The Weekly Briefing


The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) handed out its annual awards Thursday recognizing the radio staff behind Creative, Promotions, and Sales as well as those involved in creating Community Service campaigns. Larche Communications founder Paul Larche was the 2019 inductee into the OAB Hall of Fame, while Jamie Johnston of Bayshore Broadcasting was named the inaugural winner of the OAB’s new Inspiring Women Award. 

This year’s Community Service Award winners were Classic Rock 94.5 (CIBU-FM) Wingham, which claimed the Small Market honour for its “Run Phil Run” effort that saw host Phil Main run, walk and crawl 120 kilometres over five days across Midwestern Ontario to raise awareness for mental health. The Large Market award went to Indie88 (CIND-FM) Toronto for its “A Day to Make Music Count” initiative, supporting MusiCounts, in memory of late colleague Dave “Bookie” Bookman. Station Promotion Awards, which recognize the stations that do the best job promoting themselves were won by Country 93 (CKYC-FM) Owen Sound for the “Amazing Adventures of Rick & Julia,” which saw the station’s new morning show promoted via a viral social media campaign that saw a dozen cardboard cutouts of the on-air duo travel to different events with the help of listener ambassadors.

boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto won the Large Market award for its “Apollo 11 – To the boom & Back” station takeover that aired across the Stingray Classic Hits network to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. This year’s Best in Class Sales award winners, which recognize individual sales people who show the ability to recognize and speak to the needs of a new client with a successful radio campaign, included Jordan Hennessey of Indie88 (CIND-FM) for client Georgian Bay Spirit Co. Cassandra Bonn of Quinte Broadcasting stations Mix 97 (CIGL-FM), CJBQ and Rock 107 (CJTN-FM) Belleville, won the Small Market award for campaign “Need A Car Don’t Care.” Creative Award winners, presented to the writer/producer who creates the best 30 or 60 radio ad, went to Evanov Radio team Brian Viggiani (producer), John Shannon (copywriter), Richard Correll (voiceover) for their Large Market campaign “Game of Cones.” Blackburn Radio’s Patt Staples (writer) and producers Scott Chidwick and Brent Wilkinson claimed the Small Market award for “BEE-thoven’s 5th.” Read more here.

Harvard Broadcasting, Saskatoon Media Group, MBC Radio and Jim Pattison Broadcast Group stations got together to raise over $750,000 during the largest-ever Radiothon for Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, on Nov. 6-7. The two-day event was broadcast live from the hospital’s main lobby by 16 different radio stations, including 98COOL FM (CJMK-FM) and 600 CJWW Saskatoon; 620 CKRM, MY92.1 (CHMX-FM), and 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM) in Regina; Power99 (CFMM-FM), XFM 101.5 (CHQX-FM) and 900 CKBI Prince Albert, and in North Battleford on 1050 CJNB, Q98 (CJCQ-FM) and 93.3 The ROCK (CJHD-FM). MBC broadcast to various locations across the province. The event also hit the airwaves in Yorkton thanks to Fox FM (CFGW-FM) and GX94 (CJGX-AM) and in Melfort on CJVR FM and 750 Beach Radio (CKJH-AM). Donations from this year’s event will support babies, kids, moms-to-be and families across Saskatchewan who need specialized care as close to home as possible.

Radio communautaire de Harrington Harbour has voluntarily surrendered its licence for CFTH 97.7 and the station rebroadcasters in Mutton Bay and Kegaska, Que. No reason was given for the station’s request for revocation.

The Societe Radio Communautaire du Grand Edmonton Society has received approval to increase the power of its French-language community station CFED 97.9 from 190 to 295 watts. Antenna height will go from 0.87 to 40.3 metres (EHAAT).

Bell Media’s holiday playlists this year will feature controversial holiday tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Last December, the 1949 standard was pulled by Bell, Rogers, CBC and Stingray stations following a move by Star 102 (WDOK-FM) Cleveland to nix the song after complaints about its predatory sexual overtones. Corus stations played it in limited rotation. CBC Music later restored the song to its playlists after public outcry.

