The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Byron Garby

Byron Garby, General Manager of National Radio Sales with Corus Entertainment, will be retiring at the end of January. Garby’s advertising career spans over 43 years, beginning at McCann Erickson as a media buyer, then account executive. Garby has held senior management roles at Telemedia, Standard Broadcasting, Milestone Broadcasting (Flow 93.5), Zoomer Media, and Bell Media. He joined Corus in 2015. Among other industry associations, Garby served on the Numeris Radio and Audio committees and Radio Connects advisory committee. He’s also a former president of the Canadian Association of Broadcast Reps (CABR) and the Broadcast Executives Society (BES).

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson has joined JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) Toronto as a Business Development Executive. Johnson was formerly station manager at 106.5 ELMNT FM (CFPT-FM) Toronto and prior to that served as production manager at the former G98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto.

Stef Mallaci

Stef Mallaci has been named the new Head of Brand Partnerships at Narcity Media Group. Mallaci was most recently Partnerships Lead, North America for Linkby, and before that worked with Snap as the business solutions lead for CPG (consumer packaged goods) partnerships for Canada.

Sonia Boisvert

Sonia Boisvert has been appointed Vice President, Content and Production at TFO, the Franco-Ontarian public broadcaster. Boisvert, who left Radio-Canada in December after 25 years, most recently held the position of Senior Program Manager, Toronto and Windsor. Boisvert succeeds Claude Sauvé, who will remain with TFO as special advisor until the end of March during the transition period. He’s been with TFO since 2021.

Richard B. Levy

Richard B. Levy has been named interim CEO at Just For Laughs Group. Levy assumes the role following the departure of President & CEO Charles Décarie, who is now helming the Canadian Heritage committee seeking the next CBC/Radio-Canada President & CEO. Levy is a partner in the UK-based Primary Talent International booking agency and the founder of GMSE, the parent company of the Sponsorship Exchange platform.

Amanda Handy

Amanda Handy is assuming ownership of Nomad Films, the Canadian documentary and factual production company founded in 1997 by Mark Johnston. A longtime in-house producer, Handy has been with Nomad since 2006, producing projects including Empire of the Word (TVO, TG4 Ireland, SBS Australia); The Al Qaeda Code (CBC, WDR/ARTE); The Nature of Things doc Giraffes: The Forgotten Giants (CBC); and all five seasons of Political Blind Date (TVO). Prior to Nomad, Handy made her mark on a number of Toronto-based companies, including Fireworks Entertainment, Cinenova, Screen Door, and Media Headquarters

Greg McLelland

Numeris has a new Board of Directors for 2024. Greg McLelland, EVP and Chief Revenue Officer, Corus Entertainment, takes over as Chair, succeeding OMD CEO Cathy Collier. Kevin Johnson, CEO of GroupM Canada moves into the Vice Chair position. New directors joining the board include OUTtv CEO Brad Danks; Deb Gurofsky, VP, Partnerships – Media Pulse, Blue Ant Media; Janice Smith, VP, National Media Sales, Rogers Sports & Media; Hisham Ghostine, General Manager & Chief Revenue Officer, Media Solutions, CBC/Radio-Canada; Samantha Kelley, Touché! Canada and OMG Montreal; and Michelle Mruck, Director, Fabric & Home Care Media, Procter & Gamble.

Gave Lindo, the Head of Content Programming at TikTok North America, has joined the Shaw Rocket Fund as its newest board member. Prior to TikTok, Lindo helped launch CBC Gem, as Executive Director of OTT Programming for the CBC. The Rocket Fund has also enhanced its team with the promotion of Becki Brisson to Vice President, Business Affairs and Operations. Brisson has been with the Rocket Fund since 2012. A new Content Analyst is also being added to the Rocket Fund team. Reporting to Brisson, Mica Taiah brings  15 years of entertainment experience, most recently at Warner Bros. Discovery where she specialized in kids and family content as part of the Digital Team for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic markets. She joins the team following her internship with the Rocket Fund as part of Centennial College’s Children’s Media Postgraduate Program.

RADIO & PODCAST:

The CRTC has approved an application by Golden West Broadcasting to abandon the Religious music format on Reach 96.3 (CJGY-FM) Grande Prairie, AB and its transmitters CJGY-FM-1 Fort St. John and CJGY-FM-2 Dawson Creek, BC. In its application, Golden West stated that CJGY-FM has encountered financial struggles since its launch in 2007, stemming from its current conditions of service related to religious programming. In approving the application, the commission has ordered the broadcaster to devote at least 40% of content category 2 (Popular Music) musical selections each broadcast week to Canadian selections in their entirety. 

