The Weekly Briefing


The Radio Trailblazers honoured this year’s Rosalie Award recipient Tuesday Night at Toronto’s Rosewater Room, in conjunction with Canadian Music Week. This year’s honouree is Carmela Laurignano, vice-president and Radio Group Manager at Evanov Radio Group. Humber College student Heather Williams, who is headed to work in promotions at Rogers’ Fort McMurray stations, received the Renee Roth Memorial Award. Read more here.

Guy Brouillard, Gerry Forbes, and Brother Jake Edwards

Radio Interactive gets underway at Canadian Music Week on Thursday. Thursday highlights include the opening keynote by radio futurologist James Cridland on Canadian radio’s digital strategy, the presentation of Infinite Dial Canada research by Edison SVP Tom Webster, and a Programming 2020 Masterclass discussing how stations can prepare themselves for Numeris’ incoming shift to continuous measurement for all radio markets. Thursday evening, this year’s Broadcast Industry Awards will be handed out at a sold-out event at Rebel Entertainment Complex, including this year’s Hall of Fame inductees Brother Jake Edwards, Gerry Forbes and Guy Brouillard. Friday’s conference agenda opens with a panel of women visionaries on the evolution of the business of music and radio. The morning’s keynote conversation features 2019 CMW Lifetime Achievement Award honouree Robbie Robertson and broadcast veteran Denise Donlon. That’s followed by a panel on Elevating Young and Diverse Voices featuring CHUM morning co-host Jamar McNeil, KiSS 104.9’s Kevin Lim, and Peter Kash of Flow 93.5. Matt Cundill of the Sound Off Podcast will moderate Broadcasting in the Age of Podcasting with panelists Steve Pratt, Pacific Content; Leslie Merklinger, CBC Radio; and Jordan Heath Rawlings of Rogers. Read more here.

Gord Kidder

Gord Kidder remains in a coma in the Czech Republic, however the broadcast community has rallied to raise nearly $115,000 to cover the broadcast sales veteran’s mounting medical costs and airlift back to Canada. Last week, Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications, and former CHUM Group chairman Jim Waters, offered to match further donations to a gofundme page set up for Kidder. A partner in Muskoka Information Radio (CIIG-FM) Gravenhurst, ON, and former account manager at CHUM and Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM), Kidder was in Europe in early April to take part in ceremonies around the 75th anniversary of The Great Escape. The trip was made in honour of the uncle he is named for, a POW at Stalag Luft III during WWII, who was one of the men captured and shot in the infamous plot. Kidder was on his way home and in the airport when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. After two surgeries, he remains in the ICU. Kidder did not have out-of-country or private health insurance. Bill Herz, former SVP of Sales for Standard Broadcasting, who worked with Kidder at CFRB, said as of Wednesday they were $10,000 shy of their fundraising goal and hope to fly Kidder home within the week.

Golden West Broadcasting’s Estevan stations – CJ1150, SUN 102 (CHSN-FM) and ROCK 106 (CKSE-FM) – raised over $168,000 for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation with the Radiothon for Life.  Funds raised will help add and replace equipment in the maternity ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan.


The 13th Annual CHAB Family First Radiothon saw the Golden West team in Moose Jaw raise almost $300,000 for the Moose Jaw Health Foundation and a new lithotripsy unit and anaesthetic machines for the Dr F. H. Wigmore Regional Hospital. After 36 hours, the goal of $150,000 was surpassed and almost doubled.

Harvard Broadcasting’s GX94 and Fox FM Yorkton held their 13th Annual Airwaves for Health Radiothon Apr. 29-30 at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre. A record $143,128 was raised towards purchasing new state of the art digital mammography equipment. The first annual radiothon raised funds for the mammography equipment currently in use.

99.3 County FM’s Radiothon in Prince Edward County, ON surpassed all goals as the member-owned, volunteer operated, not-for-profit community radio station, set out to take the final bite out of the $150,000 start-up loan that put the station on-air in Oct. 2014. With $47K remaining, a team of 106 volunteers surpassed that goal as listeners and sponsors donated more than $53,000. Over the four days of the Radiothon, 45 musical acts performed live on-air. Each day of the event, listeners were invited to tour the station and enjoy the music, in addition to an Island Jam Party at the Prince Edward County Yacht Club, and a Tailgate Party & Sale where the public was encouraged to donate their proceeds to the Radiothon. The event marked the opening of fifth anniversary celebrations for County FM, which will continue through the Spring and Summer, leading up to Oct. 14.

