Keith Radford, the Windsor, ON-born WKBW-TV Buffalo anchor, has retired after 50 years in radio and television. Radford had been with WKBW for 34 years and anchored his final newscast on June 30. His career has included stops as an anchor/reporter at CTV Toronto and CKVR-TV Barrie and in radio in Windsor/Detroit, Ottawa, and Toronto, including a stint as news director at CKLW Windsor.
Wendy Mesley has announced her retirement from CBC after 38 years. Mesley, 64, started her career with the public broadcaster in 1980 and has held roles from regularly hosting The National for more than 25 years to hosting shows like The Weekly with Wendy Mesley, Marketplace, and Undercurrents. Her departure comes following her suspension last year following use of the n-word in a production meeting. Mesley published her side of the story in a Globe and Mail opinion piece July 7.
Karyn Pugliese is the new Managing Editor of Investigative for CBC News, overseeing all network investigative journalism, including i-Unit, Marketplace and The Fifth Estate. The former Executive Director of News and Current Affairs at APTN, Pugliese has most recently been teaching at Ryerson’s School of Journalism while completing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Meanwhile, Alison Broddle has been named CBC’s new Senior Director of Current Affairs and Investigative, overseeing Current Affairs for CBC Radio. Broddle was formerly Director of Programming, CBC Network Radio.
Martha Troian has joined CBC Podcasts as a producer. The award-winning freelance journalist and writer previously worked on CBC original podcast Missing and Murdered as well as projects for VICE News, the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and APTN News.
Heidi Baiden is the new Program Director for CHUM 104.5 (CHUM-FM) Toronto. Baiden was previously responsible for six Bell Media stations in London, Windsor, and Kitchener-Waterloo. She succeeds Sarah Cummings who was promoted in February to the national role of Director, Radio Content, iHeartRadio Canada & Orbyt.
Blair Bartrem is the new Program Director for Bell Media – Southwestern Ontario, leading the Virgin Radio, Pure Country, and Bounce Radio stations in London, Windsor, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Bartrem was most recently program director for 95.9 Virgin Radio (CJFM-FM) Montreal. Prior to joining Bell in 2019, he was PD at Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto for 12 years.
Mike Occomore has announced his retirement as Creative Director of Toronto’s CHUM 104.5 (CHUM-FM), TSN 1050 (CHUM-AM), 99.9 Virgin Radio (CKFM-FM), and Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM), in addition to Peterborough’s MOVE 99.7 (CKPT-FM), Pure Country 105 (CKQM-FM), and Bounce 91.9 (CKLY-FM) Lindsay. Occomore’s award-winning, 44-year career included stops in Brampton, Cambridge, and Hamilton, before he landed at 1050 CHUM and 104.5 CHUM-FM Toronto in 1984. His last day at Bell Media will be July 29.
Jim McCourtie is joining Harvard Broadcasting as Program Director for X92.9 (CFEX-FM) Calgary and X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer. McCourtie was most recently Program Director at Bell Media Windsor stations, 89X (CIMX-FM), 83.9 The River (CIDR-FM), and AM 580. McCourtie takes over the role being vacated by Christian Hall, who is headed to Rogers Vancouver as National Content Director for the JACK FM brand.
Mark Iype is joining the Globe and Mail as Deputy National Editor. Iype has been Managing Editor at Global Edmonton for the past year. Prior to that, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun and led special projects for the Postmedia Network.
Jane Lytvynenko has left BuzzFeed News to join the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and will be moving from Toronto to Boston in the fall. Lytvynenko had been with BuzzFeed since 2016.
Kathryn Stewart, the former Director of Talk and Talent at CKNW Vancouver, is now Program Director for CKNW and sister all-traffic station AM 730 (CHMJ-AM). Stewart has been with Corus since 2013, starting as a content producer and later Executive Director of Radio Network Programming.
Ted Henley is the new host of The Drive on Calgary’s Global News Radio 770 CHQR, airing 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Henley began his career with Global Calgary before joining CityTV as the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. anchor. He subsequently hosted the morning show on 660 News (CFFR-AM) for six years, before returning to Citytv as the senior anchor and host of Breakfast Television up until the fall of 2019.