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on market capacity and the appropriateness of issuing a call for radio applications to serve Vancouver. The call was triggered by an application from Durham Radio for a rebroadcasting transmitter for Wave 98.3 (CIWV-FM) Vancouver, which airs a Smooth Adult Contemporary format. The deadline for interventions is Feb. 19.

The CRTC will hold a virtual hearing on March 25 where it will hear an application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a broadcast licence to operate an FM station in Owen Sound to replace its AM station CFOS. The station would operate at 89.3 MHz (channel 207B1) with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 1,500 watts. Bayshore says the station’s programming format would remain the same, consisting of a mix of news, talk, and music targeting the 50+ demo. The commission will also hear the application by Local Radio Lab (LRL) to acquire Indie88 (CIND-FM) Toronto from Rock 95 Broadcasting Ltd. for $7 million, also requesting a new broadcasting licence to continue operating the station under the same terms and conditions. The deadline for submission of interventions is Feb. 16. 

Bobby Bones
Bobby Bones

Orbyt Media has announced the addition of two new affiliates for The Bobby Bones ShowCorus Radio’s Country 99 (CFPG-FM) Winnipeg and Evanov Communications’ Hot Country 88.5 (CKDX-FM) Newmarket, ON, which began airing the award-winning syndicated radio program last week. With the addition of these two new affiliates, The Bobby Bones Show can now be heard on 27 stations across Canada. 

CKUA Edmonton is working to remediate damage to its LP collection following a Jan. 16 flood caused by a burst sprinkler system pipe. CKUA staff are attempting to preserve and dry out what they can, working with insurance and remediation experts, ahead of the massive task of re-shelving the LPs. The community station says damaged album covers have been transported to a restoration company facility where specialists will attempt to preserve and flatten the sleeves, so the vinyl can hopefully can be reunited with its original artwork and liner notes at a future date.

(L-R): Matt Britton, Emily Copeland, Eric Nuzum, Skip Dillard

Radiodays North America has unveiled its first round of speakers, including Matt Britton, CEO of Suzy, a consumer intelligence platform touted as ‘Siri for brands’; Emily Copeland, Director, Audience Innovation, and Music Partnerships at Australian Radio Network; Eric Nuzum, cofounder of Magnificent Noise, instrumental in NPR’s original podcasting efforts in 2005 and a short-form content and podcasting leader in Amazon’s Audible division; and Skip Dillard, Brand Manager/Program Director of Audacy’s WXBK-FM 94.7 “The Block” in New York City and Vice President of Audacy’s Rhythmic Adult Contemporary formats. Check out the schedule so far here.

COSCAP (Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has signed a partnership deal with CMRRA (The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency) and SX Works Global Publisher Services, both SoundExchange Companies, marking an international music rights management milestone. In a move underscoring the growing influence of Caribbean music, COSCAP has inked a partnership agreement with CMRRA to oversee the mechanical reproduction rights of its members across the Canadian marketplace. Enhancing the partnership, the SX Works Global Publisher Services division will help manage the end-to-end administration on behalf of COSCAP members with The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) in the U.S. 

SiriusXM Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), has kicked off the 6th annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition. The contest offers mentorship and development opportunities, along with the ultimate prize of being named the 2024 SiriusXM Top of the Country winner and $25,000. The two runners-up each receive $10,000. Registration is now open to solo artists and groups until Feb. 2. The competition has helped launch the careers of talent including Tyler Joe Miller and SACHA. The 2023 winner, Hailey Benedict, is gearing up for a summer tour.

LISTEN: Amanda Cupido is among the new faces that have joined the Radio Trailblazers, the organization recognizing women who’ve blazed new trails in radio for almost 20 years, as it issues its call for nominations for the Rosalie Award, annually handed out during Canadian Music Week (CMW). Cupido, the founder of Lead Podcasting and the former Director of Talk & Talent at 640 (CFIQ-AM) Toronto, joins Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to talk about the next generation of Trailblazers, share some of her podcast predictions for the coming year, and more. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Norman Jewison, 97, on Jan. 20. The Canadian-born director of Hollywood blockbusters like Moonstruck, Fiddler on the Roof, and In the Heat of the Night, got his start in theatre, writing, directing and acting while attending Victoria College at the University of Toronto. He subsequently moved to London, picking up work as a BBC actor, before returning to Canada to train in production for the launch of CBC TV in 1951. He went on to produce and direct numerous variety shows, specials and dramas, before being recruited by NBC in 1958 to work on Your Hit Parade and The Andy Williams Show. His film career was launched in 1962 when Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh’s Curtleigh Productions hired him to direct the comedy, 40 Pounds of Trouble. Jewison went on to form Simkoe Productions. 1965’s The Cincinnati Kid, starring Steve McQueen, proved to be his breakthrough, which was followed by five-time Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night in 1967. His most recent feature film was 2003’s The Statement, starring Michael Caine and Tilda Swinton. Jewison’s films have earned 46 nominations and won 12 Academy Awards. In 1999, he was recognized by the Academy with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Other accolades include the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982, and later upgraded to Companion status in 1992. He was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1989. Jewison founded the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) in 1986, where Canadian storytellers could learn to master the medium of filmmaking and command a greater presence on screens around the world. Read more here.

