Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Elle Volanis

Torres Media Group has made several internal appointments as the company gears up for the launch of its fourth station, K Country 93.7 (CKOU-FM), serving the Georgina, ON market. In addition to the new station – which is expected to be test-ready by Labour Day – the independent broadcast group operates Rebel 101.7 (CIDG-FM) Ottawa, 103.1 Max FM (CKOD-FM) Valleyfield, QC, and 105.5 Hits FM (CIUX-FM) Uxbridge, ON, along with traffic, weather and programming syndicator SkyWords Media. Tim Wieczorek, previously Operations Director at Rebel 101.7, has been promoted to Executive VP, Radio for the group. Kim Elliot will take on the role of VP of Sales for the group. Former SkyWords program director Elle Volanis takes on a new role as VP, Syndicated Programming. Dan Pollard assumes responsibilities for K Country 93.7, in addition to his duties in Uxbridge as VP, Central Region Radio. Read more here.

Syd Smith

Syd Smith, Director of Talk and Talent at Corus Radio Edmonton has announced he’ll be retiring this fall after 24 years with 630 CHED. Smith wraps up a 35-year career in radio, that started in his hometown of Kirkland Lake, ON. After working throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta, he joined 630 CHED in 1996 as the host of the station’s Edmonton Oilers’ broadcasts. A daily sports talk show followed in 1997 and by the following year, Smith was doing double-duty as Assistant Program Director. He was named PD in 2005, adding management of Global News Radio 880 Edmonton to his role in 2008. He relinquished his on-air duties to focus on management full-time in 2012. Read more here.

Brian Wortley

Brian Wortley is the new Sales Manager at Westman Radio Ltd. Wortley, who has held GM and Sales positions with 99.1 Cool FM (CFPG-FM) and Corus Radio Winnipeg, Craig Broadcasting in Regina, and Evanov Radio in Toronto, was most recently Director of Marketing for Pizza Hotline in Manitoba. His first day with Star FM (CKLF-FM) and Q Country (CKLQ-FM) Brandon will be Aug. 24.  

Curtis Strange

Curtis Strange, Director of FM Programming at Bell Media Vancouver’s QMFM (CHQM-FM) and Virgin Radio (CFBT-FM), has parted ways with the company. He had been with the stations since 2013.

Amy Volume

 

 

Amy Volume is now being heard middays on Rogers’ 106.1 CHEZ-FM Ottawa and on 92 CITI FM Winnipeg, from noon to 3 p.m. Volume was previously heard on CHEZ-FM sister station KiSS 105.3 (CISS-FM) Ottawa.

Steve Johnston

 

Steve Johnston, former agency accounts manager for QX 104 (CFQX-FM) and 94.3 The Drive (CHIQ-FM) Winnipeg, is among the recent retirements at Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Johnston had been with the station group for the last 24 years.

 

 

Adrian Harewood

Adrian Harewood is joining Carleton University’s School of Journalism as an Adjunct Professor. The CBC Ottawa anchor’s courseload includes a grad course on Race and Diversity. Other new instructors this season include Jean-Sebastien Marier, a multiplatform producer for ICI Ottawa-Gatineau’s web team, who’ll be teaching in the Bachelor of Media Production and Design program delivering Introductory Data Storytelling.

Darryl Kyte

Darryl Kyte has been appointed Senior Legal Counsel for ACTRA National, reporting to Marie Kelly, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator. Kyte has provided counsel to talent working with major networks including CTV, Global, Netflix and HBO. The former CBC journalist also has experience negotiating agreements including sponsorships, and options for television properties. 

Odette Auger

IndigiNews has announced the team that will cover Indigenous health, education, and child welfare as it expands on Vancouver Island. It includes Anna McKenzie, whose background is in Indigenous youth support work; Odette Auger, a producer for Cortes Island co-op station, CKTZ 89.5; writer Catherine (Katłįà) Lafferty and University of King’s College Journalism student Bayleigh Marelj.

Sarah Miller Wright

 

Sarah Miller Wright, Shaw Communications’ SVP of Digital, Product Development and Service Delivery, has left the company to join Manulife Canada as Chief Operations Officer. Miller Wright had been with Shaw for the last seven years and previously held the position of SVP, Customer Care.

