The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Bob McCown

Bob McCown is returning to radio with The Bob McCown Show to debut on Sauga 960 AM (CKNT-AM) Monday night. McCown has been hosting a daily podcast since May of last year after parting ways with Sportsnet in the summer of 2019. He’ll be joined on the new show, which will also be packaged as a podcast, by hockey analyst and former Sportsnet contributor John Shannon. The show will air weekdays from 6 – 7 p.m. ET. Read more here.

Robyn Adair has announced she’s retiring from Country 105 (CKRY-FM) Calgary after 32 years with the station. Adair has been a co-host on Country 105’s morning show, The Odd Squad, since 1989. Originally from Saskatchewan, she started her radio career in 1985, working in Canmore, Red Deer and Edmonton, before landing at Country 105. Her last day with Corus is April 30. Read more here.

Madeleine Allakariallak

Madeleine Allakariallak, the outgoing host of weekly Inuktitut-language news program Igalaaq, is leaving CBC North for a job in the private sector. She’ll be joining Inuit-owned airline Canadian North in the newly-created role of Director, Inuit Employment and Talent Strategies. In addition to CBC, Allakariallak has also worked with APTN in Winnipeg as host and producer of national call-in show, Contact. She’s also worked in policy at land claims organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and served four years as Executive Assistant to former Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak. 

Kris Reyes

CBC News has announced a shuffle that includes hiring KGO-ABC7 San Francisco reporter Kris Reyes as the public broadcaster’s New York correspondent. A former Global News and CTV reporter, she’ll fill the role vacated by Steven D’Souza, who is returning to Toronto and a network reporting role. Chris Brown moves from Moscow to the CBC’s UK bureau, coinciding with Renee Filippone’s departure for a reporting position in Vancouver.

Sean Gordon

Sean Gordon has left his regional reporting gig with CBC Quebec to join the Bank of Canada media relations team. Prior to joining CBC, Gordon was a senior writer with The Athletic and prior to that was a national correspondent with The Globe and Mail for a decade.

Bruce Allen

Bruce Allen’s Reality Check has come to an end on CKNW Vancouver. Allen, 75, is better known as the manager behind acts like Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Jann Arden, Bryan Adams, and Michael Bublé. Airing on the station for 17 years, Allen’s editorials courted controversy on many occasions, including prompting an apology to the Sikh community in 2007.

Srushti Gangdev

Srushti Gangdev has left CKNW Vancouver. Gangdev had been a reporter and anchor with the station for the past two years.

Jasmin Doobay

Jasmin Doobay will be joining the Prince George division of Jim Pattison Broadcast Group as Program Director of 99.3 The Drive (CKDV-FM) and 101.3 The River (CKKN-FM). Doobay has been PD of Power 104 (CKLZ-FM) Kelowna for the past three and a half years and has spent 18 years with JPBG in the Kelowna market. She’ll join the Prince George team in early April.

Vicki Tyler

Vicki Tyler, who was part of Rogers Sports & Media layoffs in December, has rejoined the network as the afternoon drive host on KiSS (CHUR-FM) North Bay. Tyler was formerly the morning show co-host on 101.9 ROCK (CKFX-FM) North Bay for more than a decade. She was previously an announcer with CHUR-FM under its former EZ Rock branding.

Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley, a broadcast veteran in the Sydney, NS market, has joined The Coast 89.7 (CKOA-FM) Community Radio in Cape Breton as the host of its weekday morning show. Bradley was most recently with 98.3 MAX FM (CHER-FM), up until last May. The community station, which is set to move its studios from Glace Bay to The New Dawn Centre (The Convent) in Sydney, now has 16 employees.

Betty Selin

Betty Selin is joining the Vernon Community Radio Society as the honorary chairperson of its fundraising efforts. The society was awarded a licence for 97.9 Valley FM (CFAV-FM) last September. Up until November, Selin was the morning show co-host on Vernon’s SUN FM (CICF-FM). She had been with the station for the better part of six decades.

Bill Purchase

Bill Purchase has announced his retirement from Bell Media, effective April 1. The longtime cameraman started his career at CFAC-TV (now Global) Lethbridge in 1979. He moved on to CFRN Edmonton in 1980 and joined CTV National News in 1986. Purchase’s foreign assignments included working in China for CTV from 1995-98, before moving to the Toronto bureau. Among the historic events he’s covered were the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Hong Kong handover and several Olympic games. Purchase also briefly worked in the Augusta National Bureau with Mark Sikstrom from 2000-04.

