The Weekly Briefing


Giulio Caravatta
Giulio Caravatta

TSN has announced the return of the Grey Cup Radio Network. The network will air on 24 stations on Sunday, Nov. 27, with pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET. TSN’s Rod Black will call the game with analysis by Giulio Caravatta of TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver.

Jerry Howarth
Jerry Howarth

Jerry Howarth is vowing to be back calling play-by-play for the first Toronto Blue Jays game of 2017 after being diagnosed with Stage 1 prostate cancer in September. Howarth, 70, underwent surgery Tuesday to remove a tumour and his prostate gland. He is going public with his diagnosis to raise awareness, trumpeting Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and the monitoring of his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, which resulted in his early diagnosis and treatment.

680 CJOB and 99.1 Fresh Radio (CJGV-FM) Winnipeg teamed up with the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation on Nov 18 to present the Radiothon of Hope and Healing, raising $133,640 for patient care and medical research. The stations were live on location, interviewing patients, volunteers, and staff, while volunteers hand-delivered roses to patients throughout the hospital.

krockK-Rock 103.9 (CKXX-FM) and CFCB 570 AM Corner Brook, NL will soon be relocating to what is currently King Henry’s Pub in the Glynmill Inn, also a Steele-owned property. The bar will be moved elsewhere within the hotel and the station will have glass-front studios. Steele Communications has put the current O’Connell Drive property on the market.

The Aboriginal Christian Voice Network has voluntarily surrendered its license for Christian station 100.7 CIAJ-FM in Prince Rupert, BC. The CRTC approved the license in Oct. 1999. At an Oct. 11 ACVN board meeting, low interest and lack of support from local churches and the community were cited as the reasons behind the request for revocation.

Majic 100.3 (CJMJ-FM) Ottawa became the first HD radio station in the nation’s capital on Nov 8.


crtcThe CRTC will now renew the licenses of most TV service providers on a year-to-year basis, rather than the usual seven-year term. The commission says the move will enable it to closely monitor providers’ practices as new pick-and-pay reforms take effect Dec. 1. As providers roll out the new choices, the commission is instructing them to keep their offers simple and transparent, offer deals and discounts regardless of the entry-level package selected, provide online tools allowing subscribers to easily add or remove channels, and offer different options to obtain a set-top box. The CRTC is offering online tools on its website to help Canadians find the best services and negotiate with their provider.

bellAn Ontario court has sided with Bell Media in a legal battle over streaming service VMedia. VMedia was ordered to pay Bell $150,000 in costs based on a judge’s finding that the new service violated the Copyright Act by streaming CTV and CTV2 without permission. VMedia says it will continue to offer the app, but with channels that have given express consent.

The CRTC is considering applications for the renewal of television licenses held by large, French-language ownership groups Bell Média inc., Corus Entertainment Inc., Québecor Média inc. and Groupe V Média inc. Three days of public hearings this week in Laval, QC. are set to wrap up today (Nov. 24).

lionsLionsgate has reached major deals with two leading distributors for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Studiocanal, which already distributes Lionsgate’s films in Germany, has expanded its existing deal to also distribute features from the company’s Summit Entertainment label, beginning with Otto Bathurst’s adventure film Robin Hood: Origins. Lionsgate is also partnering with German distributor Tele München Gruppe to distribute the eagerly-anticipated war action drama Horse Soldiers from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Baker Brothers’ sci-fi thriller Kin and the thriller Down a Dark Hall from Twilight producer Stephenie Meyer.

reelREEL CANADA has received funding from the federal and Ontario governments supporting National Canadian Film Day 150 as an official Signature Project of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The Apr. 19 event is set to become the world’s largest, one-day film festival, involving more than 600 community screenings at venues across the country, from libraries to record stores. Major broadcasters like CBC, Bell Media and Corus, APTN and Quebecor will air Canadian films on various channels and streaming platforms. REEL CANADA will also host a special Indigenous Film Summit in Abbotsford, BC, on Mar. 6 and 7.

dgcThe Directors Guild of Canada has applied to the Canada Industrial Relations Board to enlarge the scope of the sector it represents. The Guild wants to encompass all independent contractors, who are permanent residents or Canadian citizens, engaged in computer graphics, production or set design, location management, picture & sound editing and art direction. If approved, the expansion would exclude computer graphics, set and production designers and art directors in Alberta, BC and Manitoba, as well as picture and sound editors in BC and Alberta.

