Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Ky Joseph

Ky Joseph, EVP of Sales for Evanov Broadcasting, is leaving the company, effective May 29. Joseph has been with Evanov for 26 years and worked closely with company founder Bill Evanov, who passed away in late February. Joseph, a shareholder in the company, says she and Evanov have amicably decided to part ways. Evanov says its Executive Management Team will oversee the restructuring of its Sales branch in the coming months under the leadership of Paul Evanov and Kristina Evanov

Rachel Curran

Rachel Curran has joined the Facebook Canada public policy team. Curran, a lawyer by training, is a frequent guest on CBC’s Power & Politics panel and served as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Director of Policy from 2011-15. She also lectures at Carleton University in the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management.

Laura Geddes has joined Virgin Radio (CIQM-FM) London as co-host of its new morning show, Jeff & Laura with Backstage Ben, weekdays from 5:30-9:30 a.m. ET. Heidi Baiden, Program Director for Virgin Radio London, previously worked with Geddes at Virgin Radio (CFCA-FM) Kitchener-Waterloo where she was afternoon host. Geddes has also been on-air at Blackburn Radio’s stations in Wingham, ON, among other stops.

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson has joined Jasmin, “the world’s first
webcamming site exclusively dedicated to connecting users with lifestyle, relationship, and sex positivity influencers,” as its Creative Director. An offshoot of adult webcamming site
LiveJasmin, which boasts 50 million daily visitors, Anderson will host regular virtual conversations with experts in the fields of relationships, intimacy, and sex positivity, and work with Jasmin’s executive team on new initiatives designed to enhance user experience. The company says Jasmin’s genesis is the result of an internal study of LiveJasmin users revealing that 70% of webcam visitors were only having conversations with the site’s models to alleviate loneliness, rather than engage in sexual activity.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Canada Post issued a new stamp series Wednesday to mark the 100th anniversary of radio in Canada. The stamp issue coincides with the anniversary of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada’s test of station XWA or “Experimental Wireless Apparatus” on May 20, 1920. The test marked the first Canadian radio broadcast to a Royal Society of Canada gathering at Ottawa’s Château Laurier. The closed broadcast included a live performance by soprano Dorothy Lutton, delivered from the Marconi factory studios in Montréal. Later that year, XWA (which had received the first Canadian experimental radio licence in 1919) changed its call letters to CFCF – for Canada’s First, Canada’s Finest. The stamp design features a vintage microphone with the XWA call letters, a horned-speaker and radio box, and retro headphones. Read more here.

Audience Insights Inc., the company behind the Canadian Podcast Listener survey, among other offerings, is rebranding as Signal Hill Insights. President Jeff Vidler says the rebrand reflects a clearer focus on all things audio, building on the work the company has been doing on the advertising side for podcasts and radio, and brand lift studies for Pacific Content, WNYC, The Atlantic, and Westwood One. Radio Connects’ Radio on the Move 2020 Webinar this Thursday, which will be facilitated by Vidler, marks the public debut of the new brand. 

Stingray has proceeded with its plans to air syndicated morning show The Breakfast Club on Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM) Toronto, which were temporarily halted by COVID-19. The move to transition to the syndicated show, which originates from New York City hip-hop and R&B station, Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM), was originally set for Mar. 16. Peter Kash and Blake Carter stepped in amidst the unfolding pandemic up until this past Monday. They’ve now returned to afternoons.

CRTCThe CRTC has denied Rogers’ request for a power increase for KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) Toronto. The commission found that Rogers did not establish compelling technical need for the signal boost, citing that negative impacts on listenership were in the eastern and western regions of Toronto, outside of CKIS-FM’s primary service contour. The CRTC says 67% of listener-submitted complaints about signal reception originated from locations outside that primary service contour. Moreover, the commission says any radio station is subject to a certain degree of signal reception issues within its primary service contours, especially in a dense urban area like central Toronto. 

Radio-Canada is supporting local artists by presenting Le petit Festival ICI MUSIQUE through June 4. The at-home festival will include performances by local artists, the unveiling of the new season of Révélations Radio-Canada, themed evenings with Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Orchester Métropolitain de Montréal) and Kent Nagano (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) and a series of concerts with musicians and musical ensembles from several regions of the country.