David Way

 

 

Thunderbird Entertainment has appointed David Way to the role of President and Wendy McKernan to the role of Chief Operating Officer at Thunderbird factual division, Great Pacific Media. Way, who first joined Great Pacific in 2015 as Creative Director and led the development of multiple series, will oversee IP development and new original content production, as well as strategic relations with external partners as part of his new role. McKernan joined Great Pacific in 2013 and has played a key role in developing the company’s talent recruitment, business affairs and production management system. In her new role, she’ll oversee all production, including lifestyle and factual programming.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Apple Music has relaunched its live global radio offerings, rebranding Beats 1 to Apple Music 1, and launching new channels Apple Music Country and Apple Music Hits that feature a roster of hosts including George Stroumboulopoulos, and Canadian artists Alanis Morrissette, Shania Twain, and The Weeknd, among others. Now available in 165 countries, Apple Music’s foray into live radio started with the launch of Beats 1 in 2015. It’s built a reputation on artist camaraderie, indepth interviews and global exclusives, while also championing human curation and discovery. Read the full story, here.

Paul Larsen

Paul Larsen, the former co-owner and President of Clear Sky Radio, has made a bid to take over the broadcast licence for Kelowna’s CKOO-FM. Up until this past March, Avenue Radio-owned CKOO-FM had been operating as Soft 103.9. One of the early pandemic media casualties, it filed for bankruptcy on Mar. 31. Larsen’s Radius Holdings is requesting a new broadcasting licence to continue operating the station under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licence. Radius would purchase CKOO-FM’s assets for $500,000. The commission has set a hearing date for Oct. 13 where it will also hear applications from Akash Broadcasting Inc., which is seeking to acquire the assets of ethnic commercial radio station CKER-FM Edmonton from Rogers; an application by International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a Christian music FM station in Scarborough; and Quebecor Media’s application to acquire French-language discretionary television services Évasion and Zeste from Canal Évasion inc. and Zeste Diffusion inc., respectively, as part of a corporate reorganization. Read more here.

Radio Bellechasse-Etchemins or Passion FM (CFIN-FM) in Lac-Etchemin, Que. has received $546,000 from the Quebec government to help the French-language community station move to a new location. Forced to leave its current premises, a government press release said the station must be relocated to ensure the continuity of its activities. The financial assistance was allocated under the Capital Assistance program of the Ministry of Culture and Communications and will cover some of the costs associated with carrying out the relocation project to a larger and more visible space.

Pierre Pagé

Bell Media has revealed that its new midday radio show C’t’encore drole, set to debut on Énergie 94.3 (CKMF-FM) Montreal on Aug. 24, will be heard across the entire Énergie network in Quebec. The show, featuring co-hosts Philippe Bond and Pierre Pagé, will air weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.

Jon Williams

 

Jon Williams, former midday host at Victoria’s The Zone 91.3 (CJZN-FM), is launching an online station focused on new music. “What Was That?” plans to operate on a subscription model featuring new releases across genres, aiming to play nothing older than 24 months and adding up to 50 new songs a week.

CBC has unveiled its fall podcast slate, headlined by historical series Recall: How To Start A Revolution, revisiting the 1970 October Crisis; new The Fifth Estate co-production, Brainwashed, exploring secret government mind control experiments; and new Elamin Abdelmahmoud-hosted pop culture series Pop Chat. Returning series include Party Lines: Party In The U.S.A., a weekly look at the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election; sketch comedy series Tony Ho; and Seat At The Table, an in-depth conversation between friends, with a focus on personal experiences around the Black Lives Matter movement. Read more here.

The Podcast Exchange (TPX) has announced that it’s expanding into branded podcast production. Founded in 2017 by President and CEO Jean-Marie Heimrath and former CBC Director of Digital Talk, Jeff Ulster, who serves as Chief Content & Technology Officer, TPX has been primarily focused on establishing itself as a leader in Canadian podcast advertising. Heimrath says with the launch of TPX Studios, the company is positioned to meet the demands of businesses looking to leverage the podcasting medium with customers and stakeholders. TPX also believes that in the current work from home reality, podcasts present an opportunity to help unify corporate workforces. Read more here.

LISTEN: On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk to former Vancouver and Toronto on-air personality and music director, Kat Carter, who is now behind retail site and online community, TheRadioNerd.com, about sharing her passion for the medium and advice for broadcasters on how to avoid burning out.

