The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

The CRTC will hold a hearing on Sept. 5 in Gatineau to review repeated instances of non-compliance by McBride Communications-owned stations CHMZ-FM Tofino, CFPV-FM Pemberton, CIMM-FM Ucluelet and CKPM-FM Port Moody. CKPM-FM has been off the air since April 2018. The commission will also consider an application to transfer ownership of CHMZ-FM and CIMM-FM to Tofino station manager Cameron Dennison. Additionally, the commission will hear an application by CJNE FM Radio Inc. to obtain a new broadcasting licence to operate an English-language, low-power commercial FM radio station in Nipawin, SK. The station would operate at 89.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 50 watts. The applicant is proposing a country music format, with 126 hours of local programming per broadcast week.

The Slaight Family Foundation is making a $15-million donation over six years to United Way Greater Toronto. The Allan Slaight Seniors Fund will help connect vulnerable seniors with community support to help them remain in their homes. Slaight, the former CEO of Standard Radio who is now 87, was a volunteer United Way board member for nine years.

Kathy Kenzora

Kathy Kenzora is hosting and co-producing a new podcast for Corus’ Curiouscast network exploring the decade that brought us the grunge movement, Seinfeld and The Spice Girls, and was also marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the L.A. riots, and Columbine. History of the 90’s expands on Kenzora’s popular History of 1995 podcast, which made Apple’s Best Canadian Podcasts list in 2018. Kenzora is a former reporter who worked for AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) and Q107 (CILQ-FM) in the 1990s, covering the Paul Bernardo trial and Queen’s Park, among other news of the day. The podcast is set to drop July 17. Read more here.

Terry O’Reilly

Terry O’Reilly, host of CBC Radio One’s Under the Influence, revealed on Matt Cundill’s Sound Off Podcast that he’s launching a podcast company. O’Reilly said the venture will be launched as a “family business” and create original podcasts.

Bullet, an app that allows podcast listeners to share captioned video snippets of podcasts has launched as a free download in the App Store. Bullet enables users to share up to a 30-second clip from any podcast and share the snippet with their friends as a captioned video.

Headliner Video, the social video creation platform aimed at the radio and podcasting community, has signed SiriusXM as an enterprise customer. The deal allows SiriusXM and Pandora employees to quickly repurpose audio content into social video. SiriusXM has been using Headliner for more than a year to produce videos for its social channels. Headliner allows anyone promoting an audio clip to layer in captions, various styles of a moving waveform, animations, text, images, transitions and effects to quickly create a social ready video. Audio promoters can also add in their show or company logo, intro and outro videos, and create templates to match the look and feel of their brand. Headliner has now grown to over 75,000 users.

On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we bring you highlights from this year’s Canadian Music Week panel on elevating young and diverse voices in Canadian media, featuring CHUM-FM morning host Jamar McNeil, Kiss 104.9 Vancouver’s Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu, Missy Knott from 95.7 ELMNT FM, Virgin Radio Toronto’s Jax Irwin, and Flow 95.3 host Peter Kash, followed by an interview with broadcast executive Denise Donlon on why diverse hiring is good for business.

SIGN-OFFS:

Harv Kroeker

Harv Kroeker, 74, on June 30, of cancer. Kroeker was the longtime voice of news on Golden West Broadcasting’s Radio Southern Manitoba network, including CFAM 950 Altona, AM 1250 (CHSM-AM) Steinbach and CJRB 1220 Boissevain. Kroeker worked with the station for more than four decades, starting in the 1960s, and anchored network news coverage for many of the region’s definitive events over that time. Based in Altona, Kroeker was passionate about recognizing local veterans and involved in establishing the cenotaph in downtown Altona. He was one of the recipients of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

 

André Jobin

André Jobin, 80, June 30, in Montreal. Born in Quebec City, Jobin spent several decades as a reporter for TVA and LCN. In addition to covering the National Assembly for TVA, Jobin also frequently reported on Montreal court proceedings.

