The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Content Director Lauren Meister, Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung, General Manager Paul McDonald

Golden West Broadcasting has launched its new Country station 91.5 Cochrane Now (CKXY-FM) in Cochrane, AB. The station, which is now broadcasting at 10,000 watts, was previously a 100 watt re-broadcaster of CFIT 106.1 Airdrie. The new station is being supported by companion digital publication Cochrane Now.

Homalco First Nation at Campbell River, BC has soft launched Raven FM 100.7 (CKCC-FM). Playing a New Country format, the station will serve the Comox Valley from Sayward to Parksville. Listen online here.

The CRTC has granted a new broadcasting licence for an FM radio station in Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf, QC. The licencee – Michael Lambert – was the only applicant to express interest in serving the market. The Adult Contemporary station will broadcast at 88.7 MHz and play a range a music of music from pop-rock hits, spanning 1965 to today, as well as weekend programming featuring retro and country programs.

The CRTC has approved a new commercial licence serving Sainte-Marie-de-Beacue, QC. The 4,500 watt Arsenal Media station, CHEQ-FM, will carry a mix of country/folk music at 105.3 mHz. Arsenal owns 14 stations and two re-transmitters in 10 regions of Quebec.

Deane Cameron

Music Canada has established a scholarship in memory of Deane Cameron, former President of EMI Music Canada. A dedicated industry advocate, Cameron, 65, passed away in May after a sudden heart attack. The MusiCounts scholarship is aimed at helping young professionals completing post-secondary studies in music performance, business or production, kick start their careers. Announced at Music Canada’s 2019 Symposium in Toronto, the scholarship will be supported by the organization’s member labels Warner, Sony, and Universal. Music Canada says in keeping with Cameron’s support for Indigenous communities, $15,000 has been pledged to the MusiCounts Scholarship Program to ensure that three Indigenous youth receive a scholarship in 2020. Indspire will help identify the successful candidates.

Susan Marjetti

Susan Marjetti, Executive Director of CBC Radio and Audio, is the 2019 recipient of the Music Canada President’s Award. The award is given to an individual outside the recorded music label community who has exhibited a passion for music and had an impact on the wider industry. Marjetti oversees CBC Music, CBC Talk, CBC Podcasts, and the new CBC Listen app. Gil Moore, a founding member of the band Triumph, and owner of Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, received the 2019 Artist Advocate Award, which recognizes advocacy efforts to improve the livelihood of music creators.

Hot Docs Podcast Festival, coming up Nov. 6-11 in Toronto, will feature a live preview of Anna Maria Tremonti’s new podcast. Tremonti, who hosted CBC Radio national current affairs show The Current for 17 seasons, is now producing for CBC Podcasts. Her new longform interview podcast More with Anna Maria Tremonti is set to launch in January.

Spotify’s latest financial results for the third quarter of 2019 reveal the streaming service now has 248 million monthly active users (MAUs), a 30% increase year-over-year with 16 million adds in Q3. 113 million of those users are premium subscribers, with that tier seeing 31% growth in the last year and five million adds in the last quarter. Spotify says podcast adoption is now reaching about 14% of MAUs. The streamer says it continues “to feel very good about our competitive position in the market. Relative to Apple, the publicly available data shows that we are adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as they are. Additionally, we believe that our monthly engagement is roughly 2x as high and our churn is at half the rate. Elsewhere, our estimates imply that we continue to add more users on an absolute basis than Amazon. Our data also suggests that Amazon’s user base skews significantly more to ‘Ad-Supported’ than ‘Premium’, and that average engagement on our platform is approximately 3x.” 

The 6th annual Strike a Chord Gala, held in concert with Stingray Oct. 17 at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom, raised $350,000 for Music Heals to support music therapy programs. With George Stroumboulopoulos serving as MC, over 700 guests took in a surprise secret lineup that included Fred Penner, Aloe Blacc, Warren Dean Flandez, The Tea Party, and Sugarhill Gang.

iHeartRadio Canada has announced that its latest iHeartRadio Secret Session, featuring Lady Antebellum, will take place somewhere in Toronto this November. Hosted by Pure Country network midday host Shannon Ella, the event will see Lady Antebellum perform in front of an intimate audience of contest winners. Previous iHeartRadio Secret Sessions have featured Halsey, Shawn Mendes, Marshmello, and Neil Young.

The Edmonton Broadcasters Club is hosting its second After Work Social entitled “Women of the Morning” on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The panel discussion will be moderated by Eileen Bell (CHED), and feature Stacey Brotzel (CTV Edmonton), Erin Chalmers (Global Edmonton), Lisa Evans (Power 107), Stella Stevens (CFCW) and Jack Sweeney (CISN Country). More info here.