Melody and Forman in the Morning has debuted on Acadia Broadcasting’s newly-acquired Hot Country 103.5 (CKHZ-FM) Halifax. Melody Rose was previously a morning show co-host on Bell Media’s C100 (CIOO-FM) Halifax up until this past November, while Forman (Andrew Gordon) was a morning show host and producer on Pure Country 93 (CJBX-FM) London. Former morning show host Ian Robinson moves into the midday time slot. As previously announced, former FX101.9 (CHFX-FM) personality Russell MacKenzie is being heard in drive.
Sarah Nick is leaving Winnipeg to join Power 104 (CKLZ-FM) Kelowna in afternoon drive. Nick has been hosting evenings on KiSS 102.3 (CKY-FM) for the past 11 months after getting let go from Energy 106 (CHWE-FM) mornings last August to make way for host Dave Wheeler’s return to radio.
Lisa Cordasco has joined the Vancouver Sun and Province as a legislative reporter. Cordasco, who retired from CBC Radio in Victoria in 2015, was most recently News Director at Nanaimo community station CHLY 101.7 FM.
Greg Bowman has joined News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver as a weekend anchor and reporter. A 2020 Fanshawe Broadcast Journalism grad, Bowman spent the past 11 months working as a reporter/anchor with Vista Radio’s Moose FM (CFXN-FM) North Bay, ON.
Max Sheppard has joined CFOX and Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) Vancouver as Promotions Coordinator. Sheppard was previously Promotions Director and an on-air contributor at Mountain FM Whistler/Squamish (CISQ-FM).
Anna McMillan has joined Jordan Cunningham as co-anchor on CTV News at 5 on Vancouver Island. McMillan was previously a digital broadcast journalist with Global Saskatoon and prior to that was a reporter and web writer with CBC Edmonton.
🚨Our @CTVNewsJordan was lonely so we hired him a new friend! Tonight we’re welcoming @annamcmills to the 5 p.m. newscast. She joins us fresh from the Prairies, and is quote, “stoked,” to be on the anchor desk weeknights at 5 p.m. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/qIz3qIIYz3
— CTV News Vancouver Island (@CTVNewsVI) July 5, 2021
Phoenix Lam, who has been a Senior Communications Officer with CBC Vancouver for the past six years, is leaving the public broadcaster to work for the City of Vancouver. Lam will act as the new Communications Manager, Arts, Culture, and Community Services as part of the city’s Civic Engagement and Communications team.
Pratyush Dayal is joining CBC Saskatoon as a reporter. The recent UBC Master of Journalism grad has been working as a casual program assistant at CBC Vancouver for the past few months.
Paul Deegan has been appointed the President and CEO of News Media Canada, the national association representing print and digital news media. Deegan will be responsible for the association’s day-to-day operations and “advancing its positions on a range of important policy matters, including taxation, employment standards, recycling, freedom of information, privacy, and copyright, as well as threats to the industry posed by unregulated digital players such as Google and Facebook.” Deegan is the former VP, Public & Government Affairs, at CN and held a similar role with BMO Financial Group for two decades. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the National Economic Council in the Clinton White House.
Jennifer Brown has been appointed CEO of SOCAN after serving in the role on an interim basis since April 2020. The first woman to lead the music and visual arts rights organization, Brown started her career with SOCAN in 1995 in the company’s membership department and held leadership positions including Vice-President of SOCAN’s Licensing department, before taking on the role of SVP, Operations & Reproduction Rights in 2018. Brown grew up in a household in which royalties from music creation and performance were a crucial source of income with her father the principal songwriter in award-winning country group, The Family Brown.
Randy Lennox has been appointed Executive Chair of not-for-profit tech, innovation and sustainability hub Elevate, effective Sept. 1. Most recently President of Bell Media up until this past January, Lennox was President & CEO of Universal Music Canada prior to joining Bell in 2015.