Eileen Franke

Eileen Franke, 89, on June 6 in West Vancouver. Originally from Saskatchewan, Franke worked as a secretary and bookkeeper before becoming one of the first women to venture into broadcasting. Franke started her career at CHCT-TV Calgary in 1956 where she worked as the host of children’s show Junior Clubhouse, in addition to producing other shows. In 1960, she moved to CFCF-TV Montreal as a production assistant and joined Radio-Canada International in 1964. Franke worked with RCI in Montreal and Toronto before she transferred to CBC Vancouver where she worked as a producer until her retirement.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

NFB/ONF Creation, which represents more than 250 freelance Canadian filmmakers who have worked with the public producer and distributor, has concerns over the re-appointment of NFB commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur for a second three-year term. While Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez lauded NFB’s progress in reaching its gender parity goals, filmmakers from NFB/ONF Creation say in the past 16 years, there has been a 56% decline in funding for films, while spending in administration, marketing and executive salaries has steadily risen. You can watch a narrated presentation on the group’s position here.

The CRTC has denied Videotron’s attempt to be exempt from certain conditions of licence related to the incoming national set-top box-based audience measurement system. Videotron maintains that the measurement system being developed will only slightly improve Numeris’ current system and do little to help broadcasters make more effective programming and scheduling decisions or monetize advertising more effectively. Videotron also argues that it owns the data in question and this should remain the case, saying that while the data from the set-top boxes could meet the needs of independent programming undertakings, it could also serve as an opportunity for Videotron to diversify its revenues to be able to continue investing in its network. The commission received interventions in opposition to the application from Rogers, Blue Ant Media Inc., Pelmorex Weather Networks, CBC, the Independent Broadcasters Group and Groupe V Média. The CRTC is extending the deadline for the implementation of the measurement system to Jan. 15, 2020.

The CRTC has approved Paris-based REVEL TV for distribution in Canada. Entertainment law firm Lewis Birnberg Hanet, LLP is the acting Canadian sponsor of the channel. The English-language 4K television service features millennial-focused lifestyle, music and entertainment programming that is 4K UHD native.

Insight TV, the Netherlands-based 4K UHD HDR broadcaster and producer of native UHD content, has announced a distribution deal that will see its Canadian launch on Telus Optik TV. Insight TV is distributed in Canada by Ethnic Channels Group Ltd. The deal expands Insight TV’s North American reach significantly. Its original series include Travel With a Goat, Road to Gymkhana, GRiD, Droners, King of the Hammers, THRU, and Breaking Limits, among others. Insight TV is currently available on free preview on TELUS Optik TV (channel 965).

Telefilm Canada has earmarked more than $4 million a year across all of its programs to fund feature films by writers, directors and producers from Indigenous communities. The projects are assessed by an external all-Indigenous jury. Three of the eight projects receiving funding this year fall under the Talent to Watch program in partnership with On Screen Manitoba and the Adam Beach Film Institute. Find the full list here.

Crave and OUTtv have announced a partnership that will see the debut of a Canadian adaptation of Rupaul’s Drag Race entitled Drag Race Canada. Crave and OUTtv will become the Canadian broadcast and streaming homes of future seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race, airing day and date with the U.S. broadcast; new series Rupaul’s Drag Race UK, airing day and date with BBC Three; and the new Crave Original Series. Past seasons will also be available on Crave and OUTtv. Rupaul’s Drag Race first premiered in 2009 and has earned nine Emmy Awards over its 11 seasons. Produced by Blue Ant Studios, Drag Race Canada casting begins this summer with production to begin this fall in Ontario. The host and judges will be announced at a later date.

DHX Media and King Bert Productions (Sick Note, The Midnight Gang, The Queen and I) are preparing to start production on new live-action series Malory Towers, greenlit by CBBC, the BBC channel for children aged 6-12, and DHX Television’s Family Channel. Malory Towers is based on the iconic book series of the same name by Enid Blyton and follows 12-year-old Darrell Rivers as she leaves home for the first time to attend an all-girls’ boarding school. Principal photography begins this month in Toronto and will shift to the UK in September. The series is expected to premiere on CBBC and Family Channel in 2020.