Radio-Canada OHdio is the new destination for Radio-Canada radio, music and podcasts in one place. Among the new app’s offerings, listeners can tune in live or listen later to ICI RADIO-CANADA PREMIERE and ICI MUSIQUE content, audiobooks, and the ICI MUSIQUE Classique channel.


CBC has released new true crime podcast series, Hunting Warhead (6×45), a unique international co-production between CBC Podcasts and Norway’s Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper. It also includes archival interviews from ABC Audio Studios, part of Australia’s public broadcaster. Hunting Warhead follows journalists, white-hat hackers, and police on a mission across borders, to uncover the man behind username Warhead who ran Child’s Play, a site on the dark web with more than a million users trafficking child abuse material. Hosted and co-produced by Daemon Fairless, the podcast includes direct conversations with close friends and relatives, investigators and the criminals themselves. The first two episodes of the six-part series are now available to download, with two new episodes to be released weekly. 

‘Fearless’ Fred Kennedy

Corus Entertainment’s Curiouscast podcast network has debuted its first podcast dedicated to all things comics, superheroes, fantasy and sci-fi. Hosted by ‘Fearless’ Fred Kennedy of Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto, Issue Zero takes on new Disney+ Star Wars live action show The Mandalorian in its first two episodes. A passionate comic book creator and collector, Kennedy was formerly the host of Teletoon at Night. A new episode will be released every two weeks.

Canadaland’s newest true crime podcast delves into the cocaine smuggling ring inside VICE Media. Hosted by Kasia Mychajlowcyz, listen to a preview of Cool Mules here.

iHeartMedia reports that its digital revenue, primarily driven by podcasting, rose by 33.4% in the third quarter of 2019. The company says its traditional radio business, comprised of Broadcast and Networks revenue streams, is stable and growing, however Broadcast revenue declined by 0.6% on a reported basis. Networks grew 9.2% year-over-year driven by growth in iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network.

Spotify has beta launched Spotify Kids in Ireland – a standalone app designed with safety in mind. The company says Spotify Kids “was born out of the desire to create a playground of sound just for kids.” The content is ad-free and hand-picked by a team of editors that uses colourful visuals to guide kids through the app with simple navigation and scaled-back text. Kids can also select a custom avatar and color theme to personalize their experience. Spotify Kids will be introduced in all markets that have Premium Family in the coming months.


Doug Alexander

Doug Alexander, 83, on Nov. 10. Born in Nipawin, SK, Alexander started his radio career after moving with his parents to Saskatoon. While still in high school, he started at CKOM in 1957. He moved on to Regina in 1959 and 620 CKCK where he would remain an on-air mainstay for 38 years. During his time at CKCK, Alexander is credited with creating the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ original game mascot “Gainer” the gopher. He retired from CKCK in 1997 and joined Cable Regina, later renamed Access Communications, as community relations manager – a position he still held at the time of his death. Involved with the Regina Rotary Club, Regina Exhibition, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan, and Chairman of the Board of the Access Communications Children’s Fund, among other community organizations, Alexander was recognized for his volunteer efforts with the Government of Canada Volunteer medal and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal.


The Edmonton Screen Media Fund is now open for funding applications. Launched last week by the Edmonton Screen Industries Office, the $4-million fund will be used to invest in or loan money to Edmonton entrepreneurs and companies involved in the development and production of screen media, including film, television, mobile apps and video gaming. Investment may also be made into qualified guest productions that shoot and post-produce in Edmonton. Productions are eligible for as much as 15% of their total budget, up to a maximum of $250,000.

QYOU Media Inc. has entered into a long term distribution agreement for its flagship networks The Q India and Q Polska with Ethnic Channels Group. Powered by creators and influencers, Toronto-headquartered QYOU curates, packages and markets content from leading digital video creators for multiscreen & multi-platform distribution, targeted at millennials and Gen Z.

