Amanda Kline has been named the new weekend anchor for CTV Montreal, following the departure of Annie DeMelt in January to join the communications department at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Kline has been with the station since 2016 and has held roles from covering the National Assembly to the assignment desk. Before joining CTV, she was a reporter/producer at CJAD 800.
Waubgeshig Rice is leaving CBC after 14 years with the public broadcaster and the last two as host of Up North, CBC Radio One’s regional afternoon show in Northern Ontario. Rice will be pursuing other projects, including writing. His last day on air will be May 22.
Russell MacKenzie, who was most recently heard on 89.9 The Wave (CHNS-FM) Halifax and 95.1 CFCY Charlottetown, among other stations, is among a handful of employees laid off from Maritime Broadcasting Systems (MBS). Mackenzie had been with the station since 2013, much of that time hosting mornings and/or afternoons on FX101.9 (CHFX-FM) Halifax. 103.9 MAX FM (CFQM-FM) Moncton morning host Terry Parker, who had been with the station since 2011, and producer Nathan Simms are also casualties, as well as AVR 97.7 (CKEN-FM) Kentville, NS morning host Brian Symonds.
Olivia Mowatt, who has been with Global BC for the last 12 years, is leaving the network. Mowatt, who had worked as a writer and producer, is relocating to Prince Rupert, BC.
Telefilm Canada has welcomed two new members to its Executive Leadership Team: Jean Morin as Director, Information Technology and Marie-Eve Mainville as Director, Human Resources. Morin, a corporate transformation specialist, steps into a newly-created position previously held on an interim basis by Patrick Bédard, Director of Finance. Mainville, who has served in HR roles with Just for Laughs, GURUS Solutions and RodeoFX, replaces Stella Riggi, who has left the organization after more than 20 years as Director of Human Resources.
Martin Carrier has been named Senior Vice-President, Business Development of MELS. Carrier was most recently president and CEO of video game and multimedia production studio, Frima and a former studio head at Warner Bros. Games in Montreal. He’ll take over from Michel Trudel as President of MELS on Jan. 1, 2021, when Trudel’s contract concludes. Denis Rozon will continue as Vice-President, Production, Operations and Technology of TVA Group and Chief Operating Officer of MELS.
John Gattens is retiring from Canadian Broadcast Sales (CBS) in Vancouver, effective May 1. Gattens has been with CBS for the past 36 years and in radio for four decades. He began his radio career with CHQT Edmonton in 1980 and then CFAX Victoria, before joining Western Broadcast Sales as a national rep in 1984. Western evolved into United Broadcast Sales in 1987 and eventually Canadian Broadcast Sales in 1993. Over the years, Gattens has also served on the advisory boards of BCIT and Vancouver Community College.
RADIO & PODCAST:
CBC has earned the Broadcaster of the Year Award at the New York Festivals Radio Awards, recognizing podcasts, audiobooks, dramas, documentaries, breaking news coverage and entertainment and music specials created by storytellers around the globe. Among the CBC’s Gold award-winning entries were CBC Podcasts’ Tai Asks Why, Uncover: The Village, Alone: A Love Story – Season 3, The Band Played On and PlayMe. CBC investigative podcast Hunting Warhead, a co-production with Norwegian newspaper VG that delves into the world of online child abuse, was also recognized with a prestigious Grand Award for Best Investigative Reporting. Hunting Warhead also won Best Serialized Podcast. Among other CBC programming recognized was Cross Country Checkup’s coverage of the final report of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry; Q host Tom Power’s interview with Margaret Atwood; and CBC Vancouver profile, Eleanor Collins at 100.
Jazz.fm.91 (CJRT-FM) Toronto won Gold at the New York Festivals Radio Awards for its documentary Journey to Jazz and Human Rights. Hosted by Alana Bridgewater, the documentary looks at how music and the men and women who made music laid claim to human rights around the world. Funding for the series was provided by the Maytree Foundation. An expansion of the documentary project is currently being developed as an education template for schools. Read more here.
The Banff World Media Festival’s Rockie Awards nominations are out which for the first time include a Podcast category. Up for Podcast of the Year are CBC Kids’ podcast The Story Store; CBC/Verdens Gang investigative collaboration Hunting Warhead; This Sounds Serious from Vancouver’s Kelly&Kelly; Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation (Audible) and Wondery’s Confronting: O.J. Simpson.