Radio-Canada Ontario and Groupe Média TFO are co-launching a writing challenge for Francophone high school grads, L’expérience 20/20, followed by a virtual celebration, Le bal (dé)masqué. The public broadcasters are inviting students to write their best speech for their school, with a selection to be featured during the June 19 virtual event. Both initiatives are supported by regional Francophone community media including L’Express de Toronto, Le goût de vivre, CINN-FM, Le Nord, CFRH 88,1-106,7, Le Voyageur et Tapage, Le Loup FM and 94,5 Unique FM.

CISN Country Edmonton will hold a contactless Drive-Thru Grad event May 22, hosted by Chris and Matt from CISN in the Morning. To be held in the station’s parking lot from 4–6 p.m. local time, grads are invited to wear their grad dress, suits or come-as-they-are to celebrate with the station and classmates. Grads will be treated to a red carpet experience, photos, prizes and more. 

Stephen Keppler

Stephen Keppler, the Kelowna DJ who made headlines in early April when he was featured on John Krasinski’s SGN (Some Good News), was thrilled to make his second appearance on the digital series this week. Keppler’s first appearance came about after Kraskinski picked up on the 101.5 EZ Rock (CILK-FM) afternoon drive announcer’s own take on SGN – #GoodNewsOkanagan – which went viral. Following the boost to his local celebrity that ensued, the 34-year-old was approached by SGN producers early last week to record another segment to be featured in a special “community” episode of the show. Read more here.

Joe Rogan

Spotify’s latest big get is The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts worldwide, which will go exclusive to the platform later this year, including the video version of the podcast which currently has 8.41 million subscribers on YouTube. To illustrate the JRE phenomenon, in the 2019 Canadian Podcast Listener survey, the Joe Rogan Experience delivered more than three times the monthly reach of the #2 podcast. Broadcast Dialogue’s in-house digital expert James Wallace equates the Rogan acquisition to Howard Stern’s 2006 move to SiriusXM. Read more here.  

Tom Green has launched his own podcast, streamed live on YouTube and completely self-operated (with predictable hilarity) from his home in Los Angeles. The webcast, which made its official debut Wednesday, featured clips from the Ottawa comic’s television and stand-up shows, unedited call-in on a vintage landline telephone (including calls from Moose Jaw and Quebec City), and music via Green’s drum machine and rap skills. Green, who should be on a stand-up tour right now, told viewers the pandemic has given him the time to fulfill a long-envisioned dream of having a fully self-opped “Webovision” home studio setup.

SiriusXM has announced that stars including Beck, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Maya Rudolph, Ricky Gervais, and Sharon Stone, will step in to guest DJ, playing their favourite songs and offering commentary on SiriusXM’s limited-run artist branded channels dedicated to David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait, Metallica, Prince and The Rolling Stones. Among the moments, Kenny Chesney looks back on being on the road with George Strait for two years and performing Ocean Front Property with him on his last show as a touring act in Texas; Naomi Campbell remembers meeting Prince for the first time when she was 17; and Ricky Gervais recalls seeing David Bowie performing Heroes on television and how it still sends chills down his spine when he hears the song. Find info on broadcast times here.

LISTEN: Tim Wieczorek, operations director at Ottawa’s Rebel 101.7 (CIDG-FM), is our guest on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, talking rock, radio, risk-taking, and weathering uncertainty as an independent. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

LISTEN: Evo Terra is the host of Podcast Pontifications, a short form podcast providing insights into the future of podcasting. Terra talks about how he went from filling in on KFYI in Phoenix, to satellite radio and then to podcasting. Matt Cundill also talks to Terra about his books including Podcasting for Dummies and The Beer Diet and Joe Rogan’s move to Spotify.

SIGN OFFS:

Jenn Casey

Capt. Jenn Casey, 35, on May 17, in Kamloops. Originally from Halifax, Casey was hired right out of the University of King’s College Journalism program in 2009 as a producer and lineup editor at Rogers’ News 95.7 (CJNI-FM). After four years there, she went on to work briefly as a reporter and anchor at Quinte Broadcasting’s stations in Belleville, ON before joining the Canadian Armed Forces as a public affairs officer in 2014. She had been with the Snowbirds since late 2018. Flying with the Snowbirds as part of Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour aimed at boosting the spirits of Canadians while they shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Casey’s family said in a statement that she died while “supporting an important mission that seemed to be designed for her.” Read one of the more personal tributes to Casey, penned by former News 95.7 colleague Meghan Groff, here.

