The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Matthew Halton and Peter Stursberg

The CBC News Hall of Fame has posthumously inducted Matthew Halton and Peter Stursberg, both WWII correspondents for CBC Radio, whose field reporting kept Canadians informed from the front. Halton covered the war from Egypt, Italy, and Normandy, among other battlefields, while Stursberg covered the Canadian troops as they landed in Italy and later France. Halton died in 1956 at age 52, while Stursberg passed away in 2014 at age 101. Halton’s son David, a retired CBC correspondent, and Stursberg’s son Richard, former executive vice-president of CBC, both appeared at a ceremony at the CBC Toronto Broadcasting Centre.

The Country Music Association of Ontario’s 7th Annual CMAOntario Awards were handed out Sunday at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Country 101.1 (CKBY-FM) Ottawa was awarded Radio Station of the Year (large market). Cool 100.1 FM (CHCQ-FM) Belleville took the medium market honour, while Pure Country 106 (CICX-FM) Orillia claimed the small market award.

Fitzroy Gordon

G98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto is reportedly in financial trouble following the death of its founder Fitzroy Gordon in late April. Intercity Broadcasting Network, which operates the radio station serving the GTA’s Caribbean-African community, has been placed in investigative receivership following an application by Jamrock Broadcasting and Delford Blythe, a minority shareholder and former Intercity vice-president and Chief Financial Officer. Blythe, who originally filed an application in 2016, alleges that Gordon was directing revenue from online advertising to his personal accounts and that he was relieved of his management duties after discovering financial mismanagement. The matter was adjourned after Gordon suffered a stroke in 2017. The CRTC renewed the station’s licence through Aug. 2021 last year, but cited that it was “gravely concerned over Intercity’s unprecedented levels of non-compliance in terms of the number of instances and their severity, and over its ability to operate CKFG-FM in a compliant manner.” Blythe filed an intervention in response to that renewal that reads in part “A major significant financial challenge faced then and still continues is the high overhead cost established at the outset for the organization. As a small independent broadcaster Mr. Gordon failed to respect reasonable financial expectation established in our proposal to the Commission for the licence. In addition the young station was further placed in significant financial jeopardy by Mr. Gordon’s actions resulting in an unnecessary and expensive legal fight. Not only were our finances diverted to non-core business issues but our time and resources as well.”

The CRTC has approved joint applications for technical changes for Toronto’s 106.5 ELMNT FM (CFPT-FM) and Indie88 (CIND-FM), allowing Indie88 to boost its output without affecting ELMNT’s signal. First Peoples Radio will increase its ERP from 1,014 to 1,150 watts, while Indie88 will increase its average ERP from 2,100 to 4,800 watts.

Rogers has applied to the CRTC to increase the power of 92.5 CKIS-FM Toronto’s transmitter from 4,700 watts to 9,000 watts and the maximum ERP from 13,000 watts to 21,000 watts. Rogers wants to improve reception quality and reduce the level of co-channel interference from U.S. border station WBEE-FM Rochester, New York.

The CBC has applied to the CRTC to simulcast CBC Radio One CFFB 1230 Iqaluit on 105.1 CBQR-FM Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. CBQR-FM Rankin Inlet is currently licensed as a mother station, but does not broadcast any distinct programming and is technically a rebroadcasting transmitter of CFFB Iqaluit. As such, the CBC says there is no need for CBQR-FM Rankin Inlet to have a licence.   

CJRU-AM and the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) hosted 115 delegates from 37 stations, seven provinces and one territory, June 3-6 at Ryerson University. The conference was highlighted by keynotes from Simon Peeks, editor of the BBC OS and BBC Minute, as well as Dr. Mark Campbell, assistant professor at the RTA School of Media, speaking about the important role community station Vibe 105.5 (CHRY-FM) played in the rise of the Toronto Hip Hop/Rap scene. This year’s Community Radio And Broadcasting Online Awards(CRABOs), saw Community Radio Fund of Canada co-founder John Harris Stevenson inducted as an NCRA Radio Legend. Read more and find the full list of award winners here.

Spotify has officially launched The Daily Drive, a personalized playlist the streaming service has been testing, that intersperses music with selected news podcasts like NPR News Now, The Wall Street Journal Minute Briefing and The Daily. Aimed at commuters, The Daily Drive features songs from one’s playlist in addition to recommended tracks. Spotify has also moved to give podcasts and music equal billing in the Your Library interface. Additionally, the streaming service is now letting advertisers target podcast listeners by genre. Previously, so-called ‘freemium’ listeners could only be targeted based on streaming habits.