Global TVGlobal has announced that its new original medical drama Nurses will join its Winter 2020 schedule Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. From Entertainment One (eOne) and ICF Films, the coming-of-age series follows five young nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown Toronto hospital. Airing Monday nights for 10 weeks, Global will do a pre-release premiere online on on New Year’s Day. The Nurses cast includes Tiera Skovbye (Riverdale), Natasha Calis (The Possession), Jordan Johnson-Hinds (Blindspot), Sandy Sidhu (Home Before Dark) and Donald MacLean Jr. (Workin’ Moms). In conjunction with the series debut, Global is launching Thank A Nurse – a recognition campaign for Canadians to thank the everyday nurses who have had a positive impact on their lives.

Nelvana has announced two Canadian fashion collaborations to mark Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary. Nelvana’s partnerships with Vancouver’s Smash + Tess and Toronto’s Peace Collective will see the production and distribution of unique Sesame Street apparel and accessories for both adults and kids, in-stores and online. Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, a star-studded primetime special hosted by Joseph Gordon Levitt, will air Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Global. The 50th season of Sesame Street premieres the following morning on Treehouse.

Marci Ien, Melissa Grelo, Kelsey McEwen

CTV will broadcast The Original Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT. Produced by Bell Media Studios, the longest-running children’s parade in the world features 34 floats and 20 marching bands. This year’s broadcast also marks a decade of CTV’s ongoing partnership with the event. Returning to anchor the 90-minute special are The Social’s Melissa Grelo and Marci Ien. Meteorologist and host Kelsey McEwen also returns as the parade’s roving reporter. An encore presentation airs Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. ET on CTV. News on-demand and exclusive video content will also be featured on

DHX Media (doing business as WildBrain) has released its Fiscal 2020 first quarter results for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, 2019. The company reported revenue of $112.3 million, up 8% over the same quarter last year, driven by higher revenues earned from both non-WildBrain Spark distribution and WildBrain Spark ad-based video-on-demand (“AVOD”) business. Distribution revenue (excluding WildBrain Spark) rose 78% to $15.6 million vs. $8.8 million a year ago, driven by a large library deal with CBS All Access. WildBrain Spark revenue grew 37% to $22.1 million in Q1 2020 vs $16.2 million in Q1 2019, as DHX continued to benefit from a growing online audience on its AVOD network. Views were up 66% to over 12.1 billion in Q1 2020. That equated to 56.3 billion of minutes of videos watched on WildBrain Spark, up 43% from the same prior-year quarter.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced that 27 projects will receive a total of over $6.5M in funding through two of its selective programs. A total of $3.1M will fund nine projects through the second round of funding of the Francophone Minority Program and a further $3.4M will be invested in the production of 18 projects through the Diverse Languages Program. Click here to view a list of projects funded through the Francophone Minority Program. For information on the latest Diverse Languages projects receiving production support, click here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) have announced an investment of over CAD$136,000 to support the co-development of audiovisual content under the Canada-Ireland Codevelopment Incentive for Audio-Visual Projects. Three Canadian production companies will work with three Irish companies in the development of the following projects: #IBelieveHer – a co-production of Plausible Communications and Pembridge Film Prod. Ltd. – focused on the so-called ‘Rugby Rape Trial’; Craic House – a co-production of Cedar Island Films and O’Sullivan Prod. Ltd. – a six-part half-hour comedy series; and Where the wild geese go – from Stitch Media Ontario and El Zorrero Films – a multi-platform project targeted to Irish and Canadian school children. Since 2016-17, CMF and BAI have invested over CAD$589,000 in the co-development of 14 audiovisual projects.

Robert Cooper

The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) has announced that writer/producer/director Robert Cooper will be the showrunner leading its 2020 Scripted Series Lab. Cooper will mentor six up-and-coming BC-based screenwriters selected to participate in next year’s program, starting in Jan. 2020. With Cooper leading the story room, they will work together to develop his original series in the PSP training program. Cooper most recently created, wrote and directed episodes of CBC’s Unspeakable on Canada’s tainted blood scandal, which won a Leo Award for Best Dramatic Series. Previously, he served as showrunner on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency for BBC America, Netflix and AMC Studios, and is best known for having been showrunner of the Stargate television franchise for MGM. Now in its second year, PSP is a collaboration between Netflix, Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Writer’s Guild of Canada (WGC) and Creative BC.