Heather Conway
Heather Conway

CTAM Canada (Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing) has announced the lineup for its 4th annual Broadcaster Forum on Dec. 1 in Toronto. This year’s forum, focusing on innovation in the Pay TV ecosystem, offers attendees five sessions looking at Canadian-specific market research, two moderated panels of industry leaders and a special Q&A with Heather Conway, EVP English Services at CBC. Panelists include Tom Elam, VP and GM, Service Provider Business, TiVo; Jay Gardner, Director of Product Development, Shaw Communications; Joel Orvis, Director, TV Product Management, Bell Canada; Pam Westman, Head, Nelvana Enterprises; Vanessa Case, Executive Vice President, Content, Blue Ant Media; Mark Branch, Director of Sales and Business Development, Deluxe; and Josh Scherba, SVP, International Distribution, DHX Media.

eastThe Eastlink TV Independent Production Fund has announced funding commitments for five Nova Scotia television productions/miniseries. Among the successful projects earmarked for a share of $755,000 in funding are Season 3 of the Inspector Gadget TV series, produced by DHX, Mr. D Season 6 and new TV drama Pure, set to debut on CBC in January.

Numeris data shows the premiere episode of The Beaverton drew a combined audience of 379,000 viewers on Nov. 9, making The Comedy Network the most-watched specialty channel in Canada for adults 25-54 and 18-49. The show is a televised adaptation of popular online satirical, fake news site


Martin Fossum
Martin Fossum

Martin Fossum, 75, died peacefully at home in the Comox Valley on Nov. 10.  Born in Lloydminster, Sask., Martin was a graduate of the London Film School in England. He enjoyed a long and successful career as a sound man for TV, movies, documentaries and commercials. The projects he worked on included CBC series The Beachcombers and Danger Bay. In 2002, he received two nominations from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a miniseries or movie for Door to Door and Taken.  

Israel "Sruki" Switzer
Israel “Sruki” Switzer

Israel “Sruki” Switzer, 87, Nov. 16, from a sudden and unexpected heart attack at his winter home in Scottsdale, AZ. Born in Calgary, Switzer was a pioneer in the Canadian cable television industry and played a pivotal role in building Toronto’s CITY-TV with his first wife Phyllis Switzer, who predeceased him in 1989. Early in his career, Switzer built broadcast systems in Saskatchewan and was a partner in provider CableVision, expanding into Alberta in the early 1960s. He eventually became vice-president of Canadian media firm Maclean Hunter and a consultant on telecommunications projects around the globe. Switzer was inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame in 2009, which proclaimed him “the most knowledgeable cable technology engineer Canada has ever produced.” He was also credited as an inspiration to fellow Canadian broadcast entrepreneurs like Ted Rogers and Moses Znaimer. Widely regarded as a trailblazer, his understanding and advocacy of cable technology laid the groundwork for the modern Canadian cable industry.

Ron James
Ron James

Ron James, 72, Nov. 16, in Steinbach, MB after a long illness. James was heard on Golden West Broadcasting’s Radio Southern Manitoba network (CHSM-AM, CFAM-AM, CJRB-AM) for 34 years. He started his broadcast career right out of high school in 1961, with a short stint at CKX-TV Brandon, moving on to CFAM 950 in Altona in 1964 and then CJOB 680 Winnipeg in 1966. In 1969, he took a break from radio to obtain his teaching certificate from the University of Manitoba and taught sixth grade at General Byng school in Winnipeg before returning to Golden West in 1975. James was the longtime host of Classics Till Dawn and the mid-morning slot on the RSM network. He retired in Jan. 2009.