Stephen Moyer, Kari Matchett, and Darren Mann

SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions have announced casting for new CBC drama Fortunate Son. Inspired by a true story and created by showrunner Andrew Wreggitt (Pure, Borealis), the series is a spy drama set in the social and political chaos of the late 1960s. Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs, 2 Hearts) plays Ruby Howard, an American who fled to Canada as a fugitive from the law, who helps smuggle Vietnam War deserters and draft dodgers across the Canadian border. Darren Mann (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) plays deserter Travis Hunter, while Stephen Moyer stars as CIA agent Vern Lang. The cast als includes Kacey Rohl (Arrow, Hannibal), Rick Roberts (This Life, Designated Survivor), Patrick Gallagher (Night at the Museum, Glee), Ty Olsson (War for the Planet of the Apes, Supernatural), Alex Nachi (1991, Clash) and Zoé de Grand’Maison (Riverdale, Orphan Black). FORTUNATE SON is filming in Calgary and the surrounding areas including Drumheller, Tsuu T’ina First Nation Reserve, and High River. Set to premiere in winter 2020 on CBC and CBC Gem, NBCUniversal has secured international distribution rights.

Super Channel Heart & Home will debut Hallmark Channel series When Hope Calls this August. The spin-off of When Calls the Heart is the first-ever streaming series for Hallmark Movies Now in the U.S. and is currently in production outside North Bay, ON. When Hope Calls stars Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon, who were introduced as Lillian and Grace, in the When Calls the Heart holiday movie The Greatest Christmas Blessing. When Hope Calls is produced by WHC Season 1 Productions Inc. and distributed by All Canadian Entertainment Inc.

IDW Entertainment, SEVEN24 Films, Space (soon to be rebranded as CTV Sci-fi), and SYFY have announced that Wynonna Earp will live to see a fourth season. Crave has signed on as a new production partner and streaming platform, along with Cineflix Studios which will co-produce, while Cineflix Rights will handle international sales for all four seasons. Production is slated to begin later this year with SEVEN24’s Jordy Randall and Tom Cox, in addition to Cineflix’s Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock, executive producing, along with Todd Berger and Rick Jacobs. Season 4 is expected to debut in Summer 2020 on Space in Canada and SYFY in the U.S. Seasons 1-3 will begin streaming on Crave in the fall. 

Stephan James

Golden Globe-nominated Canadian actor Stephan James narrates new Discovery doc Make It To The Moon, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Premiering July 14 on Discovery and Discovery Science, and July 20 on CTV, it will also be available to Crave subscribers the same day. In anticipation of the premiere, Canadian podcast Our Fake History will also release three special episodes (July 2, 16, 30) on the moon landing. Produced in association with Entertainment One (eOne), and hosted by teacher and historian Sebastian Major, the episodes explore the many conspiracy theories surrounding the moon landing. 

Bailee Madison

Hallmark Channel has renewed Good Witch for a sixth season. Shot in Hamilton, ON, Hallmark also confirmed that Bailee Madison will be exiting the series. Madison has starred as Grace Russell since the show’s launch in 2015. Good Witch airs on W Network in Canada.

CBC Sports and Sportsnet ONE are teaming up to provide daily coverage of the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races, from July 5-14, with CBC’s coverage available to audiences outside of Canada via live streams of all events at cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app. The CBC broadcast schedule includes an encore presentation of the Parade on July 6 and nightly wrap-up shows recapping the top performances, with live afternoon and evening coverage over the final weekend (July 13–14). Sportsnet ONE will carry live afternoon coverage of the rodeo and live nighttime coverage of the chuckwagon races, with select broadcasts also available on Sportsnet. Full broadcast and streaming schedules are available at cbcsports.ca and sportsnet.ca. CBC’s coverage begins Friday at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) at cbcsports.ca and 9 a.m. MT on CBC (in Alberta only) with the Stampede Parade, hosted by CBC Calgary’s Doug Dirks and Angela Knight. Heartland’s Graham Wardle reprises his role as sideline reporter along the parade route, while co-star Amber Marshall is this year’s Parade Marshal.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has announced that 53 live games will air this season across Sportsnet, TSN and NBA TV Canada. The full Canadian broadcast schedule can be found here. NBA Canada Managing Director Dan MacKenzie says coming off the Toronto Raptors’ historic victory in the NBA Finals, the popularity of basketball across the country is at an all-time high. WNBA All-Star 2019 will take place July 27 in Las Vegas and is set to air on Sportsnet and TSN.

