Pure Country 98.9 (CKLC-FM) Kingston committed to playing 50% women artists this week amidst the ongoing controversy over the lack of equal airplay on country radio. The issue reared its head again last Thursday when country artists Kelsea Ballerini and Kacey Musgraves took to Twitter in response to a post from Variety editor Chris Willman. After hearing two female artists played back-to-back on an L.A. station, he jokingly asked if the station could be fined for that. That’s when someone at MacDonald Broadcasting-owned 98 KCQ in Saginaw, Michigan station replied “We cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female. I applaud their courage.” Brittany Thompson, program director and an on-air personality at Pure Country 98.9, saw the latest fray as a call to action. Read more here. Nashville-based CMT also announced this week it will move to equal play programming across all music video hours on CMT and CMT Music going forward.
The New Classical FM (CFMZ-FM) Toronto is launching new arts and culture podcast series Art At The End Of The World with Mark Wigmore, host of the station’s afternoon drive show, The Oasis. Each episode is roughly 60 minutes long, with new episodes set to drop every Monday on the station’s website and wherever podcasts are found. Wigmore will be joined by those shaping the cultural conversation from musicians and filmmakers to visual artists and theatre producers. Upcoming guests include Canadian neoclassical composer and pianist Alexandra Steliski, superproducer Robert Lantos, documentarian Alan Zweig, and theatre groundbreakers Chris Abraham (Crow’s Theatre) and Wenyi Mengesha (Soulpepper).
Larry Fedoruk, former afternoon talk host on 610 CKTB St. Catharines, who was part of downsizing at Bell Media in November, has launched a new storytelling podcast inspired by his upbringing in rural Saskatchewan. “I Was 8, stories by Larry Fedoruk” launched on all of the major podcast platforms on Jan. 12 and will drop new episodes weekly.
iHeartRadio held its 2nd Annual Podcast Awards on Friday. ABC’s The Dropout, hosted by Rebecca Jarvis, was named Podcast of The Year. The Dropout recaps the story of Elizabeth Holmes – the youngest ever female billionaire and how she lost her fortune. Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend was the only podcast to win in multiple categories, claiming both Best Comedy Podcast and Best Ad Read. Find the full list of winners here.
LISTEN: On the latest Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, Ross Davies gives us a preview of this year’s expanded Canadian Music Week Radio Active summit, May 20-21. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
FEATURE: In his first column of 2020, Benztown CEO Andy Sannemann talks creative imaging with Australia’s Sidey. Read more here.
Tommy Wolski, on Jan. 20 in Naples, Florida. Wolski had a career as a jockey, starting in the U.S., and later was a well-known fixture at Hastings Park Racecourse in Vancouver in the 1970s and 80s. He forayed his popularity into a media career, hosting “Track Talk” on CJOR and later a horse racing show on CKO-FM, as well as cable TV show “Sport of Kings” on CKVU-TV. He also penned a column in The Vancouver Province from 1985 to 2015. Wolski was an inductee of both the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Canadian Thoroughbred Society Hall of Fame.
Gordon Lyall, 91, on Dec. 26. Lyall, a lawyer by trade, was part of the entrepreneurial group that started CKVU-TV Vancouver (now CityTV). Lyall was part of Western Approaches Ltd., which was awarded the city’s third broadcast licence in 1975. Western Approaches was controlled by DKL, which included Lyall, TV producer Daryl Duke, and writer Norman Klenman. The other 45% of the stock was held by a group of more than 40 Vancouver businessmen. CKVU-TV went to air on Sept. 1, 1976. Canwest later purchased a controlling interest in the station, which DKL was unsuccessful in blocking, and obtained 100% ownership of CKVU in 1988.
CBC is dropping the four anchor format on flagship TV newscast The National amid its unpopularity with audiences. Adrienne Arsenault, Andrew Chang, Ian Hanomansing and Rosemary Barton were named co-hosts of a much-publicized revamp of the nightly broadcast in Nov. 2017, following the retirement of senior anchor Peter Mansbridge. Chad Paulin, executive producer of The National, said in a memo that the broadcaster listened to its audience and has introduced measures that will lead to a more consistent program. Arsenault and Chang will now co-host the broadcast Monday to Thursday, while Hanomansing will host Friday and Sunday. Barton, meanwhile, has been named the Ottawa Bureau’s chief political correspondent, contributing analysis and reporting across CBC’s platforms, in addition to hosting weekly political panel At Issue on The National. Read more here.