Julian McKenzie

Julian McKenzie is joining The Athletic’s NHL coverage team as an Associate Editor. McKenzie has been working as a reporter/editor with the Canadian Press for the last year, in addition to freelancing for CTV Montreal, among other outlets.

Victoria Harding

Victoria Harding is the first woman to be appointed DGC Ontario’s Executive Director. Harding, who has served as Associate Executive Director since 2013, takes over the post from Bill Skolnik. Skolnik had been in the role for the last eight years.

Lauren Davis

Lauren Davis is stepping in as Telefilm’s interim National Feature Film Executive for the English-language market as Stephanie Azam leaves the agency. Azam, the former Director of Theatrical Marketing for Zeitgeist Films, had been with the Telefilm since 2008. Davis currently serves as the Regional Feature Film Executive for the Western Region and has worked with Telefilm since 1998.

Victor Giacomelli

Victor Giacomelli has joined SoCast as Managing Director, Advertising and Research. He’ll oversee client success for the SoCast Ads revenue platform, working with broadcast partners on sales training and support. Giacomelli brings 28 years of radio sales and senior management experience, the last four years as Director of Sales/Senior Vice-President, Revenue for HOT97 and WBLS in New York City.

Francis Lacombe

Francis Lacombe will become the president of Quebec-based obstruction lighting provider, Technostrobe, as he takes over from company founder Guy Buisson, who is retiring in June. Lacombe, who has been Vice President of Technostrobe since 2008, will also acquire Buisson’s shares in the company to become the sole owner. Guy Beauséjour has been appointed Vice-President of Operations, responsible for overseeing a number of improvement projects, including new products and software in development or planned for the future.

Margo Harper

The Jack Webster Foundation has added three new trustees to its Board of Trustees. They include publisher and entrepreneur Dee Dhaliwal, who has led Western Living, Vancouver Magazine, Vancouver Courier, The Westender, The Growler and The Alchemist, among other publications. Margo Harper, former CTV Vancouver news director and foreign editor of CTV National News also joins the board, in addition to Jamie Pitblado, President & CEO, The Pitblado Group.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Numeris has released the latest PPM radio ratings covering the 13-week period from Nov. 30, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. Among the highlights are that CHFI-FM Toronto has rebounded with women, while Q107 is on top with men, followed by boom 97.3. CBC Radio One grabbed the overall top spot, A12+, with Toronto listeners, while CKNW Newstalk 980 was #1 with listeners in Vancouver. Its Calgary counterpart, 770 CHQR, was #1 overall in that market, while in Edmonton, Stingray’s The Breeze posted a 9.0% share of hours tuned, A12+, up from 7.9% in the last book. In Montreal, CHMP 98.5 FM is #1 for A12+ (Franco) with a 20.8% share (up from 20.4%). CJAD 800 was on top with Anglo listeners with 29.8% share. Read David Bray’s full breakdown of this week’s ratings release, here.

OPINION: David Bray explores questions around the state of audience measurement in his latest feature for Broadcast Dialogue. Read more here.

Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter, afternoon drive host on SONiC 102.9 FM (CHDI-FM) Edmonton, is the winner of the Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award, presented in memory of Steve Young. The award is presented annually to a young broadcaster under the age of 30 with Hunter to be recognized during Canadian Music Week’s upcoming virtual event, May 18-21. The host’s charitable contributions and viral social media bits have received hundreds of thousands of views over the years, one of the most memorable being her 2017 “McPortrait” of Edmonton Oilers’ Captain Connor McDavid which raised more than $26,000 for charity through the station’s sale of prints. The runners-up for the award were Shannon Burns of CHUM-FM/Virgin Radio Toronto and Mitch Burke of 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto. Read more here.

The Ambies, The Podcast Academy’s new awards program recognizing excellence in podcasting, has announced its inaugural cohort of nominees. Among them, CBC Podcasts has come away with five nominations, while Canadian Malcolm Gladwell earned a nod for Best Podcast Host for Revisionist History, with the podcast also nominated for Best Original Score. CBC’s Brainwashed, which investigates covert mind control experiments conducted by the CIA, was nominated for Best True Crime podcast, while More with Anna Tremonti earned a nomination for Best Interview Podcast. Nominated for Best Fiction Podcast is Asking For It from CBC Podcasts and Mermaid Palace. CBC Podcasts also earned two nominations in the Best Knowledge, Science or Tech category. Tai Asks Why, which is entering its third season, picked up one of those nominations, with the other going to Unlocking Bryson’s Brain. Hosted by Keith McArthur, the father of a sick child with a mystery illness, the podcast follows the family’s search for a cure for their son’s rare disease. Read more here.

