Michael Melling has been appointed head of CTV News, succeeding Wendy Freeman who stepped down from the role at the end of December. Melling assumes responsibility for all news, information and current events programming including CTV News, BNN Bloomberg, CP24, and current affairs shows W5, Power Play and Question Period. Melling started with the network in 2003 as a lineup editor and writer at BNN Bloomberg, moving on to a five-year reporting stint with CTV from 2005-09. He’s since held successively senior roles from News Director for Southwestern Ontario to Regional News Director for CTV Ontario, to General Manager roles in Kitchener and Toronto. Most recently, he’d been serving as GM of CTV News Toronto, CP24 and BNN Bloomberg. Freeman had led the CTV News division since 2010. Originally from Montreal, she began her broadcast career with Citytv Toronto and had also worked at WPIX-TV New York, WXYZ-TV Detroit, and the former CKO Radio News network. Read more here.
Todd Battis has been named the next Chief Anchor for CTV News Atlantic. The longtime national correspondent for CTV News, is set to succeed Steve Murphy in the role as anchor of flagship newscast CTV News at 6, starting Monday, Jan. 31. Battis has been with CTV for most of the last two decades after starting his career with CBC in the early 1990s. Among other roles, Battis served as the CTV Vancouver Bureau Chief for five years from 2003-08. After a brief return to the public broadcaster as host of CBC New Brunswick at 6, Battis returned to CTV in 2009 as Atlantic correspondent for CTV National News, based in Halifax. Read more here.
Jesse Thomas has joined CTV Atlantic as a reporter and weekend anchor. Thomas was previously with CHEX-TV in Peterborough for the past eight years, in addition to contributing to Peterborough This Week.
Jess Smith has accepted a new role with CTV Toronto and Your Morning as a segment producer, focused on social media content, in addition to taking on weekend weather anchor duties. Smith has held various roles with CTV News since 2016, including a stop in Regina and more recently Kitchener.
David Molko is leaving CTV Vancouver for KGW-TV Portland. Molko has been a senior reporter with CTV for the last four and a half years. Prior to that he was a senior producer for CNN International, Asia Pacific and has held various roles with CBS and Fox 5 in New York, among other stops.
Alison MacKinnon is leaving CTV News Regina to join CTV Edmonton. MacKinnon has been a videojournalist with CTV Saskatchewan since Oct. 2019, initially in Yorkton. She’s also worked with CTV Lethbridge and Global Winnipeg.
Andrew Collins has left Global News Toronto to work as a probationary firefighter in the GTA. Collins has been a freelance videographer and photographer in the Toronto area since 2009, working with CBC, CTV and The Canadian Press, among other outlets.
Jess Patton has left Global News Toronto after five years to return to university to pursue her Masters in Counselling. Patton first joined Global in Jan. 2017 as a Digital Broadcast Journalist.
Ted Anhorn has wrapped a 40-year broadcasting career with Global BC. An award-winning news editor, Anhorn was part of the team recognized with a Webster Award for the station’s Casino Diaries feature in 2019, among other awards and nominations over the years.
Earl Seitz has retired after more than five decades in broadcasting and 48 years of bringing sports to CFJC-TV Kamloops viewers. Seitz, 74, started his broadcast career as a DJ in Cranbrook in 1968, before landing in Kamloops in 1974. Seitz was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the RTDNA in 2011 and inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Kyle Mack has left his Digital Producer role with Citytv’s Breakfast Television to join Toronto public relations and artist management agency, NKPR, as Digital Content Director. Mack had been with Citytv for the last three years. Prior to that, he held social media roles with Topshop and Hudson’s Bay Company, among other companies.
Kim Magi, who has been with CTV Vancouver since 2014, has made the move to Global BC and Global National as a producer. Magi has held roles with CTV from writing for Your Morning to working as a lineup editor. Prior to joining the network, she was a reporter with the Toronto Star and Edmonton Journal.
Nabil Karim has hosted his last show with ESPN. The former TSN Sportscentre anchor/reporter joined the American network in April 2019. Karim hasn’t revealed where he’s headed next.
Shanel Pratap has left his sports anchor/reporter role with Global BC after nearly 12 years with the station. In a post to Twitter, Pratap indicated he’ll be joining sports betting venture, Parlay One Media.