Mark Lee
Mark Lee

Mark Lee, 68, Nov. 19, after suffering a heart attack at his Saint John, NB home. Born Mark Lee Kliffer in Montreal, Lee earned a broadcasting diploma and worked in Montreal radio before going to work for entertainer James Brown at 1480 WRDW-AM in Augusta, Georgia. During his tenure in the U.S., the Vietnam war broke out and Lee opted to head back to Saint John to avoid the draft, starting as an announcer on CFBC-AM and CFBC-FM in 1970. He hosted mid-days for much of his run including popular oldies show Jukebox Jive and was eventually named PD. In 1988, he joined K-100 (CIOK-FM) Saint John as program director, taking the station to number one in the ratings. Lee later hosted a daily interview show called Greater Saint John Today on CJRP-FM. On the side, Lee also promoted concerts with partner Jack Livingston, producing memorable events like 1989’s Beach Boys on the Beach concert at Parlee Beach, NB.


freedomWind Mobile has rebranded as Freedom Mobile and launched LTE service. LTE coverage will be rolled out in Toronto and Vancouver on Nov. 27 and is expected to be available in every market where the company operates by Fall 2017. Acquired last year by Shaw Communications, Wind Mobile has seen its customer base grow to over one million since its launch in 2008.

Virgin Mobile Canada has announced the expansion of its home internet service into Quebec. The company has also launched a new charitable initiative, Home Internet with Heart in support of Virgin Mobile RE*Generation, supporting youth employment programs in Ontario and Quebec. A donation will be made on behalf of every new home internet subscriber between now and Dec. 31.

daisBell Media has announced a partnership with Toronto creative hub and artist incubator DAIS. DAIS specializes in short-form web series, music and radio with a mandate to develop Canadian projects that can be brought to the world stage while expanding Bell Media’s millennial audience. DAIS has already forged several strategic partnerships including a four-part music video series with A Tribe Called Red to be broadcast on MUCH, W5, and iHeartRadioCanada; and a DAIS-branded digital radio station on iHeartRadioCanada, debuting later this year, featuring Hip-Hop, R&B, Soca and Afro Beat.

A Stanford University study finds most students can’t discern when news is fake. The study, involving 7,804 students from middle school through college, found 82 per cent of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between labelled, sponsored ad content and a real news story on the web. The study is the largest to date on how teens evaluate online information, finding many students judged the credibility of tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a photo was attached, rather than the source.

The CRTC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work more collaboratively on cracking down on unwanted robocalls and caller ID spoofing. The organizations have committed to conducting research and sharing knowledge and expertise through training programs and staff exchanges.

wxn2The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) unveiled the list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners, who will be recognized during a gala at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Nov. 24. Among the winners are:

Manon Brouillette, President & CEO, Vidéotron – QC

Mary Deacon, Chair, Bell Mental Health Initiative, Bell – ON

Wendy Freeman, President, CTV News, Bell Media – ON

Tasha Kheiriddin, Host, Host, AM640, Corus Entertainment – ON

Lainey Lui, Co-host, The Social; Reporter, Etalk, Bell Media – ON

Sandy McIntosh, EVP, People & Culture and Chief Human Resources Officer, TELUS Communications Inc. – ON

Natalie Osborne, Chief Strategy Officer, 9 Story Media Group – ON

Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV – BC

Louise St-Pierre, President & CEO, Cogeco Connexion – QC


Don Lehn
Don Lehn

Fraser Valley News (FVN) has been nominated for three awards by Small Business BC. The Chilliwack-based digital news, sports and entertainment site was founded by industry veteran Don Lehn, earning nominations for Premier’s People’s Choice, Best Marketer and Best Concept. Lehn started the site in 2015 after recognizing a news gap in the region. Lehn was laid off in restructuring at Surrey’s 107.7 Pulse FM (CISF-FM) in July, with previous stints in news at 89.5 The Drive Chilliwack (CHWK-FM), CKWX News 1130 and Z95.3 (CKZZ-FM) in Vancouver as well as Energy 1200 (CFGO-AM) Ottawa.

John R. MacArthur
John R. MacArthur

John R. (Rick) MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine, will speak alongside Canadian magazine editors and publishers at the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Digital or Bust? The Future of Magazines talk on Nov. 30 in Toronto. The panel discussion will explore how American and Canadian publications are negotiating the digital shift. Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief of Toronto Life; Jonathan Kay, editor-in-chief of The Walrus, and Steve Maich, senior vice-president of digital content and publishing for Rogers Media are panelists with Laas Turnbull, chief audience officer for ZoomerMedia Ltd., moderating. The discussion is part of the CJF J-Talks series, exploring issues and challenges shaping journalism.


