Bell Media has made more layoffs in management just weeks after a sweeping executive shuffle at its head office. Among those caught up in this round of departures are Rob Farina, Head of Content, Strategy & iHeartRadio, who had been in the role since 2016; Tyson Parker, Director, Podcasting and Artist & Music Industry Relations; Lis Travers, General Manager of CTV News Channel, who had been with Bell for 17 years and was a former Executive Producer of Canada AM; Edwina Follows, General Manager of the six Discovery Networks in Canada (Discovery, Animal Planet, Velocity, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery and Discovery GO); Martin Spalding, Regional VP & GM, Local Radio and Television for Bell Media Quebec; and Grant Ellis, GM of BNN Bloomberg. On the West Coast, Les Staff, News Director for CTV News Vancouver, departs. He had been in the role since late 2012, first joining CTV Vancouver as an Executive Producer in 2007. Also in Vancouver, John Voiles is out after nearly eight years as VP, Bell Media Sales, Western Canada. Prior to joining Bell in 2013, Voiles was a VP and General Manager with Astral Radio in Vancouver. Stewart Meyers, Vice President and General Manager for Bell Media Alberta, is also no longer with the company. Read more here.
Dave Randford is the new voice of the Tampa Bay Lightning, joining the FOX Sports Sun broadcasting crew, alongside Brian Engblom, Paul Kennedy, Dave Andreychuk, Bobby Taylor and Adam Hall. Randorf has been calling NHL games for Sportsnet for the past six years, serving as the play-by-play commentator for Hockey Night in Canada, Wednesday Night Hockey, Rogers Hometown Hockey and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Prior to joining Sportsnet, he was with TSN for 19 years, including a stint as the voice of the Montreal Canadiens from 2010-14.
Troy Scott is moving out of his role as National Format Director of Rogers Sports & Media’s JACK FM brand to take up the position of National Format Director, Adult Contemporary & Content Director for CHFI-FM Toronto. Scott had been in his previous position for the last year after joining Rogers from Bell Media where he was Program Director for its Winnipeg radio stations. Scott takes over his new position from Wendy Duff, who is now National Content Director, Country and Content Director for Country 106.7 and CHYM 96.7 Kitchener. That role became vacant with the retirement of Peter McKeown in December after 17 years with Rogers and 45 years in broadcasting.
Clint Hollinger has been upped at Rogers Sports & Media to Senior Manager, Media Engineering, for the Prairie Region. Hollinger has been with Rogers since 2011, most recently as Manager, Engineering and Operations, Alberta Region.
Greg Jardine is retiring as Stingray Radio’s Chief Engineer for Alberta South after 48 years in radio. Jardine started his career at CKXL and CHFM Calgary in 1972. Along with Gordon Kyle, Jardine went on to build one of the first automated computer music systems for which they were recognized with the Col. Keith Rogers Engineering Award by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in 1976. That same year, Jardine was transferred by Moffatt Communications to Winnipeg as Chief Engineer for CKY-AM/FM (later CITI FM) and then transferred again to CKLG-AM/FM (later CFOX) Vancouver where he stayed on as Chief Engineer for almost 30 years. Following the sale of the Vancouver stations, Jardine joined Newcap Radio Calgary, overseeing CKSQ Stettler, CKDQ Drumheller, CIBQ Brooks, CJPR Blairmore and CJEV Elkford. During his vacations, he also worked with Christian radio stations in Estonia, Dominica, Suriname, Nigeria and the U.S. His last day is Feb. 28.
Darrell Patton has retired after 15 years as an ENG videographer with Global BC. Patton, who just turned 65, was previously a longtime shooter at Citytv Vancouver prior to joining Global in 2006.
Warren Dean is leaving CTV Regina, where he’s been the Senior Weather Anchor for the last two years, to join CTV Vancouver Island where he’ll be filling in for Brittany King while she’s on mat leave. Dean’s previous stops have included CTV Calgary and CBC in both Edmonton and Calgary, in addition to several stints in radio.