Kyle Benning has moved from his reporting role with Global News Lethbridge to join Global Toronto as a Network Digital Broadcast Journalist. Prior to joining Global in 2018, Benning was an anchor and reporter with 980 CKNW Vancouver.
Jennifer McGuire, the former General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of CBC News, has joined Pink Triangle Press (PTP) as Chief Content Officer. McGuire left the public broadcaster in Feb. 2020 after nearly 11 years in the role. She’s most recently been a Visiting Fellow with the Reuters’ Institute of Journalism at Oxford University.
Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, reporters with CBC Investigates – the award-winning investigative unit of CBC Edmonton – have both left the public broadcaster. Rusnell and Russell plan to continue pursuing investigative journalism independently. The Progress Report has compiled a list of the longtime investigative duo’s greatest hits.
Tara Henley says she’s left the CBC due to a shifting political agenda. A contract producer at CBC Radio, Henley is a 20-year journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The Walrus, in addition to a books column in the Toronto Star. In a Substack post published Jan. 3, Henley writes “When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press…It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change. To work at the CBC in the current climate is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity.” Henley has launched new podcast, Lean Out, with the first episode featuring Newsweek’s Batya Ungar-Sargon, author of Bad News: How Woke Media is Undermining Democracy.
Laura Brougham has joined CHEK-TV Victoria as a Digital News Editor. Brougham was previously a talk show producer and fill-in anchor/reporter at CFAX 1070 Victoria.
Dave Trafford has signed off from the weekend morning show on Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto, but will continue to contribute to the Roundtable with John Moore. Trafford will be working with his daughter Erin Trafford on new projects through branded content production house, Story Studio Network.
Dave Woodard has left AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) Toronto for AM 900 CHML Hamilton. Woodard had been with AM 640 since 2015, including producing the morning show for four years before transitioning to a reporting role prior to the pandemic.
Alix Michaels has a new gig with Evanov’s Hot 100.5 (CFJL-FM) Winnipeg, starting Jan. 10. Michaels was previously the afternoon drive announcer on Pattison’s 94.3 The Drive in Winnipeg, prior to its October format flip to 94.3 Now! Radio (CHNW-FM).
Murray Brookshaw will continue to consult with Rogers Sports & Media as Interim Content Director at KiSS 105.3 (CISS-FM) Ottawa and Country 92.3 (CJET-FM) Smiths Falls. Brookshaw held a similar role with 92 CITI FM Winnipeg for the last seven months.
Tristan Field-Jones has left 680 CJOB Winnipeg after almost a decade. Field-Jones, who hasn’t revealed his next move, has held numerous positions with the station since 2012 from operator to web editor, content producer and news anchor.
Kim Senkiw has left radio sales to join Pollard Banknote as a sales executive. Senkiw has been with Golden West Broadcasting, based in Winnipeg, for the past four years, and prior to that was an account manager with Corus Winnipeg for 18 years. She started her career as a media planner and buyer with Western Canada Lottery Corporation, McKim Advertising and Palmer Jarvis.
Roo Phelps is hosting a new national weekend show on the Pure Country network, Saturdays and Sundays, starting Jan. 8. Phelps has been covering national midday host Shannon Ella’s maternity leave for the past year.
Trevor Chikowski has moved from the role of music director and midday host at The Bull 92.9 (CKBL-FM) Saskatoon to host afternoons in Kamloops at Classic Rock K97.5 (CKRV-FM) and K96.3 (CKKO-FM) Kelowna. Chikowski, a graduate of Western Academy Broadcasting College, started his career on the morning show at Country 104 (CKVX-FM) Kindersley, SK, before moving to The Bull.
Jared Launchbury has returned to CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) Toronto. Launchbury was most recently with 660 News (CFFR-AM) Calgary where he was part of the national overnight anchor team, up until this past August. He originally joined 680 News in 2015 as a Humber College intern.
Matt Brand has joined Information Morning on CBC Radio One Halifax as a traffic reporter and editor. Brand previously worked at News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax as a reporter and producer on The Sheldon MacLeod Show. He’s also spent time as a creative writer at both Rogers Sports & Media and MBS.
Roshini Nair is now working as a digital producer with CBC Podcasts, stepping in for Fabiola Melendez Carlotti, who is on secondment with the CBC Content Development Team. Nair has been working with CBC Vancouver in various roles for the past six years.