CTV has launched the CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme podcast. New episodes will be made available every weeknight immediately following the televised edition of the network’s flagship evening newscast. Led by LaFlamme, CTV Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor, the podcast features daily reports from CTV News correspondents and promises to keep listeners up-to-date on the most significant stories unfolding both in Canada and internationally.
News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver and 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto have temporarily picked up All News Radio, a live news program produced and anchored out of 660 News (CFFR-AM) Calgary that airs overnight on Rogers’ “green brand” stations 660 News, 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener, 1310 News (CIWW-AM) Ottawa and News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax. Rogers initially launched All News Radio in February. Vancouver is airing the show midnight to 5 a.m. daily, while Toronto is only picking up the show on weekend overnights.
Brooke & Jeffrey, formerly known as Brooke & Jubal, is no longer airing in the morning time slot on 92.5 The CHUCK (CKNG-FM) Edmonton. Corus Radio has yet to announce a new morning show. The syndicated Brooke & Jeffrey, which originates out of MOViN 92.5 (KQMV-FM) Seattle, is continuing to air on JUMP! 106.9 (CKQB-FM) Ottawa and Energy 95.3 (CING-FM), serving Hamilton and Greater Toronto.
Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) Vancouver’s Willy in the Morning will air a 12-hour show Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., in honour of all healthcare heroes working long hours to protect those in need. Broadcasting live for the full duration of a typical hospital shift, the morning show trio of Willy, Kim and Alece are encouraging healthcare workers to request songs and share their stories on the show. Friends and family members of healthcare workers are also welcome to dedicate songs of support for their loved ones. Derringer in the Morning on sister station Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto will similarly broadcast a live, 12-hour, request show in support of healthcare heroes from 6.a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. In Ottawa, boom 99.7 (CJOT-FM) will broadcast a show with hosts Tim and Colleen on Monday, Apr. 27.
StokeFM, the not-for-profit community radio station in Revelstoke, BC, has raised over $10,000 to stay on-air. The independent station, which has no campus or organizational affiliation, organized a March GoFundMe fundraiser to stay afloat in order to meet the station’s basic needs like paying rent.
iHeartRadio’s CHUM 104.5 Toronto is launching new segments, contests, and programming and adjusting the length of its morning show in response to COVID-19. Marilyn Denis & Jamar has been extended one hour from 5 – 10 a.m. The station has also introduced the CHUM Listener Benefit Program, a new online and on-air contest that gives listeners the chance to win daily prizes of $200 and be entered into a grand prize draw of $10,000. Also new is “Hey We’re Open” – a feature where local businesses are encouraged to call in and promote how they’re operating during this time. Additionally, Fridays at 8 p.m., Jamar McNeil is hosting two-hour live DJ set, JAMAR’S HOUSE PARTY, on CHUM 104.5 and CHUM 104.5’s Instagram.
iHeartRadio stations in Nova Scotia have been recognizing people in the community who are going above and beyond to help others. C100, Virgin Radio Halifax, 100.9 BIG DOG, and Pure Country 99.5 are asking listeners to nominate heroes for on-air shout outs to let them know how much their work is appreciated. C100 and Virgin Radio Halifax have also launched Feed The Need, a charitable campaign encouraging listeners to donate to Feed Nova Scotia. Similar to Nova Scotia, iHeartRadio stations in New Brunswick have launched several campaigns to highlight their community heroes, including The Fox 105.3’s Everyday Champions, and 106.9 Capital FM, K93, CJ104, MAX 104.9, and Pure Country 103.5’s Everyday Heroes campaigns. They’re also highlighting the many businesses still open with Buy Local webpages on iHeartRadio.ca.
Sonos has launched Sonos Radio, a free, ad-supported streaming radio experience, available to customers worldwide. Complementing the 100+ streaming options available on Sonos, the new service brings together more than 60,000 stations from multiple streaming partners including internet radio services like TuneIn and iHeartRadio. Ad-free artist stations feature current influences and inspirations, starting with a personal station from Thom Yorke and artist curated stations from Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, David Byrne, and Third Man Records to debut in the coming weeks. Customers can listen worldwide via the Sonos app. Sonos original programming will be available in Canada, the U.S., UK, Ireland, and Australia.