The Canadian Podcast Listener Survey has released more data, finding that sharing has been a key component in podcasting’s growth. The survey, from Audience Insights Inc. and Ulster Media with support from TPX, found nearly two-thirds (65%) of monthly podcast listeners say they have shared podcasts they listen to with others at some point in the last six months. Almost half of those (46%) shared a podcast (46%) by word-of-mouth and nearly a quarter (23%) of monthly listeners said they had shared a podcast in the past six months via social media, rising to 29% among 18-34 year olds. Nearly one-in-five (18%) podcast listeners shared content directly via email or text, rising to 29% among “power listeners” – those who listen to at least five hours of podcasts per week. Initial findings from the Canadian Podcast Listener Survey 2019 will be released this summer. Read more here.

The Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada (ARC) is implementing StatsRadio’s sales and performance analysis tools at its member radio stations. The two-year agreement will see StatsRadio gradually implemented at French-language and Acadian community radio stations throughout the country, starting with Ontario and New Brunswick. The project was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada. The Alliance says the new system will empower its members with the capability to enhance their understanding of their audience and demonstrate their relevance to advertisers to secure better positioning in increasingly competitive advertising markets. StatsRadio now has over 80 broadcasters using its offer.


Glen Livingstone

Glen Livingstone, 66, on May 6, after a short battle with cancer. Livingstone was a board operator and producer with 980 CKNW and Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) from 1972 to 1999. Many of those years were spent as one of the writers and producers behind the successful “Discumentary” program, a one-hour musical documentary featuring a particular artist or theme. Voiced by Dave McCormick and later Terry David Mulligan, the show was syndicated throughout Canada, and broadcast internationally on the Anik D satellite.

Joe Meyers

Joe Meyer, 85, on Apr. 18 at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, following complications from dementia. Born in Fairview, AB, Meyer began working as a reporter for local newspaper The Post, before embarking on a 35-year career in radio, starting at CKYL Peace River, then onward to CFCW Camrose, CKRD Red Deer, CKRC Winnipeg, and on and off at CJCA where he concluded his career in Edmonton. In 1962, Meyer left Canada for some adventure where he sailed to New Zealand, met his wife Mert and became a father. He eventually returned to Canada and settled the family in Fort Saskatchewan for 13 years before moving back to Edmonton. In addition to being a respected newsman, Meyer was also an accomplished piano, organ and guitar player.

Richard Byrne

Richard Byrne, suddenly, on Apr. 5, in Toronto. A pioneer in digital audio for radio, Byrne formed MediaComp in Kitchener in the early 90s, developing software, hardware, and digital systems including R-Sound (Music Scheduling), R-Tabs (Traffic) and OG (digital playout audio), to start. Byrne was an early visionary of the idea of putting an entire music catalogue on hard drive. His tech caught the eye of RCS out of Scarsdale, NY, which was trying to move their paperless Master Control system to digital audio, and RCS eventually acquired MediaComp. The CHUM Group was an early adapter of Bryne’s technology, in addition to stations like Montreal’s CKOI.


Odd Squad co-produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment and Fred Rogers Productions, in association with TVOKids and ICI Radio-Canada Tele, has won three Daytime Emmy Awards. Odd Squad, which went into the Creative Arts Emmy Awards with seven nominations, won Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series; Outstanding Writing for a Children’s, Preschool Children’s, Family Viewing; and Outstanding Directing for a Children’s, Preschool Children’s or Family Viewing Program for Odd Squad: World Turned Odd, directed by J.J. Johnson. Dino Dana, also a Sinking Ship production, went into the awards with eight nominations, but was shut out with the lone exception of its star Michela Luci, who earned Outstanding Performer in a Children’s, Family Viewing or Special Class Program. Canadian co-productions Hilda, Beat Bugs and Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhoods were also winners. Read more here.

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its fifth annual awards gala May 3rd. Indie drama Splinters from director Thom Fitzgerald was named Best Feature Film, with its lead actors – Shelley Thompson and Bailey Maughan – awarded the ACTRA Maritimes Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Female Role and Lead Male Role, respectively. The final season of CBC’s Mr. D won Best Television Series. Find the full list of winners here.