Leah Johansen has joined Breakfast Television and CityNews Toronto as a news writer and producer. Johansen has been anchoring at 680 News (CFTR-AM) for the past year and a half and prior to that was in various roles at sister station 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener since 2014.
Hassoun Camera, who was part of Montreal Impact’s defense from 2011-17, has joined Radio-Canada Sports as a commentator and interviewer. He’ll primarily be seen on the broadcaster’s Podium platform in addition to penning a regular column for Radio-Canada.ca, focused on soccer and social phenomena related to sport. He’ll also be an occasional contributor to ICI TÉLÉ , ICI RDI and ICI PREMIÈRE. Prior to joining Radio-Canada, Camera was a soccer analyst for TVA Sports and hosted a podcast on Qub Radio.
Rob Frost is returning to radio and Bayshore Broadcasting’s 89.1 Max FM (CISO-FM) Orillia after an eight-year hiatus from the business. Frost is hosting the Adult Alternative station’s morning show, in addition to serving as Operations Manager. Frost was previously heard on Rock 95 (CFJB-FM) and 107.5 Kool FM (CKMB-FM) in the Barrie-Orillia market for more than two decades.
Dani Paradis has joined Canadaland as a Contributing Editor. Paradis has previously been a columnist for Metro Edmonton and a contributor to Sprawl Calgary, Mic.com, and the Canadian True Crime podcast.
Daniel Rix has joined MBS Radio as an Account Manager, based in Charlottetown. Rix was most recently Business Development Coordinator at Capital Honda and has previous Marketing and Communications experience in the tech and wireless sector.
Ashley Pirhonen is joining the morning show on 99.5 Moose FM (CFBG-FM) Muskoka. Pirhonen is a student in the BCIT Radio Arts & Entertainment program, Class of 2021.
So excited to announce I’ve joined @moose995 in the mornings!
The cross country move was an adventure and a half. I can’t wait to start my radio career in beautiful Bracebridge, ON pic.twitter.com/s2ibYWyPLW
— AJ in the radio (@AshleyPirhonen) January 18, 2021
Daniel Friesen has joined Muskoka-based community station, The Bay 88.7 (CKAR-FM), hosting Adult Alternative Afternoons from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays. Friesen is a student in the Niagara College Advanced Diploma Program, Radio and Television Presentation.
Mike McFarland is now a Sales Consultant with Halifax-area community station, 105.9 Seaside FM (CFEP-FM). The radio veteran was most recently heard on Hubbards, NS community radio 88.7 Cove FM (CKVE-FM) with his own show “Mick’s Picks.” He’s also been on-air at both Evanov and Stingray’s Halifax stations.
Alison Barrat has been promoted to SVP, Production & Development, at Love Nature. Barrat, who first joined the company in 2018 as VP of Production & Development, has been tasked with developing and commissioning new projects and executing programming strategies for Love Nature’s international networks and will also work with the channel’s programming, marketing and sales teams to grow the brand. Prior to Love Nature, Barrat launched a wildlife film production unit at the Living Oceans Foundation, executive producing films for PBS and the Smithsonian Channel, among other projects.
Veronica Saluzzi has joined Toronto-headquartered Forté Entertainment as its new Head of Development. Up until last March, Saluzzi had been a Senior Development Producer at Boat Rocker Media and its subsidiary Temple Street Productions since 2011, working on both scripted and factual productions, including Discovery Canada’s Vintage Tech Hunters and Say Yes to the Dress: Northern Edition.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Radio Connects is leading the search for a new third-party audience measurement provider for so-called “C Market” diary cities like Lethbridge, Prince George, and Saint John. Numeris will continue providing PPM measurement and continuous measurement for the top 22 radio markets. Radio Connects says a third-party provider is being sought to measure 56 smaller markets that have largely gone unmeasured as of late. Radio Connects President Caroline Gianias said discussions around the prospect of a new third-party measurement provider were initiated following Numeris’ announcement this past summer that it was moving the Fall 2020 Radio Diary online only and would focus solely on the top markets. The agency later announced the cancellation of the Fall radio release due to low online diary returns. The three companies vying for the contract are Australia’s Xtra Insights, Quebec City-headquartered startup StatsRadio, and Microtherapy, the software company behind Radius audience analysis and broadcast sales software. Radio Connects President Caroline Gianias said the details of how the additional measurement will be part of the stakeholder committee’s discovery process. Read more here.
