The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Harvard Broadcasting says it will rename Power 107 (CJNW-FM) Edmonton, following a Monday court ruling granting Corus Entertainment a temporary injunction against Harvard’s use of the ‘Power’ brand. At the heart of Corus’ lawsuit, launched in September, was the assertion that Harvard knowingly made use of the ‘Power’ brand, including assuming a similar logo, playlist and “Phrase That Pays” contesting tag synonymous with Power 92 – the name CKNG-FM Edmonton was operated under between 1991 and 2003 – by a series of ownership groups including Moffatt Communications, Westcom Radio, Shaw Communications and eventually Corus. Since 2018, the station has been branded as 92.5 The ‘Chuck. In a Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta ruling issued Monday, Justice Nancy Dilts said she was satisfied that Corus’ claims of copyright infringement presented a serious issue to be tried, both as to the similarity of the former Power 92 logo and a Harvard social media post that contained the Power 92 logo, teasing “Back this Monday #PhraseThatPays.” Read the full story here.

Don Cherry

Don Cherry has launched the first episode of a new weekly podcast, one week after being fired from Coach’s Corner by Sportsnet. The inaugural episode of Don Cherry’s Grapevine dropped Tuesday morning, featuring Cherry and his son Tim. Cherry addressed the controversy around his firing head on, including co-host Ron MacLean’s move to – in MacLean’s words “choose principle over friendship” following the Nov. 9 Coach’s Corner segment – which MacLean addressed during Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. The podcast promises to be a longer version of Coach’s Corner, including Cherry’s reflections on current NHL developments, as well as clips from the original Grapevine interview shows recorded in the 1980s, which aired on CHCH-TV Hamilton. Read more here.

Chris Scheetz

Curiouscast has launched new podcast Celebrity Pawcast, featuring athletes, actors, musicians and other celebrities and their pets. Hosted by CISN-FM Edmonton morning show host Chris Scheetz, the first episode features an interview with Canadian country star Brett Kissel. Celebrities featured in upcoming episodes include ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey, Global News’ Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell and famous sidekick Storm the Weather Dog, country star Paul Brandt and Edmonton Eskimo Sean Whyte. New episodes will be released every two weeks. 

CJPX-FM 99.5 (Radio Classique) is set to change ownership, pending CRTC approval. Leclerc Communication has agreed to purchase the station from Gregory Charles for $3.88 million. According to its CRTC filing, Leclerc plans to change the station format from specialty commercial (classic music) format to a commercial format (Adult Album Alternative – Triple A and Adult contemporary).

CBC North has reversed a decision to centralize its morning radio newscasts. The move would have seen one morning newscast, delivered from Yellowknife and aired across Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. News of the public broadcaster’s plan sparked a backlash from staff, listeners and even Yukon Premier Sandy Silver.

CKRW Whitehorse, Yukon’s oldest commercial radio station operated by Klondike Broadcasting, celebrated its 50th anniversary this week. The independent station initially went to air on the AM band on Nov. 17, 1969 and started simulcasting on FM in 2004. Since 2018, it’s been on the FM band as 96.1 The Rush. It was founded by local businessman Rolf Hougen, who already owned WHTV Cable (Northern Television Systems Limited), and decided the area needed a commercial radio station.

RED FM (CKYE-FM) Vancouver broadcast the 13th Annual Gurpurab Radiothon on Nov. 12, raising over $790,000 for the Surrey Hospital Foundation. Airing from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., members of the Lower Mainland South Asian community donated in support of the Mata Tripta Family Birthing Unit. The annual Radiothon is held during celebrations of the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith.

CHAT 94.5 FM Medicine Hat’s annual food drive brought in its biggest total to date in support of the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank on Nov. 13. Food and cash donations equivalent to 345,700 pounds of food, up over 100-thousand pounds from last year, were collected over the two-day event. Over the 21 years of the CHAT Food Drive, over two million pounds of food has been collected to help those in need in the community.

Stingray has released Q2 highlights reporting revenue increases of 120.7% year-over-year to $76.6 million. Recurring Broadcasting and Commercial Music revenues increased 9.4% to $33.5 million, with Radio accounting for 49.4% of total revenues at $37.8 million. Subscription video on demand (“SVOD”) subscribers increased 15.5% to 365,000 compared to last year. Adjusted EBITDA by segment of $15.2 million or 39.3% of revenues was reported for Broadcasting and Commercial Music and $13.7 million or 36.3% of revenues for Radio. Adjusted free cash flow more than tripled to $18.8 million.

Stingray has reached a long-term deal to provide custom music programming and in-store messaging for over 1,000 Metro stores, including Metro and Metro Plus in Quebec, Metro in Ontario, Super C, Food Basics, Adonis, Les 5 Saisons, Brunet, and Jean Coutu. Stingray will provide regularly updated, customized, and day-parted, music programming in-store with over 30 million titles as well as the production of in-store messaging for each brand. The media solution will be deployed across Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick before the end of the year.

SiriusXM has expanded its SiriusXM Video offerings on its SiriusXM app to include new performances, interviews, and in-studio moments. SiriusXM first expanded into video content in 2018 with “Howard Stern Video.” More recently, simultaneous with its expansion of streaming access to subscribers, it began to preview clips from its broader video archives. SiriusXM video now features new content daily from across its music, talk, and sports channels.

SiriusXM has launched “Dial Up the Moment,” a month-long experiential program featuring pop-up performances at its Toronto, New York City, Nashville, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles studios. As part of the experiential program, SiriusXM has unveiled the “Moments” Hotline, an interactive phone experience that gives listeners the chance to dial into SiriusXM directly, hear snippets from their favourite channels and hosts, and win access to fan experiences of their own. SiriusXM will also bring surprise performances to the streets of select cities throughout the coming month from artists like John Legend and Jason Aldean. The exact time and location of the performances will be released shortly before each event.

Just For Laughs is expanding into the audio business with the launch of new Canadian-owned record label “JFL Originals.” The new label will record and promote new original comedy content from Canadian talent and feature multi-comic compilation albums, to be distributed to iHeartRadio Canada, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, Apple Music, and Google Play, among others. The debut albums under the new JFL initiative will be recorded early next year.

Dave “Bookie” Bookman

Dave “Bookie” Bookman’s vinyl collection goes on sale Nov. 21 with the proceeds going to MusiCounts, a charity close to the late Indie88 (CIND-FM) and The Edge (CFNY-FM) personality’s heart. Starting today, over 600 of Bookman’s personal records will go on sale at Toronto’s Rotate This at 186 Ossington Ave., identified with a special sticker. Indie88 has already raised more than $75,000 in Bookman’s name for the MusiCounts Band Aid program.

Nana Aba Duncan

Media Girlfriends, which started in 2016 as a podcast offering insight into the behind-the-scenes lives of women working in media, hosted by Nana Aba Duncan, has raised over $10,000 to fund scholarships for young women looking to study journalism, communications, media, or tech. Since it began, Media Girlfriends has evolved into peer mentorship and events. In addition to Duncan, the core team includes Garvia Bailey, Rachel Giese, Jennifer Hollett, Nam Kiwanuka, Reshmi Nair, and Hannah Sung. 

Red Robinson: The Last Broadcast is out, the sequel to the legendary Vancouver radio personality’s best-selling Red Robinson: The Last Deejay. Penned by Robin Brunet, it details Robinson’s last broadcast in the summer of 2017, and takes an in-depth look at the careers of some of his friends and colleagues in the broadcast industry, including Doc Harris, Stirling Faux, Fanny Kiefer, Gloria Macarenko, Wayne Cox, and others. The book also explores the old days of radio in juxtaposition to today’s environment of media concentration.

 

SIGN-OFFS:

Paul Dalby

Paul Dalby, 73, on Nov. 15. Best known for his time reporting for Global Toronto in the 1980s and early 90s, Dalby got his start in journalism at age 17 working for British magazines Nottingham Observer, Tailor and Cutter, and Men’s Wear Magazine. He went on to write for several newspapers before emigrating to Canada in 1973. He joined the Calgary Herald as a desk editor and reporter before moving on to the Toronto Star, which he joined as a staff writer, in 1975. He moved into television in 1983 and worked with Global Toronto for 13 years. Dalby returned to the UK in 1996 to freelance and work with the Anglia TV network, but returned to Canada two years later where he continued to freelance. In semi-retirement, Dalby contributed to publications including the Toronto Star and Newsweek, and also dabbled in documentary production.

David White

David White, 81, on Nov. 9. White spent 25 years in broadcasting, most of that time as news director at CHSJ and MITV in Saint John, NB. White anchored daily TV newscasts, in addition to hosting weekly news program “Newscope.” He’s also remembered, alongside colleague Gary Murphy, for hosting the annual Empty Stocky Fund and IWK fundraising broadcasts.

William Kyashko

Bill Kyashko, 87, on Nov. 4. Kyashko joined the CBC Vancouver technical department in 1954. Kyashko was eventually named to the position of Assistant Manager, TV Technical Services. He retired from the public broadcaster in 1992. 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Rogers has announced that the Amazon Prime Video app is now available on Ignite TV. Amazon Prime joins Netflix and YouTube on the platform, which allows users to use advance voice recognition technology to move between live TV, On-demand and OTT offerings without having to switch between apps. To access Amazon Prime Video on an Ignite TV set-top box, customers need an active Prime membership.

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) says for the first time ever female and minority TV directors directed half of all episodic TV shows. That’s up from last year’s previous high of 42.5% and up from 21% five years ago. The percentage of episodes directed by women grew to 31%, while episodes by directors of color rose to a new high of 27%. The report took into account over 4,300 episodes produced during the 2018-19 television season.

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) has announced a new three-year partnership with the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) supporting its Indigenous Training Programs. The partnership will support the delivery of the NSI New Northern Voices, NSI IndigiDocs and CBC New Indigenous Voices programs and include boot camp sessions delivered by DGC members. The DGC is also sponsoring a new $500 Award for best director in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. The year-round festival offers quarterly cash prizes.

Matthew Rankin

Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century has won the top honour at the Los Cabos Film Festival – the Competencia Los Cabos Award. Rankin’s offbeat biopic about Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, also claimed Best Canadian First Feature at TIFF, where it had its premiere. Rankin, who hails from Winnipeg but calls Quebec home, is well-known on the festival circuit for his experimental shorts.

Netflix has ordered a spinoff of HISTORY’s Vikings from original creator Michael Hirst. Vikings: Valhalla will be set 100 years after the original series, dramatizing the adventures of famous Vikings like Leif Erikson, Freydis and Norman King William the Conqueror. Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive) will serve as showrunner. The original Irish-Canadian co-production is about to debut its sixth and final season on Dec. 4. It first premiered on HISTORY in 2013.

Evany Rosen and Kayla Lorette

Crave Original Series New Eden drops on the streaming service New Year’s Day. The true crime mockumentary, shot in Ontario this summer, takes viewers back to the 1970s, 80s, and 90s and the origins of a drug-addled, alien-goddess worshipping, all-female cult. The eight-part series stars Kayla Lorette (Kim’s Convenience, Space Riders) and Evany Rosen (PICNICFACE, Baroness Von Sketch Show), who also served as showrunners.

Discovery and Ski-Doo have teamed up to launch one-hour special Escape Mountain, billed as combining the challenge of an escape room with a rugged and extreme environment. Currently available as a three-part digital series on Discovery.ca and Discovery GO, Escape Mountain makes its television debut on Discovery, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET. Featuring five professional snowmobile riders, skiers, and snowboarders dropped in the frozen wilderness with no gear or sense of direction, pro snowmobilers Ashley Chaffin, Tony Jenkins and Rob Alford appear, alongside pro snowboarder Craig McMorris and pro skier Sean Pettit.

Neil Patrick Harris

CTV will air WE DAY 2019, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the one-hour special will recognize positive impacts made by youth, educators, and families, both locally and globally. Performers and presenters include Chance the Rapper, Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas, Lilly Singh, Eddie Vedder, and WE co-founder Craig and Mark Kielburger. 

U SPORTS is teaming with CBC as its Vanier Cup English-language broadcast partner for the first time since 1979. CBC will broadcast the game live from Quebec City Nov. 23, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Livestreaming will also be available via CBC Gem, CBCSports.ca, and the CBC Sports app. CBC’s coverage will feature play-by-play from Mark Lee, with game analysis from CFL news breaker Justin Dunk and sideline reporting from CBC Sports’ Andi Petrillo. Additionally, host Scott Russell will be joined in-studio by Canadian Olympic Games bobsledder and former university football star, Jesse Lumsden, and CFL receiver, Mike Morreale. TVA Sports continues as the official French-language broadcast partner of the Vanier Cup for the fifth consecutive year. Fans can access the French webcast with a valid subscription via TVASports.ca.

The Bell Fund has announced the successful projects selected from its September round of applications for the Short-Form Non-Fiction Program and the final results of the TV program. Including this round of funding, the Bell Fund has contributed approximately $8.3 million in grants for the TV Program in 2019. Find the full list of successful projects here.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

TorStar has announced that it will cease publishing print editions of its StarMetro daily commuter papers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax as of Dec. 20, as part of wider company layoffs. In a memo to staff, TorStar President John Boynton said that while StarMetro newspapers had been “editorial successes,” print advertising volumes had declined significantly in recent months “to levels below those required to make them commercially viable.” The move makes TorStar a now pure digital play outside of Ontario. Unifor says a total of 121 staff will lose their jobs between the 73 impacted at the five StarMetro papers; the elimination of pagination and copy centre jobs at the TorStar copy centre, located at the Hamilton Spectator; several advertising-related positions at the Spectator and Waterloo Record, in addition to some staff at the Toronto Star and several smaller Metroland community papers in the GTA. Read more here.

FEATURE: The Game Awards, set to be livestreamed on more than 45 platforms Dec. 12, will draw a Canadian audience of roughly two million. Broadcast Dialogue Creative Director Christian Lind gives us five reasons why The Game Awards are the future of awards shows. Read more here.

GENERAL:

Jack Armstrong, Broadcaster of the Year honouree Matt Devlin, and Leo Rautins. (Twitter/@leorautins)

Toronto Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin has been named Sports Media Canada’s Broadcaster of the Year. Devlin was among eight honourees in the annual Achievement Awards’ Class of 2019, half of whom were recognized for their work during the Raptors’ run for the NBA Championship title. They include Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who is now a two-time recipient of the Sports Executive Award; Michael Grange, who filed game stories, features and columns for Sportsnet.ca; and Mark Blinch, an NBA and NHL photographer for Getty Images, whose work during the NBA playoffs included his photo of Kawhi Leonard’s winning basket against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the second round. Late Montreal sportscaster Randy Tieman, long-time public relations executive Fay Olson, photographer Don Vickery, and Terry Leibel, the first woman to host a national sports program and to co-host CBC-TV’s Olympics coverage, were also honoured. Read more here.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) was once again overwhelmed with complaints following comments made by co-host Jessica Allen on CTV’s The Social Nov. 12, in response to Don Cherry’s firing from Coach’s Corner. Allen referenced “white boys, who weren’t very nice…and often bullies” who played hockey at the universities she attended, and denounced the sport’s toxic culture. The CBSC received a large number of very similar complaints concerning the Nov. 9 Coach’s Corner broadcast. It also received a large number of complaints about Sportsnet’s decision to fire Cherry and has had to clarify that it has no jurisdiction over the employment or operations of its member stations, nor can it require a station to remove an on-air host. The CBSC has yet to issue a decision on Cherry’s remarks.

Bell Media, Groupe TVA, and Rogers Media have been successful in their bid to win a court order compelling Canadian internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites that profit off of pirated television online. In what’s a first, a federal court issued a nationwide blocking order Friday prohibiting ISPs from allowing access to GoldTV.ca. The IPTV provider offers 4,000 live TV channels for $15/month, including Citytv, CTV, Global, and BBC, among other channels.

The CRTC has launched its second call for applications for the Broadband Fund, which is set to provide up to $750 million over five years to support improved broadband access. Applicants that have at least three years’ experience deploying and operating broadband infrastructure in Canada can apply for funding to build or upgrade access and transport broadband infrastructure or mobile wireless networks. Applicants must be willing to invest financially in their project and demonstrate that it would not be viable without the support of the Broadband Fund. The deadline for submissions is March 27, 2020.

Cogeco Communications, Rogers, Bragg (Eastlink), Shaw and Videotron have filed a petition to the Governor in Council appealing the CRTC’s August decision to significantly lower high-speed internet wholesale rates. The companies are requesting that the Governor in Council refer Telecom Order CRTC 2019-288 back to the commission for reconsideration, in conjunction with the pending broader review of its Internet wholesale regulatory framework. The telecom operators say as part of the CRTC’s broader review, wholesale rates should be established in order to allow wireline network builders to recover the actual cost of network investments.

LISTEN: Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast caught up with Duncan Stewart, Deloitte Canada’s director of Tech, Media and Telecom Research at the recent Ontario Association of Broadcasters’ Connection ‘19 conference. If you took in Stewart’s presentation at OAB, consider this the companion podcast. He dives into his predictions on the future of radio, TV, smart speakers, VR, and more.


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