Netflix and the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival have entered a new four-year partnership in support of Canadian LGBTQ filmmakers. It kicks off with the 2019 festival, May 23 to June 2, at which Netflix will be a Presenting Partner. The commitment includes multi-year investment in the LGBTQ Film Financing Forum and its professional development training programs, which Netflix will take name ownership of year-round.

Entertainment One (eOne) is working on an eight-episode series order for mystery drama Albedo for Bell Media in Canada, and Vudu in the US. The show marks a return to television for Canadian Evangeline Lilly (Avengers: Endgame) who will star and executive produce. Writing duo Max and Adam Reid (Sneaky Pete, Dark Cargo) serve as series creators and executive producers, while Brad Peyton (Rampage, Frontier) will direct and executive produce the straight-to-series project that will be internationally distributed by eOne. Set 150 years in the future, Lilly stars as detective Vivien Coleman, who is dispatched to the edge of the solar system to investigate a mysterious death on board an isolated space station. Pre-production is expected to get underway this month.

CTV has announced its landed exclusive, multi-platform Canadian rights to the U.S. version of international reality show Love Island. The multi-night dating competition series will anchor CTV’s summer schedule. The Love Island format, which is owned by ITV Studios and Motion Content Group, has delivered record-breaking audiences overseas. It first debuted in the UK, where Series 4 of the show became British network ITV2’s most-popular series ever last year.

Thunderbird Entertainment has reached a distribution deal with Encore Airlines for the first two seasons of Kim’s Convenience. The deal will see the series made available for in-flight viewing on Cathay Pacific, Emirates, SilkAir, Scoot, Royal Brunei Airways, Thai Airways, Qantas, and Qatar Airways. The partnership follows a deal earlier this year with Yoon & Company to distribute the comedy on cable TV in Japan and Korea, and ongoing partnerships with Netflix for global streaming rights, and Amazon for VOD rights in the U.S. and UK. Season 4 of the series begins shooting this spring.

ABC Studios’ drama A Million Little Things pumped more than $27 million in spending into the B.C. economy, according to a new report from MNP LLP. During the making of Season 1, the production spent over $13 million on goods and services in B.C., engaging more than 750 local businesses in 32 communities. Over $14 million was spent on B.C. production crew and labour, with 380 local jobs created. For the first two episodes, the production used the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) to double as Boston Garden. One of 65 film and television projects to shoot at the PNE in 2017, the non-profit organization generated record revenue of more than $1 million. A Million Little Things has been picked up for a second season.

Stingray has announced a new round of offerings with Bell Fibe TV. Subscribers can now access on-demand services Stingray Qello and Stingray Karaoke. Stingray Karaoke features 7,000 sing along selections, while Stingray Qello, described by Forbes as “the Netflix of concert films and documentaries,” has a catalogue expected to grow to 2,000 titles in the coming months.

TLN Media Group is relocating from its current Steeles Ave. W. location in North York to Columbus Centre. Starting in September, TLN’s production and editing facilities and corporate offices will occupy the centre’s second floor, housing about 60 staff. The space will undergo renovations over the summer.


The Google News Initiative is granting the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) $1 million to expand its NewsWise program to help Canadians better discern between legitimate and fake news. The goal is to make NewsWise programming, which is already delivered to students in grades 5-12, widely available to Canadians in advance of this year’s federal election to help people better gauge the reliability of the information they’re consuming. The grant will also provide Canadian publishers with tools, like interactive PSAs and other digital content. According to new Earnscliffe Strategy Group research commissioned by CJF, 40% of Canadians report finding it difficult to distinguish between truth and misinformation in the news. Read more here.

Kathy Vey

The Digital Publishing Awards, now in their fourth year recognizing Canadian digital publications and creators, have announced this year’s nominees. CBC News leads the nominations with 18, followed by The Globe and Mail which received 16 nods. Hakai earned six nominations, while Maclean’s and Radio-Canada each garnered five. The Gold, Silver, and Honourable Mention winners will be revealed at a Soiree May 29 at One King West in Toronto, with Gold winners in select categories receiving a $500 cash prize. Kathy Vey, TVO’s Executive Producer of Digital, will be presented with the 2019 Digital Publishing Leadership Award.

