The Weekly Briefing


Sauga 960 AM (CKNT-AM) Mississauga launched Sept. 4, nearly seven years after getting approval from the CRTC. Owner Elliott Kerr who also owns local OHL team the Mississauga Steelheads and Landmark Sports Group, which operates the Mississauga Marathon, says the staton will operate on a news/talk format focusing on the local political, sports and arts scene.

Magic 99.9 (CJUK-FM) Thunder Bay has rebranded to 99.9 The Bay, playing hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Acadia Broadcasting station will also continue to provide seven-day-a-week local and regional news coverage.

Bob Irving

CJOB Winnipeg’s Bob Irving is celebrating 45 years in broadcasting. Hired at CJOB in 1973, he became the play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the following fall and has been covering the CFL team ever since. Irving, 68, is an inductee of both the Blue Bombers Hall of Fame and Canadian Football Hall of Fame. He marked the anniversary by calling the annual Labour Day Classic rivalry game between the Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in his hometown of Regina.

Rogers has launched Discover Talent – a proactive online recruiting tool that also offers a space for radio and podcasting talent to receive feedback. With 56 radio stations and the recent launch of its Frequency Podcast Network in June, Paul Kaye, VP of Product & Talent Development, says the company is primarily looking for contributors in the audio space, but also for “interesting people with something to say” from YouTube content creators to those interested in news and sports. Kaye says the site is also intended to help would-be broadcasters get better at their craft with video content like “Tips For Getting Into Radio” and “How To Do Show Prep” featuring Rogers on-air personalities like Mocha and Jax Irwin from KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) Toronto, Garner Andrews from SONiC 102.9 (CHDI-FM) Edmonton, Lori Gibbs from CHFM-FM Calgary and Jennifer Campbell from Country 106.7 (CIKZ-FM) Kitchener. Read the full story here.

Information Morning’s Portia Clark and Rich Aucoin

CBC Halifax morning show Information Morning has adopted a new theme after 17 years. “The Fear” by Halifax musician Rich Aucoin is off his EP Hold, released in March. Listen to Aucoin’s interview with host Portia Clark here.

Edison Research says new data finds that the reach of in-car AM/FM radio has remained unchanged since 2011. Working with NPR, Edison recently tracked the results of two previous studies looking at in-car audio consumption.  A national phone survey of Americans 18+, who had been a driver or passenger found that in 2018, 84 per cent are listening to AM/FM Radio while driving.  

The Canadian Cannabis Update podcast has now passed the 50 episode mark. Hosted and produced by Michael Pedersen, who also manages multicultural station Red FM (CKYR-FM) Calgary, Pederson became interested in cannabis investing last winter and found a lack of entry level content. He’s now producing up to three episodes a week covering the Canadian legalization process with guests ranging from business development experts to municipal officials.

NewsTalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto has announced a partnership with Waze, the real-time, crowdsourced navigation app that allows drivers to share accidents, hazards, and other road traffic information along their commute. The station is joining Waze for Broadcasters to deliver its traffic reports using Waze Complete Traffic Intelligence, a combination of historical and real-time traffic information sourced from local drivers.


Pat MacPherson

Pat MacPherson, 89, on Aug. 28 in Burnaby. MacPherson was the traffic manager at CKNW-AM Vancouver for more than two decades. She had been working part-time at a local car dealership, but newly-widowed, was looking for full-time work when NW salesman George Garrett (better known for his time as a reporter with the station) told her about a job opening. MacPherson was with the station from 1968, up until her retirement in 1994. She succumbed to cancer just three days before her 90th birthday.


The CRTC has increased the programs of national interest (PNI) spending requirement for both the English and French-language large television ownership groups. The move comes in response to the federal government’s Order-in-Council, asking the CRTC to reconsider its May 2017 decision in which it cut the minimum PNI expenditure requirement to a uniform five per cent of revenue for Bell, Corus and Rogers – almost half the previous requirement of nine to 10 per cent. Unions representing Canadian screenwriters, directors and others, blasted the decision, saying the move was equivalent to slashing the broadcasters’ investment in Canadian programming by $200 million over five years. With the percentage now based on historical expenditures, Bell’s requirement will increase from five per cent to 7.5 per cent of the previous year’s revenues. Corus’ spending requirements will jump to 8.5 per cent, while requirements for Rogers will remain at five per cent. For the French-language market, the CRTC will now require each group to make significant investments in the creation of French-language programs, representing 75 per cent of its Canadian programming expenditures for original French-language programs starting in 2019/20. Read more here.

HBO Canada will present the world television premiere of You Are Here: A Come From Away Story on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 9 p.m. ET. The new 84-minute Bell Media Original documentary tells the story of how the small community of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed more than 6,500 ‘Come From Aways’ on Sept. 11, 2001. Following its broadcast premiere, the documentary will join CraveTV’s lineup in 2019.

Bravo will give new procedural drama Gone its North American debut on Sept. 16. The 12-episode, one-hour drama takes over the Sunday night timeslot from spy drama Killing Eve, which has its finale on Sunday, Sept 9. Based on the novel One Kick from author Chelsea Cain, Gone follows “Kit Kick” Lannigan (Leven Rambin), the survivor of a highly publicized child-abduction case, and Frank Novak (Chris Noth), the FBI agent responsible for her rescue.

Bell Media is collaborating with and Gusto Worldwide Media to produce DNA Dinners. Hosted by ETalk Reporter Tyrone Edwards, each episode follows participants as they take an AncestryDNA test to discover their genetic origins. Chefs are then brought in to explore the cuisine and cooking techniques of each participant’s background. The 16-episode, half-hour series is currently in production in Toronto and Ottawa.

Citytv’s fall schedule is anchored by Candice Bergen’s return as broadcast news legend Murphy Brown (Sept. 27), while Kim Coates reprises his role in Season 2 of original series Bad Blood (Oct. 11). City is also set to air new dramas Manifest and A Million Little Things, in addition to new comedies Single Parents, starring Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl); and The Cool Kids with comedy veterans David Alan Grier (In Living Color), Martin Mull (The Ranch), and Vicki Lawrence (The Carol Burnett Show) playing the colourful residents of a retirement community. City will air half-hour special Entertainment City: Citytv Fall Preview, on Monday, Sept. 10, hosted by Teri Hart and Devo Brown.

TELETOON’s fall schedule features four new original Canadian series: Bravest Warriors, Cupcake & Dino: General Services, Chop Chop Ninja, and Total Dramarama. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, Super Dinosaur, and Transformers: Cyberverse also make their debuts, in addition to new episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Wishfart, and Teen Titans Go!

FX has unveiled its fall premiere dates led by new biker drama Mayans M.C., the next chapter in Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy saga. Also on the network’s fall sched is new dramedy series Mr Inbetween, created by and starring Australian newcomer Scott Ryan; and American Horror Story’s new crossover season Apocalypse. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes its return to FXX with a new season.

The Cartel, the L.A.-based indie management and production company, is opening an office in Winnipeg and says it plans to shoot half of its 2019 production slate, or up to 10 projects, in the city. Cartel Pictures Canada will focus on producing, financing and developing projects north of the border. The new division will be run by partners Stan Spry and Eric Woods, in addition to the company’s VP of Production Anthony Fankhauser.

Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci

Scythia Films’ production Percy, starring Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci, has started shooting in Winnipeg. Based on a true story, Walken plays a Canadian farmer crusading against genetically-modified crops, while Ricci takes on the role of an anti-GMO activist. Clark Johnson (The Wire, S.W.A.T., The Sentinel) directs. Roberta Maxwell, Adam Beach, Luke Kirby, Martin Donovan, Rick Aarons and Peter Stebbings round out the cast. The film is being produced by Daniel Bekerman, Ian Dimerman, Brendon Sawatzky, and screenwriters Hilary Pryor and Garfield L. Miller.

Telefilm Canada is partnering with Sámi Film Institute and Nunavut Film Development Corporation to develop a pilot project to fund an Indigenous co-production, with an aim of fostering collaboration between the different film communities in the Arctic Circle. The International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI) is dedicated to providing Sámi people with the skills and economic opportunities to develop, produce, and distribute films in the Sámi language. It also promotes cooperation and encourages productions with other Indigenous filmmakers and organizations internationally.

OUTtv is launching as a pop-up channel in South Africa this fall. In partnership with MultiChoice, OUTtv South Africa will broadcast on DStv channel 198 from Oct. 4 – Nov. 4. The Vancouver-based LGTBQI+ channel’s expansion into South Africa, follows a year of growth for the network that included the launch of OUTtv in New Zealand through TVNZ’s OnDemand platform and year-on-year growth of OUTtvGo subscriptions and monthly streams in Canada. The network also recently commissioned three new series, FAK YAASS from Bulldog Productions, Drag Heals from Border2Border Entertainment and Dr. Barry from Arcadia Content. The network has also ordered a fourth season of Mom vs Matchmaker from Go Button Media and second seasons of Never Apart from Never Apart TV and Popporn from Border2Border Entertainment.

HGTV star Bryan Baeumler is backing new home services app HeyBryan, connecting homeowners with home service providers like plumbers, painters and appliance repair people. All taskers are subject to background checks and payment is processed through the app, which is set to launch this fall for Android and iPhone.


Humbolt, a platform dedicated solely to independent music has launched, self-described as “ethical music streaming.” Subscription rates start at $2.99/month, with Humbolt claiming that the lion’s share of that fee goes to support independent artists and labels. The streaming service was started by former musician and tech industry veteran David O’Brien. Bloodshot Records, Omnian Music Group and more than a dozen other indie labels have signed on to the new platform thus far.

Big Cedar Films is behind CBC web docuseries Farm Crime, which takes the popularity of the true crime genre to the world of agriculture. Geoff Morrison, who wrote and directed mystery documentary The Missing Tourist, executive produced the six-episode web series. Now available to stream at, Farm Crime webisodes explore stories from small town Canada, ranging from oyster theft to cattle rustling to the disappearance of five million bees. (wio) has launched in the U.S. and Canada promising the quickest and easiest TV listings search tool. Working off a database of over five million airings every week, wio includes programs from streaming services like HBO, Amazon, and YouTube TV, in addition to traditional TV listings. wio also offers Valet Service which displays shows airing in the next three hours tailored to user criteria, creating a custom service channel. was founded by Los Angeles-based television score composer Shawn Pierce and Vancouver software designer Adam Shafron.


The Ontario Association of Broadcasters has announced the 2018 Ontario Hall of Fame Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to Ross Kentner and Barbara Williams. Ross Kentner recently retired after 56 years with Bayshore Broadcasting. He began his career as an operator and quickly moved into the newsroom, eventually becoming news director and later general manager in 1985. Barbara Williams is executive vice-president and COO of Corus Entertainment Inc. Prior to her current position, Williams served as president of Shaw Media and was previously executive VP, Content at Canwest; vice-president and GM of Toronto 1; and senior VP of Lifestyle Programming at Alliance Atlantis. The Ontario Hall of Fame Awards will be presented during the OAB conference gala awards luncheon, Nov. 8, at the Marriott Toronto Airport Hotel.

The 2018 Jack Webster Awards have revealed this year’s finalists in 12 categories recognizing excellence in journalism in B.C. The winners will be announced Oct. 29 at an awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver. In addition, this year’s winners of the 2018 Commentator of the Year, Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award and Bill Good Award will be named. Award-winning Dateline NBC correspondent Keith Morrison is the event’s guest speaker.

CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin says while National Post columnist Barbara Kay’s presence on a panel discussing changes to the sex ed curriculum in Ontario was provocative, her opinions were challenged and balanced by the views of the other two panelists. Kay was part of a July 13 discussion on CBC News Network on transgender issues which sparked more than 75 viewer complaints. Many questioned the basis for inviting Kay to participate as neither an expert nor educator on the subject, and a well-known transphobic. In her review, Enkin says because Kay’s views were so vigorously disputed by the other panelists, the segment did not violate CBC journalistic policy. 

Enkin has also reviewed a complaint from Knowledge First Financial asking that a 2010 article regarding group RESPs be de-listed. The concern was that much had changed in the industry but prospective clients were reading the article and rejecting RESPs as an option to save for their children’s education. Enkin says while the article is clearly dated, “no reputable media organization would effectively remove a story like this because it is part of the public record. CBC Journalistic policy allows for its continued presence on the web.”

BCE Inc. (Bell) has completed its acquisition of Axia NetMedia Corporation, the Calgary-based operator of SuperNet, the Alberta broadband network connecting thousands of provincial and municipal offices, Indigenous communities, schools, libraries, healthcare institutions, businesses and internet service providers throughout the province. In addition to the contract to supply all SuperNet services, Bell now owns and operates Axia network assets connecting 402 rural Alberta communities, along with the 27 urban areas already connected to SuperNet by Bell. The integrated Bell-Axia team will be led by Dan McKeen, Bell’s vice chair, Western Canada, and Ryan Klassen, who will be responsible for all day-to-day operations in the newly created role of VP, Business Solutions and Axia Group.

Cogeco Connexion has enhanced its gigabit offering in Ontario markets, including the communities of Acton, Amherstview, Ancaster, Bath, Beamsville, Burlington, Campbellville, Carlisle, Dundas, Elora, Fergus, Flamborough, Freelton, Gananoque, Georgetown, Greenville, Grimsby, Hamilton, Kingston, Millgrove, Millhaven, Milton, Napanee, Oakville, Odessa, Rockwood, Speyside, Stewarttown, Stoney Creek, Vineland, Waterdown and Winona. Michael Blais, Cogeco VP of Engineering and Operations, expects that by Aug. 2019 a majority of Cogeco Connexion’s footprint will be 1 Gig ready.

The Competition Bureau has chimed in on the CRTC review of telecom sales practices. In a submission from the Interim Commissioner of Competition, it’s noted that The Competition Act typically does not prohibit the use of aggressive sales practices where they are not deceptive. Accordingly, the submission reads “the bureau generally does not have the ability to bring cases or obtain remedies in situations where conduct is purely aggressive, and not deceptive.” It also cautions the CRTC to ensure that “the costs associated with any changes made to its regulatory framework are proportionate to the harms that these changes seek to address.” Canadians have until Sept. 7 to participate in an online survey on the sales practices of the large telecommunications providers. Public hearings are set for Oct. 22.

Holmes PR, the Toronto-based communications agency that counts SiriusXM, AMC Network, and the iHeartRadio MMVAs among its clients, has been acquired by KWT Global. An MDC Partners Inc. agency formerly known as Kwittken, the move increases KWT Global’s presence in the Canadian market. Katherine Holmes, who founded Holmes PR in 1988, will join KWT Global to lead and support the Toronto office, along with nine staff.

The Association of Central Canada Broadcast Engineers, Technologists and Technicians (CCBE) holds its 2018 conference from Sept. 27-30 at Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City, ON. Find this year’s agenda here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF), in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), will host an industry session during the industry track of the festival dedicated to “Engaging Today’s Consumers: Building a National Brand for Film, TV, and Digital.” The session will be held Sept. 8 from noon to 1 p.m. in Conference Room B at CBC Toronto. Joined by industry leaders and creative talent, Valerie Creighton, CMF president & CEO, will moderate a panel discussion on why now is the time to think outside the box and build a consumer-facing brand for the Canadian audiovisual industry and change the way Canadians and the world perceive Canadian content. Panelists will include Jocelyn Hamilton, president – Canada, Television, eOne; Michael Kennedy, executive VP, Filmed Entertainment, Cineplex; ETalk and CTV Your Morning host Ben Mulroney; and Canadian actress Karine Vanasse (Cardinal).

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