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has announced that Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, will be the opening keynote speaker at Prime Time 2020 in Ottawa. Joined by CMPA President and CEO Reynolds Mastin, the pair will discuss the current state of the screen-based industries and Guilbeault’s vision for the future of Canadian content creation. The fireside chat will take place the morning of Jan. 30. Prime Time 2020 takes place from Jan. 29-31 at the Westin Ottawa and Shaw Centre. As previously announced, the opening reception gala will feature the world premiere of the final season of CTV’s Cardinal.
The CAFTCAD Awards, celebrating Canadian Costume Design & Arts, has announced its 2020 nominees. Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events leads the nominations with four. Juul Hallmeyer, who is best known for his work on SCTV and CODCO, is this year’s Nobis Industry Icon winner.
Radio-Canada and Productions Casablanca have announced that new series C’est comme ça que je t’aime will make its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). Written by François Létourneau and directed by Jean-François Rivard, the series was selected for the festival’s Berlinale Series program, Feb. 24-26, alongside other new series from around the world. C’est comme ça que je t’aime will stream in Canada on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA this March, while Cineflix Rights will distribute the show internationally under the title Happily Married.
Kew Media Group is under review for continued listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, following a temporary Cease Trade Order by the Ontario Securities Commission and withdrawal of the company’s audit reports for 2017 and 2018. The board previously announced a review following allegations of misconduct by its former Chief Financial Officer. Amid its troubles, UK prodco Two Rivers Media has bought out Kew’s stake in the company.
CMJ Productions will operate under the banner of its parent company, Montreal-based Attraction, going forward. The rebrand comes as the company continues to grow its English- language television footprint in North America and is working on several new commissions set to launch later this year. Attraction’s English-language content is now under one roof in Toronto, encompassing the production division (formerly known as CMJ), as well as the company’s advertising production group and roster of commercial directors, including Director X. The teams will collaboratively develop long-form content for both broadcast and branded clients. Nicole Hamilton, Head of Content and Business Development, will see her remit grow to oversee long-form factual content across Attraction’s English-language brands. Joey Case is promoted to Head of Development and Executive Producer.
Crave is evolving as a bilingual TV and streaming platform with plans to add 6,000 hours of new French-language content, starting Jan. 28. Bell Media’s Super Écran will also become available as a Crave add-on, in addition to French-language versions of 70 past and current HBO shows and select original HBO MAX series. Existing subscribers will be able to immediately access 5,000 hours of French-language content at no extra charge, including Crave Original Series Pour Toujours Plus Un Jour, Canal D’s Sur Les Traces D’un Tueur En Serie, and some of the current SHOWTIME programming. Netflix has also ramped up its investment in French content, opening its new French headquarters in Paris last week, and announcing 20 new French productions. Read more here.
Ethnic Channels Group has launched PeopleTV in Canada on Rogers’ IGNITE TV. Powered by the People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly newsrooms in New York and Los Angeles, network shows include People Now, Entertainment Weekly Cast Reunions, Couch Surfing, The Royal Report, and Reality Check. PeopleTV is now available on free preview on Channel 304.
The Search for Canada’s Game Shows, a new six-part docuseries that debuted on GameTV last week, explores the heyday of Canadian game shows. Narrated by Wayne Cox, the host of Talk About, 2nd Honeymoon, and Acting Crazy, the series delves into the origins of Canadian game shows, starting with long-running panel show Front Page Challenge, and then takes viewers through the 1970s and 80s when Vancouver and Toronto were hotbeds of game show production giving birth to shows like Definition, The Mad Dash, and Bumper Stumpers. Read our feature story, here.
Sook-Yin Lee is the host of Landscape Artist of the Year – a Canadian adaptation of the Sky Arts UK series – that will bring together 18 professional and amateur artists, alongside 50 wildcard hopefuls to compete for the title and a $10,000 cash prize. The four-part, one-hour series makes its broadcast premiere Feb. 16 on Makeful during the channel’s eight-week free preview event, Feb. 3 – Apr. 5.
Netflix will stream Season 1 of marblemedia’s Restaurants on the Edge, starting Feb. 28 internationally and Mar. 14 in Canada. The original restaurant makeover docuseries, produced in association with OutEast Entertainment, invites viewers into restaurants in some of the world’s most stunning locations that haven’t been able to create an experience that lives up to the view. Each one-hour episode features a team of three experts who lead restaurant transformations spanning six countries – award-winning interior designer Karin Bohn, chef and social media influencer Dennis Prescott, and restaurateur and TV personality Nick Liberato (who also serves as executive producer on the series).
Jennifer Valentyne is the face of W Network’s Movie Date, a series of segments that will complement broadcasts of the channel’s slate of original titles and theatrical movies, and serve as an extension of Hallmark Channel content. Timed with Hallmark Channel’s Love Ever After, W Network’s Movie Date launches Feb. 1 with special guest Anna Olson of Food Network Canada’s Great Chocolate Showdown.
OMNI Television airs its annual Lunar New year special Celebrating the Year of the Rat, Sunday, Jan. 26. Produced in Toronto in front of a live studio audience, the variety special airs at 6 p.m. ET/MT/PT in Mandarin, and 7 p.m. ET/MT/PT in Cantonese. Hosted by Wei Lee and Jie Yang in Mandarin, and Kenneth Li and Karen So in Cantonese, this year’s special includes performances from Northern Lights Southern Fists, Bamboo Kung Foo, Toronto Happy Laughing Association, Toronto Chinese Youth Orchestra, and Starlight Chinese Opera. among others.
AWAE Fan Projects, a grassroots fan group aimed at resurrecting CBC/Netflix drama Anne with an E, has spent $1,000 to erect five digital billboards in downtown Toronto. Fans are unlikely to see the return of the series, which aired its third and final season on CBC before Christmas, and started streaming this month on Netflix. CBC president Catherine Tait has made it clear the public broadcaster will no longer partner with the streaming giant, asserting that its interests lie in fuelling the growth of Canada’s own domestic industry.
Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for live broadcasts of the EE British Academy Film Awards (Feb. 2 at 4:00 pm ET) and the Film Independent Spirit Awards (Feb. 8 at 5:00 pm ET) on HS00. The BAFTAs are considered a leading indicator of who might win at the Oscars, while the Spirit Awards are viewed as a cooler, grittier, younger sibling to the Academy Awards.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released a series of reports on how Canadians are using media and technology from coast to coast, highlighting the similarities and differences across regions, provinces and major cities. Among the findings across 11 markets, Albertans are more likely to have internet-connected devices. Half of them own an iPhone and 66% of Alberta residents own a tablet, which is more than the general Anglophone population; Over-the-Top-TV (OTT) services like Netflix, are more popular in Alberta (72%) and British Columbia (70%). Francophones who live in Montreal are also more likely than the general Francophone population to subscribe to OTTs; Francophones who live in Quebec City are more likely than the general Francophone population to listen to online audio services and show more interest in listening to audio content on YouTube (60%); and Torontonians (69%) and residents of Quebec City (62%) are more likely to watch Canadian TV news channels.
Netflix Q4 results show the streaming giant added 125,000 more Canadian subscribers and 8.76 million globally in the quarter ended Dec. 31. The streaming giant’s growth, particularly in North America, has slowed with the arrival of new entrants like Disney+. The company also noted that it has changed how it counts viewership, moving from a system that counted a view as 70% of a show or film. Netflix will now consider a view to be any account viewing at least two minutes of a series or a film.
Bell has applied for leave to appeal a CRTC decision forcing it to treat TVA Sports like its own RDS Sports channel. The Dec. 19 decision called on Bell to include TVA Sports in its “Bon” cable bundle by Feb. 5.
Quebecor has filed a complaint with the CRTC against Radio-Canada, arguing that operating the ICI TOU.TV EXTRA online subscription video-on-demand service (Tou.tv Extra) “is an alarming departure from SRC’s mission as a public broadcaster” and that it should be shut down because it’s in regulatory breach. “First of all, it is charging subscription fees for access to content that is already heavily subsidized by the public through income tax and sales tax. Furthermore, by carrying programs from channels such as V, TV5, VRAK and ARTV on Tou.tv Extra, SRC is acting as a broadcasting distribution undertaking, in violation of the Broadcasting Act, without contributing to the Canada Media Fund – from which, by the way, it benefits significantly,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor, in a release. Quebecor says the situation is further aggravated by the fact SRC is granting TELUS customers exclusive free access to Tou.tv Extra. As a public broadcaster, Quebecor maintains that SRC cannot offer TV programming on an exclusive or preferential basis to a limited population of subscribers.
Bell says it’s developed network technology based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could block approximately 120 million more fraudulent telephone calls per month than it’s able to now using call-blocking methods currently mandated by the CRTC. Bell is currently seeing approval to launch a trial. The enhanced call-block system uses defined sets of typical call characteristics and proprietary algorithms to analyze and identify scam calls. Before blocking, a secondary process validates the fraudulent nature of the calls, including cross-referencing Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) data, the central agency collecting intelligence on mass marketing and internet fraud, and identity theft.
Rogers Communications has released financial results for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Among the highlights, strong Wireless and accelerated adoption of Rogers Infinite unlimited data plans contributed to the addition of 131,000 postpaid nets, up 17% from 2018, and resulting in an average data usage increase of over 65% by customers. Cable results were led by internet growth and adoption of Ignite TV. Cable revenue was stable this quarter, as Internet revenue growth of 7% was primarily offset by a decrease in Phone revenue. Media revenue decreased by 2%, primarily as a result of the sale of the company’s publishing business, partially offset by higher revenue at Today’s Shopping Choice (TSC). Excluding the impact of the publishing sale, Media revenue would have increased 1% this quarter.
Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) Lifetime Achievement Award nominations are open, celebrating a Canadian journalist whose career demonstrates a dedication to the craft and whose work serves as an inspiration to others. Nominees will be considered based on body of journalistic work, contribution to society through impactful journalism, and recognition and respect from peers and community. Individuals who have worked in print, broadcast, or digital and in any journalistic field (news, business, politics, cartoon, arts, etc.) are eligible for consideration. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 21.
FEATURE: Eric Blais of StatsRadio discusses fighting back against the phenomenon of ‘groupthink’ in the broadcast industry in his January Rethinking Media column. Read more on overcoming this hurdle to innovation, here.
BROADCAST TECH NEWS:
Dejero has been awarded a second Technology and Engineering Emmy Award in the category of Video over Bonded Cellular Internet (VoCIP) technology, recognizing the Waterloo, ON company’s innovation in the industry. Dejero’s Smart Blending and hybrid encoding technologies work in concert to form an integrated system which responds in real time to changes in network quality and video content. That’s transformed how broadcasters transmit live content from the field, using cellular networks, and allows newsgathering crews greater flexibility in terms of locations from which they can transmit a live shot. Last year, Dejero was awarded its first Technology and Engineering Emmy for Excellence in Engineering Creativity, honoring a decade of achievement in the field of live transmission. This year’s awards will be presented at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday, Apr. 19, during NAB 2020.
Play MPE is expanding into the Canadian market, announcing that Universal Music Canada will service all new release content through its music distribution solution. Already in use in the U.S., Australia, Europe, and South Africa, Play MPE’s offerings include a suite of digital promotion tools and content discovery apps, aimed at music professionals.
Shaw has launched LTE Backup for Shaw Business customers, an add-on solution aimed at keeping cloud applications and Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminals online if a primary internet connection disruption occurs. Customers using LTE Backup identify the online systems and applications that are essential to their business operations. If a wireline internet outage occurs, the essential systems and applications automatically switch to the LTE network with no intervention from the customer. Once the wireline connection is restored, the internet connection automatically switches back to the primary network.
SMPTE is hosting free webcast, Cybersecurity Concerns & Mitigations for Broadcast & Multimedia Facilities, on Jan. 29. Wayne M. Pecena, assistant director of Educational Broadcast Services at Texas A&M University, and director of engineering for Texas A&M public broadcasting stations, will speak on cybersecurity as an ongoing essential task for the broadcast engineer in the IT-centric environment. The webinar will cover cybersecurity concerns, principles, and proactive implementation techniques in the broadcast station environment.
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