Stingray Radio has rolled out the regional “Q Network” across four of its Classic/Active Rock stations in the Maritimes, anchored by shared morning and evening shows out of Q104 (CFRQ-FM) Halifax. In addition to Q104, the stations under the Q Network umbrella include Q103 (CJMO-FM) Moncton, NB (formerly branded as C103), Q97.9 (CKEZ-FM) Pictou County, NS (formerly Z97.9), and Q88.9 (CHNI-FM) Saint John, NB, which was already under the Q banner. As of Monday, each station’s day is “bookended” by BJ & The Q Morning Crew, hosted by BJ Wilson, Bobby Mac, and Allie McKinnon, and regional evening show Rock of the Atlantic with Adam Marriott, which has aired across all four stations since 2018. In Moncton, Brock Gallant and Mandy MacDonald remain hosting daytime shows, while Alex Theriault and Scott George continue to anchor locally-based shows in Pictou County. There are no personality or music changes in Halifax and Saint John.
The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA) is in the midst of its testing phase ahead of the Feb. 1 launch of 89.3 The Raven. The Raven will play the best of Pop, Classic Rock, and Hip Hop with a focus on Canadian Indigenous talent, in addition to Indigenous language programming in Cree, Dene, Nakoda Sioux and Michif. The station’s launch was initially supposed to happen last April, but was delayed by the pandemic. The Raven joins the media group’s other properties which include CFWE-FM Edmonton and CJWE 88.1 FM Calgary, as well as online site, Windspeaker.com.
CBC Music is launching two new national radio shows: The Block (Feb. 1), a two-hour show highlighting music of Black origin from Hip Hop to Reggae and R&B, airing weeknights from 7 – 9 p.m., hosted by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe; and Frequencies (Feb. 2), hosted by Errol Nazareth, airing Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. on CBC Music and CBC Listen. Building on the format of his popular Toronto radio show Big City, Small World, Frequencies will highlight musical storytelling from cultures and communities across Canada that aren’t always reflected in mainstream media. “We are expanding our range of music programming to amplify voices and genres that have not consistently had a home on mainstream or national airwaves,” said Steve Jordan, Senior Director of CBC Music, in a release. “Adding The Block and Frequencies to our schedule is a part of our evolving strategy to connect and reflect a wider range of musical interests and communities across Canada.”
Expect Theatre and CBC Podcasts have announced a new season of PlayME, the podcast that turns Canadian plays into audio fiction. The Gold Medal winner of the 2020 New York Festival’s Radio Award for audio drama kicks off its new season with a lineup of plays that speak to these uncertain times, exploring themes like privilege, connection, the urban/rural divide and mental health. The season begins with Marcus Youssef and James Long’s Winners And Losers. The 2021 season is also set to feature Other Side of the Game by Amanda Parris, the 2019 Governor General’s Award winner for English-language drama; and Between The Sheets by Jordi Mand, among other productions.
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio™ (ch. 91) is bringing subscribers live play-by-play of every game for a 16th year. This year’s roster of former players joining the broadcasts include Mike Johnson, Mike Rupp, Martin Biron, Shane O’Brien, Kris Versteeg and Anthony Stewart. Among this season’s new hosts are Gord Stellick, Scott Laughlin, Steve Kouleas, Boomer Gordon, Mick Kern, Linda Cohn, Dave McCarthy, and Jonathan Davis. Returning are insiders Brian Burke, Elliotte Friedman, Bruce Boudreau, Pierre McGuire, Craig Button and Jeff Marek.