StatsRadio has reviewed listener data looking at the impact self isolation has had on tuning, finding that while most people are no longer commuting, they’re still listening. Aggregating listener data (18+) for all 65 of the audience measurement startup’s stations in Québec, Ontario and New Brunswick, across all regions and formats, StatsRadio says overall there was an increase in reach of over 1% and overall tuning was down less than 1%. Three-quarters of stations saw an average increase in listeners of 15%, while the others saw a decrease of less than 10%. Half of the stations saw an increase in tuning of approximately 8%, the other half experienced a decrease of roughly 14%.
FEATURE: David Bray looks at some of the Numeris radio tuning data for March, which suggests 95% of weekly reach in February was retained. Conversely, the average time spent listening per day A18+ is greater in March than the two months that preceded it, showing growth in both the A18-24 and A25-34 demos. From Feb. 24 to Mar. 30, at home listening to AM/FM increased 29%. Read more here.
LISTEN: On this week’s Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill explores radio’s response to the weekend tragedy in rural Nova Scotia that’s now claimed 23 lives. Stingray Radio’s rock stations are specifically highlighted, including Q104 Halifax, K-Rock in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and C103 Moncton, NB.
LISTEN: The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Radio, Television and Broadcast News program, is among the post-secondary broadcast courses that found itself quickly transitioning online last month. Television instructor and industry veteran Lisa MacDonald and student Hannah Lepine join us on the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to talk about the new virtual reality that’s been thrust upon journalism as the Class of 2020 prepares to enter the industry in an uncertain time.
CHOM 97.7 Montreal announcers, including Terry DiMonte, Randy Renaud, Sharon Hyland, Pierre Landry, Bilal Butt, Jason Rockman, Pete Marier, Hal Jaques, Esteban Vargas, Mathew Wood, and others are keeping the Spirit of Rock alive virtually, showcasing their talents in a socially-distanced rendition of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down, released on social media.
We won’t back down! No, we won’t back down! Ft. @TerryDiMonte, @randyrenaudchom, @buttshow, @jasonrockmansod, @TheSharonHyland, Pete Marier, Hal Jaques, @PierreLandry, @EstebanWasEaten, Mathew Wood, @MaccaJess, and @funkodactyl pic.twitter.com/u7n91rOCzD
— CHOM 97 7 Montreal (@CHOM977) April 16, 2020
Brian Langston, Apr. 17 of ALS. Langston started his career as an announcer, working at stations in Red Deer, Vancouver and Quesnel, before landing the GM/GSM role at CINL Princeton, BC in 1980. He went on to hold the same role at CHQB Powell River and CFWB/CJGR Campbell River, before heading to North Wales to head up a five-station network for the Marcher Radio Group in 1999. He returned to Vancouver two years later and worked in broadcast software sales, holding roles at Iris Ink/MT&T, Finale Editworks, and Canadian Time Systems. Langston returned to radio in 2005 as GM/GSM for the Bell Media BC North cluster, based in Terrace, managing EZ Rock (CFTK-AM), CJFW-FM and CFTK-TV for a decade. After four decades in radio, he retired last fall as GM/GSM at 104.7 Heart FM (CIHR-FM) Woodstock, ON, following his ALS diagnosis.
Robin Seymour, 94, Apr. 17, of a heart attack in San Antonio, TX. Seymour, who was born in Detroit, began his radio career as a child actor on The Lone Ranger Show. After a stint with Armed Forces Radio during WWII, he joined WKMH Dearborn as a DJ. He was the station’s most popular personality with his “Bobbin’ with Robin” show featuring a mix of music spanning R&B, pop, and early rock, paving the way for the Top 40 format. He was named Disc Jockey of the Year in 1953 by Billboard and received a similar honour in 1954 from Hit Parade. An organizer of sock hops in the area, Seymour went on to host “Teen Town”, a TV show similar to American Bandstand in the 1960s that visited local high schools. The show was picked up by CKLW-TV Windsor in 1965 and redubbed “Swingin’ Time” featuring Motown acts like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. After 18 years, Seymour left the station to devote himself to Swingin’ Time full-time and went on to host a radio show on CKLW AM800. He left the Detroit/Windsor area in 1980 and moved to L.A. where he ran a video production company. Seymour published a book last fall called The DJ That Launched 1,000 Hits: The Story of Robin Seymour.
