Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Nirmala Naidoo

Nirmala Naidoo, former CBC and Global Calgary anchor, and New Brunswick lawyer Ellen C. Desmond have been named to the two vacant commissioner seats on the CRTC. Naidoo succeeds former commissioner Linda Vennard as regional member for Alberta and Northwest Territories, while Desmond fills the vacancy left by Atlantic Canada and Nunavut commissioner Christopher MacDonald, whose term ended in mid-June. Read more here

Jonathan Best

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group (JPBG) has reorged its Alberta programming team. Mark Hunter steps away from day-to-day programming duties for 102.3 NOW! Radio (CKNO-FM) Edmonton to focus on his role as Senior Programmer for Calgary and Edmonton, in addition to the JPBG Senior Programming team. He’ll work closely with the PDs for NOW!, Up! 99.3 (CIUP-FM) Edmonton, Wild 95.3 (CKWD-FM) Calgary and 101.5 Today Radio (CKCE-FM) Calgary, among other JPBG stations. Jay Stone turns his focus solely to the Edmonton cluster as the new Program Director for 102.3 NOW!, in addition to Up! 99.3. Jonathan Best assumes the PD role for 101.5 Today radio and Wild 95.3. Currently on-air as “Jonny B” as Wild 95.3’s afternoon drive host, he’ll be relinquishing his on-air slot. JPBG has posted for the afternoon drive show position.

Harvard Broadcasting has made on-air cuts following the elimination of General Manager positions across the operation. Among the talent impacted are Jamie Lewis, longtime morning host at CKRM Regina; morning show co-host Courtney Rae at Kraze (CKIK-FM) Red Deer; Konnor Brown and Nate Bryant at X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer; Graham Mossimann, evening host at X92.9 (CFEX-FM) Calgary; and as previously reported Leah Ramsay and Seth Armstrong, the morning show team at My 92.1 (CHMX-FM) Regina.  

Michel Trudel

Michel Trudel is extending his association with MELS through Dec. 2021 as France Lauzière, President and CEO of TVA Group, has announced the acceleration of MELS’ business plan. Trudel, who was to step down from his role as president at the end of the year, will continue to serve as a strategic consultant. Martin Carrier succeeds him as president, effective immediately.

Lucie Quenneville

Lucie Quenneville has been appointed General Manager, Programming and Strategies Acquisition for Bell Media in Québec, effective July 20. Reporting to Suzane Landry, VP, French-Language Content Development and Programming, Quenneville will be responsible for programming and acquisition strategies for V, the company’s French-language specialty channels, and for Crave’s French-language programming. Quenneville was most recently Senior Manager, Youth Acquisitions and Content Monitoring at CBC/Radio-Canada, and previously served as Programming and Acquisitions at V, and Director, Strategic Watch and Content Research at Québecor Media.

Laura Battiston

Laura Battiston is TLN’s new VP of Business Affairs. Battiston leaves the same role at Blue Ant Media after four and a half years. She’s held similar roles at Sinking Ship Entertainment, Buck Productions, and SFA Productions.

Ismaila Alfa

Ismaila Alfa is the new host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One in Toronto. Alfa is currently on-air at CBC Winnipeg where he’s been host of afternoon drive show Up To Speed since 2013. He’ll take up his new role on Aug. 24.

Roger Petersen

Roger Petersen’s co-hosting run with Breakfast Television in Toronto has come to an end. Petersen had been with Citytv for most of the last 21 years and co-host of Breakfast Television for the past two years, alongside Dina Pugliese. Petersen has held a variety of roles with the network, starting as a reporter, anchor and host of Autoshop in 1999. He also anchored at Citytv Vancouver for two years before returning to Toronto. Read more here.

Hale Speedy

Hale Speedy has joined the Corus Kingston team, as Program Manager for 96.3 BIG FM (CFMK-FM) and 104.3 Fresh Radio (CKWS-FM). Speedy moved to Canada this past March from Wellington, NZ, where he was most recently with MediaWorks as Operations Manager, overseeing programming and promotional strategy for nine stations. He was previously the network’s music manager, scheduling music for 20 stations within the More FM Network.

Wil Dunlop

Wil Dunlop has joined Max FM 89.1 (CIOS-FM) Orillia under his former club DJ handle “The Wilverine” as host of Saturday 10 p.m. – midnight alt, old school show Beyond The 89. Dunlop is the freelance video editor currently working on a forthcoming documentary about late CFNY-FM Toronto host Martin Streek.

Conrad Black

Conrad Black’s weekly appearances on Toronto’s AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) have been permanently cancelled. Black outlined his unceremonious release as a contributor to The John Oakley Show in a June 27 opinion piece in the National Post.

Kelly Linehan

Kelly Linehan has left CP24 to freelance. She’d been a reporter/anchor with the station since Dec. 2018 following stints with CTV Morning Live in both Winnipeg and Halifax. 