Jason Badal, Sanae Takahashi and Chantale Coulombe have been appointed to the Canada Media Fund (CMF) Board of Directors. Badal is Director, Multinationals at Shopify and formerly led Business Affairs and Development at Rogers Media and Sportsnet. Takahashi, now retired, was formerly SVP, Planning, Insights and Business Models at Shaw Communications and prior to that, held the role of VP, Consumer Marketing at Rogers Wireless. Coulombe practiced intellectual property for nearly 20 years at Norton Rose Fullbright, where she was a partner. Subsequently, she held the position of VP, Corporate and Legal Affairs of ComediHa! Group, a Quebec-based audiovisual content creator.
Rob Germain, GM/CEO of CHEK Media Group, has been named President of the BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) for a two-year term. Rob Bye, Pattison Media, Vancouver Island, will serve on the board executive as Past President, while Jasmin Doobay, Pattison Media, Prince George, has been named Vice-President. Newly-elected directors are: Shusma Datt, i.t. Media Broadcasting; and Megan Milne, Vista Radio, who’ll serve alongside continuing directors Devon Tshritter, Stingray; Rob Brimacombe, Corus Entertainment; Manish Verma, Joy TV; and Dustin Collins, Pattison Media, Vancouver.
E.J. Alon, Telefilm Canada’s Vice-President, Industry Development, has accepted a leadership role with another organization. Alon had been with Telefilm since 2019 and helped reshape the agency’s Talent Fund, in addition to being a frontline lead in the roll-out of COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds and co-chairing the Equity and Representation Action Committee. Alon has also held fundraising roles with TIFF and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Bill Amos has announced his retirement from BCIT after 32 years teaching Journalism, On-air Presentation and Documentary Production, among other courses. Prior to joining BCIT in 1989, Amos was a reporter with CBC Radio and television for 17 years in both Montreal and Vancouver.
After 32 years teaching courses from Announcing to Intro to Radio to TV News to Radio Documentaries at BCIT Journalism, it’s finally time to retire. Added to 14 years full-time in print, radio and TV news, it’s been a 46-year career in a business that is almost never dull. Ciao! pic.twitter.com/6FMt3vLVP8
— Bill Amos (@billamos) July 13, 2021
RADIO & PODCAST:
The CRTC has approved Durham Radio’s ownership bid for Vancouver’s former Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM). The new station will operate under an amended licence with Durham intending to launch a Smooth Jazz-Rhythmic Adult Contemporary format under the WAVE FM brand. The commission denied Durham’s request for an exception to the requirement to pay tangible benefits, directing the broadcaster to pay $42,060 over seven consecutive broadcast years. CIRH-FM has been off the air since May 2018. The commission previously approved the Pushor Family’s sale of the station to South Fraser Broadcasting in 2019, however that deal later fell through.
Rosalie Trombley, the legendary music director at AM800 CKLW Windsor for 40 years from 1968 to 1984, could be honoured with a bronze statue. Local sculptor Donna Mayne has received funding from the City of Windsor’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund to work on a clay bust study for the statue. Trombley, who originally hails from Leamington, is credited with helping propel the careers of artists like Elton John, Kiss, and Bob Seger, who immortalized Trombley in his 1973 song “Rosalie,” which appeared on the Back in ‘72 album.
Vanessa Murphy, the morning show host at Bounce 91.9 (CKLY-FM) Lindsay, ON is the lone Canadian to make it through to Round Two of the annual Radio Star International Talent Competition. Up against presenters from the UK, Ireland, the U.S. and Australia, among those judging this year’s competition are Ross Winters from Pattison Media in Vancouver, Paul Kaye, VP Music/Talent & Brands at Rogers Sports & Media, and Cousin Vinny Barruco of Virgin Radio Montreal.
Andy James, voiceover talent and co-host of The Lake FM (CKOV-FM) Kelowna morning show, has lent his voice to a pitch video plugging a contest to win a trip for two to space via Virgin Galactic. James auditioned for the project, unaware his voiceover would set up a clip featuring billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.
