The Weekly Briefing


Barb Williams

Barb Williams is joining CBC as Executive Vice-President. Up until her recent retirement, Williams was EVP and COO of Corus Entertainment, and previously served as president of Shaw Media; VP, Content at Canwest; vice-president and GM of Toronto 1; and senior VP of Lifestyle Programming at Alliance Atlantis. Williams will join the public broadcaster May 1.

Susie Hedrick

Susie Hedrick is the new president and COO of media solutions company vCreative. Hedrick will report directly to vCreative CEO, Jinny Laderer, and will lead sales and operations while also directing the company’s finance and administrative functions. She joins vCreative from WideOrbit where she was SVP of Sales for North America, overseeing TV, radio, network and digital divisions.

Chris Toman

Chris Toman, the editor of VICE Sports, was among those swept up in layoffs at VICE Canada this week. Toman had been with VICE since 2015. The Canadian Media Guild, which represents VICE Canada employees, could not confirm the number of layoffs on this side of the border, as part of a 10 per cent reduction in the media company’s workforce worldwide.

Ingrid Moore

Ingrid Moore is retiring after nearly 30 years in radio, the last 10 with Starboard Communications’ 95.5 Hits-FM (CJOJ-FM) Belleville, ON. Moore’s last day on “Mark & Ingrid in the Morning” is this Friday, Feb. 8. Moore is heading to the Belleville General Hospital Foundation where she’ll be a special events officer. Charity Brown will join the 95.5 Hits-FM morning show as co-host, alongside Mark Philbin, starting Monday.

Hubert Lacroix

Hubert Lacroix, former CBC/Radio-Canada president, is joining Blake, Cassels & Graydon as Strategic Counsel in the Montreal office. Lacroix, 63, returns to private practice after a decade with the public broadcaster.

Doug Burnett

Doug Burnett has been appointed SaskTel’s president and CEO on a permanent basis. Prior to his appointment, Burnett had been acting in the role, in addition to his responsibilities as VP of Human Resources and Corporate Services. Burnett has been with SaskTel since 1990, when he started as Corporate Counsel.

Kenny Jones

Kenny Jones, former afternoon drive host on 96.9 JACK FM (CJAX-FM) Vancouver has returned to his hometown of Winnipeg where he’s handling drive on KiSS 102.3 (CKY-FM. Former drive guy Adam Taylor has relocated to Vancouver where he’s handling music director duties for multiple KiSS stations.

E.J. Alon

E.J. Alon has joined Telefilm Canada as the Director, Talent Fund. Alon has worked in philanthropy and development for the last two decades, most recently with the City of Toronto’s TO Live, and previous stints with TIFF, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the U.S., the Luminato Festival, Harbourfront Centre, and the Ontario Science Centre.

Gavin McInnes

Gavin McInnes is re-joining The Rebel, but as his alter ego “Miles McInnes.” One of the alt-right site’s earliest hosts, McInnes parted ways with Rebel Media in Aug. 2017. His return will be in character as his “woke brother” who’ll produce “social justice videos” according to a video promo. McInnes, whose career has taken him from co-founding VICE Magazine to founding western chauvinist group the Proud Boys, was most recently contributing to conservative network CRTV. He was downsized when it merged with The Blaze late last year.

Robert Brown

Robert Brown, vice-president at Cineplex Media, is the new chair of the Vividata board of directors. Brown has served on the media and consumer insights company’s board since 2016 and was elected treasurer in Dec. 2017.

Karen Bruce

Karen Bruce will join Women in Film & Television–Toronto (WIFT-T) as executive director, effective April 4. She replaces Heather Webb, who resigned at the end of December. With over 20 years of senior leadership experience, Bruce is currently Director of Membership and Fan Engagement at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Prior to 2012, she served as director, Canadian Initiatives at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where she developed external relationships and nurtured emerging talent through programs like Talent Lab and TIFF Rising Stars.

Matthew Vittiglio is joining New Metric as VP, Finance. Vittiglio joins the company from 9 Story. He’s previously been a controller at Epitome Pictures, and worked with KPMG.

John Christou

John Christou has been named director of operations for NFB’s English-language program. Christou founded Prospector Films in 2008 and has produced multiple films including Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Up The Yangtze, Inside These Walls, The Saver, and Last Woman Standing.

Mark Slone

Mark Slone has been named president at Pacific Northwest Pictures. A long-time Canadian distribution executive, Slone previously held senior leadership positions at Alliance Films and eOne. Based in Toronto, he’ll head up acquisition, distribution and production expansion operations for PNP.

Carmen Cruz has moved from weekends on CFOX-FM Vancouver to a new 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. midday time slot. Cruz has been with the station since 2014 in various roles including social media strategist and assistant music director, in addition to her on-air duties.


Spotify has announced its acquiring Gimlet Media and Anchor as part an aggressive push to position the streaming service as both the premier producer of podcasts and leading platform for podcast creators. Gimlet, is a Brooklyn-based independent producer of podcast content like series Reply All and Homecoming, founded in 2014, in addition to its creative agency which produces branded podcast content for the likes of Mastercard and Gatorade, and its film and television arm which develops its content for the big and small screen. Anchor is a free, end-to-end podcast creation, publishing and monetization platform. The terms of the transactions, expected to close in the first quarter, have not been disclosed. In its most recent earnings announcement, Spotify indicated it plans to spend up to $500 million on acquisitions in 2019, with CEO Daniel Ek affirming the streaming giant’s mission to expand from just being about music to being the go-to destination for all audio. In a blog post Wednesday, Ek expanded on the company’s “Audio-First” strategy writing that podcast listeners spend twice as much time on the platform than other users. Read the full story here.

The CRTC has launched consultations on the radio market capacity of Vernon, BC, Grande Prairie, AB, and Scarborough, ON. In Scarborough, International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association has applied for a licence for an FM Christian music station. Vista has applied for a new station licence in Grande Prairie, while the Vernon Community Radio Society is proposing a 1,000 watt community station to serve Greater Vernon. The deadline for receipt of interventions is Mar. 1.

The CRTC has denied an application by community station CKAR-FM Huntsville, ON, for a retransmitter that would boost its signal in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes, saying the area not part of its licensed market. The commission had concerns that doing so would negatively impact the two stations currently serving Bracebridge – CFBG-FM (Vista) and CJMU-FM (Bayshore).

Peach City Community Radio Society in Penticton, BC has started broadcasting Peach City Radio at 92.9 FM (CFUZ-FM). The station’s studio is located in the Okanagan community’s Cannery Trade Centre. Volunteers have been operating the not-for-profit station as an online stream since 2014, which will continue in tandem with the FM signal.

JAZZ.FM91 is appealing to its donor members for proxies to defeat Brian Hemming and the Save Jazz.FM91 Group, who have successfully requisitioned a general meeting of members in an effort to replace the station’s current board of directors. The requisition, signed by over 220 eligible voting members of the Toronto not-for-profit station, means JAZZ.FM91 is obligated to call and hold a general meeting within 21 days. Ten alternate nominees are being proposed, including Pat Holiday, former VP of Programming for Astral.

Audience Insights Inc. conducted a late January survey that indicates holiday gift-giving spiked smart speakers penetration in Canada to 19 per cent. That’s up from just four per cent in a little over a year. The survey indicates Google-brand speakers were, by far, the most commonly-received smart speaker gift, while low price points for smaller smart speakers made mini options three times as likely to be received as a gift. The email survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,512 Canadians was collected between Jan. 21-22. Read the full story here.

The Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award in Honour of Steve Young, recognizing outstanding young broadcasters, is open for nominations. Awarded at Canadian Music Week in May, the winning recipient’s travel, accommodation and registration are covered. Anyone working in the industry can nominate any worthy broadcaster so long as they: are under the age of 30 as of Apr.19, 2019; work in programming, on-air, programming, promotion, production or creative; are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant; and have made a significant, documented contribution to the community they serve, the radio industry or their craft. The deadline for entries is Monday, Mar. 11 at midnight EST time. Click here to access the submission form.


Wayne Bjorgan

Wayne Bjorgan, 80, on Jan. 26.

Bjorgan arrived in Barrie, ON from Saskatchewan in 1961 to work at CKBB 950. Bjoran would stay with the station for three decades, climbing the ladder from news director to general manager of CKBB, CKCB 1400 Collingwood, and CKVR-TV, and eventually president of Barrie Broadcasting. Bjorgan’s community involvement included 10 years helming the Georgian College Foundation. He also served on the boards of the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie and Seven South Street Treatment Centre of Orillia.


Bob Picken

Bob Picken, 86, on Jan. 30 of cancer.

Picken, or “Pick” as he was nicknamed, was a legend on the Manitoba sports scene, both as a competitor in baseball, curling and golf, in addition to his work covering sports. Picken, who grew up in North End Winnipeg, began his career covering midget and juvenile hockey for the Winnipeg Citizen. He worked at CKY Radio in the 1950s and in 1965, joined CJOB as the sports director and started doing play-by-play for the Winnipeg Junior Jets and Canada’s National team broadcasts. He started serving as the voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the late 1960s. After moving over to CBC, where he worked in both radio and TV, he was the radio voice of the Grey Cup for 15 consecutive years. Picken was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and also on the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour, in addition to the baseball, curling, hockey and golf halls of fame.

Emily Griffiths

Emily Griffiths, 96, on Jan. 30.

Griffiths and her husband Frank owned Western International Communications (WIC). The company’s operations included television, radio, specialty television and satellite distribution via a majority interest in Canadian Satellite Communications (Cancom). Operating from 1982 to 2000, the company was acquired by Canwest Global, with a takeover battle seeing Shaw assume WIC’s interest in Cancom. The family also owned the Vancouver Canucks NHL franchise for more than two decades, starting in 1974. Griffiths was predeceased by her husband Frank in 1994, at age 77.

Donald Bruce Richardson

Donald Bruce “Rick” Richardson, 83, on Jan. 22.

Richardson entered broadcast sales, following successful careers with the Royal Canadian Navy and Investors Syndicate. He started in sales with CHNS Halifax, moving on to CKGM Montreal, and then sales manager and eventual station manager at CKWW Windsor. Returning to his roots in London, Rick purchased CJOE in 1972, changing the call letters to CJBK and the format to Top 40 hit music. In 1980, CJBK added an FM sister staton CJBX-FM, the first country station in Southwestern Ontario. He also went on to acquire CHOK Sarnia. His retirement years were spent as president of Richardson Investment Corporation, spending much of his time in Nova Scotia and Florida.

David Dubnicoff

David Dubnicoff, 75, on Jan. 20.

Dubnicoff was the controller at Moffat Communications, overseeing the CKY Radio and TV divisions in Winnipeg, starting in 1977. He’d been retired since the late 1990s.



CRTCThe CRTC has extended its call for comments on a proposed Production Report to be completed annually by the large English- and French-language TV ownership groups. The new deadline to submit comments is March 6. The commission received a joint procedural request from the Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada, the Quebec English-Language Production Council, the English-Language Arts Network and On Screen Manitoba, as well as a joint procedural request from Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, Rogers Media and Quebecor Media requesting the extension.

