Stingray has introduced a new, live, regional morning show in the B.C. Interior that will be co-hosted by Casey Clarke. Clarke, who is known across the country for his syndicated country shows – The Casey Clarke Show and The Casey Clarke Country Countdown – has been morning show host and program director at Stingray’s Country 100.7 (CIGV-FM) Kelowna since 2013. As of June 24, Clarke is now heard mornings across Stingray’s stations in the Okanagan and Thompson Valley including Penticton and Keremeos (New Country 98.9), Princeton (New Country 98.1), Kamloops (New Country 103.1), and Kelowna (New Country 100.7). His co-host is Dana Thompson, who has been co-hosting mornings on Evanov’s Hot Country 105 (CKHZ-FM) Halifax since 2015. Marissa Lyons also joins the show each morning with segments from Kamloops. Stingray made a similar move in January to syndicate morning shows across its Real Country and boom-branded stations in rural Alberta. While the changes have resulted in the re-introduction of the morning co-host role in Kelowna, one announcer in Kamloops is a casualty of the new format. Read more here.
The CRTC has renewed the licence for Montreal French-language community station CIBL-FM despite financial problems that led to the station laying off all of its staff in early 2018. The commission says the three-year, short term renewal will allow the station time to meet several areas of non-compliance, including spoken word programming quotas. The station says it intends to hire staff over the next year, which will allow it to further expand its programming. CIBL-FM has been around since 1980 and helped launch the careers of several well-known Quebec media personalities like Jean-Rene Dufort and Marie-France Bazzo.
The Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit has officially opened in Edmonton. Named for the longtime general manager of 630 CHED and spearheaded by the Jerry Forbes Centre Foundation, the centre will provide an affordable, collective workspace for 18 Edmonton not-for-profit organizations, including the 630 CHED Santas Anonymous program which Forbes established in 1956. The groups will be able to share expenses in the $12 million dollar, 93,000-square-foot warehouse, which has been 12 years in the making.
iHeartRadio Canada is now boasting more than 250,000 podcasts available to stream on the app and at iHeartRadio.ca, ranging from Bell Media Originals like The Jay and Dan Podcast to Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend and The Ron Burgundy Podcast. The app is also offering newly-added podcast charts, push notifications to alert users when new podcast episodes drop, and curated recommendations based on music, stations, and other podcasts you’re listening to.
SiriusXM is offering a new “Essential” subscription package targeting listeners who want to access the satellite radio service from their mobile phone, tablet, desktop, or on connected devices like smart speakers, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, or Sony PlayStation. The new low cost, streaming-only package is being offered at $1 for the first three months and $8/month thereafter to meet demand from what SiriusXM terms the “growing universe of listeners streaming audio entertainment.” Up until now, SiriusXM has largely focused its marketing on the in-car audio experience. Subscribers to the Essential package will get SiriusXM’s full lineup of music programming, featuring 200+ channels, including the new Pandora NOW channel, which showcases the most popular and fastest-trending new music on Pandora – the largest streaming music provider in the U.S. which SiriusXM acquired earlier this year. The Essential package also features more than 100 recently added SiriusXM Xtra channels that offer the ability to skip songs. Read more here.
Lake 88.1 FM (CHLK-FM) Perth, ON held its first-ever Radiothon in May in support of the local hospitals in Perth, Smiths Falls, Almonte and Carleton Place, and Community Health Centres in Portland, Westport, Lanark and Merrickville. Lake 88 general manager Brian Perkin says the 12-hour live event raised $118,000 for local healthcare.
Edison Research and NPR have released the latest Smart Audio Report which finds privacy concerns are getting in the way of more smart speaker ownership. Privacy concerns for those who don’t own a smart speaker are higher than they’ve ever been with 63% of those surveyed worried hackers could use smart speakers to access their home or personal information, up from 41% in 2017, while 55% say it bothers them that smart speakers are always listening, up from 38% in 2017. Fifty-five per cent of owners said they’re using their devices to listen to more audio, with many using the smart speaker in place of having TV on in the background while they do other things. The top 10 weekly requests noted were playing music (77%), getting the weather (75%), answering a general question (74%), followed by setting a timer or alarm or checking the time, which were tied at 53%. Listening to AM/FM radio came in at 37%. Read more here.
Ipsos has released a new research study commissioned by iHeartMedia –“Day in the life Audio Journey” – that says consumer interest in audio is at an all-time high. Conducted in March, the in-depth multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans ranging from ages 13-64. It concludes that radio continues to reach more people than any other media both daily and weekly. On a weekly basis, broadcast radio reaches 85% of consumers, surpassing all other audio channels, including social media (68%) and live television (56%). The research also says that radio accounts for two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69% of consumers compared to streaming music’s 34%.
On Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast – highlights from the Numeris Town Hall at the recent Western Association of Broadcasters’ Conference. Those in attendance got to pose some hard questions about the incoming shift to year-round measurement to Numeris CEO Neil McEneaney; John Vavaroutsos, VP Member Services; and Courtney Heuvelmans, Member Services for Western Canada.
Rogers’ Sportsnet has confirmed it’s making an unspecified number of layoffs. The cuts, said to be primarily off-air positions, follow last week’s sudden release of longtime Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown. “We are repositioning Sportsnet for the future,” reads a statement provided to Broadcast Dialogue from Sportsnet communications. “The way we deliver content and how audiences consume it is changing and we are adapting to ensure we are in a strong position for continued growth and success. This was a difficult decision, but was right for our business long-term. We want to thank our colleagues who are no longer with Sportsnet for their significant contributions to the business.” A spokesperson said Sportsnet won’t be getting into specifics of how many cuts are being made or what positions are affected.
Alex Robertson, former CHEK-TV Victoria sports director, will be inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in October. Robertson, who served in the position from 1974 to 2003, has been announced as the 2019 recipient of the Sid Thomas Media Award. Robertson produced over 14,000 stories over the course of his career, many featuring local athletes, coaches and teams.
Crave’s July highlights include the resurrection of 1970s CHCH Hamilton-produced cult classic The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. 129 episodes of the widely-syndicated kids show will be available to stream July 19. Read more about Crave’s July programming, including the hotly-anticipated July 26 premiere of Hulu’s Veronica Mars reboot here.
Crave Original Series LITTLEKENNY, an irreverent, short-form animated extension of LETTERKENNY, premieres June 28. Recounting the origin story of The Hicks, Nathan Dales stars as young Daryl; K. Trevor Wilson as young Dan; Jared Keeso as young Wayne; and Canadian actress Kandyse McClure as the voice of Ms. Tricia. LITTLEKENNY will also stream on Bell Media platforms SnackableTV, CTV.ca as part of the SnackableTV collection (all six episodes drop on June 28); and samplings on Crave YouTube; TheComedyNetwork.ca; MUCH.com and MTV.ca. Additionally, Episodes 1 and 2 will be available as a sneak peek on the Letterkenny Problems YouTube channel June 27. Crave will host a LETTERKENNY Season 5 marathon June 30, followed by a Season 6 marathon on July 1. Another six-pack of LETTERKENNY is set to debut on Crave on Oct. 11, as production gets underway on Season 8 this summer.
Blue Ant Media has unveiled its 2019/2020 schedule of new and returning Canadian original productions for T+E, Cottage Life, Smithsonian Channel, and Makeful. Paranormal programming dominates T+E‘s slate. New series include Hotel Paranormal and four-part The Witches of Salem, and returning favourites Haunted Hospitals (Season 2) and Paranormal 911 (Season 2). Cottage Life’s schedule will feature Life Below Zero: Canada, the Canadian version of the hit BBC Studios format. Additionally, a new short-form digital web series Cottage Coach sees DIY expert Adam Holman give useful how-to tips on the cottage lifestyle. Returning series include Hope For Wildlife and Season 2 of The Weather Files. Smithsonian Channel’s new schedule is led by the premiere of docudrama series Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan and High Maintenance, a series that looks at the death defying work of the crews who keep roads, bridges, and highways safe. Competition series Landscape Artist of the Year Canada leads Makeful’s schedule. Handmade Hotels also returns for a second season featuring more creative short-term rentals.
Love Nature 4K has started production on new natural history trilogy Stormborn (working title) (3 x 50’; 4K and HD), produced by Scotland-based Maramedia. Stormborn tells the story of one dramatic breeding year in the wildlands of countries on the edge of the North Atlantic. The series will have its world broadcast premiere on Love Nature 4K’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally in 2020, followed by premieres on Smithsonian Channel, BBC Scotland, and ARTE in France and Germany. Blue Ant International will oversee the licensing of Stormborn. Production of the series will continue from now through November in various locations including Norway, Iceland, and the Shetland Islands.