Monique Mercure

Monique Mercure, 89, on May 17, of throat cancer. Over her six-decade career, Mercure starred in over 100 productions spanning film, TV and stage. She trained both in Paris at l’École Jacques-Lecoq and in Montreal at the Actor’s Studio, going on to star in at least 30 feature films, including Jean Beaudin’s J.A. Martin photographe, which earned her the award for Best Actress at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival and the Canadian Film Awards that year. She also starred in David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, which earned her a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress (1992). She later won a Best Supporting Actress honour in 1999 for her role in Conquest. Mercure was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977 and promoted to Companion in 1994. She received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, among other accolades.  

Ken McKissock

Ken McKissock, 72, on May 7 of cancer. Born in Ontario, McKissock moved to Vancouver and worked in the music industry before going on to a career in broadcast sales. McKissock worked at BCTV (now Global BC) where he was a salesman and sales manager, in addition to CFUN Vancouver. He went on to found advertising agency, AIM Communications, in 1992.

TV & FILM:

thinktv says television viewing continues to be significantly higher than pre-COVID-19 levels. Its latest data analysis reflecting the period from Mar. 16 – May 3, suggests Canadians are watching 25 hours of TV per week, two hours more than the ‘pre-COVID’ period (Ind. 2+). Although young adults (18-24) watch less TV than adults on average, their time spent has increased the most at 14%. The biggest audience growth has been during the daytime (up 27%) and in the evening (+15%). Primetime, which captures the highest absolute audience of any daypart, is down slightly but generally still holding steady despite the absence of live sports. 

Bell has completed its acquisition of French-language conventional TV network V and ad-supported VOD service Noovo.ca to its Bell Media division. Karine Moses, President, Bell Media Québec and Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec, is leading the Montréal-based team responsible for the day-to-day operations of V and Noovo.ca. Bell says the acquisition underscores Bell Media’s commitment to increase the production of original local content in Québec, and aligns with the reorganization of the company’s French-language original programming teams under Suzane Landry, Vice-President, French-Language Content Development and Programming. Landry has appointed Mélanie Bhérer as General Manager, Variety, Lifestyle, and Documentary, and Sophie Parizeau as General Manager, Fiction and Digital Content. V’s Brigitte Vincent has been named General Manager, Programming Strategies, Acquisitions and Commercialization. V Média owns and operates television stations in Montréal, Québec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières, and has affiliate stations in Gatineau, Rivière-du-Loup and Val-d’Or. 

Thunderbird Entertainment Group animated series Molly of Denali has been nominated for a prestigious Peabody Award. One of only two programs nominated in the Children’s & Youth Category, the series is co-produced by WGBH Boston and Thunderbird’s kids and family division Atomic Cartoons, for PBS KIDS and CBC Kids. Since its 2019 premiere, Molly of Denali has been widely acknowledged as the first nationally-distributed children’s series in the U.S. to feature an Indigenous lead character. It follows 10-year-old Molly Mabray, who has cultural heritage from three Athabascan groups (the Gwich’in, Koyukon and Dena’ina), as she and her friends explore their surroundings and Native culture. All Alaska Native characters portrayed on the ground-breaking series are voiced by Indigenous actors. In Canada, Molly of Denali airs Wednesday and Saturday mornings on CBC, and is available to stream on CBC Gem.

Global has announced the first round of new and returning series headlining its summer primetime lineup, starting with new comedic game show Game On!, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, beginning May 27, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. It pits two teams of three, captained by tennis champion Venus Williams and Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, alongside comedians Bobby Lee and Ian Karmel and rotating sports stars, comedians and celebrities, against each other in over-the-top physical challenges, absurd trivia, and epic field competitions. Tough As Nails, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning July 8, is a new 10-episode competition series from producer Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) celebrating everyday people who roll up their sleeves and don’t think twice about working long hours and getting their hands dirty. They’ll be tested for their strength, endurance, life skills and mental toughness in challenges that take place at real-world job sites. Dwayne Johnson’s The Titan Games is also back with 13 new episodes Mondays at 8 p.m. ET /PT, beginning May 25, with six world-renowned athletes competing against the everyday Titans.

Citytv and Citytv NOW’s summer schedule offers two new series, beginning this Thursday, May 21 at 9 p.m. ET. Eight-part reality series Labor of Love, hosted by Kristin Davis (Sex and the City), follows Kristy Katzmann, a successful career woman as she’s matched with 15 potential suitors who are ready to let their paternal sides shine. Then, Citytv invites audiences to relive The Bachelor franchise’s most dramatic seasons in 10-part The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!, premiering Monday, June 8. On May 26, new judge Sofia Vergara joins Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel, alongside host Terry Crews, for Season 15 of America’s Got Talent. Other returning shows include Celebrity Family Feud (May 31) and Press Your Luck (May 31). 

NBC has acquired CTV medical series Transplant, centered around a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who flees his country and struggles to build a new life in Canada. Starring Hamza Haq (Quantico), Laurence Leboeuf (The Disappearance), and John Hannah (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), the show was developed at CTV and is produced by Sphère Média Plus in association with CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios. NBCUniversal Global Distribution handles worldwide distribution for the series.

Canada’s Drag Race, Season 1, has announced the 12 Canadian “queens” who’ll compete to become Canada’s First Drag Superstar, accompanied by a $100,000 grand prize. A Crave Original Series, the streaming service will premiere the show July 2 with new episodes rolling out weekly, Thursday nights on Crave.ca and the Crave app. Presiding as judges are Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Stacey McKenzie – while ETALK correspondent Traci Melchor is Canada’s first Squirrel Friend, making appearances throughout the season. Weekly celebrity guest hosts will also join the panel. 

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Unsinkable, Kids Help Phone, and Bell Media are behind one-hour special Unsinkable Youth, a multi-platform celebration of Canadian youth. Hosted by Olympian and Unsinkable founder Silken Laumann and Never Have I Ever star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the event will raise awareness of the current mental health crisis among Canadian youth and features musicians, performers, and athletes including Johnny Orlando, Hayley Wickenheiser, Jacob Tremblay, The Reklaws, Tessa Virtue, Wali Shah, Lauren Orlando, Lennon Stella and more. The one-hour event airs Friday, May 22 at 1 p.m. ET on CTV and its platforms as well as Facebook and YouTube. Kids Help Phone says its outreach has more than doubled across Canada during the COVID-19 crisis, including in Nova Scotia following the mass shooting. Demand for service remains 63% higher on texting platforms and 55% higher through phones.

Hannah Alper

Corus Entertainment is premiering new Corus Kids Original documentary, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First, highlighting four Canadian youth activists with a shared passion for making the world a better place. Premiering June 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV, the doc follows Hannah Alper, Cooper Price, Charlene Rocha and Sophia Mathur as they set out to raise awareness of climate change issues and empower kids to take action. Produced by White Pine Pictures, CitizenKid: Earth Comes First is inspired by the award-winning CitizenKid book collection from Corus Entertainment’s Kids Can Press. The inspirational documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at how these young activists use social media to amplify their voices and asks Canadians to take part online in their #EarthComesFirst movement, which encourages people to pledge on social media how they put the Earth first in their everyday life, from shopping locally and walking or biking more often, to turning off lights and electronics when not in use.

The Bundesliga returned to Sportsnet May 16 as Germany’s top teams resume their season. With nine weeks left, final matches are scheduled for Saturday, June 27. All games will be played without fans in attendance. Sportsnet’s Bundesliga broadcast schedule will be updated weekly on sportsnet.ca. 

Buck Productions, the Toronto content creation house, has secured Season 2 renewal of Cashed Out (10×60) from U.S. cable and satellite network REELZ. The docuseries explores the lives and careers of A-list celebrities through the money trails they leave behind, examining the way they earned, spent and lost their fortunes in life and after death. Season 2 focuses on Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Stan Lee, Tom Petty, Selena Quintanilla, Marvin Gaye, Chris Cornell, and more. Cashed Out will begin principal photography this fall and is slated for broadcast in 2021. 

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has opened applications to the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund. Click here to apply and here to access the criteria. Parent companies that have received support – either directly or indirectly through their subsidiaries – in 2017-18, 2018-19 or 2019-20 are eligible to receive funding. If an eligible applicant has received funding in the previous three years from more than one of either the CMF, Telefilm Canada, or the Canada Council for the Arts, the applicant must apply to the organization which provided the highest amount of funding over the past three-year period.

Corus and the Banff World Media Festival have announced the recipients of this year’s Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program. Attracting writers from across Canada, the 2020 cohort will receive a premium pass to BANFF 2020 Virtual Edition with access to panels, keynotes, master classes and networking opportunities from May to September, virtual mentorship opportunities, placement in the story department of a Canadian primetime series and complimentary registration and travel to BANFF 2021. The 2020 recipients are: Michael Hanley, a graduate of the 2016 Canadian Film Centre’s Writer’s Lab and recipient of Telefilm’s New Voices Award; Lynn Rafferty, an LGBTQ actor and writer from Dublin, who now lives in Canada; Ian Steaman, former record exec and co-founder of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, who was one of six residents of the 2019 Bell Media Prime Time TV Writing Program at CFC; Rebecca Grenier, who served as script coordinator for an upcoming CBC Gem series, and wrote and produced short film Yogurt in 2018; and Gordie Lucius, an award-winning screenwriter and comedian recently chosen to be part of NSI’s Totally TV Program. 

CHCH-TV Hamilton has launched Shop Local, a new online directory that aims to highlight the ingenuity demonstrated by local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted on CHCH.com, the directory is free and open to the public. General Sales Manager Geoff Thrasher says the initiative responds to a call from many local business owners who’ve had to change the way they operate and “as an independent station, we can certainly relate to the flexibility and creative thinking needed to make things work during tough times like these.” As of last week, the directory included nearly 100 local businesses in Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, and the GTA. 

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Facebook Inc. will pay a $9 million penalty after the Competition Bureau concluded that the company made false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information on Facebook and Messenger. Facebook will also pay an additional $500,000 in costs for the bureau’s investigation. The payments are part of a settlement registered this week with the Competition Tribunal in which Facebook has agreed not to make false or misleading representations about the disclosure of personal information. The bureau’s investigation of Facebook practices, between Aug. 2012 and June 2018, concluded that Facebook did not limit the sharing of users’ personal information with some third-party developers consistent with the company’s privacy claims, including messages users exchanged on Messenger. It also allowed certain third-party developers to access the personal information of users’ friends after they installed certain third-party applications. While Facebook claimed it would no longer allow such access to users’ friends after Apr. 30, 2015, the practice continued until 2018 with some third-party developers.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger is back hosting a virtual edition of the Dreger Café, a series of one-on-one interviews with some of hockey’s greatest players and personalities. The interview series, which typically pops up each year in conjunction with the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, is being hosted this spring from Dreger’s home studio. All interviews are available to stream at TSN.ca, with clips and highlights across TSN’s social media platforms. Guests to date have included Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, Johnny Gaudreau, Mitch Marner, Patrick Kane, Matt Duchene, and more.

SOCAN is launching Encore!, a program that compensates music creators and publishers for live online concerts on Facebook and Instagram. Approximately $200,000 will be available each quarter for the program for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown in Canada. To receive an Encore! payment, performers will have had to perform at least 10 songs/compositions, or a live performance of at least 30 minutes on Facebook or Instagram, from Mar. 15, 2020, to Mar. 7, 2021 (inclusive); at least 100 people must have accessed the online event; and a setlist of all music performed has to be sent via SOCAN’s Notification of Live Music Performance at SOCAN.com. Each online concert will be eligible for a total payment of $150, with shares of royalties going to all rights holders of the music performed. SOCAN is in the process of adding more online platforms to the Encore! program. 

The Marilyn Denis Show is collaborating with Pinterest on its first-ever Canadian broadcast partnership. As of May 15, The Marilyn Denis Show has a new show-branded Pinterest profile, including regular updates and curated boards related to in-show and digital content. The new partnership also includes four integrated in-show segments that direct viewers to the show’s Pinterest profile for inspiration and information. In addition to weekly broadcast promotion, the profile will be featured on Marilyn.ca and its social media channels. Bell Media says brand partnership opportunities are available.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

George Stroumboulopoulos in his home studio in Toronto. (@strombo/Twitter)

FEATURE: Veteran Canadian media personality George Stroumboulopoulos hosted a Zoom Q&A this week, the second in a series aimed at helping broadcasting students prepare to navigate an uncertain future. Focused on performance and interview skills, the call gave students the chance to put their questions to Stroumboulopoulos’ producing partner Bob Mackowycz, Jr., TSN personality Michael Landsberg; and former VICE Studios and George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight executive producer Tania Natscheff, among others. Broadcast Dialogue talked to Stroumboulopoulos about building community in the age of COVID-19. Read more here.

Quebecor Inc. reported Q1 2020 consolidated financial results, reporting revenues of $1.06 billion, up $28.2 million (2.7%) from the same period of 2019; adjusted EBITDA of $436.7 million, up $16.0 million (3.8%); and net income attributable to shareholders of $131.6 million ($0.52 per basic share) in the first quarter of 2020, compared with $189.0 million ($0.74 per basic share) in the same period of 2019, a decrease of $57.4 million ($0.22 per basic share), due in part to a $97.2 million gain on disposal of the activities of 4Degrees Colocation Inc. recorded in the first quarter of 2019. The Telecommunications and Media segments grew their revenues by $34.0 million (4.0%) and $2.1 million (1.2%), and their adjusted EBITDA by $12.5 million (3.0%) and $2.9 million respectively in the first quarter of 2020. Videotron Ltd. significantly increased its revenues from customer equipment sales ($26.9 million or 54.7%) and mobile telephony ($18.8 million or 13.3%) in Q1.

Videotron says the demand on its network has been higher than ever as Quebecers turn to the telco provider’s services for entertainment, work, information, and to stay connected. A peak in internet usage was recorded on Apr. 13, when traffic was 50% heavier than normal, while the number of mobile telephone calls on Videotron’s network has been up an average 40%, peaking on Mar. 23 with a 66% increase. On-demand content is also more popular than ever with Videotron customers. Traffic on Videotron’s Helix and illico platforms has been up an average 33% since the lockdown began, peaking on Apr. 5 at 1.12 million views. 

Rogers Sports & Media celebrated International Nurses Day earlier this week by helping surpass $1 million raised in support of the country’s frontline healthcare community through the Hearts and Smiles campaign. Limited-edition Hearts and Smiles t-shirts and masks have been purchased by Canadians in record numbers, with proceeds going to The Frontline Fund.  The four-day promotional blitz this week leveraged the company’s sports and media outlets – and its partners, athletes, and celebrity friends – to raise awareness and funds. The Frontline Fund is a national coalition supporting more than 150 hospital foundations across Canada.

Rogers has announced partnerships with women’s shelters across British Columbia to provide connectivity to women and children who may be facing the reality of being at home with an abusive family member. Rogers is providing complimentary devices along with six months free voice and data plans to B.C. women’s shelters including the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Atira Women’s Resource Society and Helping Spirit Lodge in Vancouver, and others in Burnaby,  Victoria and Penticton. Rogers is also partnering with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland to provide donations of devices and tablets with six months of free service to ensure families and “Littles” who rely on that connection get the digital tools and service they need. 

BROADCAST TECH:

The International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) has been cancelled for 2020 with organizers deciding to go virtual over travel concerns amid COVID-19. Several large exhibitors, including Panasonic, had already indicated they would not be attending the September event in Amsterdam, which annually attracts 50,000 delegates.

Futuri and imaging house ReelWorld have forged a strategic partnership that includes the launch of new interactive programming platform Tether, designed to help programming teams create engaging on-air moments. The Tether system marries Futuri’s interactive programming technology with ReelWorld’s creative audio production. Key features of the platform include: Listener Voting Sessions, designed to keep listeners tuned in by boosting audience involvement; Turnkey Production, with stations receiving new creative audio features weekly, including setups and recaps; Song Alerts and Playlist Social Integration; and Social Video, with each Tether audio feature accompanied by supporting video for station socials and websites. Tether is currently available for CHR, Country, Classic Rock, and Classic Hits formats.

Dejero has joined a consortium of technology providers to facilitate coverage of NASA and SpaceX’s historic May 27 launch of the first U.S. astronauts since 2011. Dejero’s technology will enable worldwide distribution of feeds from multiple pool cameras positioned to cover the launch to the International Space Station. The request to support the broadcast came from a group of news organizations looking for a solution to provide dynamic launch coverage while following social distancing guidelines at the NASA press site. The set-up will allow Dejero’s TV station customers to supplement their use of camera pools at the Kennedy Space Center with additional isolated camera feeds in the days leading up to the launch without human operators on site. As part of a wider collaborative broadcast solution during the launch, Dejero is enabling encoding, transmission and video distribution to all Dejero customers. Dejero customers can request free access to the pool feed.