The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

The 2019 Canadian Podcast Listener (CPL) study finds that more than 40% of podcasting’s share of listening time is new media time. While traditionally radio measurement has focused on a system where only one station can ‘win the minute’ (or quarter-hour) and get credit for the listener’s attention, the study found that because podcasts enable listeners to start and stop when needed, they are well-suited to fill in gaps in media consumption throughout the day. 56% of listeners indicated that other audio media is most likely to be affected by podcast listening, but video, social and print are also being impacted: 26% of podcast listeners say that podcasts are carving into the time they spend with AM/FM; 22% say podcasts are replacing time spent with non-radio music (mp3s, streaming, etc.); and 9% say that they are listening to fewer audio books now that they’re listening to podcasts. Read more here.

Vista Radio staton CFCP-FM Courtenay has returned to its pre-2014 branding as 98.9 Jet FM, as of Nov. 1. For the past five years, the station was operating as 98.9 The Goat – World Class Rock. Originally launched in 1959 as 1140 AM, the station has gone through several incarnations, moving to the FM dial in 1999 as Magic 98.9 when it adopted an Adult Contemporary format. It was rebranded to 98.9 The Goat in 2005 and took on an Active Rock sound. As part of the rebrand, former hosts Pete Montana and Robyn have also returned to mornings.

Corus Entertainment is going to court to seek an injunction that would prohibit Harvard Broadcasting from using the POWER 107 brand in Edmonton or any name that includes the word POWER, including domain name power107.ca. Set to be heard in a Calgary court Nov. 8, the case centres around Corus’ former POWER 92 Top 40 station. While the station rebranded in 2004, Corus is alleging that Harvard’s CJNW-FM has not only adopted the name, but its distinctive black and white branding and ‘phrase that pays’ contesting slogan. Harvard rebranded Hot 107 to POWER 107 this past August. Harvard’s statement of defence says Corus has no legal claim to the Power brand.

SiriusXM is now available on Google Nest smart speakers and displays via the Google Assistant. Users will see SiriusXM programming in the Google Home app, available on iOS and Android devices. Subscribers will be able to ask the Google Assistant to play a SiriusXM channel by saying, for example, “Hey Google, play The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM.” Later this year, subscribers with a Nest Hub will also be able to watch SiriusXM video, giving them access to a selection of video clips curated specifically for the Google Assistant that will allow them to see exclusive in-studio performances, interviews and other behind-the-scenes moments at SiriusXM. SiriusXM also plans to offer SiriusXM Select, SiriusXM All Access and SiriusXM Essential Streaming subscriptions at promotional rates that will be bundled with a Google Nest Hub.

Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize syndicated personalities Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh, hosts of Brooke & Jubal in the Morning as this year’s recipients of the “One to Watch” award. Originating from Movin’ 92.5 (KQMV-FM) Seattle, Brooke & Jubal are heard on more than 50 stations, including Corus Radio’s Jump 106.9 Ottawa, Energy 95.3 Hamilton, and 92.5 The Chuck Edmonton. Created last year in honour of radio legend Art Laboe, the “One to Watch” award is given to a promising radio personality or team that has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities.

Radioplayer is expanding to more countries and is currently working with Spanish broadcasters to launch Radioplayer España, making hundreds of Spanish stations available on the Radioplayer España iPhone and Android apps, on the web player, in the Alexa skill, on Sonos and BOSE speakers, Google Cast, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smart Device Link, and many more automotive and in-home integrations. In addition, Spanish stations will join the international Radioplayer data feed which powers the hybrid radio interfaces in many Audi, VW and Porsche cars, and can switch automatically between DAB, FM, and streaming, to keep listeners locked in to their favourite radio stations. Spain is the 12th country to join the Radioplayer family, along with Canada, the UK, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, Peru, and Denmark, with Italy about to launch.

Quebecor’s QUB Radio has released French-language true crime podcast, Synthèses, revisiting the 2001 unsolved homicide of Sherbrooke resident Louise Chaput. Chaput, 52, was crossing the Canada-US border alone to hike Mount Washington. The psychologist’s body was found a week later buried under a pile of branches on the edge of a forested path. The podcast reviews the investigation conducted by New Hampshire State Police and tries to understand how a murder in broad daylight, on a U.S. tourist trail, remains unresolved.

The 11th annual Pharmasave Radiothon for Healthcare, broadcast on Golden West Broadcasting’s Swift Current stations, raised more than $155,000 on Nov. 1. The 15-hour event, heard on CKSW 570, Magic 97.1 (CKFI-FM), and The Eagle 94.1 (CIMG-FM), raised funds towards the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation and its Close to the Heart Campaign which has a goal of buying a new digital mammography unit.