Stingray Music has debuted its Summer Collection of over 100 music streaming channels, including a new exclusive channel curated by Grammy award-winning artist Lil Nas X. Among other offerings are Southern Soul BBQ, Breezy Yacht Rock, Summer Chill, 2021 Summer Hits, Oldies’ Summer, Rock Your Summer, Summer Hits For Working, and Summer Workout, as well as Stingray Music audio TV channels Classic Rock, Hit List, and Hot Country. Remember the ‘80s, Flashback ‘70s and ‘90s will feature special programming all summer long with “Summer Vibes Weekends.”
SOCAN has announced its 2020 financial results, including more than $348-million in royalties distributed to the company’s 175,000 members, a 20% increase in revenues from digital sources alone. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, SOCAN saw an overall revenue decline of only four per cent primarily as a result of 10 months without in-person concert revenue and the use of licensed recorded music in public. The decline was offset by increased collections from digital and international sources. Collections from digital sources reached a record $104-million for music created and published by SOCAN members.
Apostrophe Podcast Company has released its latest podcast, The Canadian Star System. Hosted by Steve Patterson of CBC Radio’s The Debaters, alongside producer/co-host Diana Frances, each episode features a well-known Canadian celebrity who shines the spotlight on someone THEY think should also be a star. The first episode features comedian Rick Mercer highlighting the talents of Canadian stand-up comic Sophie Buddle.
Overstory Media Group (OMG) podcast Decomplicated has released its last episode after two seasons and 40 episodes. Hosted by recent UBC School of Journalism grads Rumneek Johal and Carol Eugene Park, the podcast aimed to “decomplicate” trending stories from the perspective of two women of colour. OMG told Broadcast Dialogue that after many conversations with its creators, it decided this season of Decomplicated would be its last. “There were many considerations that factored into the decision. Decomplicated started as an assumption that young people needed a place to speak about the big topics from the POV of two young journalists. While we were and are excited about this whole concept and proud of the conversations brought forward, the timing wasn’t right for something like this and the community wasn’t growing at the pace it needed,” OMG wrote in an email.
LISTEN: On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we catch up with Chris Kelly , Co-founder and Creative Director at Vancouver creative content studio Kelly&Kelly, fresh off their latest Rockie Award win for podcasting at the Banff World Media Festival. Kelly talks about his creative journey, predictions on where podcasting is headed and what podcasts he’s taking inspiration from. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
LISTEN: The Sound Off Podcast welcomes John Mamola, program director at Tampa Bay sports station WDAE, back to the podcast. For many stations, the arrival of COVID meant a decrease in workload – but not in Tampa Bay with the Rays going to the World Series, the NFL Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl and the Lightning winning two Stanley Cups in a nine-month period. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
FEATURE: Barry Rooke, Executive Director for the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC), writes about how campus and community stations across the country like Guelph’s CRFU-FM’s, CFRC-FM Kingston, ON, and CHCR-FM Killaloe, ON, innovated to serve and reach their audiences during the pandemic. Read more here.
Rod Stephen, 86, on July 7. Stephen began his broadcast career in his hometown of Yorkton, SK at CJGZ in 1954. He went on to hold roles with CKRD Red Deer and CHED Edmonton, before returning to CKRD and eventually assuming the position of General Manager for the AM, FM and television stations. In 1972, he was awarded a licence to start CKGY-AM Red Deer, the city’s second radio station which had immediate success with its country format. He went on to become an original partner in CISN Edmonton and develop CIZZ-FM (Z99) Red Deer. Stephen’s stations were eventually acquired by Shaw Radio, which he served as president of and was subsequently appointed to the Board of Directors of Shaw Cable. He retired in 1989. Stephen also served as a director with the Radio Bureau of Canada and the Alberta Association of Broadcasters.