Mercedes Stephenson

Global News is extending the current season of its national political affairs program The West Block through the summer months as part of enhanced network election coverage. Host Mercedes Stephenson says while the House isn’t in session, the show will go off the Hill and have candid conversations with MPs before the intensity of the election ramps up into the fall. The show airs nationally every Sunday morning and Sunday night on Global Television (10 a.m. PT/MT, 11 a.m. CT/ET, 12 p.m. AT) and Sunday night (11:30pm local time), is broadcast every Sunday on all Global News Radio news-talk stations, is available as a podcast on most major podcast platforms and can be viewed online via full episodes and clips on Globalnews.ca.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Bell has acquired a minority interest in global esports entertainment company OverActive Media (OAM) and signed on as the organization’s first founding marketing partner. Headquartered in Toronto, OAM owns a total of 15 esports teams in seven countries, including the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League – a League of Legends European Championship series franchise, and recently won the rights to a Toronto-based Call of Duty League franchise. It also acquired Rochester, New York’s Splyce Inc., which operates regional teams in other esports including Rocket League, Smite and Starcraft II. OAM has grown rapidly since last fall, acquiring Toronto-based esports-specific live events company MediaXP, and launching an OAM Live division. It’s also expanding its footprint into Spain and Latin America with the acquisition of Spanish esports organization Mad Lions EC. Grammy Award-winning artist Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye joined the company’s ownership group in April. The multi-year agreement designates Bell as OAM’s exclusive telecommunications partner and includes team sponsorship, content integration, event production, experiential activations and both traditional and online advertising. Read more here.

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting has launched a pre-election “Unfriend Facebook” ad campaign that appeared in the National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, and the Sun papers this week. The ad urges federal party leaders to Unfriend Facebook by closing a tax loophole that the watchdog group says effectively subsidizes the price of ads sold by foreign internet media giants to the tune of $1.6 billion dollars a year. The loophole FRIENDS wants closed allows those advertising to deduct the cost of ads placed on foreign internet media platforms like YouTube and Google.

University of Ottawa student news site The Fulcrum was hacked over the weekend and all of its online content deleted. The hacker labeled the paper an “anti-union rag” in a single post. So far, it appears the site has only recovered archived articles published prior to April of this year.

Twitter has announced that it will tag but not remove tweets from verified accounts of elected officials, governments, or those running for public office that break its rules. In a blog post entitled “Defining public interest on Twitter,” the social media giant says that could include placing a sensitive Tweet behind an interstitial advising viewers to be aware that they will see sensitive media if they click through. When a Tweet has this notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on the platform.

TVOkids has introduced a 24/7 livestream. The ad-free stream is available via the TVOkids YouTube channel.

GENERAL:

Lisa LaFlamme, Frank Giustra, Michael Smith, and Jim Treliving

CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme and Lionsgate Entertainment founder Frank Giustra are among 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Actor Donald Sutherland and filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin are being promoted to Companion status, while LaFlamme joins Quebec film, television and theatre actor Rémy Girard; documentarian Ric Esther Bienstock, puppeteer Ronnie Burkett, and antenna and satellite development researcher Lotfollah Shafai, among others, as Officers and new appointees to the Order. Additionally, actor Martin Short is being promoted to Officer. Those appointed as Members include Quebec film director and producer Fernand Dansereau; Montreal actor Michel Dumont; Newfoundland director and former CODCO member Andy Jones; Quebec costume designer Renee April; P.E.I.-based chef and Food Network Canada host Michael Smith; Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Jim Treliving; and Donna Slaight (spouse of Slaight Communications CEO Gary Slaight), for her commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy in mental health and human rights.Find the full list of appointees here.