Mark Iype

Mark Iype is joining Global Edmonton as managing editor. Iype is the former editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun and up until this past February was leading special projects for the Postmedia Network.

Marc Cossette

Marc Cossette has joined Global News in the newly-created role of investigative producer in the Ottawa bureau. He departs CPAC where he’s been a reporter and producer for the past two years.

Morgan Campbell

Morgan Campbell has joined CBC Sports as a Senior Contributor. Campbell is a longtime Toronto Star reporter with a focus on sports and the business of sport.

Megan Shaw, who is celebrating five years as a reporter, anchor and producer with CTV Ottawa, is taking on a new role as the 11:30 p.m. news anchor. Prior to joining CTV in 2015, Shaw was an anchor with 580 CFRA Ottawa and a VJ with CityNews in Edmonton.

Tara Lopez

Tara Lopez, morning co-host at Pulse 107.7 (CISF-FM) Surrey, is joining CTV Morning Live in Winnipeg as the morning reporter. Lopez had been with Pulse since 2016 as both a host and promotions coordinator.  

Phillipe Leblanc

Philippe Leblanc will be Radio-Canada’s next correspondent in China. Leblanc will file multi-platform coverage of China and South Asia from Beijing. Leblanc has been the network’s national correspondent in Toronto since 2008. 

Teresinha Medeiros

Teresinha Medeiros has left AM 800 (CKLW-AM) Windsor after 22 years. She started with the station in 1998 as weekday reporter. Medeiros has joined Windsor Regional Hospital as Communications Coordinator.

Caden Fanshaw

Caden Fanshaw has joined 101.3 The River (CKKN-FM) in Prince George as a weekend and fill-in host. Fanshaw is a 2020 graduate of BCIT’s Broadcast and Online Journalism program.

Riley Phillips is the new evening traffic anchor at News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver. Phillips is a former producer and traffic reporter at Sportsnet 650 (CISL-AM). 

Gord Martineau, former longtime CityNews anchor/reporter, has joined Toronto’s ARHT Media in the capacity of Media Advisor and Consultant. ARHT is a developer of holopresence tech whose Virtual Global Stage platform allows speakers in multiple locations to appear as if they’re onstage together.    

Jacob Glick

Jacob Glick has joined TELUS as Vice President, Public Policy. Glick was formerly General Counsel and Head of Public Policy, Government Relations, Intellectual Property, Regulatory and Corporate Governance at Kitchener-based North, the maker of Focals by North smartglasses, which has been acquired by Google.

Steve de Eyre

Steve de Eyre, who has been head of Public Policy for Amazon in Canada for the last four years, has announced he’s joining TikTok as Director of Government Affairs for Canada. His appointment comes amid increased security concerns about the Beijing-based mobile video sharing app.

Julie Scott

Julie Scott has joined The Athletic as Managing Editor, News. Scott was formerly with the Canadian Press for 18 years as a sports editor and reporter, among other roles.

Brent Jolly

Brent Jolly is the new president of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Board of Directors. Jolly is an independent journalist and director of communications, research, and community management with the National NewsMedia Council of Canada (NNC). Fatima Syed, reporter at The Logic, is the organization’s new vice-president. 

Ilker Akin

Ilker Akin is Nautel’s new Regional Sales Manager for Europe, Israel and Russia. Akin, who is based in Germany, was most recently Chief Marketing Officer at Cestron International GmbH Potsdam, Germany and Elsyscom GmbH Teltow, Germany. 

Kyle Dibbin

Kyle Dibbin is Nautel’s new Regional Sales Manager, Africa and the Middle East. He has been with Nautel since 2012, starting in a test and repair capacity and later moving to Customer Service. His most recent position was Business Development Manager, VS Sales. 

Phil Kallsen

Phil Kallsen, who retired from Corus Calgary stations Country 105 (CKRY-FM) and Q107 (CFGQ-FM) in February, has opened PH1L K. Consulting. Kallsen says he plans to focus his consulting efforts on helping stations navigate growing competition, while facing the new economic reality of radio in 2020.  

RADIO & PODCAST:

Numeris has announced it won’t be producing a Fall 2020 TV Diary, with its Fall Radio Diary to move solely online and focus on top radio markets only. The audience measurement agency cites the potential for a second wave of COVID-19, and the risks of not being able to physically process diaries with further lockdowns. While some Numeris staff have returned to the office, the agency says it remains unable to process physical diary returns remotely. Numeris has had an Online Radio Diary in place since 2016. With markets with the highest populations typically generating the most online respondents (40 to 50%), the agency will proceed with an online-only Fall Radio Diary with a focus on top markets only. Read more here.