Mercedes Gaztambide has joined CBC as a Social Presenter and Creator. The avid TikTok creator (@sadiebenzy) and pending 2022 Ryerson University Journalism grad has previously developed TikTok content for blogTO and produced YouTube content for Goodable.
Rachel Giese has joined The Globe and Mail as Deputy National Editor – Health, Education and Families. Giese leaves Xtra Magazine where she’s been the Editorial Director since 2018. Giese has also held roles at CBC, Chatelaine and The Walrus, among other publications.
Peter Koveos has delivered his last newscast at TVB Pearl in Hong Kong as he moves over to the South China Morning Post. Koveos has been with the station for the last four years and working in China for the last decade. Prior to heading to Beijing in 2008, Koveos was a producer, reporter and host with Global TV in Vancouver and Team 1040 (CKST-AM).
BBTV’s Board of Directors has approved the promotions of Lewis Ball to Chief Strategy Officer, Doug Johnson to Chief of Ad Sales and Branded Entertainment, and Blake Corbet to Chief Corporate Development Officer. Vancouver-based BBTV Holdings has also appointed John Kim to its Board of Directors as an independent director. Kim is an independent business consultant, investor, and director of both public and private companies with extensive experience in capital markets. BBTV’s Board of Directors is now comprised of six members, five of whom are independent.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Corus Radio is launching a new national, weeknight talk show, starting Jan. 10, hosted by former Global National correspondent Ben O’Hara-Byrne. A Little More Conversation with Ben O’Hara-Byrne will air weeknights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. to 1 a.m ET on Corus Radio’s seven AM stations, including 980 CKNW Vancouver, 770 CHQR Calgary, 630 CHED Edmonton, 680 CJOB Winnipeg, AM 900 CHML Hamilton, 980 CFPL London, and AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) Toronto. Corus says the show will be driven by O’Hara-Bryne’s curiosity, featuring “compelling stories, diverse viewpoints, thoughtful questions and frank conversations on topics that matter to all Canadians.” Born and raised in Montreal, O’Hara-Byrne began his broadcasting career in radio in Quebec City before moving into television as a reporter with Global News in Montreal and Toronto, Global National in Ottawa, and Beijing as the network’s Asia Correspondent. O’Hara-Byrne made the leap to CTV News in 2010 as Asia Bureau Chief and later held the same role in London. He returned to Canada in 2015, anchoring the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts for CHEK News Victoria for four years and contributing as a columnist to Star Metro Vancouver. Since 2019, he’s been working with British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) in External Stakeholder Engagement.
The JACK FM brand in Canada turned 20 on Dec. 26. JACK 96.9 (which now carries the call letters CJAX-FM) first hit the airwaves in Vancouver on Boxing Day 2002 with AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Licensed by SparkNet Communications, the format is believed to have been partially inspired by the success of CHUM’s 99.9 Bob FM (CFWM-FM) Winnipeg which Program Director Howard Kroeger created after hearing a mixtape at a 40th birthday party and had launched in March of that year. To mark the anniversary, JACK 96.9 has assembled a rundown of what’s changed over the last 20 years.
Native Communications Inc. or NCI is celebrating 50 years of radio. What eventually evolved into NCI was started in the fall of 1971 in northern Manitoba by a committee made up of northern Indigenous communities concerned about representation and seeking programming in Indigenous languages. NCI underwent substantial growth in the 1990s when it began purchasing transmitters, officially going on-air in Winnipeg in the fall of 1998. It now operates 57 transmitters reaching almost every corner of the province.
Jigs & Reels, a Newfoundland-themed music program heard weekly on 98.5 CKWR Kitchener for two decades, is returning to the community radio station after a 14-year absence. Host Dean Clarke initially wrapped the show in 2008 to spend more time with his young family, but has now revived the program as of Jan. 3. It’s airing Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. ET.
CBFM, Cape Breton’s newest online radio station, has launched featuring the music of homegrown performers like Rita MacNeil, The Rankins, Matt Minglewood, The Barra McNeils, and Natalie MacMaster, among others. Operated by the Gaelic College (Colaisde na Gàidhlig) and broadcasting from the Beinn Mhàbu campus on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, the station will also feature programming in the Gaelic language with a mission to promote, preserve and perpetuate the culture, music, language, and traditions of immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland. Listen live here.
