Joe Natale is officially out as President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) as former Chief Financial Officer Tony Staffieri moves into the position on a temporary basis for now. In a release issued late Tuesday, RCI indicated its board has begun a search to identify a permanent CEO “who will continue to drive our future growth including our integration with the Shaw team once the deal closes next year.” Staffieri will be a candidate for the role as the company’s $26 billion acquisition of Shaw continues to move forward. Prior to a late September board meeting that culminated in Staffieri’s resignation, he was RCI’s CFO for nine years, also overseeing corporate strategy and Rogers Bank. Read more here.
Mike Bendixen, longtime Program Director at Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) is among those caught up in a new round of layoffs at Bell Media. Bendixen, who also held the role of National Format Director, News & Talk Programming, started his career with CFRB in 1998, and had been in his current role for the last 12 years. He’ll reportedly be replaced by TSN 1050 (CHUM-AM) Program Director Jeff MacDonald, who will do double duty for both stations going forward. This round of cuts has also hit production and creative, including Greg MacDonald, Regional Creative and Production Director for Bell Media Southwest Ontario, who had been with Bell since 2014. Longtime production manager Jeff Kirkwood and Hamilton-based writer Damon Papadopoulos were also part of the layoffs. Read more here.
Britt Jones has joined 101.5 Today Radio (CKCE-FM) Calgary as evening and weekend host. Jones returns to radio after a year-long absence following his release from the 104.9 Virgin Radio (CFMG-FM) Edmonton morning show to make way for the syndicated Brooke & Jeffrey In The Morning. Jones previously worked with Harvard Broadcasting’s X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer and 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM) Regina.
Emily Agard is joining Sportsnet as a host and associate producer. For the last seven years, Agard has held various roles with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), including hosting for the Leafs Nation Network and acting as a live event tailgate host for the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Toronto FC.
Amrit Gill is moving on from her news producing role for OMNI TV, but is continuing her work with Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition. Gill had been with OMNI Vancouver since 2017 and a reporter and social media coordinator for HNIC Punjabi since 2015.
Brian Platt is joining Bloomberg’s Ottawa bureau. He leaves the National Post where he’s been a Parliament Hill reporter for the last four and a half years. Prior to joining NP in 2017, he was a digital editor with the Ottawa Citizen.
Farah Nasser has confirmed she’s stepped away from Global News to focus on “some important family health issues.” Nasser, who has been with Global since 2015, has most recently been anchoring Global National on Friday evenings and serving as fill-in anchor, in addition to her regular duties with Global Toronto anchoring Global News at 5:30 & 6.
Lane Fraser is taking a sabbatical from CTV Morning Live Calgary, set to return in 2022. Fraser has been with CTV Calgary since 2005 and a live on-location host for the morning show since 2014.
Jennifer Hsiung is joining CP24 Breakfast as co-anchor, alongside Nick Dixon. Hsiung has been with the station for the past year. She previously anchored for CGTN in Beijing.
Allan April has moved on from CTV Atlantic. April, who had been with CTV for the past six and a half years as a video journalist and reporter, among other roles, has joined St. Mary’s University Huskies Athletics & Recreation as a Communications Officer.
Aaron Penman is joining 94.3 NOW! Radio (CHNW-FM) Winnipeg as the Commercial and Imaging Producer. Penman was most recently the morning show producer for The Real Wakeup with Vinnie & Randi out of Real Country 95.5 (CKGY-FM) Red Deer. He’s previously worked for Pattison Media in both Medicine Hat and Edmonton.
Jessica Dionne Dimonte has joined the promotions department at 94.5 Virgin Radio (CFBT-FM) Vancouver. Dimonte left CHOM Montreal at the end of October where she’d been the promotions manager for the past seven years as her and recently-retired spouse Terry Dimonte relocate to the West Coast.
Eli Morris is the new Executive Director of Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFT-V). Originally from Sydney, Australia, Morris immigrated to B.C. in 2016 after winning Best Picture at the No Small Stories Film Festival for their short film Carded.