LISTEN: CHOM Montreal personality Pete Marier is Matt Cundill’s guest on the latest Sound Off Podcast in a candid conversation on life, family and radio. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here: 

SIGN OFFS:

Richard Gwyn

Richard Gwyn, 86, on Aug. 15, following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Gwyn started his journalism career as a radio reporter in Halifax, moving on to Ottawa in 1957 where he worked for United Press International, followed by stints as a parliamentary correspondent for Time magazine, and later Thomson Newspapers and Maclean-Hunter, where he served as editor of its business publications. In 1968, he started a five-year run as a communications staffer in Pierre Trudeau’s government, serving as director-general in the department from 1970-73. Gwyn went on to accept a national columnist position with The Toronto Star, moving into international affairs from 1985-92. He continued to freelance for the paper until 2016. Over the years, he also penned three political biographies and hosted TVO’s  “Realities” with Robert Fulford, served as a panelist on “Studio 2” and “Diplomatic Immunity,” and was a frequent guest on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin.” Gwyn was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Sonny Fox

Sonny Fox, 74, on Aug. 13, of liver failure. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fox was the frontman for 1960s rock n’ roll group, Jay Walker And The Jay Hawkers, before getting a job as a disc-jockey on WKNX Saginaw while promoting a record. Fox went on to join CHUM Toronto in middays in 1970 under the on-air handle, Johnny Mitchell. In 1972, he joined KHJ Los Angeles and then moved on to program director stints at both WYSP Philadelphia and WKTU New York. While doing mornings in Miami, Fox created syndicated stand up comedy show, The Comedy Hour, featuring comics of the day like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. He was also behind comedy programming syndicator, The Mp3 Comedy Network, which he launched in 1999. Fox joined XM Satellite Radio in 2002, overseeing operations of both XM Comedy (Channel 150) and Laugh USA (Channel 96), and hosting XM morning show “Funny In The Morning” as well as comedian interview show “Stand-Up Sit-Down.” He hosted his last weekday morning show for SiriusXM last November.

Lorraine Thomson

Lorraine Thomson, 90, on Aug. 13. Thomson’s five-decade career in the entertainment industry started with her successful audition for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in 1951. She soon returned to Toronto and was hired as a chorus line dancer for CBC-TV variety show, The Big Revue, in addition to performing on Wayne & Shuster, The Barris Beat, The Denny Vaughn Show, and Hit Parade. In the early 1960s, Thomson moved from variety shows to current affairs, acting as an interviewer on Tabloid and Seven-O One, in addition to appearing as a frequent guest panelist on Front Page Challenge. In 1970, she took a behind-the-scenes role as program coordinator for Front Page Challenge, also hosting V.I.P., starting in 1973, where Front Page Challenge guests were interviewed at greater length. Among other accomplishments, Thomson, along with Pierre Berton, co-founded the ACTRA Awards in 1972. Along the way, she married legendary CBC anchor Knowlton Nash in 1982. Thomson retired from broadcasting in 1989 to become a judge for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

TV & FILM:

The Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) awards that were originally set for May 23 have been rescheduled to an online presentation on Oct. 8. The 2020 Rosies finalists were announced in a Facebook Live/YouTube announcement last week. Calgary-based Prairie Dog Film & Television’s production of Tribal has the most finalists, with 12. SEVEN24 Films’ Heartland, also Calgary-based, came in second with 10. The individual production with the largest number of finalists from Edmonton is Yardwork Productions’ Whiteface with seven nominations.

The 2020 TIFF Tribute Awards will be broadcast Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 8pm ET/PT on CTV during the 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. Produced by Bell Media Studios, the first-ever one-hour broadcast will feature special messages from honourees and be streamed to a global audience by Variety. Among this year’s honourees are Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet, who will receive TIFF Tribute Actor Awards; director Chloé Zhao will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award; and Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Mira Nair, who’ll be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.

Bell Media has announced that its newly-acquired French-language conventional TV network V will become Noovo as of Aug. 31, creating a unified brand in Quebec for both the conventional channel and popular digital platform. To celebrate the rebrand, it will host a Sept. 7 television event broadcast from Montreal’s Centre Bell where 30 artists, including Half Moon run, Les Louanges, and others, will perform in front of a live audience of 250 Quebecers.

Sim is planning to open its ninth B.C. studio in September. Already booked into next summer, the Golden Ears studio will add another 120,000 square feet of studio space, encompassing two sound stages, mill, paint, and lockup space, set decoration and wardrobe areas, as well as production office space. The new location brings Sim’s total studio capacity to over 550,000 square feet. 