LISTEN: On the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast, Evan Degenhardt, General Manager and Content Director at 106.1 The Goat (CKLM-FM) Lloydminster, talks about celebrating the station’s 20th anniversary, how alumni can get involved, and more. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
Norm Jary, 91, on Jan. 8. Jary arrived in Guelph in 1954 from CJCS Stratford, following the lead of former colleague Lloyd Robertson, a CJCS operator who Jary had suggested get behind the mic and who had moved to the city a few months earlier. In 1965, Jary was offered the job of TV play-by-play voice for the New York Rangers on the recommendation of the team’s general manager, who had been a Guelph coach earlier in his career. Among Jary’s more famous calls was Bobby Hull’s record-breaking 51st goal in 1966. Jary ultimately decided to stay at CJOY. Alongside his four decades in broadcasting as CJOY’s news and sports director, Jary sat on Guelph City Council for 35 years and was the city’s longest-serving mayor from 1970 to 1985. Jary was an inductee of the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame and was a lifetime member of the Guelph-Wellington Community Living and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington. His annual golf tournament raised more than $700,000 in support of those with intellectual disabilities. Jary retired from CJOY in 1992.
Michael Hooey, 69, on Jan. 3. Hooey started his career in the 1970s a a cameraman at Citytv. He went on to join CFTO-TV in the early 1980s, acting as a director on shows that taped at the Toronto studio, including kids game show “Just Like Mom” and eventually working behind-the-scenes on the CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson. Hooey went on to direct Canadian series, including “What’s For Dinner?”, “Christine Cushing Live” and Anna Olson show “Sugar,” among other Canadian productions.
Erv Wegwitz, 75, on Dec. 13. Originally from the Regina area, Wegwitz attended De Vries Technical School in Toronto before returning to Saskatchewan to work for CKCK-TV in Regina. He made the move to CBC Winnipeg in 1967, also doing work for Videon as cable TV was being introduced to the city. Wegwitz and his wife moved west to Vancouver in 1970 where he was hired by CTV and then CBC as a Television Technician. Among his career highlights were working on no less than 10 Olympic Games. He retired in 2002.
TV & FILM:
Numeris’ has announced it’s rolling out its cross-platform Video Audience Measurement (VAM) solution nationally, while also revealing to members it’s scrapping its TV Diary service. While Numeris had an online Radio Diary system already in place when the agency was forced to transition its staff to work from home at the outset of COVID-19 in March, that was not the case with the television service. With no remote TV diary in place and unable to process physical diary returns, Numeris made the call to cancel the Fall 2020 ratings release, saying in July that it would focus on Spring 2021. In this week’s communique to members, Numeris said the pandemic has put pressure on diary services globally “with respondents grappling to find the time to complete a diary over seven days with so many competing priorities, as they work from home and care for their families.” Numeris said its plan is to design a “hybrid” audience measurement solution for markets not measured by PPM using set-top box (STB) data, PPM and other demographic data that its aiming to have in place “later in 2021” following the build of a national STB solution. Read more here.
Nunavut Independent Television (NITV) launched Canada’s first all-Inuktut TV channel Uvagut TV “Our Independent Inuit Television” on Monday. Uvagut TV broadcasts children’s series, movies, documentaries, live shows and archival productions by Isuma, Kingulliit, Arnait Video, Artcirq, Taqqut, NITV and other independent Inuit producers; as well as Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), and Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS). The channel is available to Shaw Direct customers as well as Arctic Co-ops Cable subscribers in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Uvagut TV can also be streamed at uvagut.tv. Uvagut TV breaks ground as the first Canadian Indigenous–language channel and after APTN, only the second Indigenous television service among 762 broadcasting in Canada. It increases total Indigenous-language television programming available to Canadian audiences by 500%.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced plans for the upcoming 42nd edition of the event, set for June 14-16, that will be held via a new “bespoke” online platform. From June 14-18, BANFF will host Marketplace Week where participants will be able to meet, screen, pitch and socialize via scheduled meetings in “virtual Pavilions” or their own customized private video conferencing room. The Rockie Awards International Program Competition will announce its winners June 15, while BANFF’s signature Summit Series keynotes featuring high level industry panels, networking, and other events will also be scheduled during the week. The festival will continue online between June 21 and July 16, premiering a series of panel discussions, celebrity Master Classes, In Conversations, and additional programming and networking opportunities. Read more here.
Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has announced that its 40th edition will take place from Sept. 30 – Oct. 10. The landmark edition will feature both in-cinema and online screenings, with approximately 100 features and 100 shorts to be screened from around the world. The scope of VIFF’s brick-and-mortar events will be determined in the coming months as the organization continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Submissions for the 2021 Festival are now open via FilmFreeway for features, documentaries and short films, as well as narrative-lead virtual and immersive content. The early submission deadline is Apr. 23.
Telefilm Canada is currently accepting entries for Canadian feature films for the Cannes Film Festival, “L’Officiel”, as well as the two parallel sections, La Semaine de la Critique and the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. Due to COVID-19, selection screenings in Montreal will not take place, however films submitted via Telefilm will be exempt from the submission fee. The deadline to submit is Feb. 26. Learn more about eligibility here.
Amazon Prime Video and NHL Original Productions have announced multi-episode docuseries All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, a behind-the-scenes look at the Leafs’ 2020-21 NHL season. The Canadian Amazon Original series will be available on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories later this year. The series is being produced in association with NHL Original Productions and Cream Films. Executive Producers are Steve Mayer, Ross Greenburg and Steven Stern. All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs is the second announced Canadian Amazon Original series following The Kids in the Hall. Since 2015, Amazon Studios has filmed 22 original series and films in Canada, including The Man in the High Castle and Upload in Vancouver, The Boys and The Expanse in Toronto, Tales from the Loop in Winnipeg, as well as parts of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and The Voyeurs in Montreal.
Herd of 1 Media’s new half-hour x 13-episode docudrama series Secret History: The Wild West has premiered on APTN in both Blackfoot and English. The series uses a blend of cinematic live action reenactments, speaker testimony, animation and archival photos to shine a light on historical First Nations, Inuit and Metis icons Canadian history has overlooked or forgotten. Among those featured this season are Red Crow, Poundmaker, Louis Riel and Jerry Potts. Julian Black Antelope (Tribal, Blackstone), the series creator, showrunner and writer, hosts in the role of “the Trickster” guiding the viewer through each half-hour episode. Filming locations for the series included Bow River Ranch in Calgary and Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge.
Obsidian Theatre and the CBC have unveiled the full line-up of directors and performers who have joined the first major project announced under Artistic Director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, 21 Black Futures. First announced this past fall, the project is an anthology of 21 filmed monodramas, commissioned from 21 multigenerational Black playwrights across the country, directed by 21 Black directors and performed by 21 Black actors. Premiering in Feb. 2021, 21 Black Futures will premiere exclusively on CBC Gem in three parts (3×70 minutes).
CBC Kids original preschool series Dino Ranch has debuted on CBC and CBC Gem. The animated series, produced by Industrial Brothers and Boat Rocker Studios in association with CBC Kids, Radio-Canada and Disney, follows the Cassidy family as they tackle life in a fantastical “pre-westoric” setting where dinosaurs roam.
TFO is launching youth series, La vie compliquée de Léa Olivier, on Jan. 21. The adaptation of Catherine Girard-Audet’s best-selling novels is produced by Slalom and Encore Télévision in collaboration with TFO. Aimed at young Canadians, ages 9-12, the series will air on FlipTFO, the Franco-Ontarian broadcaster’s pre-teen niche, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and replayed at the same time Saturdays and Sundays. Featuring a cast of young talent that includes Laurence Deschênes, Léanne Désilets, Thomas Delorme, Laurie Babin, Sam-Éloi Girard, Émie Thériault and Karl-Antoine Suprice, the first season of 12 half-hour episodes focuses on Franco-Ontarian and Canadian culture.
TVO Original The Forbidden Reel, co-winner of the Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs 2020, is now available for streaming on tvo.org and the TVO YouTube Channel. The film, from Oscar-nominated and Canadian Screen Award–winning filmmaker Ariel Nasr (Good Morning Kandahar, The Boxing Girls of Kabul), Loaded Pictures, The National Film Board of Canada and TVO, tells the story of how Afghan filmmakers created a unique national cinema while under constant threat from Taliban extremists.