Nielsen Music/MRC Data has unveiled its 2020 Canada Mid-Year Report reflecting the first six months of the year. The music industry experienced a strong start to 2020, with audio streaming growing through early March, up 20.9% over the same period in 2019. Total music consumption was up 10.8% in the first 10 weeks of the year. The pandemic disrupted daily routines and consumer habits, but consumers continued to turn to entertainment to escape. Genres that saw streaming increases included Country, which by the week ending May 7, saw streams rise 10.5% above the baseline. Country’s market share of audio on-demand streams also grew from 5.5% pre-COVID-19 to 6.4% post-lockdown. Christian, Children’s and Blues also posted increases. As Canadians turned to music for comfort, titles older than 18 months took a slightly larger share of both on-demand audio streams (61.9% in the first half of 2020 versus 59.8% in the first half of 2019), as well as year-to-date audio consumption (sales plus streams), which was 62.1% in H1 2020 vs. 59.1% in H1 2019.

Acadia Broadcasting has entered into an agreement to acquire Halifax radio stations Hot Country 103.5 (CKHZ-FM) and Jewel 105 (CKHY-FM) from Evanov Radio Group-owned HFX Broadcasting Inc., subject to CRTC approval. Headquartered in neighbouring New Brunswick, Acadia Broadcasting already owns four stations in Nova Scotia: CKBW-FM Bridgewater, Country 100.7 (CJHK-FM) Bridgewater, Y95 (CJLS-FM) Yarmouth and 101.5 The Hawk (CIGO-FM) Port Hawkesbury. Read more here.

My Broadcasting Corporation’s Peterborough talksports station EXTRA 90.5 (CJMB-FM) has pushed the pause button on its sports programming, rebranding as FREQ 90.5, an Alternative Rewind format featuring songs from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s. In a Facebook Live announcement, the company said StatsRadio’s 365 measurement allowed them to make an informed decision with EXTRA 90.5 audience drop-off coinciding with the NHL season hiatus Mar. 12. MBC says its commitment to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Peterborough Petes remains unchanged.

CRTCThe CRTC has rejected Rogers application to operate KiSS Radio 104.9 (CKKS-FM-2) in Vancouver as its own station instead of as a rebroadcaster of a Chilliwack station. The station has been operating out of Rogers’ studios in Vancouver since 2000. A joint intervention from Bell Media, Corus, and Stingray stated that should the commission choose to grant a new commercial licence, it should not go to Rogers as it previously tried to enter the Vancouver market by the backdoor as this service was twice cited for a failure to provide locally relevant programming for the Chilliwack and Fraser Valley areas. The commission concluded the Vancouver market can’t sustain a new radio station at this time. 

The CRTC has rejected Vista Radio’s application for new radio station in Grande Prairie, AB finding that economic conditions there do not support a new radio station. The northern Alberta city, population 63,000, is already served by five commercial stations.

The CRTC has determined that the Scarborough radio market cannot support an additional commercial radio station at present, but will publish an application by International Harvesters of Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new Specialty (Christian music) FM radio station to serve the Scarborough market. The commission says given that specialty Christian music stations generally do not raise concerns pertaining to commercial impact, it will publish the application for consideration in the non-appearing phase of a future public hearing.

The National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) and 30+ radio stations have committed over $480,000 to support local businesses in the economic recovery. From coast-to-coast, stations have stepped in to offer grants of free advertising and promotion, or steep discounts to help local businesses restart and recover. Find the full list of participating stations, here.

StingrayStingray says its economic stimulus plan via its 104 radio stations helped 5,000 local businesses obtain grants in the form of radio advertising over the past few months. Stingray says a total of $20 million has been awarded across the markets where it operates radio stations, $5 million more than initially planned.

Stingray’s FLOW 93-5 (CFXJ-FM) Toronto and DJ Charlie B presented DJs United Against Racism – a 12-hour commercial free fundraiser on July 10 that raised $55,000 to benefit Toronto’s Black Health Alliance. 25 DJs from across North America donated their time and talent, including DJ Envy (New York); DJ Infamous (Atlanta);  DJ Jam (San Diego);  Cale Granton (Toronto); DJ Rory (Toronto); DJ Clue (New York); 4Korners (Toronto); Peter Kash (Toronto); DJ RychKydd (Toronto); Fafa Khan (Montreal); Kardinal Offishall (Toronto); Dr. Jay (Toronto); DJ Kav (Calgary); DJ Wikked (Toronto); and DJ Jester (Toronto). The on-air event also featured interviews with prominent Canadians like Director X, Hal Johnson, Mike “Pinball” Clemons, Tory Lanez and more. Donations will continue to be accepted online at flow935.com/united.