SiriusXM is celebrating the influential music of David Bowie this month with the limited-run David Bowie Channel (ch. 104). Honouring what would have been the singer’s 75th birthday on Jan. 8, listeners can expect to hear music spanning Bowie’s entire catalogue, live tracks from concert performances, and rare tracks and remixes. Celebrity guest DJs include Beck, Billy Corgan, Linda Perry, Carlos Alomar, Rosanna Arquette, David Arquette, and Patrick Stump, who will host and spotlight their favourite Bowie tunes and share memories of the iconic artist. The pop-up channel is running for two weeks through Jan. 18 and streaming online on the SXM App throughout the month of January.
Spotify has acquired podtech company Whooshkaa which turns radio broadcasts into on-demand audio. The Australian-based platform gives independent creators, publishers, broadcasters, and brands an end-to-end platform to host, distribute, monetize, and track on-demand audio. As part of the acquisition, Spotify plans to integrate the tech into Megaphone, which it acquired in late 2020. When it comes to ad-supported audio, Spotify says two formats are seeing the most consistent growth: streaming radio and podcasts, and with the acquisition radio publishers will have greater opportunity to reach new audiences and earn more from their content.
Hot Docs Podcast Festival is once again going virtual, Jan. 25 – 28. This year’s festival will feature live conversations with Samantha Bee, Ira Glass, and NPR’s Invisibilia, among others, in addition to a slate of industry sessions and speakers. Find the full lineup here.
Stingray Group has acquired InStore Audio Network, the largest in-store audio advertising network in the United States, reaching 100 million shoppers each week in over 16,000 grocery retailers and pharmacies, for approximately CDN $59 million subject to an earn out mechanism set forth in the purchase agreement. InStore Audio Network generated an estimated CDN $18.5 million in revenues in the last year. InStore Audio Network enables the monetization and delivery of highly-targeted digital audio advertising at a location level via custom curated streaming music services. Leading grocery and pharmacy retailers leveraging the platform include CVS, Rite Aid, Albertsons, Safeway, Southeastern Grocers, Ahold, Tops Markets, Weis Market and Brookshires. Under Stingray’s ownership, InStore Audio Network will continue to broaden its existing retail media offering with a focus on verified audience measurement, digital ad serving and programmatic monetization.
LISTEN: On our year-end podcast, we usually focus on the newsmakers in the broadcast, podcast, tech and streaming space, however Broadcast Dialogue and our parent company, Momentum Media Marketing, closed the year with a huge internal move as James Wallace, the digital strategist who has been the backbone of the company for the last 12 years, returned to the agency world. We’re happy to say we’ve recruited Jeff Lush as our new Director of Digital Media, who leaves a similar position at Rogers Sports & Media after 16 years. On the year-end episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we welcome both digital experts to debate the state of the industry, predictions for 2022, and more.
LISTEN: Mary Anne Ivison joins Matt Cundill on the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast. Ivison was let go from afternoon drive at Bell Media’s Pure Country (CKKL-FM) Ottawa in February 2021, and spent the rest of the year pivoting away from the profession that was her livelihood for 12 years. In this episode, you’ll hear how the Tilbury, ON native got her start in radio and wound up falling in love with Ottawa, as well as what lies ahead in the world of voiceover and why she’s doubling down on audio. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
Elizabeth Laird, 73, on Dec. 31, of cancer. A longtime radio station owner who used her business to champion industry, tourism and non-profit organizations, Laird relocated with her family from Ontario to Nicola Ranch near Merritt in the early 1980s. In 1984, Laird became the owner and operator of JADE Garden Centre, in addition to serving as a School District 58 trustee for a decade. Her involvement in broadcasting began through her son Andrew, former morning show host at CJNL 1230 Merritt. In 1994, she invested in Merritt Broadcasting and in 2016 became the sole owner of what is now Q101. As the only female independent broadcast owner/operator in B.C., she gave many broadcasters their first opportunity in the industry, an accomplishment she took a great deal of pride in. In 2021, Laird completed the sale of Q101 to Pattison Media. Even with the many challenges of running a business, she found time to serve her community, including serving as the first female president of the Merritt Rotary Club in the 1990s and sitting on the board of the Merritt Chamber of Commerce.
