The Weekly Briefing


Radioplayer CanadaRadioplayer Canada – the radio streaming app backed by a consortium of more than 500 Canadian radio stations – has surpassed one million downloads in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, combined. Radioplayer says Canadians are now spending 3.7 million hours a month with the app, with time spent listening up five per cent in the past six months alone. Read more here.

ncraThe National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA) is applauding last week’s court decision effectively killing an Ontario government measure allowing post-secondary students to opt out of student services deemed non-essential, including student media. The Student Choice Initiative (SCI), introduced this past fall, resulted in a significant loss of funding for 19 Ontario campus stations leading to staff reductions and decreased training opportunities. Last Thursday’s Ontario Divisional Court ruling was brought about by a legal challenge from the Canadian Federation of Students and York Federation of Students. Read more here.

CBC/Radio-Canada has chosen Acast to sell its podcast slate internationally. The public broadcaster’s first official podcast partner for international sales, Acast will sell advertising and sponsorships to clients outside of Canada, including the U.S. and Europe. Founded in 2014, Acast is a Stockholm-headquartered host, monetizer and distributor of audio content with sales teams in 10 countries. It represents podcast publishers including the BBC, Radio New Zealand, Yahoo!, VICE, Vogue, The Financial Times, and The Guardian, among others. Read more here.

Kathleen Wynne

Kathleen Wynne, former Ontario Premier and current MPP for Don Valley West, is sitting in as a co-host this week on Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) drive home show The Rush with Ryan Doyle & Jay Michaels. Wynne is sitting in for Doyle, offering insight on the news of the day. The Rush airs weekdays from 4 – 7 p.m. ET.

StingrayStingray Radio has given away a $20,000 cash prize after holding a coast-to-coast search for Canada’s Biggest Country Fan. The seven week promotion ran across Stingray’s New Country network with listeners in each market challenged to identify as many country songs as they could by artist and title in 60 seconds. The leader from each market was invited to participate in the Canada-wide finals, which aired Nov. 22. Sarah Arsenault, representing Fredericton, NB, took the grand prize after correctly identifying 20 songs in 60 seconds.

Sadie Hesketh

89.5 The Drive (CHWK-FM) morning co-host Sadie Hesketh was part of the annual Chilliwack Gives Back Jail ‘n Bail event Nov. 26. Hesketh was one of 14 community personalities arrested for charity. Hesketh supported the Chilliwack Hospice Society, while 89.5 The Drive weekend host Trevor McDonald was also arrested in support of Coats for Kids. The 14 jailbirds blew the $10,000 goal out of the water, raising a total of $78,830.

iHeartRadio Canada has launched a new original podcast hosted by Jann Arden. The Jann Arden Podcast promises to explore “relationships, sleep, the supernatural and more of what connects people with a variety of special guests including musicians, actors, politicians, writers, and athletes.” Executive produced by CHUM 104.5’s Caitlin Green, the podcast is also available for distribution to broadcasters through Orbyt Media. Arden previously hosted The Business of Life for iHeartRadio, with entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson.

SiriusXM’s streaming service will now come bundled with the Amazon Echo Dot. Eligible customers who subscribe to a SiriusXM Select, All Access or Essential Streaming subscription will also receive an Amazon Echo Dot for free for a limited time. The satellite radio provider’s standalone streaming subscription offers more than 300 channels of content, including online-only channels, SiriusXM Video, and on-demand content. SiriusXM’s On Demand library is also now available to subscribers with Amazon Alexa and Echo devices, as well as several third-party devices with Alexa built-in.

Eric Leo Blais
Eric Leo Blais

FEATURE: In his latest Rethinking Media column, Eric Blais from StatsRadio reflects on his takeaways from #RadioShow2019 in Dallas and explores how experiential design can be applied to media.

Rethinking Media: It’s all about the experience >

LISTEN: The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and Spotify Canada have kicked off a partnership, the foundation of which is an extension of the CCMA’s existing LIVE Country brand. On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, Nathan Wiszniak, Head of Artist & Label Marketing for Spotify Canada, and CCMA President Tracy Martin on country’s growing streaming audience and elevating Canadian country music in the global space.


John Mather, 80, on Nov. 23.

John Mather

Mather started his radio career in 1957 at CFCO Chatham, ON, moving on to CHLO St. Thomas-London and then CKNX-TV Wingham where he took on the role of nighttime news anchor. Mather lasted in television a year before heading stateside to take on the morning man role at WVFM in Lakeland, Florida and act as the Central Florida correspondent for the American FM Radio Network. Mather eventually returned to Ontario and CKOT-FM Tillsonburg where he served as program director. The last 10 years of his career were spent at CKPC Brantford as the station’s Farm and Agricultural Director. In retirement, Mather helped found community station 99.3 County FM (CJPE-FM) in Prince Edward County, acted as its first news director, and up until Oct. 2018 was the host of Sunday morning program “Music and Miscellany.”