Johnny Williams, 78, on Apr. 16, in Dearborn, MI, of complications from COVID-19. Williams, whose real name was Tom DeAngelo, is best known as a CKLW Windsor personality from 1968-83. He went on to replace Alan Almond on WNIC Dearborn’s late show “Pillow Talk.” In the 1990s, he was one of the first DJs to make the transition to Sirius satellite radio as a programmer and voice talent. In more recent years, he’d hosted a show on OTT service, XUMO.
Carol Thorbes, 63, on Apr. 14. Thorbes started her radio career as the all night/evening DJ at CKEG Nanaimo in 1981, followed by similar stints at CJVI Victoria, and CKIQ Kelowna. In 1984, she made the move into news, first at CJVI and then as an anchor and reporter at CFAX Victoria and CKWX Vancouver. She joined CBC Vancouver in 1991 where she spent the next eight years. In 1998, Thorbes made a move into communications and went on to work as an information officer for Simon Fraser University for 16 years. She made a brief foray back into radio as a talk show host on Vancouver independent station Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM) in 2015.
Doug Franks, 79, on Apr. 13 at Royal Columbian Hospital. Franks started his career at CBC Vancouver as a cameraman, before going to work at CHCH Hamilton for many years. He eventually returned to Vancouver to join BCTV (now Global) and later turned to freelance documentary work. Toward the end of his career, he worked as both a Field Rep for IASTE 669 and taught film at BCIT.
William (Bill) Kuziw, 84, on Apr.12. Kuziw was a studio cameraman at CFRN-TV Edmonton before he joined CBC-TV Edmonton (CBXT) in Studio 2 in the late 1960s. During his career with CBC, he held roles including Studio Technician, Film Sound Recordist, and ENG editor. He worked as a camera operator during the Montreal Summer Olympics in 1976, among other big productions, including travelling the country working on Stompin’ Tom’s Canada, which aired in 1974-75. Kuziw would go on to marry CBC production and script assistant Sylvia Gerke and in retirement they travelled the world, visiting every continent including Antarctica.
Marke Raines, 93, suddenly on Apr. 10 at his home in Toronto. Born in Calgary, Raines began his broadcasting career as a continuity writer at CJCJ Calgary in 1945 and moved on to news reporting. In 1951, he moved to Vancouver and began working as a copywriter and announcer at CKMO. He joined CKNW in 1952 and became the station’s first beat reporter. On weekends, he co-hosted weekly comedy show, Just for Fun, with Warren Barker. In 1964, Raines moved to CJOR to host open line public affairs show, Pipeline, moving the show to CHAN-TV a year later and then returning to CJOR in 1968. He also started hosting nightly news show Night Beat on CHAN-TV, which became News Hour Final and continued through the station’s rebrand to BCTV. In 1974, Raines successfully ran as the Liberal Party candidate in Burnaby-Seymour and served five years as an MP in the Trudeau government. During his term, he was a member of the Standing Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts and an ardent critic of how the CBC was funded. He was appointed to the CRTC in 1981 and served a five-year term.
FILM & TV:
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced the full list of nominees for the 2020 Rockie Awards International Program Competition, recognizing excellence in television and digital media from around the world. In addition to the $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content, awarded to the top Canadian production, 26 awards are handed out in the category streams of Documentary & Factual, Arts & Entertainment, Children & Youth, Scripted and new this year – Podcast. Leading nominations by company are: BBC – 27 nominations; CBC –13 nominations; Sky – 8 nominations; National Geographic – 6 nominations; HBO – 5 nominations; and ARTE France and Yle – 4 nominations each. The Rockies Program Competition ceremony will stream live Monday, June 15.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has released new numbers suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to negatively impact the country’s film and television production sector by putting as much as $2.5 billion in foreign and domestic location production at risk. Based on historical CMPA economic data and a list of current and forthcoming productions from the CMPA, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) and Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the report says a production shutdown lasting from mid-March until the end of June will impact between 73,000 and 81,000 cast and crew, and up to 172,000 spin-off jobs across the country. Prepared by Nordicity, the report cautions that the effect of the production shutdown will likely exceed estimates. Read more here.
