The Weekly Briefing



UNESCO is calling on radio stations to uphold diversity, both in their newsrooms and on the airwaves, in keeping with the theme of this year’s World Radio Day on Thursday. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. UNESCO says that unique ability to reach a wide audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, and stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Read our feature story on diversity challenges in Canadian radio, here.

Kathleen Petty

CBC Calgary has launched new political podcast West of Centre, hosted by Kathleen Petty, the bureau’s Executive Producer of News. The weekly podcast will explore “the voices, experiences and misunderstandings” of the western part of the country, with an emphasis on Alberta. CBC says the podcast seeks not to polarize, but rather to amplify the voices of Western Canadians who feel marginalized socially, economically and politically, within a broader Canadian conversation. Guests include energy authors Andrew Nikiforuk and David Yager; Brian Jean, former leader of Alberta’s official opposition; and Jim Boucher, businessman and former Fort McKay Chief.

Holger Petersen

CKUA Edmonton host Holger Petersen has been inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame. Petersen, who celebrated 50 years on the community station this past fall, was inducted at a ceremony in New Orleans, hosted by Folk Alliance International. Petersen is the host of Natch’l Blues on CKUA every Saturday from 3-5 p.m. MT.

Debra Rathwell

Canadian Music Week (CMW) has announced that Debra Rathwell, Executive VP, Global Touring & Talent at AEG Presents, will be inducted into the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. Rathwell began her career in Montreal, working for Donald K. Donald as VP of concerts, handling tours for Tina Turner, Genesis, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, and Leonard Cohen, among others. She joined Metropolitan Entertainment in New York City in 1994 and moved to AEG as senior vice-president in 2002, opening its New York office. Rathwell will be honoured at the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala in Toronto on May 21. She’ll also give a keynote interview prior to the awards as part of the CMW Music Summit. Rathwell’s current focus is on orchestrating the “Elton John: Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour“, and launching arena and stadium dates with Justin Bieber, among other “too soon to talk about” projects.

The Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award in Honour of Steve Young will be awarded for the 12th year during Canadian Music Week. Anyone working in the industry can nominate a worthy broadcaster, under the age of 30 as of Apr. 20, 2020. Nominees must work in the programming department: On-Air, Programming, Promotion, Production or Creative, and must have made a significant contribution to the community they serve, the radio industry or their craft. The deadline for entries is Mar. 16. Click here to access the submission form.

The CRTC has approved Stingray’s purchase of CIXL-FM and CKYY-FM Welland from R.B. Communications and Wellport Broadcasting. The purchase price of the stations was $6.5 million.

The CRTC has called a hearing for Apr. 14 where it will hear a licence application from Aujourd’hui l’Espoir for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language commercial specialty (Christian music) FM radio station in Brownsburg-Chatham in the Laurentides region of Quebec. The station would operate at 102.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 250 watts. The applicant proposes to broadcast a minimum of 98.5 hours of local programming per broadcast week. The commission will also hear an application from the Utilities Consumers’ Group Society for a licence to operate an English-language community FM station in Whitehorse. The station would operate at 92.5 MHz with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 590 watts (maximum ERP of 1,300 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 438.5 metres). The applicant proposes to broadcast 126 hours of programming per broadcast week, of which 108 hours would be devoted to local programming. Vernon Community Radio Society’s application for a broadcast licence to operate an English-language community FM radio station in Vernon, BC will also be heard. The station would operate at 97.9 MHz with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 602 watts (maximum ERP of 1,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of -148 metres). The applicant proposes to broadcast 126 hours of programming per broadcast week, of which 121 hours would be devoted to local programming.

The 17th annual Country 105 Caring For Kids Radiothon, heard on Corus Entertainment’s CKRY-FM Calgary, raised over $3.7 million for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation thanks to the Crist Family Foundation which matched $1.86 million in listener support, dollar for dollar. That brings the overall Radiothon total to more than $35 million since 2003.

The Corus Radiothon for Children’s, heard on 980 CFPL, FM96 (CFPL-FM), Country 104 (CKDK-FM) and 103.1 Fresh Radio (CFHK-FM), raised a record-breaking $206,787 for London Children’s Hospital on Feb. 7. Broadcast live from the atrium of the London Health Sciences Centre, the event raised $30,000 more than last year’s total.