Ken Davis, 90, on July 4 of complications related to cancer. Davis is best known as one of the owners of CKOK and CKMG Penticton, part of Okanagan Radio, from 1974 until 1990, which also included CKSP Summerland, CKGF in Grand Forks, CKOO in Oliver-Osoyoos and stations in Princeton and Yellowknife. Davis, alongside Gerald Pash and Dennis Barkman, acquired Okanagan Radio from Fraser Valley Broadcasters in Sept. 1974 with Davis named President. In 1988, Okanagan Skeena Group acquired the interest of Barkman and Pash, and later Davis’ shares in 1990. Following his career in broadcasting, Davis went on to become the owner and captain of the Casabella Princess paddle wheeler and Okanagan Boat Charters. In the mid-1980s, he also served one term on Penticton City Council.
Jill St. Louis, 66, on June 21 after a battle with metastatic lung cancer. A former Vancouver bureau chief at The Canadian Press, St. Louis was first hired in 1975 as an editorial assistant. She retired from CP in 2009.
TV & FILM:
Emmy nominations are out with The Handmaid’s Tale among the Canadian shot productions up for multiple awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott are also nominated for HGTV’s Property Brothers: Forever Home in the Outstanding Structured Reality Program, while Canadians Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec earned nods as part of the producing team for Shark Tank. O’Leary and Herjavec are also nominees for Best Reality or Competition Host. Emmy winner Dan Levy earned another nomination this year for his hosting turn on Saturday Night Live in February.
The 2021 Leo Award winners have been announced recognizing excellence in British Columbia film, television and web-based media. Among this year’s multiple award winners are Sniper: Assassin’s End, which won three awards in the Motion Picture category for Sound, Picture Editing and Cinematography. In the Television Movie category, V.C. Andrews’ Ruby captured four awards, while Warrior Nun and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow each won three awards in Dramatic Series.
The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the nominations for the 2021 DGC Awards for Television Series, Movies for Television and Mini Series. Among those nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series are Clement Virgo for Grand Army; Tim Southam for American Gods; Anne Wheeler for Firefly Lane; Adrienne Mitchell for Coroner; Danielle Sturk for Edgar; and Berkley Brady for The Secret History of The Wild West. Nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series are Vivieno Caldinelli & Joyce Wong for Baroness von Sketch; Sherren Lee for Kim’s Convenience; Aleysa Young for Workin’ Moms and Justin Wu for Kim’s Convenience.
Telefilm Canada is leading a digitization initiative called Canadian Cinema – Reignited, along with Hot Docs, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), to reinforce the importance of Canadian films in cinemas, festivals and on digital platforms. The project promises to bring important Canadian feature films to on-demand platforms, as well as the big screen. Digitized film titles will be announced as they are made available.
Telefilm has announced it will be physically present at international festivals and markets, starting with MIPCOM 2021, Oct. 11-14, and will soon open its call for entries for Canadian production and distribution companies wishing to be part of the Canada Pavilion at MIPCOM. The agency says International Promotion Program travel restrictions are under review with an update to be provided by the end of July. Telefilm employees will continue to work remotely with physical offices nationwide to remain closed until at least the fall.
OMNI TV will no longer broadcast Arabic-language program Lama TV following a complaint by B’nai Brith about antisemitic rhetoric used by the program online. Rogers Sports & Media has not broadcast Lama TV since Dec. 2020 for “production reasons,” but has assured B’nai Brith it will no longer be working with the program going forward.
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hackman Capital Partners, a privately-held real estate investment, operating company and owner of The MBS Group, for a long-term ground lease at Downsview in northwest Toronto where HCP will build a film and television production studio facility. PSP Investments says with surging demand for entertainment content, it’s demonstrating its confidence in the industry as a source of growth and value. In 2019, it announced a joint venture with HCP, Square Mile Capital Management, USAA and Teacher Retirement System of Texas for an investment in Amazon Studios’ new HCP-developed campus in Culver City, CA and The MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach, CA.
The OASIS Animation Workers Union–CSN, which represents digital animators at Canada’s first unionized animation studio, has signed its first-ever collective agreement. The union is affiliated with the Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture-CSN (FNCC-CSN). Its approximately 20 members, based in Montréal, have been unionized since the fall of 2019. The contract includes seniority clauses that ensure better pay and first callback from layoffs. The union also succeeded in limiting the use of outsourcing. In addition to increasing the accountability of management and giving employees better access to training and feedback, the collective agreement includes significant salary increases of $4 per hour.
Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, together with Telefilm Canada and the Youth Media Alliance have proclaimed July 26 as the first Canadian Children’s Media Day. As part of the celebration, the CN Tower will light up on July 26 in blue and gold, colours inspired by Nelvana’s 50th anniversary. Nelvana will also host a virtual panel event, moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Executive Editor Angela Pacienza, with Nelvana’s Head of Development, Athena Georgaklis, Telefilm’s Vice President, Promotion, Communication and International Relations, Francesca Accinelli, Sheridan College’s Dean of Animation, Arts and Design Ted Gervan, and the City of Toronto’s Program Manager, Film Sector Development, Magali Simard. Ottawa International Animation Festival, Animaze Montreal International Animation Film Festival, and Vancouver’s Spark CG Society, will also host a series of virtual events.
Nelvana has announced a first-look deal with award-winning Indigenous writer and illustrator, Kyle Charles. Marking the company’s first, first-look deal in three years, the two-year agreement will see Charles pitch original content to Nelvana for joint development, from TV series to feature films for both kids and adults. Charles is an Indigenous artist, currently living in Edmonton, and a member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation (located about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton). His previous work includes This Place: 150 Years Retold, Moonshot: Vol 3, Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 in which he was tasked with illustrating a story of Cheyenne heroine, Dani Moonstar (aka Mirage), and Batman: The Detective.
CBC Kids has greenlit production of a new original show called Ukulele U, by WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. Ukulele U marks WOW!’s debut into live action production with the inclusive musical variety show designed to inspire creativity through song, dance and education. Ukulele U is the brainchild of legendary music producer Bob Ezrin and JUNO-award winning recording artist Melanie Doane. The show sees Ezrin team up with Michael Hirsh, Emmy and Gemini Award-winning founder of Nelvana and WOW! Unlimited Media, who co-created popular preschool show The Doodlebops, and has produced shows like Babar, Max and Ruby, Care Bears, The Berenstain Bears, and Inspector Gadget.
marblemedia has started production on its latest competition series, Best in Miniature (10×60), a new original series for CBC, premiering later this year, and on discovery+ in the UK and Ireland in 2022. From the producers of unscripted hits like Blown Away and Restaurants on the Edge for Netflix, the competition series will tap into the viral sensation that is miniatures and has captured over 170 million views on TikTok alone. Hosted by writer and stand-up comedian, Aba Amuquandoh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), the series will welcome 11 highly-skilled artists from across the world to compete in building their dream home in miniature-form on a 1:12 scale.
Corus Studios has announced additional greenlights including Hoarder House Flippers (6×60) and Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project (working title) (8×60), bringing to 23 the number of original series set to air in 2022. Hoarder House Flippers features real estate investors who take on derelict hoarder spaces and transform them into money-making homes. Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project follows the star as she works to transform her late grandmother’s abandoned legacy property on the coast of Vancouver Island. Both series are set to premiere on HGTV Canada in 2022 and available for international sale.
AMI-tv has debuted Beyond the Field, which explores important issues impacting the world of sport and specifically parasport, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Airing Monday evenings, hosts and Paralympians Greg Westlake (AMI-tv’s Level Playing Field) and Travis Murao move the conversation forward through discussions with elite para-athletes, experts and coaches.
Cathy Jones won’t be appearing on the upcoming season of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, as confirmed by The Coast in Halifax, where the series shoots. Jones, who has been with the series since Season 1 in 1993, tells The Coast her relationship with the show and its production company “remains positive.” Jones’ name was notably absent from last month’s Season 29 press announcement.
Crave has unveiled the judging panel that will preside over Season 2 of Canada’s Drag Race. Joining Season 1 alum Brooke Lynn Hytes are actor and Season 1 guest host Amanda Brugel; TV personality and celebrity stylist Brad Goreski; and ETALK Senior Correspondent and Canada’s Squirrel Friend from Season 1, Traci Melchor.