Dave Pratt

Dave Pratt, who was a casualty of layoffs at TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver in March, has launched a podcast called Prattcast. Kerry Marshall, best known for his time as part of the CFOX and JACK FM morning shows, co-hosts. The podcast promises “Entertainment/Sports with the accent on the word ‘Entertainment.’ This is a Podcast that talks in absolutes with no apologies for the Topic Matter or the Opinions that go with it. Time to put some Fun back into ‘Sports Talk.'”

Lynda Steele

980 CKNW Vancouver is hosting a live special dedicated to B.C.’s housing crisis on Friday, June 28. The four-hour indepth panel discussion, from 2-6 p.m. PT, will see host Lynda Steele joined in-studio by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden, and New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development will also participate in the discussion. The special will also be live streamed on CKNW’s Facebook page.

TSN Radio’s lineup of live CFL coverage this season includes TSN 1050 Toronto, the official radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts, featuring live coverage of every game; TSN 690 Montreal, the official radio voice of the Montreal Alouettes, delivers English-language coverage of every game, along with The Als This Week (Mondays at 7 p.m. ET); TSN 1200 Ottawa, the official radio voice of the Ottawa Redblacks, delivers live coverage of every game, including pre- and post-game, plus the Ottawa Redblacks Radio Show (Tuesdays at 6 p.m. ET); TSN 1040 Vancouver, the official radio voice of the B.C. Lions, features coverage of every game, including pre- and post-game shows hosted by Farhan Lalji and Chris Burns with Bob ‘the Moj’ Marjanovich and former CFL QB Giulio Caravatta providing commentary; TSN 1150 Hamilton, the official radio voice of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, delivers live coverage of every game; TSN 1290 Winnipeg, Blue & Gold Game Day hosted by Hall of Famers Chris Walby & Troy Westwood and Darrin Bauming, will deliver pregame, halftime and postgame coverage of every Winnipeg Blue Bombers game; TSN 1260 Edmonton, will air the Green and Gold pre- and post-game show with Matt Iwanyk and Hernan Salas, alongside various TSN Insider guests.

SiriusXM Canada will air every Canadian Football League (CFL) regular season and playoff game on Canada Talks (ch. 167). French broadcasts of all Montréal Alouettes games will also be offered to subscribers on Influence Franco (ch. 174). Frank Trachtenberg hosts Inside the CFL on Mondays at 7 p.m. ET, starting July 8, featuring highlights, interviews, and analysis.

SIGN-OFFS:

Sean McCann

Sean McCann, 83, on June 13. Born in Windsor, ON, McCann studied to become a priest at St. Peter’s Seminary in London before deciding to turn to acting. McCann would go on to appear in over 150 television series, feature films and stage productions. Among his better known roles, he appeared alongside Nick Nolte in Affliction (1997), Meryl Streep in TV movie …First Do No Harm (1997), Chris Farley in Tommy Boy (1995), and Peter Weller and Judy Davis in Naked Lunch (1991). In 1999, he won a Gemini Award for Best Guest Actor in a Series for Power Play and was twice-nominated for Best Performance in a Pre-School Series for Noddy as Grandpa Noah Tomten. McCann also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role on Canadian TV series Night Heat, which aired from 1985-89. He was honoured with an Earle Grey Award in 1989 for LIfetime Achievement in television acting. Outside film and television, McCann served as a scout for the Toronto Blue Jays and served on the board of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He also made a brief foray into politics, running unsuccessfully for the Liberals against Progressive Conservative MPP Roy McMurtry in 1979.

Rev. Sterling Gosman

Rev. Sterling Gosman, suddenly, on June 13. Gosman had a 33-year technical career working behind the scenes at CBC New Brunswick, also serving as a Fredericton City Councillor, auxiliary police officer, and former president of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist churches, over the years. After retiring from the public broadcaster in 1997, Sterling and his wife moved from Fredericton to Kentville, Nova Scotia. He subsequently graduated from Seminary at Acadia Divinity College in 2007 with a Bachelor of Theology. He was ordained at New Minas Baptist Church in 2008. Gosman is survived by his wife Anne and their three children, Rev. Dr. Neville Gosman, Teah Gosman-Odinga, and soprano Measha Brueggergosman.  