John Considine

FEATURE: Benztown CEO Andy Sannemann talks imaging for News/Talk with KFI Los Angeles’ producer John Considine. Find their full conversation, here.

 

 

 

 

 

SIGN-OFFS:

Scott Hurley

Scott Hurley, 65, on Oct. 23. Hurley began his radio career as a news reporter at CFSX-AM Stephenville, NL in 1973 and was appointed news director in 1987. He also supplied colour commentary at local hockey games, alongside CFSX colleague Don Gibbon. Gibbon, along with Hurley’s alter ego “Ned the Newf”, were popular characters at community events where unsuspecting tourists found themselves getting “Screech-ed in.” Hurley worked with Humber Valley Broadcasting, which was acquired by Newcap in 2001, for a total of 31 years. He also served as a Stephenville Town Councillor for 16 years from 1993 until 2009.

Jean Bruce

Jean Bruce (Smith), 83, on Oct. 7. Bruce came to Canada from England to pursue graduate studies at Queen’s University. She started her career as a radio producer for CBC in Ottawa, going on to work as a researcher, historian, curator and author in the cultural arts sector. Over the years she held positions with National Museums of Canada, National Gallery and Museum of Civilization. Bruce also authored three books on Canadian history, The Last Best West, After the War and Back the Attack!

Alain Clermont

Alain Clermont, 69, on Oct. 3. Clermont started his career as a producer and anchor with CBC Regina. He was with the public broadcaster from 1974 to 1985 before moving into public sector consulting with the provincial government. He went on to work as an aboriginal affairs and diversity consultant for SaskPower, and helped develop the Saskatchewan WCB employment equity program. For over three decades, Clermont also served as a bilingual announcer for Skate Canada events, including three world championships and the Calgary Winter Olympics.

Joseph Dean

Joseph Dean “Joe” Smith, 85, on Aug. 21.  Born in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Smith was introduced to radio during his time with the Royal Canadian Air Force building communications towers in France, Belgium and Germany. After the war, Smith settled in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador where he headed up technical services for the CBC. Smith installed CBC radio and TV towers and transmitters all over Labrador and Nunavut. He was recognized by former CBC President Pierre Juneau with the CBC President’s Award of Recognition of Service.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

HBO Max, Warner Media’s new HBO-anchored streaming service, will launch in Canada next year thanks to an extension of Bell Media’s deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. The deal, which will make new HBO Max original content available to Canadians via Bell Media’s Crave streaming service, is a first for HBO Max programming outside of the U.S. Set to launch stateside in May, at a premium price of $15 USD a month, HBO Max will initially boast 10,000 hours of content including about three dozen original series, in addition to HBO original programming, and a back catalogue of titles like Friends, South Park, and Doctor Who. It also plans to carry select podcasts on its mobile app. The Bell Media deal extends the pay TV rights for Warner Bros. first-run feature films and encompasses new scripted series produced for HBO Max, including the new Gossip Girl reboot; comedic thriller The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory); Dune: The Sisterhood from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve; and new Mindy Kaling project College Girls (working title) about the romantic lives of three young women at an East Coast university. Read more here.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) handed out its 18th annual DGC Awards Saturday night in Toronto. Toronto director Patricia Rozema’s Mouthpiece and Robert Budreau’s Stockholm ended up tying for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. Mouthpiece also claimed the award for Best Picture Editing for Lara Johnston. In the Television category, CTV’s Cardinal claimed three awards including Best Production Design (Rory Cheyne), Best Picture Editing – Movies for Television and Mini-Series (Hugh Elchuk), and Best Sound Editing (David McCallum, Jane Tattersall, Barry Gilmore, Claire Dobson, Paul Germann, Christopher King) in the same category. The Handmaid’s Tale, Vancouver-shot Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and CBC family drama Northern Rescue each picked up two awards apiece. Find the full list of winners here.

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival award winners include The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, co-directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, which won Best Dramatic Feature. The Audience Choice Award – Feature Film was awarded to nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, directed by Dr. Tasha Hubbard, which follows Colten Boushie’s family following the acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley in his death and their reflections on raising a young Indigenous son on the Prairies. nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up also received The Sun Jury Prize. The inaugural Audience Choice Award – Short Film was awarded to Nancy from Now On (Aotearoa, New Zealand) directed by Keely Meechan. Nancy From Now On is the tale of a young Māori man with a burning desire to become a drag queen. Find the full list of award winners here.