Jean-Marc Vallée, 58, on Dec. 25. Born and raised in Montreal, Vallée studied filmmaking at Le Collège Ahuntsic and L’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). His early career began directing music videos in the mid-1980s for Montreal bands including Wild Touch and Park Avenue. He went on to produce a number of short films with his feature length directorial debut Black List, the highest grossing Quebec film of 1995, nominated for nine Genie Awards. Follow-up films included 2005’s C.R.A.Z.Y.; 2009’s The Young Victoria, which received three Oscar nominations; 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club; and 2014’s Wild, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing. Vallée went on to direct and executive produce Big Little Lies (2017) and Sharp Objects (2018) for HBO. Big Littles Lies earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special. Vallée was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017 and an officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2020.
Candy Palmater, 53, on Dec. 25. Born in Point La Nim, NB and a member of the Eel River Bar Mi’kmaw Nation, Palmater was the first Indigenous law student in Canada to be valedictorian of her graduating class at Dalhousie Law School. She quickly realized she didn’t want to practice corporate law and went to work with the Nova Scotia Department of Education before turning to comedy and producing her own radio and television programs. A regular contributor to CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera (DNTO) and an interim host of Q, Palmater went on to host and write The Candy Show on APTN from 2010-14. She produced her first film, Building Legends: The Mi’Kmaq Canoe Project in 2011. Among other television roles, she appeared on shows like Forgive Me, Trailer Park Boys, and was a regular on CTV’s The Social. She also lent her voice as a narrator to series like Skindigenous and True North Calling. Prior to her death, she was slated to have a recurring role on CBC sitcom Run the ‘Burbs.
Stan Bailly, 74, on Dec. 18, of complications from COVID-19. Following his graduation from BCIT, Bailly’s 31-year radio career began in Williams Lake in 1968. He returned to his hometown of Kamloops in 1987 to work for CIFM and was best known as the co-host of “Hank and Stan In The Morning” for 25 years, alongside Henry “Hank” Small. He retired from radio in 2018. Following his retirement, he ran his own DJ business playing events and parties in the Kamloops area.
George Stephenson, 69, on Dec. 5. Stephenson graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in the 1970s and started his journalism career working at weekly newspapers around Alberta, before joining the Lethbridge Herald. Stephenson (and his first wife, reporter Wendy Stephenson) joined the Winnipeg Sun in the 1980s where he rose from legislative reporter to city editor and eventually managing editor. In the 1990s, he went on to work with CBC Radio in Winnipeg where he served as news director. Post-journalism, Stephenson’s career took him to the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) and a communications role where he served as the publications and website manager. He retired from MTS in April 2021, but continued to contribute columns to the Winnipeg Free Press.
Broadcasters We Lost in 2021:
Revisit our Sign Offs columns paying tribute to those who left us from radio, television & the screen industries over the past year.
TV & FILM:
Boat Rocker has finalized a deal to buy a minority equity stake in TeaTime Pictures, founded by actor/producer Dakota Johnson and former Netflix executive, Ro Donnelly. Under the agreement, Boat Rocker will extend its current first-look deal with TeaTime to develop and produce scripted & unscripted television and digital content. In addition, Katie O’Connell Marsh joins TeaTime as a partner. Under the new equity investment, TeaTime will continue operating as an independent business, with Boat Rocker providing capital, as well as business and strategic support. Boat Rocker-optioned Cult Following from writer Bexy Cameron (with Dakota Johnson attached to star and TeaTime set to executive produce) is among several projects currently in development under the first-look. O’Connell Marsh will continue to be an executive producer on the current slate of scripted projects at Boat Rocker, while adding to the studio’s slate under a new overall deal. She’ll leave her role as Vice-Chair of Boat Rocker Studios to focus on these priority areas, as well as her new role at TeaTime.
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) members have ratified the 2022-24 Independent Production Agreement (IPA) with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM). The new agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, provides performers with an annual general fee increase of three per cent in each of the three years of the agreement (total 9.27% compounded general fee increase). Other negotiated improvements include strengthened protection of human rights and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging language; stronger protections governing child performers; better measures for scenes involving nudity; new language to address specific concerns related to auditions as well as virtual and self-taped auditions; and additional temporary COVID-19 provisions with respect to costs and compensation for time spent undergoing testing. The IPA covers the engagement of performers in all film, television and digital media production in Canada (except in B.C., which operates under a separate collective agreement).