Frank Cameron, 85, on Jan. 20, A staple on the Nova Scotia airwaves for more than six decades, Cameron had just retired from Eastern Passage, NS community radio station 105.9 Seaside FM (CFEP-FM) in November. Captivated by radio from a young age, while still in high school, he started hanging out at CKEC New Glasgow, which hired him after graduation. He went on to join CKCL Truro a year later in 1956. By 1959, he had moved to Halifax and CHNS, gaining notoriety as the station transitioned to Top 40 and resulting in a subsequent offer to host national CBC television program “Music Hop” and the local Halifax version “Frank’s Bandstand.” Cameron joined CBC full-time in 1967, contributing to both radio and television for almost 30 years until his retirement in 1995. Another 10-year stint at CHNS followed, before Cameron briefly stepped away from the mic, quickly recruited by Seaside FM station manager Wayne Harrett to volunteer on-air at the community radio station. Seaside FM marked his recent retirement with a four-hour “Frank Cameron Retirement Tribute” show. The station wrote in a statement posted to its Facebook page that Cameron’s passing leaves a void “impossible to fill.” Read more here.

Paul Morton, 85, on Jan. 17. Paul Morton, one of the original investors in CanWest Broadcasting, passed away Wednesday. He was 85. Morton, the son of Henry Morton, founder of the Odeon Morton chain of theatres in Winnipeg, initially went into the family business before applying for a licence to launch independent television station, CKND-TV Winnipeg in 1973, alongside tax lawyer and politician Izzy Asper, former journalist Peter Liba, and broadcast engineer Seymour Epstein. Asper and Morton went on to help rescue the fledgling Global TV, partnering with radio mogul Allan Slaight in an $11.2 million bailout. Slaight went on to trigger the partnership’s “shotgun” clause in an attempted takeover bid that ultimately saw Morton and Asper gain a controlling interest in the network. Morton would go on to serve as head of Global TV, until eventually he and Epstein parted ways with Asper in a bitter, protracted legal battle, each receiving $131 million for their 40% stake in the company. 

Nerene Virgin, 77, on Jan. 15. Starting out as a teacher before moving into acting, Virgin is best-known to a generation of ’80s kids for her role as “Jodie” on TVO’s Today’s Special from 1981-87, which also aired on Nickelodeon in the U.S. The Hamilton native was also featured on several episodes of Polkadot Door. Other acting roles included recurring parts on The Littlest Hobo, Night Heat and Ramona, among other series and feature film work. Virgin went on to work as a weather host and community reporter with CBC Ottawa in the late 1980s, hosted CFTO current affairs show Eye on Toronto, and by the mid-1990s was helming daily national current affairs show Coast to Coast for CBC Newsworld in Calgary. She eventually returned to Toronto as the launch anchor for national weekend newscast Saturday Report and then anchored for Newsworld International, until its dismantling in 2005. After leaving the CBC, she completed ESL (English as a Second Language) training and taught in China, in addition to continuing her anti-racism advocacy. Virgin was named one of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women in 2016. Read more here.

TV & FILM:

Ryan Gosling, Robbie Robertson and Toronto-based filmmaker Nisha Pahuja are among the Canadians up for Oscars at the 96th Academy Awards. Announced Tuesday morning, Gosling earned a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Barbie, which has eight nominations heading into the awards, including Best Picture. Robertson, who passed away in August, is posthumously nominated for Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures for the original score for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which picked up 10 nods. Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger, a Notice Pictures/National Film Board co-production, is up for Best Documentary Feature Film. South Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song’s directorial debut Past Lives is nominated for both Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Read more here.