Kimberly Bryant has been promoted to the newly-created position of Director of Client Services at Coleman Insights. Her promotion from Field Coordinator will see Bryant actively support the media research firm’s consultant team on projects and serve as a central point of contact for company clients. Bryant started with Coleman Insights as a part-time Research Assistant in 2004 and was promoted to Field Coordinator in 2018.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Broadcast Dialogue has announced the winners of the 2021 Canadian Radio Awards, presented by HD Radio. We were once again thrilled to recognize the excellent radio created against a backdrop of remote working, a recovering marketplace, and a slow return to in-person events. Check out this year’s winners and listen to their award-winning audio submissions at CanadianRadioAwards.com. Thank you to all of the stations who entered, our sponsors and supporters who made “The Howards” possible, and our illustrious jury of industry pros who gave careful consideration to each category.
TSN 1050 (CHUM-AM) Toronto has officially launched a new morning drive show, following Michael Landsberg’s departure over the summer. First Up with Korolnek and Colaiacovo sees morning show co-host and former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, paired with longtime TSN Radio host and producer Aaron Korolnek. The refreshed station lineup features Leafs Lunch from noon – 1 p.m., with new hosts in BarDown’s Julia Tocheri and Michael ‘Al’s Brother’ DiStefano. From 1 to 4 p.m., sports betting and fantasy show Game Play, is hosted by Matthew Cauz, with analysts from The TSN EDGE, followed by Overdrive from 4 to 7 p.m. ET featuring Bryan Hayes, Jamie ‘Noodles’ McLennan, and Jeff ‘The O’Dog’ O’Neill. The updated lineup also includes recently-announced weekly program The Raptors Beat, airing every Thursday at 10 a.m. ET, hosted by TSN 1050’s Raptors host Nikki Reyes and TSN basketball reporter Josh Lewenberg.
98.1 CHFI Toronto is promising to unveil its new morning show at a live broadcast event at Hotel X Toronto on Monday, Nov. 29 where over $20,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to listeners. Since Maureen Holloway and interim host Mike Cooper’s departure from the show in October, Tracey Moore has been guest hosting, alongside KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) personality Brooksy and Christine Cardoso.
The CRTC has issued a call for comments on market capacity for a new radio station to serve Yellowknife, NWT. The commission is simultaneously seeking comments on market capacity and calling for radio applications. The deadline to file interventions is Jan. 12.
CHEZ 106 Ottawa celebrated the 21st year of its annual TOYS contest on Saturday, Nov. 13. After 10 weeks of contesting and half a million texts entered to win one of 106 keys, five finalists made it to centre ice at the Canadian Tire Centre during the Ottawa Senators game where CHEZ’s morning team Biggs & Barr and Pastey Jamie chose one winner. All 106 key winners and their guests attended the game, where Sue Simmonds (Key #6) took home $100,000 in prizes, including an autographed Neil Young guitar, a brand-new Kia, $10,000 to take a trip anywhere in the world, and tickets to every event at the Canadian Tire Centre for the next year.
Emily Brass is the host of new CBC podcast Type Taboo: Diary of a New Diabetic, which follows her journey as she learns to cope with her recent diagnosis. In a series of audio diaries, the CBC Winnipeg radio news anchor and reporter reveals her deepest feelings around type 2 diabetes, including the guilt and shame that comes with it. She also meets diabetics, aged 17 to 76, who offer tips on dealing with type 2, while smashing stereotypes around the disease.
Hot Docs Podcast Festival, which runs live and virtually, Jan. 25-28, has opened its Hot Docs Podcast Career Accelerator program to submissions. Open to Canadian podcasters between 18-34, the program offers emerging podcasters the opportunity to grow their skills, gain industry knowledge and connections at the 2022 Festival through four days of workshops, panels and networking events. The festival has also opened up submissions for its Opening Act which offers homegrown podcasters the opportunity to get their shows heard. The application deadline is Dec. 1. Find full guidelines and submit your application here.
The Vancouver Podcast Festival, presented by DOXA, returns for a one-day, virtual experience on Saturday, Nov. 20. With two social/networking events, two masterclasses, and two roundtables planned, this year’s schedule features Media Girlfriends’ Hannah Sung, Garvia Bailey, and Nana aba Duncan on starting a podcast company during a pandemic; and Kelly&Kelly’s Lauren Bercovitch with guests Paul Bae and Allison Brough on local podcast development.