Bell Media says Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcasts on CTV, CTV2 and TSN attracted an average audience of 4.33 million viewers in Canada, making it the most-watched sports broadcast since last year’s Super Bowl. That’s down from 4.45 million viewers last year and 4.47 million viewers in 2017, marking a 41 per per cent drop in viewership from the 7.32 million Canadians who watched in 2016 – the last Super Bowl broadcast prior to the CRTC simsub ruling allowing U.S. ads to air during the game in Canada. Including the French-language broadcast on RDS, which drew 983,000 viewers, across all Bell Media channels, 5.3 million Canadians overall watched Super Bowl LIII. Once the CBS feed of the game ended after the final whistle, Bell says a special post-game edition of SC WITH Jay and Dan, which aired on CTV and TSN, earned the show’s largest audience ever, averaging 810,000 viewers. CBS says 98.2 million Americans watched the Super Bowl this year, its smallest television audience since 2008. A record was set for digital viewership with 2.6 million people streaming the Super Bowl.

TekSavvy, and its affiliate cable company Hastings Cable Vision, have launched new IPTV service TekSavvy TV in the Chatham-Kent region of Ontario. TekSavvy TV offers customers access to over 100 HD channels, including sports, movies, series, kids programming, and VOD content. TekSavvy TV is currently available as an app for Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire Stick. The Basic package starts at $20/month, with additional theme packages ranging from $6 to $20/month for live sports, premium series, and blockbuster movies. TekSavvy says it will be rolling out the service to more areas in the coming months.

YourTV Niagara (formerly Cogeco) has started uploading vintage segments, seen on the community station over the last 30 years, to its website at Featuring community events like parades and the 1996 opening of Casino Niagara, many of the clips date back to former station owners Maclean Hunter, Armstrong and Rogers.

CTV, together with NBCUniversal International Studios, has announced new primetime medical procedural The Transplant, slated for the 2019/20 broadcast season. Developed by CTV, the series is from award-winning Montréal-based producer Sphère Média Plus, and is essentially a modern immigrant story wrapped in a medical procedural. NBCUniversal will have distribution rights outside of Canada.

Serinda Swan, stars as Dr. Jenny Cooper, in Coroner.

CBC says its new, original drama series Coroner debuted as the highest-rated new drama series premiere on the public broadcaster in more than four years. According to Numeris– confirmed data, Coroner reached 2 million in Canada and delivered an average minute audience of more than one million viewers for each episode. The series ranked in the top 30 television programs in English Canada for two consecutive weeks. In the UK, Coroner premiered as Universal TV’s highest-ever rated series launch. Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M.R. Hall, the character-driven one-hour drama stars Serinda Swan as Dr. Jenny Cooper, a recently widowed, new coroner who investigates suspicious, unnatural or sudden deaths in Toronto.

Bell Media says CP24Breakfast more than doubled the A25-54 audience of its closest competitor for storm coverage on Tuesday, Jan. 29 – becoming its 4th most-watched broadcast on record in the demo and 2nd most-watched among total viewers, reaching 868,000 (2+). As the storm hit the city, audiences were up 63% (A25-54 and 2+) on Monday and up 60% (A25-54) and 54% (2+) on Tuesday on CP24, versus its full-day average this broadcast year.

Jann Arden stars as a fictionalized version of herself in JANN, debuting Mar. 20.

CTV has announced a second wave of winter premieres. Joining the winter schedule is new, fast-paced spy-hunting thriller The Enemy Within (Mar. 3)); the much-anticipated 10-episode TV event from executive producer Marcia Clark, The Fix (Mar. 18), two-hour skating special Thank You Canada (Feb. 10), and the new six-episode comedy JANN (Mar. 20).  Returning favourites include The Voice (Feb. 25), World of Dance (Mar. 3), American Idol (Mar. 3), Station 19 (Mar. 7), For The People (Mar. 7), along with CTV Originals The Launch and Cardinal.  

TVO OriginaPolitical Blind Date returns for a second season this Valentine’s Day. The show sees politicians with different points-of-view go on a series of “dates,” exploring their diverse and opposing perspectives. Season 2 features PC Party Leader Andrew Scheer, Liberal MP Wayne Easter, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and others, taking on issues like taxes, improving Indigenous communities, asylum seekers and more

When Calls the Heart will return to Super Channel Heart & Home for a sixth season on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET, day and date with its premiere on the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. The Super Channel original series is filmed on location in British Columbia and based on the bestselling book series by Canadian author Janette Oke. The frontier drama stars Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary), Jack Wagner (The Bold and the Beautiful), and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House, 90210).

Travelers star Eric McCormack has confirmed the sci-fi drama will not return to Netflix for a fourth season. Created by Brad Wright and executive-produced by McCormack, Wright and Carrie Mudd, the series follows a group of agents sent from the future to change the path of humanity by putting their consciousness into the bodies of others. Shot in Vancouver, Travelers has previously won a Banff Rockie Award for Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Action Program, as well as Leo Awards for Best Direction for William Waring and Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series.

Rogers Media will kick off its coverage of the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, with Citytv LIVE at the GRAMMYs, starting at 7 p.m. ET, hosted by Tracy Moore (Cityline) and Devo Brown (Entertainment City), while Miss Universe Canada 2017 Lauren Howe acts as the evening’s fashion correspondent. Rogers Radio stations will air a one-hour GRAMMYs Preview Special on Feb. 10, followed by live updates during the GRAMMYs broadcast across all FLARE and HELLO! Canada social accounts. Hosted by 15-time GRAMMY Award-winner Alicia Keys, this year’s performers include Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Sportsnet heads to Saskatchewan this Saturday, Feb. 9, to celebrate the 19th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. This year’s broadcast focuses on courage – a fitting theme in a province known to thrive in the face of adversity. The 12.5 hour marathon will open with an tribute to first responders, including those involved in the fatal Swift Current Broncos bus crash in 1986, and the similar tragedy that the Humboldt Broncos suffered in April of last year. Hosted live from Swift Current, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada features four must-see matchups with all seven of Canada’s NHL teams in action, beginning at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE, CBC, Rogers NHL LIVE and Sportsnet NOW.

OMNI premieres its annual Lunar New Year Special this Sunday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. (Mandarin) and 7 p.m. (Cantonese). Hosted by Wei Lee and Jie Yang in Mandarin and Kenneth Li and Karen So in Cantonese, the special features traditional dances, cooking, fashion, and music, including a performance by the Toronto Chinese Youth Orchestra.

Makeful’s newest original series Blown Away follows 10 glass blowers as they compete to win bragging rights, a residency at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, and other prizes valued at over $60,000 USD. YouTube star Nick Uhas (Nickipedia; Big Brother Season 15) hosts the series. Blown Away airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, starting Feb. 20, during Makeful’s nationwide free preview.

TSN will have the broadcast premiere of The Impossible Swim on Feb. 27 as part of its Engraved on a Nation documentary series. Produced by Circle Blue Entertainment and co-directed by Larry and Ali Weinstein, the documentary explores 16-year-old Maya Farrell’s attempt to swim across Lake Ontario at its widest point.

Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation has been awarded Best 3D Documentary by the Advanced Imaging Society’s Lumière Awards, which honour achievement in immersive storytelling. Produced by Toronto’s SK Films, Volcanoes follows explorer Carsten Peter as he visits active volcanoes in Indoenesia, Vanuatu and Ethiopia, among other locations.

Fast Horse director Alexandra Lazarowich has won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The Edmonton-born and raised Cree filmmaker claimed the 2019 Sundance Short Film Special Jury Prizefor Directing honour. Fast Horse is about the sport of Indian Relay and the attempt to win the championship at the Calgary Stampede.

Telefilm Canada is currently accepting entries of feature-length narratives on behalf of the Festival de Cannes, and its two parallel sections, the Directors’ Fortnight and the Critics’ Week, for selection screenings to be held in Montréal Feb. 25 to Mar. 14. The application deadline via eTelefilm is Feb. 13, with screener delivery due Feb. 20. Feature docs as well as short films are not screen in Montreal and must be submitted directly to the Festival de Cannes and its parallel sections. More on the Information and registration process.