Douglas Charles McIlraith

Douglas McIlraith, 83, on June 6, after a short battle with esophageal cancer. McIlraith started in radio while still in highschool at CJBQ Belleville. He moved to Vancouver to be closer to his sister Lois which led to stints at CFUN and CJOR and later CKOV Kelowna. In 1961, he joined CBC Edmonton where he worked in both TV and radio. McIlraith ended up marrying fellow CBC Edmonton colleague Beatrice Lamond and transferred to her hometown of Winnipeg in 1967 to start raising a family. McIlraith travelled to cover many major events for the public broadcaster, including the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He retired from CBC Winnipeg in 1990 where his last role was co-host of CBC Information Radio.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

TSN, CTV and RDS, combined, drew an average audience of 7.7 million viewers to the Toronto Raptors’ Game 6 NBA Finals win last Thursday. That makes it the most-watched NBA game on record in Canada and the biggest English-language television broadcast in three years. Preliminary Numeris data indicates the broadcast drew 15.9 million unique Canadian viewers – 44% of Canada’s population – that watched some part of the game. Audiences peaked at 9.99 million viewers at 11:47 p.m. ET in the game’s final minute. TSN and CTV post-game coverage attracted an average audience of 6.5 million viewers. In Toronto and Hamilton, the game had a share of 82% on TSN and CTV – the highest audience ever in that market, excluding the Olympics. TSN’s official social media accounts also garnered significant engagement during the game, with 12.5 million views on Twitter and 4.4 million on Instagram. Additionally, TSN’s live streaming coverage attracted 143,000 video starts across the network’s digital platforms – the second-highest total for any event on TSN. Game 5, broadcast on Sportsnet and Citytv, drew an average audience of 6.4 million viewers and reached 13.4 million Canadians.

Bell Media’s coverage of the Toronto Raptors Championship Parade across CTV, TSN, CP24 and CTV News Channel reached nearly 5.7 million Canadians, according to data supplied by the network. The average audience across the Bell Media network was 954,000 viewers between roughly 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Mackay Taggart

Global was one of the only major Canadian networks that wasn’t an NBA Finals rights holder. Global Toronto news director Mackay Taggart says without unlimited game footage to lean on they set out to tell the story of the fan. Read our feature here.

The City of Hamilton has signed a memorandum of understanding with a coalition of investors that would see the city-owned Barton-Tiffany lands developed into an international hub for film, television, and digital media production. The Hamilton Studio District would encompass what’s envisioned as a 15-acre “live-work-play development” for the creative sector set to include a film and TV production campus featuring 500,000 sq. feet of soundstage and studio facilities; post-production, VFX, music and game development studios; training facilities; two residential towers, office and retail space. Leading the development charge is Aeon Studio Group – a group of investors led by Mike Bruce, co-owner of Toronto’s Studio 550 where Big Brother Canada is filmed and a location manager by trade; Robbie David, a producer who has been filming in Hamilton for a decade; Mark Sakamoto, former chair of the Ontario Media Development Corporation; and entrepreneur Jeff Anders, founder of Toronto creative agency The Mark, joined by lawyers Phil Lefko and Stephany Mandin. Read the full story here.

CHCH-TV Hamilton is celebrating 65 years of broadcasting this month. Founded by Ken Soble, who owned CHML 900 AM, the station signed on the air on June 7, 1954 as a CBC affiliate. Local business leaders and politicians, including Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, weigh in on the station’s legacy of local programming in this piece by Lisa Hepfner that contains some archival gems.

Coast Community TV on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast is celebrating 40 years.The volunteer-run community channel was started in 1979 by Marta MacKown, Maryanne West, and a group of students at Elphinstone Secondary School. Coast Community TV student alumni include Zach Greenberg, who now serves as technical director on The Ellen Show, in addition to Genie Awardwinning documentarian Velcrow Ripper.

Michael Rizzi

Bell Media’s Much Studios will premiere original documentary Positive June 22 on MTV and on Crave June 23. The special is also available for streaming on Much’s YouTube Channel, MTV.ca, Much.com, and SnackableTV. Moderated by Much Studios’ Michael Rizzi, Positive profiles the lives of five diverse HIV+ millennials through a roundtable discussion and stigma-busting personal narratives.

The Quebecor Fund has announced the Canadian production companies that will receive a financial investment in the 38th round of the fund’s Main Television Production Assistance Program with $2.7M being dispersed. Find the successful list of prodcos here.