Country 100 (CILG-FM) Moose Jaw hosted a Paws For Pledges Radiothon on Nov. 1 that raised $108,520 to help animals in need in the city. The event has raised a total of $649,541 since 2013.

Dom Nero

FEATURE: Canadian Dom Nero is the featured imaging producer in this week’s blog from Benztown CEO Andy Sannemann. Nero images Hot 97 in NYC and covers everything from inspiration to his early Toronto production idols. Read more here.

 

SIGN-OFFS:

Bernard Slade

Bernard Slade, 89, on Oct. 30. Born in St. Catharines, ON, Slade moved to England with his family as a child. Upon his return to Canada, he worked as an Air Canada as a steward before pursuing acting. Slade started his career as an actor in repertory theatre in England and at the Garden Center Theatre in Vineland, ON. He headed to Hollywood In the mid-1960s, where he found success writing TV sitcoms at Screen Gems, including Bewitched. That led to ABC series Love on a Rooftop and The Flying Nun. Slade would go on to create The Partridge Family and Bridget Loves Bernie. He was also behind the script for 1972 film Stand Up and Be Counted, starring Jacqueline Bisset. In 1975, Slade returned to the theatre with his hit play Same Time, Next Year, with Charles Grodin and Ellen Burstyn in the leads. The play earned Slade a Tony Award nomination. That was followed by the less successful Tribute, with Jack Lemmon in the lead, and then Romantic Comedy, starring Anthony Perkins and Mia Farrow. Slade went on to write the screenplays for the film versions of all three plays, and was nominated for an Oscar for his screen adaptation of Same Time, Next Year.

Richard Staehling

Rick Staehling, 73, on Oct. 25. Staehling was a film critic on CBC Radio One in Vancouver for more than three decades. He started at the public broadcaster in 1971 as a graphic designer. Having studied at the Art Center College of Design in L.A,, Staehling had developed a love of film and started contributing reviews to the local afternoon show. His last review for On The Coast was in 2010. In addition to CBC, Staehling worked as art director for Vancouver magazine and Western Living, and served as an editor at Travel, etc. He also lectured at Capilano University, the University of British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Among the awards Staehling received were a Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award, the Western Magazine Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Vancouver Film Critic’s Circle Ian Caddell Achievement Award.

Peter Novak

Peter Novak, 62, on Nov. 3. Novak had a passion for radio from a young age, starting his radio career working part-time at a Montreal radio station while going to college. He started as a regular host on CBC Yukon in the 1980s and made the north his home, remaining on-air at the public broadcaster until his retirement in 2005. He then went to work as a host at Northern Native Broadcasting’s CHON-FM Whitehorse, hosting a variety of shows including Cool Country Morning and Cabin Radio.

Dan Kauffman

Dan Kauffman on Oct. 25. After finishing high school in Toronto, Kauffman took broadcasting courses at Los Angeles’ City College. He went on to work as a film editor for CBC Toronto in 1955, in addition to partnering in a film production firm. In 1960, he joined Edmonton CTV affiliate CFRN-TV. Kauffman worked for CFRN for 35 years, predominantly producing documentaries and features. He was very active in the Edmonton Jewish Community, including serving as President of the Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta for eight years, starting in 2001. During that time he produced documentary films “Frome Pedlars to Patriarchs: A Legacy Remembered,” and “Bittersweet Memories: The War Years.”

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Creative BC and the Rogers Group of Funds have announced new support for domestic creators in British Columbia that will encourage the development of motion picture projects in the documentary series and factual series formats. The new $800,000 Rogers + Creative BC Documentary and Factual Development Fund will be delivered over two years, launching in Jan. 2020. The fund is the first partnership in Canada at the provincial level between the Rogers Group of Funds and another funding entity, with each partner contributing $400,000. More details will be released in December.

Lisa Steele, Alika Maikau, and Cynthia Lickers-Sage

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is now a Qualifying Festival for the Best Live Action Short category for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. imagineNATIVE is the first and only Indigenous film festival in the world to become Academy Award qualifying, and one of the few qualifying festivals in Canada. The announcement means the winner of imagineNATIVE’s annual Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Best Short Work, the festival’s prize for short narrative works, will be eligible to submit for the Best Live Action Short category at the Oscars. This year’s winner was Moloka’i Bound by Alika Maikau (Hawaiian). 

Bell Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund has announced this year’s selections for its Manitoba Shorts Program. The initiative, developed with Manitoba Film & Music, is designed to finance short films from Manitoba filmmaking teams, furthering the careers of writers, directors, and producers as they move towards feature filmmaking. The following short film projects will each receive $20,000 in combined financial contributions: Broken Glass from writer/director Sage Daniels and producer Sonya Ballantyne; Devotion from writer/director Rowan Gray and producer Jessica Gibson; Lover Boy’s Little Dream from writer/director Ritvick Mehra and producer Gerard Jacinto; and Wolf in Dude’s Clothing from writer/director Solmund MacPherson and producer Drew Scurfield.