LISTEN: Sharon Hyland “La Reine Du Rock” is on the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast. The longtime CHOM-FM announcer eclipsed 25 years of broadcasting at the legendary station last month. In this episode, Sharon talks about why she went into radio, and how her path from Algonquin College led her to Ottawa’s legendary rock station CHEZ 106, and then CHOM. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
FEATURE: Sean Ross of Ross on Radio has a new blog post up, “Radio: Avoid the Abandoned Mall Feeling,” on why radio detail still matters. Ross cautions against largely unhosted or minimally hosted stopsets: “When I see a radio station schedule posted online and seven-eights of the broadcast day is listed only as “WXXX Music,” punctuated perhaps by a morning or afternoon show, it reminds me of the abandoned mall,” writes Ross. “When I hear a heritage radio station that is now clearly assembled from parts-found-around-the-house, especially if there is no localism or no sense of place, it reminds me of the abandoned mall.” Read more here.
Mike Power in Labrador City, NL. While he started out in commercial radio, Power spent nearly 40 years with the CBC, becoming synonymous with the public broadcaster in western Labrador. Based in Labrador City, Power retired from CBC seven years ago, but continued to write for The Aurora and Labrador Voice newspapers.
Kathy Keefler, 88, on Nov.12, of complications from a stroke. Keefler first joined CBC Montreal in 1967, working as a radio news anchor and documentary producer, among other roles. She’s credited in the 1980s with helping break the glass ceiling for women anchors when she began hosting the supper-time newscast for CBC Montreal as part of a three-person presenter team. The first woman anchor on English television in the city, eventually Keefler anchored Newswatch alone, until 1987. She left the CBC after 26 years in 1993 and continued to do voiceover and narration work for film, television and radio, up until 2014.
TV & FILM:
Cinespace Studios in Toronto and Chicago has been acquired by TPG Real Estate Partners (TREP), the real estate equity investment arm of TPG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded by the Mirkopoulos family in Toronto, together with the Pissios family in Chicago, the company launched in Toronto in 1988 and today operates 23 production stages across the city, with another 12 stages planned for development on more than 40 acres. Cinespace Chicago opened in 2010 and currently operates 33 stages, with an additional 15 stages undergoing development or conversion on more than 60 acres. Cinespace intends to grow its employee base at each studio as a result of the transaction. As part of the acquisition, Eoin Egan and Keith Gee will join Cinespace as Co-Managing Partners and COO and CFO, respectively. Egan most recently served as Head of Production Services at Netflix, and Gee as CEO of Strive and CFO and President of LifeStorage, two former TREP portfolio companies.
Rogers Group of Funds and Creative BC have announced the establishment of a new $1 million fund for Indigenous creators in British Columbia. The fund is Canada’s first provincial-national partnership focused on Indigenous creators and will also be the first targeted Indigenous screen fund at Creative BC. With a priority on Indigenous sovereignty and decision-making, Creative BC will undertake a consultation process within the Indigenous content creator community in B.C., contributing to the creation of a relevant, targeted, and responsive suite of programs over four years. The fund is aimed at increasing access and representation for Indigenous producers and Indigenous-led production companies in B.C.’s domestic motion picture industry. More details will follow next year.
Black Market Releasing is a new company, headed by filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, aiming to bring stories from the BIPOC community to the big screen. Focused on the Canadian theatrical market, Black Market’s parent company is CaribbeanTales Media Group which has been bringing BIPOC content to screens for 20+ years. Among the first projects on its slate is “Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes,” directed by Mark James, which tells the story of the Chins, the Chinese-Jamaican family behind the legendary recording studio that became the heart of the music revolution after Jamaican independence from Great Britain in 1962. The feature documentary features previously unreleased music and original interviews with Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, UB40, Maxi Priest, Lee “Scratch” Perry and more. Black Market is now accepting content submissions.