SiriusXM Canada has struck an exclusive sales partnership with The Podcast Exchange (TPX) to represent Peter Mansbridge podcast, The Bridge. The podcast was added to SiriusXM’s podcast lineup last month. Started as a nightly podcast during the 2019 federal election, The Bridge went daily during the first wave of the pandemic.

Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke has launched the Women In Media podcast with the first episode featuring radio host and television personality Josie Dye. Taking on issues like bullying, motherhood, diversity and inclusivity, Burke’s upcoming guests include Tracy Martin, President, Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA); Liz Trinnear, L.A. correspondent for CTV’s eTalk; and SiriusXM host Rida Naser. Burke is the Manager of Music Programming for SiriusXM’s Canadian music channels and also hosts swing on Toronto’s Indie88 (CIND-FM).

Andy James and Tamara “TJ” Joel, the former morning show duo on 101.5 EZ Rock (CILK-FM) Kelowna up until December when the station rebranded as The Move, have launched new voiceover venture MarriedWithMics.com. Andy & TJ had been hosting the morning show together since 2003. 

 

 

Josh Holliday has launched a new season of his podcast/livestream Josh Holliday Live!  The former afternoon drive host at X92.9 (CFEX-FM) Calgary, and past swing host at 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto, currently works behind the scenes as a writer and associate producer at CBC Radio in Toronto.

 

 

 

Rumneek Johal and Carol Park

Decomplicated is a new podcast by recent University of British Columbia (UBC) Masters of Journalism graduates Rumneek Johal and Carol Park. The two women of colour say they’re aiming to help shift the voice of Canadian media to be reflective of real Canadian voices. Among the topics tackled in the initial episodes are “blackfishing” and psychedelics.

LISTEN: One of the phenomenons of the pandemic has been the rise of TikTok. The short form video app is now being used by 15% of Canadian social networkers according to the latest Media Technology Monitor (MTM) data. Shannon Burns, evening host at Toronto’s CHUM 104.5 and iHeartRadio Nights on Virgin Radio stations across the country, is one of the creators who has experienced a meteoric rise on the app, closing in on 400,000 followers. On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk to Burns about becoming TikTok famous, her radio journey, and embracing multimedia.

LISTEN: Bob Willette, Program Manager for Corus Entertainment’s radio stations in Kingston, is on the Sound Off Podcast. Matt Cundill talks to Willette about continuing to persevere in the volatile business of radio and his new podcast, Bob’s Basement.

SIGN OFFS:

Joanne Sutton

Joanne Sutton, on March 7, after a battle with cancer. After graduating from the BCIT Broadcast program, Sutton’s first foray into radio was in Whitehorse, before joining Vancouver’s CJJR-FM in 1990. In 1991, she joined Fred and Cathy Latremouille’s morning show on 97 KiSS FM (CKKS-FM) Vancouver as the morning traffic reporter. That ended in 2000 and she went on to read morning news and traffic part-time with Newcap’s Vancouver stations, Zed 95.3 (CKZZ-FM), 650 CISL, and LG 104.3 (CHLG-FM). Sutton made a brief move into marketing and communications in the late 2000s, before starting The Little Fruit Pie Company, supplying fresh-baked and frozen pies for commercial sale and distribution.  

Dick Smyth

Dick Smyth, 86, on March 6. Growing up in Montreal, Smyth’s first foray into radio started in his youth as part of a children’s theatre group that performed plays on-air. Landing his first radio job in Cornwall, ON, that led to work with CKLW-AM Windsor, known at the time as “the Big 8.” Smyth would go on to join 1050 CHUM as news director in 1969 and later 680 NEWS when the station launched in 1993. He also provided commentary for and contributed to Citytv newscasts in the station’s early days. Among Smyth’s notable achievements, he was the first Canadian to receive an International RTNDA Award for his coverage of the 1967 Detroit Riots. He retired from broadcasting in 1997.

Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz, 61, on March 4, following a heart attack. Following an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys as a sixth round 1983 draft pick, in addition to nine seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, Schultz joined TSN in 1998 as a CFL ON TSN panelist and TSN Football Expert. Among his regular segments was sports betting feature “Risky Business” on SPORTSCENTRE, in addition to serving as TSN’s spokesperson throughout the season for the Purolator Tackle Hunger food drive program, encouraging fans to donate non-perishable food items on game days. Schultz was named to the All-Time Argos team in 2007. A native of Burlington, ON, he was inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jahmil French

Jahmil French, 29, on March 1. An alumnus of Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Scarborough, French was a stage and screen actor as well as a dancer. He landed his first recurring role in 2009 as part of the cast of the Degrassi: Minis series. He went on to reprise his role as Dave Turner in 149 episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation from 2009-13. He went on to work on WE tv series, The Divide; Global TV medical drama Remedy; and Pop TV sitcom Let’s Get Physical, among other shows and feature films. Most recently, he’d been part of the cast of Netflix series Soundtrack. French was twice nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, once for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series for his work on Degrassi and again in 2018 as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Darren Curtis film, “Boost.”

Michael O’Brien

Michael O’Brien, 71, on Feb. 17, after a lengthy battle with cancer. A broadcaster, media critic, entrepreneur, and author, O’Brien’s media career began in 1970 at CFOM Québec City. From there, he did mornings at CFUN Newcastle (now Miramachi), NB; afternoons at CKWW Windsor; and then mornings at CJFM Montreal while also working in promotions at Reader’s Digest. In 1978, he joined the morning show at CFPL London, before briefly returning to Montreal and CJAD in 1981. He joined CJSB Ottawa later that year as program director and eventually joined the morning show. O’Brien moved over to CFRA Ottawa in 1985, handling CHUM Network news out of CFRA from 1993 until 2004. In 2007, he joined Lake 88 (CHLK-FM) Perth, ON as the voice of morning news and the station’s first news director.

Margaret Jones

Margaret Jones, 83, on Feb. 16, following a lengthy illness. Jones was the longtime news director at CKAP AM 580 in Kapuskasing, ON. Alongside her 28-year career with the station, Jones was an avid volunteer, working with the Red Cross for over 25 years and the Kapuskasing Food Bank for more than a decade.

 

 

 

TV & FILM:

CTV’s Transplant leads the nominations for the 2021 WGC Screenwriting Awards. Other series in contention include Schitt’s Creek, Cardinal, Diggstown, and New Eden. Among the feature film screenplays and their writers receiving nominations are Akilla’s Escape (Charles Officer & Motion), Beans (Tracey Deer & Meredith Vuchnich) and The Willoughbys (Kris Pearn & Mark Stanleigh). The awards will be handed out during a virtual ceremony on April 26 when the guild will also reveal the 2021 Showrunner of the Year. Find the full list of nominees here.

Andrea Menard has been named this year’s ACTRA National Woman of the Year. Since 2010, ACTRA has bestowed the award each year upon an ACTRA member who uses her passion to support ACTRA members and women within the broader audiovisual industry. Menard, who is originally from Manitoba, is a member of the Métis Nation and currently lives in Vancouver. The singer/songwriter and actress was one of the stars of Netflix series Blackstone from 2011-15 and has also had recurring roles on Hard Rock Medical (TVO/APTN); OutTV series The Switch; Wapos Bay: The Series (APTN); and Moccasin Flats (APTN/Showcase), among other projects. Menard is a five-time Gemini-nominee. Her work in the community includes speaking and performing on behalf of numerous organizations, including the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Professional Aboriginal Women’s Network. Read more here.

Anne at 13,000 FT, the Kazik Radwanski drama about a young woman with alienating eccentricities, has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2020 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. The $100,000 award is the richest annual film prize in Canada and was presented to Radwanski live on YouTube at the TFCA’s first-ever online public awards gala from Toronto’s Paradise Theatre. The runners-up, who received $5,000 prizes from Rogers, went to director Louise Archambault (And the Birds Rained Down) and jointly to White Lie co-directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. The Clyde Gilmour Award went to Jason Ryle, an Indigenous producer and the outgoing Executive Director of the imagineNATIVE Film Festival. Kelly Fyffe-Marshall (Black Bodies) was announced as the winner of the Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist. In its mission to recognize new voices in film criticism, the TFCA jointly gave Mark Hanson and Rose Ho the Cineplex Entertainment Emerging Critic Award.

Bell Media has released more details about the launch of its new Quebec-based Noovo Info news service. The Noovo network includes television stations in Montréal, Québec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, as well as affiliates in Gatineau, Rivière-du-Loup and Val-d’Or. Starting March 29, Noovo Le Fil, the network’s cornerstone news programming will make its debut. As previously announced, national and local editions of Noovo Le Fil, will be anchored by Noémi Mercier, Lisa-Marie Blais, Michel Bherer and Meeker Guerrier, airing daily in various time slots. Led by General Manager Jean-Philippe Pineault, the Noovo team will provide news coverage across Bell Media platforms, encompassing television, radio and digital news. Read more here.

Kim’s Convenience will conclude in April after five seasons. Based on the award-winning play by Ins Choi about the Kim family and the ups and downs of running their downtown Toronto convenience store, the CBC Original comedy first premiered on the network in the fall of 2016 and has since been picked up by Netflix, among other platforms. During its run, it’s been honoured with nine Canadian Screen Awards. Produced by television veteran Ivan Fecan and co-created by Ins Choi and Kevin White on behalf of Thunderbird Entertainment – in association with the Soulpepper Theatre Company Fecan, Choi, White and Alexandra Raffé served as executive producers. In a statement from the producers, provided by CBC, it was indicated that the departure of the series two co-creators was behind the decision to bring the sitcom to an end. The series finale is set for Tuesday, April 13 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. Read more here.

The Toronto Raptors’ March 24 game will feature an all-female broadcast crew as part of a month-long celebration of the contribution women have made to sports. Women will hold every on-air role for the game vs. the Denver Nuggets on TSN. Play-by-play will be led by Meghan McPeak, alongside TSN analyst Kia Nurse, while TSN host and reporter Kayla Grey will handle sideline duties. TSN’s Kate Beirness and Amy Audibert, Raptors 905 analyst, will host the show and provide analysis.

TSN will return as the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club’s exclusive Canadian media partner for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The partnership will see the network broadcast the club’s 16 regular season games in 2021, as well as potential post-season matches, to TSN and TSN Direct subscribers.

NBCUniversal International has announced that hayu – the all-reality, ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service – is now available to Shaw TV customers in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northern Ontario. Hayu, which comes with $5.99/mo. subscription fee, carries programming like Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (exclusive to hayu in Canada), Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Below Deck.

Victor Garber

Distribution360 says new broadcast partners for groundbreaking documentary series Titanic: Stories from the Deep (4×60) have been secured in both the U.S. and Germany. Reelz has acquired the series for the U.S., while in Germany, Spiegel History (Geschichte) will air the series this month. Produced by Infinity Filmed Entertainment Group and Partners in Motion, Titanic: Stories from the Deep uncovers new history from 12,500 ft. below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. With the use of cutting-edge technology, the unique collection of artifacts salvaged from the underwater resting site of the wreck tells new personal, passenger stories. Victor Garber (Argo, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), who featured as Thomas Andrews in James Cameron’s feature film, Titanic, hosts. The series was originally financed by UKTV’s Yesterday, Viasat History, Foxtel and Canada’s Hollywood Suite, with the participation of the Rogers Documentary Fund.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced that Shaftesbury and AMC Networks have joined CFC’s signature film program as Lead Supporters. The incubator for new voices has been renamed The Norman Jewison Film Program, supported by Shaftesbury and AMC Networks. The 2021 incarnation of the program began in January and has been adapted to meet current COVID-19 regulations. 

Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the 74th annual EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) for the fifth consecutive year. Broadcast virtually from London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 11, the BAFTAs showcase the best in cinema from Britain, Hollywood, and around the world. Further details on the broadcast will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Super Channel has acquired two new innovative family comedies slated for their Canadian premiere on Super Channel Heart & Home in April. The Parker Andersons (10×30 min) and Amelia Parker (10×30 min) follow the life of an interracial family, blended by marriage. The two interwoven scripted series highlight events in the life of the Parker-Anderson family from two different perspectives. Produced by marblemedia and Beechwood Canyon Productions, both series were shot in Toronto. The Parker Andersons will premiere Monday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Amelia Parker at 8:30 p.m. ET. Each half-hour episode will also be available on Super Channel On Demand, the day following its weekly linear broadcast.

The Ottawa Black Film Festival (OBFF), founded by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and supported by Canadian Heritage, has announced its inaugural online program, March 25-28. Featuring 30 films and various panels, the festival will open with Ignacio Márquez’s The Special and close with Mia Donovan’s Dope is Death. The OBFF Black Market – an industry series where industry professionals share real-world experience on today’s most critical filmmaking and social issues – will present a blend of cutting-edge thinking and discussion. Find more info on the festival website.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

HuffPost Canada is being shuttered as part of layoffs announced by BuzzFeed on Tuesday, just weeks after acquiring the HuffPost brand from Verizon Media. The abrupt announcement comes following HuffPost Canada staff unionizing in late February. The cuts will affect all 23 Canadian employees across HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Quebec, while 47 staff have been laid off across the company’s American operations. The HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Quebec websites were taken offline shortly after the layoff announcement, with a statement on the landing pages indicating existing content will be maintained as an online archive, with certain site features to be permanently disabled March 12. HuffPost, which was co-founded in 2005 by Ariana Huffington, Jonah Peretti, Andrew Breitbart and Kenneth Lerer, launched its Canadian edition – its first incarnation outside the U.S. – in 2011. The launch of HuffPost Quebec followed a year later. Read more here.

Neal Mohan

YouTube says the pandemic has solidified the mobile to TV streaming trend. Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, writes in a new blog post that viewers are increasingly streaming content on their connected TV screens as they spend more time at home. While mobile still makes up the largest percentage of how YouTube content is consumed, the platform says its fastest growing viewing experience is on the TV screen. Last December, over 120 million Americans streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens. Mohan says another emerging viewing behaviour is that a new generation of viewers is choosing to watch YouTube primarily on the TV screen. In December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen. Mohan says this presents both challenges and opportunities for advertisers. For the first time ever during 2021/22 upfront season in the U.S., advertisers will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns with Nielsen. Mohan adds that streaming gives advertisers more places to reach customers who have been abandoning TV for streaming platforms, including hard-to-reach viewers. 

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Cogeco is accusing WildBrain of abusing the CRTC process in response to a Part 1 filed by the parent company of Family Channel in an attempt to invoke the commission’s standstill rule. WildBrain argues that Cogeco is violating the Wholesale Code when, despite the application of the standstill rule during carriage negotiations, it gave unilateral notice that it would drop all of WildBrain’s English services. WildBrain says its application demonstrates the vulnerability of independent discretionary services arising from an uneven marketplace caused by Canada’s “highly concentrated and vertically integrated ownership structure.”

CRTCThe CRTC has determined that device financing plans fall under the scope of the Wireless Code, given the “inextricable link” between device financing plans and wireless service plans. Further, the commission has determined that the required repayment of the balance of a device financing plan ultimately constitutes an early cancellation fee. It’s directed wireless service providers to update their contracts, sales and training materials, and other documentation to ensure device financing and wireless service plans comply with rules relating to early cancellation fees. The commission will also direct the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) to begin tracking complaints related to device financing plans and ensure they’re counted separately from other early cancellation-related complaints.

OpenMedia, Ryerson Leadership Lab, and TekSavvy are among those involved in an Affordable Internet Day of Action planned for March 16 calling on the federal government and regulators to expedite the process towards more affordable internet and wireless services for Canadians. Others participating include: ACORN Canada; Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship; activist and author Cory Doctorow; Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law Michael Geist; The Internet Society Canada Chapter; Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC); and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Organizations and individuals interested in participating in the event can email Laura Tribe at laura@openmedia.org. 

The Rise Mentoring Programme, a free, six-month resource supporting women working in or aspiring to work in the broadcast media technology sector, is expanding its program to North America. Running from May-November, mentees are supported with strategies to identify and achieve career goals, feedback and advice, through the help of a mentor. Applications are welcome from women who are working full-time, part time or freelance and of any age group above the age of 18. Past mentees have come from a variety of job roles, including engineering, technical operations, sales, marketing and business development. The program is open for applications until April 9.

The Pigeon, the online journalism startup for recent j-school grads, is launching The Pigeon Sessions, a series of events and workshops to help new journalists learn and grow within the industry. Their first event, After Graduation: Finding Your Way as a New Journalist, is set for March 24 and will feature a panel of young experts sharing what they’ve learned at the outset of their careers. Learn more here.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Google AI has unveiled Lyra, a new low-bitrate audio codec for speech compression. With the ongoing challenge of developing codecs that increase quality, using less data while minimizing latency, Lyra aims to make voice communication possible even on the slowest networks by leveraging advances in machine learning (ML). Using models trained on thousands of hours of data to create a novel method for compressing and transmitting voice signals, features or distinctive speech attributes, are extracted from speech every 40ms and then compressed for transmission. On the other end, a generative model uses those features to recreate the speech signal.

ADVERTORIAL: Read about how Dielectric is helping broadcast engineers demystify when and where problems may arise in the RF infrastructure. Dielectric’s RFHawkeye is the broadcast industry’s first native IP-connected RF monitoring system for antennas, transmission line, and most external associated RF components. Broadcasters not only have an IP connection to remotely monitor antenna and line system performance and condition; their predictive capabilities are optimized with a graphical user interface that presents meaningful, actionable system data. Read more here.