CBC Radio One’s summer schedule programming is underway, including new radio series What on Earth, the return of Wiretap and Vinyl Cafe, and inaugural radio runs of CBC’s top original podcasts. They include More with Anna Maria Tremonti, airing Sunday mornings at 11 (11:30 in NL), as well as three seasons of Uncover, airing during The Current timeslot, including the most recent season Uncover: Dead Wrong, focused on the wrongful conviction of Glen Assoun in a 1995 Nova Scotia murder.

SiriusXM and U2 have launched the band’s much-anticipated U2 X-Radio channel on SiriusXM Channel 32. The channel explores the band’s history, idols, influences and current passions, plus inspiration, conversation, culture, commentary and ideas from the band and guests. Curated by U2, the team behind U2 X-Radio includes longtime creative director, artist and musician Gavin Friday, along with friend and radio host Bill Flanagan, author of ‘U2 at the End of the World.’

SiriusXM has acquired Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 million, including its Midroll advertising arm, Earwolf podcast network and the Stitcher podcast platform. Among the titles SiriusXM acquires under the deal are Freakonomics Radio, SuperSoul Sunday from The Oprah Winfrey Network, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Literally! With Rob Lowe, LeVar Burton Reads, and WTF with Marc Maron. The deal follows the company’s recent acquisition of podcast analytics platform, Simplecast, and ad tech platform AdsWizz.

The Amplify Podcast Network, a partnership between Simon Fraser University’s Publishing program, Digital Humanities Innovation Lab, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Wilfrid Laurier University Library, and The Documentary Media Society, aims to develop Canada’s first podcast network for academics. It plans to launch in 2023 with podcasts to be peer reviewed to ensure accuracy. The podcast network is an extension of a pilot project by its co-director Dr. Hannah McGregor, an Assistant Professor of Publishing at SFU and host and producer of the Secret Feminist Agenda.

LISTEN: Jay Richardson is the afternoon drive host at Power 97 (CJKR-FM) Winnipeg, where he started the on-air portion of his radio career back in 2007. He’s also been the voice of the Winnipeg Jets, announcing all the penalties, goals, assists and in-house announcements at Bell MTS Place. On the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast, he talks with Matt Cundill about the highs and lows of his journey through Winnipeg radio.

LISTEN: Coop, the host of syndicated weekend radio show RedCup Country, grew up listening to country music when country wasn’t cool. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, Coop tells Shawn Smith, that’s why he jumped at the chance to host country music’s biggest, weekly on-air party. 

Benztown and P1 Media Group have partnered with RadioDays Europe to bring the Coronavirus Radio Ideas “Best of Awards” to an international stage. The awards will honour radio professionals around the world that have used their brands and platforms in creative and innovative ways to better serve their listeners, partners and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is invited to nominate their favourite ideas and posts that have been shared in the Coronavirus Radio Ideas Facebook group. The awards will recognize the best ideas in 12 categories, including: Best Social Media Video Content, Best Virtual Event, Best Parody, Best Virtual Concert, Best Station Promo, Best Community Service, Best Social Media Visual, Best Hometown Video, Best Corona Podcast, Best Corona Reporting, Best Sales Promotion, and Best Mega Promotion. The last day to submit nominations is July 31. Online voting starts Aug. 6 and closes Sept. 7.

Sean Ross

FEATURE: CanCon at 50: Sean Ross, Edison Research’s Vice President of Music and Programming and the columnist behind Ross on Radio, offers his American hot take (as a lifelong fan) on Canadian Content and radio as the mandate celebrates 50 years. Read more here.

SIGN OFFS:

Don Jackson

Don Jackson, on July 12 of cancer. Jackson was a longtime broadcaster and host of syndicated evening radio show “Lovers and Other Strangers” which aired across Canada and later in the U.S. Of her late colleague, Erin Davis told Broadcast Dialogue “He was a longtime staple of CHFI’s lineup, gracing the evening airwaves with a combination of poetry, wisdom and song, all woven together with a deft and artistic touch that I think has been unparalleled since.” Jackson’s most recent project involved producing inspirational webcasts under the “Heartbeat of the Internet” banner.

Michael McCabe, 82, on June 27 in Hanoi, Vietnam. McCabe started his political career as an executive assistant to former Liberal Finance Min. Mitchell Sharp, running his unsuccessful 1968 leadership campaign. He went on to hold many senior government positions, including Assistant Deputy Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs; Chairman of Policy Research for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and Executive Director of the Canadian Film Development Corporation (which became Telefilm Canada). He was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) in 1988 serving as a powerful voice for the industry and championing numerous initiatives, including the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), the Radio Starmaker Fund and Fonds RadioStar, and Canadian Women in Communications, among others. Upon his retirement in 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. He concluded his career as resident director of the CIDA-funded Policy Implementation Assistance Project in Hanoi, as an advisor to both the Office of the Prime Minister and senior committees of the National Assembly of Vietnam. Read Broadcast Dialogue Publisher Emeritus Howard Christensen’s tribute to McCabe, here.