ENDOMIC, the latest short film from Trinidadian-Canadian director Camille Hollett-French and first-time director Ipek Ensari will premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival as part of its inaugural Unstoppable program for visible and non-visible disabilities, Feb. 12-25. Hollett-French partnered with Columbia University scientist-turned-director Ensari to make the film about endometriosis, a chronic condition with a high burden and no cure that affects 200 million people around the globe. ENDOMIC is a live-action-meets-animation, doc-meets-mock about modern medicine and society’s take on the disease, seen through the lens of the two women creators who deal with it daily. ENDOMIC was produced by Cascadoo Films, Hollett-French’s Vancouver-based production company, and This is a Science Film Productions, Ensari’s new science-themed NYC-based prodco.
Eyes for the Job, starring Chris Judge, returns to AMI-tv on Feb. 9. Along with co-host Erwan Fresq, Judge – who is partially-sighted – takes on do-it-yourself projects in the community with help from their travelling workshop in a converted camper van. The new 13-episode season includes kitchen, home office and community garden renovations around Nova Scotia. In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, Season 4 of Eyes for the Job features Integrated Described Video (IDV) making it accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Netflix added 8.5M paid net additions in Q4, crossing the 200M paid memberships threshold. For the full year, the streamer added a record 37M paid memberships (a 31% increase from 2019’s 28M paid net adds), recording $25 billion in annual revenue, up 24% year-over-year. Operating profit grew 76% to $4.6 billion. Netflix said its business is becoming increasingly global with 83% of paid net adds in 2020 coming from outside the U.S. and Canada. For Q1 2021, it’s anticipating paid net additions of 6.0M vs. last Q1’s 15.8m, which reflected the impact of the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Netflix said its productions are back up and running in most regions with over 500 titles currently either in post-production or preparing to launch on the service, and plans to release at least one new original film every week in 2021.
Cogeco Connexion has launched new IPTV service, EPICO, a platform integrated into Google’s Android TV ecosystem that allows viewers to watch both TV and streaming content via a single interface. Test-driven on 1,200 Cogeco employees before hitting the market, EPICO encompasses live and on-demand channels, in addition to Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and other apps via the Google Play Store. The interface includes the ability to use voice commands to restart a program or access a recent broadcast. The EPICO 4K wireless cloud PVR also offers capacity to record up to 1,000 hours of content that can be downloaded and viewed later without an internet connection on the EPICO mobile app.
QYOU Media says its Hindi language youth-oriented channel, The Q India, has seen surging mobile viewership growth as a result of a partnership formed with the Chingari app. Chingari saw its user base explode exponentially when TikTok became banned in India in June 2020. The app has established a remarkable daily average viewer engagement time of 59 minutes and has nearly 100 million videos viewed on the platform daily. The Q India is now available in and on over 650 million homes and devices in India.
Wattpad’s Board of Directors has approved the company’s acquisition by Naver, the South Korean internet conglomerate and home of WEBTOON™, a leading global digital comics platform. Naver is expected to acquire the Toronto-headquartered storytelling platform in a cash and stock transaction valued at more than USD $600 million. Wattpad says the acquisition will allow it to continue to accelerate its international growth with the company to remain headquartered in Canada under the continued leadership of founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. Wattpad’s global community reached 90 million people in 2020 — including more than five million writers — who spend over 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories ranging from sci-fi to romance, fantasy, and horror. To date, around 1,500 Wattpad stories have been published as books, or adapted for TV and film. Wattpad Studios, the company’s TV, film, and publishing division, was awarded the Innovative Producer Award at the 2020 Banff World Media Festival. The acquisition is expected to close in Q2 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
The Webby Awards has extended its call for entries until Feb. 15. In its 25th year, the annual event celebrates the best of the internet across Websites and Mobile Sites; Video; Advertising, Media & PR; Social; Podcasts; Games and new this year Apps and Software and Virtual & Remote, honouring the craft and production of virtual events. Among those on this year’s judging panel are comedian Sarah Cooper; Google Social Lab Head Santi Pochat; Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch; and the founders of virtual DJ battle VERZUZ, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA NEWS:
CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal hearing entered its intervention phase this week with Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) President Kevin Desjardins kicking off the presentations Monday stating that a market-driven public broadcaster negatively disrupts an already challenged private broadcasting sector. Desjardins cited decreases in Canadian content on television and more commercial TV programming. He also questioned the public broadcaster’s move to establish Hamilton as a new local digital market, while already well-served by CHCH-TV and The Hamilton Spectator, in addition to controversial in-house branded content initiative, Tandem. At minimum, the CAB is calling for a TV and online ad sales moratorium in markets where local private radio and TV stations are present. FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting also called for a gradual phase-out of all advertising in all languages by the end of 2021. FRIENDS also wants more transparency around digital and linear expenditures, revising its intervention to recommend a three-year licence renewal term. Read more here.