The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) returns for its 17th edition, Nov. 7-10 in Toronto. FeFF is a not-for-profit annual competitive international film festival for women directors that bridges the gap between the written, visual, and media arts. This year the Best in the Biz Tribute, a signature series of the Female Eye, celebrates Canadian writer, director and producer Mina Shum as FeFF Honorary Director 2019. Find the full programming schedule here.

The Ontario Film Authority, the independent agency that classifies films screening in Ontario movie theatres, is being dissolved by the Ontario government. Ontario theatres will use B.C.’s classification system, while the province consults on a long-term solution that reflects the changing market for films, including widespread adoption of SVOD platforms where content doesn’t require rating. According to a memo obtained by CBC News, dissolution of the classification board will save the industry $1.5 to $2 million a year. The agency approved 1,000 fewer films in 2018-19 compared with the previous year.

The Province of Alberta’s United Conservative Party government has released its inaugural budget, moving to phase out production grants in favour of a film tax credit. Eligible production companies can now file to recover 22% of eligible expenditures, down from 30% under the previous NDP government. A cap of $10 million per project has also been introduced, up from the prior $7.5-million ceiling. Due to over-commitment from the previous program, $15 million in new money for film tax credits has been earmarked for 2020-21, and $30 and $45 million, respectively, for the two consecutive fiscal years.

The Stratagem Group, a collective of creative companies focused on the development of globally competitive talent and film content in Ontario, and Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology in North Bay, have announced a multi-year collaboration to support the film and television industry in Northern Ontario. The partnership will see The Stratagem Group, whose offerings include studio development, operation, content creation, finance, production and workforce development,  manage and operate the college’s post-production complex, including its Dolby ATMOS 4K Theatre. The goal is to service local northern productions and attract new screen activity, business and employment access to North Bay, Timmins, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Kenora, and Sault Ste. Marie. In the short-term, The Stratagem Group intends to hire three to five full-time post-production staff to live and work in North Bay. Over the last number of years, annual production spend in Northern Ontario has almost tripled to $100 million.

Sandra Battaglini

The Mayor of Comedy: A Canadian Stand-Up Story, a documentary that follows comedian Sandra Battaglini as she interviews Canada’s top comics, is set to screen at the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival, the Hamilton Film Festival, and at the Fox Theatre in Toronto in November. In The Mayor of Comedy, filmmaker Matt Kelly gives viewers a glimpse into the murky world of Canadian showbiz, where many comics struggle in a system that limits their ability to make a living. Battaglini also explores her own feelings, despite her success, of being trapped in a system that offers low pay, few opportunities and a lack of support from the government. The doc features interviews with Scott Thompson (Kids In The Hall), Debra DiGiovanni (Conan), Mark Forward (Fargo), Aisha Brown (Terrific Women), Dave Merheje (Ramy) and K. Trevor Wilson (Letterkenny). Battaglini also interviews politicians and industry leaders in an effort to find out why Canadian comedians struggle to work abroad and why comedy isn’t officially recognized as an artistic discipline by the federal government.

Nelvana is celebrating the 40th publishing anniversary of preschool brand Max & Ruby with several new licensing partnerships that will lead into 2020. Starting this fall, Nelvana has partnered with Cracker Barrel for an exclusive U.S. retail launch of Max & Ruby branded plush, apparel and sleepwear across its 650 stores. Nelvana has also signed on new licensing partners Aurora (Master Plush Partner), Chouette (Publishing), Picture This (Apparel), Prime Party (Party Goods), Happy Threads (Apparel), and Jellifish (Sleepwear). Nelvana has also secured a partnership with Braums in the U.S. for a Max & Ruby QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) program that will roll out in January.

Telefilm Canada has made updates to its Theatrical Documentary Program for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Opening on Nov. 25, Telefilm’s financial participation has increased to $150,000 (from $125,000) for a maximum of 49% of a project’s Canadian budget. The Theatrical Documentary Program also now includes an Indigenous Stream, which sets aside funding for projects by Canadian filmmakers from Indigenous communities. The Rogers Group of Funds is no longer a partner of the program.