Andree Lau

HuffPost Canada is following in the footsteps of its U.S. counterpart and closing its blogging platform. It’s launching Personal and Opinion sections, which will feature commissioned and paid-for features. Editor-in-chief Andree Lau says the new sections will champion diverse writers and original, first-person stories.


Twitter is expanding its live and on-demand premium video programming across sports, gaming, entertainment and news. The social platform has unveiled new content collaborations with Univision for Spanish-language audiences in the U.S., and an extension of its multi-year partnerships with the NFL, MLS, and ESPN. Live Nation is also launching a new concert and festival series and TIME will develop exclusive content around Person of the Year and TIME 100, among other partnerships.

iHeartRadio has launched new digital channel RAP KEB, featuring 100% Quebec rap. Featuring nearly 600 songs by artists like Alaclair Ensemble, Brown Family, Dead Obies, Koriass, LaF, Loud, Mike Shabb, it will also include video and written interviews. The channel is available via or the iHeartRadio app.

Telefilm Talent to Watch recipient I Hear You has started production in Halifax. The web series stars its co-creator Amy Trefry (Jerky, Mr. D, The Crescent), as a newly-graduated family doctor. Also co-created by Siri Bright and Koumbie, the 10 webisodes are set to go live this September. Each episode introduces a different woman, from puberty to menopause, struggling with sexual health issues.


Catherine Tait

CBC/Radio-Canada president Catherine Tait presented a vision for a thriving Canadian cultural sector at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal last week. Tait said while digital presents challenges, “it also presents an opportunity, and an unprecedented springboard for Canadian content.” Tait asserted that at a time when Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Spotify are undermining cultural sovereignty, she wants CBC/Radio-Canada to be “a spearhead for Canadian content in international markets” – one of the pillars of the corp’s forthcoming strategic plan this spring. To strengthen Canada’s place in the global media market, Tait said she wants to encourage greater cooperation among Canadian media companies, while leveraging Canada’s strengths in podcasting and kids programming.

BCE has reported Q1 2019 results, including 50,000 postpaid net wireless customer additions and its lowest postpaid customer churn in 15 years. Wireless delivered 4.5% increase in revenue and 11.6% higher adjusted EBITDA. Broadband Internet and IPTV market share was up 37.4% with 44,000 net additions. The Media segment’s adjusted EBITDA was up 26.9% on higher TV advertising revenue and lower costs. Net earnings grew 11.6% to $791 million; net earnings attributable to common shareholders increased 12.0% to $740 million, or $0.82 per common share; adjusted net earnings of $692 million generated adjusted EPS of $0.77, down 3.8%.

The Province of Quebec’s so-called “Netflix tax,” which kicked in in January, has injected more than $15-million into provincial coffers thus far, double the amount forecast. Netflix, Spotify, Apple and Amazon are among the companies who’ve agreed to the 9.975% QST.

Global Affairs Canada has announced $11.7 million in funding to launch Journalists for Human Rights’ program “Canada World: Voice for Women and Girls” in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. The project, includes media partners APTN, Bell Media/CTV News, CBC, Corus/Global TV, La Presse, and National Post. The program will pair Canadian media expertise with local independent media in those countries to work on media development to improve local coverage of human rights, and increase the participation of women and girls in public life. The project will build the capacity of over 1,000 journalists, 640 journalism students and 650 key stakeholders, engaging over 600,000 citizens in the targeted regions.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) handed out its annual awards over the weekend at the conclusion of the 2019 CAJ Conference in Winnipeg. Recognizing outstanding investigative journalism, the recipients included Laura Kane and Aleksandra Sagan of The Canadian Press, who won the year’s top investigative prize, the McGillivray Award, for their entry Contagion: Edging closer to a world without antibiotics. Contagion, which was also recognized in the Open Media category, looked at the challenge of how to deal with potentially fatal antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Jeremy Cohn, one of the photojournalists arrested by Hamilton Police at the scene of a fatal crash in Waterdown, ON in May 2017, accepted the Charles Bury Award, given under circumstances of exceptional merit to those people or organizations that have made a significant contribution to Canadian journalism. Find the full list of honourees here.

