The Weekly Briefing

 

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

LISTEN: Terry O’Reilly joins Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to talk about the new family business, Apostrophe Podcast Company. The longtime ad man and Under The Influence host talks great audio storytelling, why he hopes podcasting will shake up terrestrial radio, and tells us how his vintage airstream studio came together. 

World Radio Day was celebrated last Thursday and to mark the occasion, we talked to Radio Connects President Caroline Gianias about the medium’s staying power. According to Fall 2019 Numeris data, supplied by Radio Connects, radio’s weekly reach in Canada actually went up 1% year-over-year to 27,641,015 with listeners 12+, reaching 13,104,125 listeners a week in the coveted A25-54 demo. Read Gianias’ thoughts on why radio has weathered the digital disruption better than some other media segments, here.

Vista Radio has rebranded CHNV-FM Nelson, BC as 103.5 The Bridge, the name the station previously held from 2010-14. In May 2014, the station abandoned the Adult Album Alternative format and flipped to Variety Hits as 103.5 Juice FM, Nelson’s Biggest Variety. The new incarnation of 103.5 The Bridge – Nelson’s Vibe plays a blend of pop from Coldplay, Billie Eilish, and The Black Keys to more alternative artists like Modest Mouse and Foster the People, with classics from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith also in rotation. The station’s lineup features program director Sheldon Button on the morning show, Middays with Matt and new Australian recruit Ellie in the afternoon.

The CRTC has approved an application from Dufferin Communications to swap formats on CFWC-FM and CKPC-AM Brantford, ON. The commission’s decision will allow English-language Christian music station, CFWC-FM Brantford, to delete certain conditions of licence to allow the station to operate as a mainstream music radio station. It will move forward under a Country and Folk music format, while CKPC-AM will adopt a Christian music format. Dufferin submitted that both it, as the operator of the two stations, and the Brantford radio market would be best served by exchanging the stations’ formats to increase tuning to its Country music offering, which in turn would help it recover some of the advertising revenue that currently flows to out-of-market Country music stations. The commission did not receive any interventions in response to the applications.

Roger Ashby

Roger Ashby is returning to the airwaves as host of the syndicated The Roger Ashby Oldies Show. The show has already been picked up by 16 Bell Media, My Broadcasting, Durham Radio, and Evanov Radio Group affiliate stations. It’s also available to stream at  iHeartRadio.ca and the iHeartRadio app. The three-hour weekly show will focus on hits from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, curated by the longtime CHUM 104.5 Toronto morning man, who’ll also play archived segments like “Behind the Hits”, “The Roots of Rock”, “The Top 5 of the Week”, and “Double Play”.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie has been named the 2020 recipient of the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. Each year, Slaight Communications and Canadian Music Week (CMW) recognize an outstanding Canadian artist for their contribution to social activism and support of humanitarian causes. Sainte-Marie will be honoured for her work over the last six decades as a trailblazing musician, activist and educator. She’ll be recognized at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on May 21 at the Bluma Appel Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts. Read more here.

Kim Mitchell

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) will induct rock legend, songwriter, and broadcaster Kim Mitchell to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week. Mitchell will be honoured during a special presentation and joined by friend and musician Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies to perform on stage. The induction will take place during the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards, May 21. In addition to Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award winner Buffy Sainte-Marie, the first slate of inductees includes Debra Rathwell to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, and Erin Davis and Nevin Grant into the Broadcast Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and CBC have confirmed the final group of artists confirmed to perform during the 2020 JUNO Awards Broadcast. Québecois neoclassical pianist Alexandra Stréliski, R&B and rap artist Ali Gatie, acclaimed singer-songwriter City and Colour, Indigenous artist iskwē, rising country singer Meghan Patrick and bluegrass ensemble The Dead South will take the stage. Canadian icon Anne Murray will also make her first JUNO Awards appearance since 2013, as she returns to induct Jann Arden into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The 2020 JUNO Awards will be broadcast live from the Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre, Sunday, March 15 at 8 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) on CBC, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the CBC Listen app and cbcmusic.ca/junos.

The Rosalie Award, which annually honours Canadian women in broadcasting who have blazed new trails, is open for nominations. Rosalie Award winners are women who are successful broadcasters and seen as leaders, mentors and people making a difference in the business. The nomination deadline is Mar. 2. Last year’s honouree was Carmela Laurignano, vice-president and Radio Group Manager at Evanov Radio Group.

Benztown has announced the call for entries for the 9th annual Iron Imager Contest, the international radio imaging contest where audio production professionals compete for the title of World’s Best Imager. The contest is open to all radio imaging, production and programming professionals, 18+, and will be judged by top producers and programmers from the U.S. and around the world, including Brian Phillips, EVP, Content and Audience, Cumulus Media; Ashley Bard, Head of Production, Capital FM & Capital XTRA, London, UK; Andrew Berger, Imaging Director, Power 106/KPWR, Los Angeles; three-time Iron Imager Dan Kelly, Imaging Director, WNSH, New York, and readers of the Benztown Blog. The 2020 Iron Imager Contest will culminate in a live imaging competition at WWRS 2020 on Mar. 26 at Castaway in Burbank, CA. This year’s Iron Imager will be pitted against 2019 champion Brendan “BT” Tacey, Head of Production, Triple M Network, Southern Cross Austereo in Melbourne, Australia. To enter, visit the official Iron Imager Contest 2020 website. The submission deadline is Feb. 28.

The Podcast Academy, a membership-driven organization that will run annual peer-based awards of merit called The Golden Mics, was announced at Podcast Movement Evolutions in Los Angeles last week. The first annual Golden Mics ceremony will be held in L.A. in early 2021, with the organization’s goal to “drive creativity, quality and excellence, and elevate the status of podcasts as an entertainment medium.” Overseen by an elected Board of Governors, The Podcast Academy also has plans to host monthly webinars on industry topics, hold networking events in Los Angeles and New York City, and publish whitepapers on best practices. As Tom Webster of Edison Research wrote in a follow-up blog post, the announcement was met with some controversy amidst an increasing divide between independent and “big” podcasting.

Kyle Gutscher and Lauren Hunter

107.5 Dave Rocks (CJDV-FM) Cambridge, ON hosted an in-studio wedding on Valentine’s Day as part of the station’s Nail ‘Em Down contest. Kyle Gutscher, 30, and Lauren Hunter, 27, were wed Friday morning with the nuptials officiated by Dave Rocks Morning Buzz announcer Darryl Law.

 

Derek Welsman

FEATURE: In Andy Sannemann’s latest blog post, the Benztown CEO talks plug-ins, workflow, audio inspiration and more with award-winning Stingray Toronto imaging producer Derek Welsman. Read more here.

SIGN-OFFS:

David Humiski

David Humiski, 65, on Feb. 5. Humiski grew up in Manitoba, moving to Toronto in 1982 where he was hired as a director at multicultural station, Channel 47. In 1988, he joined CFTO (CTV Toronto) and would go on to a three decade career with the network. Humiski is seen here displaying his trademark Che Guevara-adorned camera battery as he waited to go live with reporter Natalie Johnson at the Ford family home for the late Rob Ford’s 2014 re-election campaign launch.

Ray Wittrock

Ray Wittrock, 64, on Feb. 7. Wittrock joined CBC Vancouver as a Senior Broadcast Technologist in May 1981, the start of a 34-year career with the public broadcaster. He retired from CBC in 2015.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Brad Peyton

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced that director, producer and writer Brad Peyton is the recipient of its seventh annual CFC Award for Creative Excellence. The award celebrates the accomplishments of CFC alumni who have made significant creative and entrepreneurial contributions to the international screen industry. Born in Gander, Newfoundland, Peyton first garnered critical acclaim in 2002 for his CFC short Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl. He eventually became known for ambitious action adventure blockbusters, including San Andreas and Rampage, both collaborations with Dwayne Johnson. Peyton’s prodco with partner Jeff Fierson, ASAP Entertainment, recently completed the third season of Netflix/Discovery series Frontier and the first season of Netflix series, Daybreak. CFC founder Norman Jewison will present the award to Peyton at an invitation-only reception in Los Angeles on Mar. 18.

Schitt’s Creek leads this year’s Canadian Screen Award nominations with 26 nods, including Best Comedy Series; Best Writing, Comedy; and Best Direction, Comedy, as well as multiple acting nominations. Leading the film categories, François Girard’s The Song of Names received nine nominations in total, including Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design, Achievement in Costume Design, and Achievement in Visual Effects. CBC Gem offerings dominate the Digital Media categories with its web series Detention Adventure, How To Buy A Baby, Calgary-based hip-hop series Ming’s Dynasty, comedy-drama Save Me, and The 410 receiving nominations for Best Web Program or Series, Fiction. Find the full list of nominations here. The Awards will be presented in Toronto over five days during Canadian Screen Week, including the Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala, which airs live on CBC and CBC Gem on Sunday, Mar. 29.

New York Festivals TV & Film Awards competition has announced the 2020 competition finalists. Content submitted from over 50 countries advances to the medal round including documentaries, entertainment, broadcast journalism, sports coverage, streaming media and brand image. Among the Canadian nominees, Corus Entertainment earned seven nominations, CBC/Radio-Canada earned five nods, while Discovery Channel Canada earned two nominations for Disasters at Sea: Marine Electric. Two East Productions and Cineflix Studios also earned two nominations for Pure. The 2020 NYF TV & Film Awards Storytellers Gala will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas, Apr. 21. View the complete list of Canadian finalists, here.

The 2020 Kidscreen Awards were handed out Feb. 11 at the Kidscreen Summit in Miami. Canadian-owned Irish animation production studio Brown Bag Films, was among the multiple award winners, taking two awards in the Programming-Kids category for Angela’s Christmas (Best One-off Special or TV Movie, Best in Class). Edmonton’s Mosaic Entertainment won Best Special in the Programming-Tweens/Teens Category for #ROXY. Sinking Ship Entertainment’s Dino Dana claimed three awards including Best Directing, Best Acting, and Best Game App. In the Broadcasting category, TVO Kids won Best Programming Block, while the YTV team of Suki, Meisha, Jesse, Duhin, Spencer and RikiMisu claimed the award for Best On-Air Host or Hosting Team. Find the full list of winners here.

Stingray has launched Stingray Country, a music video television channel for Canadian cable subscribers, dedicated to country music. The channel becomes the only dedicated country music channel in Canada, following CMT Canada’s move to drop country music programming in 2017, in favour of airing family-friendly sitcoms, talk, game and reality shows, and movies. Stingray Country is currently being offered to Bell, Cogeco, Telus, Shaw and Videotron TV subscribers. Read more here.

The CRTC has approved French-language Israeli TV channel Heritage 4K for distribution in Canada. The channel’s sponsor, THEMA Canada, says Heritage 4K’s audience is anyone “impassioned by archaeology, history and travel.” Its programming is largely devoted to documentaries on monuments, sacred places and other sites.

LCN will join hundreds of thousands of Quebecers in Florida for spring break, Mar. 1-4. Jean-François Guérin, Brigitte Bédard, Pierre-Olivier Zappa and TVANouvelles.ca reporter Gabrielle Rondy will meet up with French-Canadian expats to explore the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, from Pompano to Miami. They’ll share their stories across the station’s regular programming from Québec matin to TVA 22 heures – as well as on TVANouvelles.ca and social media. They’ll also take a look at daily life for Quebecers who have made Florida their home, including Quebec businesspeople who have moved there in the past few years looking for opportunity and prosperity.

Cheryl Hickey

HGTV Canada’s new Corus Studios original series Family Home Overhaul (8×60), premieres Apr. 26. Hosted by ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey, the debut season will see 14 of the network’s top contractors and designers pair up in each episode to transform the homes of eight inspirational families nominated by their communities. They include Kate Campbell, Sebastian Clovis, Dave Coleman, Joey Fletcher, Sarah Keenleyside, Dave Kenney, Brian McCourt, Scott McGillivray, Mia Parres, Tiffany Pratt, Samantha Pynn, Tommy Smythe, Kortney Wilson and Dave Wilson.

Kate Campbell

American Standard has been named the official supplier of kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures for multiple television series on Corus Entertainment’s HGTV Canada. The partnership includes popular series $ave My Reno, which premieres Feb. 18, and Family Home Overhaul. Products will be featured throughout the series, in addition to social and digital integrations. The new partnership builds on American Standard’s current collaboration with longtime HGTV guest star and contractor Kate Campbell.

Family Channel’s new series My Perfect Landing premieres as a one-hour television event Mar. 1. Filmed in Toronto and Miami last summer, the family friendly drama stars real-life competitive gymnast Morgan Wigle as Jenny Cortez, an aspiring young gymnast who moves with her family to Toronto to open their own gymnastics club.

Khaled Sabawi

Open Screenplay, the free, online platform for screenwriters struggling to break into the business, has successfully patented its collaborative authoring system. The patent facilitates the collaboration of multiple authors on a single work, and provides a process for the selection of the best contributions. Although Open Screenplay currently uses the system for screenplays, it can be used on other collaborative works ranging from essays, novels, and textbooks to music and architectural designs. Open Screenplay’s founder and CEO is Canadian entrepreneur Khaled Sabawi. 

CTV’s Sault Ste. Marie broadcast headquarters is up for sale. The historic building at 119 East Street houses local news and sales, however regional newscasts have been broadcast out of Sudbury since 2001. The downtown building was originally home to the Northern Ontario city’s Bell telephone office, before CJIC-TV took over the space, going to air in 1955.

CBC Nova Scotia’s historic Bell Road building is set for imminent demolition to make way for expansion of the neighbouring Halifax Infirmary. Over the years, the Bell Road studios were the production centre for national programs including Don Messer’s Jubilee, Street Cents and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

 

GENERAL:

Broadcast Dialogue is issuing a call for sponsors for The Great Canadian Suite, an NAB Las Vegas tradition for most of the last six decades bringing together Canadians from the film, TV, radio, production, and digital sectors, in addition to the vendors that service them. Applied Electronics started the Great Canadian Suite in 1961, which in the early days was located in an actual hotel suite and open daily during the NAB Show. In the 1970s, vendors had substantial equipment demos like large colour studio cameras and reel-to-reel tape machines, so in 1978 the event moved into a small ballroom, growing every year. After a short hiatus, Toronto film and video production company Stonehenge Digital Studios relaunched the Great Canadian Suite, moving it poolside to the Flamingo Las Vegas. Due to a busy production schedule, Stonehenge has passed the organization of the Great Canadian Suite to Broadcast Dialogue, which is now gauging interest in continuing the event. Read more here.

Erin O’Toole

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Erin O’Toole is campaigning on a policy promise to end funding for CBC’s digital news service and privatize its English-language TV operations. O’Toole’s public broadcasting reforms would leave CBC Radio and Radio-Canada as is, but budgets for CBC Television and CBC News Network would be slashed and eventually sold off. The Durham MP says the CBC is in need of modernization and streamlining, comparable to the private sector. His plan would see TV advertising eliminated with a goal to see English TV privatized by the end of a prospective CPC government’s first term. 

 

TELUS has released unaudited results for Q4 2019. For the quarter, consolidated operating revenue of $3.9 billion increased by 2.5% year-over-year, driven by growth in wireless network revenue and wireline data services revenue. Earnings before EBITDA increased by 10.8% to $1.4 billion, with adjusted EBITDA was up 7.9%. External wireless operating revenue decreased by $11 million or 0.5%, as network revenue growth of 1.5% was offset by a 4.0% decrease to equipment and other service revenues, an atypical decline in wholesale roaming revenue, as well as lower gains on sales of assets. Mobile phone ARPU was $59.29, reflecting a decrease of 1.7%, as the declines in chargeable usage, competitive pressures on base rate plan prices, and impact to wholesale roaming revenue was only partly offset by the aforementioned increased number of customers selecting plans with endless or larger data buckets. Total subscriber net additions were 130,000, compared to 142,000 in the prior year. Mobile phone net additions decreased by 7,000, as higher mobile phone gross additions were offset by higher mobile phone churn. Internet net additions of 28,000 were unchanged over the prior year. TV net additions were 15,000, a decrease of 9,000, mainly due to heightened competitive intensity and the changing landscape of increased streaming services.

TELUS has come out on top of the Speedtest Awards, conducted by Seattle-based Ookla for Q3-Q4 2019. Telus was named Fastest Mobile Network and earned Best Mobile Coverage with a score of 71.67 Mbps, just ahead of Bell’s 70.03. TELUS also scored high in UK-based OpenSignal’s Canada: Mobile Network Experience Report, earning best network in Canada for 4G Availability, Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Latency Experience, and Upload Speed Experience. Canada as a country placed second in Opensignal’s global ranking of national average download speeds of all countries in the world, behind only South Korea, with a slight difference: 58.7 Mbps and 55.4 Mbps, respectively. 


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