Digital TV Research has published a new report that says five global platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and ViacomCBS – will have a combined 529 million SVOD subscribers by 2025. The report estimates those five global platforms will double their subscriber totals, adding 257 million subscribers between 2019 and 2025. Digital TV Research says Disney+ will be the biggest winner by taking its total to 101 million subscribers. Netflix is expected to increase by 70 million subscribers, however the report predicts that just 6 million of those subscribers will be in the U.S. Link to the full report here.

Disney launched its hotly-anticipated Disney+ streaming service Nov. 12 to a wave of technical problems, blamed on overwhelming demand. Many would-be users ran into error messages, or experienced streaming or login issues. Disney issued a statement on Twitter saying the launch “exceeded our highest expectations.” 24 hours after launch, Disney+ had surpassed 10 million signups.

OneSoccer will stream the USA vs. Canada third and final round Concacaf Nations League match from Orlando Nov. 15. The match will also be broadcast free of charge nationwide through agreements with Bell, Rogers and TELUS and rights holder Mediapro Canada. The coverage will include extensive pre-match, half-time and post-match analysis, with English commentary provided by Gareth Wheeler and Terry Dunfield. French commentary will be provided exclusively on OneSoccer by Philippe Germain and Valerio Gazzola. OneSoccer’s broadcast and the free-to-view coverage will commence at 6.30 p.m. ET with a half-hour live pre-game show hosted by Asa Rehman, who will be joined by OneSoccer analysts Kurt Larson, Oliver Platt and former Canadian Women’s National Team player Carmelina Moscato.                                                   

NextUp Comedy, the UK-based streaming site dedicated to stand-up, has produced Six Frets Under, a comedy special by Toronto-based comedian Anesti Danelis. Now streaming worldwide, Six Frets Under is a dark musical comedy about existential dread, filmed live at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe


The National Media Awards Foundation has unveiled the roster of categories for the fifth annual Digital Publishing Awards. Of the 23 categories, one new category has been introduced – Best Feature Article. The call for entries opens Dec. 9 and closes Jan. 23, 2020 at midnight ET.


The 2019 Jack Webster Awards, recognizing excellence in journalism in B.C., were handed out Nov. 7. CBC claimed three awards, including Excellence in Digital Journalism, Excellence in Feature/Enterprise Reporting – Radio, and Excellence in Legal Journalism. Jocelyn Wang of Fairchild TV won Best Reporting, Chinese Language, while Global BC earned awards for its 2018 wildfire coverage (Best Breaking News Reporting TV) and its “Casino Diaries” organized crime expose (Excellence in Feature/Enterprise Reporting). Find the full list of winners and nominees here.

Hunsdeep Rangar

The Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) celebrates its 41st Anniversary with an Awards Gala Nov. 15 in Toronto. This year’s lifetime achievement award will be presented to Dr. Jean Augustine in recognition of her dedication to multiculturalism and its affirmative expression through media and activism. Augustine was both the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and first to be appointed to cabinet.  Other winners being recognized include: Hunsdeep Rangar (Radio), former Host, Producer and Founder of Mirch Masala Radio, CHIN FM Ottawa, will be posthumously honoured; Gertrude Ngozi Ugoh (Print), Publisher, The Nigerian Canadian Newspaper. Erick Nettel, Karene Nettel and Sarah Brodie (Television Documentary), Producers of “The Healing Portraits Project”; Lydia Sun, Director, and Paul Nguyen, Producer (Internet), “Why Am I Still Alive”,; Dora Konomi (Podcast), Host of The Doralicious Show, for “My Life as Ashley: The Nicky Touloumiz Story” on Agape Greek Radio, CHIN AM/FM Ottawa; Aref Mohammadi (Documentary), Writer, Director, Producer of “Song of God”; Randy VanDer Starren, (Innovation) Lead Photographer and Founder of “Take Your Seat”, Canadian/International Photographic Exhibition.