Blue Ant Media has sold its gaming content group Omnia Media to Enthusiast Gaming Holdings. In a deal valued at $47 million CAD, the purchase price consists of 18.25 million common shares of Enthusiast Gaming, $11 million in cash and a vendor-take-back note with a face value of $5.75 million. Based in Los Angeles, Omnia is a leading global multi-channel YouTube network that distributes premium, original content. Omnia produces and programs over 30 weekly shows across AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) and OTT (over-the-top) channels and represents over 500 gaming influencers across YouTube and Twitch.

Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund have announced the projects selected under this year’s $2.2 million Talent to Watch Program. Of the 16 first feature films and narrative web projects to be made, 13 are from emerging filmmakers who are culturally diverse, with one who self-identifies as gender diverse. Fifty per cent of the selected stories are directed by women. Telefilm has also upped the feature film project allocation to $150,000, up from $125,000. Check out the list of 2020-21 indie filmmakers selected, here.

Telefilm has shared details on the first steps toward data collection as part of its funding programs. Building on initial data collection implemented during the first phase of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund efforts, Telefilm will be collecting additional data on the corporate control of applicants and key creatives (director, writer, and producer). Each applicant company will be able to voluntarily self-identify as being majority-owned and controlled by individuals who self-identify as one or more of the following: Racialized persons, LGBTQ2+, persons with disabilities, Indigenous persons (First Nations, Inuit or Métis), Women, or members of an Official Language minority community. This is in addition to Telefilm’s pre-existing options to identify based on gender, as well as if a member identifies as Indigenous. 

 

 

CTV Original drama Transplant is set to make its U.S. premiere Tuesday, Sept. 1 on NBC. CTV will encore the series first season in simulcast Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.  The 13-episode series is centred around Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed, a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who fled his country with his younger sister, Amira. Together they struggle to build a new life in Canada as Bash strives to rebuild his career in medicine.

Food Network Canada’s fall schedule begins with a new season of Duff Takes the Cake with cake master Duff Goldman on Aug. 31, followed by new series Vegas Chef Prizefight hosted by chef Anne Burrell on Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Highly-anticipated baking competition series Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart debuts Sept. 6, while cake boss, Buddy Valastro, returns on Sept. 14 with new series Big Time Bake. The fall slate also sees the return of two Corus Studios Original series, Wall of Chefs (Insight Productions) and Big Food Bucket List (Lone Eagle Entertainment). In the second season of travelogue series Big Food Bucket List, host John Catucci takes viewers on new food adventures beginning with back-to-back episodes Sept. 12.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has unveiled its AMI-tv fall schedule, highlighted by the debut of the previously-announced AMI original Level Playing Field, which debuts Sept. 7. Season nine of AMI This Week premieres Sept. 14, hosted by Victoria Nolan and featuring bureau reporters Grant Hardy (Vancouver), Beth Deer (Edmonton), Alex Smyth (Toronto), Shelby Travers (Ottawa) and Laura Bain (Halifax). Back for a third season is Reflect and Renew with Kevin Naidoo. Newly-acquired series with described video include Seasons 1 and 2 of Coroner; Season 1 of Anne with an E; and Season 1 of When Calls the Heart. More here.

Bryan and Sarah Baeumler

D360 has sold a season of Bryan Inc. (13 x 60’) to HGTV US, who will begin broadcasting the series at the end of this month as Renovation Inc. Produced by Si Entertainment for HGTV Canada, it was the channel’s highest-rating series premiere in more than five years. Two seasons of Bryan Inc. (26 x 60’) have also been acquired by Imagine Media in Israel, along with all three seasons of House of Bryan (50 x 30’) and all six seasons of Leave it to Bryan (130 x 30’). D360 has also recently licensed multiple seasons of Leave it to Bryan to Medya Film in Turkey (39 x 30’) and AG Rubin Group in Russia (65 x 30’), with KIP International in Bosnia taking all six seasons (130 x 30’).

CBC has greenlit new original one-hour series Feudal (8×60), produced by Halifax-based Six Eleven Media and eOne, and created by Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz, Lucifer). Feudal tells the tale of the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of their family business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Production is now underway on location in Nova Scotia for broadcast on CBC in 2021.