Sook-Yin Lee, Charlie Tyrell, Mina Shum, and James Long

Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund has announced support for 33 new Canadian feature film projects through the Fund’s Script Development Program, representing an investment of almost $500,000. The program supports Canadian films from story optioning and first and second drafts, to third drafts, polish and packaging. The latest round of selections includes a number of projects based on Canadian novels, including: Sook-Yin Lee’s Paying for It, based on the graphic novel by Chester Brown; Charlie Tyrell’s first scripted project Big Kids, based on the graphic novel by Michael De Forge; and Mina Shum’s Winners and Losers, based on the acclaimed play by Marcus Youssef and James Long. A full list of projects supported for 2018/19 can be found here.

imagineNATIVE has released its report offering a strategy for growth for Indigenous screen content in the international market. Among its recommendations are to increase Indigenous leadership at the highest levels of Indigenous screen organizations, as well as in non-Indigenous organizations; and to develop content that appeals to international audiences, leveraging opportunities for Indigenous writers to hone their scripts and craft. Read the report here.

9 Story Media Group has acquired Indonesian animation studio BASE. The full-service CGI animation, located in Bali, provides high quality animation work for clients around the world and employs 270 people. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) and Corus Entertainment have called for submissions for the 2019 Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program. Selected candidates will be invited to attend BANFF on a full-access pass and benefit from the extensive networking, pitching, and business-building opportunities. They will also have the chance to meet with showrunners, agents, producers and funders from leading broadcasters from North America and around the world. Participants will also be placed in a two-week internship in the writer’s room of a current Canadian comedy or drama series. Application deadline is Mar. 8.

WildBrain, one of the world’s largest and most popular networks of children’s videos on YouTube, has expanded its footprint with the launch of four new channels on leading AVOD platforms Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. The new channels include a WildBrain hub channel, as well as three curated channels dedicated to preschool content, kids’ action and Degrassi. In addition to Degrassi, the initial offering includes Teletubbies, Tiddlytubbies, Kiddyzuzaa, Sonic, In the Night Garden, Super Mario, and Inspector Gadget. The channels are available in the U.S. and Canada for free on the streaming platforms.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group has announced its kids division, Atomic Cartoons, is partnering with tokidoki, the pop-culture brand that means “sometimes” in Japanese. Atomic will develop an original animated series based on tokidoki’s Mermicorno character family. The series will be produced in collaboration with tokidoki co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Simone Legno and co-founder and CEO Pooneh Mohajer. Legno and Mohajer will serve as executive producers of the animated series, along with Thunderbird CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron and Matthew Berkowitz, VP of Originals, Atomic Cartoons. Legno created the series, which Shea Fontana (DC Super Hero Girls, Polly Pocket) is writing and developing. Fontana is also set to executive produce and serve as showrunner for the comedy-adventure series.

On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, if you’ve ever dreamed of writing a screenplay, Canadian entrepreneur Khaled Sabawi wants to help you get there. Better known for his work co-founding companies like MENA Geo Thermal and TABO Palestine, Sabawi is now taking on Hollywood with a new platform called Open Screenplay. It aims to democratize the screenwriting process and ultimately bring more diverse stories to mainstream audiences.


YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed in a blog post Tuesday that the number of creators earning five or six figures on the platform grew by more than 40 per cent in 2018. Channels with over one million subscribers also nearly doubled in the last year. Looking ahead to 2019, Wojcicki highlights the platform’s increased focus as a destination for news, education and giving. Read the full story here.

Criterion Channel’s streaming service launches in Canada and the U.S. on April 8. The channel boasts fare for the serious film buff spanning Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent movies, plus access to Criterion’s entire streaming library of more than 1,000 classic and contemporary films.


Yaroslav “Slava P” Pastukhov

Yaroslav Pastukhov and Ali Taki Lalji, two former VICE Canada employees, have been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, following an investigation into a drug mule operation with alleged links to the Mexican cartel. RCMP arrested Pastukhov, a former VICE music editor, and Lalji, a former VICE sales manager, on Jan. 31. Police say Pastukhov had been living in Montreal under an alias. The two Toronto arrests follow a Dec. 2015 interception at Sydney International Airport that saw four Canadians and one American arrested after being found in possession of nearly 28 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $22 million. Read the full story here.

The City is a new digital magazine produced by upper-year Concordia University journalism students. The publication promises to focus on contemporary Montreal, where the city is heading, and the hidden stories that contribute to Montreal’s unique character. The publication is expected to be live this week.


The Daily Hive has bought digital publication The Torontoist. Based in Vancouver, Daily Hive is the 15-year-old pub’s second owner in the last year. St. Joseph Media, which publishes FASHION and Toronto Life, acquired the company just last April. The Torontoist, which has operated since 2004, was originally set up by New York’s Gothamist as part of a chain of city-oriented blogs.


The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Radio Council is calling for foreign-based digital audio and music services like Spotify and YouTube to be brought under the Broadcasting Act. In its submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel, the Radio Council says it believes “that the best way that communications legislation can promote access to Canadian voices on all platforms, in both official languages, is to make it explicitly clear that digital platforms are captured by Commission regulation.” The council, which represents 500 AM and FM radio stations, argues that essentially most online foreign services already fall under the definition of a broadcast undertaking. It makes the call to have the Broadcast Act encompass those operators in the context of what it terms “disturbing trends” driven by an exodus of advertising revenue to digital platforms. The council says to stay competitive, private radio must be allowed to increase operational efficiencies through the elimination of outdated regulations and restrictions that applied in a pre-internet era. The council specifically wants to see a relaxation of rules that prevent radio operators from owning more than two FM stations in any market. The council’s submission also calls for “greater clarity on, and criteria for CBC/Radio-Canada’s digital initiatives, including digital advertising.” Read the full story here.

Informed Opinions, a project of Media Action – a not-for-profit that aims to boost representation of women and girls in the media – has found that women are quoted three times less than men in Canadian news stories. Informed Opinions has released a new tool newsrooms can use to check themselves. The Gender Gap tracker has been mining data since August from online news sources like CTV, CBC News, Global, HuffPost and the National Post, among others. The Financial Times implemented a similar tool last year after finding it was over-quoting men, with only 21 per cent of its sources women.

CBC/Radio-Canada president Catherine Tait raised eyebrows at Prime Time in Ottawa after equating Netflix and its increasing worldwide domination with cultural imperialism. Tait  went “a little off script” telling Stephane Cardin, Netflix’s director of public policy in Canada, that the streaming giant’s global expansion reminded her of the former British and French empires. Tait cautioned that Canada stands to pay a steep cultural price if foreign OTT operators continue to have unchecked access to the television and digital space.

Videotron employees in the Eastern Quebec and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions have ratified tentative agreements reached on Dec. 21, 2018 with the union executive of CUPE Union Local 1417. The collective agreements are renewed through the end of 2020.


ABC Communications has announced a plan to conduct internet service trials in Lac La Hache, BC, using Huawei’s next-generation Massive MIMO Rural Broadband System. Massive MIMO delivers internet speeds of up to 100 mbps for rural residents. Developed in large part by Huawei’s Canada Research Centre team over the last decade, Massive MIMO antenna equipment can simultaneously receive and transmit more than one data signal. As a result, one Massive MIMO antenna can operate at the same efficiency and effectiveness as multiple antennas. It also utilizes beam forming technology, which improves the connection range.

Bell says this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day raised $7,272,134.95 for Canadian mental health programs. Total Bell Let’s Talk Day messages of support Jan. 30 amounted to 145,442,699 between midnight in Newfoundland and Labrador and midnight in B.C., with Bell donating five cents to the Bell Let’s Talk fund for each interaction. Eligible Bell Let’s Talk interactions were up by more than five per cent over last year, including Bell mobile calls, long-distance calls and texts, as well as tweets, retweets, filters, frames and video views on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Social media engagement was up 13 per cent, with Bell crediting, in part, support from social media influencers like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, members of the Royal Family, and celebrities including Shawn Mendes, Celine Dion and Shania Twain. Bell’s total funding commitment to Canadian mental health now stands at $100,695,763.75, since its first event in 2011, including its original $50 million donation that launched the initiative. Read more here.

CBC has launched its CBC COMEDY’S NEXT UP contest that offers amateur comics a chance to win a performance slot at the 2019 Ha!ifax ComedyFest, April 24-28. Online submissions are open now at Interested burgeoning comedians are invited to submit a 60-to-90-second video of their best material before Feb. 21. The contest will be complemented by a series of online videos exploring the state of comedy in Canada from a variety of perspectives, including new women of comedy, comedy in the North and how comedy is flourishing in Indigenous communities.

Veritas – Advancing Journalism in the Public Interest is teaming up with Investigative Reporters and Editors to host Investigative Journalism Across Borders, its third international conference, May 4-5 in Toronto. The conference training is designed for reporters, editors and producers from newspapers, TV, radio stations, web and digital-only news sites and news blogs, as well as academics. Confirmed speakers and panelists for the conference include: Susanne Craig (New York Times); Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star); Harvey Cashore (CBC fifth estate); Peter Klein (60 Minutes, University of British Columbia School of Journalism); Lynn McAuley (Toronto Star); and Patti Sonntag (Institute for Investigative Reporting, Concordia University), among others. Register here.

The Michener Awards Foundation is reminding news organizations and journalists that the deadline is less than three weeks away for entries and applications for the annual Michener Award and two fellowships. News organizations whose journalism achieved results for the public good in 2018 are encouraged to enter the competition. Qualifying journalists and news organizations are also urged to apply for two Michener-Deacon Fellowships for investigative reporting. Both offer $40,000 and $5,000 in expenses. The deadline for both the Award entries and Fellowship applications is Feb. 22. Learn more at

Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry celebrated his 85th birthday on Tuesday. Part of the HNIC broadcasts since 1980, the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby makes the case to honour “Grapes” with the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Foster Hewitt Award, presented annually to the person who makes “outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of hockey through their broadcasting career.”


SMPTE® is launching a new Essential Technology Concepts Webcast Series, designed to cover the foundational concepts, technologies, and workflows associated with the creation of professional media content. Slated for Feb. 7, the first webcast, titled, “Human Perception Fundamentals: Color, Contrast, and Motion,” will feature guest speaker David Long, director of the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity (MAGIC) and MAGIC Spell Studios. The series will cover topics such as human perception, imaging physics, the fundamentals of color science, and sound systems, and provide opportunities to learn about M&E technology fundamentals and discuss critical topics and questions with subject matter experts. The webcasts are being offered to both SMPTE members and non-members to support the advancement of the M&E industry and its members. Information and registration details about the new series, as well as other SMPTE webcasts is available online at

Videon, a developer of 4K and HD streaming products, is simplifying video streaming with the introduction of its VersaStreamer product line. VersaStreamer eliminates a key workflow barrier by enabling simultaneous output of three RTMP streams. With this capability, plus support for simultaneous output of MPEG-TS streams, HLS, and recording, the tech brings valuable flexibility to live streaming by facilitating simultaneous processing and distribution of streams to multiple platforms — Facebook, YouTube, a CDN for streaming via a website, or a local network or display. Users can stream locally, point-to-point, and to multiple online video platforms simultaneously while also recording to a backup USB. The VersaStreamer is available in three models, supporting up to 4K.

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