The Social co-host Marci Ien accepted an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Applied Studies from Humber College during its Fall Convocation ceremony. Ien was selected to receive the distinction by the 2019 Board of Governors. Ien began her news career at CHCH-TV Hamilton in 1991 and has been with CTV since 1997.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) will honour four journalists for their courage in reporting and fighting for freedom of the press on Nov. 27 at its 22nd annual gala in Toronto. Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kway Soe Oo will be honoured with the International Press Freedom Award, Ben Makuch of VICE Media will be awarded the Arnold Amber Award for Investigative Journalism and Gordana Knezevic will be honoured with the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award. This year’s event will be co-hosted by Adrienne Arsenault, host of CBC’s The National, and Anne-Marie Mediwake, host of CTV’s Your Morning. The 2019 gala art exhibit will feature the work of editorial cartoonist Michael de Adder. Proceeds from the exhibit will support the Journalists in Distress Fund.

Quebecor Inc.’s third quarter highlights include revenue of $1.07 billion, up $20.2 million (1.9%) from the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted EBITDA were $509.3 million, a $35.3 million (7.4%) increase. Net income attributable to shareholders was $178.5 million ($0.70 per basic share) in the third quarter of 2019, compared with $187.1 million ($0.80 per basic share) in the same period of 2018, a decrease of $8.6 million ($0.10 per basic share). The Telecommunications segment grew its revenues by $21.9 million (2.6%) and its adjusted EBITDA by $34.5 million (8.0%) in the third quarter of 2019. Videotron significantly increased its revenues from mobile telephony ($17.4 million or 12.6%), Internet access ($7.3 million or 2.7%) and customer equipment sales ($6.5 million or 10.3%) in the third quarter of 2019.

Corus Entertainment will host a Go-to-Market Revenue Strategy investor education session on Monday, Nov. 18 where members of Corus’ executive and revenue leadership teams will explore market trends and discuss how Corus is maximizing revenue opportunities in the evolving media landscape. An overview of the company’s updated Capital Allocation Policy will also be covered. Happening from 1 – 3 p.m. ET, in-person attendance is by invitation only, however the event will be webcast live and can be accessed on Corus’ website at in the Investor Relations Section.  A copy of the presentation will also be made available in the same location.

Nielsen Holdings has completed a strategic review which will result in the creation of two independent, publicly traded companies—the Global Media business and the Global Connect business. The strategic review was led by James Attwood, Chairman of Nielsen’s Board of Directors, who says separating into two independent, publicly traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation business. After the separation is complete, David Kenny will serve as the CEO of Nielsen’s Global Media business. Nielsen has begun a search for a CEO of the Global Connect business.

Eric Blais
Eric Blais

FEATURE: Eric Blais of StatsRadio explores the concept of channels in this month’s ‘Rethinking Media’ column. Check it out here.






DVB, an industry consortium that develops open, interoperable technical specifications for the delivery of digital media and broadcast services, has announced the approval of its DVB-I specification by the DVB Steering Board in Geneva. The DVB-I specification aims to ensure that linear television delivered over the internet is as user-friendly and robust as a traditional broadcast television experience. It offers the possibility for linear television to be delivered to any device with a suitable internet connection and media player, including TV sets, smartphones, tablets and media streaming devices. The DVB-I specification defines DVB-I Service Lists, a means for internet-connected devices to find curated sets of linear television services delivered through broadband or broadcast mechanisms. It also defines the methods to retrieve electronic programme data for those services, which can be integrated into a single coherent offering accessed through a user interface. With the publication of the DVB BlueBook, implementers can now proceed with the development of DVB-I-enabled clients, while broadcasters and other content providers can take the necessary steps to make their services available via DVB-I. To accelerate implementation in the marketplace, DVB launched an RFP to build a reference application. It expects to demonstrate the initial results at DVB World 2020 in Valencia, Spain, Mar. 9-11. The resulting DVB-I client will be made freely available under an open source license.

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