99.3 County FM (CJPE-FM) Prince Edward County, ON is working on improvements related to emergency preparedness and is looking for a back-up transmitter to its Nautel VS 2.5 FM. The not-for-profit community station has put the call out for an Industry Canada certified 120-300 watt back-up transmitter in good working order. For more info, contact General Manager Craig Mills at

SiriusXM announced Tuesday it’s invested $75 million in audio platform SoundCloud, giving the satellite radio service a minority stake in the Berlin-based company and two seats on its board of directors. The move expands Soundcloud’s relationship with SiriusXM, as the creator audio platform had already been handling U.S. advertising sales for streaming subsidiary Pandora. SoundCloud was previously saved from bankruptcy in 2017 thanks to $169.5 million in funding from Raine Group and Singapore-based Temasek.


Christie Blatchford

Christie Blatchford, 68, on Feb. 12, of cancer. Blatchford was born in Rouyn-Noranda in northwestern Quebec, moving to Toronto with her family while in high school. She followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andy Lytle, a sports writer at the Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun, and uncle Tommy Lytle, a former Toronto Star editor. While still attending Ryerson University, she started writing part-time for the Globe and Mail in 1972, and joined the paper a year later as a sports reporter and eventually a columnist. She moved on to the Toronto Star as a features writer in 1977, and then the Toronto Sun in 1982, where she penned a humour column before going back into hard news. In 1988, she joined the newly-launched National Post, earning a National Newspaper Award for column writing. She returned to the Globe and Mail in 2003 and then back to NP in 2011 where she finished her career. Over the years, Blatchford penned five books, including Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army. Based on a series of trips Blatchford took to Afghanistan, the book won the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-Fiction. She was also a regular contributor to Toronto’s Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM), heard on roundtable discussions on Moore in the Morning and The Rush. Blatchford was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame last November. Newstalk 1010’s Jim Richards delivered an impassioned tribute to Blatchford on Wednesday’s show, celebrating her authenticity and influence. Listen here.

Pamela Glass

Pamela Glass, 90, on Jan. 24. Born in Ireland, Glass emigrated to Canada in 1952, working as a clerk for the Royal Bank and teaching drama and phys.ed before moving into a media career as a producer on the Dave Abbott Talk Show on CJOR Radio in Vancouver. A year later, she joined the BCTV production staff under Jack Webster. Glass would go on to an appointment as media assistant to Members of Parliament, and was later appointed Judge of the Citizenship Court of Canada. Among her many community causes, Glass was an elected Surrey School District trustee for three terms. Her media background went on to serve her well when she began working as the Press Box coordinator at the Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Club. Over the years, Glass also served on the executive of the Irish Women’s Network, was president of the South Surrey Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of White Rock, vice-president of the Kwantlen University College Foundation, and served as a board member of Vancouver Community College, Pacific National Exhibition director, member of the Motion Picture Appeal Board, and director of the United Way, among other endeavours.  


Pearl Low

Seneca College is celebrating Pixar’s Oscar win for Toy Story 4 that included the efforts of three of its alumni. The film, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, featured the work of three Seneca graduates from the Faculty of Communication, Art & Design, including animators Brendan Beesley, a graduate of the school’s 3D Animation program, and Graham Finley, a graduate of the Animation program. Deana Marsigliese, another Seneca Animation grad, served as the film’s art director. Meanwhile, Vancouver-based story artist Pearl Low was part of the team that brought the film Hair Love to the screen, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Read more here.

Digital Domain has officially launched Digital Domain Montréal, the VFX studio’s ninth location worldwide. The Montréal studio will focus on feature films, episodic and streaming while supporting other groups within the multi-faceted VFX house. Digital Domain Montréal will immediately house about 130 new artists and staff who will collaborate with nearly 1,500 employees around the world. Located in the historic Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, the new 35,000 square-foot facility will include a state-of-the-art screening room, multiple editorial bays and room to expand to accommodate up to 500 artists and staff. The new studio is already contracted to work on projects for Marvel, Sony and 20th Century Studios.

Meredith MacNeill and Adrienne C. Moore

CBC and NBCUniversal International Studios have announced new original drama series Lady Dicks (10×60), starring Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is The New Black). Co-created by Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue) and Sherry White (Little Dog, Frontier, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue), Lady Dicks portrays two female detectives in their early 40s, who by day are true action heroes, but by night both grapple with loneliness, dysfunctional families and screwed-up love lives. The series is currently in pre-production and will begin shooting in Ontario this spring.

CBC’s latest original true-crime docuseries, The Oland Murder (4×60) premieres Mar. 4. The four-part CBC Docs original series explores the July 2011 murder of multi-millionaire Richard Oland, of the Moosehead Brewing family, and the subsequent arrest and trial of his son, Dennis Oland. From director Deborah Wainwright, producer Laurie Case and eOne, The Oland Murder promises to offer viewers unprecedented access to the accused, his legal team, and their private investigators.

