The Weekly Briefing


Marie Slaight, daughter of broadcast mogul Allan Slaight, is calling for the board of directors of troubled Toronto non-profit station JAZZ.FM (CJRT-FM) to be dissolved. Slaight, 63, runs Australian arts production company Altaire Productions and Publications. In an Aug. 17 letter to the JAZZ.FM board, leaked to the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, Slaight says the only solution is to “dissolve the board in its entirety” following allegations of bullying and misconduct made in March by a group of 13 current and former employees relating to former station CEO and president Ross Porter. Responding to the Star’s story, Slaight said the sole intention of the letter was to raise the issues and hopefully work to resolve them. “The goal was to ensure that this unique, non-profit radio station continues to serve listeners with the playing of great jazz, promoting up-and-coming talent and serving the community through education and outreach programs,” reads the statement. Slaight donated $250,000 last year to name a studio at JAZZ.FM in her father’s honour.

Garvia Bailey

Garvia Bailey, former host of JAZZ.FM morning show Good Morning Toronto, is suing the station for wrongful dismissal. In her statement of claim, Bailey seeks $420,000 in damages. Bailey hosted the show from 2014, up until this past April.

Country 101.1 (CKBY-FM) Ottawa has launched a “girl-power hour” shining the spotlight on female country artists. The Rogers’ station says the weeknight program will highlight current female country stars, as well as old favourites and interview clips.

CJ104 (CJSB-FM) Swan River, MB staff have begun downtown night patrols after an anonymous threat to burn the station down, preceded by a rash of break-ins and break-in attempts. A Facebook post says staff have been patrolling the area around the station’s vehicles due to “the lack of police presence in Swan River” with at least “one member who is licensed to carry firearms.” Station owner Bill Gade says he has instructed staff to “use lethal force if necessary” to protect themselves. Swan River RCMP became aware of the post on Aug. 24, and say promoting armed vigilante activity is not acceptable.

Fairchild Calgary TV and radio host Kumar Sharma says he was the victim of a swarming attack he believes is related to his coverage of the provincial nomination race in Calgary-Falconridge. Sharma, who hosts Politics 101 on FM 94.7 (CHKF-FM), says the attack happened on Aug. 19 as he was leaving an outdoor concert. Sharma alleges he was confronted by two men who he says are supporters of Hardyal Singh Happy Mann, a United Conservative Party (UCP) nomination candidate. Calgary police are investigating. Mann, who has yet to be formally approved to run for the UCP, says he intends to start legal action against Sharma for defamation.

Dan Russell

The Vancouver Canadians have inducted longtime SportsTalk host Dan Russell into the team’s broadcast hall of fame. Russell, 57, was the nightly voice of sports talk radio in Vancouver for nearly 30 years, most of that time on CKNW-AM Vancouver and affiliate stations throughout B.C. The longtime baseball devotee was honoured at a ceremony prior to last weekend’s game against the Boise Hawks.

The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has delved into the podcast listening habits of anglophone Canadians, finding that 24 per cent have listened to a podcast in the past month – double the medium’s penetration in 2011. Those numbers are up from 20 per cent in the latter part of 2017, while just 12 per cent of French-speaking Canadians could say they’d recently listened to a podcast. Younger generations (18-37), affluent households and those who are university educated are more likely to appreciate the podcast medium. The data from the Podcasting Report comes primarily from the phone portion of MTM’s Spring 2018 survey.

CBC has unveiled its fall 2018 podcast slate of new and returning shows, highlighted by the fifth season of its hit true crime series Someone Knows Something, as well as a new offering featuring an 11-year-old host. Based on data from Sumo Logic, the public broadcaster says its 20 series, in genres ranging from human interest to audio fiction, are now downloaded 16 million times per month. Doubling down on its success in the true crime genre, new additions for fall include Uncover: Escaping NXIVM, an investigation into the controversial alleged cult and its leader Keith Raniere, including one woman’s journey to get out. Also new is Player’s Own Voice from CBC Sports, featuring intimate interviews with Canadian athletes. Returning favourites include The Secret Life of Canada, Other People’s Problems (Season 2), and Love Me (Season 3). Read more here.

LiveWire, Calgary’s newest online community news site, has launched an accompanying monthly radio show LiveWire-d in Calgary on University of Calgary campus station CJSW-FM. LiveWire founder Darren Krause, former editor of Metro Calgary, hosts. LiveWire also has plans to launch a new long-form podcast Sept. 4, hosted by Josh White, former advisor to Mayor Naheed Nenshi, featuring interviews with Calgary newsmakers.

The Vancouver Podcast Festival will make its debut Nov. 8-10 with three days of panels, workshops and live podcast presentations and tapings. Presented by DOXA, Vancouver’s non-profit Documentary Media Society, the theme of the inaugural event is “True Crime, True Justice.” In partnership with CBC Podcasts, the festival will bring some of its most popular offerings to Vancouver for the first time, including acclaimed series Someone Knows Something and Uncover: Escaping NXIVM, a new investigative podcast about the alleged cult. The festival will also collaborate with Kelly&Kelly, producers of hit shows This is That and This Sounds Serious, to present a one-night only improvised true crime podcast with some of the city’s most talented comedians.


The CRTC has given itself more time to consider licence renewals for independent TV stations including Télé-Québec, CHCH Hamilton, CHEK Victoria, NTV, Yes TV, CHFD Thunder Bay and Pattison stations CKPG Prince George, CFJC Kamloops and CHAT Medicine Hat. The CRTC has granted license renewals to Hollywood Suite; Blue Ant Media channels A.Side, BBC Earth, Cottage Life, HIFI, Love Nature, Makeful, T + E and Smithsonian Channel; Canal Évasion, Knowledge Network, BBC Kids, The Rural Channel, as well as AMI-audio, AMI-tv and AMI-télé licences.

CKWS-TV Kingston is joining CHEX-TV Peterborough in rebranding its newscasts as CKWS News on Global Kingston. Both affiliates are continuing to air three daily newscasts – noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. – along with their existing Morning Shows. Global says staff and content at both affiliates remain unaffected by the rebrands.

Jordan Witzel

Global Calgary is celebrating Pride Week with new series Pride Without Prejudice. The five-part series is hosted by Global News Morning anchor Jordan Witzel, who sat down with members of the LGBTQ community to share their stories and promote understanding, touching on subjects like discrimination, youth experience, and social change.

Global has unveiled its fall lineup, anchored by Hollywood heavyweights Dick Wolf, Cedric the Entertainer, Amy Poehler, Damon Wayans Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt, among others. Featuring 17 hours of simulcast, the fall premiere season kicks off with a two-night Season 2 premiere event of last winter’s break-out series 9-1-1 on Sept. 23-24. On Sept. 25, highly-anticipated, new series FBI –  the latest from Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolf (Law & Order) – and New Amsterdam join the schedule. Read the full story here.

Mike Holmes Jr. and Mike Holmes

HGTV Canada and Mike Holmes are celebrating 15 years of making programming together. Since his first television series on HGTV Canada in 2003, Holmes has led nine Canadian-original series and specials, including Holmes on Homes, which had a seven season run, Best of Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, Holmes Makes It Right, and Holmes + Holmes. He has also appeared in HGTV Canada’s Home To Win and Sarah Off The Grid, along with special events including Holmes In New Orleans, Mike Holmes Ultimate Garage, Lien On Me, and Holmes: Behind the Overalls. Holmes + Holmes, featuring Holmes and his son Mike Holmes Jr., returns for a second season Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. To celebrate the partnership milestone, HGTV Canada social and digital platforms will publish a variety of anniversary-themed content, including videos of Mike and Mike Jr. competing in skill testing 15-second and 15-minute challenges; additional photo galleries and articles.

Daniel Levy

The Great Canadian Baking Show returns to CBC on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). Season 2 of the culinary competition show is hosted by actor and writer Daniel Levy and actress Julia Chan, with acclaimed pastry chefs Bruno Feldeisen and Rochelle Adonis also returning as the series judges.

CBC has renewed all-female original sketch comedy series Baroness Von Sketch Show  from Frantic Films for a fourth season (10 x 30). Created by and starring Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, the new season will begin production in Toronto this September for launch on CBC in 2019. The renewal announcement comes just ahead of the premiere of Season 3 on CBC on Sept. 18.

Sean O’Neill

CBC original series In The Making, set to premiere Sept. 21, takes viewers inside the creative process of some of Canada’s leading artists. Sean O’Neill took a sabbatical from his role as Director of Public Programs and Partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario to produce the series. The inaugural season follows eight artists working across the mediums of dance, theatre, visual art, and music, featuring performers like Toronto-based musician Lido Pimienta as she records her new album in Colombia. All eight episodes will be available to stream on the CBC TV app and, with individual episodes broadcasting weekly each Friday at 8:30 p.m. (9 pm NT) on CBC. 

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has announced that the second season of the award-winning Employable Me will return Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. ET on AMI-tv. Based on a UK format, the six-part docuseries follows job seekers with a physical disability or neurological condition as they face the job market. Season 1 of Employable Me captured a 2018 Rockie Award for Best Lifestyle Program at the Banff World Media Festival and Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Representation of Disability in the Non-Scripted Category at MIPCOM 2017. Digital exclusives are available at updating viewers on where job seekers are now in their careers.

CTV has confirmed its fall premiere dates. Its 2018/2019 television season kicks off with the 70th Emmy Awards on Sept. 17. Other hotly-anticipated new series include the reboot of Magnum P.I. (Sept. 24), Roseanne spinoff The Conners (Oct. 16), new primetime talk series The Alec Baldwin Show (Oct. 14), as well as the 12th and final season of The Big Bang Theory (Sept. 24). ETALK will air 30-minute special CTV’s Big Fall Preview on Monday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and CTV GO.

DHX Television has released the September schedule for its suite of channels. Family Channel sees the return of reality competition series The X Factor and Top Chef Junior; Family CHRGD offers up new animated series Mega Man: Fully Charged, while Family Jr.’s lineup includes new episodes of Polly Pocket and aspiring martial-arts style superhero Kody Kapow. See the full lineup here.  

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey’s new Showtime comedy Kidding leads CraveTV’s September streaming lineup. Carrey returns in his first series-regular role in more than two decades when the new, half-hour comedy series debuts Sunday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. ET. Also from Showtime – political documentary series The Circus: Inside The Wildest Political Show On Earth, which pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics. It returns with nine new episodes starting Sept. 16. Also available starting Sept. 4, are the previous week’s episodes of the most-watched daytime soap globally, The Bold and the Beautiful, now in its 31st Season. Read more here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released its annual report for the 2017/18 fiscal year, saying women now hold 40 per cent of leadership positions on CMF-funded TV productions. In 2017/18, CMF funding triggered $1.4B in production activity across the country. Every $1 of CMF funding generated $4.14 in production activity – the highest leverage ratio since the CMF was created in 2010. Its funding programs contributed $342.3M to financing the development, production and promotion of 1,176 television and digital media projects.The  last fiscal year also marked the launch of CMF’s YouTube channel Encore+ in November, featuring iconic Canadian films and television programs. CMF says discussions have been undertaken with existing partners Google Canada, Bell Media, Deluxe Toronto, Telefilm Canada, and others to ensure the project’s longevity.

Sadaf Foroughi’s Summer With Hope and Tracey Deer’s Beans are the next two projects that will receive funding from the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Women in View (WIV) through CFC Features. For the first time in the program’s history, CFC Features partnered with WIV to collect filmmaker and project nominations from culturally and regionally diverse female creators, as opposed to holding an open call for submissions. A special advisory committee made up of well-respected Canadian women in film assisted with the final selections. With the support of CFC Features and program partner The Movie Network (TMN), the two films will go through script polishing and packaging next. Both projects aim to go to camera in spring and summer 2019, respectively.


Facebook will start charging sales tax on ads purchased through its physical offices in Canada, becoming the first technology giant to do so. The move has the potential to generate millions in revenue for government and will undoubtedly put pressure on other foreign-based streaming and digital giants like Netflix, Google and Amazon. By mid-2019, both Facebook and Instagram will charge GST as part of a previously-announced move toward a local selling structure in countries where the company has an office to support sales to local advertisers. Thus far, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a steadfast stance against taxing foreign-based digital media, saying he doesn’t want the tax passed on to consumers. Read the full story here.

Facebook has rolled out its Watch platform globally, a year after the free platform was first launched in the U.S. The social network has been ramping up its investment in original content, with reports its planning on budgeting $1 billion (USD) over the next 12 months. Original series released on Watch include docuseries Bear Grylls: Face the Wild, talk show Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, and Canadian offerings Grade A Kitchen (5 x 10 minutes), Family of Champions (5 x 10) and Pixville Nightly (5 x 10), produced in conjunction with Blue Ant Media.

Amazon Canada says it’s doubled the number of Amazon Prime subscribers in the last 18 months. The service has introduced a monthly membership option of $7.99/mo, an alternative to the existing annual membership of $79. Prime in Canada includes unlimited access to Prime Video, access to over one million songs on Prime Music, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and Twitch Prime. Amazon is currently offering a 30-day free trial. Meantime, the company has hired former ESPN vice-president Marie Donoghue as VP of Sports Video as it builds the sports broadcasting side of its streaming offerings.

YouTube is about to revoke the ability to skip ads on the platform. It announced the news in a video to its Creator Insider channel entitled  “Want to earn more money from ad revenue?”  The move comes on the heels of Spotify’s test in Australia, allowing its users unlimited ability to skip ads, refunding advertisers who get skipped.


Navdeep Bains

The CRTC has launched an online survey asking Canadians about the sales practices of large telecommunications service providers, like Bell, Rogers and Telus. Canadians have until Sept. 7 to participate in the survey which is part of the CRTC’s consultation leading up to a report to government on whether misleading or aggressive retail sales practices are being used by large telecommunications service providers, their impact on consumers, and potential solutions to strengthen consumer protections. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains ordered the CRTC to investigate in June after media reports and direct complaints about misleading sales tactics. In addition to the survey, Canadians can submit an intervention until Aug. 30. Current or former sales or customer service representatives of the service providers and other stakeholders like public interest organizations or research groups are also invited to comment. Read more here.

Esther Enkin

CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin says there was no violation of policy following failure to identify a medic killed in the Gaza-Israel border conflict as a member of Hamas. The complainant, Mike Fegelman, executive director of HonestReporting Canada, wanted CBC News to add the information to the May 15 story. Musa Abuhassanin was mentioned in the context of a story about a Canadian physician he helped during a protest. Abuhassanin was shot and killed later that day. Enkin says the medic’s affiliation was not essential to the understanding of the story. As well, at the time of the publication, CBC News staff were not aware of his Hamas affiliation.

WideOrbit is being sued by a former sales executive for age discrimination. Jon P. Crossland, who was with the San Francisco-based software company for 13 years, has filed the suit in Superior Court in Washington state seeking lost pay and benefits, as well as damages for emotional distress. Crossland, who helped develop WideOrbit’s Radio division as director of sales, has retained employment litigator Judith A. Lonnquist. Prior to joining WideOrbit, Crossland worked for 12 years in sales management at CBSI and Wicks Broadcast Solutions, and before that held various radio station management roles including sales manager of the Entercom stations in Seattle.

Newcap Radio and Bell Media are coming together to host the Fredericton Strong Benefit Concert on Oct. 6, following tragic events earlier this month that left four people dead including two police officers. The all-star lineup will feature acts spanning rock, pop and country from coast-to-coast, but also shine a spotlight on East Coast talent, including Matt Mays, Matt Andersen & The Mellotones, Classified, Neon Dreams, and Tristan Horncastle. Singer/songwriter David Myles, who hails from Fredericton, will act as host and MC, in addition to support from in-market talent from Bell and Newcap stations. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to three key support services who helped those impacted immediately following the Aug. 10 shooting deaths – The Canadian Red Cross in New Brunswick, The Chalmers Foundation and The Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick. Read more here.