The National Film Board (NFB) has announced the closure of its Vancouver and Montreal interactive studios as it reinvests in production. The move will result in the loss of 14 full-time positions, however NFB says a half-dozen new jobs will be created. Founded in 2009, NFB Commissioner Suzanne Guèvremont said in a release, that the Crown agency would have to at least double the interactive studios’ current budgets in order to properly fulfill their mandate, focused on producing experimental interactive and immersive media, including games and works of virtual and augmented reality. As a result of the studio closures, $3.5 million will be reinvested – $1.5 million in additional funding for documentary and animation production and $2 million for innovation initiatives aimed at improving production and distribution methods and increasing audience engagement. Read more here.

Citytv has released the official trailer for the highly-anticipated Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent, premiering Thursday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The new Canadian spinoff of the iconic Dick Wolf franchise follows the Specialized Criminal Investigations team as they investigate high-profile homicides. Inspired by Canadian headlines, Season 1 delves into the worlds of high finance, politics, real estate, media, and more. It stars an all-Canadian ensemble cast that includes Aden Young (Rectify, Black Robe), Kathleen Munroe (Chicago Med, City on Fire, Patriot), Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek, Echoes), K.C. Collins (The Cleaning Lady, White Dog), Nicola Correia-Damude (Shadowhunters, Resident Alien), and Araya Mengesha (Nobody, Anne with an E). Go Button Media has announced a new partnership with ZDF Studios. The German producer/distributor has commissioned its first major factual series from the Canadian indie and will also handle its global distribution (excluding Canada). Go Button will also be continuing its partnership with Canadian broadcaster Super Channel on Into the Universe: The Secrets of the Cosmos Uncovered (8 x 52’), an accessible space and science series shining a light on some of the universe’s most intriguing and baffling questions. Working with astronomers, engineers, astrophysicists and philosophers, it combines expert commentary with the latest science and CGI to delve into complex cosmic riddles. Produced in 4K, the series will start delivering in the winter of 2024.

Discovery has announced all-new Canadian Original docuseries Timber Titans – produced in collaboration with Great Pacific Media, the producers of Highway Thru Hell and Mud Mountain Haulers – premieres Monday, Feb. 5. Set deep in the B.C. wilderness, the character-driven documentary series follows four logging companies as they fight through extreme weather and terrain to harvest one of Canada’s most vital natural resources. 

Great Pacific Media has unveiled original adventure docuseries, Rocky Mountain Wreckers. Set on the deadly I-80/I-15 interstate ring, the series follows the adventures of four family-owned heavy wrecking businesses across three states: Mountain Recovery (Vale, CO), Stauffer’s Towing & Recovery (West Haven, UT), Reliable Towing (Longmont, CO) and Big Al’s Towing (Cheyenne, WY). The series is commissioned by The Weather Channel in the U.S. Bell Media is the Canadian production partner and has Canadian rights to the show for Discovery Canada. Rocky Mountain Wreckers is currently in production for delivery in fall 2024.

Crave has announced new six-part original docuseries An Optimist’s Guide to the Planet with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, premiering Thursday, Feb. 8. A Canada-UK co-production produced in association with Bloomberg Media, the series follows the Emmy nominated actor and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Program as he journeys around the world, discovering innovative and inspiring initiatives that could help the Earth. The series is produced by Cream Productions and Wildfire Television in association with Bloomberg and Bell Media, and will be distributed internationally by Cineflix International Media.

Hollywood Suite has the exclusive Canadian premiere of Blumhouse’s Compendium of Horror, narrated by horror icon Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street). The five-part documentary series is the definitive retrospective on the horror genre from the company regarded as the driving force in the horror renaissance, premiering Thurs. Feb. 1, with new episodes weekly. Blumhouse’s Compendium of Horror revisits iconic horror movie moments from the 1930s until today, featuring insights from the most influential names in genre including directors John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) and Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, Evil Dead leading man Bruce Campbell, Saw star Tobin Bell and Blumhouse’s own Jason Blum.

Elders’ Film has announced that award-winning feature-length documentary s-yéwyáw / AWAKEN will be available to audiences across Canada free on demand on TELUS Optik TV channel 8 and online at watch.telusoriginals.com on Feb. 13. The film will premiere the same day on Hollywood Suite’s 2000s channel and Hollywood Suite On Demand. After a successful world premiere at the Planet In Focus International Environmental Film Festival in Toronto, where the film won the People’s Choice Award, the TELUS original film, directed by Liz Marshall (Meat The Future, Midian Farm), connects the transformative stories of artist, musician and medicine woman Ecko Aleck of the Nlaka’pamux Nation (Lytton, BC), filmmaker and Traditional Wellness Coordinator Alfonso Salinas of the shíshálh Nation (Sunshine Coast, BC) and storyteller and impact producer Charlene SanJenko of Splatsin of the Secwépemc Nation (Shuswap, BC) as they learn and document the traditional cultural teachings of their Elders.

OUTtv, in partnership with Fuse Media, has secured a deal with Channelbox to distribute OUTtv Proud, its international FAST channel, in the UK via Freeview. Following its recent deal with Netgem, which saw OUTtv Proud launch in the UK and Ireland, OUTtv is further expanding the reach of its FAST channel which features over 400 hours of content including OUTtv originals Call Me Mother, Hot Haus, and For The Love of DILFs

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Best Buy Canada and Bell Canada have entered into a strategic partnership to operate 165 consumer electronics retail stores in Canada. The Source, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell, will be rebranded as Best Buy Express and offer consumer electronics from Best Buy along with exclusive telecommunications services from Bell, including Bell, Virgin Plus and Lucky Mobile mobility, internet, TV and home phone services. Best Buy Express is expected to open in locations across Canada starting in the second half of 2024. 

The RTDNA Canada Awards of excellence for 2024, presented to the best in audio, digital, and video journalism first published in 2023, are now open to submissions. Open to RTDNA Canada members, this year’s awards include new category, Excellence in Newsletters (National Only). Find award submissions guidelines here, Regional Awards criteria here, and National Awards criteria here. The deadline for submissions is March 3. 

Michener Fellowships and the Michener Awards are now open for submissions until Feb. 16. The Michener – Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Reporting encourages excellence in journalism that serves the public interest through improvements in public policy, ethical standards, corporate governance or the lives of Canadians, available to journalists with at least five years’ experience to complete a reporting project with a recognized Canadian news organization. The Michener – L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship for Journalism Education is dedicated to the advancement of the education of Canadian journalists and journalism students, open to teams of up to four people (or organizations including journalism schools and media organizations). Each fellowship is for $40,000 and up to $5,000 in expenses. 

World Press Freedom Canada (WPFC) has opened nominations for the 2024 Press Freedom Award and its Career Achievement Award in honour of Spencer Moore. The annual Press Freedom award recognizes a nominee whose public interest journalism has cut through a veil of secrecy, legal maneuvers, political intimidation or other tactics designed to stifle their work or put their career or safety at risk, while the Career Achievement Award recognizes a person who, throughout their career, has displayed an indefatigable pursuit of press freedom and transparency. WPFC has also introduced the new Student Achievement Award, open to a registered student at a Canadian post-secondary institution in 2023. Nominations can be made here until March 22. 

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Minute Media, which operates sports content brands The Players’ Tribune, FanSided, and 90min, has announced it has acquired Victoria, BC-headquartered STN Video. Minute Media says the acquisition of the sports content distributor will bring with it additional technology capabilities, distribution and sports highlight content rights complementing its existing Voltax Video infrastructure. STN also brings to Minute Media a comprehensive video content library of more than two million videos featuring content partnerships with all major U.S. sports leagues. STN Video was founded in 2010 as SendtoNews

NAB Show will present the sixth annual Product of the Year Awards at the 2024 NAB Show. The awards recognize promising new products and technologies exhibited at NAB Show in the categories Create, Connect and Capitalize. New this year is the Best Overall Top Tech category. For the first time, the winners will be announced on the Main Stage at a live awards ceremony at the Las Vegas Convention Center on April 16. Nominations close April 3. Companies scheduled to exhibit at the 2024 NAB Show are eligible to enter. Nominated products and technologies must be available for delivery in calendar year 2024.

The Creator Lab is a new addition to the 2024 NAB Show, scheduled for April 13-17, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Billed as a “groundbreaking show floor experience,” Creator Lab will include interactive exhibits, panels, workshops and networking events that focus on creators, equipment, distribution channels and monetization techniques. Highlights include Designing the Perfect Studio for You, and Only You hosted by Blackmagic Design, the Creator Lab title sponsor; The Secrets of Mastering Mobile Video Content Beyond the Studio with Juliana Broste’s TravelingJules; AI As Your Personal Assistant featuring Opus Clip; and The Creator Ecosystem showcasing how agents, intermediaries and brands are working with creators.

FEATURE:WABE has never been about who you work for; it has always been about the work you do,” writes WABE President Tessa Potter, in her January column. “WABE, every year in its annual convention, creates an open, collective meeting space to come together to share, connect, and learn. We all do unique things in media, and we often have slightly different roles depending on where our employers and skills are required. These collective roles, from transmission to distribution, from content creation to technical service, from operations to suppliers, make up pieces of a larger industry. An industry that is constantly shifting and changing, and faster than ever.” Read more here.

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