Dark Slope Studios, the Toronto-based virtual production and metaverse gaming company, has launched a virtual production fellowship. Announced by CEO Raja Khanna at the Banff World Media Festival, the studio will be accepting format pitches for a technology-driven prime time reality show, starting July 19. Dark Slope Studios is looking for concepts that introduce virtual reality experiences into conventional linear television shows, make use of deep fake facial tracking elements, or combine the use of LED screens and virtual production workflows into a unique, highly original new format of factual entertainment. Three finalists will be recognized, with each to be awarded $5,000 CAD and a chance to negotiate a development deal with Dark Slope Studios. The finalist will retain all rights and is under no obligation to work with Dark Slope. Interested applicants are encouraged to sign up here.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
NewMusicNation, the new online music video channel helmed by former MuchMusic icon Ed the Sock, has made its debut. Focused on independent music, Ed the Sock creator Steven Kerzner says to start the channel will feature two to three hours of new content a week, featuring programming blocks like Yo Canada!, featuring all-Canadian talent, and Video Overload. Other shows on offer include Rapsody, hosted by London, ON rapper Sum_01; GenPop hosted by VJ Candy Marie; The Punk Projekt with Toronto punk legend John Tard; Metal Momentum, hosted by standup comic and recovering addict Robbie Stevenson; Videoflow with Inuvik’s Dez Loreen; and Are You Kidding, spotlighting humorous (intentionally or otherwise) videos hosted by Ed the Sock. The launch of the channel, which aims to capture the spirit of the original MuchMusic, comes as Bell Media launches its own revival of the brand on TikTok, featuring a new generation of digital creators.
Wattpad, the Toronto-based social storytelling platform, and WEBTOON, the world’s largest digital comics platform, have announced that the companies will merge their studio divisions to create Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. South Korean internet conglomerate Naver, WEBTOON’s parent company, recently acquired Wattpad in a transaction estimated at more than USD $600M. The company says with a combined audience of more than 166 million, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios will create an innovative multi-format studio making global fan and data-driven TV shows, films, and books. Naver will commit USD $100M in development and production financing. After launching and building the Wattpad Studios brand since 2017, Aron Levitz will step into the role of President of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. Taylor Grant will lead the WEBTOON entertainment portfolio, Eric Lehrman will lead the Wattpad entertainment portfolio, Ashleigh Gardner will continue to lead all aspects of publishing, and Dexter Ong will lead international business.
YuppTV, a leading OTT platform for South Asian content, has launched SonyLIV in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. Viewers will be able to watch a wide range of content in multiple languages, including Originals, TV shows and movies in various genres. YuppTV has also launched Zee Network channels in the U.S. and Canada offering a mix of fiction, non-fiction, marquee events and blockbuster movies in Hindi & regional languages. Users will get access to channels including Zee TV, & TV and Zee Cinema as well as regional channels like Zee Telugu, Zee Tamil, Zee Kannada, Zee Keralam, Zee Punjabi, Zee Marathi and Zee Bangla.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released a new report focused on anglophones who have canceled their TV service (Cord Cutters) as well as Potential Cord Cutters, Cord Nevers (those who have never had a paid TV subscription), and Cord Shavers (those who have reduced their subscription). The report found that one fifth of anglophones are Cord Cutters and more active online than the average TV subscriber with 71% subscribing to two or more SVOD services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. They also tend to be younger and well educated. Close to a quarter of anglophone paid TV subscribers report they are “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to cancel their existing TV service. Anglophones are more likely than Francophones to fall into this category (23% versus 16%). 24% of anglophone paid TV subscribers identified as Cord Shavers and have reduced the number of channels they subscribe to within the last year. 14% of the anglophone population has never had a paid TV service, with many Cord Nevers forgoing services entirely.