Art Hindle will be presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2022 Award of Excellence at the 20th anniversary of the ACTRA Awards in Toronto in an online ceremony to be streamed at 8 p.m. ET on March 6. A Canadian actor who has also worked and lived in L.A., Hindle has 200 IMDb credits to his name. He started out in the film and TV business in 1968 after a successful, but brief career as a stockbroker, shooting to stardom in the role of hockey player Billy Duke in Face-Off. In L.A., he appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Starsky and Hutch, and Law and Order, among many other film and TV titles. Hindle was also a regular on Kingston Confidential and Dallas. Back in Canada, he appeared in comedy classic Porky’s and won a Gemini for his portrayal of Mike Fennell on the award-winning series ENG. He has volunteered his time and celebrity to ACTRA for 16 years, serving on ACTRA Toronto Council, ACTRA National Council and was a VP on the ACTRA Toronto Executive for a decade.
The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has announced that 10 games from the 2021-22 regular season schedule will be televised by TSN as part of the CHL’s new multi-platform, multi-year broadcast rights partnership. The broadcast schedule begins with a double-header set for Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET featuring the Sudbury Wolves vs. Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), followed at 10 p.m. ET by the Prince George Cougars vs. Vancouver Giants (WHL).
Sportsnet and APTN have announced the return of Cree-language NHL broadcasts with the debut of Hockey Night in Canada in Cree, starting Jan. 15. Building on the historic debut of Rogers Hometown Hockey in Cree in 2019 and a subsequent three-year deal to produce and air NHL on Sportsnet games in Plains Cree, coverage will return on Saturday nights. Featuring all seven Canadian NHL teams in action from Jan. 15 to April 23, the six-game national broadcast series will see APTN leverage Sportsnet’s NHL production to deliver exclusive Cree-language commentary and analysis to hockey fans and communities across the country. Play-by-play broadcaster Clarence Iron returns with the call alongside host Earl Wood and analysts John Chabot and Jason Chamakese.
RiverTV has added HGTV Canada and Food Network Canada to its live streaming options. Both channels are now included in the live and on-demand TV streaming platform’s core package of over 40 channels. RiverTV is now available on all major streaming video devices including Roku, Apple TV and iOS, Amazon FireTV, certified Android TV devices (including SONY TVs) and Android mobile. The monthly subscription remains unchanged at $16.99.
Global has added new country music drama Monarch to its winter lineup, debuting in a special two-night premiere event Monday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and then making its time period premiere Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Starring Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins and Anna Friel, Monarch is a multi-generational musical drama about America’s first family of country music whose name is synonymous with honesty, but the foundation of their success built on a lie.
CBC has announced AccessCBC: A CBC Initiative for Creators with a Disability, a new national pilot program for deaf and disabled creators that will provide training, mentorship and, on selected projects, financing support, to create scripted and documentary content. As part of the pilot program, CBC is partnering with the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto presented by the Miles Nadal JCC (RAFFTO), which provides creative opportunities and training for persons with a disability working in film, television and/or video content production. AccessCBC is designed for creators in two streams: scripted comedy/drama and short documentaries. Ten creators will be invited to join the scripted pitch development stream where they’ll participate in multiple development workshops. In the short documentary stream, filmmakers will take part in a two-month development mentorship that will see 10 participants shortlisted and awarded development funding. At the end of the development period, one of the 10 shortlisted projects will be greenlit for production. Submissions are open to creators with a demonstrated interest in the media industry who self-identify as having a disability and are not employed by CBC. Learn more here.
CBC and Hot Docs are partnering once again to bring top festival selections to home screens across Canada. Hot Docs On CBC is featuring first-run original Canadian feature documentaries every Sunday in January at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. This month’s selections include Portrayal, investigating financial art fraud; Hell or Clean Water, the story of Newfoundlander diver Shawn Bath’s obsessive quest to clean up the coastal ocean floor one rotting tire at a time; and The Gig Is Up: A Very Human Tech Story, uncovering the real costs of the platform economy.
TVO Original Come Clean is a close look at what fuels addiction, as well as the herculean effort and hope recovery demands. Premiering Tuesday, Jan. 25 on TVO, TVO.org, YouTube and TVO streaming channels, Come Clean is written and directed by Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham of Insurgent Projects (Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel, The Lost Highway). The doc begins on New Year’s Eve in the southwestern Ontario farming community of Thamesville, home to Westover Treatment Centre. Cameras roll as a group of addicts embark on 19 days of in-treatment counselling. With intimate and unfettered access, the filmmakers embedded round-the-clock at Westover, living alongside the program participants. Post-treatment, filming followed select subjects for 18 months to experience their realities and see who among them could break the habits that landed them in rehab.