Wolfwalker Productions and Wabung Anung Films are behind original series AMPLIFY, set to air on APTN beginning Sept. 11 in English, and in Ojibway, starting Sept. 10. The premise of the 13-episode anthology is to invite an Indigenous songwriter to find a piece of inspiration (whether it be a book, art piece, belief, etc.) and write a song about it. Each episode ends with a music video of the song. Artists featured include Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Lacey Hill, iskwē, Shawnee, Melody McKiver, Nick Sherman, Tara Williamson, Leonard Sumner, Jason Burnstick, Ansley Simpson, Jennifer Kreisberg, and Christa Couture.

The Jim Henson Company and Montreal’s Felix & Paul Studios are in development on The Storyteller: The Seven Ravens, a groundbreaking augmented reality (AR) experience. The extension of The Storyteller television series will see an augmented reality (AR), trackable storybook produced, narrated by award-winning author Neil Gaiman. The project has support from the Canada Media Fund, Magic Leap Independent Creators Program, Epic MegaGrants and SODEC Quebec. The experience will be demoed at the Siggraph virtual conference starting Aug. 17, with a live Q&A the week of Aug. 24 to discuss the project’s tracking module. 

MTM Junior’s latest report explores the TV viewing habits of kids under 18. It found that two-thirds of Anglophone children watch linear TV in a typical week. Among all age groups, teens report watching the most weekly TV content, but they spend even more time watching YouTube. 7-11 year olds report spending roughly equal amounts of time across TV, Netflix, and YouTube, while 2-6 year olds skew more towards traditional TV. MTM found 80% of Francophone children watch traditional TV. French-speaking teens spend slightly more time watching content on YouTube than on traditional television, while younger children spend more time watching traditional TV than Netflix and YouTube.

The 16th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) will be held online, Sept. 24 to Oct. 4. It will also present The MIBFF in the Neighbourhoods, a neighbourhood-based initiative giving youth free access to Black films on Montreal Island, with screenings followed by cultural mediation. This year, Montreal-North will be in the spotlight. Details will follow when the lineup is unveiled Sept. 2.

Super Channel and the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) are partnering to bring a virtual edition of the 2020 EIFF to film fans. Beginning Oct. 1 and running through Oct. 10, Super Channel Fuse will showcase a selection of films from this year’s festival. More than a dozen feature films will have a linear-only limited run, with the full online experience to feature pre-recorded Q&As, virtual filmmaker chats and a digital awards presentation. Further details are forthcoming.

Vortex Words + Pictures, A71 Releasing and Super Channel will premiere their new Super Channel Fuse Original horror feature, Anything For Jackson, Sept. 1 at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which is underway online and on demand. The film stars Sheila McCarthy (Die Hard 2, The Umbrella Academy), Julian Richings (Orphan Black, Supernatural), Konstantina Mantelos (A Christmas Crush), Josh Cruddas (Polar), and Yannick Bisson (Another Wolfcop, Murdoch Mysteries). 

The Marilyn Denis Show has struck a new brand partnership with IKEA to promote the retailer’s upcoming 2021 Catalogue. Running until Aug. 23, the campaign aims to give viewers inspiration to create an inexpensive, stylish, and functional spaces, while they spend more time at home than ever. The campaign features a 30-second co-branded commercial airing on CTV and CTV2, as well as CTV Life, CTV Comedy, CTV Drama, E!, Much, MTV , Discovery, Animal Planet, and Discovery Science. The partnership also features Pinterest theme board integrations based on IKEA’s “how to” categories.

Global News has announced the addition of three new regional news streams to its offering on the Global TV App. Streams for Winnipeg, Halifax and Montreal join B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and National streams, expanding Global News’ roster to eight free streams within the app. Each stream delivers live breaking news, live simulcasts of each region’s respective television newscast, and a continually updating array of reporting highlighting the biggest news stories relevant to each stream’s respective region. The app is available via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and at watch.globaltv.com.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

CRTCInnovation, Science and Industry has sided with the incumbent telecom operators in their fight to overturn the CRTC’s Aug. 2019 ruling lowering the wholesale rate they can charge third-party operators to access their networks. “On the basis of its review, the Governor in Council considers that the rates do not, in all instances, appropriately balance the policy objectives of the wholesale services framework and is concerned that these rates may undermine investment in high-quality networks, particularly in rural and remote areas,” said Min. Navdeep Bains, in a statement. Had the big telco challenge been unsuccessful, retroactive payments owed to small ISPs were estimated at $325 million. Independent ISP TekSavvy Solutions said in its own statement that “having gone five years without cost certainty, paying inflated interim rates and facing brazen anticompetitive conduct in a climate of extreme regulatory uncertainty, TekSavvy is left with no choice but to interpret this announcement as an expectation from the government that retail prices should be raised.”

