The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Marci Ien

Marci Ien is taking a leave of absence from Bell Media to run as the federal Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre. The longtime CTV personality who has most recently been co-hosting roundtable current affairs show, The Social, made the announcement on social media, saying “I’ve always strived to provide a voice to people who need it most — and now more than ever, we need all Canadians’ voices and aspirations to be reflected in the hard work of building a better future.” Read more here.

Kia Nurse

Kia Nurse has joined TSN as a basketball analyst. Nurse started her new role with the network Sept. 22, contributing analysis of the NBA and WNBA Playoffs during TSN’s SPORTSCENTRE. She’ll make regular appearances on TSN platforms while maintaining her on-court roles with Canada’s National Women’s Team and the WNBA’s New York Liberty. The two-time NCAA  women’s basketball champion, WNBA All-Star, and Canadian Olympian previously appeared on TSN as an analyst during the network’s NCAA March Madness coverage in 2019. 

Tracy Tong

Tracy Tong has taken over anchoring Global Montreal’s supper hour newscasts, as of this past Monday. Tong will helm the newscasts out of Toronto, following senior anchor Jamie Orchard’s release last month as part of ongoing layoffs at Corus

Mia Sosiak

Mia Sosiak has left Global Calgary after 20 years with the network to spend more time with her family. Sosiak started with Global News in Winnipeg in 2000 as an online journalist right out of the Ryerson Journalism program, and has since held roles as an anchor, reporter, producer and VJ in Lethbridge and Calgary. She’d held the title of Managing Editor since 2017. 

Stacey Brotzel

 

 

Stacey Brotzel and Rob Williams have been released by CTV Edmonton. The on-air team had co-hosted CTV Morning Live Edmonton since 2012. They were informed following the Sept. 14 show that it would be their last with the station.

 

 

 

 

David Gutnick

David Gutnick is leaving CBC Radio after 35 years with the public broadcaster. Based in Montreal, Gutnick has covered stories around the world, most recently producing documentaries for CBC Radio One’s Ideas and The Sunday Edition, among other projects.

Jason D’Souza

Jason D’Souza has left CBC Vancouver after eight years to join CBC Toronto, sitting in as interim host of Fresh Air. D’Souza is filling in for Nana aba Duncan, who is currently on sabbatical studying the experiences of racialized and women leaders in Canadian media as a William Southam Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College.

Lorie Russell

Lorie Russell, Vice President and Managing Director, at Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM), is leaving the station in mid-December. The former Newcap Toronto GM has held the position since Mar. 2019, following the appointment of a new board of directors and senior management. The station is currently searching for its next General Manager. Read more here.

John Crawford

 

John Crawford retires this Friday, Sept. 25, from CFTK-TV Terrace and Bell Media Radio, BC North. Crawford leaves one day after celebrating his 30th anniversary in Terrace. Originally from Chatham, ON, he began his radio career as an announcer at KC Radio (CKKC-FM) Nelson and Creston, BC in the late 1970s, then transitioned to sports in Salmon Arm in the 1980s. He eventually moved into news in Smithers in 1988, before taking over the morning radio desk in Terrace in Sept. 1990. He was appointed news director in 2007. Hillary Johnson assumes the role of news director for the stations.

Don Millar

Don Millar is retiring from Whiteoaks Communications Group’s JOY Radio (CJYE-AM) Oakville, effective Oct. 16. Millar has been with the company nearly 20 years as Program Director and Director of Operations. Prior to launching the Greater Toronto Area’s first licensed Christian station in 2001, Millar established CJOS-AM Caronport, SK in 1995, while a student at Briercrest Bible College. His career began in Smiths Falls, ON at CJET (’69-70), with stops at Ottawa’s CKPM (’71-72), Chatham’s CFCO (’72-76), Hamilton’s CHML (’76-77), and then over a decade on radio and TV at CHEX-AM/TV, and CFMP Peterborough (’77-91). After attending seminary, he returned to St. Catharines to work with CHSC (’97-01), before joining Whiteoaks in 2001. Friends and former colleagues are invited to share their memories by video, audio or in writing to: welldone@joyradio.ca. The station is planning a virtual celebration in mid-October.

Brad McDonald

Brad McDonald is taking early retirement from Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. McDonald has been an account manager with the company for the last 26 years, most recently with JR Country (CJJR-FM) and 102.7 The Peak (CKPK-FM) Vancouver. McDonald started his broadcast sales career in 1984 with Fraser Valley Broadcasters.

Martin Strong

Martin Strong is hosting new Saturday program, Vancouver Consumer, on CKNW 980 AM. Strong, who was most recently a host at the now defunct Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM) was a longtime morning show fixture on CKNW sister station Rock 101 (CFMI-FM). He’s also been serving as the Broadcasting department head at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts).

Seth Armstrong

Seth Armstrong has joined The Richest as one of their YouTube voiceover artists. Armstrong was most recently one half of the My92.1 (CHMX-FM) Regina morning show, up until this past June, when he and co-host Leah Ramsay were caught up in layoffs at Harvard Broadcasting.

Sarah Krichel

 

 

Sarah Krichel joins The Tyee as a social media manager. Krichel, a 2019 Ryerson Journalism grad, was previously part of the executive of not-for-profit Canadian University Press, and editor-in-chief of campus paper, The Eyeopener.

Tamara Dawit

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has hired two leads to support under-represented communities. Tamara Dawit is an Ethiopian-Canadian producer/director, based in Toronto, who’ll act as lead for the English market. Diego Briceño is a Colombian-born producer, director, concept developer and editor of social documentaries, based in Montréal, who’ll be the lead for the French market. Both will work with CMF execs to lead consultations with under-represented communities and contribute to the development of CMF’s anti-racism and inclusion strategy. Adam Garnet Jones will act as Lead, Indigenous Initiatives on behalf of both CMF and Telefilm. Jones is a screenwriter, director and novelist, who has been with Telefilm since 2018. His newly-expanded mandate will include outreach activities with Indigenous communities and initiatives intended to increase representation of Indigenous creators.

Jamie Schouela

Blue Ant Media has announced the promotions of Jamie Schouela to President, Global Channels and Media; and Carlyn Staudt to Global General Manager, Love Nature. The changes will see Schouela, who was previously President, Canadian Media, lead the company’s streaming and linear television networks and digital platforms, as well as Blue Ant Media’s print products and consumer events. Staudt, formerly EVP, Programming and Development for Love Nature, will head up the channel’s strategic direction and operations globally, including commissioning and development, programming, digital content, marketing and communications, as well as international affiliate sales. 

Caroline Tyre

Caroline Tyre has been appointed to the new position of WildBrain’s Vice President, Global Sales & Rights Strategy, while Lara Ilie takes on the title of VP, Revenue Share & Transactional. Based in Toronto, Tyre will be responsible for leading WildBrain’s international sales team outside of China and oversee the implementation of the company’s commercial content strategy. She will work closely with and report to Deirdre Brennan, EVP, Content Partnerships. Prior to joining WildBrain, Tyre served as SVP, International Sales & GM of Kartoon Channel! at Genius Brands International.

Lara Ilie

In her newly-created role, Ilie will be responsible for expanding WildBrain’s VOD strategy and emerging revenue streams. Also based in Toronto, Ilie will report to Brennan. Under the reorganization, Tyre will spearhead content distribution for US, UK and pan-European markets, previously managed by Jerry Diaz who left the company last month. Sales Manager Rebecca Lugo will add Spain and Italy to her territories, and Darcee McCartney will add Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, while Director of European sales, Wiebke Hoefer adds Ireland. Jianbo Wei, WildBrain’s Managing Director for China, will continue to represent WildBrain content and licensing in China. Lisa Lee, formerly Sales Manager for China, also departed the company last month. 

RADIO & PODCAST:

CBC & Radio-Canada Media Solutions has launched a new offering dedicated to creating branded content, including promotional podcasts, under the name CBC/Radio-Canada Tandem. Its first branded audio offering is Athabasca University podcast Go the Distance, hosted by CBC personality Leah Simone-Bowen – a six-episode series sharing student online learning experiences and the positive impact on their lives. Accompanying the launch, Tandem has hired two content editors: Adam Owen, former Director, Content and Strategy, for Postmedia Network, and Samuel-Olivier Barrette, who was previously Executive Director, Strategy and Client Solutions, at Montreal’s Groupe KO, and a former Content Solutions Manager and Multiplatform Sales Strategist with Rogers. Read more here.

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the union representing CBC employees, is questioning the public broadcaster’s move to expand into branded content. CMG says it will be demanding answers from CBC management regarding the launch of the new service offering and have put the issue on the agenda for the September National Joint Committee meeting between the union and management. “We are disappointed that we were not advised, nor consulted about the new service given the ongoing concerns many Canadians and journalists have about the blurring of lines between advertising and product promotion, and news,” reads a statement signed by Kim Trynacity, CBC/Radio-Canada Branch President, and Carmel Smyth, CMG National President. “In these critical times when fake news and misinformation are a global threat, we believe the national public broadcaster is uniquely placed to be a leader in safeguarding trust and reliability in our news services, on all platforms.” Read more here.

Heather Gordon

Acast is expanding into Canada and hired Heather Gordon, CBC/Radio-Canada’s former Digital Sales Director, to lead its buildout in the market. The podcast hosting, analytics and ad tech giant already has Canadian publishing and advertising partners that include TPX (The Podcast Exchange), CBC, Corus, Entertainment One (eOne), and Terry O’Reilly’s Apostrophe Podcast Company. Brian Danzis, Managing Director, Americas at Acast, said with Gordon at the helm, they’ll be looking to scale podcasting’s ad potential. “As more and more podcasts become borderless, capturing interest from listeners in multiple territories, it’s increasingly important to offer ad partners cross-market campaigns that reach consumers in North America and beyond,” said Danzis. Read more here.

Sylvia Masich

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s Prince George stations, 99.3 The Drive (CKDV-FM), 101.3 The River (CKKN-FM), and CKPG-TV, in cooperation with The Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, teamed up for Spirit Day 2020 on Sept. 17. The 16-hour on location broadcast, which included live hits during CKPG-TV News at Noon and 5 p.m., initially raised over $90,000 with the help of a phone bank of socially-distanced volunteers. CKPG FunChaser (and 1st year BCIT Broadcast Student) Sylvia Masich issued a challenge during Thursday’s event, pledging that if $100,000 was raised, she would shave her head. Over the weekend, donations exceeded that mark (double the $50K raised in 2019) and Masich kept her promise, donating her hair for wigs for medical patients.

Evanov Radio Group (ERG) flagship station Z103.5 (CIDC-FM) Orangeville is now available on HD Radio, joining CKPC-FM Brantford as the second station in the broadcast group’s portfolio to be offered in HD. ERG says in addition to a substantial improvement in signal quality over the station’s broadcast area, listeners will receive more feature-rich “Artist Experience” and text information. CKPC-FM launched on HD Radio in Nov. 2019 and currently carries Christian station Arise 1380 and newly-launched Hot Country 93.9 on its digital sub-channels.

LISTEN: Piya Chattopadhyay joins the podcast this week to talk about her new role as host of CBC Radio One’s The Sunday Magazine. Taking over the Sunday morning timeslot from veteran broadcaster Michael Enright, who wrapped the long-running The Sunday Edition in June, the former Middle East correspondent talks about “walking her own path, in her own shoes” as the show moves to a live format.

LISTEN: Voice actress Lili Wexu is now based in Los Angeles, but started in Montreal as an imaging talent at Mix 96. Wexu talks with Matt Cundill about her evolution through the voice industry, how it’s changed, and has some tips on navigating the voiceover world in 2020. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Suzanne Hansen

Suzanne Hansen (aka Mary S. Johnston), 77, on Sept. 15. Hansen was a reporter with CFAX Radio in Victoria in the 1970s, before turning her eye to real estate and eventually politics, successfully running for a city council seat in the late 1980s. She retired from politics in the early ‘90s after unsuccessfully running as a provincial candidate for the Social Credit party in Victoria-Beacon Hill. She went on to run a successful commercial day lily growing business, based in Mill Bay.

Bill Anderson

 

Bill Anderson, 98, on Sept.9. Anderson started his career in broadcasting in his hometown of Saint John at CHSJ Radio, while still in high school, prior to enlisting in WWII. He saw action in Belgium, Germany, Holland France, and following the war, chose to stay in the army to work with the press liaison office, leaving the military with the rank of Lt. Colonel. Among the wartime correspondents he worked closely with were Walter Cronkite and the CBC’s Matthew Halton. He eventually returned to Saint John and became a fixture as an on-air personality at CFBC Radio. In the late 1950s, he left the Maritimes for Toronto where he worked in communications and public relations. Since 1993, he and his wife had been living in Goderich, ON. In retirement, he volunteered for over two decades as an audio book reader for the CNIB.

Freeman Roach

Freeman Roach, 81, on Sept. 6, of cancer. Roach started his broadcasting career in his hometown of New Glasgow at CKEC in 1958. From there, he went to CFNB Bathurst, NB from 1960-66, and then landed at CJCB Sydney in Cape Breton (1967-75) where he would endear himself to listeners as host of popular request show “Roach’s Ranch.” He moved on to CHER Sydney in 1976 and then CJFX Antigonish in 1977, where he served both on-air and as program director. In 1985, he took a decade-long break from radio, starting back at The Coast (CKOA-FM) Glace Bay in 1995. He retired from broadcasting in 2005.

TV & FILM:

CBC’s Schitt’s Creek claimed a total of nine awards at the 72nd Emmy Awards, including a historic win for Outstanding Comedy Series, marking the first time a Canadian television program has won an Emmy in the Outstanding Comedy or Drama series category, and the most primetime Emmy awards ever won by a Canadian series. The series also made history for most wins in a single season for a comedy including Outstanding Lead Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series for Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy; Outstanding Supporting Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series for Annie Murphy and Daniel Levy; Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy; and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Daniel Levy. The comedy also took home two Creative Arts Emmys: Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series for Jon Comerford and Lisa Parasyn; and Outstanding Contemporary Costumes for Debra Hanson and Darci Cheyne.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced its full list of nominees for the 2020 DGC Awards, including those for Feature Film, Documentary and Short Film. Akilla’s Escape, a multigenerational gangland morality play from filmmaker Charles Officer, is tied to lead the Feature Film category nominees with three, including an Outstanding Directorial Achievement nomination for Officer. In The Tall Grass, a supernatural horror drama, written and directed by Vincenzo Natali and based on Stephen King and Joe Hill’s 2012 novella, also garnered three nominations. Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian leads the Documentary categories with nominations for the Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary, as well as making the DGC Discovery Award Shortlist, alongside Tracey Deer’s Beans, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s No Ordinary Man, and Dusty Mancinelli and Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s Violation. Winners will be announced at the 19th Annual Awards on consecutive nights, beginning Oct. 24.

Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) say over $1 billion in Canadian production volume is at risk of being shelved without government action to address the lack of COVID-19 insurance coverage available for producers. The producer associations say a member survey identified 214 camera-ready film and TV projects unable to move forward because insurance companies aren’t offering coverage, an equivalent loss of 19,560 jobs. Conducted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 9, 148 member production companies participated. While CMPA and AQPM submitted a proposal in June to the federal government advocating for the creation of a government-backed insurance program, any federal intervention has yet to be announced. Read more here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced a $7 million federal top-up of the Government of Canada’s Phase 2 COVID-19 Emergency Support designated for the cultural, heritage and sport sectors. Administered by the CMF, in collaboration with Telefilm, the $19M Audiovisual Allocation is available to both film and television producers that did not receive Phase 1 funding who meet eligibility criteria. Eligible applicants may receive between $5,000 and $100,000 to be determined through a formula-based approach. Applications close Oct. 16.

Telefilm Canada is revising its Success Index. As such, it has launched the first phase of consultations—three online surveys: Talent to Watch (designed specifically for former program participants); Development Program; and Success Index. The deadline to complete these surveys is Sept. 27. 

 

WildBrain’s Q4 2020 revenue was $92.9 million compared with $108.8 million in Q4 2019. The decrease was primarily driven by declines at WildBrain Spark, resulting from changes in “Made for Kids” content policy made by YouTube and COVID-19’s negative advertising impact. Those declines were partially offset by higher Production revenue, which increased 46% to $26.3 million in Q4 2020 vs $18.0 million in Q4 2019, driven primarily by new content for Peanuts, Go, Dog. Go! and Johnny Test. Distribution revenue (excluding WildBrain Spark) was $13.4 million compared with $16.6 million a year ago. Advertising pressures contributed to a 64% decline in WildBrain Spark revenue in Q4 to $6.5 million vs Q4 2019. Audience engagement however, continues to climb, with WildBrain Spark reaching 11.6 billion views in the quarter, up 24% from the prior year.  More than 72.1 billion minutes of videos were watched on the WildBrain AVOD network in Q4, up 55% year-over-year.

Bell Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund is ending its fourth fiscal quarter with support for 15 new Canadian feature film projects through the fund’s Script Development Program, representing an investment of more than $236,000. Second feature projects selected for funding this quarter include: Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps; Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark’s Suze; Matthew Kowalchuk’s film adaptation of Jenny Manzer’s children’s novel My Life as a Diamond; and Ho Che Anderson’s graphic novel Sand and Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure, to be scripted and directed Anderson himself. A full list of projects supported for 2019/20 can be found here.

CTV has acquired new David E. Kelley drama Big Sky, set to air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET, beginning Nov. 17 (simulcast with ABC). Filming in Vancouver, Big Sky is based on the Cassie Dewell book series by C.J. Box, starring Kylie Bunbuy (When They See Us) as Dewell and Ryan Phillipe (Damages) as Cody Hoyt, who join forces with his estranged wife and ex-cop, Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), to search for two sisters who have gone missing while driving through remote Montana.

CTV Feature Documentary, Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me, premieres on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. ET. Produced by Melbar Entertainment, in partnership with Bell Media, and directed by Barry Avrich, the doc is told through Mandel’s own voice, examining the comedian’s life and career as well as his struggles with mental illness while managing a relentless pace in his professional and private life. The two-hour documentary begins streaming on Crave Oct. 13.

Ieden Wall

OMNI is set to debut late night talk show, Canadian Jewish TV (CJTV), on OMNI1, Oct. 1 at 11:30 p.m. ET. Hosted by Canadian poet Ieden Wall, the show will feature interviews and performances from notable Jewish figures, including Robert Lantos, Libby Znaimer, and Mark Breslin, among others. In keeping with Wall’s background, CJTV will also feature a spoken-word, short film series based on new poems from the host’s upcoming book, The Wisdom of the Wall 2. With the loss of Canadian Jewish News earlier this year, CJTV says it’s aiming to fill the void with a “traditional” style Jewish show “that avoids getting hung up on extreme sides of the political spectrum.”

CBC and Accent Entertainment have announced that production has begun on the sophomore season of comedy series TALLBOYZ (8×30). Set to premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in winter 2021, Season 2 is being shot in Toronto and co-executive produced by Bruce McCulloch (The Kids in the Hall, Young Drunk Punk) and Susan Cavan (The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town, Young Drunk Punk). Following the series debut last fall, TALLBOYZ was recognized with two Canadian Screen Award nominations for Best Sketch Comedy Show & Ensemble Performance and Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy

CBC says principal photography has begun on the fifth season of Workin’ Moms (10×30). Production will continue in and around Toronto through late November for a winter 2021 premiere on CBC and CBC Gem.

 

Abacus Media Rights (AMR) has secured sales of CBC original series Trickster to Sky in the UK (SyFy); NITV and SBS On Demand in Australia, Globoplay in Brazil and KinoPoisk (Yandex) in Russia ahead of its launch on CBC in October. Already greenlit for a second season, Trickster (6 x 60’) is based on the best-selling trilogy by Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster. Created by Streel Films’ Michelle Latimer (Rise, Nuuca) and Tony Elliott (Orphan Black), who also act as Executive Producers, alongside Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaia and Julia Sereny (Cardinal, Ransom), Latimer directs all six episodes. The supernatural mystery stars Joel Oulette (Monkey Beach), Crystle Lightning (Outlander), Kalani Queypo (Fear the Walking Dead), Anna Lambe (The Grizzlies), Nathan Alexis (Tin Star), Georgine Lightning (Blackstone), Craig Lauzon (Royal Canadian Air Farce) and Joel Thomas Hynes (Frontier).

Spin Master Corp. has debuted new CG animated preschool series, Mighty Express, on Netflix globally. Animated by Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons, the series is created and executive produced by Keith Chapman, the creator behind global mega-franchises PAW Patrol and Bob The Builder. Mighty Express marks Spin Master Entertainment’s first series launching straight to a streaming platform, as part of the company’s commitment to a multiplatform content strategy. 

 

Global Mechanic, the Vancouver animation studio behind Emmy-nominated digital interactive story Scribbles & Ink (PBS/WGBH) has joined forces with Northern Ireland’s ALT Animation to co-develop Class Clown (11mins x 52 episodes). Imagined by veteran Canadian writer Ian Boothby (Simpsons Comics, Futurama Comics, MAD Magazine), the series follows a clown and carnival family that decides to settle down in the suburbs after years of being on the road. The story centres around the family’s son Jimmy Jingles, a boy who just wants to fit in at his new school. Only trouble is, he’s descended from a long line of clowns and looks it. The two studios are currently preparing to take the property to MIPCOM Online+ this October to secure additional funding and broadcast partners. 

TSN and Pinty’s have announced a new multi-year partnership that makes Pinty’s the new television broadcast presenting sponsor of TSN’s OVERDRIVE. Under the partnership, Pinty’s will be integrated into the weekday broadcast on TSN4 and TSN2. Those integrations will include in-broadcast partnership designation, on-set branding, on-screen broadcast promos, and a new series logo.

Ethnic Channels Group has announced that The Africa Channel is now available on Bell Fibe TV in Ontario and Québec. Based in Los Angeles, The Africa Channel features English-language Pan-African television series, documentaries, feature films, music, specials, daytime drama, biographies, business analysis, and other cultural content. It’s now on free preview on Bell Fibe TV channel 1617.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Governor General Julie Payette arrives outside the Senate Chamber.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) says it remains optimistic revisions to the Broadcasting Act will be introduced during the upcoming session of parliament, following Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne. Included in the Liberal government’s outline of its upcoming priorities was a commitment to “address corporate tax avoidance by digital giants.” “Web giants are taking Canadian’s money while imposing their own priorities,” read Governor General Julie Payette. “Things must change and will change. The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing.” Earlier in the week, the CMPA was among a collective of film and television organizations that issued a joint statement imploring the government to keep a promise to overhaul the Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Copyright Acts. Read more here.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) application requesting regulatory relief for Canadian broadcasters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in July, the CAB filed an application with the commission requesting immediate regulatory relief to address significant financial difficulties being experienced by most, if not all, Canadian broadcasters and the likelihood private broadcasters would fall short of certain conditions of licence. The deadline for interventions is Oct. 19. Read more here.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says it is now in a position to start administering $22.5 million in emergency funding from Canadian Heritage directed to private independent radio, local television and discretionary services. Guidelines suggest an allocation of a maximum $3M for eligible independent television services; $7.25M for discretionary television services; and $11M for eligible private radio services. Payments will be based on a company’s relative proportion of news and information expenditures within each of the three independent broadcaster categories. The minimum payment for eligible independent broadcasters is $5,000.

Rogers Communications has announced the expansion of its 5G network to Ajax, Burlington, Grimsby, Oakville and Whitby, ON. The network now reaches 25 cities and towns in Ontario and more than 60 across Canada, building on its January rollout in downtown Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

TELUS has announced its 5G network expansion into more than a dozen additional communities, including Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Sherwood Park and neighbouring areas in Strathcona County in Alberta; Port Moody, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, and Victoria in B.C.; and Windsor, Tecumseh and La Salle in Ontario. The telco’s goal is to offer 5G connectivity to nearly 50 communities by the end of 2020.

Cogeco Connexion has announced a $3.2 million commitment to offer more Quebecers its high-speed internet services. As part of Cogeco’s four-year plan to invest more than $1 billion in the expansion of its Canadian broadband network, the additional investment will offer high-speed internet to more than 3,700 homes and businesses in several Quebec municipalities, across the Laurentides, Haut-St-François, Appalaches, Etchemins and Drummond.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has announced the successful applicants of its inaugural Mentorship Program for Early-Career Journalists. Over the coming weeks, 36 early-career journalists will learn from mentors in radio, television, digital, and print. Read more about this years mentorship matches, here. In total, the CAJ received 122 applications to the program. CAJ will be hosting an online event in October for those who weren’t successful in being matched this round. It’s strongly encouraging applicants who did not match to apply for the next session, set to begin in January. Journalists interested in mentoring for the second edition of the program are encouraged to get in touch with the association.

The Jack Webster Awards are open for submissions until Oct. 18. Online, print, radio and television journalists in British Columbia are invited to submit entries in 14 categories, including new category, Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Reporting. Learn more here.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

LISTEN: Keith Pelletier, General Manager of Dielectric, talks Master FM systems on this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, including the company’s eight-station installation in Lima, Peru. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

Shaw Communications has launched SmartTarget for Shaw Business customers, an all-in-one digital marketing and advanced insights solution that leverages Shaw’s SmartWiFi service to give business owners a deeper understanding of who their customers are. The add-on service provides business owners with detailed customer demographic insights when visitors join its guest WiFi network. Once customers have given their consent, business owners use SmartTarget’s automated campaign tools and leverage those insights to create targeted emails, surveys, and coupons, with an aim to help increase customer loyalty, drive deeper connections and boost store revenues. SmartTarget was developed in collaboration with Aislelabs using its Aislelabs Connect platform. Shaw Business is the first service provider in Canada to make the product available to its customers.

PromoSuite has launched its newest product, PromoSuite Mail. Built with radio’s unique needs in mind, PromoSuite Mail enables Promotions, Digital, and News teams to send emails featuring on-air contesting, promotional messages or news content. PromoSuite Mail is a relaunch of the company’s former “ListenerEmail” system, that works with PromoSuite Next – PromoSuite’s promotions management system, currently in use at over 2,500 radio stations across North America. Using both platforms enables stations to build one unified listener database.

The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) has published the presentation schedule for IP Oktoberfest 2020, a live, interactive, virtual event for broadcast and pro AV professionals to be held Sept. 29 – Oct.1. Running daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, IP Oktoberfest will provide participants with opportunities for education, interaction, and networking in an online environment that allows participants to move freely between meeting areas — including a live presentation stage, virtual pub, and meeting and networking areas. There is no cost to participate. Find registration details, here.