Bernadette Jordan

Rural Economic Development Min. Bernadette Jordan unveiled High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, alongside the Liberals’ Rural Economic Development Strategy last week. The connectivity strategy repeats the Budget 2019 promise to connect 95% of Canadian households to high speed, reliable internet services by 2026, and 100% by 2030, in addition to improving mobile wireless internet service wherever Canadians live and work, and along major roadways. The report says there is still a clear divide between rural and urban Canada and to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the modern internet, 50/10 speeds are necessary, affording the capacity to download at 50 Mbps and to upload at 10 Mbps. In 2017, only 37% of rural households had access to 50/10 Mbps, compared with 97% of urban homes. Only about 24% of households in Indigenous communities have access to 50/10 Mbps.

ENCQOR 5G (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation) – Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless testbed is up and running. Housed at five hub locations in Ontario (OttawaTorontoKitchener-Waterloo) and Quebec (Montreal and Quebec City), applications are now being accepted in both provinces for entrepreneurs to submit their project proposals to help accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies.

Bell Aliant and Bell Canada have been named the fastest Internet providers in the country in PCMag’s annual Fastest ISPs of 2019: Canada report. PCMag’s testing found that Bell Aliant, which serves Atlantic Canada, offers the fastest overall internet in the country at 134.8 PSI. Bell Canada, serving Ontario and Québec customers, topped the list for the second year in a row – with speeds of 122.1 PSI – as the fastest major internet provider (over 500,000 customers). Rogers came in 11 points behind at 110.9 PSI. Telus was third at 102.3. PCMag’s results are based on 43,552 speeds tests conducted between June 1, 2018, and June 17, 2019.

Carrie Wootten

Rise, a UK-based advocacy group for gender diversity within the broadcast technology, manufacturing and services sector, has launched the inaugural Rise Awards. Open to women in broadcasting at the engineering, marketing, PR, sales and executive level, the awards recognize exceptional achievement, innovation, and positive impact. The Rise Awards are free to enter and open to nominations from around the globe. The winners will be announced at IBC2019 in Amsterdam on Sept. 14. Read our Q&A with Rise director Carrie Wootten here.

SUPPLY LINES:

Samasource, the San Francisco-based hybrid for-profit/social enterprise that delivers secure, high-quality training data for AI algorithms, is establishing a new office in Montréal. The company plans to employ 20 experts in AI, deep learning and engineering by the end of 2020, with a view to more than double that number over three years. From self-driving cars to smart hardware, Samasource mainly serves the automotive, AR/VR, biotech, agriculture, manufacturing and e-commerce sectors, and counts among its clients 25% of Fortune 50 companies, including Google and Microsoft. Samasource says its expansion into Canada is indicative of the increasing demand for high-quality training data software and services. Part of the company’s mission is to connect marginalized people around the globe to digital work and enable them to permanently move out of poverty. 

Sony Electronics is launching its RX100 III Video Creator Kit, aimed at vloggers and video creators. Based around compact camera, the Cyber-shot RX100 III, the Video Creator Kit features a 180º tiltable LCD screen, 1” Exmor R sensor, BIONZ X processor and 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Lens. The bundle also includes a remote grip that doubles as a mini tripod, a 64GB SD Memory Card and an extra NP-BX1 battery. The DSC-RX100 III records HD movies in the XAVC S[1]format and saves files as MP4, allowing for extensive record times. It begins shipping this month.

DVB, an industry-led consortium of broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulators, and others, will demonstrate its open standards-based approach to OTT and broadband television through its new DVB-I suite of specifications at ICB2019. The event marks the first showcase of the new suite of specifications designed to improve OTT delivery, increased scalability and cost savings. DVB-I enhances the viewer experience for hybrid and broadband television through advanced features like integrated channel lists, interactive content guides, and simple lean-back channel selection. DVB-I will be showcased alongside Low Latency DASH (LL-DASH) and Multicast Adaptive Bit Rate (mABR), forthcoming standards from DVB. LL-DASH, for which the technical specification has been approved, will ensure that the overall delay for live OTT channels is the equivalent to broadcast, while mABR — still in development — will allow broadcasters and network operators to work together to optimize IP-based delivery to a large number of receivers simultaneously.


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