Sportsnet has unveiled its 2019-20 national NHL broadcast schedule which features more than 150 English-language matchups across three marquee nights: Hockey Night in Canada (Saturdays), Rogers Hometown Hockey (Sundays) and Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey. All of Sportsnet’s national broadcasts will also be available to stream on Sportsnet NOW and Rogers NHL LIVE. Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey starts Oct. 2 with an all-Canadian opening night doubleheader pitting Ottawa vs. Toronto and Vancouver vs. Edmonton. The mid-week broadcast will air 34 NHL matchups, including 11 divisional showdowns and seven all-Canadian games. Hockey Night in Canada – Saturdays will feature 96 games this season, including 20 all-Canadian matchups. Rogers Hometown Hockey will premiere Sunday, Oct. 6, with the sixth season featuring 26 NHL matchups – all featuring at least one Canadian team.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has entered into a multi-year partnership with C21 to produce its annual conference, Prime Time in Ottawa. Under the supervision of the CMPA’s Vice-President of Communications and Marketing Andrew Addison, C21’s Canadian division Content Canada, led by CEO Ferne Cohen, will program the conference and manage sponsorship sales with support from an international team based in C21’s London headquarters. The 25th anniversary edition of the event is set to take place Jan. 29-31. The national conference annually attracts 600 Canadian leaders from feature film, television, interactive media, broadcasting and telecommunications industries.
Women in Film & Television – Atlantic (WIFT-AT) has awarded Halifax-based filmmaker Tamar Jacoba Dina its 2019 All Access Pass Award (AAPA). Given annually to a deserving woman working in screen-based media, the winner is presented with an annual membership to WIFT-AT, a pass to nine Atlantic Canada film festivals, and mentoring opportunities at each festival by senior WIFT-AT members, in addition to $1,500 cash to offset travel expenses. Dina is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring contemporary issues through feminist perspectives in music, film, writing and visual art, and is currently completing her AFCOOP Film 5 short fiction piece Cockblock.
VICE Canada is shutting down its Quebec operation, leaving 20 to 30 journalists without work, according to the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ). VICE says it’s centralizing its Canadian operations in Toronto as it grows VICE Studios’ business and its Virtue ad agency. VICE Media announced in February that it would reduce staff by 10% worldwide, equivalent to 250 positions.
Canadaland has written about an ongoing PR campaign aimed at discrediting the online publication. Several op eds that name Canadaland in connection with the spread of fake news have surfaced, including an Apr. 17 piece in The Washington Times. Emails obtained by Canadaland under Freedom of Information, link the op eds back to Todd Cranney, a Republican strategist and partner in Riverwood Strategies, which worked with the Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio campaigns. Canadaland’s investigative coverage of Craig Kielburger’s WE charity is cited in several of the articles as an example of purported fake news. The publication says its obtained an email showing Melissa Steadman, head of partnerships at WE, circulated at least one of the articles to the charity’s stakeholders.
The Independent Production Fund (IPF) board of directors has approved 2019 production financing for 12 scripted short-form series. Seven of the approved series are in English and five in French. Two of the approved projects are renewals for additional episodes of successful web series previously funded by the IPF. Watch trailers for the selected series here.
The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel has released its What We Heard Report reflecting feedback gathered during its consultations into the modernization of Canada’s communications legislation. It’s also released the submissions the panel received, which are now available online. In response to its Call for Comments, 2,085 letters and written submissions were recorded. Among the report’s takeaways are that there was widespread agreement that there need to be ongoing funding incentives to bridge the urban/rural broadband divide; that sales tax and Canadian content requirements be applied equitably to foreign digital players; that digital platforms should be subject to regulation; and that any regulatory responsibility changes should not be undertaken lightly or without the backing of sound public policy. Find our full coverage here.