Lisa de Wilde

TVO kicked off its eighth annual fundraising gala Oct. 23, the start of a year-long celebration leading up to its 50th anniversary next September. The event honoured Lisa de Wilde, who is stepping away after 14 years as the network’s Chief Executive Officer. The evening included remarks from Min. Rod Phillips, Barry and Laurie Green, and the honourable Bill Davis, recognizing de Wilde’s impact on Ontario’s public broadcaster.

Dawna Friesen

Global News’ Remembrance Day coverage will include a commemorative edition of Global National featuring segments broadcast live from the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Global News will also air Remembrance Day news special No Stone Left Alone, hosted by Dawna Friesen, airing at 10 a.m. PT/CT/ET, 11:30 a.m. MT and 11 a.m. AT. The 30-minute presentation will include stories woven together from No Stone Left Alone events across Canada, and feature students sharing their reflections of fallen soldiers’ stories. The special will also air across the Global News Radio network with audio commentary by national host Charles Adler, airing on 980 CKNW Vancouver, 770 CHQR Calgary, 630 CHED Edmonton, 680 CJOB Winnipeg, 640 Toronto, 980 CFPL London, and 900 CHML Hamilton. In addition to No Stone Left Alone, Friesen hosts Canada Remembers – a live, commercial-free, network news special at 8:30 a.m. MT and 10:30 a.m. ET/CT.

Food Network Canada has an unprecedented 90+ hours of new seasonal programming on its schedule. A new season of Holiday Baking Championship debuted Nov. 4, followed by Canadian original series The Big Bake: Holiday (7×60). New series include Santa’s Baking Blizzard, starting Nov. 28; and The Great Food Truck Race: Holiday Hustle and Holiday Wars on Dec. 1. The network’s seasonally-themed baking competition series, The Big Bake, features celebrity guest judges Duff Goldman (Kids Baking Championship), Nancy Fuller (Farmhouse Rules), and cookbook author Joy Wilson.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, along with Lambur Productions, has announced that production is underway on a new live-action Canadian original adaptation of The Hardy Boys (13x60min). Based on Edward Stratemeyer’s children’s books, the mystery-drama features the principal characters in their teen years. Production for the teen series will shoot in Greater Toronto and Hamilton through Jan. 2020. Slated to premiere on YTV in Canada and premium streaming platform Hulu in the U.S. next year, the hour-long series stars an all-Canadian main cast including James Tupper (Big Little Lies) as Hardy boys’ father ‘Fenton Hardy,’ Rohan Campbell (Mech-X4) as ‘Frank Hardy,’ and Alexander Elliot (Detention Adventure) as ‘Joe Hardy.’

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Facebook has introduced new brand and company logo FACEBOOK, in an effort to distinguish between the company and the social app. Announced in a blog post Monday morning, the company said that from its 15-year evolution from a single app to a suite of products, it now wants “to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook.” In addition to the Facebook app, Facebook’s main services encompass Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Portal and Calibra. In the coming weeks, the new brand will show up within those products and marketing materials, including a new company website. The timing of the rebrand effort comes as Facebook faces continued scrutiny over its policies on political ads and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call to break up the digital giant.

The Canadian Press, Village Media, Torstar, and Earbank have received first-round Google News Initiative funding. The Canadian Press aims to build out a Digital Data Desk to take advantage of two emerging trends in journalism: access to data and the use of AI to create content from that data. Earbank is developing a platform that makes it easier for broadcasters and journalists to archive their news audio clips and soundbites, make the content searchable on the internet, and earn money by selling licenses for those clips to audio buyers such as documentary producers, podcasters, and educational publishers. Village Media seeks to trigger a network effect within its community news platform by enabling and encouraging readers and advertisers to connect on a one-to-one and a one-to-many basis with other members of their geographical community of interest. Torstar’s Project Local Pulse is a digital-only product that combines local news with a community hub. With print news products in decline, Torstar is looking to develop a sustainable new platform to maximize reader engagement by combining Torstar’s news brands with deep community content.

Shelby Lisk

TVO.org is translating Indigenous stories into Indigenous languages, as part of its commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to action. Until now, TVO.org has published stories from its Indigenous Hub reporters in English only. Going forward, the network intends to publish as many of those stories as possible both in English and an Indigenous language relevant to the community being covered. TVO’s first translated story from Indigenous Hub writer Shelby Lisk is on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It can be read in Mohawk here and in English here.