CBC is introducing a new carbon footprint requirement for all original Canadian English-language productions. The requirement builds on the public broadcaster’s five-year environmental sustainability strategy, Greening Our Story, released in June. Beginning Jan. 3, CBC will require completion and delivery of a carbon footprint on all original Canadian productions from independent producers with budgets over $400,000, using albert – a film and television industry tool that calculates the carbon emissions of productions. CBC was the first media company in Canada to use albert on CBC Kids’ in-house production, Gary’s Magic Fort. Since then, it’s expanded use of the calculator on additional productions including Family Feud Canada, Marketplace and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It plans to accelerate the pace at which in-house productions need to deliver carbon footprints next year. To support Canadian independent producers with the new requirement, CBC recently posted a newly-created Environmental Sustainability Lead role.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) has announced that Arkells will take centre stage at the Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show. The 108th Grey Cup from Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field will air live on Sunday, Dec. 12 on TSN and RDS. Arkells’ Max Kerman said the band is “exceptionally proud” to be the first homegrown act to headline their city’s Grey Cup halftime show. The performance is the latest milestone in the CFL’s ongoing relationship with Universal Music Canada, which has included in-game broadcast music, the stadium concert series, and collaborations with the league’s nine clubs.
FIBA, the world basketball governing body, has expanded its media presence in North America with the announcement of a long-term broadcast rights agreement with Sportsnet in Canada. Through the new partnership, Sportsnet becomes the exclusive broadcast rights-holder for FIBA events in Canada through to fall 2025. Home to a rapidly-growing fanbase, Canada’s national teams have seen increasing success on the world stage over the past five years. In addition to delivering coverage of Canada’s appearances in FIBA competitions, Sportsnet’s broadcast rights also include access to key international matchups featuring squads from around the world, including USA Basketball. Full FIBA on Sportsnet broadcast details will be announced at a later date.
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) and TSN, have announced the NLL Game of the Week on TSN broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 regular season, which features games from the home arenas of every Canadian franchise. The 20-game regular season broadcast schedule begins Saturday, Dec. 4, with TSN also delivering live streaming coverage of every game of the NLL regular season and postseason across its digital platforms, TSN.ca and the TSN app.
The 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs kick off this weekend on TSN with complete live coverage of Round One, starting Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET on TSN1, TSN.ca, and the TSN app with Philadelphia Union facing the New York Red Bulls, followed by Vancouver Whitecaps FC taking on Sporting Kansas City at 5 p.m. ET. As Canada’s exclusive English-language television home of the league, TSN delivers complete live coverage of every match of the playoffs all the way to the 2021 MLS CUP championship game on Saturday, Dec. 11. Find the broadcast schedule here. On the call is play-by-play commentator Luke Wileman with analyst Steven Caldwell, as well as Blake Price reporting from the sidelines. The MLS ON TSN studio panel is hosted by Kelcey Brade, alongside former Toronto FC Designated Player Julian DeGuzman, and veteran of the Premier League and Republic of Ireland Men’s National Team Kevin Kilbane.
CHEK TV in Victoria launches two new shows this Sunday. The independent station is bringing the “This is Vancolour” podcast, hosted by Mo Amir, to TV, streaming, and on demand on CHEK+, Sundays at 7 p.m. PT. It will be followed at 7:30 pm by DownieLive Travels by Train, a 10-part cross-Canada travel series by popular Vancouver YouTuber Michael Downie.
CHEK is expanding!
— CHEK (@CHEK_media) November 17, 2021
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Pattison Media has introduced Kelowna10, a new local news app targeted at smartphone users. The mobile app features short, text-narrated video, coupled with web articles. Ten items are viewable at any one time. The app uses full screen vertical video, including preview videos to help users with content discoverability. Kelowna10 Sales Manager Bryan Ford says the ad-supported app was built with the advertiser in mind, featuring short video advertisements and a screen designed to take on the colour scheme of the advertiser for enhanced brand integration. Only one advertiser is ever featured on the app at a time. Read more here.
Cinessance, “the Netflix of French film,” has launched in Canada and the U.S. The French-film streaming platform gives subscribers access to a curated catalogue of classic and modern movies with subtitles in French and English for $6.99/month as well as pay-per-view options. France is the second largest exporter of movies in the world, but only 3% of Netflix’s catalogue features French films, according to a recent study from Unifrance. Cinessance is launching with a wide array of movies acquired from studios like TF1 Studio, StudioCanal and EuropaCorp, with plans to expand the catalogue to 500 movies as early as mid-2022. Cinessance’s founder & CEO is French expat entrepreneur Clément Monnet, who previously co-founded Voom, the “Uber for helicopters,” incubated by Airbus.
