule are American Ninja Warrior (May 29), Masterchef (May 29), The $100,000 Pyramid (June 16) and Hollywood Game Night (July 11).
Corner Gas Animated returns to The Comedy Network on Canada Day. Season 2 will debut July 1 with two back-to-back episodes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The new 11-episode, half-hour season includes cameo appearances from Michael J. Fox, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chris Hadfield, Russell Peters and Jann Arden.
Crave’s summer highlights include Hulu’s eight-episode Veronica Mars revival dropping July 26, in addition to the series’ previous three seasons (2004-07) which launch June 28. Beginning June 9, Season 3 of Handmaid’s Tale begins streaming. HBO’s Big Little Lies also returns June 9 with Meryl Streep joining the cast. New drama series Euphoria, co-executive produced by Drake, joins Crave June 16. Starring Zendaya, the series follows a group of high school students as they navigate drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love, and friendship. Coming in August is HBO comedy series The Righteous Gemstones, starring Danny McBride and John Goodman, as well as Season 2 of drama series Succession. Other highlights include Showtime drama City On A Hill (June 16) starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge and executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The series is set in early 1990s Boston, rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm. Rounding out the lineup is the eight-episode second season of Killing Eve (June 7). Coming movie premieres include A Star Is Born (June 8), Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse (June 28), Bohemian Rhapsody (July 5), and Aquaman (August), among others.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has issued a new report on the economic benefits generated by Canadian feature film Indian Horse. Shot over 33 days in and around Sudbury and Peterborough, the critically-acclaimed film generated $15.3 million in economic activity, contributed $10.2 million to the national GDP and created 126 full time jobs. Additionally, each dollar of federal tax credit invested in the film generated $49.33 in economic activity and contributed $32.83 to the GDP. In addition to utilizing federal and provincial tax incentives, the film also received funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The production directly benefited 172 Northern Ontario businesses while engaging a number of local crew members, actors and extras, many from nearby Indigenous communities. Economic analysis for the study was carried out by MNP LLP for the CMPA with financial support from Telefilm Canada. The full study is available here.
Facebook Canada has launched its Local News Accelerator program bringing together the first cohort of 11 publishers participating in the program. As announced in February, the $2.5M initiative is part of Facebook’s ongoing global efforts to support journalists, academics and news organizations advance journalism and help develop sustainable business models — both off and on Facebook’s platforms. The first wave of participants includes Brunswick News, Daily Hive, Winnipeg Free Press, Glacier Media, Le Soleil, London Free Press, Northern News Services, The Discourse, The Tyee, Vancouver Observer, and Village Media. Throughout the 12-week program, Facebook brings together industry experts, tools, resources and training focused on digital audience development, with the goal of helping publishers find new ways to connect with their audiences and monetize their businesses. Publishers will design individual projects working with coaches with expertise in the digital media business. The program will culminate in Menlo Park, California where publishers will share their news innovation concepts at Facebook headquarters. Grant funding will empower each publisher to implement strategies created during the program.
Tout Le Monde En Parle has had its Twitter account reinstated after a suspension prompted by a user’s complaints about Omar Khadr’s Easter Sunday appearance on the ICI Radio-Canada show. Twitter maintains the account was suspended by mistake.
The NHL is bringing back “Stanley Cup Live” and adding a stream on Twitter, in addition to Facebook. Hosted by former NHL’er Adam Burish and NHL Network host Jackie Redmond on location from outside each game, the show is being sponsored by Amsterdam Vodka. Viewers on Facebook will be able to participate in polls and leave questions in comments for the hosts and guests to answer on camera. Those on Twitter will be able to see live poll results and comments, but won’t be able to participate other than leaving Twitter comments. Each 10-minute livestream will air about 90 minutes prior to game time.
