General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsBCAB hears embracing emerging tech key to connecting with audiences

BCAB hears embracing emerging tech key to connecting with audiences

Using all available tools at the industry’s disposal, including emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create compelling and engaging content, will be key to the future of radio and television, the 73rd B.C. Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) Conference heard last Thursday.

The association’s first gathering in three years, Claire Anderson, CRTC commissioner for B.C. & Yukon, set the tone for the conference, opening by touching on the policy consultations about to get underway around Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, telling those in attendance that the broadcast industry’s ability to connect with audiences is essential to success and remains imperative. 

Programming consultant Valerie Geller continued that theme emphasizing the importance of storytelling and connecting with audiences authentically, while advising that broadcasters need to use all available tools at their disposal. With ongoing questions about how ChatGPT and generative AI will influence the future of content creation, Geller believes there is a place for AI in broadcasting.

“You won’t be replaced by ChatGPT,” Geller told the audience. “You’ll be replaced by those who know how to work with it.”

“What would I tell hosts concerned about GPT? The first thing to do is to find out everything you can about it. It’s really good, but it’s not quite perfect yet,” she continued. “I think there’s a place for AI. I live in Los Angeles. I think if there’s an earthquake, most people in L.A. wouldn’t care if it was ChatGPT telling them to watch out for a tsunami or giving them the weather…but if we need something human, if you need the human touch, a computer, a robot will never replace that.”

Geller added that right now, we’re in “the spiderweb” with no regulation.

“It’s like nuclear power, you can use it to warm yourself or you can use it to destroy the world. Those who use it well and responsibly, we will benefit. For those who use it irresponsibly, it will result in dire, dire consequences. I think if we embrace this in the right way, we have very exciting days ahead.”

Later in the day, a panel of young leaders, also touched on the importance of embracing new technologies rather than coming from a place from a place of fear.

Numeris, meanwhile, provided an update on its evolving digital measurement solutions. The audience measurement agency continues development of its cross-platform audio solution that will integrate member radio streaming data with its radio meter service, advising that it has taken its proof of concept back to the drawing board. Anita Boyle Evans, VP, Client Services, said Numeris’ VAM (Video Audience Measurement) solution, which only remains available in Ontario and Quebec Franco, continues to evolve monthly, with the addition of TikTok and other platforms. Without committing to timelines, Numeris says VAM will be moving to a national single source panel for linear (PPM) and digital content (FocalMeter) with a continued focus on evolvement.

Jim Pattison on integrity, customer service

One of the conference highlights was a conversation between Jim Pattison, who is still serving as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Jim Pattison Group at age 94, and Pattison Media President Rod Schween. The business magnate discussed his early career in sales and instilled values of integrity and quality customer service which he largely credits for his success.

Pattison told the audience, he started his sales career early, selling garden seeds and magazines door-to-door, at age seven or eight, while attending General Brock Elementary in East Vancouver. 

“We didn’t own a house…the drive came from I knew if I wanted something, I was going to have to work for it,” said Pattison. “Integrity and quality customer service were values instilled by my parents…my dad, in particular, would say ‘never tell a lie, always tell the truth.’ If you do that, it affects what you do and what you say.”

When asked why he was still working six or seven days a week, Pattison told the crowd, “I always have a reason to go to work, because I’ve always owed the banks money…until now,” noting that recently the privately-held company cleared any remaining net debt.

“It’s the first time I don’t owe money since I was seven or eight years old,” said Pattison to vigorous applause.

Quarter Century Club inductees

The BCAB also welcomed 13 new members into its Quarter Century Club, recognizing 25 years of service to the broadcast industry. They include:

Kelly Ackeral, Vernon

Katie O’Connor with BCAB President Rob Brimacombe

David Branco, Prince George

Darren Coogan, Prince George

Rob Germain, Victoria

Cheryl Jahn, Prince George

Paul Larsen, Kelowna

Kurt Leavins, Pender Island

Kelli Moorhead, Prince George

Katie O’Connor, Nanaimo

Kathy Shaw
Kathy Shaw with BCAB President Rob Brimacombe

Kathryn Shaw, Nanaimo

Colleen Smith, Prince George

Mark Wheeler, Prince George

David Wiwchar, Nanaimo

More to come from the 73rd BCAB Conference.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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