Ieden Wall hosts broadcaster and mental health advocate Valerie Pringle on Canadian Jewish TV on OMNI Saturday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. ET. The former host of Canada AM shares with Wall her own personal struggles as a mother of two children with mental health issues. Opening up to Wall in her first TV appearance in years, the conversation also addresses the role social media and technology is playing in creating a “narcissistic generation of smart-phone addicts” and Pringle’s own formula to overcome depression and anxiety.
Unspoken, starring Chinese superstar Zhang Hanyu, has started principal photography in Winnipeg. Written and directed by Daming Chen, the film also stars Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Jake Abel (Malignant, Supernatural) and Vivienne Tien. Set for release in 2022, Unspoken is being produced by Huanxi Media and CMC Pictures with an international production team led by Court Five’s Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, Chinese producer Han Sanping, and CMC’s Ming Beaver Kwei. Former Columbia/TriStar President of Production Chris Lee is also an executive producer. Unspoken tells the story of Xu (Zhang Hanyu), an estranged father separated from his deaf daughter and her new life at an American university. In the wake of her sudden death, ex-cop Xu becomes convinced local authorities are pursuing the wrong suspect and that racism is compromising the investigation.
Chase Lawless, a Toronto-based actor who happens to be the son of broadcasters Shelley Swirski and Vince Cownden, will appear on the season finale of The Mayor of Kingstown on Paramount Plus on Sunday, Jan. 9. Swirski, a television news veteran familiar to viewers in both Calgary and Winnipeg and the former co-host of the syndicated The Movie Show, reflects on the family’s broadcasting and entertainment legacy. Read more here.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame inductee Duff Roman, The Fifth Estate co-host Bob McKeown, and Quebec actor and comedian Marc Labrèche are among the newest inductees of the Order of Canada. The latest round of appointments also includes Janis Dunning, C.M. and Jacques Lemay, C.M., co-founders of the Canadian College for Performing Arts in Victoria. Dunning was a household name for decades as the creator and principal performer of national CTV kids’ television series Let’s Go! and The Rockets. Former Halifax radio personality, politician and disability advocate Jerry Lawrence, C.M. and Helga Stephenson, O.C., O.Ont., former director of Festival of Festivals (the pre-cursor to TIFF) and past Chairperson of Viacom Canada were also appointees. Read more here.
CBC has been ordered to pay nearly $1.7M in damages to a Manitoba investment advisor, finding that the public broadcaster’s coverage was defamatory. Justice Herbert Rempel said a television and online story on Kenneth Wayne Muzik that aired in 2012, negatively affected the adviser’s personal life and ability to earn income. The broadcast focused on a former client of Muzik’s, who had relied on the investment advisor’s advice to commute the value of his $675,000 Canadian Pacific Railway pension to an investment portfolio. The decision names the public broadcaster and former reporter Gosia Sawicka as defendants.
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has launched Misinfo 101, a series of national training workshops designed to help Canadian post-secondary students identify misinformation and disinformation. The first session in the series will be held Jan. 20 and taught by ProPublica’s Craig Silverman, in partnership with Seneca College. The session will be open to all post-secondary students living in Ontario, who can register here. Some of Canada’s top investigative journalists, fact-checkers and researchers developed the workshop curriculum. Training sessions will take place in 13 provinces and territories across Canada this year, led by local instructors from CBC, Radio-Canada, ProPublica, and The University of King’s College.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
Bob Orban, one of the broadcast industry’s premier audio processing visionaries, has received the inaugural Audio Engineering Society President’s Award. He and fellow collaborators were honoured for technical achievement in drafting TC Document TD1008 “Recommendations for Loudness of Internet Audio Streaming and On-Demand Distribution.” The award recognizes contributions to the goals of AES that are made collaboratively. Orban shares the award with David Bialik, Rob Byers, Jim Coursey, Eelco Grimm, Bob Katz, John Kean, Scott Norcross, Shawn Singh, Jim Starzynski and Alessandro Travaglini. The AES President’s Award was presented in an online ceremony in mid-December along with technical, fellowship and Board of Governors’ Awards.
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