Google Canada has signed agreements with Canadian publishers for Google News Showcase, a new product and licensing program that provides a customizable space for news content in Google News and Discover. Among the Canadian publishers signed are Black Press Media, Glacier Media, The Globe and Mail, Métro Média, Narcity Media, SaltWire Network, Village Media and Winnipeg Free Press, representing over 70 national, regional and community news outlets. As part of its licensing deals, Google will also pay news organizations for access to select paywalled content and help news outlets determine the right amount of content to share to help drive subscriptions. Google says it’s in active conversations with additional publishers to expand the initiative.
CBC News says it will be continuing its pilot experiment that saw the public broadcaster close Facebook commenting across its News, Current Affairs and Local pages in June. CBC says after “encouraging initial results and positive feedback” from audiences and staff, the project will be extended through Oct. 31 of this year.
Niagara_411 LIVE, a weekly livestream on YouTube and Facebook, produced by St. Catharines-based WeeStreem, is now in its second season. Hosted by broadcast veteran and former 610 CKTB personality Lee Sterry, WeeStreem says the show averages between 30,000 and 40,000 views per episode and has been successful at drawing local sponsors. WeeStreem co-founder Kevin Jack, also a CKTB alum, co-hosts from behind the camera. Streamed live from downtown St. Catharines, in addition to scheduled guests the show invites anyone to join via Zoom, much like open-line talk radio.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
APTN, Ricochet Media, The Narwhal, Capital Daily, Canada’s National Observer, The Discourse and IndigiNews, along with the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) had their initial arguments heard Wednesday in a Nanaimo courtroom on their application seeking unimpeded access to the ongoing old growth logging protests at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew, BC. Since mid-May, RCMP have been enforcing an injunction prohibiting the blocking of logging roads in the area, establishing a broad exclusion zone limiting reporter access. The coalition is seeking to vary the injunction order to direct the RCMP to allow media access, barring a legitimate operational reason for restricting press. RCMP have argued that protesters have claimed to be journalists in order to gain access to the exclusion zone – a claim the CAJ says is unsubstantiated – while also expressing concern about journalist safety. Read more here.
Peter Mansbridge is publishing a memoir offering a glimpse behind the scenes of his storied journalism career. In Off the Record, the former CBC Chief Correspondent will share highlights from his nearly 50-year career with the public broadcaster, including covering historic events like the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. Off the Record will be released this October by Simon & Schuster Canada.
Cogeco Communications has announced that its subsidiary, Atlantic Broadband, has entered into an agreement with WideOpenWest, Inc. (WOW) to purchase all of its broadband systems located in Ohio. The WOW Ohio broadband network passes approximately 688,000 homes and businesses in Cleveland and Columbus, serving approximately 196,000 Internet, 61,000 video and 35,000 telephony customers, as of March 2021. The Ohio broadband systems will be purchased for US$1.125 billion. In conjunction with the transaction, Atlantic Broadband expects to realize tax benefits of approximately US$140 million.
TekSavvy Solutions has filed a notice of motion with the Federal Court of Appeal, indicating it will seek leave to appeal the CRTC’s recent wholesale rates decision, reversing the commission’s own 2019 Final Rates Order, which had already been upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal and which the Federal Cabinet and Supreme Court of Canada declined to review. TekSavvy’s court filings refer to evidence filed in support of its petition to the Liberal government, a separate appeal where the company has asked Cabinet to reinstate the 2019 Final Rates Order and remove CRTC Chair Ian Scott for bias. TekSavvy’s petition asserts that Scott held numerous ex parte meetings with big telecom lobbyists during the case and met one-on-one with Mirko Bibic, then Chief Operating Officer of Bell (and now CEO) at an Ottawa bar on Dec. 19, 2019. TekSavvy says the meeting occurred just one week after the CRTC opened an active file to hear Bell’s application to reverse the Final Rates Order. The Competitive Network Operators of Canada (CNOC) is also leading an email campaign requesting that the federal government reinstate previously promised rates.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
LISTEN: On this sponsored episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk to Brian Olson, Vizrt’s Sales Director, U.S. Group Stations, about visual storytelling in the remote production age. Vizrt offers software-based solutions for real-time 3D graphics, video playout, studio automation, sports analysis, media asset management, and journalist story tools that aim to master complexity and maximize creativity. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here: