580 CFRA Ottawa staff have signed union cards with CWA Canada, amidst the layoff of six per cent of Bell Media’s workforce. The union filed for certification Friday with the federal labour board, a little more than 48 hours after Bell announced the layoff of 1,300 workers and the abrupt shuttering of six of its AM radio stations. The group, which includes a majority of non-unionized hosts, producers, writers and technicians at the heritage news/talk station, said in a mission statement that the company’s cost-cutting mandate “has caused a swift decline in staffing” and created “an ever-growing workload.” CWA said once formally unionized, the workers will form a unit within the Ottawa Newspaper Guild (CWA Canada Local 30205), which already represents employees at Bell Media-owned CTV Ottawa. Read more here.
Numeris’ latest insights release for Spring 2023 indicates AM/FM tuning is stable across both traditional tuning and those streaming radio. AM/FM radio is reaching 86% of Canadians, A12+, weekly in metered markets (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal). Tuning was highest in Franco Montreal at 91%, followed by Calgary and Edmonton (87%). Numeris says 64% of listening was done outside the home with A25-54, with drive and daytime securing the highest share of out-of-home tuning at 74% and 72%, respectively. AM/FM’s live streaming share remained stable at 10%, with two percentage point gains in Vancouver and Franco Montreal. Read more here.
Radiodays North America left those in attendance with renewed optimism for the future of audio, amidst looming AI disruption, changing consumer habits, and the challenges facing terrestrial radio. Those were just a few of the hot topics that repeatedly arose during the two-day conference that took place during Canadian Music Week in Toronto, an extension of the Radiodays Europe event, which annually attracts roughly 1,200 delegates from the audio, radio and podcasting space. Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig kicked off the conference presenting on RadioGPT, the first 100% AI-driven localized radio content solution, currently being beta tested by Rogers Sports & Media and Alpha Media in the U.S. Futuri’s research indicates of 20,000 North American radio stations, less than 30% or three in 10, have more than one live and local daypart. Anstandig believes AI opens the door for a local content “renaissance” that could help grow audiences. AI was a consistent theme weaving its way into almost every discussion, juxtaposed by the message that authenticity will always win with listeners. Read more here.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched a new AM radio campaign, highlighting the importance of AM radio in the car for news, community engagement, and vital public safety information. NAB says about 225 broadcasters from 33 states traveled to Washington last week for a two-day conference and lobbying effort urging lawmakers to support the AM for Every Vehicle Act which would require carmakers to maintain AM in new vehicles at no additional charge. Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) officials are also backing the bill.
The CRTC has approved an extension until September 2024 for Vernon community radio station, Valley FM (CFAV-FM), to get its transmitter operational. The station board of directors says it’s still committed to getting the station transmitting as soon as possible, citing delays compounded by the resignation of former president Gord Leighton in November to spend time with his wife, who is living with Stage 4 brain cancer. The station has been streaming since Feb. 1 and has signed a lease on office space as it seeks more volunteers. The society says a one-year extension will allow it to fundraise towards the purchase of an antenna and transmitter.
Pattison Media’s 1050 CJNB North Battleford, SK is back up and running at full power after suffering transmitter failure following lightning storms in early June. Program Director Nic Fransoo told Battlefords Now an immense power surge essentially “cooked many different dependent parts.”
Vista Radio’s CJSU 89.7 Duncan, BC has returned to its SUN FM branding, dropping the former Juice FM moniker it had carried since 2014. The station, which was formerly branded as SUN FM for 14 years, starting in 2000 when it launched on FM, is continuing to play a Classic Hits/Variety format.
Sonar Network’s Summer Camp: The Case of the Phantom Pooper debuted this week. Based on a true story, the podcast follows camp director Mookie as he struggles to solve a string of smelly pranks at a Canadian summer camp. Blending true crime, mystery, and investigative reporting, Summer Camp: The Case of the Phantom Pooper was written, recorded and produced by Jeremy Enns (The Open Road Podcast) and filmmaker Jordan Stothers (Buzzfeed). The seven-part series also features authentic audio and interviews with campers and counsellors, and music by Matt McGinley (Serial, S-Town, This American Life).
UnScene Podcast is a recently-launched offering from Toronto-based screenwriters Jeremy Friedmann and David Tobiasz, talking to Canadian creatives about their best unmade/unmakeable TV & film ideas. Among those who’ve appeared on the podcast to date are Anthony Q. Farrell, Mark Little and Gail Renard. Chris Locke (Run the Burbs, What We Do in the Shadows), actor and comedian Colin Mochrie, and comedian/writer Mary Houlihan are scheduled to appear in the coming weeks.
LISTEN: Jenny West, one-half of the afternoon drive show on Pattison Media’s The Zone @ 91-3 (CJZN-FM) in Victoria, is this year’s Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year, annually presented in memory of late programmer Steve Young. West joined us on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast in advance of Canadian Music Week in Toronto where she received her award during Radiodays North America. In this episode, we cover everything from her podcasting and charity endeavours – which happen to intersect, to the importance of mental wellness, and why she believes we’re in control of the future of radio.
LISTEN: Charles Adler returns to the Sound Off Podcast as he gets set to launch his own podcast, The Charles Adler Show, on Dean Blundell’s Crier Media network. The former longtime Corus Radio network talk host discusses the direction of his new show, his transition to digital and his love-hate relationship with social media, and unsurprisingly gets political. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here: