The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Derek Miller

Derek Miller is the new Executive Producer of CTV’s W5. Miller started his career as a reporter with CTV Ottawa before transitioning to producing news magazine series, W5 Presents 21c in 2001. After leaving for CityNews at Six in 2004, he went on to produce Ice Cold Cash for the Food Network and Moving the McGillivrays for HGTV, among other series. For the last 12 years, he’s also been a freelance writer, director and story editor for W5. Miller succeeds Anton Koschany, a casualty of recent layoffs at Bell Media, who had been with CTV News since 1993.

Avis Favaro

Avis Favaro has announced she’s leaving journalism full-time. Favaro has been in broadcasting for 40 years, first at Global News for a decade starting in 1982, and for the last 30 years at CTV as the network’s national medical correspondent. Favaro says she’ll be focusing on freelance health journalism, including ongoing contributions to CTV News.

Michael Gruzuk

Michael Gruzuk, Senior Director, CBC News Network, has added CBC News Studios to his responsibilities, a newly-established group of leaders dedicated to content development, specials and original productions across local, radio, podcasts, and network news. Lara Chatterjee joins CBC News Studios team on secondment as an Executive Producer of Original News Programming with a focus on CBC Gem and the CBC News FAST channel. Angela Naus is now Executive Producer of Special Events. Dinu Cebzan joins the team as a dedicated technical producer. Catherine Legge is Executive Producer of Original Production, with an emphasis on documentary and long-form narrative formats in streaming video. Iris Yudai is a Senior Development Advisor, and will continue to work with teams in local, radio current affairs and news. Dave Downey is a Senior Development Advisor. Havoc Franklin is a Development Director, while Erin Mackie will be supporting CBC News Studios as a unit manager. Fabiola Carletti joins the team, on secondment as an Executive Producer of Development. Jennifer Chen is on a secondment working on climate change content strategy. Robyn Bresnahan is also seconded to support a future assessment of opportunities in morning local radio. The team will report to Gruzuk directly, with a new direct reporting line to Susan Marjetti, General Manager of News, Current Affairs and Local. 

Zeelaf Majeed

Zeelaf Majeed is returning to CBC as Managing Editor of Network Radio Current Affairs, overseeing The Current, As it Happens, Ideas, and The Sunday Magazine. Majeed was most recently Deputy Director of Content for the GTA at Metroland Media. She started her career at CBC as a reporter for CBC Radio and chase producer for As It Happens and Prime Time News, before joining TVO for two decades in various roles. 

Jonny Staub

Jonny Staub is departing 94.5 Virgin Radio (CFBT-FM) Vancouver with his last morning show to air Thursday, Feb. 17. Staub has been hosting the show since 2012, alongside Holly Conway and Nira Arora. He started his radio career as a traffic reporter at CHYM-FM Kitchener, with stops along the way at Z95 (CKZZ-FM) Vancouver, and Power 92 (CKNG-FM) and The Bounce (CHBN-FM) in Edmonton, among other stations.

Treena Wood

Treena Wood, who parted ways with CBC British Columbia in November where she was News Director, is joining Teck Resources as a Senior Communications Specialist. Wood joined CBC in 2018 after serving as ​​National Format Director, News, for Rogers Radio and News Director at News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver.

Asa Rehman

Asa Rehman has rejoined Global BC. Rehman was previously a sports and news anchor with the network in both Vancouver and Toronto from 2013-15 before joining Mediapro Canada as a sports anchor.

Anita Krishna

Anita Krishna, a former Global BC technical director who parted ways with the network in December after attending an anti-vaccine mandate rally, has launched a Rumble channel – AKStraightSpeaks. A video has surfaced of Krishna, who was with Global BC for 11 years, speaking at the Feb. 5 “Media is the Virus” rally in Vancouver. 

Brian Bourke

Brian Bourke is parting ways with CityNews 570 (CKGL-AM) Kitchener. Bourke has been hosting Kitchener Today on the station for the last three and a half years. On-air in Kitchener-Waterloo for 35 years, Bourke was News Director at KOOL FM 105.3 (CFCA-FM) and KFUN (CKWW-FM) for three decades, up until 2014 when he served one term on City of Waterloo council.

Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor is leaving his position as Sports Director at 620 CKRM Regina and his role as play-by-play voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The station says Taylor, who also hosts the daily Sports Cage, is leaving to pursue other options. He joined the station in April 2019 after several years as an anchor on TSN’s Sportscentre. Taylor will continue with CKRM for the next few months.

Lindsey Martin & Brian Matheson

Lindsey Martin, Retail Sales Manager for Bell Media in Kingston and Brockville, is leaving her position for a new opportunity. Martin has been with Bell since 2015 and in her current role since 2018. Brian Matheson, Retail Sales Manager of Bell Media (TV-Radio-Digital) Ottawa, adds Kingston and Brockville to his duties. Matheson has been with Bell Media since 2008.

Matt Stockal

Matt Stockal, Creative Manager for the Shine FM and The Light stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer, is leaving radio after a 25-year production career. Stockal’s first producing job was at Power 92 (CKNG-FM) and 630 CHED Edmonton in 1996. From there, he joined 100.3 The Bear (CFBR-FM) and AM 1260 (CFRN-AM), and then had a seven-year run doing production and imaging for the Alberta Radio Group network, including CFCW. He’s been with Touch Canada Broadcasting since 2006.

Samantha De France

Samantha De France has been tapped by Amazon Studios for the role of Production Executive, Unscripted for Canada. De France, who was formerly a Production Executive and COO of Toronto-based Our House Media, will help manage the production and delivery of various projects in Canada. Prior to joining Our House in 2014, De France was a Director of Programming & Development at Cineflix.

Lou-ann Neel

Lou-ann Neel is joining Creative BC as part of the organization’s funding programs team in the newly-created role of Indigenous Lead, leading consultation, design, and launch of a new suite of programs to support Indigenous filmmakers, privately funded by a $1 million investment from the Rogers Group of Funds. Neel’s most recent professional roles have included the Royal BC Museum where she was the Acting Head, Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department; North Island College where her role was Acting Director of Aboriginal Education; and the University of Victoria where she was the Aboriginal Service Plan Coordinator. 

RADIO & PODCAST:

Stingray has introduced 93.5 TODAY RADIO (CFXJ-FM) to the Toronto market, a Gold-based Hot Adult Contemporary format it says will be built around listener conversations, stories and experiences. Stingray announced last week it was relinquishing the iconic Flow brand to G98.7 (CKFG-FM) to make way for the new format. 93.5 moves away from Urban/Hip Hop to a playlist transcending traditional radio formats that spans Ed Sheeran, Queen, Keith Urban, The Weeknd, Gordon Lightfoot, and Doja Cat. The new brand is accompanied by a new talent lineup with mornings helmed by Scottish DJ Paul Harper, who has been heard on 93.5 sister station boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM), and Nikki Balch, who up until last September was part of the morning show on Montreal’s The Beat 92.5 (CKBE-FM). Tyler Barr, who previously helmed afternoon drive at Virgin Radio (CJFM-FM) Montreal, takes over middays, while afternoon drive sees Paul McGuire, currently midday host across Stingray’s small market New Country stations, paired with Vanessa Newman (who’ll also continue to be heard on afternoons at Z95.3 (CKZZ-FM) Vancouver). Stingray network personalities Katie & Ed, the morning show team from AMP Radio (CKMP-FM) Calgary, are being heard in evenings. Read more here

Corus Radio’s 101.5 The Wolf (CKWF-FM) in Peterborough celebrated its 30th anniversary on Feb. 14. Originally licenced as CHEX-FM in 1947, the station went through a number of ownership and format changes before rebranding as The Wolf on Feb. 14, 1992, assuming a Rock format and the call letters, CKWF-FM. The station is marking its 30th anniversary with a number of special initiatives, including a collection of 30 interviews with past and present on-air hosts like TJ Connors, Brad Dryden, Griff Henderson, Dani Stover, Marty “The White Beaver” Silvestri, Jay Sharp, and Alana Cameron. Read more here.

Randy Bachman

Randy Bachman’s long-running radio show, Vinyl Tap, is set to re-launch next month across Corus Entertainment’s Rock and Classic Hits stations. Dropped by the CBC in early 2021 after a 16-year run, Orbyt Media is partnering with Corus to bring the eclectic show full of personal anecdotes from The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive alum, whose music career has spanned six decades. Starting Sunday, March 6 at 9 p.m. local time, Vinyl Tap will be heard on stations across Canada including Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) Vancouver, BIG 101.1 (CIQB-FM) Barrie, Q107 (CFGQ-FM) Calgary, boom 101.9 (CJSS-FM) Cornwall, The Chuck 92.5 (CKNG-FM) Edmonton, Y108 (CJXY-FM) Hamilton, BIG 96.3 (CFMK-FM) Kingston, 107.5 Dave Rocks (CJDV-FM) Kitchener, FM96 (CFPL-FM) London, 101.5 The Wolf (CKWF-FM) Peterborough, and Power 97 (CJKR-FM) Winnipeg. Read more here.

Acadia Broadcasting’s Saint John stations Country 94 (CHSJ-FM) and 97.3 The Wave (CHWV-FM) held their 10th annual Love Your Hospital Radiothon on Thursday, Feb. 10 in support of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. Together, they raised a record-breaking $351,610 over 12 hours.

 

ReelWorld has partnered with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary to provide hands-on instruction to  students in SAIT’s Radio, Television and Broadcast News program and award a scholarship to the top graduating student of the program each year. The 2021 scholarship recipient is Emily Morrison. ReelWorld’s Ron Tarrant, Director of RED Hits and a 2008 SAIT alum, who coaches students on imaging production, voiceover techniques and radio station workflows, recently spoke with Emily who shared details of her experience with the program and what she learned.

World Radio Alliance, the newly-formed initiative collectively working to spread love and awareness of radio globally, has released its first initiative – a video produced by Radiocentre UK highlighting the power of the medium. Radio Connects President Caroline Gianias is serving as Vice President of the Alliance, supporting Lucy Barrett of Radiocentre in her role as President.

The Podcast Academy has announced the nominees for the 2022 Ambie Awards. Among the Canadian podcasts receiving nods are CBC Podcasts’ Life Jolt for Best Documentary Podcast and Malcolm Gladwell for Best Host for Revisionist History. The Ambies will take place March 22 and streamed live exclusively on Twitch from The Mayan Theater in Los Angeles.

LISTEN: With the recent misinformation controversy around The Joe Rogan Experience that led Spotify to jettison more than 40 episodes of the podcast, Signal Hill Insights decided to dig deeper into the court of public opinion. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we welcome back Jeff Vidler to talk about their latest research, Spotify, and the state of podcasting in Canada. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

LISTEN: Will Nash is the afternoon drive host on Fresh 93.1 (CHAY-FM) Barrie as well as the midday host on Energy 95.3 (CING-FM) in Hamilton and Toronto. On the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast, Nash talks about moving to a small town in northern Alberta for his first full on-air gig and his struggle coming out as an on-air personality. He also shares his experiences teaching Radio Broadcasting at Mohawk College, giving us some insight into the changes the radio industry has gone through and the way schools are adapting. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman, 75, on Feb. 12. Reitman’s foray into producing started at the newly-launched Citytv in Toronto, working on shows like “Sweet City Women,” however his tenure was a mere six months after he was fired by Moses Znaimer. He went on to produce the stage production of Spellbound in the early 1970s and then director David Cronenberg’s Shivers and Rabid. National Lampoon’s Animal House followed in 1978 and Reitman then directed Meatballs in 1979, kicking off a string of feature films he would direct and produce including Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Legal Eagles (1986), Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), and Dave (1993). Reitman also produced and executive produced numerous projects through his company, Northern Lights Entertainment, notably Beethoven (1992), Space Jam (1996), Private Parts (1997), and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (2006). He went on to found prodco, The Montecito Picture Company, in 2000, going on to produce 2009’s I Love You Man and the Oscar-nominated Up in the Air, as well as the Atom Egoyan-directed, Chloe. Reitman was an inductee of Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2007. In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Jim Bennet