The Bell Fund has announced the results of its April round of funding for Short-Form Digital Series – Fiction Program. Over $2.4M in grants have been approved including over $640,000 to support the discoverability plans for the series. Supporting audience engagement strategies is a priority for the fund. 14 independent production companies are being supported across eight English and six French-language projects from Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

Christine Welsh

The Knowledge Network, B.C.’s public broadcaster, and the National Film Board (NFB) have partnered to increase awareness of Canadian Indigenous-made films. Twenty documentaries from the NFB’s Indigenous Cinema Collection will launch on Knowledge Network’s streaming services, with 40 additional titles to be refreshed over the next three years, giving the films and filmmakers greater visibility in B.C. The NFB’s Indigenous Cinema Collection debuted in 2018 with close to 300 films by Indigenous directors from across Canada. Films available for streaming include Finding Dawn by Christine Welsh, a documentary that puts a human face on the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The collection will launch on Knowledge Network on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.

The CRTC has approved Corus Entertainment’s request to delete 44 television rebroadcasting transmitters. Corus argued that the transmitters are expensive to maintain and don’t generate any incremental revenue and generally attract little to no added viewership, due in part to their locations in smaller markets. Global television is carried on basic cable in most of the affected markets.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

The Digital News Report (DNR), an international survey led by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, has released its survey on consumer habits and the perception of news in 38 countries, including Canada. Key findings include a downturn in the number of Canadians who trust “most news, most of the time” which shifted from 58% to 52% since 2018. A total of 44% of Canadians surveyed said they use mainly online media to access news, whereas 56% favor offline media, such as television, radio or print. Social media is the main source of news for 19% of all Canadian adults, a share that increases to 38% among those under 35, and 49% among those aged 18-24. Only 9% of respondents stated that they paid for online news (e.g., digital subscription or one-off payment for an article or app) in the last year, a number that was flat year-over-year. If they had to choose only one online paid subscription service for the next year, 40% would prefer an online video streaming service such as Netflix. A subscription to online news would be the first choice for 9% of Canadians, and 4% among adults under 35.

Dr. Jen Gunter

JENSPLAINING, a new 10-part CBC original docuseries hosted by unapologetic women’s health expert Dr. Jen Gunter, launches Aug. 23 on CBC Gem. Produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment, JENSPLAINING sees Gunter debunk unproven wellness claims and the spread of misinformation from womb detox pearls to vaginal steaming. JENSPLAINING is the first digital series produced by Peacock Alley, but the second series its produced dedicated to health and wellness. A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, hosted by Timothy Caulfield, has become an international hit available on Netflix in North America, Vision TV in Canada and in 67 territories including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Africa, India, much of Europe and Asia.

The Canadian Online Publishing Awards are open to entries until July 15. Hosted by Masthead Magazine, the COPAs bring together all the media brands and companies producing content online, from publishers to business to marketers. Entries are accepted in five categories – B2B, Consumer Magazine, 24/7 News Media, Ethnic Media, and Students/Schools. Entries must have been produced between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 to be eligible and meet Canadian content requirements. Find full rules and eligibility here.

GENERAL:

The Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to hear Quebecor’s argument asking for a CRTC decision to be overturned stemming from its ongoing carriage dispute with Bell. Groupe TVA is seeking to have the commission’s decision forcing it to make TVA Sports available to Bell TV cable subscribers thrown out. At the heart of Quebecor’s argument is whether the CRTC has jurisdiction in the case or whether it has gone beyond its powers and interfered in negotiations.

Laura Tribe

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has tabled the final version of a policy direction that requires the CRTC to take steps to bring down the cost of internet and cellphone bills for consumers. Bains first introduced the new “consumer first” policy directive in February. It followed the release of the commission’s heavily-criticized report on misleading and aggressive sales practices in the telecommunications industry. Following consultation, the final version of the directive features several small, but significant changes. Effective immediately, the policy must be adopted across all areas of decision-making, not just regulatory hearings. It also includes more specific language around rights related to accessibility, telecommunications access in rural and regional areas, and suggests all forms of competition and investment be encouraged. Laura Tribe, executive director of consumer advocacy group OpenMedia, said the directive clearly sends the message that it’s time for the CRTC “to put people before big telecom.” Read the full story here.

Telus has joined Rogers and Bell in beefing up the gigabyte (GB) offering in its wireless data plans, but unlike its rivals, Telus will charge $75/month for 15 GBs of full-speed data usage, followed by the standard overages. Rogers and Bell are offering $75/mo. plans that include 10 GBs of full-speed data usage, followed by unlimited data at reduced speeds. When you look at comparable plans in the U.S., Verizon’s $85 “Beyond Unlimited” plan is capped at 22 GBs of high-speed 4G LTE data per month, while the $95 “Above Unlimited” is curbed at 75 GB, before the carrier will reduce speeds. AT&T’s $70 “Unlimited & More” plan is also capped at 22 GBs.