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is calling on Canadian newsrooms to guarantee reporters can discuss and report on race and racism without fear of censure or repercussion in light of the arbitration decision vindicating former CBC Winnipeg journalist Ahmar Khan. An arbitrator ruled Khan was improperly fired after sharing with outside journalists how CBC managers compelled him to take down a tweet criticizing Don Cherry as “xenophobic” because it went against the public broadcaster’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. The arbitrator determined the termination was wrong because the information gathered to fire Khan came from a violation of his privacy when a colleague went through private messages on Twitter and Whatsapp after Khan remained signed in on a shared company laptop. “The CAJ supports Khan’s attempts to highlight concerns about racism at Canada’s national broadcaster, and reached out directly to CBC management to express our concerns with some of the facts revealed in the decision,” stated the association. Read more here.
Michel Bissonnette, Executive Vice-President, Radio-Canada, has issued a statement surrounding a December trip to Florida, saying he was tending to business regarding a property he owns there. “While there, I worked remotely for two weeks and took 10 days of annual leave. During my stay, I did not go to any restaurants or retail stores. Upon returning to Montreal, I strictly adhered to public health guidelines by quarantining for 14 days,” the statement reads. “Because it was strongly recommended that Canadians avoid travelling abroad, I understand people’s reaction to my trip. I am sincerely sorry, and I apologize to my colleagues and to Canadians.”
Quebecor will have to defend itself in Superior Court following the authorization of a class action after cutting TVA Sports signal to Bell TV subscribers during the 2019 NHL playoffs. The suit seeks $100 million or $250 for each of the 400,000 subscribers impacted. In the midst of a carriage dispute and in spite of a CRTC directive ordering the two companies to maintain their respective services, Quebecor cut its signal as the broadcast was set to begin. Bell later sought an injunction to have TVA Sports restored.
NABS Canada is reporting a record year as the pandemic drove more demand for its services. Offering confidential counselling, addictions support, financial assistance and career advice to media, marketing and advertising professionals, free of charge, the agency’s toll-free Supportline saw call volumes soar, with those referencing personal health and wellbeing seeing a 78% increase and calls about relationships up 26%. The number of media professionals accessing the Supportline also increased, now accounting for almost one-third of callers (27.8%). With the pandemic forcing NABS to pivot to offer its services virtually, it’s now trying to raise awareness of its services in secondary markets. Read more here.
The Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) has partnered with TLN Media Group for a special TV presentation of its 42nd Annual Awards for Journalistic Excellence. Broadcast on TLN on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. ET, the best work of some of Canada’s multicultural journalists from the past year will be showcased in the 90-minute special. Read more about this year’s winners, here.
The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) is now accepting entries online for the 2020 news year. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 28. The AJAs include 29 journalism categories across newspaper, radio, television, magazine and online categories. Nominations are also open for both student journalism awards as well as inductees to the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is now accepting entries for its 2021 awards and fellowships program. The deadline for all submissions is Feb. 19. New awards this year include the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF)-Facebook Journalism Project Digital News Innovation Award, accompanied by a $10,000 prize. The award replaces and builds upon a collaboration between the CJF and Facebook Journalism Project’s News Literacy Award that highlighted the efforts of Canadian organizations promoting news literacy. The CJF Award for Climate Solutions Reporting has also been founded. The $10,000 cash prize will be presented to a working journalist or team of journalists—employed full-time or freelance—who are judged to have done the most in 2020 to shine a spotlight on climate change and innovative solutions in Canadian print, broadcast or online news reporting.