Jennifer Podemski

Unsettled, a new series for APTN and TVO, executive produced by Jennifer Podemski’s Redcloud Studios and Derek Diorio’s Distinct Features, follows an urban Indigenous family who lose their fortune and have to move from Toronto to a Northern Ontario First Nation. The 10-episode first season stars Cheri Maracle, Brandon Oakes, Tamara Podemski, Wesley French, Pam Mathews, and Lawrence Bayne, among others. Shot on Nipissing First Nation, Unsettled is the first dramatic series to be funded through the Canada Media Fund’s Aboriginal Language Program. Of 55 roles on the series, 50 are Indigenous characters. 

Jessica Mulroney

I Do, Redo, starring and executive produced by Jessica Mulroney, will premiere Sunday, Mar. 22 on CTV. The CTV original series offers couples whose weddings were ruined by circumstances beyond their control another chance to say “I do.” At the helm is Mulroney who, together with design and floral expert Caspar Haydar, design and plan every redo wedding.

Ranger Rob

Nelvana is ramping up production on a third season of original preschool adventure series, Ranger Rob. The new season of 52 x 11 minute episodes is slated for delivery beginning summer 2020. Ranger Rob currently airs on Treehouse in Canada and has earned top ranks with Universal Kids and Hulu in the U.S., TF1 in France, Tiny Pop in the UK, and SUPER RTL in Germany.

Nelvana has struck distribution agreements with TF1 and Boomerang for its new 3D animated series, Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe. Presented by redknot, a joint venture between Nelvana and Discovery Inc., the series (52×11 minutes) will roll out internationally on Discovery Kids (LATAM), TF1 (France) and WarnerMedia’s Boomerang (EMEA) starting this Spring. It launched on Treehouse in Canada this past September. Based on the Kids Can Press graphic novels by Ashley Spires, Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe follows the adventures of curious house cat Binky and his fellow P.U.R.S.T. agents (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) who are on a mission to protect their human families from aliens, robots, and interstellar threats.

Sinking Ship Entertainment has announced U.S. and Canada-wide screenings of Dino Dana The Movie, a spin-off of the award-winning series. Presented by Fathom Events and Cineplex Events, the movie will premiere at exclusive one-day event screenings in over 550 theatres across North America on Saturday, Mar. 21. Young attendees will also become certified Dino Dana paleontologists-in-training. Dino Dana the series airs on Amazon Prime in the U.S. and TVOKids, Knowledge Network, and Yoopa in Canada. Dino Dana The Movie is produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the Shaw Rocket Fund, and Ontario Creates, and in association with Amazon Studios and TVOKids.

CBC Gem original tween action-adventure series Detention Adventure (10×11), from LoCo Motion Pictures and Broken Compass Films, has begun production on its second season.  Filming in the Greater Toronto Area will continue until mid-February. Season 2 is once again directed by showrunner Joe Kicak, and will be available to stream on-demand via CBC Gem later in 2020.

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) and Corus Entertainment have opened submissions for the 2020 Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program. Offering training and insights into the demands of writing successful television programs, interested applicants are encouraged to apply by Mar. 17. This year, the program will focus on voices from under-represented groups. Selected candidates will receive a full-access pass to BANFF and a travel stipend of $1,200; extensive networking, pitching and business-building opportunities while at the festival; and a two-week internship in the story department of a Canadian primetime series. More info here.



Drake has signed a multi-year deal with social broadcasting platform Caffeine. He’ll have his own channel on the platform, and will co-produce rap battles in collaboration with Ultimate Rap League (SMACK/URL) as part of the deal. Drake’s streaming draw has been tested before with his Fortnite match against Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, drawing 635,000 concurrent viewers, breaking the all-time viewing record for non-tournament streaming on Twitch.

Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released its new Sneak Peek Report highlighting SVOD, podcasting, co-viewing and more. Among its findings: one in six Canadians in its Fall 2019 survey showed interest in subscribing to Disney+, while one in 10 showed interest in Apple TV+; When consuming content on Netflix, Francophones report the vast majority of the content they watch on the platform is in English; and Podcasting continues to be a popular medium with 26% of Canadians reporting having listened to one. In terms of genres, one in seven podcast listeners rate comedy as their favourite type to listen to.