Open Screenplay, the online screenwriting platform that launched in January, has launched a short film screenplay contest to focus attention on climate change. Inspired by founder Khaled Sabawi’s inclusion in a World Economic Forum climate change expedition to Greenland, Open Screenplay is inviting entries from professional and aspiring screenwriters to submit stories “that will give the leading global issue of our time a voice that can’t be ignored.” All entries must be created and written on openscreenplay.com and must be 10 minutes or less. Screenplay entries can be any genre, must be fictional and focus on climate change. The winning screenplay will be considered for production by Open Screenplay, with the top three screenplays to receive license fee cash awards.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group (JPBG) has acquired a minority stake in Edmonton digital agency Lift Interactive. Founded in 2002 by Micah and Kristi Slavens, the boutique agency has been behind projects for clients like Lululemon and Tourism Jasper. Pattison’s outdoor advertising arm has also tapped its services. JPBG President Rod Schween says the company has been looking for a digital partner since an overhaul of its strategic priorities last fall. Schween says with multiplying options for advertisers to spend their marketing dollar, part of JPBG’s enhanced company strategy is determining how to offer a multi-platform solution for clients and drive long term organizational growth. Going forward, JPBG will work with the Lift team on a rollout strategy to determine what product mix is right for each of its markets. Read the full story here.

CBC Sports and Red Bull Media House have a new three-year partnership that will see the extensive back catalogue of past events from the Red Bull Signature Series made available on the CBC Gem streaming service. The Red Bull Signature Series spans the sports of snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing and BMX. Canadian events like the Red Bull Ice Cross World Championship races in Ottawa (2017) and Edmonton (2018) as well as Red Bull Joyride in Whistler (2016/17) are also available to stream.

Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek

Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, the Canadian former competitive gamer and top streamer, has left Amazon-owned Twitch for an exclusive streaming deal with emerging Microsoft platform Mixer. Shroud leaves 7 million followers behind on Twitch. Former top Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins made a similar deal in August. Mixer, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, is mostly used for gaming but also plays host to amateur streamers, professional e-sports players and other content creators. One of its draws is that it’s integrated with Xbox One and Windows 10. It also offers a channel subscription monetization option for streamers and like Twitch has a tipping option that allows viewers to donate ‘Embers’ – the platform’s currency – to their favourite creators.

GENERAL:

The CRTC has delayed its mobile wireless review public hearing until Feb. 18. The Commissioner of Competition has requested more time to complete an economic study on the industry and follow up with certain carriers. Most of the carriers also requested an additional reply phase to respond to the Commissioner’s findings. Replies in that phase must now be filed filed prior to Jan. 13.

The CRTC has determined that businesses like coffee shops and other organizations offering free wifi on their premises will not have to register with the commission. The decision stems from the regulator’s consultation around resellers, determining that services offered without explicit charge or on a temporary basis to those only on the reseller’s premises are exempt.

The Federal Court of Appeal has declined to hear Vidéotron’s appeal that if successful would have exempt the cable provider from certain licence conditions requiring it to participate in the incoming national set-top box-based audience measurement system. Videotron argued that the CRTC was overstepping its authority by requiring it to provide audience data to a third party. That data will now have to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2020.

Shaw Q4 2019 earnings for the quarter ended Aug. 31, 2019 show consolidated revenue increases of 1.9% to $1.35 billion, while operating income before restructuring costs and amortization was down 3.4% year-over-year to $537 million. Fiscal 2019 consolidated revenue increased by 3.0% to $5.35 billion and operating income before restructuring costs and amortization by 5.1% year-over-year to $2.16 billion. Shaw says adjusting for $15 million to address certain intellectual property (IP) licensing matters in the third quarter and a $10 million charge related to CRTC regulatory matters in the fourth quarter, consolidated operating income before restructuring costs and amortization decreased 1.6% in the quarter and increased 6.3% for the full year. In Q4, Freedom Mobile added a record 90,700 new customers with subscriber momentum attributed to the brand’s Big Gig data plans and newly-launched Big Gig Unlimited and Absolute Zero campaigns. In the Wireline segment, approximately 35,000 Internet customers were added in Fiscal 2019, including 11,400 net additions in the fourth quarter.

Start.ca is the latest small internet provider to announce that the CRTC’s move to lower wholesale rates will result in lower prices and increased speeds for its customers. The London, ON-based ISP and home phone provider says the changes will affect over 14,000 existing customers, who will now see either a reduced bill or a free speed increase next month. The changes will happen automatically with no action required from customers.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is looking to recruit younger adjudicators. Sylvie Courtemanche, chair of the CBSC, says particularly when it comes to adjudicating listener complaints around hip hop and urban music, a younger perspective is needed. Courtemanche says half of the complaints the CBSC now receives are around news, balance and fairness. Specifically, the council is asking radio and TV stations in small and medium markets to propose people with news experience who can adjudicate without the perception of bias. Read more here.

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) has announced that Anita Boyle-Evans, General Manager of Numeris, will share its plans for their new Audio diary service, along with an update on Audio PPM. Jeff Vidler of Audience Insights Inc. will moderate a Q&A to follow. CONNECTION 2019 will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Marriott Toronto Airport Hotel. To register click here.