Gerry Belec

Gerry Belec will receive the 2019 RTDNA Bill Hutton Award of Excellence. Formerly known as the “Friend of RTDNA Canada Award” the award was renamed in 2009 to honour the late Bill Hutton, RTDNA Canada’s first president. Belec is the Director of News Technology and Operations for Global News. He has more than 30 years’ experience, starting at BCTV in the mid-eighties where he managed the computer graphics department for more than a decade. Following BCTV, he spent several years travelling the world overseeing the implementation of state of art graphics systems for international clients as a Broadcast Product Specialist for Pinnacle Systems. Belect has also led design of live video effects for three consecutive Grateful Dead summer tours, was in charge of the 3D stereoscopic animation show during the KISS 3D Psycho Circus Tour and created the video and graphic elements for Janet Jackson’s 2001 World Tour. Belec joined Global in 2006, spearheading the move to automated control rooms and was key in the development of Global News’ MMC (multi-market content) production model, which was awarded the 2009 Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award and the 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation. Belec will be recognized during the Awards Gala Dinner on May 11 during the 2019 National Conference & Awards Gala.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has released shortlists for the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism, recognizing news organizations that have a profound and positive impact on the communities they serve. The five finalists in the large media category (more than 50 full-time employees) are: CBC News for its Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo podcast; CBC News for “Deadly Force,” which documented fatal police encounters from 2000-17; The Globe and Mail for investigating aging wells, in which major companies routinely offload energy assets burdened with hefty cleanup costs onto smaller players with scant ability to pay for cleanup; National Post – Postmedia Network for compiling more than five million records to create the country’s first central, searchable database of political donations; Toronto Star for its “Medical Disorder” investigation revealing a patchwork of rules and disclosure policies that allow doctors on both sides of the border to leave behind documented histories of crime, sexual misconduct, incompetence and fraud. The finalists in the small media category are: CBC Saskatchewan for digital legacy project “Beyond 94” that includes a teacher’s guide measuring Canada’s progress in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action; National Observer for revealing how the Canadian government made a politically motivated decision to approve the major Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain west coast pipeline project without adequate review; Regina Leader-Post/Saskatoon StarPhoenix for coverage of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash; St. Catharines Standard for a major series called “All the Chair’s Men” that exposed corruption at the Regional Municipality of Niagara; and Saint John Telegraph-Journal for an investigation into unmanned ambulances and paramedic shortages. The winners will be announced at the CJF Awards June 13 in Toronto.


Bannister Lake web widgets and new results timeline feature helped drive Global News’ Alberta Election Coverage on Apr. 16. The broadcast featured two new data-driven tools designed to communicate the nuances of election results to viewers and editorial teams. A touchscreen-based series of web widgets incorporated live election results, historical results, and demographic data. Global used the widgets to illustrate the connections between election results and contextual data such as household income and family status. By using easy-to-read maps, viewers could comprehend and contrast regional and city-suburban voting outcomes. Bannister Lake’s election race software solution Elector also features a Results Timeline feature that helps analysts and reporters better predict race outcomes. Results Timeline displays a graphical timeline of election results per constituency or per party that is consistently updated as data comes in.

Riedel Communications has revealed that CBC/Radio-Canada will implement one of the largest installs in North America of its Artist and Bolero wired and wireless intercom systems in the public broadcaster’s new state-of-the-art headquarters in Montreal. Due to open in 2020, Montreal’s Maison de Radio-Canada (MRC) broadcast center will have an entirely IP-based communications infrastructure, utilizing the established SMPTE ST 2110-30/31 and NMOS IS-04/05/07 standards to create a future-proof communications environment. CBC/Radio-Canada will be one of the first customers to take delivery on Artist-1024. Providing 1024 non-blocking ports in a 2-RU frame size, Artist-1024 utilizes software-definable Universal Interface Cards (UIC) that combine networking, mixing, and management on one card. Bolero, the AES67-based wireless intercom system, seamlessly integrates with Artist to create a fully unified wireless communications environment, and has been selected for all wireless communications in the new facilities. The six-channel, 1.9 gigahertz system incorporates Riedel’s patented Advanced DECT Receiver (ADR) tech to deal with harsh RF environments that can create troublesome multipath reflections. Over 250 Riedel 1200 Series SmartPanels, first introduced to the market at the 2018 NAB Show, will be installed in the new CBC facilities. The SmartPanels are ST 2110-30/31-native and offer a flexible, app-based user interface for intercom, high-quality audio monitoring and integration of third-party control systems via the new SmartPanel Control Panel App, optimizing rack space and reducing costs.

Subscribe Now – Free!

Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Let’s get started right now.