Larry Stout

Lawrence “Larry” Stout, 81, on June 27, following a battle with Alzheimer’s. Stout’s career in journalism started at CKOC Hamilton in 1960. He moved on to CKEY Toronto the following year, and then the Toronto Star, going on to work for CBC in 1964. Among the world events he covered for the public broadcaster were the 1973 Chilean coup, civil wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Lebanon, among other conflicts, and Prince Charles wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. He also hosted CBC’s coverage of Pope John Paul II’s 1984 Papal Tour of Canada. After a brief foray into public relations, Larry joined CTV in 1989 as Toronto Bureau Chief and senior writer, also contributing to radio, CTV News and CTV Newsnet. He retired in 2005.

Gerri Barrer

Gerri Barrer, 73, on June 23. Barrer was CBC Montreal’s longtime health reporter and a mainstay on the station for nearly three decades, starting in 1981. She retired in 2009. Watch one of Barrer’s 1991 reports, exploring Montreal’s Metro, here.

Garth Dawley

Garth Dawley, 86, on June 1 of ALS. Dawley was best known as the longtime anchor of CBC Winnipeg’s “24 Hours” supper hour newscast from 1970 to 1983. He started his career at CKX-AM Brandon in 1952, ascending to the role of news director and later joining CKX-TV when it launched in 1955. He moved to CKCK-TV Regina in 1957. Dawley joined CBC Winnipeg in 1966. In 1988, he took a leave from the public broadcaster to run as the PC candidate in Winnipeg South Centre. Unsuccessful in his attempt to enter politics, he returned to the CBC until the Mulroney government appointed him to the CRTC in the early 1990s as the first regional commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He retired in 1998.

TV & FILM:

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) is lauding the Quebec government announcement of a $51 million fund to help reopen Quebec’s film and television production sector, while also appealing to the federal government for a cross-country solution. CMPA says federal leadership is still needed to provide a national, comprehensive, short-term solution to the lack of COVID-19 insurance coverage for the industry and to address additional health and safety costs. The CMPA says it’s continuing dialogue with the Trudeau government, in partnership with the AQPM (Association québécoise de la production médiatique), regarding a federal indemnification fund that would enable Canadian productions to resume shooting this summer.

Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault

Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault has announced an additional $27.8 million in funding for Canada’s audiovisual sector as part of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. The funds will provide financial assistance to additional companies and organizations that were not eligible for Phase 1 of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. 

The CRTC has renewed Super Channel’s broadcasting licence for four years, while simultaneously suspending it for non-compliance. The commission found the pay television discretionary service in “serious” non-compliance for a second consecutive licence term related to expenditures around script and concept development and ordered Allarco Entertainment to pay a shortfall of more than $5 million. The suspension will automatically go into effect only if Super Channel fails to make shortfall payments or the licensee obtains protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act or the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Alethea Amaquq-Baril

The Inuit TV Network is seeking approval from the CRTC for an all-Inuktitut TV channel that would broadcast programming in dialects from all Inuit regions across the north. The network is being backed by $2.4 million over three years from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. with an aim to strengthen Inuktut, Inuit culture and identity, and access to information in Inuktut, the majority language of the territory. Alethea Amaquq-Baril, the network’s president (and Inuk filmmaker), said in a release that right now there is a lack of Inuktut programming on Nunavut television to balance the daily influence of western culture and language, and as an independent broadcaster Inuit TV would help counter that. In its first year, Inuit TV will do occasional special broadcasts, and ramp up to a regular schedule of programming in 2021.

BIPOC TV & Film and Bell Media have announced the first initiative resulting from their recently announced partnership, a new web portal to generate increased employment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour working in the Canadian media industry. Launching later this summer, HireBIPOC is an industry-wide roster of BIPOC crew and creatives working in screen-based industries, including production (above and below the line), behind the scenes, communications and marketing, on-air, and more.

Reelworld has released Changing the Narrative: 2020 Status of Canadian Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Canada’s Screen-Based Production Sector, its report on the inclusion of BIPOC talent and professionals in the screen industries. You can sign up to receive the report. The organization has also launched the Access Reelworld Directory, a database of Canadian screen industry professionals from the Black, Indigenous, and other racially diverse communities. 

OMNI Television is set to debut follow-up episodes to Ending Racism: What Will it Take? in Italian and Punjabi, this Friday, July 17. Complementing the original prime-time special aired on June 11 across Rogers Sports & Media platforms, the 30-minute programs look to engage ethnic audiences by exploring race inequalities faced by Canada’s Black and Indigenous communities. The specials will air on OMNI Television and stream live on omnitv.ca, beginning with the Punjabi edition at 7:30 p.m. ET, hosted by Focus Punjabi’s Radhika Sharma. It will look at how Canada’s South Asians are showing their support for Black Lives Matter, while also reflecting on ongoing racism and shadeism within the South Asian community. OMNI News: Italian Edition’s Onofrio Di Lemia will host the Italian broadcast at 9 p.m. ET.

CBC will air special programming this summer in recognition of Emancipation Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery across the British Empire on Aug. 1. Based on the award-winning novel by Lawrence Hill, acclaimed CBC original miniseries The Book of Negroes will receive an encore broadcast as a three-night special event, July 26-28 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem, followed by Ken Burns’ documentary series Jackie Robinson, Aug. 2-3 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). Leading into the first night of The Book of Negroes, CBC TV will feature CBC ARTS: Exhibitionists – Reflection and Resistance, hosted by Amanda Parris, dedicated to Black artists trying to create in the midst of an uprising. CBC is also launching an expanded Being Black In Canada website featuring the stories and experiences of Black Canadians. 

Arisa Cox

Global has greenlit Season 9 of Big Brother Canada and promoted series host Arisa Cox to Executive Producer. Corus says Cox will now play a critical role in all storytelling aspects of Big Brother Canada, including key creative input on the show’s real-time storylines, casting and outreach, and increasing BIPOC representation across the board. Set to debut on Global in spring 2021, pre-production for Season 9 will include a thorough review of current production practices and the development of new ones, anti-racism personnel policies, and racial-equity training. 

Thunderbird Entertainment Group says production is underway on a second spin-off of the Highway Thru Hell franchise. Bell Media’s Discovery has ordered eight one-hour episodes of Mud Mountain (working title), set in the high mountains of British Columbia, just down the road from the Highway Thru Hell. The series will follow brothers Craig and Brent Lebeau, third generation family loggers. Thunderbird says the series will create 300 jobs, many in rural BC.

Super Channel and the Blood in the Snow Film Festival (BITS), a showcase of contemporary Canadian horror films, have partnered to present a virtual edition of 2020 BITS. The virtual festival, slated for Oct. 28 to Nov. 7, will bring a selection of Canadian horror features and shorts to Super Channel Fuse. In addition to exclusive Canadian film premieres, the virtual film festival will include pre-recorded film intros, Q&As with filmmakers and a post-festival awards show. Blood in the Snow will also be running its Deadly Exposure industry events on-line Nov. 4-7, with its mix of industry panels and virtual round tables.

CBC Sports and the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) have introduced the on-air talent who will deliver the CEBL Summer Series, starting July 25. Road to the Olympic Games host Andi Petrillo and former pro basketball player Jevohn Shepherd will host all seven TV games on CBC, live from the CBC Sports studio in downtown Toronto. Peter Ruttgaizer will handle play-by-play, alongside Joe Raso who will provide the in-game analysis from the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. Raptors 905 analyst Amy Audibert will serve as sideline reporter. The seven broadcast games include the opening day doubleheader with the Hamilton Honey Badgers taking on the Niagara River Lions at 1:30 p.m. ET (10:30 am. PT), followed by the expansion Ottawa BlackJacks making their league debut against the Guelph Nighthawks. All 26 games of the CEBL Summer Series will be live streamed on CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports app. For the 19 games exclusive to the live stream, the CEBL’s Jason Thom and Sean Woodley will split play-by-play duties, while Audibert will deliver sideline coverage. 

StingrayStingray has reached an agreement with the Canadian Communication Systems Alliance (CCSA) to expand members’ commercial and residential subscriber access to music video TV channels: PalmarèsADISQ par Stingray, Stingray Hits!, Stingray Retro, Stingray Loud, Stingray Vibe, Stingray Country, 4K channels: Stingray Festival 4K, Stingray Now 4K and Stingray Naturescape, as well as Stingray Classica. Also now available to CCSA residential subscribers are premium subscription Video on Demand services: Stingray Karaoke and Qello Concerts by Stingray.

Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has issued a call for candidates for its Board of Directors. With the current BOD over 80% white, it’s expanding to include four new members from minority groups, including but not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or people with disabilities. Ideal candidates will have a passion for kids TV, knowledge of English and French, a commitment to improving its quality and a willingness to utilize the full power of the YMA to ensure new and emerging creative voices are uncovered, heard, and supported. YMA Board meetings are held in English, via teleconference, approximately 10 times per year. Nominations are being accepted until Aug. 7 via email to Chantal Bowen: cbowen@ymamj.org.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Virgin Mobile Canada has turned on Virgin TV for Virgin Internet subscribers in Ontario and Québec. The app-based service doesn’t require a traditional TV set-top box or installation, and works on any iOS or Android device, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The core package includes more than 50 channels, including CTV Drama Channel, CP24, Food Network, HGTV, TLC and all the major Canadian and U.S. networks with à la carte packages available to add like Crave + Movies + HBO and Starz. The subscription-based service is available exclusively to Virgin Internet members with 15 Mbps or higher Unlimited Virgin Internet plans. Current members can add the service starting from $35. Virgin Internet + TV starts at $85.