The Canadian Communication Systems Alliance (CCSA) has filed a CRTC complaint against Bell Media, accusing Bell of “unreasonably denying or delaying access by CCSA Members to its programming services” and therefore breaching its “Competitive Safeguards” Conditions of Licence and/or the Wholesale Code for discretionary services. The complaint includes numerous examples, that have been redacted from the documents published to the commission website, in which CCSA Members maintain they have recently “sought to launch one or more of Bell Media’s programming services or to exercise multi-platform rights for those services but have been unable to do so because Bell Media has refused to grant the necessary authorizations. As a result of such refusals, the listed CCSA Members have been prevented from launching new Bell Media services and/or launching new functionality on Bell Media services which they already carry.”

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) has asked the CRTC to raise the current market cap from 10% to 12% in its capacity as administrator of the Independent Local News Fund (ILNF), in order to preserve the status quo following Bell Media’s acquisition of Group V in May. In its application, CAB asks that the change be made effective Sept. 1, 2020, “to easily permit any necessary retroactive adjustments to be made during the 2021 broadcast year.” “In order to bring clarity to much needed ILNF funding during this time of pandemic induced 30-50% advertising declines, we respectfully request a CRTC decision on this request as soon as practicable.” 

The COVID-19 Media Impact Map, a project of J-Source, the Local News Research Project at Ryerson University and the Canadian Association of Journalists, has released an update, now estimating that as of mid-August, 106 media outlets had laid off staff with 2,216 workers permanently or temporarily laid off. 51 outlets had temporarily or permanently closed. 48 of those are community papers, while 45 publications cancelled some or all print editions.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has issued a response following Postmedia’s decision to withdraw its newspapers from the Alberta Legislative Press Gallery after their refusal to issue memberships to employees of Rebel News. In its statement, the CAJ says much like a press gallery, the association restricts membership to professional journalists based on guidelines that Rebel News would not meet. “In reviewing the evolution of the Rebel News, it is clear the organization sometimes becomes an actor in the stories it tells. To date, this has taken several different forms, but includes providing financial and legal assistance to some of its sources…to be clear, crowdfunding to support newsgathering is an accepted practice. Publishing opinions, even unpopular opinions, is an important function of journalism. The critical distinction between these practices and those employed by Rebel News are that its staff often actively participate in the story, working toward their desired end by applying legal, financial or other resources.”

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Dejero is providing the NBA 2K League with remote connectivity equipment, via Defacto Entertainment and facilities partner Dome Productions, to help the professional esports league save its season threatened by the ongoing pandemic that prevented its 23 teams from gaming together in the league’s new Manhattan studio. The esports league has shifted from a studio-based production model to a large-scale pan-North America remote gameplay production model. The games air on multiple digital and linear platforms including ESPN, YouTube and Twitch. To bypass the security challenges posed by the open source networks used by the teams from their homes, and address fluctuating bandwidth in various locations, Dejero provided a combination of EnGo mobile transmitters and PathWay rack-mounted encoders/transmitters to Dome Productions. The Dome Productions control room, located in Toronto, is receiving, mixing and distributing the large number of live feeds from teams aided by the Dejero WayPoint receiver, and live commentary feeds from two ‘casters’ located in Chicago and North Carolina; with Defacto Entertainment producing and directing the broadcasts in real time from their offices in Vancouver. The low latency of the Dejero CuePoint return video server ensures commentary on live feeds without lag. 

Futuri says use of its audience engagement technology is up as many continue to work remotely amid COVID-19 disruptions. Futuri compared product usage data from the four-month period prior to mid-March coronavirus disruptions to the four-month period since. It says TopicPulse, its AI-driven show prep, story discovery, and social content system has seen a 61% increase in user sessions, while podcasting and audio-on-demand production system POST has seen a 27% increase in usage. Futuri says much of that growth is driven by stations using its web-based logger feature to help time-shift live content for audiences who now operate on a different schedule. Total listening hours across Futuri Streaming have increased 41% across the group of stations that use the product as listeners whose normal routines have been disrupted seek new ways to listen to their favourite stations.

Bob Orban hosts an Aug. 27 webinar on achieving excellent audio quality, both on-air and online. Find details on how you can join, in Broadcast Dialogue’s EVENTS section.