ThinkTV’s latest audience data analysis says Canadians are continuing to turn to TV as they face more time isolating at home. The latest data for the week of Mar. 30 shows a 13% increase in hours tuned (Canadians 2+) compared to the same week last year, with kids 2-11 showing the second biggest growth with a 17% increase. The largest increases are seen during daytime – up 29% for Adults 25-54 – and early evening, which is up 22%. ThinkTV says it’s worth noting that kids’ TV viewing is up 19%, with kids specialty TV channels seeing growth of 28% compared to the same week last year.
Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble, Sunday’s star-studded special benefitting Food Banks Canada, will be carried on 120 platforms spanning radio, TV, online, and On Demand, thanks to the participation of more broadcasters. The all-Canadian broadcast event has been extended from an hour to 90-minutes and will now air 30 minutes earlier at 6:30 p.m. across all markets (7 p.m. NT) on Apr. 26. Ten additional broadcasters have signed on, joining Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, Groupe V Média, and Rogers Sports & Media to present the commercial-free broadcast. ATN, APTN, Blue Ant Media, Wild Brain, Hollywood Suite, NTV, OUTtv, Stingray, Super Channel, and Unis TV are now participating, as well as more than four dozen new radio stations including Bell Media’s EZ Rock and participating Arctic Radio, Blackburn, First Peoples Radio, Harvard, Pattison, Rawlco, Stingray, and Vista stations. Featuring a mix of music and messages, among the talent slated to perform or appear are Bryan Adams, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Céline Dion, Eric McCormack, David Suzuki, Hayley Wickenheiser, Howie Mandel, Jann Arden, Jason Priestley, Rick Mercer, Russell Peters, Sarah McLachlan, Shania Twain, Tessa Virtue, Will Arnett, and others. Read more here.
Cable 14 in Hamilton, ON was in the midst of celebrating its 50th Anniversary Broadcast Season when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the celebrations. Almost immediately, the local community channel closed its production facilities, implemented work-from-home strategies for staff, and suspended all regular production. At the same time, senior management realized that the channel, owned and operated by Cogeco and Rogers, had a vital role to play in helping to communicate federal, provincial and municipal information designed to keep residents safe during this time. Working together, Cable 14 and the City of Hamilton consulted on a communications strategy to help produce regular live broadcasts of City media briefings and the creation of a weekly live town hall broadcast. Those meetings are now also being simulcast by a local radio station and provided to the traditional local over-the-air broadcaster for news highlights. Read more here.
CBC will provide a national television and streaming broadcast of community vigil Nova Scotia Remembers on Friday, Apr. 24 at 6 p.m. ET (7 AT, 7:30 NT) on CBC News Network, CBC Gem, cbcnews.ca and the CBC News app, and on CBC TV and CBC Radio in Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The CBC News special will be hosted on TV and streaming platforms by CBC Nova Scotia’s Tom Murphy, and on radio by CBC Nova Scotia’s Jeff Douglas. The locally organized virtual vigil will pay tribute to the victims and offer support to affected families, including musical tributes and messages of support from dignitaries and other figures with a special connection to Nova Scotia.
Schitt’s Creek concluded its six-season run Apr. 7 as the highest-rated Canadian comedy series for the 2019-20 broadcast season, according to Numeris data supplied by CBC. The series finale “Happy Ending” on CBC TV was also the most-watched Canadian comedy episode of the 2019-20 season with an average audience of 1.23 million including 572,000 viewers aged 25-54, the largest audience ever in this demo in the series’ history. Following the finale, the one-hour special Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell drew an average audience of 868,000 on CBC TV. On the public broadcaster’s CBC Gem streaming service, Schitt’s Creek was the most-watched show for the week of Apr. 5-11 accounting for seven of the top 10 on-demand episodes, with the finale and special ranking at #1 and #2, respectively.
Anne with an E fans aren’t giving up their campaign fighting for renewal of the cancelled CBC/Netflix co-production. As recently as last weekend, fans had #cbcisoverparty trending in Canada. They’ve also been inundating the comments on CBC News stories and swarmed this week’s Netflix earnings call on YouTube. A petition on change.org has drawn more than 285,000 signatures. In light of the fan effort, the public broadcaster has issued a new statement reaffirming that the L.M. Montgomery adaptation won’t be renewed: “CBC and Netflix have been thrilled to bring the quintessentially Canadian story of Anne with an E to viewers around the world. We’re thankful to producers Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier and to the talented cast and crew for their incredible work in sharing Anne’s story with a new generation. We hope fans of the show love this final season as much as we do, and that it brings a satisfying conclusion to Anne’s journey. And while we appreciate the outpouring of support from fans of the show, Netflix and CBC agreed that season three of Anne with an E would be the last one.”
