The Weekly Briefing


Jim Pattison Broadcast Group (JPBG) re-launched 101.5 KooL FM (CKCE-FM) Calgary as 101.5 Today Radio Tuesday morning. The station will maintain its Hot AC format, but feature more songs from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. 101.5’s on-air lineup remains virtually the same with Christy and Fraser helming mornings, Taylor Daniels on middays, and Rob and Joelle on afternoon drive. Joining the lineup is the introduction of an evening show from Crash and Mars, the morning duo from sister station 102.3 Now! (CKNO-FM) Edmonton. The evening show will feature highlights from their morning show, along with content localized for Today Radio. The on-air roster is rounded out by Nick Potter on weekends. Read the full story here.

Listen to our podcast on the Today Radio re-launch featuring the new station imaging here:

CBC Podcasts’ Someone Knows Something and Tai Asks Why have claimed multiple 2019 Canadian Podcast Awards. True Crime podcast Someone Knows Something, hosted by filmmaker and writer David Rigden, was recognized for Outstanding Documentary and Outstanding Production For A Series. Tai Asks Why picked up the award for Outstanding Kids & Family Series, with its 12-year-old host Tai Poole also winning the award for Best Host In A Series. A testament to the popularity of the True Crime genre, Minds of Madness picked up the inaugural People’s Choice Award, which saw the top nominated podcasts across all categories, open to voting by the general public. The Big Story, part of the Frequency podcast network, was recognized in the Outstanding News & Current Affairs Series category, while Corus Curiouscast offering Super Awesome Science Show took the award for Outstanding Science & Medicine Series. Find the full list of winners and nominees here.

SOCAN says total 2018 international royalties for its members are estimated to be least $87-million, an increase of 15 per cent over 2017. According to preliminary financial results, SOCAN’s total royalties collected for its nearly 160,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers continued to accelerate at an 11 per cent clip to a record $374-million, due to, among other factors, long-term investments in leading-edge technologies, strategic acquisitions and partnerships. SOCAN revenue from internet-based licensed music in 2018 will total approximately $62-million, an increase of 27 per cent from $49-million collected in 2017.

SiriusXM Canada has reversed a decision to feature comics from around the world on a rebrand of its Canada Laughs channel (168), set to launch this Spring as part of a partnership with Just for Laughs. The new channel will now be called Just for Laughs Canada. A statement issued late Wednesday said the channel will showcase 100 per cent Canadian content, independent of the Just For Laughs catalogue. Canadian artists will be eligible for the same royalties as under the previous channel. The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians (CASC), among others, had expressed concern the changes would cut in to what’s been a consistent, royalty stream for many Canadian comics.

SiriusXM Canada has launched a new and improved app, which showcases a redesigned user experience, as well as SiriusXM Video from The Howard Stern Show, that’s now available on all Amazon Fire TV products, Apple TV (4th generation), and Apple TV 4K. Subscribers can also access SiriusXM’s growing library of recorded On Demand content which features more than 5,000 hours of programming.

Erin Davis

Erin Davis has written memoir Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy, recounting the 2015 loss of her daughter Lauren, 24, who unexpectedly died in her sleep, leaving behind a seven-month-old son and husband. The longtime Toronto radio personality takes the reader through her grief process with hope and humour. The book features a forward by Jann Arden.

Monika Ille

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has launched a French-language podcast series looking at trends reshaping the media and entertainment industries. The first season of Futur et médias will explore digital distribution, podcasting, blockchain, location-based virtual reality, youth content and data. The series’ first episode features Monika Ille, executive director of Programming and Scheduling at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).

Steve Young

The Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award in Honour of Steve Young, recognizing outstanding young broadcasters, is open for nominations until Mar. 11. Awarded at Canadian Music Week in May, the winning recipient’s travel, accommodation and registration are covered. Anyone working in the industry can nominate any worthy broadcaster so long as they are under the age of 30 as of Apr. 19, 2019; work on-air or in programming, promotion, production or creative; are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant; and have made a significant, documented contribution to the community they serve, the radio industry or their craft. Click here to access the submission form.


Phil Menger

Phil Menger, 71, on Feb. 24, in his sleep, at home in Abbotsford. Menger was a longtime BC-based newsman with a career spanning print, TV and radio. After working as an ongoing contributor to CBC Radio, starting in the early 1970s, and writing for the Quesnel Cariboo Observer, Menger made the leap to television at CFTK-TV and Radio in Terrace. From 1980-85, Menger worked both in front of and behind the camera, in news and current affairs. He went on to join the CNW Group (Cision) for more two decades in a sales role. Among his side projects was volunteering at University of British Columbia campus radio station CiTR. A lifelong learner, Menger obtained several degrees and diplomas, including part-time Communications studies at Simon Fraser University, and a diploma in Library and Information Technology from University of the Fraser Valley, in addition to his Arts degree from Northern Virginia Community College.

Ross Crain

Ross Crain, 86, on Feb. 24. After graduating from Magee High School in Vancouver in 1950, Crain attended UBC where he found himself more interested in hanging around the University Radio Society, than his studies. Crain dropped out and took a summer job at CKWX which turned into a permanent gig hosting all-night show Concert Under the Stars. In 1955, Crain briefly moved over to CJOR, before returning to CKWX in 1956. Crain and his wife relocated to Montreal in 1960 where he worked at CFCF-TV and Radio, hosting a nightly game show before deciding to go back to school, enrolling in Commerce at McGill University. Crain worked at CFOX Montreal while pursuing his studies. He went on to pursue his MBA at Columbia University in New York and in Oct. 1966, joined the CBS Television Network Market Development Department where he analyzed audience data and wrote sales presentations. The Crains returned to Canada in 1969, settling in Toronto for the next 28 years where Crain mostly held research roles working with CTV, All-Canada Radio & Television, BBM, Calendar Magazines, The Globe and Mail, Adcom Research, and the Newspaper Marketing Bureau. Crain ended his career as a professor in Business Management at Seneca College. He retired to Vancouver in 1997 after 14 years of teaching.

Dick Williams

Dick Williams, 100, on Feb. 19. Williams joined CKWX Vancouver as a technician and engineer in 1939. He later worked at CFGP Radio in Grande Prairie, holding an number of technical roles. Williams and his wife Betty retired to Penticton in 1990, and in 2008 moved into the Cherry Park Retirement Residence where he celebrated his 100th birthday in September.


Chris Glover and Boyd Banks

CBC Toronto reporter Chris Glover has filed a police complaint after he was licked during a live television hit Tuesday evening. Glover was at a downtown Toronto comedy club gathering reaction to Just For Laughs takeover of SiriusXM’s Canada Laughs channel when a man approached Glover, made faces at the camera, and then licked and kissed the reporter’s ear and neck. The man in question, actor Boyd Banks, who has appeared on Little Mosque on the Prairie and Designated Survivor, among other shows, has since apologized for the incident, suggesting he needs mental health help.

TVA Group has announced its acquiring Montreal-based producer and television distributor Incendo for $19.5 million. With offices in Montreal, Toronto and Los Angeles, Incendo produces film, television series and documentaries for international markets. In addition to handling theatrical distribution in Quebec for Paramount Pictures, the company is also involved in a joint distribution venture with Twentieth Century Fox International Television (Fox/Incendo). France Lauzière, President and CEO of TVA Group and Chief Content Officer of Quebecor Content, said in a press release that the acquisition is part of the company’s strategic push into the Anglophone market.

Cherie Dimaline, Jennica Harper, Alexandra Raffé, and Ivan Fecan

Thunderbird Entertainment Group has announced that Métis author Cherie Dimaline will work with Vancouver-based TV writer and producer Jennica Harper (Cardinal, Motive) to adapt Dimaline’s award-winning novel The Marrow Thieves for television. The series will be produced by the company’s scripted division with Dimaline and Harper set to executive produce alongside Alexandra Raffé and Ivan Fecan, executive chair of Thunderbird’s board. The Marrow Thieves is set in a dystopian future where Earth has been ravaged by climate change. Wanted for their bone marrow, which contains the lost ability to dream, North American Indigenous people are being hunted by government recruiters and used as unwilling donors. The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General’s Award for English-language children’s literature and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers in 2017 and has been a Canadian bestseller for over a year.