The Capital, Victoria, BC’s new online news startup, has been publishing since mid-September thanks to a three-year funding injection by local tech entrepreneur Andrew Wilkinson (not to be confused with the BC Liberal party leader of the same name). Specializing in local, longform investigative journalism, in addition to a daily newsletter sent out by controlled email circulation, The Capital is helmed by former National Post scribe Tristin Hopper. It’s also added Sean Craig, who was most recently with the National Observer, to its roster as an investigative reporter. Broadcast Dialogue talked to Hopper about taking the revenue road less traveled and building audience trust in the disinformation age. Read the full story here.

Media Central Corporation will be upgrading its digital properties with online video capabilities, with Toronto’s NOW Magazine the first of its publications to incorporate video journalism, starting with the Mar. 5 issue. The company says it plans to monetize its digital video production via programmatic advertising, platform revenue partnerships, affiliate program integration, and in-video promotional offerings.


Stingray’s Q3 financial results were in-line with expectations, with revenues increasing by 14.9% to $81.3 million, from $70.8 million in Q3 2018, driven by the acquisition of Newfoundland Capital Corporation and an increase in subscriptions, with adjusted free cash flow increasing by nearly 24%. Eric Boyko, President & CEO, said despite lower radio sales related to challenging market conditions in Western Canada, Stingray’s Radio segment performed well in key markets like Toronto and Ottawa. Boyko also said that with viewers overwhelmed by new TV streaming services, the company’s free ad-supported TV (FAST) platforms are gaining momentum. Total Broadcasting and Commercial Music revenues increased $1.0 million or 2.6% to $39.9 million from $38.9 million for Q3 2019. The increase was primarily due to organic growth in subscriptions. Radio revenues increased $10.2 million or 32.7% to $41.4 million from $31.2 million for Q3 2019.

Rogers and Bell have both individually announced they’ll be the first to put 5G smartphones in the hands of Canadian consumers. Rogers will bring Rogers Infinite customers the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G series, starting Mar. 6. Rogers has begun to roll out its 5G network in downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, with 20 more markets to come this year. Its 5G wireless service will be available on Rogers Infinite and select business plans. Initially, the Rogers 5G network will use 2.5 GHz spectrum in the downtown cores of Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and expand to use 600 MHz 5G spectrum later this year. Bell says it’s also taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G series, with first product deliveries scheduled for Mar. 6.

Xplornet Communications is building a fibre optic network as part of a plan to connect approximately 24,000 rural homes and businesses in the rural Nova Scotia municipalities of Cumberland and Colchester. The project was made possible with investments by Xplornet, Develop Nova Scotia, and the Municipalities of Cumberland and Colchester. The project will cover 16,000 homes through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (NSIFT), along with an additional 8,000 homes outside of the scope of the program. The result will be access to speeds up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) and future speed capabilities that exceed 1 Gbps.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and APTN have announced Damian Frazee as the fourth recipient of the Indigenous Investigative Journalism Fellowship. The fellowship provides a 12-week, paid placement with APTN Investigates in Winnipeg, during which Frazee will produce an original, investigative journalism documentary to air in May. A member of York Factory First Nation in northern Manitoba, Frazee plans to investigate the lack of funding for programs and facilities offering youth opportunities outside of gang-driven activity.

LISTEN: Canadian Association of Journalists president Karyn Pugliese is our guest on the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast. Drawing from her own experience as a news director and reporter, Pugliese responds to the RCMP’s ongoing interference in preventing media from following the story at the Wet’suwet’en pipeline standoff in northern BC and the importance of protecting press freedom in Canada. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom has opened nominations for its annual Press Freedom Award, recognizing a journalist or media worker, or institution in Canadian print, digital or broadcasting that has made a significant contribution to freedom of expression, often by standing up to government or private interests that would thwart the reporting of events or stories of significant public interest, or by advancing press freedom through the subjects they report on. Last year’s winner was Michael Robinson, a journalist with The Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, NB, whose investigative reporting exposed a critical shortage of paramedics. The application deadline is Mar. 15.

Ben Nelms

CBC staff photographer Ben Nelms is among the finalists in the News Photographers Association of Canada’s 2019 National Pictures of the Year awards competition. Nelms, who is based in Vancouver, is up for Photojournalist of the Year, alongside Calgary freelancer Leah Hennel and Halifax photojournalist Darren Calabrese, who is nominated for his work for the Independent. Find the full list of nominees here. The nominated photographs will be featured during the Capture Photography Festival held at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver, Mar. 23 – Apr. 24, and at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, May 11-30.

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