Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – SAIT Broadcast Systems Technology course to fall under cuts

SAIT’s Broadcast Systems Technology (BSXT) program, the last broadcast engineering course of its kind left in the country, is set to fall under provincial budget cuts. The Calgary post-secondary college announced Friday that 230 positions will be eliminated. SAIT spokesperson Chris Gerritsen confirmed to Broadcast Dialogue that BSXT is one of the programs SAIT currently does not plan to re-offer, citing low enrolment. The news has created shockwaves through the broadcast engineering community as the program was a primary source of new talent for broadcast technician positions across the country, supplying radio and television stations, film and video production companies, manufacturers, and the live events industry. Graduating its first class of Broadcast Technologists in 1969, the two-year program celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 by moving into a new state-of-the-art, digital TV and radio lab. Clint Hollinger, president, Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE), told Broadcast Dialogue that conversations are continuing with SAIT on how the industry can be served. Meantime, a grassroots effort is underway by the engineering community to lobby SAIT President David Ross and the SAIT Board of Governors to reconsider the decision. Read more here.

CBC/Radio-Canada has issued its financial update for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019. Revenue during the quarter increased by 3.4%, driven by growth in digital advertising and higher content sales. The public broadcaster says both advertising and subscription revenue from traditional platforms remained challenged. Operating expenses were consistent with the third quarter of last year, decreasing by 0.3%.

Subway has been ordered to pay the CBC $500,000 in legal costs following a failed bid to sue the public broadcaster for defamation over a 2017 Marketplace report that focused on how much chicken was in its chicken sandwiches. Subway’s suit sought $210 million in damages. Due to a vigorous legal effort on the part of the fast food chain, CBC rang up $800,000 in legal fees. In addition to the $500K award, Subway will have to pay the public broadcaster $178,000 in fees and disbursements.

Rogers has quietly rebranded its Media division as Rogers Sports & Media. The new logo started appearing on Rogers’ web properties on Feb. 13. Andrea Goldstein, Senior Director of Communications, says the new name “more accurately reflects our mix of assets with an accompanying logo that is a modern-day representation of our business.” 

Xplornet Communications Inc. has announced it’s being acquired by Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a New York-headquartered private equity firm focused in infrastructure. Stonepeak has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Xplornet, with current Chairman of the Board Steve Weed, and his fund WaveDivision Capital, remaining material investors. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the coming months. With over $17 billion USD under its purview, Stonepeak has a track record of investment in global telecommunication businesses. President & CEO Allison Lenehan and Xplornet’s current executive team will continue to lead the company, which will remain headquartered in New Brunswick. Read more here.

Ericsson and Carleton University have announced a new multi-year partnership to advance development of programs for engineers and computer scientists going into the wireless communications industry and generate state-of-the-art research in the field. The Ericsson-Carleton University Partnership for Research and Leadership in Wireless Networks will fund research projects, graduate student internships, an Ericsson fellowship program and experiential learning opportunities for Computer Science and Engineering students. It will also establish a new center of excellence and associated laboratories for 5G wireless networks research in Carleton’s new ARISE building.

Bell MTS has announced it’s investing approximately $400 million to bring faster internet technology to Winnipeg, with direct fibre connections to approximately 275,000 homes and commercial locations throughout the city. Fully funded by Bell, the fibre project will offer Winnipeggers access to Bell MTS services such as Gigabit Fibe Internet, Whole Home Wi-Fi and Fibe TV. Bell MTS estimates the project will create more than 1,100 direct and indirect jobs in Winnipeg and other Manitoba locations. It’s partnering with a wide range of suppliers to roll out the expansion, including ACME Technical Services, Aecon, Central Telecom, Crown Pipeline, Mobia Technology Innovations, WP Teletronics and Valard.

TekSavvy Solutions and its affiliate cable company Hastings Cable Vision Limited have launched IPTV service, TekSavvy TV, in selected regions in Quebec. Offering customers Cloud PVR service, access to selected programming GO apps, video on demand, and over 150 HD channels, TekSavvy TV is currently available as an app on select Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices. TekSavvy TV requires a TekSavvy residential Internet subscription with a minimum download speed of 15 Mbps.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University, News Media Canada, and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression have bestowed their 2019 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the category of law enforcement to the police forces in Sudbury, Windsor, Peterborough, Longueuil, Quebec City, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and the Ontario Provincial Police. Following a deadly shooting in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood, a national debate began around the issue of banning handguns. The Globe and Mail decided to find out where the guns in Canadian crime came from by submitting access to information requests to 36 police forces across Canada. Of those forces, most did not collect any kind of information on where their crime guns came from. Three forces that did (Peterborough, Windsor, and Sudbury) indicated that there would be significant fees for their data with one coming back with an estimate of $24,460. Four other police forces (OPP, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Quebec City, and Longueuil) flatly refused to release any information. The refusal of the OPP was especially concerning as it maintains the Firearms Tracing and Enforcement database (FATE), which logs the results of all trace requests by police services in Ontario.

Nam Kiwanyuka

Nam Kiwanuka is the winner of this year’s Ryerson University Angela James Alumni Award. The university’s annual Viola Desmond Awards recognize the contributions of outstanding Black Canadian women from Ryerson and the greater Toronto community. Kiwanuka is a former MuchMusic VJ, who has been with TVO since 2015 as a reporter and fill-in anchor on The Agenda.

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) 2020 biennial convention will be held in Toronto, May 29-31, where members from across the country from more than a dozen media companies (incl. APTN, The Canadian Press, CBC/Radio-Canada, Thomson Reuters, TFO, TVO, Vice, ZoomerMedia, CBC/Radio-Canada Freelance Branch) gather to review union priorities and set CMG’s direction for the next two years. To be a candidate in the delegate elections, members are asked to submit their names to their Location Unit or Branch. Each Location Unit or Branch may also send additional non-voting delegates (observers).


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