The Canadian Academy of Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC have revealed more of the artists set to perform at the 2019 JUNO Awards Broadcast, hosted by Sarah McLachlan. Francophone singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate, Québec rapper Loud, country music duo The Reklaws and Canadian Indigenous tenor Jeremy Dutcher will all take the stage. They join previously-announced performers Loud Luxury, bülow and Corey Hart. The 2019 JUNO Awards will be broadcast live from Budweiser Gardens in London, ON on Sunday, Mar. 17 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Gem, and

Craig Pryce, Julia Stone, Morgan Kohan, and Tymika Tafari

The Marijuana Chronicles has started principal photography in Toronto. Based on a true story that took place in 1972 over 98 days, the film is a look at the physical, scientific and social effects of marijuana use on an all-female study group.  Written and directed by Craig Pryce (The Good Witch, Goosebumps, HBO’s The Dark), the story was optioned from Toronto Star investigative reporter Diana Zionislic, who acts as story consultant. The Marijuana Chronicles features an all-Canadian female cast including Julia Stone (Weirdos, The Killing), Morgan Kohan (Star Trek Discovery, Kim’s Convenience), Tymika Tafari (Murdoch Mysteries), Brittany Bristow (Royal Matchmaker, Shadowtown), and Kyla Young (Alias Grace). Luke Bilyk (Degrassi) and Greg Calderone (Saving Hope) also appear.

The Quebecor Fund board of directors has named the production companies and distributors whose projects will receive funding in the 17th round of the Film Production Assistance Program. The selected producers and distributors will share a total of $920,000. The four successful projects include Xavier Dolan-directed feature film Matthias et Maxine (Productions Sons of Manual inc.). Since its 2010 launch, the program has granted 68 film projects and 14 event projects financial assistance, totalling more than $12.8 million.

Shaw Rocket Fund is celebrating 20 years of investing in Canadian-made media content for children and youth. Since 1999, the fund has invested more than $220 million to fuel 865 audio-visual programs and digital media content. It supports creative programming in both of Canada’s official languages, as well as Indigenous and other languages, on all platforms that air Canadian children’s and youth programming. Among the critically acclaimed projects the fund has supported are The Breadwinner (Aircraft Pictures), which received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, and Snowtime/La guerre des tuques 3D (CarpeDiem Film & TV), which received the 2015 Cineplex Golden Screen Award for the highest-grossing Canadian film at the domestic box office that year.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has opened submissions for the 18th annual DGC Awards. There are some new submission timelines with the deadline for Television Series, Movies for Television and Mini-Series now Apr. 14. The deadline for Feature Film, Documentary and Short Film is Aug. 11. You can review the submission guide here.


The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has announced the finalists for the 2019 WGC Screenwriting Awards. In their 23rd year, the awards celebrate the best in Canadian screenwriting on Canadian-made TV, films, documentaries and web series. Gavin Crawford, writer, comedian and host of CBC Radio’s Because News, will host this year’s awards gala on April 29 at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning’s Koerner Hall in Toronto. Find the full list of nominees here.


Roger Mooking, Massimo Capra, Lynn Crawford and Dustin Gallagher for #DestinationDishes

Corus Entertainment’s Food Network Canada is looking to build on the success of its Twitter cooking series #OneDirtyDish, announcing new series #DestinationDishes. Starting Mar. 7, Twitter users will be invited to vote for the culinary cuisine they would like to see Food Network Canada celebrity chefs like Massimo Capra, Lynn Crawford, Dustin Gallagher and Roger Mooking create. Produced by Corus’ in-house social content studio so.da, each episode will feature ingredients and dishes inspired by cultures from around the world. The first episode of #DestinationDishes will launch on @FoodNetworkCA’s Twitter starting Monday, March 11 at 4 p.m. ET for eight weeks.

Robert Half Technology has undertaken a survey of IT leaders and office workers following recent legislation in some countries offering a “right to disconnect,” as the Canadian government examines the issue. When asked if they could ignore their inboxes after hours, more than half (58 per cent) of technology leaders believed they could adhere to a ban on after-hours work emails, but 43 per cent of workers don’t think their manager would follow the rule. In addition, nearly half (48 per cent) of workers said they would still be tempted to check emails after work.

Pandora has combined music and podcasts, introducing Pandora Stories this week. It allows artists to create music playlists interspersed with voice tracks telling the stories behind the music. Through the feature, which is part of the Pandora Artist Marketing Platform, musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors, podcasters and other celebrities will have access to Pandora’s licensed catalogue. The first releases include John Legend, Daddy Yankee, and Perry Farrell, among others. Pandora is still only available in the U.S.