Amazon Prime Video has rolled out a native macOS app allowing customers to stream and download Prime Video content on Macs for offline viewing. Prime Video customers worldwide with Big Sur 11.4 and above can download the app for free in the App Store. The Prime Video macOS app streaming experience will also include: picture-in-picture (allows viewers to play video content in a resizable floating window that isn’t blocked by other windows); search/browse functionality; and in-app transactions (TVOD purchases/rentals).
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
The CRTC has approved an application by Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, on behalf of Pattison Media, to acquire the assets of all of the licensed radio and television undertakings owned by Merritt Broadcasting Ltd. and the partners carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership. Part of a multi-step corporate reorganization, Pattison Media also requested new broadcasting licences to continue the operation of the undertakings under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licences.
Cogeco has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, 2021. Revenue increased by 4.9% (8.4% in constant currency) compared to the same period of the prior year to reach $655.1 million. Adjusted EBITDA reached $293.6 million, a decrease of 2.1% (increase of 0.9% in constant currency) compared to the same period of the prior year. Profit for the period amounted to $103.4 million, an increase of 6.9%. Revenue in the media activities segment increased by 17.7%, following the easing of public health restrictions, whereby last year’s fourth quarter radio advertising revenue was directly impacted by COVID-19 related lockdown measures.
Research Co. has released the results of a first-of-its-kind Canadian study that surveyed 143 climate scientists, 148 journalists and 1,006 members of the public to gauge their opinions on climate change, finding that a large majority of each group somewhat or strongly agree there is a climate crisis (scientists 96%, journalists 95%, public 81%) and the news media should report on it that way (scientists 91%, journalists 95%, public 73%). The Climate Coverage in Canada Report, an in-depth look at the surveys’ preliminary findings, is being hosted at J-Source.ca. The surveys were conducted with the support of the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Association of Black Journalists, and CWA Canada.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
Borika Vucinic, Vice-President of Bell Media Network, has been jointly named Woman of the Year by Rise, the award-winning advocacy group for gender diversity in the media technology sector. Vucinic shares the award with Inga Ruehl of Sky Sports. The Woman of the Year award, sponsored by Zixi, is presented to an extraordinary and inspirational woman who has made a significant contribution within her field. This year, the judges were unable to choose just one winner from a shortlist of women from around the world, so they decided to honour both Vucinic and Ruehl. Vucinic oversees engineering support and operations for the Bell Media Network broadcast sites in Montréal and Toronto, and project engineering and network support for television and radio stations across Canada. With 25 years of experience with the Bell team, she’s earned a reputation as an innovator and team builder. She also lends her passion for broadcasting to industry organizations, currently serving on the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) Board of Directors as a Vice-President.
NLogic, a provider of audience analysis software, technology and data integration services to the broadcast and advertising industry in Canada, has launched a new website and refreshed brand design. NLogic says it wanted its brand and website to better reflect the agile, technology-driven company it’s evolved into. The NLogic brand, created in November 2014, was initially primarily focused on servicing third party products. Since that time, it’s brought multiple innovations to market, including data APIs, a fully automated trading platform for radio and most recently, a real-time TV performance management platform.
MRC-BDSradio is now offering a more complete view of local markets in both the U.S. and Canada. For the first time, expanded CMA (Census Market Area) data is available on BDSradio.ca for Canadian subscribers, including on-demand streaming from aggregated key DSPs visible at market level for 72 areas. Data is available across Format Charts, Custom Charts, Station View, Station Compare, Song View, Artist View, and Streaming Reports. Programmers can use the additional data, specific to their market, to compare airplay in their format to what’s streaming locally; spot which songs over or under index in the market; and see how their market compares to other markets by title or artist.
NAB Show has named the winners of its third annual NAB Show Product of the Year Awards. The awards recognize promising new products and technologies that were set to be displayed for the first time at the previously canceled 2021 NAB Show. Companies are recognized across acquisition, delivery, and production categories. NAB Show registration is now open at nabshow.com for access to the 2022 Show Floor, April 23–27, 2022, in Las Vegas.