GENERAL:

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Connection 2019 conference gets underway today. Among the new additions to this year’s programming schedule are a Production Super Session featuring Justin Dove of Core Image Studio; STAXX, head of imaging for iHeartRadio in New York; and Ron Tarrant, former sound designer and voice of the Howard Stern Show, who is now director of Reelworld Productions “Red.” Can’t get all your creative/production staff to Toronto? The three-hour session will be available to OAB member stations live, via web-stream. Find the conference lineup here.

BCE has released its Q3 results, reporting adjusted EBITDA up 5.6% on strong year-over-year growth at all Bell operating segments, driven by 1.8% higher revenue and IFRS 16 impact. Net earnings grew 6.3% to $922 million. Wireless net additions for the quarter were 204,067, up 14.8%, combined with ABPU growth of approximately 1% and a reduction in postpaid churn to 1.12%, delivering stronger wireless revenue growth of 3.5% and 7.9% higher adjusted EBITDA. Total adds for the quarter amounted to 293,950 across wireless, retail internet and IPTV, up 8.4%. Bell Media operating revenue increased 2.7% in Q3 to $751 million, driven by higher revenue from Crave subscriber base growth over the past year. Advertising revenue was down year-over-year due to the non-recurrence of revenues generated in Q3 2018 from the FIFA World Cup Soccer broadcast. Excluding the World Cup, ad revenue was up over Q3 2018, driven by stronger conventional TV performance, including benefits from federal election coverage, and increases at specialty TV news service CP24 and Astral out of home. Media adjusted EBITDA increased 24.2% to $226 million, due to higher revenue and a 4.4% reduction in operating costs.

Cogeco’s Q4 revenue increased by 3.1% year-over-year to reach $583.7 million, mainly driven by 7.0% growth in its American broadband services segment, resulting from rate increases, the activation of bulk properties in Florida during the fourth quarter, the continued growth in internet service customers, as well as the acquisition of the south Florida fibre network previously owned by FiberLight, LLC in Oct. 2018. Canadian broadband services revenue remained stable as a result of rate increases and growth in internet and commercial services, partially offset by decreases in video and telephony services customers compared to the same quarter of the prior year.

TVA Group recorded Q3 operating revenues in the amount of $125.6 million in the third quarter of 2019, a year-over-year decrease of $1.8 million. Net income attributable to shareholders was $13.4 million for earnings of $0.31 per share, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $14.1 million for earnings of $0.33 per share in the same quarter of 2018. Third quarter operating highlights included $21,458,000 in adjusted EBITDA in the Broadcasting segment, up $4,534,000, mainly attributable to the acquisition of the Évasion and Zeste channels and a 25.0% increase in the adjusted EBITDA of other specialty channels, including a 13.6% increase at TVA Sports. $6,482,000 in adjusted EBITDA was recorded in the Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment, down $2,607,000 due to a decrease in adjusted EBITDA from soundstage, mobile and equipment rentals, and a decrease in adjusted EBITDA from post-production, due to cyclical demand, partially offset by the improved profitability of visual effects, which registered increased volume. 

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) has prepared a research paper calling for an end to what it says is CRTC overregulation of the telecom sector and penalized infrastructure investments. Entitled Permissionless Innovation: For an End to the Presumption of Regulation in Telecommunications, the report was prepared by Gaël Campan, Senior Associate Researcher at the MEI, in collaboration with Daniel Dufort, Director of External Affairs. The paper, which invites the CRTC to rescind the telecom exception and reintegrate the sector under the general competition regime, is available on MEI’s website.

LISTEN: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the independent organization that establishes standards for private Canadian broadcasters, is seeking a younger perspective. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk to chair Sylvie Courtemanche about the need for younger adjudicators, what Canadians are complaining about, and the new standard for closed captioning in Canada. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

BROADCAST TECH NEWS:

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) held their 69th annual conference in Calgary this week. This year’s Excellence in Engineering award winners were Vernon Mooers of Golden West Broadcasting and Darren Kronlund of Bell Media. Brian Gauld received the Retirement Award. Al Pippin, the now retired founder of Pippin Technical, and Dan Gold of Corus Entertainment received R.W. Lamb Awards. Mark Critchton of Golden West was awarded the WABE Spirit Award.

Rogers Communications, with the University of British Columbia (UBC), has turned on the country’s first 5G-powered smart campus as part of their strategic partnership to advance 5G research in Canada. The smart campus, which includes 5G towers throughout UBC’s Point Grey campus and an edge computing enabled data centre, is being used by university researchers to test 5G applications in a real-world setting. New research projects underway using the network include: Earthquake and tsunami detection technology that leverages the low latency of 5G sensors and machine learning to provide an early warning of an earthquake so people can take preventative steps to stay safe; Digital mining technology that makes the operations of mines safer and improves sustainability through autonomous trucks and predictive truck maintenance; and 5G Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a next generation mobile platform that brings together transit, bike rental, car sharing, car rental and other modes of transportation so consumers can get the best on-demand transportation options.


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