Navdeep Bains

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Min. Navdeep Bains is proposing a new direction for the CRTC that puts the Canadian consumer first. Bains’ proposed policy directive would require the CRTC to consider competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation in its telecommunications decisions and demonstrate to Canadians that it has done so. A press release says the proposed order aims to improve the affordability of internet and cellphone services for Canadians. It comes less than a week after the release of the commission’s heavily-criticized report on misleading and aggressive sales practices in the telecommunications industry. Read the full story here.

Michael Geist, University of Ottawa Law Professor & the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, was our guest on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast last week to talk all things regulatory. Listen here:

The CRTC has finally released the Broadcast Sector Overview part of the 2018 Communications Monitoring Report, based on data from 2016-17. In 2017, broadcasting services [including radio (private and CBC), conventional television (private and CBC), discretionary and on-demand television services (pay per view (PPV), video-on-demand, and broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs), such as cable, satellite and IPTV distributors], generated total revenues of $17.3 billion, a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to 2016. BDUs generated the largest portion of revenue, reporting $8.5 billion in 2017, almost half of total broadcasting revenues, followed by television services ($6.9 billion, 40 per cent) and radio stations ($1.8 billion, 11 per cent). In comparison, revenues in Canada of internet-based audio and video services totalled $2.7 billion, less than a sixth of those from traditional broadcasting services. Download the full report here.

The CRTC is inviting Canadians to share their views on its Facebook page until Mar. 4 on the possible creation of a mandatory code of conduct for internet service providers (ISPs). The commission says it wants to hear from all Canadians, but especially internet subscribers who may have experienced issues related to contract clarity, bill shock, and cancelling or changing service providers. Facebook posts that comply with the CRTC’s Rules of Engagement and that are posted in the #InternetCode: Have your say! album will be added to the public record for the ongoing proceeding. The public comment period comes amidst contention that intervenors weren’t given enough time to adequately respond during the initial consultation period from Nov. 9 – Dec. 19, 2018. A who’s who of Canadian telecom researchers and consumer advocacy organizations, including the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), OpenMedia, and the Consumers Council of Canada, among others, boycotted the proceeding.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, are among the executives who’ve been invited to appear before an international committee on disinformation and fake news in Ottawa this May. Struck as part of a British probe that began in 2017, the committee of elected politicians from nine countries, including Canada and the UK, says it will not permit alternates. Zuckerberg declined to attend the committee’s last meeting in November, sending a VP in his stead.

Cogeco Communications has reached an agreement to sell its data centre Cogeco Peer 1 Inc. to global investment firm Digital Colony. The transaction, expected to close in Q3 2019, is valued at $720 million. Cogeco says it plans to use a significant portion of the net proceeds from the sale to repurchase subordinate voting shares under a normal course issuer bid to be implemented after closing of the transaction. Under the transaction, Cogeco will retain significant fibre capacity in Toronto and Montréal and has signed a business development agreement with Digital Colony. Cogeco president and CEO Philippe Jetté said the sale will allow the company to focus its resources on Canadian and American broadband business and allow for greater flexibility “to pursue organic investment and acquisition opportunities.” Cogeco Peer 1 will remain headquartered in Toronto and adopt a new brand.

Huawei celebrated 10 years of Canadian operations during its fifth Canadian Partner Convention on Feb. 21. Attended by over 300 people from 100+ partners, including carriers, channel partners, suppliers, universities, governments, and others, the evening’s theme was “Grow with Canada in a New Decade.” Amidst ongoing speculation the Canadian government will join Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. in banning or limiting the use of Huawei technology, Eric Li, President of Huawei Technologies Canada,  told the audience the company looks forward “to continuing, and expanding, our commitment to the Canadian market over the next decade.” Christian Chau, president of R&D, said the company plans to add 200 new, high-paying R&D jobs and expand R&D investments in Canada in 2019 by 15 per cent. Chau also indicated Huawei plans to change its R&D investment practices to ensure all intellectual property (IP) generated in collaboration with Canadian institutions remains in the country.

TekSavvy and its affiliate cable company Hastings Cable Vision have expanded its IPTV service, TekSavvy TV, to the Ottawa region. Launched in Chatham earlier this month, TekSavvy TV offers access to over 100 HD channels of sports, movies, series and kids programming including video-on-demand content from selected channels. TekSavvy TV is currently available as an app for Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire Stick. Customers can start with TekSavvy TV Basic at $20/month and then add additional theme packages ranging in price from $6 to $20/month.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) J-Talk Fending off Threats Ahead of the Federal Election will take place in Montreal on Feb. 28 at Radio-Canada’s head office. Grégoire Lemarchand, Paris-based deputy editor-in-chief and head of social networks at Agence France-Presse who specializes in fact-checking, and Stéphane Perrault, chief electoral officer of Elections Canada, will share their insights in a conversation with moderator Anne-Marie Dussault, host of Radio-Canada’s 24/60. The discussion, which starts at 7 p.m., will be in French.

The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom is hosting upcoming event “HARD TRUTHS + FAKE NEWS – A timely bootcamp for users of democracy and defenders of press freedom.” The Mar. 30 event at the Carleton School of Journalism and Communication will feature BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman, CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star; Mike De Souza, National Observer; Murad Hemmadi, The Logic; Michelle Richardson, Ottawa Citizen; and Lindsay Sample, The Discourse, discussing strategies to fight misinformation leading up to the 2019 federal election. Find more info here.

The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom is accepting nominations for its annual Press Freedom Award, which goes to a journalist or media worker in Canadian print, digital or broadcasting who has made a significant contribution to freedom of expression, either by standing up to government or private interests that would thwart the reporting of events or stories of significant public interest, or by advancing press freedom through the subjects he or she reports on. Institutions that work towards the same objectives may also apply or be nominated. The application deadline is Mar. 25. The winner receives a $2,000 prize and a certificate from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO at the annual World Press Freedom Day Luncheon in Ottawa on May 2. Last year’s winner was The Independent, an online publication in Newfoundland and Labrador, whose reporter Justin Brake was criminally charged with mischief and violating an injunction after he followed Indigenous protestors into a construction site of the controversial Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is accepting applications for its annual AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship. This year marks the eighth anniversary of the scholarship program providing financial assistance to students with a disability. Applications will be accepted until Friday, May 10, at 5 p.m. ET. Find information and eligibility requirements here. Two $5,000 bursaries will be awarded to two deserving students with a permanent disability; one from the English community and one from the French. Laura Lefevre of Edmonton and Elisanne Pellerin from Montreal were the 2018 recipients.


NLogic, which provides technology, data and consumer insight to the Canadian broadcast and advertising industry, has launched a new Services division.  Deepak Thonse, Director of Operations, will oversee the new division, which will specialize in consultation, custom data and system integrations, among other offerings. NLogic will continue to develop and support TV and radio audience applications, including Lens and ConexAPI, alongside the new Services division.

SMPTE has announced that Todd Douglas Miller, the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed Apollo 11 moon landing documentary, will present the keynote at the 2019 NAB Show’s Future of Cinema Conference (FoCC), produced in partnership with SMPTE. NAB Show’s FoCC, “Now, Next, and Beyond the Yellow Brick Road,” will take place April 6-7 in Las Vegas. Miller’s Apr. 6 keynote (9:10 a.m.) will describe the process of making “Apollo 11,” which premiered Jan. 24 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received a Special Grand Jury Prize for Editing. Working with unprocessed, never-before-seen 65 mm footage recently discovered in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), as well as 11,000 hours of uncatalogued NASA audio recordings, Miller and his colleagues first digitized and restored the film, then created an 8K transfer of the footage. More information about FoCC is available here. SMPTE members can register here and use code EP07 to take $100 off the NAB Show nonmember rate for a Conference Flex Pass registration or to get a free Exhibits Pass. The offer expires Mar. 25.

Alain Savoie

Bannister Lake creative and technical director Alain Savoie will present co-authored white paper “New Methodologies in Real-Time Data Aggregation and Management for Broadcast Presentation and Distribution” at the 2019 NAB Show. Along with Savoie, the paper was written by Bannister Lake’s Vernon Freedlander, who heads strategic partnerships, and company president Georg Hentsch. Savoie will speak on data-driven engineering and development methodologies, and how broadcasters can take advantage of the data aggregation and management tools and techniques these methodologies foster to create more efficient and automated production workflows. He’ll also explore how broadcasters can use real-time data to create and distribute new revenue-generating products and services. The presentation will take place Wednesday, Apr. 10 at 4 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center room N260. Bannister Lake will also be highlighting its flagship data aggregation and graphics management solution, Chameleon. Register for the session here.

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