John Donabie, Robbie Robertson, Ross Reynolds
John Donabie, Robbie Robertson, Ross Reynolds

On Nov. 25, 1976 The Band ended a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame worthy career with one of the most celebrated concerts in history, The Last Waltz. With the concert’s 40th anniversary this Friday, Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Famer John Donabie (left) passed along this photo taken in the Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto studio, just a few months after the release of The Last Waltz in 1978. Robbie Robertson came home to collect a Gold Record. Ross Reynolds (right), then president of Warner Music Canada, asked station management if the award could be presented to Robertson on Donabie’s show because of the announcer’s love for The Band’s music. What Donabie didn’t know is that he would be presented with a plaque of his own that night that read “For His Continuous Support and Promotion of The Band.”

John Donabie & Robbie Robertson




The New Breed of Account Managers is Among Us

By Matt Mise

This is one of the most exciting times to be in radio. Yes – this is coming from a millennial!

For the past five decades, radio has remained, for all intents and purposes, the same and still a major player in the media landscape. But, now we’re in a transition period from simply broadcasters to media publishers using a channel specific approach to build audience and revenue opportunities using radio for awareness and digital properties to target and engage. Digital advertising revenue in Canada is poised for double digit growth to continue in 2016, with a forecast 21% increase to $5.6 billion. Radio has the properties to capture our share, now it’s time to get the right people in the right seats – and those people probably don’t come from within our industry.

The role of the new breed of Account Manager is to get attention on their client’s brand, with the right audience.

One major theme at the Ontario Association of Broadcaster’s Connection 2016 Conference in Toronto was The New Breed of Account Manager; so long to the cringe-worthy Herb Tarleks of our world. The new breed of Account Manager understands how radio campaigns drive organic Google search actions, build trust for local brands and how channel-specific digital content can target and engage a potential customer for that client. The role of the new breed of Account Manager is to get attention on their client’s brand, with the right audience.

“My clients are moving radio dollars to digital.”

I have worked with radio account managers and clients in markets ranging from 20,000 to 2.5 million, and there is a common theme. “My clients are moving radio dollars to digital.” Clients have more advertising choices than ever before outside of local competition. Facebook, Google search and display network, Instagram, programmatic, Snapchat geo-filters …the list is endless. These advertising products have a low cost of entry, and can be executed without a pushy sales person. If you’re an account manager who relies 100% on commission, this should make you nervous.

Content is still King, but context is Queen

Radio’s ad product builds mass reach and frequency for brand affinity, digital targets and engages. The New Breed of Account Manager must create content campaigns that live on their radio station website, are amplified on social media and tell stories thatpsychographically target their key demographic. Content is still King, but context is Queen.


Let’s look at this situation: a local travel agent is looking to promote domestic travel options in response to the under-performing dollar which has negatively impacted the number of Canadians flying abroad. An example of a storytelling content campaign is a 6-week, 3-part series on contextual based website posts and Instagram stories, which includes display ad units and keywords that are deep-linked to the client’s properties. Distributing through organic social posts from the station page drives traffic to the content while utilizing Facebook’s branded content tag and a 15-second spot highlighting the content series with the client’s name and tag could be produced. Brand impressions could be furthered by utilizing available digital media inventory to promote current product/service initiatives. Engagements are your new metric of success An engagement is an action taken on a content campaign, such as a like, share, comment, or tag. An engagement displays that the campaign has grabbed attention of the target audience, resonated with them and the audience took action. That piece of branded content worked!

When you add digital you’re adding additional measurement

Matt Mise
Matt Mise

Each market and format leverages online platforms in a different manner. There is no one size fits all model. The common thread however is: tell great stories, on the proper, channels and you will gain attention for your client’s brand. And when you add digital you’re adding additional measurement that clients insist upon and are willing to pay for.

Matt Mise is Digital Sales & Partnerships with Indie88 in Toronto.