The Black Journalism Fellowship program, established by the CJF in partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada and CTV News, is now open for applications. The fellowships are aimed at amplifying Black voices, improving coverage of Black issues in the news and cultivating future Black media leaders. Each fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an early-career Black journalist—with one-to-five years’ experience—to be hosted for six months at a CBC/Radio-Canada (English and French) or CTV News newsroom across the country. The three fellows will receive mentoring and training for a variety of skills, including video and audio editing, writing, research and investigative reporting. Each recipient will receive a full-time stipend and write or produce an article/piece during their fellowship opportunity. The deadline to apply is Feb. 19.
Canadian Journalists of Colour (CJOC) and the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) are still accepting session proposals for RISE, their inaugural conference celebrating journalists of colour and reimagining an equitable future for media. The hybrid online/in-person event, is tentatively set for May 1 in Toronto.
Cogeco has reported its Q1 financial results for the period ended Nov. 30, 2020. Revenue increased by 4.5%, compared to the same period of the prior year to reach $646.4 million; adjusted EBITDA reached $321.1 million, an increase of 10.5%; while free cash flow reached $148.2 million, an increase of 36.1%. Cogeco is revising its fiscal 2021 financial guidelines following the acquisition of DERYtelecom, the third largest cable provider in the province of Québec.
Distributel Communications Limited has acquired independent telecom provider Primus Telecommunications. Distributel says Primus’ substantial cable footprint, cloud-based business phone system, and extensive portfolio of access services, as well as Telemarketing Guard® call-screening technology will enhance its offerings. The investment will also expand Primus’ network and product set through Distributel’s 1,000 competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) coverage areas, SIP trunking, integrated Microsoft Teams communications products, and IPTV service. The company says its increased scale will be even more important as fibre connectivity to consumers’ homes advances throughout the country.
TekSavvy Solutions has announced an agreement with Ciena to utilize its optical solutions as the ISP completes its long-haul transport network between Toronto and Windsor. TekSavvy’s 600 km fibre ring includes 18 new and established points of presence in major markets throughout Southwestern Ontario. The agreement will support TekSavvy’s ongoing investments in its LTE and FTTH facilities, as well as its deployment of disaggregated wholesale services across the region as part of a five-year investment plan that aims to connect over 60,000 residences and businesses. TekSavvy will deploy Ciena’s optical solutions during the first six months of 2021.
Branded Cities Out-of-Home (OOH) has entered into a new long-term agreement with Rogers Sports & Media for the re-development of Rogers Tower located in the heart of Toronto at its Citytv studio. The deal adds more than 3,000 square feet of digital signage to Branded Cities’ portfolio at Yonge & Dundas. The complete overhaul of the tower will begin in the third quarter of 2021, which will see the installation of a 34ft W x 90ft H digital display offering 10-second ad spots over a three-minute loop. The Tower at 33 Dundas St. E. was first acquired by Rogers Sports & Media in 2007 as the new home of Citytv and OMNI Television.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
Corus Entertainment has announced a partnership with Comscore to provide advertisers with Comscore Branded Content™, a cross-platform measurement tool for planning, transacting and evaluating media. Corus clients can now access Comscore measurement to track and demonstrate the value of branded integrations across TV, digital, video-on-demand (VOD), and social media. Comscore third-party measurement collects data on brand recall, consideration and favorability to help maximize the ROI of a campaign.
Enghouse Networks is partnering with Access Communications Co-operative of Regina to provide a fully- hosted, next generation TV service for Canadian service providers. The solution offers operators access to over 200 channels of live TV, catch-up and restart services, network DVR and comprehensive, on-demand content. Markham-based Enghouse says the highly-configurable solution allows small and medium-sized service providers to upgrade their TV platform without significant capital outlay and with low deployment risk.