The CRTC has approved call traceback trials to help determine the origins of nuisance calls to Canadians. The trials are set to be complete by Dec. 19 of this year with the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Network Working Group’s report to be submitted by March 2020.

Rogers Communications is investing $10 million to support the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Ryerson University. The new national centre, based in Brampton, will provide training to workers from under-represented demographic groups in the field, and support of the growth of Canadian cybersecurity companies. FedDev Ontario, Royal Bank of Canada and the City of Brampton are also funders. Located in downtown Brampton, the Catalyst is a not-for-profit organization with a broad mandate to empower Canadians and Canadian businesses through training, research and education in cybersecurity.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has responded to the federal government’s passing of a motion recognizing the urgency of climate change. The CAJ says news organizations need to rethink their best practices on climate reporting and its asked its asked its ethics advisory committee to make recommendations on how journalists can most responsibly report on climate change. Former CAJ vice-president Sean Holman published an open letter in May calling on several journalism associations, as well as editors, publishers and station managers, to adopt an action plan to “properly place, cover, contextualize, and localize the biggest story of our time, and hold public and private institutions to account for their actions and inactions on climate change.”

Connie Walker, Jennifer Fowler and Marnie Luke

The Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards were handed out June 13 with CBC News podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo earning the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism (large media category) and its host Connie Walker winning the Landsberg Award, which celebrates exceptional coverage of women’s equality issues. The Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University went to Karyn Pugliese, executive director of news and current affairs at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She will study the strategies newsrooms and educators can use to implement Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for media and journalism schools. Find the full list of honourees here.

Michener Citations of Merit, recognizing outstanding and unbiased public service in journalism, have been presented to CBC News (The Fifth Estate); The Waterloo Region Record; St. Catharine’s Standard; CBC North; APTN; and a joint citation to CBC/Toronto Star/Societe Radio-Canada. Saint John, NB’s Telegraph-Journal won the 2018 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for its 18-month series Sounding the Alarm. The paper discovered a critical shortage of paramedics was forcing New Brunswick ambulances to sit idle and unstaffed. At least one person died. Read about the winners here.

Corus and Bell Media were both Gold winners at the 2019 ProMax Awards, held June 6, in Los Angeles. The awards recognize creativity in entertainment marketing and design. Bell’s relaunch of its Crave streaming service and logo redesign earned four awards alone. Find the full list of winners here.

Paul Jacobs, Paul Jacobs Media

On the latest Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast: Paul Jacobs addressed the 2019 Western Association of Broadcasters conference and his message to the room was pretty straightforward – not enough change is happening in Canadian broadcasting amidst the digital shift. Jacobs laid out some numbers based on the results of Jacobs Media Strategies’ most recent TechSurvey. It finds just 6% of local ad dollars in Canada are going to radio, 7% to TV and 35% to online. 65% of radio listening is still in the traditional way, while 31% is now digital. As Jacobs put it “it’s very obvious where the puck is going” and broadcasters need to evolve by following those digital dollars, providing sales training, promoting station digital assets and encouraging talent to contribute to digital content.

SUPPLY LINES:

Omny Studio has been acquired by Triton Digital. The on-demand audio management solution for content creators will now be part of Triton’s suite of audio products. Triton Digital had been the exclusive reseller of Omny Studio in the U.S. and Canada since 2017.

TVU Networks has announced a partnership with Stringr, a network of professional and amateur videographers. The Stringr platform, which features a content library and custom footage from 90,000 videographers around the world, is now available through the TVU Global Grid, enabling assets to be shared and sold on a global scale. TVU Grid is an IP-based switching, routing and distribution system that allows stations to route live video streams over IP networks to one or more Grid-enabled news stations anywhere in the world with sub-second latency. Users can view public video sources that are available around the world, and request to take the stream and make it available for their own viewing audience.  TVU Networks and Stringr are currently working with a major cable network and plan to expand to other partners shortly.

SMPTE’s Monthly Technology Webcast features Pete Ludé, chief technology officer of Mission Rock Digital, an engineering leader in advanced imaging and sound. His current work includes display technology for next-generation cinema; immersive sound; and interchange pipelines for VR, AR, and plenoptic (light field) imaging systems. Immersive Media and Audio – The Future of Storytelling? will stream Thursday, July 25, at 1 p.m. ET. SMPTE Technology Webcasts are complimentary for SMPTE members.


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