SUPPLY LINES:

CTV Vancouver Island’s studios in Victoria, BC recently went through a complete 16:9 SD to full HD upgrade. The upgrade – after broadcasting in SD for 18 years – included re-wiring the entire station and replacing the control room switcher and studio cameras. The systems integration was performed internally by the Bell Media integration group. Three new Sony HXC-FB80 HD studio cameras, along with HXCU-FB80 CCU units and HZC-RCP5 camera remote control software were selected as the main studio pedestal cameras. Two cameras sit on Vinten pedestals and are equipped with Canon wide angle lenses. The cameras are used for CTV’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. newscasts. Thanks to the HZC-RCP5 software, the HXC-FB80’s can be controlled from remote locales as well as the local control room, which means the video supervisor for CTV nationally can digitally shade and color the cameras from CTV headquarters in Toronto. Optical filter wheels for neutral density and color correction can also be controlled using the application. The cameras at CTV Vancouver Island can also be controlled using the HZC-RCP5 camera control software running on a computer at the station. This enables the on-site technical director to control various camera pre-sets based on a specific set or shot and have access to all the shading and recalls.

SMPTE 2019 saw NASA and Amazon Web Services (AWS) successfully test a workflow marking the first use of cloud resources for data storage and video origination for streaming from space. The proof of concept expands on the workflow NASA and AWS co-produced in 2017 to enable the first-ever live 4K UHD stream from space, and now includes cloud-based media services for high-quality and secure live video transport, video origination and packaging, broadcast-grade live video processing, and content delivery networks. The test took place during a special SMPTE program honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and supported a live interview with astronauts Christina Koch, Jessica Meir, and Andrew Morgan aboard the International Space Station, along with two NASA colleagues presenting at SMPTE 2019 in Los Angeles. NASA is seeking innovative ways to reduce the cost and complexity of live streaming from space as it prepares to send the first woman and next man to the lunar face by 2024 through its Artemis architecture. By shifting 90% of the workload into the cloud instead of using traditional ground-based broadcast video processing, satellite long-haul transport, and content delivery infrastructures, the workflow helps reduce the cost and complexity of streaming video from space to scientists and viewers on Earth. Broadcast on NASA TV and streamed online, the interview is available on both platforms for on-demand viewing.

A Message from Clint Hollinger, President, Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE)

This year, the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers is hosting its 69th annual convention in Calgary, Alberta. It is amazing that over these many years, the only constant has been change! Changes in technology, changes in workflows and changes in people. I have worked in several other industries and have never seen industry anchors like WABE, CCBE (Central Canada Broadcast Engineers) and Broadcast Dialogue that continue to pull the community together so that we can continue to move forward together.

I recently had the pleasure of being at the UCP (United Conservative Party) headquarters in Regina for election night. Nope…it was not a pleasure being in the building for over 15 hours. But what was great was the cooperation amongst all the broadcasters. Everything from borrowing connectors, sharing cable mats, to swapping riser locations, and sharing information. Again, in an industry where we all compete for the same viewers, it is great to see all of us working together. This is something that we’ve continued to do for over 69 years and will continue to do for many more years to come.

As for coming together, we would like to invite all of you to join us this year in Calgary at the Westin Calgary Airport Hotel from Nov. 3-5. You can either join us for the entire conference or if you are in Southern Alberta and want to stop by just for the day and see what it is all about, then please don’t hesitate. It is always free to come and explore the exhibit show floor. With over 50 booths, there is something for everyone to check out with our industry vendors. Hopefully you will want to stay for some papers as well.

Papers to be presented at this year’s conference range from ISED regulations, live streaming, and broadcaster tips and tricks to discussions about the future of broadcasting and WABE. We have lots to keep you informed while engaging in some interesting discussion with your industry colleagues. With all of this new information swimming around in your head, we can’t forget to use this time to have some fun and get some networking done. Catch up with your colleagues at the Attitude Adjustment reception on Sunday night.  Then toast the accomplishments of some of the most amazing engineers at the Awards Dinner on Tuesday evening. And join us in some of the other fun things that we have planned for you to do around the hotel throughout the convention!

Clint Hollinger, WABE President

These conventions would not have been possible without the delegates attending, the exhibitors that take time and choose to exhibit with us year after year, and of course our generous sponsors who support us. It is a perfect marriage of everyone working together to make sure that this convention continues year after year. So, come out and attend WABE to be a part of something that has a history of over 69 years!

Through learning together, having fun, networking, and attending the WABE convention, I am confident that we will continue to keep moving forward together in the broadcast community!

Clint Hollinger, WABE President


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