The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Jeff Hersh & Bill Lundy

Jeff Hersh, Vice President, Data and Advertising Platforms at Bell Media, is joining New Metric Media, the producer behind Crave/Hulu original comedy series Letterkenny, as it expands from an indie production company to a comedy-focused entertainment studio. As part of a reorganization, Hersh has been appointed New Metric’s first Chief Operating Officer, while comedy executive Bill Lundy (Run the Burbs), formerly of Pier 21 Films and Bell Media, has been hired as Senior Vice President, Comedy. Hersh will focus on corporate strategy and driving strategic growth via acquisitions, partnerships and raising capital as well as further monetization across all lines of business. Lundy will focus on broadening and strengthening the company’s slate of comedy brands and roster of talent across scripted, sketch and stand up for multiple platforms including television, live entertainment, merchandise and licensing. Veteran industry executive and WildBrain co-founder, Steven DeNure, continues to serve as Strategic Advisor. 

Ramneek Gill

Ramneek Gill has a new role within Bell Media, moving from General Manager of CTV News Channel to GM of CP24 and CTV News Toronto. Gill joined Bell in 2013 after a nine-year stint with CityNews and CP24 where she started her career as a Ryerson University grad answering phones and chasing down news tips at CityNews.

Deb Matejicka

Deb Matejicka is Global Calgary’s new weekend weather anchor at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The station’s community reporter for the last three years, prior to joining Global in 2018, Matejicka worked with The Weather Network as a reporter and videojournalist. 

Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy, who has been a Digital Producer with CityNews Vancouver for the last two and a half years, is joining the digital team at CTV Vancouver. Her last day with Rogers Sports & Media is March 14.

Tara Overholt

Tara Overholt is leaving CityNews Calgary and journalism as she joins Parkland Corporation as a Senior Communications Specialist. Prior to joining CityNews in 2018, Overholt was with CTV London for more than a decade as co-anchor of CTV News at Six and CTV News at 11.

Sam East & Dames Nellas

Dames Nellas has joined Sam East on the Virgin Radio (CKFM-FM) Toronto weekday afternoon show from 3 – 7 p.m. Nellas, who doubles as the station’s music director, has also been hosting the Virgin Radio Weekender on Sunday evenings in addition to other time slots.

Kevin Getz

Kevin Getz is part of the new team behind CBC’s relaunch of Street Cents on TikTok (Read more in our Online & Digital column). Getz, who was most recently on-air at 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto, joins as Series Producer. He’s also held announcing and digital media support roles at Virgin Radio (CFBT-FM) and KiSS (CKKS-FM) Vancouver.

Andrew Wilcox

Andrew Wilcox will take over the position of Program Director at 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM) and play92 (CHMX-FM) Regina, effective April 4. Wilcox arrives from Fort McMurray, where he’s been Program Director at 100.5 Cruz FM (CHFT-FM) and Mix 103.7 (CFVR-FM) for the past eight years. Andy Ross hands over the reins of the two stations to concentrate on the position of Director of Brands & Content for Harvard Media, while also serving as Program Director of 96.3 Cruz FM (CFWD-FM) Saskatoon. 

Deevo

Deevo (Devon Jolander), afternoon drive host at play92 (CHMX-FM) Regina, is leaving the station to relocate to his home city of Montreal to host swing at 95.9 Virgin Radio (CJFM-FM). He’d been in his current role since the station’s adoption of the play92 brand in late 2020.

Jeff Molnar

Jeff Molnar is joining Bell Media Winnipeg as Program Director for Virgin Radio (CKMM-FM), Bounce 99.9 (CFWM-FM), Funny 1290 (CFRW-AM) and Bounce 96.1 (CKX-FM) Brandon. Molnar leaves QX104 (CFQX-FM) where he’s been Assistant Program Director and hosted afternoon drive, and prior to that middays, for the last six years. His last day there is March 18.

Jo Dworschak

Jo Dworschak has joined HOT 100.5 (CFJL-FM) Winnipeg and “Mark and Dilly in the Morning” as the show’s new co-host. Dworschak, a stand-up comedian and the founder of Vancouver storytelling show, Story Story Lie, was formerly a producer and host at Co-op Radio (CFRO-FM) Vancouver.