MTM Junior has released a new report focused on the use of social media by Canadian teens, aged 12 to 17, including a deeper dive into teens using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. Some top findings from the Teens and Social Media report include that 87% are using social media; girls are more likely to use social media at 92%, compared to boys at 82%; and Instagram is far more popular among teens than among older Canadians (18+) who use social media (67% versus 47%). The difference in Snapchat use is even more pronounced (57% versus 23%).

Canadaland staff have filed for union certification with CWA Canada after all non-management workers signed union cards. “Over the past seven years, Canadaland has grown into one of the country’s premier podcast companies and one of its few sustainable journalism start-ups. We, the workers of Canadaland, are proud of the effort and creativity that have gone into making this possible,” asserted staff in a Canadaland Union Mission Statement, released by CWA. In order to ensure that success continues, we believe that forming a union is the best path forward — not just for us, but for the company as a whole.” The statement goes on to say that alongside that growth, it believes unionizing will help “implement systems and standards to reduce turnover and burnout” and assist in establishing “clear policies setting out organizational structure, editorial vision, and concrete measures for achieving greater diversity in our workplace and programming.” Read more here.

Paul Samyn

The Winnipeg Free Press is ending online comments on articles as part of anti-racism pledge. In a July 3 article from editor Paul Samyn entitled ‘An apology for marginalizing people of colour; and a promise to atone for our past’, he explores the paper’s history, including ownership and leadership rooted in racism, its demonization of the Metis in the 1950s, silence on Jewish segregation, and the paper’s failure to dig into the deaths of Helen Betty Osborne, J.J. Harper, Brian Sinclair and Tina Fontaine. “That’s also why we are closing down our online commenting section as of July 14. While much of the conversation involving our readers is healthy, we all too frequently have to shut down comments on certain stories that can be magnets for racist commentary. We want no part of spreading such opinions and will instead introduce new ways to engage with readers and to share their voices,” writes Samyn.  

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Shaw Communications’ financial results for the quarter ended May 31 saw consolidated revenue decrease by 0.8% to $1.31 billion and adjusted EBITDA increase 15.3% year-over-year to $609 million. Removing the $38 million impact from IFRS 16, adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 8.1% over the prior year. Subscriber activity was subdued during the quarter, primarily due to Canadians staying home to restrict the spread of COVID-19. Wireless postpaid net additions increased by approximately 2,200 in the third quarter and postpaid churn was at a record low 0.96%, due primarily to reduced customer activity. In the Wireline segment, new customer activity was also substantially lower compared to pre-COVID activity. Consumer Internet experienced a marginal net loss of approximately 5,100 and video losses were approximately 22,000 in the quarter, a slight improvement compared to the prior year. Self-installs increased dramatically to approximately 72% in the quarter. 

Corus Entertainment says while viewership was up across its platforms in the third quarter, the impact of COVID-19 coupled with one-time impairment charges, resulted in a 24% drop in revenue for the three months ended May 31. Corus reported consolidated revenues of $349.0 million, down $458.4 million year-over-year, with consolidated segment profit at $111.3 million in Q3, a decrease of 35% from $170.5 million last year. Net loss attributable to shareholders for the quarter was $752.3 million (a $3.61 loss per share basic), compared to net income of $66.4 million ($0.31 per share basic) last year. In Television, segment revenues dropped 21% in the quarter and 8% year-to-date, with ad revenue down 31% for Q3 and 12% year-to-date. Subscriber revenues were flat in Q3 and down 1% year-to-date. In Radio, segment revenues decreased $19.3 million (52%) in the quarter and $25.1 million (23%) year-to-date. Read more here.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says Super Channel has violated the Pay TV codes for airing violence, sexuality and coarse language by airing films like Friday the 13th: Part VII – The New Blood; Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, Pet Sematary, and Zero Dark Thirty prior to 9 p.m. The CBSC decision concerns multiple broadcasts across Super Channel’s Vault, Fuse and GINX eSports TV Canada, following a Nov. 2019 viewer complaint. While the codes governing Pay, Pay-Per-View, Video-on-Demand Services and The Pay Television and Pay-Per-View Programming Code regarding Violence give more latitude to pay television services, they still set out the same “Watershed” period of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to air content intended for adult audiences. Read more here.

Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the union representing CBC/Radio-Canada employees, has asked Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault to earmark targeted funding to convert half of the public broadcaster’s 1,200 casual staff to full-time. During a 40-minute meeting with Guilbeault in June, CMG CBC/Radio-Canada Branch president Kim Trynacity told the minister that the move would go far to enact real change within CBC at all levels, because many casual positions are held by young workers from diverse backgrounds. Roughly 25% of the CBC/Radio-Canada workforce are temporary employees who lack job security. CMG is also looking for assurances that future funding for the public broadcaster will be linked to a moratorium on job cuts. The union says since 2008, ongoing staff cuts have been accompanied by a drop in diversity, while increasing management’s reliance on temporary workers. Read more here.

CMG members of the Joint Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion have delivered a letter to the CBC senior management team, urging them to take action to dismantle structural racism in the corporation. The letter was written collaboratively by a group of BIPOC and allied employees, and signed by 247 current and former CBC employees from across Canada. It cites “the journalistic failures in the CBC’s coverage” of police killings, going further to say those failures  “are the direct result of whose voices and experiences drive decision-making at the CBC. The problem lies with white editors who dismiss pitches from non-white journalists as ‘biased’ or ‘unimportant’ because they might not appeal to a white audience.” It also issues five calls to action including an update the CBC’s social media policy to allow employees to speak freely about their identities and lived experiences.

Global News journalists have written an open letter to Corus Entertainment CEO Doug Murphyin solidarity with our BIPOC colleagues who have experienced individual racism, systemic racism and oppression in Canadian media and our newsrooms in particular.” Among other measures, employees are asking for dedicated budget “to ensure in-depth, smarter and more balanced stories concerning race and systemic inequality”; a commitment to diversity the newsroom at all levels, including management; and tracking sources used as expert voices by gender, race and frequency of use in Global News stories with regular source audits to follow. 

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and International Development Min. Karina Gould, have announced a new project to fight COVID-19 through human rights-based journalism in 12 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the 15-month, $1.5 million program will train and support local journalists to provide credible information and debunk misinformation on COVID-19, in addition to reporting on its impact on women and girls’ rights. Building off experiences working with journalists covering the Ebola outbreak and operating within existing travel restrictions, JHR will conduct activities for journalists online or via mobile phone and messaging applications.

Rogers has launched The 60 Project, a year-long celebration of the company’s 60th birthday that will be marked by donations of time, money and fundraising support. That includes previously-announced commitments to Food Banks Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Women’s Shelters Canada.

Bell Let’s Talk and Kids Help Phone have announced a $1 million investment to enhance ongoing crisis support for young people coping with mental health challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. With a 58% overall increase in demand during COVID-19 and text interactions up 62%, Kids Help Phone expects to make 3 million connections with young people this year, compared to 1.9 million in 2019. Bell announced a $5 million increase in Bell Let’s Talk funding in response to COVID-19 with support for a range of organizations, including Kids Help Phone, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Red Cross, Revivre and Strongest Families Institute.

Rogers’ mobile flanker brand chatr has refreshed its branding ahead of its 10th anniversary. Rogers says the brand’s new tagline, “Now, you make the call”, sets the tone for “delivering increased flexibility, affordability, predictability, and new ways to give customers more control of the products and services that keep them connected.” In June, the brand also launched two new credit cards to help customers build or rebuild their credit.

Brad Danks

ANALYSIS: Brad Danks, CEO of OutTV, makes the case for internet regulation as a path forward for more innovation. Read the first instalment of a three-part series, here.

 

 

 

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

LISTEN: On a special, sponsored episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, David Rusch of Audio Broadcast Canada talks about the challenges of unique broadcast antenna environments with Steve Moreen of Dielectric.

Motion Path, a leader in augmented reality and real-time broadcast graphic design, and interactive virtual experience developer Zenapptic.ai have launched UpRoar Live!, a solution aimed at helping bring back the excitement of live entertainment and sports events being presented or played without fans. UpRoar Live! Allows fans watching the event on television or online to spontaneously express their reactions via an intuitive app. The various responses are compiled in real time and instantly trigger authentic, proportionally mixed, and acoustically accurate reaction sounds in the venue or as part of the broadcast. In addition to audio, UpRoar Live! allows fans to trigger immersive augmented reality (AR) graphics within the broadcast of the event. Fans can also access interactive modules to participate in wagering, e-commerce, and social media interactions. 

Dejero has announced the latest version of its Core software. With the release of Core 5.4, users of the FlexPoint 111 transceiver — an integrated encoder and decoder — can now transmit and receive resolutions up to 4K UHD at 60 frames per second, with live bitrates up to 60 Mb/s. 4K UHD is supported in both live and recording modes. Version 5.4 also introduces two-way intercom communications to a number of Dejero products, including the EnGo 1.3 and EnGo 260 mobile transmitters, as well as the WayPoint 104 receiver. A closed-captioning feature is also now available for the FlexPoint transceiver and the new WayPoint 50 receiver. Core 5.4 also bolsters transmission security. The optional stream encryption capability features Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256 bit key to keep audio and video data secure when transported over public internet links.