Jim Bennet, 91, on Feb. 7. Bennet is best-known as the co-host of CBC TV show “Singalong Jubilee” for its entire run from 1961 to 1974. A hallmark production at the time for CBC Halifax, the musical variety show featured a large cast of singers and musicians, elevating the careers of performers like Anne Murray and Edith Butler. An accomplished guitar player and singer, Bennet received his vocal training at All Saints Cathedral Choir in Halifax. He joined CBC Halifax in the early 1950s, going on to a 31-year career that included writing, announcing and co-hosting programming from radio plays to news specials. Bennett took early retirement in 1981. Among his published works are two books of verse and Atlantic humour, Jim Bennet’s Verse and Jim Bennet Rhymes Again, as well as his memoir, South End Boy, published in 2015.  

TV & FILM:

Canadian Heritage has announced a second extension of the Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) for Canadian audiovisual productions, saying that there is still “a pressing need” for the program as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Now extended through March 31, 2023, Telefilm Canada will continue to provide as much as $150 million in compensation to production companies whose filming has been interrupted or abandoned as a result of a COVID diagnosis or outbreak. Initiated as a temporary emergency measure to address the lack of insurance coverage for the Canadian film and television production industry, Telefilm says since its launch in October 2020, the STCF has received over 851 applications, totalling more than $527.3 million in coverage, representing over $3 billion in production volume. To date, Telefilm says it’s signed agreements to cover 814 camera-ready projects and helped support over 20,000 jobs. Read more here.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced the nominees for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards across 145 film, television, and digital media categories. The inaugural season of CBC series Sort Of leads both the television and overall award nominations with 13, followed by CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases and CTV Sci-Fi Channel’s Wynonna Earp with 11. CBC’s Coroner and Kim’s Convenience, each earned 10 nods. In film, Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s Scarborough and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders top nominations with 11 per film, while Michael McGowan’s All My Puny Sorrows received eight. Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood and Ivan Grbovic’s Drunken Birds | Les oiseaux ivres came away with six nominations apiece. By network, CBC/Radio-Canada received a leading 295 nominations; Bell Media earned 175 nominations; Corus Entertainment garnered 62 nods; and Rogers Sports & Media 19, including 10 for Sportsnet. Find the full list of nominees here and read more here.

Left to right: Established Producer Award recipient, Anand Ramayya, and Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award recipients, Kate Kroll, Rylan Friday and Trevor Mack

Anand Ramayya and the producing trio, Kate Kroll, Rylan Friday and Trevor Mack, are the recipients of the Canadian Media Producers Association’s (CMPA) annual Indiescreen Awards. The winners were announced as part of the CMPA’s closing reception for its Prime Time conference. Ramayya (Karma Film) was named the recipient of the $10,000 Established Producer Award, recognizing his career and commitment to the production community. His latest feature film, Donkeyhead, premiered at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival and was recently acquired by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. Kate Kroll, Rylan Friday, and Trevor Mack (Portraits From a Fire Productions) were awarded the Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award, which includes a $5,000 prize, for their filmmaking achievements and potential demonstrated in their early-career work. Their latest film, Portraits From a Fire, screened at several festivals across North America including its official theatrical premiere at VIFF 2021.

Hollywood Suite is once again the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the Film Independent Spirit Awards, now in its 37th year. Hosted by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, Pam & Tommy) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace, Children’s Hospital) the awards will air live from Santa Monica, CA on Sunday, March 6. Find the full list of this year’s nominees, here. Leading up to the awards, Hollywood Suite will screen previous winners, including The Grifters (March 4), Fargo (March 5), Rambling Rose (March 5), Silver Lining Playbook (March 6), and Brokeback Mountain (March 6).

Bell Media says almost half of all Canadians (45%) tuned in to at least part of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI as the Los Angeles Rams captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Audiences peaked at 11.4 million viewers during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent. The most-watched broadcast since last year’s Super Bowl, the game was carried on CTV, TSN and RDS in Canada, attracting an average audience of 8.1 million viewers, according to preliminary Numeris data. Overall, the broadcast drew 16.9 million unique Canadian viewers, down from the 17.6 million unique Canadian viewers who tuned into Super Bowl LV in 2021. In the U.S., Super Bowl LVI averaged a total audience of 112.3 million viewers on NBC, Telemundo, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, NFL Digital platforms and Yahoo Sports, reaching a total of 167 million viewers, the most-watched show in five years. Read more here.

Crave and New Metric Media have announced that Hulu will be the exclusive streaming home to the debut season of SHORESY in the U.S. A spin-off of LETTERKENNY, SHORESY joins its predecessor as a Hulu Original. As previously announced, the six-episode, half-hour hockey comedy sees foul-mouthed, fan favourite character, Shoresy, join a senior AAA hockey team in Sudbury on a quest to never lose again. SHORSEY is set to stream this spring on Crave.

Big Brother Canada premieres its 10th Season Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Hosted by Arisa Cox, who also serves as one of the show’s executive producers, the reality show will air on Global three nights a week including Mondays (Head of Household), Wednesdays (Power of Veto), and Thursdays (Eviction). #BBCAN10 streamers can catch the new season live or on demand with STACKTV and the Global TV App and visit BigBrotherCanada.ca for exclusive content and live feeds. Leading up to the season, ET Canada presents Big Brother Canada All Access Monday, February 28. Season 9 winner Tychon Cater-Newman joins ET Canada’s Sangita Patel as a special guest co-host for the 30-minute special, featuring an exclusive tour of the new #BBCAN10 house.

Fluffy (Kaleb Robertson) and Fay (JP Kane)

WildBrain Television has released three new series, premiering Family Day Weekend through the end of March with a free preview across WildBrain’s English network. The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy, starring dynamic drag duo, Fay Slift (JP Kane) and Fluffy Soufflé (Kaleb Robertson), is a cabaret-style show sharing a message of inclusivity. It premieres on Family Jr. Sunday, Feb. 20. Then on Feb. 28, Take Note premieres, a series about a close-knit family who can survive anything, set against the backdrop of a tween reality singing show. It premieres on Family Channel with a double-episode special event. Also on Feb. 28, Ruby and the Well makes its debut on Family Channel, centred around Ruby O’Reilly and her father Daniel who are ready for a fresh start when they arrive in their new hometown of Emerald. After Ruby discovers a magical well, she starts to change the lives of the people of Emerald, wish-by-wish. 

Reel Canada has announced that the ninth annual National Canadian Film Day (NCFD) will take place coast-to-coast on Wednesday, April 20. The event will tentatively see live in-person events hosted where local public health guidelines permit. This year’s spotlight is on Indigenous filmmakers in Canada with “Celebrating Indigenous Voices” to be presented in association with imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. NCFD is planning a livestream for 15,000+ high school students, in addition to screenings at film festivals, cinemas, libraries, community centres, schools, friendship centres, retirement residences, art galleries, military bases and other venues. If you’d like to host a free NCFD event in your community, learn more here.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC), in partnership with Dark Slope, have announced the 11 founders of Black-owned content creation companies who’ve been selected for the inaugural cohort of Scale Up Immersive, a new accelerator aimed at increasing the capacity of Black content creators and/or producers working in the immersive media space. Selected for the first cohort are: Adrian Bobb, Exocentric Studios (prodco); Chukky Ibe, TRAD (educational organization and digital magazine); Debbie Deer, Debbie Deer Productions (multimedia prodco); Kai Little-White, BP Media (storyteller and creator); Karen McDonald, Upright Media Republic (multidisciplinary artist, creative director); Ladan Mohamed Siad, Fugitive Work (creative technologist, storyteller); Natasha Vasell, Diva Girl Productions (prodco); Neil ‘Logik’ Donaldson & Rasquiz Johnson, Reason With Logik (podcast); Roya DelSol (lens-based artist); Yvano Antonio (filmmaker, photojournalist); and Zach Jama (documentary filmmaker, screenwriter).

End2End Media Group has formed a joint venture with Peacemaker Filmworks and Showmax Events to launch permanent Midsized Volume LED Studio – Peacemaker LED Studios. Located in Burnaby, BC, the studio includes three-sided plus ceiling hi-def 2.8mm Volume LED and onsite technical support. The studio will be capable of using both video plates and Unreal Engine technology.

Blue Ant Media has launched its new FAST channel, Homeful, on the free, ad-supported streaming service, XUMO. Homeful, which features home design TV, real estate, renovations and transformations, is an extension of Blue Ant Media’s existing partnership with Xumo which also includes the Love Nature FAST channel, which launched on the platform in May 2020. The lifestyle channel joins XUMO’s growing roster of more than 200 channels across 12 different genres, currently available to millions of viewers via a multiscreen network of smart TVs, mobile devices and streaming boxes. The company’s growing portfolio of FAST channels includes Love Nature, HauntTV, CrimeTime/TotalCrime, and Homeful. 

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) have struck a new partnership that will allow for the long-term preservation of Survivor statements and other master audiovisual content from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Made possible as a result of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund, the NFB will use its state-of-the-art equipment to preserve digital audiovisual recordings that have been entrusted to the NCTR. In total, there are approximately 7,000 statements and more than 1,500 hours of content to be preserved as part of the project. The NFB will also create copies for future projects, in addition to lower-resolution copies that can be accessed on the NCTR website.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

The BBC has announced plans to double its digital journalism team in the U.S. and Canada, reflecting the increased appetite for its content in the North American market. It’s looking to fill more than 20 editorial positions to expand its breaking news coverage, analysis and investigative journalism from the region on BBC.com and the BBC News app, adding to its existing 18-person digital journalism team in North America. The new roles will mostly be based out of the BBC’s bureau in Washington D.C., as well as New York and Los Angeles. Jennie Baird, former News Corp SVP and Global Head of Product, was recently appointed to the newly-created position of EVP and Managing Director of BBC’s Digital News and Streaming, and will take the lead on development and investment to drive growth and audiences for BBC digital news products around the globe. 

Media Technology Monitor’s (MTM) newest report series focuses on media and technology adoption and use, highlighting three generations: Millennials (18-40), Boomers (56-75) and Seniors (76+). Highlights from the the anglophone generations reports include that Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services are very popular among millennials with over nine in 10 subscribing to one or more. On the other hand, anglophones aged 40+ show greater interest in traditional TV and are nearly twice as likely to be paid TV subscribers than millennial anglophones. The research also finds there are notable differences in social networking platform preferences among generations, with Facebook remaining the most popular social network among younger and older anglophones and 84% of senior social networkers (76+ year olds) using it in the past month. When it comes to devices, seniors are more likely than younger anglophones to be social networking on a tablet. Boomers (56-75 year olds) are more likely to consume traditional news sources, either by watching TV news channels or subscribing to newspapers, than younger anglophones. Highlights of the Francophone report include that over 90% of Millennials subscribe to at least one SVOD service, while Francophones aged 40+ are more likely to subscribe to a pay television service. 

The Digital Publishing Awards are accepting nominations for the Emerging Excellence Award and Digital Publishing Leadership Award, both open for submissions until March 2. The Emerging Excellence Award celebrates a young professional in the Canadian digital publishing field whose early work shows the highest degree of craft and promise. Writers, visual creators, designers, developers, publishers or other emerging industry professionals can be nominated. Nominees must be under the age of 30. Leaders in the digital field whose work has demonstrated inspiration, creativity and achievement in Canadian publishing can be nominated for the Digital Publishing Leadership Award. The winner of this award is recognized for their significant contributions to the industry. All digital publishing professionals may be considered from writers to designers. Recent winners of the Digital Publishing Leadership Award and the Emerging Excellence Award include Dmitry Beniaminov, Kathy Vey, Christopher Cheung and Jane Lytvynenko.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) has announced its 86th annual conference will go ahead in-person, June 8-9 at the Banff Fairmont Springs. This year’s speakers include Johnny Molson, Wizard of Ads Partner Consultant; diversity expert Tina Varughese; Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of Westwood One/Cumulus Radio; and Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner for The Center for Sales Strategy and LeadG2. Registration is now open.

The CRTC is mandating the availability of paper bills from communications service providers. Customers who self-identify as persons with disabilities, those without home internet access or mobile data services, and seniors aged 65 or older will now be able to receive paper bills, at no charge, upon request. The new rules apply to telecommunications service providers immediately.

Unifor members employed as clerical workers at Bell Canada have opened negotiations following expiration of their previous agreement on Nov. 30, 2021. They’re seeking improvements to their wages and a stop to what the union says is “Bell’s concerted strategy of job erosion through processes like offshoring and contracting out.” Clerical workers are also prioritizing mental health support and prevention of workplace stress in this round of negotiations. Bargaining will commence in the coming weeks for more than 15,000 members including Atlantic and Clerical workers as well as fellow members at BTS. Bell clerical workers are represented in Quebec by Unifor Locals 6000, 6001, 6002 and 6003, and in Ontario by Unifor Locals 6004, 6005, 6006, 6007, 6008 and 37. 

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is applauding the efforts of a group of secondary school student journalists to make the Student Press Freedom Act (SPFA) law in British Columbia. The SPFA, led by Vancouver high school students Spencer Izen and Jessica Kim, was sparked by a sequence of events last year when their newspaper, The Griffins’ Nest, was censored by their school’s administration for an editorial critical of the district’s decision-making process. Unwilling to accept the district’s efforts to silence their reporting, the students contacted the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the editorial was subsequently published uncensored. While the text of the draft bill has yet to be finalized, the CAJ board says it endorses efforts to strengthen the protections afforded to student journalists. Read more about the campaign here.

Narcity Media is establishing a new scholarship in conjunction with RTDNA Canada that will provide $2,000 to a third or final year student who has submitted a story or feature published on a university or college-affiliated website and/or social media platform. Submissions are being accepted until April 30.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has extended the deadline for submissions for its annual Media Awards competition to Monday, Feb. 21. A committee of journalists and nurses selected by RNAO will judge stories published or broadcast in Ontario in 2021. Categories encompass reportage in Community and Daily newspapers, Radio, TV, and Online. RNAO will present the awards during RNAO’s Annual General Meeting on June 10.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Liquid Media Group is acquiring Digital Cinema United (DCU), which manages film distribution DCP services across North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, providing content supply chain technology and services to movie theatres, airplanes and broadcast television all the way through to streaming and other VOD platforms, including the creation of file formats, QC, mastering, and metadata management. Under the terms of the agreement, Liquid will acquire DCU for US$11.25M payable in common shares of Liquid, which are scheduled to be paid out to DCU investors across specific performance milestones in three tranches.

The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) has named Alun Fryer of Ross Video as chair of the new AIMS Education Working Group (EWG) and AIMS board member Andrew Starks of Macnica as the chair of the AIMS Marketing Working Group (MWG). Reena Mathews-Rutherford of Imagine Communications will continue in her role as MWG deputy chair. Fryer is technical marketing lead for HyperConverged Solutions at Ross Video, where he provides leadership across product roadmaps, customer insights, industry, and tech trends. As the new EWG chair, he will oversee work to define what is needed to improve training and expand educational opportunities. The AIMS group also will collaborate with other industry organizations to develop programs and certifications to rapidly expand the base of qualified engineers and operators to meet the growing demand for IP expertise. 

The 2022 NAB Show, April 23–27 in Las Vegas, will explore the ongoing deployment of Next Gen TV in broadcast television markets and how broadcasters are utilizing the cutting-edge transmission standard to develop consumer-friendly features, capitalize on new content opportunities and unlock new revenue streams. Next Gen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0,  provides local TV stations with the capability to offer innovative features like 4K ultra high-definition video quality, theatre-like sound and mobile reception. The standard is now available in more than 40 TV markets covering 45% of U.S. households. NextGen Now, presented by Heartland Video Systems (HVS) will provide a “how-to” overview of Next Gen TV workflows. Featured within the CONNECT Implementation Zone in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, NextGen Now will help broadcasters understand the challenges in implementing the standard in local markets. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) will be showcasing the latest generation of Next Gen TV receivers at its booth in the Future of Delivery section of the West Hall. On Sunday, April 24, the Broadcast Engineering & Information Technology (BEIT) Conference will also feature presentations on technical papers regarding NextGen TV, in addition to related panels in the Connect Inspiration theatre in the West Hall.