The CRTC has released its latest broadcasting financial summaries that show total broadcasting revenues declined by 1.2% between 2017 and 2018. The biggest drop in revenue was from television distribution services (or BDUs), as they collectively reported a decrease of $168 million (or 2.0%). Conventional TV stations continued to feel the effects of weakening ad sales, consistent with overall negative growth the past seven years. Conventional stations reported revenue of $1.541M last year, compared to $1.608M in 2017, a year-over-year decline of 4.2%. For the fourth consecutive year, television service providers also recorded negative growth, but the commission’s numbers show the rate of decline is showing signs of slowing, going from -2.3% in 2017 to -2.0% in 2018. Overall revenues dropped by $168M, from $8.581M in 2017 to $8.414M in 2018. Cable and satellite service providers continue to report revenue declines, dropping by 3.4% and 5.0% in the last year. IPTV revenues meanwhile, surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time, however growth is slowing. IPTV revenues grew by 4.5% in 2018, much lower than the five-year average annual growth rate of 12.7%. The sale and rental of set-top boxes generated $937M dollars and accounted for over 11% of total revenues in 2018. Although radio continues to report declining revenues, the rate at which those revenues are shrinking is also slowing down. Commercial stations reported a -0.5% growth rate, lower than the five-year average rate of -1.6%. Over 700 commercial radio stations reported revenues of $1.514M in 2018, compared to $1.521M in 2017. English-language radio stations outperformed all other stations with a reported -0.1% growth rate, followed by French-language stations (-1.7%) and ethnic stations (-3.5%). Local ad revenue dropped 0.9% over the last year, while national ad revenue rose modestly at a rate of 0.7%.
The CRTC has launched its proceeding to review its policy on Indigenous broadcasting. Phase One of the proceeding will see Indigenous broadcasters, content creators and artists within the Indigenous broadcasting creative community participate in engagement sessions across the country. The sessions are aimed at helping identify the needs of Indigenous peoples within the Canadian broadcasting system and determine the specific issues to be addressed in the new policy. Phase Two will include engagement sessions, followed by a public consultation process that will include both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Phase Three will see the commission present preliminary conclusions and offer the opportunity to provide further comments on the potential impacts of the proposed policy.
Independent Community Television (ICTV) Montreal is seeking leave to appeal the CRTC’s May decision awarding Rogers’ OMNI Regional the national, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual television broadcast licence. ICTV argues there is reasonable apprehension of bias saying it’s discovered that two of the three members of the panel, Chair Ian Scott and vice-chair, Broadcasting Caroline Simard, communicated independently with representatives of Rogers and Bell on multiple occasions after the issuance of the Notice of Consultation, which initiated the CRTC public proceeding. ICTV says it was not provided with the same opportunity to present its case to the panel, which may have resulted in the CRTC issuing the decision in Rogers’s favour. ICTV has also filed a petition to the Governor-in-Council demanding federal Cabinet overturn the decision and fire Scott and Simard. ICTV maintains the 2016 dismissal of former Ontario regional commissioner Raj Shoan has set a precedent for termination on the grounds of bias.
Corus Entertainment has released its Q3 financial results. Consolidated revenues increased 4% for the quarter and 3% year-to-date, driven by a 10% increase in Television advertising revenues for the quarter and 8% for the year-to-date Net income attributable to shareholders of $66.4 million ($0.31 per share basic) for the quarter and $133.1 million ($0.63 per share basic) year-to-date. President and CEO Doug Murphy says the double-digit increase in Television advertising was offset by lower subscriber revenues and softness in the Radio segment. Overall segment revenues in Television increased 5% in Q3 and 4% year-to-date. Subscriber revenues were down 4% in Q3 and 2% year-to-date. In Radio, segment revenues decreased 4% in both Q3 and year-to-date. During the quarter, Corus divested its 50.5% interest in the Telelatino Network for $12.5 million.
Radioplayer is supporting a new way for car companies to access high-quality metadata from broadcasters and improve the in-car radio experience. Radioplayer, the not-for-profit radio platform that’s now in nine countries including Canada, announced its support for the new RadioDNS ‘ClientID’ standard at the WorldDAB Automotive event in Turin, Italy. The move will allow car manufacturers to improve radio interfaces by adding enhanced metadata streams, programs, logos, now-playing information and podcasts via an authenticated feed. Michael Hill, the founder and managing director of Radioplayer, says the platform’s top priority is to help car companies build better radios. Radioplayer is the first organization to announce support for the new functionality. Read more here.
The IP Showcase, an education and demonstration pavilion at IBC2019, has called for presentations. Sponsored by a consortium of industry partners including the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Society of Motion Picture and Technology Engineers (SMPTE), and the Video Services Forum (VSF), the showcase is a forum to discuss advances in working with media using open, IP-based technologies. The call for presentations is open to end users, industry associations, solution providers, and technology developers that can share their knowledge and perspectives on how developments in IP workflows are impacting the broadcast industry today and in the future. Presentations may take the form of tutorials, case studies, panel discussions, market and business case analyses, point-of-view or advocacy, and standards progress updates. The IP Showcase returns again this year to Room E106/E107 at the RAI Amsterdam during IBC2019, Sept. 13-17. The submission deadline for speaking proposals is July 12. More details here.
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