Thunderbird Entertainment Group animated series, The Last Kids on Earth, saw its Season 2 premiere Apr. 17 on Netflix. Produced by Atomic Cartoons, Thunderbird’s kids and family division, the second season consists of 10 new episodes that will stream in 28 languages in 190 countries. Based on the best-selling book series of the same name by Max Brallier, the series follows 13-year-old Jack Sullivan and a band of suburban middle schoolers who live in a decked-out tree house, play video games, gorge themselves on candy, and battle zombies in the aftermath of the monster apocalypse. The star-studded voice cast expands in the new season, including Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, Catherine O’Hara, Keith David, Bruce Campbell, Garland Whitt, Montse Hernandez and Charles Demers, in addition to Nick Wolfhard as the voice of lead character Jack Sullivan. The series has also spawned a global toy and merchandise line, developed with JAKKS Pacific Inc. and Cyber Group Studios, that launched online and at select retailers earlier this year. Retail chain Hot Topic also recently debuted a “print-on-demand” t-shirt line. Thunderbird is in production with Outright Games on a video game based on the intellectual property (IP), scheduled to debut in 2021.
Wayne Gretzky will join Ron MacLean to relive some of the biggest games in Stanley Cup Finals history. Along with other special guests, The Great One will share stories and memories during NHL Classics: Special Edition this Saturday, Apr. 25 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW, and on radio on Sportsnet 590 The FAN (Toronto), Sportsnet 960 The FAN (Calgary), and Sportsnet 650 (Vancouver). Part II airs next Saturday, May 2. Part of Sportsnet’s NHL Classics: Best of Seven Series, the network is bringing hockey fans back in time to relive the country’s most unforgettable best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series, featuring every Canadian team, through May 9.
TSN is reliving some of the most memorable bonspiels in recent history with Curling Encore Sundays, highlighting dramatic finishes from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Tim Hortons Brier, Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, and World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships. The upcoming broadcast schedule includes Ron Burgundy joining the TSN Curling broadcast crew for the opening game of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings and a tribute to celebrated curler Jennifer Jones.
hayu, the all-reality, ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, is now available to Rogers Ignite TV customers. Subscribers will have access to hayu’s full catalogue of over 7,000 episodes of reality TV, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of New York, Top Chef and highly anticipated documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project. The majority of shows are available on hayu the same day they premiere on TV. Until May 21, Ignite TV customers that sign up for hayu will receive the first two months free.
Hollywood Suite is now being offered to Cogeco customers in Quebec, including its four HD channels of curated, commercial-free movies, as well as Hollywood Suite On Demand, and the Hollywood Suite GO streaming app. Joining Cogeco’s Ontario TV markets, Hollywood Suite will now be available in Quebec on channels 705–708 (TiVO & Legacy). Quebec subscribers can check out the channel on 30-day free preview until May 21.
Toon-A-Vision has partnered with Cogeco to make the channel available free to all Cogeco customers. As of Apr. 22, Toon-A-Vision is available on channel 729. Its programming is divided into three age segments, The Lagoon (ages 2-6), EH Vast (ages 6-12) and T@Night (age 12+). It carries popular shows including Talking Tom, YuGiOh! and Horrid Henry, in addition to originals like Bat Pat, Ghosts of Time, My Goldfish is Evil, ABC Monsters and Mia the Mouse. Toon-A-Vision, which launched in Fall 2018, is headquartered in Dartmouth, NS.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Netflix added nearly 16 million subscribers in the first three months of the year as sheltering-in-place orders took hold in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. In its latest quarterly earnings report, Netflix revealed it more than doubled the quarterly growth predicted in January, recording the biggest three-month gain in the streaming service’s 13-year history. The numbers buck a growth slowdown trend that had emerged in North America over the past year. Netflix added 2.3 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada in Q1, up from 1.9 million year-over-year. With Canada representing about 10% of the streaming service’s North American subscriber base, it’s estimated Canadian adds in the quarter amounted to 230,000.
CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts have announced the creation of Digital Originals, a new time-limited funding initiative to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work to online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will directly benefit creators of original digital content. The Canada Council will provide a total of $1 million in funding to successful applicants to develop, create and share original or adapted works with Canadian audiences online. CBC/Radio-Canada will amplify the discoverability of select projects on one or more of its platforms. Creators can apply for a maximum $5,000 per project with about 200 projects to be funded. CBC Arts has also launched Art Uncontained, a collection of new original content including: CBC Podcasts’ PlayME: The Show Must Go On, featuring adaptations from Canadian playwrights whose projects have been disrupted by the pandemic; COVID Residencies, video diaries from artists sharing how isolation has affected their art; Scenes From An Exhibition, offering virtual tours of Canada’s finest galleries and museums; CBC Music’s Quarantunes, highlighting Canadian music created in isolation; and weekly virtual arts listings to help people explore culture from home.
Media Central Corporation has announced the beta-launch of its newest platform, ECentralSports.com, a digital destination for eGaming and eSports news, information and culture. Leveraging its Toronto and Vancouver properties, NOW Magazine and Georgia Straight, ECentralSports will tap into a global market that Media Central says in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has experienced exponential growth. MediaCentral says it’s begun testing Esports content on both NOW and the Straight with positive traction, resulting in a 37% increase in user session length on eSports content, a 10.5% improved click-through on newsletters containing eSports content and 8.5% above average pageviews. ECentralSports, which is slated to go live in May, is the second original digital platform from MediaCentral following the 2019 fall launch of Canncentral.com, a digital cannabis lifestyle publication.
Project Pandemic: Canada Reports on COVID-19 is a data journalism initiative being led by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University, supported by the Canadian Association of Journalists and Esri Canada. With an eye to providing newsrooms free access to regional and national data, live maps and other tools, the consortium has partnered with Flatten.ca, a web tool launched by engineering students at the University of Toronto. To be used in conjunction with public health agency data, 10 student reporters have been hired from partner universities to support the project. Its first phase is focused on the toll COVID-19 is having on frontline caregivers.
Michael Landsberg has launched daily digital talk show Isolation Nation with Michael Landsberg. The show is streaming weekdays at 5 p.m. ET across the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels of SickNotWeak, Landsberg’s mental health advocacy organization. Going forward, 30-minute episodes are available featuring Landsberg and guests from the medical, sports, and entertainment world talking about the unique struggles of dealing with mental health issues in the face of the COVID-19 health, economic and social crisis.
Bardown Hockey Talk presented by Old Spice is now live on the TSN digital brand’s official Instagram account weekdays at 8 p.m. ET. The show features the BarDown squad chatting on everything from hockey nicknames, favourite jerseys across the NHL, how to keep busy in isolation, and answering fan questions. The live, weeknight talk show is highlighted by a slate of star quarantine guests from Hall of Famers to up-and-coming NHLers, including Colorado Avalanche rookie sensation Cale Makar, veteran forward Nazem Kadri, and 2019 Stanley Cup champions and St. Louis Blues teammates Jordan Binnington and Robert Thomas, among others.
Stay At Home Heroes, in partnership with Mann Casting and eBoss Canada and supported by ACTRA Toronto, are presenting the Canadian Isolation Short Film Festival. The festival is encouraging Canadians to submit a short “at-home” video as an expression of their own experiences in isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. The platform invites any Canadian citizen to shoot a short film (3 minutes max) on a tablet or smartphone and submit it by May 6. The entries will then go to a panel of judges who will choose a winner to be announced during a May 9 livestream. Launched in March as a response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call to action to help “plank the curve”, Stay at Home Heroes was created to provide content to Canadians that motivates and provides information on how to self-isolate, stay healthy, and maintain social and physical distancing.
APTN lumi, APTN’s streaming platform, is offering free edutainment for children of all ages until May 31. Viewers can access commercial-free programming and authentic Indigenous content for children at no cost through a basic membership. Children can follow the adventures of Teepee in Mi’kmaq, English or French as he discovers the world one new adventure at a time, or check out Tshakapesh Superhero, and watch their favourite mythical character fight epic battles against dark forces using his powers and sharp wit – all in the Innu language.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
The Government of Canada has released draft legislative proposals that would make adjustments to the Canadian journalism labour tax credit and digital news subscription tax credit. The changes include allowing news publishers and media organizations that receive support through the Aid to Publishers grant of the Canada Periodical Fund to qualify for the tax credit. The requirement would also be removed that qualified Canadian journalism organizations be “primarily” engaged in the production of original news content and not be significantly engaged in the production of content to promote goods or services. Newsroom employees eligible for the labour tax credit would need to spend at least 75% of their time engaged in the production of original written news content. Additionally, the proposed changes clarify that licensed broadcast undertakings like radio and TV remain ineligible for the Canadian journalism labour tax credit, while not excluding organizations carrying on broadcasting undertakings that do not require a license, such as a podcast or a small amount of broadcast content available on its website. The changes would apply retroactively to the coming into force dates of each of the journalism tax measures announced in Budget 2019.
Rogers Communications has announced financial and operating results for the first quarter ended Mar. 31. Total revenue decreased by 5% this quarter, largely driven by a 17% decrease in Wireless equipment revenue, and lower subscriber activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a 3% decrease in total service revenue. A 2% decrease in Wireless service revenue decrease was primarily a result of lower roaming and overage revenue. Media revenue decreased by 12% primarily as a result of lower advertising and sports revenue, including the Toronto Blue Jays, due to the impact of COVID-19 and the mid-March suspension of major sports leagues. Cable revenue was stable this quarter, as declines in legacy television and home phone subscriber bases were offset by growth in Internet and Ignite TV subscriptions. Rogers says it continued to generate substantial cash flow from operating activities of $959 million, down 4%, and free cash flow of $462 million, up 14%. As of Mar. 31, the company had $3.8 billion of available liquidity, including $1.9 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
Videotron is extending removal of data limits on its customers’ residential and business internet plans until June 30. It will also continue to cancel roaming rates for travelers outside of Canada until the end of June. The company says support on a case-by-case basis is available for clients experiencing payment difficulties.
Bell is donating approximately 1.5 million protective face masks to help equip more healthcare and other frontline public workers in the fight against COVID-19. The N95 and KN95 masks are being donated to federal, provincial and territorial governments for distribution in every region of the country. Leveraging its global procurement network to source personal protective equipment (PPE) for its own team members doing critical communications work, Bell was able to acquire an additional 1.5 million high-quality masks, valued at approximately $7.5 million, through multiple logistics partners.
The EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship has extended its application deadline for the 2020 program to Sept. 30. The study tour will be rescheduled for 2021, subject to change pending the removal of the current travel restrictions in Europe and Canada. Since 2001, three candidates have been selected every year to participate in a weeklong study tour to experience the EU institutions, the Canadian Mission to the EU, and media outlets in Brussels. Winners will also attend the daily European Commission press briefing. All expenses are paid for by the European Union Delegation to Canada. The fellowship is open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, ages 18-30, actively enrolled in a Canadian university/post-secondary institution or active in the field of journalism.
Torstar Corporation has struck an agreement with Madwire, LLC, the Colorado-based software company behind the Marketing 360 platform, to be the exclusive Canadian partner for its sales and marketing software. Under the agreement, Torstar will have exclusive access to Madwire’s proprietary Marketing 360 software and Madwire’s marketing capabilities across Canada. The partnership will allow Torstar to expand the suite of products that it offers to its approximately 30,000 small- and medium-size business clients. The agreement is the latest in a series of transformation initiatives at Torstar targeted at improving and launching digital products for consumers and clients, supported by investments in new digital platforms and partnerships.
Norsat has announced the launch of a new satellite antenna in its Wayfarer series of portable and easy-to-deploy commercial terminals. The new 1.2-meter auto-pointing, fly-away antenna (WFA120KA) is a fast-deploying, compact SATCOM VSAT that is airline checkable. It’s the first Ka-band satellite terminal in the Wayfarer series with applications for remote enterprise, energy, emergency and media.
DVB, an industry consortium that develops open, interoperable technical specifications for the delivery of digital media and broadcast services, has made a new open source reference client for DVB-I available. The source code is provided via DVB’s GitHub account. Developed in collaboration with Sofia Digital, anyone interested in DVB-I can look at the source code and potentially reuse parts of it in their own experiments, trials, and developments. The second phase of development for the DVB-I reference client is now underway which will add consumer TV features like parental access control.