Mike Tagami

Mike Tagami has left 94.3 The Goat (CIRX-FM) Prince George to join Energy 106 (CHWE-FM) Winnipeg. Tagami had been hosting afternoons and was music director at The Goat. He’s spent his entire career with Vista Radio up until this point, working with its Vanderhoof and Prince George stations since 2018. 

Tim Black

Tim Black is temporarily being heard in mornings on Grand 101.1 (CICW-FM) Centre Wellington, ON, while a permanent morning show is recruited. Black also holds down Program and Music Director duties at Cat Country 98 (CIAT-FM) Assiniboia, SK.

Jon Mason

Jon Mason has joined Blackgold Broadcasting as Senior Marketing Consultant for the company’s new country station 89.7 The One (CKPA-FM) Ponoka, AB. Mason was previously with Pattison Media in Red Deer for the last 23 years.

Margaret O’Brien

Charmaine Crooks and Margaret O’Brien have been appointed as independent members to the Corus Entertainment Board of Directors. Bringing Corus’ total board membership to 12, Crooks is a five-time Olympian, Member of the Order of Canada, and founder of Vancouver-based NGU Consultants. O’Brien is an entertainment industry veteran, holding progressive positions at Entertainment One (eOne), most recently Chief Corporate Development and Administration Officer. She currently offers consulting services to the entertainment industry, specializing in corporate development, operations, and mergers and acquisitions. 

Nicole Hamilton, Joey Case, Lesley Jacobi

Attraction has promoted Nicole Hamilton to EVP, Unscripted English Content, Joey Case into the role of VP, English Factual Content and Lesley Jacobi as Director of Development, English Unscripted Content. Hamilton is promoted from VP, English Content. Since joining Attraction in 2020, she’s been tasked with expanding English-language Unscripted development and production. New commissions under her tenure include Underground Railroad: The Secret History, Crime Scene Confidential and Impossible Repairs. Joey Case is promoted from Head of English Factual Content and will lead the creative strategy and operations for Science/Factual Programming. Lesley Jacobi is promoted from Casting Director, English Unscripted Content after playing an integral role in the development of Crime Scene Confidential. She’ll be responsible for expanding Attraction’s true crime slate. Hamilton and Case are based in Attraction’s Toronto office, while Jacobi works from Montreal. 

Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes has joined Vancouver-based creator monetization company BBTV as a strategic consultant for its Content Management division, a key pillar of the company’s Plus Solutions. Hughes most recently served as President of Vobile after nearly nine years at Lionsgate, where he was Executive Vice President of Worldwide Digital Distribution. Prior to joining Lionsgate he served as Vice President of Worldwide Digital at MGM.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Numeris has released the Winter PPM radio ratings, covering the 13-week period from Nov. 29 to Feb. 27. In Toronto, CBC Radio One took the top spot, A12+, delivering a 15.9% share. Number one with women 25-54 was CHUM-FM, delivering a 15.1% share. boom 97.3 is on top with M25-54, posting a 10.4% share. In Vancouver, 980 CKNW grabbed the #1 spot, A12+, with a 13.1% share of hours tuned. Taking the top spot for F25-54 and F18-34 is JR Country. CFOX holds the lead for M25-54 listeners, delivering a 14.8% share and is also out front for M18-34 with a 20.0% share of hours tuned. In Edmonton, CISN is #1, A12+, posting a 9.0% share, while KiSS 91.7 holds top spot for F25-54, delivering a 12.3% share. NOW! Radio tops the list for M25-54 with a 13.0% share. In Calgary, CBC Radio One leads the way for A12+ with a 13.1%. 101.5 Today Radio is popular with women, taking #1 spot for F25-54 and F18-34. For M25-54, X92.9 rules with a 13.2% and M18-34, delivering a 17.6%. In Montreal, CHMP 98.5 FM is #1 for A12+ (Franco) with a 22.8% share. For A12+ (Anglo), CJAD 800 is #1 with a 28.7%. For F25-54 (Anglo), The Beat 92.5 is out in front with a 26.9 % share. With M25-54 (Anglo), CHOM is #1 at 20.0%. David Bray has a full breakdown here.

Golden West Broadcasting’s flagship station CFAM 950 Altona, MB celebrates 65 years on March 13.  Launching as Manitoba’s “Farm & Good Music Station,” CFAM began broadcasting on March 13, 1957 at 1290 kHz before moving to its current dial position in 1968. Golden West CEO Elmer Hildebrand has been with the station since its inception, with the company’s network now encompassing 44 stations in 23 communities, in addition to Homefield Marketing and Homefield People and Strategy. CFAM will carry special programming on March 11 featuring a variety of guests, including Manitoba Premier Heather Stephenson. Birthday wishes can be left here

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney

Corus Entertainment news/talk stations 770 CHQR Calgary and 630 CHED Edmonton are launching a new, regular call-in show with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, set to debut this weekend. Your Province. Your Premier. will launch March 12 and run every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. MT. Hosted by former 770 CHQR anchor Wayne Nelson, calls and topics will be determined by a team of producers, however Corus says no subject will be off limits and calls will be taken live. While there’s no direct sponsorship attached to the program, Corus told Broadcast Dialogue that the provincial government has spent dollars “to promote the time of the show, day and key aspects to let the audience know how and when it can participate.” This isn’t the first time an Alberta premier has been featured on a call-in show on the network. Premier Ralph Klein appeared on Talk To The Premier, which aired monthly in the 1990s and early 2000s. Read more here.

Pamela Kirby

Pam Kirby, the new late night host on Edmonton’s CRUZ FM (CKEA-FM), and Raj Dhami, swing host at Now! Radio (CKNO-FM), are spotlighted in the Edmonton Journal as the last two live and local evening DJs standing in the Alberta capital. Among those interviewed to talk about the lost training ground as evening and overnight timeslots are filled by networked personalities and syndicated shows, are Don Kay, Yukon Jack, Park Warden, and NAIT radio and television instructor Dave Sawchuk. Kirby was formerly the host of evenings on The Bear (CFBR-FM) for the last five years, up until November when she was bumped by voice-tracking.

iHeartRadio Canada has launched a new playlist feature, including curated, user-generated, and personalized playlists. The enhancement to the iHeartRadio app’s live radio experience allows listeners to add songs from live radio directly into their playlists. iHeartRadio’s curated playlists also allow listeners to follow what their favourite hosts are listening to, including Marilyn Denis, Jamar McNeil, Myles Galloway, Shannon Burns, and Shannon Ella, as well as lists from MuchMusic VJs and creators at TSN’s BarDown. Customized playlists include Your Weekly Mixtape, delivered each Monday, featuring the user’s favourite songs and latest discoveries.

Amazon has launched a new app in Beta that enables creators to share live radio shows, play licensed music from a library of millions of tracks, and take live callers. A new take on social audio, Amp – which is available right now to a limited number of American iPhone users via a waitlist – was unveiled this week with a small group of creator shows headlined by syndicated radio personality Zach Sang; Southern California radio icon Kat Corbett, host of the long-running Locals Only on KROQ Los Angeles; Man vs. Radio with Christian James Hand (formerly of KLOS Los Angeles); and Graham in the Mornings, featuring The Bachelorette Season 4 contestant turned country radio and podcast host Graham Bunn. In a Q&A with John Ciancutti, Vice President of Amp, on the Amazon blog, the former Google Director of Product Management, said the app infuses what listeners love about radio with what’s made possible by today’s technology, allowing creators to build their own radio shows outside the need for satellite towers or recording studios and licensing deals. Read more here.

SiriusXM is recognizing Women’s History Month with special themed programming and limited-engagement channels. Four limited-engagement music channels launch this month, including channels curated and presented by Avril Lavigne and Maren Morris, as well as  full channels dedicated to the iconic Tina Turner and defining 90s female-led festival tour, Lilith Fair. Alanis Morissette will host her own special on Lithium (ch. 34) on March 25, taking listeners through her experiences from the early days in her career.

CBC has announced the return of Canada Listens, the music debate series modelled after the long-running Canada Reads format, airing this April and hosted by CBC Music’s Saroja Coelho. Canada Listens features a panel of celebrity advocates who each champion a Canadian album they believe will win the title of the “one album that all Canadians need to hear.” The hour-long radio debates will air daily on CBC Music Mornings and CBC Listen starting April 11, repeating during CBC Music’s Drive show. An album will be eliminated each day until the winner is revealed April 14. This year’s panelists and albums are: Olympian Stephanie Labbé defending Ria Mae’s self-titled 2016 album; writer and activist Erica Violet Lee defending Crown Lands’ self-titled 2020 album; comic Dave Merheje defending Mustafa’s When Smoke Rises (2021); actor Kim Roberts defending jacksoul’s Sleepless (2000); and Survivorman Les Stroud defending Bruce Cockburn’s Further Adventures Of (1978).

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill counts down the Top 10 Reasons Your Podcast Isn’t Working. The list comes from his own reflection on what’s next. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Don Johnston

Don Johnston, 91, on Feb. 27. Growing up in Hamilton, a summer stint as a copy boy at the Hamilton Spectator sparked Johnston’s career in journalism, which he pursued right out of high school. In the early 1950s, local radio station CHML persuaded him to come over as their City Hall reporter. He went on to become the station’s news director. In 1972, Johnston made the move to CFRB Toronto as news director where he stayed for 15 years until his retirement in 1987. He was also active in industry endeavours, including helping found the Radio & Television News Directors of Canada (now RTDNA) in 1962. In 1984, he co-founded the Gordon Sinclair Foundation. As a longstanding colleague and close friend of Sinclair’s, Johnston set up the charitable foundation following the broadcaster’s death, which offered a scholarship to young journalism graduates and since 2011 has awarded the annual $15,000 Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary to support a research and reporting trip by an early career Canadian journalist.

Digby Peers

Digby Peers, 94, on Feb. 17. Peers studied pre-law at McGill University before transferring to the Royal Conservatory of Music to pursue his passion. He earned his A.R.T.C. and then returned to Pickering College as Music Master before joining CBC Radio in Toronto as Staff Producer of Educational Broadcasters and as Executive Producer of the “Signature” radio series. He was also seconded to the BBC in London, where he produced a series of more than two dozen “World History” radio dramas. Peers relocated to Vancouver in 1979 where he concluded his career with CBC in 1982. He went on to volunteer with Vancouver Co-op Radio.

TV & FILM:

(L to R): Monika Ille, CEO of APTN, Julie Grenier, Chair of APTN’s Board of Directors, Michael Goldbloom, Chair of the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors, and Catherine Tait, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, at the signing of the first-ever memorandum of understanding between the two organizations during a ceremony in Montreal on March 3, 2022.

APTN and CBC/Radio-Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see the two broadcasters work more closely on Indigenous productions and news and information programming. The broadcasters say the agreement will result in the creation of more Indigenous content, enhancing the ability of both networks to deliver First Nations, Inuit and Métis programming, and increase access to and awareness of content. The agreement covers collaboration on news and information programming, including sharing content and technical resources like joint feeds, pooled footage and other resources, while both entities would retain editorial control. Read more here.

CBC series Sort Of won the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award at the 20th ACTRA Awards in Toronto on Sunday night. (CBC)

ACTRA Toronto announced the winners of the 20th ACTRA Awards in Toronto on Sunday night with CBC series Sort Of taking the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award. Angela Asher was awarded Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female Voice for her performance as the Voice of God in the trailer for experimental short, Silver Cord. Joshua Graham won in the Male Voice category as Sam Whippet in Netflix animated series Go, Dog. Go!. Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female was claimed by Kelly McCormack as Darren in Sugar Daddy, while Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Male went to Dayo Ade for his performance as Anthony in Cinema of Sleep. The inaugural ACTRA Toronto Stunt Ensemble Award went to Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City for a big rig stunt in the horror/action film. Read more here.

Juanita Peters

Juanita Peters has been named this year’s ACTRA National Woman of the Year. Currently the Executive Director of the Africville Museum in Halifax, Peters started her career as a reporter and anchor with CBC News at Six in New Brunswick and AVR in the 1980s and ’90s, going on to host and write CBC’s Doc Side documentary series from 2002-06. An ACTRA member for two decades, Peters has appeared in over 30 films and television series, including Sex & Violence, Forgive Me, Splinters, Hobo With a Shotgun, Cloudburst and the Emmy-nominated Homeless to Harvard. Her directing credits include CBC series Diggstown and Studio Black, as well as 2021 feature film 8:37 Rebirth. Read more here.

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has announced the nominees for the 2022 WGC Screenwriting Awards. Now in their 26th year, the awards acknowledge the best in Canadian screenwriting across Canadian-made series, films, documentaries and web series. Among the productions going into this year’s awards with multiple nods are CBC’s Sort Of, which earned four nominations in the Comedy Series category, and The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker – two separate sitcoms about the same newly-blended inter-racial family, with their own storylines. The two series, which debuted on Super Channel in 2021, earned three joint nominations in the Teens & Tweens category. This year’s winners will be recognized at a virtual ceremony April 25. Find the complete list of finalists here.

The Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts and Design has announced the nominees for the 2022 CAFTCAD Awards. Among the productions with multiple nods are Star Trek: Discovery, Schmigadoon!, Snowpiercer, and What We Do In The Shadows. The awards will stream live on Saturday, May 7, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Find the full list of nominees here.

Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is making plans to return in-person for the 43rd edition of the event, June 12-15. Among the speakers confirmed for this year’s BANFF Summit Series are Universal Studio Group (USG) Chairman Pearlena Igbokwe. An exclusive In Conversation With session is also planned featuring global health and pandemic expert Dr. Ashish K. Jha and philanthropist and entrepreneur Frank Giustra discussing the impact of mis- and disinformation and the responsibility of the media and entertainment industry to combat it. BANFF has also revealed this year’s cohort for its BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media. Read more here.

Corus Entertainment and the BANFF World Media Festival have opened submissions for the 2022 Corus Apprentice Program: Young Adult Scripted. The focus of this year’s program is to seek out writers from underrepresented communities interested in young adult live-action television scripting. Candidates are required to submit a resume, a letter of intent that speaks to their commitment to the young adult scripted space and two letters of recommendation from Canadian film and television professionals. A spec script for a half-hour or one-hour existing show, or original concept script is also required. Selected candidates will receive a full-access pass to BANFF 2022 and a two-week internship opportunity in the writer’s room of a Corus-supported young adult live-action production between June 2022 and June 2023. Submissions are open until April 11.

The Government of Nova Scotia is investing $23 million to help the province’s film industry grow sustainably: $8 million toward a 50,000 sq. ft. soundstage that will increase the industry’s capacity, create more jobs and allow productions to continue year-round and $15 million for a new Nova Scotia Content Creator Fund that will benefit local film and television productions. The fund will provide $3 million per year over five years to eligible Nova Scotia-led productions, supporting local directors, writers, actors and performers. Premier Tim Houston and Screen Nova Scotia representatives will also travel to Los Angeles from March 12-16 to meet with decision-makers from Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal and other studios.

The Government of Alberta has announced an expanded film and television tax credit program with $70 million allotted in this year’s budget to support the sector. The annual budget will increase to $80 million by 2024/25 with the province to invest $225M over the next three years. The province says productions already approved for this year are expected to create up to 12,500 jobs. 

Sheri Elwood

Sheri Elwood, the Executive Producer of Lucifer, has struck a first-look deal with Blink49 Studios, the Endeavor Content-backed studio founded by former eOne executive John Morayniss. The studio’s initial first-look deal since its formation last year, Elwood has also executive produced CBC drama Moonshine and created Jason Priestly series Call Me Fitz, which Morayniss executive produced. 

CBC-commissioned original documentary Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard will premiere March 17 on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The three-hour series searches for the truth behind allegations against fashion mogul Peter Nygård, featuring first-hand accounts from survivors, former employees and family members. Based on investigative reporting from CBC News and the landmark audio series from CBC Podcasts, Evil by Design, the new documentary series examines the culture that kept allegations of predatory behaviour hidden.

Stuff The British Stole, a new six-part series based on journalist Marc Fennell’s (Mastermind, The School That Tried To End Racism, The Feed) podcast, is being reimagined as a new six-part television series that will be broadcast by CBC. The Australia-Canada co-production explores the stories of some of the remarkable treasures acquired by the British Empire. Set to air late this year, Stuff the British Stole is co-produced by Wooden Horse, WildBear Entertainment and Cream Productions (Canada) for ABC and CBC. FremantleMedia will distribute the series worldwide.

Global debuts dance competition series Come Dance With Me, Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. From creators and executive producers Chris O’Donnell, LL COOL J (stars of Global’s NCIS: Los Angeles) and 3 Ball Productions, the series features gifted young dancers, ages 9-15, who invite one untrained family member to be their dance partner for a chance to strut their stuff for a grand prize. Hosted by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence, with dancers and choreographers Jenna Dewan, Dexter Mayfield, and Tricia Miranda as judges, each week the duos will learn and perform different styles of dance from hip-hop and ballroom to contemporary and theatrical.

TVO Original series Political Blind Date returns for a fifth and final season, starting March 15. A typical “date” starts with two politicians getting to know each other before heading out to explore the issue of the day. The season opens with a look at systemic racism featuring Liberal MP Greg Fergus and Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson. Political Blind Date will air at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays and streams across Canada on TVO.org, YouTube, Apple TV and Roku.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has unveiled its schedule for March featuring a lineup of new and returning programs available in described video for the blind and partially sighted community. The schedule is highlighted by Paralympic coverage from CBC on AMI-tv and AMI-audio and the 2022 Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament, March 25- 27, with Mike Ross, Claire Buchanan, Jeff Ryman, Brock Richardson, Cam Jenkins and ParaSport TV’s Nicco Cardarelli offering play-by-play and analysis throughout the event. 

CHEK TV on Vancouver Island will present the world broadcast premiere of Tzouhalem on March 13, a feature documentary examining the near-mythic former Chief of the Cowichan Tribes who became the most powerful First Nations leader on the West Coast of North America. The story of Tzouhalem is brought to life by incorporating oral histories from Cowichan Elders, interviews with historians, and re-enactments recorded at CHEK’s studios in Victoria. Tzouhalem was produced by Orca Cove Media and co-written and co-directed by Harold Joe, who also stars in the title role. Joe is a member of the Cowichan Tribes and grew up in the shadow of Mt. Tzouhalem, where the legendary chief was banished and later buried.

Chef Heidi Fink

CHEK Media has announced that Chef Heidi Fink will be the new host of Cookin’ on the Coast, which will enter its 10th season this fall. Fink, a Red Seal Chef and award-winning cooking instructor, will bring her down-to-earth teaching style to the show, aimed at giving viewers the confidence they need to cook dishes with West Coast flair at home. With Country Grocer as the show’s sponsor for a fourth season, the series is getting a new logo and kitchen set facelift, as well as new online streaming and social media components.

 

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

(l-r) Anisha Joshi, Carley Thorne, Mercedes Gaztambide, & Creo Walters, the collective face of the new Street Cents digital relaunch.

CBC has resurrected the Street Cents brand on TikTok with a goal of spreading financial literacy wisdom to a new generation of teens. The digital reboot of the CBC series, which originally ran from 1989 to 2006 and launched the careers of talent like Jonathan Torrens and Benita Ha, sees a new digital content creator team take the reins of the brand. Mercedes Gaztambide, Anisha Joshi, Carley Thorne and Creo Walters are the collective face of Street Cents’ digital evolution, creating daily content that like the original show will range from the comedic to more journalistic short-form video content. Guest contributors will also be welcomed. In addition to TikTok, Street Cents content will be repurposed to other platforms including Instagram and YouTube. Read more here.

Media Central Corporation, the parent company of Toronto’s NOW and Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, says it is currently in default in the amount of $1,026,000 to its debenture holders and attempting to negotiate an agreement. Media Central revealed Wednesday that Chief Financial Officer Carmelo Marrelli had resigned, effective Jan. 25, as well as its auditor, Fazzari + Partners. The alternative media company also owns and operates digital cannabis platform CannCentral.com and eSports outlet ECentralSports.com.

Disney+ will expand its offerings for consumers by introducing an ad-supported subscription in addition to its ad-free option, beginning in the U.S. in late 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023. The ad-supported offering is viewed as a building block in the company’s path to achieving its long-term target of 230 to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by fiscal 2024. Disney says more details, including launch date and pricing, will be announced at a later date.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Industry, Science & Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he has concerns about Rogers’ $26-billion proposed takeover of Shaw Communications and won’t permit the transfer of Shaw’s wireless licences because it threatens competition. Rogers still has an eye on closing the deal within the first half of this year. Quebecor President & CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau took the opportunity to chime in saying “as it stands, the proposed Rogers-Shaw transaction is contrary to the public interest. As Bell, Rogers and Telus already control 90% of Canada’s wireless market, it is imperative that we create the necessary conditions for real competition in order to give consumers more choice, better prices, better services and more innovation.”

CTV has reached a settlement in its legal dispute with former Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader and current Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown as evidenced in a March 9 update to its Jan. 2018 story diving into allegations of sexual misconduct that ended Brown’s OPC leadership. The update states: “On January 24, 2018, four months before a Provincial election, CTV broadcast a segment concerning Patrick Brown. Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.” Brown, who denied the allegations, filed an $8M defamation suit against Bell Media following the broadcast.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has released its decision concerning a Sept. 2021 report broadcast on CTV National News about United States border patrols. The The report, about the treatment of border patrol officers towards migrants at the US-Mexico border, was introduced with “horrifying new video shows border agents on horseback charging at the migrants using reins as whips.”  A viewer complained that the introduction was inaccurate because there was no confirmation border agents had used their reins as whips. CTV pointed out that there was photographic evidence of the agents lashing out with whips and that the incident was now the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. The CBSC’s English-Language Panel examined the complaint under the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics and the News clause of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics, concluding CTV did not violate either of the codes. One panel member did, however, consider that the intro sensationalized the issue. 

The CRTC has posted nearly 400 public comments about whether Russian state broadcaster Russia Today (RT) should be allowed carriage on Canadian cable. Ethnic Channels Group, which originally sponsored the channel’s distribution in Canada, says no licensed cable or satellite TV provider in Canada is still carrying the channel as of last week. Meanwhile, CBC/Radio-Canada has ceased reporting from the ground in Russia following the passage of new legislation which appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has penned an open letter to Ottawa Police after several journalists covering the “Freedom Convoy” were denied access by law enforcement to areas where newsworthy events were taking place. The CAJ says this was in spite of having media credentials and other documentation, such as Parliament Hill passes. Among those denied or given delayed access were Globe and Mail reporter Marieka Walsh; Global News Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson; CTV Parliamentary reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver; investigative reporter Justin Ling; photojournalist Carlos Osorio; and NPR reporter Emma Jacobs. The CAJ says other reporters were threatened with arrest while simply doing their jobs.

CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait is among the recipients of this year’s Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Leadership Excellence Awards, which recognize those committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canada’s digital economy. Tait was named Woman of the Year, while Jennifer Chan, Director, Digital Ad Operations, Rogers Communications, was presented with the Mentorship award. Hadeer Hassaan, Vice President, Shared Services, Bell, was awarded the Trailblazer honor, while Liette Vigneault, Vice President, Talent & Employee Experience, Cogeco Communications, was named this year’s WCT Leader. 

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), in partnership with J-Schools Canada-Écoles-J Canada (JSC-ÉJC) and the Meta Journalism Project (MJP), has launched the new $200,000 Emerging Journalists Bursary Program. The initiative will provide JSC-ÉJC institutional members, representing 19 post-secondary journalism programs across Canada, with funding for up to 100 bursaries for their journalism students. The CJF will administer the program. The bursary is open to full- or part-time students in a journalism degree or diploma program offered by a JSC-ÉJC member. Students can use the bursary to participate in career development initiatives, as approved by their institution, during the 2022-23 academic year. JSC-ÉJC member programs are invited to apply for the bursary here.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Bell has entered a five-year strategic engagement with the Vector Institute, an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Bell says the collaboration is part of its objective to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation in telecommunications services, and encourage the development of, and expertise in, new, emerging technologies in Canada. It says the collaboration will help to continue accelerating the development and adoption of AI applications across Bell.

Environics Analytics’ (EA) PRIZM segments are being added to Amazon’s digital advertising service, expanding its offering of data-driven insights for advertisers and marketers. The new segments provide marketers with the ability to execute digital media campaigns based on their pre-built custom audiences. They also enable advertisers and agencies to identify the highest propensity markets to reach the right audiences at the right time, using Amazon’s first-party shopping and streaming channels. PRIZM classifies the Canadian population into 67 unique lifestyle types, providing information on socio-economic status, urbanity, lifestyle and life stage, and core values.

SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has issued a call for technical paper proposals for its annual conference, rebranded as the SMPTE Media Technology Summit 2022, Oct. 24-27, at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. SMPTE will also accept proposals for participation in the conference’s SMPTE Storytellers series. Proposed papers must address technical theory, research, innovation, application, or practice specific to any of the evolving technologies associated with the media and entertainment industry, including digital cinema and advancements; streaming, artificial intelligence in content creation, media in the cloud, image related computing, media supply chain, research, and academic work; remote production; broadcast advancements; and future of media. Paper proposals are due April 30.