YouTube is revolutionizing how it displays subscriber counts. Come August, subscriber figures will be abbreviated for channels that have more than 1,000 subscribers. Public displays will read ‘1.2K’ for example, rather than 1,278 subscribers. Exact subscriber counts will still be visible to creators in their YouTube Studio dashboards.
Sportsnet has launched a 7-day subscription for its SN NOW+ streaming service, ahead of the NBA Finals. The 7-day pass is available for $9.99 and follows the recent launch of an annual pass. SN NOW is available to stream on iOS / Android, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and 4th generation Apple TVs, as well as on a desktop or laptop through a web browser.
OMNI will remain Canada’s national multi-ethnic, multilingual television service, however it will re-launch by the fall of 2020 with a larger commitment to local news and regional programming. The CRTC has granted Rogers Media a three-year licence to continue operating the service in 20 languages following a competitive process that included three days of hearings in November. The new service, which succeeds the existing OMNI Regional, is set to launch Sept. 1, 2020. Rogers increased commitment includes broadcasting at least six hours of local original newscasts per week from Vancouver, Calgary/Edmonton and Toronto; broadcasting a minimum of six daily, original national newscasts, seven days per week in at least six different third language; and producing at least two hours of programming in Manitoba and/or Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada each week. Read more here and our story with Rogers’ SVP Colette Watson here.
The CRTC has released revised dispute resolution practices and procedures. It’s setting a 30-page limit on submissions. It also clarifies the standstill rule, stipulating that new arguments can’t be raised in a rebuttal. The revised policy also discusses “consensus-based problem solving” when “issues that are industry-wide in scope, or pose broad problems of a technical, operational or administrative nature” are raised. “In such cases, the appropriate model of dispute resolution may be Commission staff-facilitated meetings that involve the participation of a broad cross section of industry representatives and other interested parties in a working group. That working group’s purpose would be to find solutions to these problems, rather than to resolve disputes arising between individual parties.”
Hockey broadcaster Jim Hughson and writer and NHL communications executive Frank Brown have been named as this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame NHL Media Award recipients. Hughson will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, while Brown will be honoured with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. Hughson began broadcasting hockey games in the South Peace Hockey League at CKNL Radio in his hometown of Fort St John, B.C. Stops at CKIQ Kelowna and CKNW Vancouver would follow, before Hughson made the move to Toronto in the early 1980s to call play-by-play for the Toronto Maple Leafs on CBC TV. Read more here.
Jason Botchford, the popular Vancouver hockey writer and contributor to TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) radio who passed away last month at age 48, will be remembered at a tribute event at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom on June 20. The event will be presented by The Athletic and hosted by TSN 1040’s Mike Halford and Jason Brough. All proceeds raised will go to the Botchford Family Fund. Details here.
The Western Association of Broadcasters Conference 85th annual conference gets underway at the historic Fairmont Banff Springs from June 5-6. This year’s keynote speakers are four-time Olympic champion Hayley Wickenheiser and Brad Wall, former Premier of Saskatchewan. Rounding out the conference lineup is featured speaker Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Media and Dr. Peter Popplewell with Canopy Growth Corporation, in addition to a town hall with Numeris and an industry update from Radio Connects. The event will conclude with the President’s Dinner and Awards Gala where Bob Ridley and Boyd Kozak will be inducted into the 2019 WAB Hall of Fame. Read more here.
Dejero, the Waterloo, ON-based innovator in cloud-managed solutions for video transport and internet connectivity from mobile or remote locations, is partnering with land terminal provider AQYR to launch a Dejero CellSat turn-key rental package. The package will include the AQYR TYPHOON 1.0 meter satellite terminal that allows broadcast teams to access satellite acquisition in the field. It will be available to broadcasters and content providers across the US and Europe through Dejero sales channels.
Dejero, Annex Pro, and Avid are among the broadcast tech companies exhibiting at the Canadian Media Educators’ Vendor Showcase on Thursday, May 30. The showcase, which is free and open to the public, coincides with the CME Conference underway in Canmore, AB. More info here.
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