Joyce Pears, 85, on Nov. 3.

Radioplayer Canada
Joyce Pears

Pears worked with both British Airways and Air Canada before joining CBC as a production assistant. She worked at both the Toronto and Vancouver bureaus on programs, including afternoon news magazine show Take 30, which aired from 1962-84, and The National. It was also at the public broadcaster that she was introduced to future husband and production executive David Pears.


UBCP/ACTRA held its 8th annual awards Saturday, honouring members in five categories, in addition to two lifetime achievement honours. Ben Cotton was awarded Best Actor for his role in Crown and Anchor; Camille Sullivan won Best Actress for her role in Kingsway; Best Emerging Performer was claimed by Steven Roberts for his role in In God I Trust; Best Voice to Erin Mathews for Super Monsters Furever Friends; and Best Stunt to stunt coordinator Eli Zagoudakis and stunt performers Nathaniel Shuker and Marshall Bingham for their performances in Arrow. The Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award was presented to tv, film and stage actress and playwright Lesley Ewen. The John Juliani Award of Excellence was presented to director and acting coach Mel Tuck.

Channel Zero, the company that owns Hamilton-based CHCH-TV and a handful of specialty channels including Rewind and Silver Screen Classics, has announced it’s launching a studio division. Channel Zero Studios will develop and produce original scripted content with the new division to be led by Jennifer Chen, the company’s former VP of Programming, who steps into the role of Head of Studios and VP of Content. In a release, the company says it will build on its partnership with Motion Content Group, Group M’s content and rights management division, to collaborate with both domestic and international production partners. It expects to be in production on its first series in the first quarter of 2020. Chen first joined Channel Zero in 2006 and has helped commission original programming, including Wynonna Earp and The Pinkertons.

Bell Media says Sunday’s 107th Grey Cup drew an average audience of 3.9 million viewers on TSN and RDS, up 19% over 2018, according to Numeris data supplied by the broadcaster. The TSN broadcast drew an average of 3.7 million viewers, with another 252,000 tuning in to the French-language television broadcast on RDS. The audience peaked with 4.6 million viewers as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers charged to their first Grey Cup victory since 1990. Bell Media says the game also drew a strong livestreaming audience with viewing on TSN Digital platforms up 77% over last year. Read more here.

The Canadian Football League (CFL), TSN, and RDS have announced a long-term extension of their partnership. TSN and RDS will continue to receive exclusive Canadian broadcast and digital media rights in all languages to all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, as well as exclusive radio rights in all languages.

Jann Arden is set to headline a new one-hour original special, premiering Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT exclusively on CTV. Following its broadcast premiere, Jann Arden One Night Only will stream on Crave, beginning Dec. 6. Produced by Bell Media Studios, the special was filmed Nov. 26 in front of a live audience at The Great Hall in Toronto. Arden reminisces on historic life moments, engages fans in-conversation, and performs songs from her catalogue, including a seasonal standard from her holiday album, A Jann Arden Christmas.

Anne with an E will end after Season 3. The CBC/Netflix co-production, which debuted in 2017, is coming to an end following the public broadcaster’s move away from partnering with the streaming giant. CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait told the Content Canada podcast in October that the public broadcaster would not “do deals that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry…over time we start to see that we’re feeding the growth of Netflix, or we’re feeding the growth of Amazon, rather than feeding our own domestic business and industry.” Produced by Northwood Entertainment and executive produced by series creator Moira Walley-Beckett, Anne with an E picked up seven Canadian Screen Awards earlier this year. The final episode of the series aired on CBC Nov. 24, with Season 3 to debut on Netflix on Jan. 3.

CBC has announced premiere dates for its winter 2020 lineup of new and returning  Canadian series. New original series include Family Feud Canada, hosted by Gerry Dee and airing four nights a week, starting Dec. 16; original factual series High Arctic Haulers, “a high-stakes journey at sea” in Canada’s North (Jan. 5); spy drama Fortunate Son, starring Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs), Darren Mann (Giant Little Ones) and Stephen Moyer (True Blood), set in the social and political chaos of 1968 (Jan. 8); sci-fi adventure series Endlings, produced in partnership with Hulu, following four foster kids who make a startling discovery that affects the entire universe (Jan. 5); culinary competition series Fridge Wars (Feb. 27); and new CBC Docs original The Oland Murder (March 5).

Telefilm Canada has issued a call for entries for its First Look international export and sales initiative that provides a preview of 10 films in post-production to American sales agents, distributors, and festival programmers in New York and Los Angeles. The sizzle reel of film clips will be presented at Telefilm Canada’s annual CANADA NOW showcase. Producers of the selected films will be mentored by a New York-based consultant to prepare their pitch, shape their clips and will be invited to attend panels and participate in networking events. The application deadline is Dec. 2. Details here.

Canada Media Fund (CMF) and South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) have renewed their incentive for the co-development of television projects between Canadian producers and South African producers. Eligible projects are programs in the drama, documentary, children and youth genres. Find guidelines here. The closing date for applications is Jan. 24, 2020. The total maximum contribution for each project funded through the incentive is CAD $40,000. Producers interested in finding an international partner as part of this incentive are invited to post a profile of their company on the CMF’s website by clicking here.


TSN digital sub-brand BarDown is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Focused on sports through a digital lens, BarDown’s content ranges from documenting the hijinks of its own beer league hockey team to sharing well-researched hockey quizzes on YouTube. It’s also been successful at securing unconventional sponsorships from Enterprise, Nobis, and Vector. BarDown hosted its first-ever live event, BARDOWN LIVE!, on Nov. 27 at the Hockey Hall of Fame, featuring a live quiz, panel discussions, and a meet-and-greet with fans.

MTM Junior, a division of Media Technology Monitor, has released a new report on children and their gaming habits. Highlights from this report include the finding that Anglophone kids show a stronger interest in mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets versus console gaming. Youth are also taking their gaming experiences to the next level by watching others play online (47%) and playing with others online (62%).

Slice has debuted new so.da originals social series Go Here, Meet Her, with each episode focused on a different female entrepreneur sharing their personal journey to success. New episodes will be posted weekly across Slice’s social platforms, including, Twitter and Facebook on Wednesdays, YouTube on Thursdays, and IGTV on Fridays. The premiere episode, released Nov. 27, highlights eclectic boutique The Store on Queen (TSOQ), and sits down with co-founders Vava Valentina and Angela Phung.

QYOU Media, the Toronto-headquartered broadcast, OTT and mobile network powered by digital creators and influencers, has announced the launch of Q India on MX Player. Since launching this past February, MX Player has become the second largest streaming platform in India, boasting over 175 million monthly average users in that country alone with content targeted to millennials. Q India has established itself as a leading Hindi language channel for young India featuring popular digital creators.

CBC Sports has reached a three-year content partnership with the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) that will see the public broadcaster livestream all 70 regular season CEBL games and five playoff contests on CBC Gem, and the CBC Sports app. CBC will also provide broadcast coverage of seven regular season games and the CEBL Championship Weekend in Edmonton. The CEBL season tips off  May 7, 2020 Find the complete schedule, here.


The CRTC wants to know if you see yourself reflected in CBC/Radio-Canada’s programming. It’s asking Canadians for their opinions as part of the public broadcaster’s licence renewal process. The commission is hosting a Facebook consultation until Dec. 9 where the public can leave comments, or submit them online, by mail or fax until Feb. 13. The public will also have an opportunity to share opinions on how content relates to the following themes: reflection, production, accessibility and discoverability, and contribution to democratic life in Canada. CBC/Radio-Canada’s current radio and television licences are set to expire on Aug. 31, 2020. As part of its review, the CRTC will hold a public hearing in the National Capital Region, starting May 25, 2020.

The Competition Bureau says Canadians could save substantially on their wireless bills if Bell, Rogers and Telus were faced with more competition from regional carriers like Freedom Mobile and Videotron. The bureau makes the assertion as part of a submission to the CRTC’s review of mobile wireless services, finding that the big three telcos are able to charge higher prices in most of Canada, where they possess market power. In regions with wireless disruptors however, prices are 35 to 40% lower. The Bureau recommends that the CRTC pursue a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) policy where Bell, Rogers and Telus would have to sell temporary access to their wireless networks to regional carriers who intend to invest and further expand their own networks. It says this would spur additional price competition in the short term, while avoiding the risk of declining network quality in the long term.

The Federal Court of Appeal says it will hear challenges to the CRTC’s August decision lowering the wholesale rates that govern how much large telecom carriers can charge smaller competitors to access their broadband networks. Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, and Eastlink launched a group appeal, while BCE filed on its own. The ruling means a stay on the new rates will be extended until a final ruling. Retroactive to 2016, the new rates are aimed at increasing competition and consumer choice, while lowering cost. The big telcos argue the measure will limit their ability to invest in their networks, with the retroactive rate decrease estimated to cost BCE $100 million, alone.

TekSaavy is appealing a Federal Court order requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to IPTV provider GoldTV, which provides unauthorized access to 4,000 channels, including Citytv and CTV. TekSaavy argues that the unprecedented nationwide site blocking order violates the principle of net neutrality and could lead to thousands more such rulings, which would put significant strain on ISPs. The order was successfully sought by Bell Media, Rogers Media and Groupe TVA.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says CTV Toronto violated several codes when it aired cell phone footage of a stabbing without warning to viewers. The CBSC decision comes following viewer complaints about a report broadcast Sept. 12, 2019 on CTV News at 6.  The story in question involved a Kingston, ON man, who had stabbed several victims earlier in the day, one fatally. The perpetrator also died after stabbing himself in the neck. Filmed from a distance across the street, the footage aired did not clearly show the faces of two individuals involved in a struggle, however two people were seen falling to the ground and one clearly making two stabbing motions into the side of the other. The CBSC received five complaints about the broadcast, with a single viewer upset the footage was aired without a warning. The CBSC’s English-Language Panel concluded that the footage, as presented, was disturbing and jarring, and that CTV failed to provide proper context and set-up to the video, including a warning to viewers prior to airing the clip. Read more here.

Women’s Executive Network (WXN) has announced its annual list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. The Top 100 Award Winners include filmmaker and actress Fabienne Colas, CEO of Fondation Fabienne Colas, Zaza Production & 7 Festivals WorldwideAnne Fitzgerald, Chief Legal Officer, Corp. Secretary and EVP Real Estate, Cineplex; Melissa Grelo, co-host of CTV’s The Social; and Jennifer Twiner McCarron, CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment Group and Atomic Cartoons. Ten women were also inducted into the WXN Hall of Fame, including designer and HGTV host Sarah Richardson.

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) has posthumously awarded its 2019 JHR Award in Extraordinary Achievement in Human Rights Reporting to Hodan Nalayeh. Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist, was among 26 people killed in a July 12 terrorist attack in Kismayo, Somalia. The 43-year-old was the founder of YouTube channel Integration TV, aimed at “building a community of inspiring & uplifting stories for Somalis worldwide.” JHR also handed out its inaugural Outstanding Work by an Indigenous Youth Reporter award to the Mushkego Lowland Advocates. The group of eight high school students and recent graduates from Fort Severn First Nation in Ontario, came together this past summer to learn how to write and produce multimedia for their community, under the mentorship of JHR community journalism trainer Karli Zschogner. The winners were recognized Monday night at the annual JHR Night for Rights gala in Toronto. Read more here.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has announced the recipients of its 2019 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to students with a disability, one in English and one in French. This year’s recipients are Victoria Lacey of Toronto, ON, who is in year five of a Masters program in Creative Industries at Ryerson University, and Léonie Côté from Quebec City, who is completing graduate studies in Clinical Kinesiology at Laval University. AMI partners with the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) to administer the program. Info on 2020 AMI Scholarships will be posted in February.

Danielle Graham

ETALK anchor Danielle Graham had been awarded a National Leadership Award from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Guelph, ON. Graham, an Our Lady of Lourdes alum, was selected for her contributions to the Canadian media landscape and her championing of young people in media. Graham joins past recipients Gord Downie, Penny Oleksiak, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among others.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is proud to announce the inaugural Climate Change and Environmental Reporting Award. The award recognizes the work of professional journalists in Canada who have contributed to improving the public understanding and awareness of the evolving climate crisis and impact. It’s open to submissions covering the spectrum of environmental reporting, including ecology, habitat, endangered species, conservation, climate change, extreme weather events, and biodiversity. Nominations for the Climate award will open the week of Dec. 2 with the 2019 CAJ Awards program.

espnW: Women + Sports Summit will be held in Vancouver for the first time, June 8-10, 2020. Hosted at The Westin Bayshore, the event will feature leading ESPN and TSN voices, and an international roster of speakers, with sports and wellness activities woven into the experience. It will also feature a proprietary consumer-based study from global marketing consultancy IMI International on the state of women’s participation in sport and the business landscape of women’s sport in North America and key international markets.


Aptivada, the online contesting, marketing and promotions solution, has announced an integration with video platform TikTok, which has now surpassed 1.5 billion downloads. The integration allows contest participants to follow a sponsor’s TikTok account for bonus entries during a promotional campaign providing sponsors or stations the opportunity to increase their TikTok following and engagement. Creighton Green, Aptivada’s co-founder, says the company continues to constantly monitor trends to build new audiences for stations.

Subscribe Now – Free!

Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Let’s get started right now.

* indicates required