The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Lyndon Friesen

Lyndon Friesen is retiring as President of Golden West Broadcasting after 45 years with the company. Friesen started working with Golden West in the sales department at CHSM Steinbach in 1977 and by the following year was station manager. After stints managing new Golden West stations in Ajax and Hamilton, ON, as well as serving as General Manager of CHRB/CFXL Calgary and CHRB High River in the early 1990s, he returned to Manitoba where he became Executive Vice-President in 2003 and added Chief Operating Officer to his title in 2006. He assumed the role of President in 2008.

Carter Friesen

Carter Friesen will step into the role as President & COO of Golden West. Friesen, started working in sales and business development with the company in 2013, while still studying Business Administration at the Ivey Business School at Western University and was named VP, Corporate Development in 2017. He took on the role of COO in late 2019. Read more here.

 

 

APTN has made changes to its programming team, including the addition of Adam Garnet Jones as Director of TV Content and Special Events. In the newly-created position, Garnet will be responsible for all non-news programming on APTN’s four linear broadcast channels, including oversight of program development and acquisition. Based in Toronto, he was most recently the Indigenous Initiatives Lead for Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund. He’s also a former chair of the Ontario Film Review Board and a longtime board member of the ImagineNATIVE Festival. Lisa Ducharme is also relinquishing her title as APTN’s Director of Marketing to move into programming in the new role of Director of Online Content. Ducharme has been with APTN since 2007 when she joined the network as Manager of Research. She’ll oversee all online content – both original and acquired – including APTN’s lumi streaming platform, as well as content destined for various BDUs. She’ll also provide direction to APTN’s Content Creation team. 

CC and Lorie, the morning show team on Regina’s Z99 (CIZL-FM) for the last 32 years, have announced they plan to retire this spring. CC has been the morning host since Z99 first went on the air in 1982. The team haven’t said when their last broadcast will be, but have revealed they’ll host one more Z99 Radiothon for the NICU at the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care. Lorie, who has been dealing with some health issues, plans to spend more time with family, while CC has decided not to carry on with the show without his longtime co-host. 

Danielle Cyr

Danielle Cyr is Evanov Communications’ new Regional Sales Manager for Ontario East/Quebec, effective March 22. With experience in both radio and television, Cyr previously worked with Evanov Radio Group as a General Sales Manager in Montreal from 2015-19, before joining Bell Media and CTV Montreal.

Mike Jean

Mike Jean has been appointed Director of Metro Sales for the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. As JPBG’s Retail Sales Manager in Victoria for the past 11 years, he initially joined the company as an Account Executive in 2001. Prior to joining JPBG, Jean was in sales with Corus Entertainment.

Ian Balfour

Ian Balfour has announced his retirement from Stingray Ottawa’s Hot 89.9 (CIHT-FM) and LiVE 88.5 (CILV-FM), effective April 1. Balfour has had a 34-year media sales career that started in 1987 at CFGO AM 1200 Ottawa, through ownership changes with Baton, Rawlco and CHUM. After 17 years, he moved over to CTV Ottawa, before returning to radio as a Manager with NewCap Ottawa. In 2009, he joined NewCap Fort McMurray as the General Manager/GSM of its newly-launched K-ROCK station, before heading to Western Newfoundland Labrador to act as GM/GSM for the company’s seven radio stations there. He returned to Ottawa in 2012 as Retail Sales Manager.

Michael Dick

Michael Dick has accepted the position of Managing Editor for CBC Network Radio. Dick has most recently served as Executive Producer at CBC Thunder Bay. In addition to numerous stops with the network as a reporter and producer over the last 16 years, he also spent two years in Japan, working with Nippon Hoso Kyokai’s international news service, NHK World.

Rick Matthews

Rick Matthews has joined Rogers Sports & Media as Director, Content Strategy. Matthews was previously the VP of Kin Community Canada, through its acquisition by Corus Entertainment. Prior to joining Kin in 2014, Matthews was the Executive Producer of Steven and Chris on CBC.

Emily Szabo

Emily Szabo is hosting a new national midday show on Rogers’ Country stations. Szabo was formerly the music director and midday host at Corus Radio’s Energy 95.3 (CING-FM) Hamilton.

MK Bowyer

MK Bowyer will take over middays on CFOX Vancouver as Carmen Cruz heads out on a one-year maternity leave. Bowyer has been the afternoon drive host and music director at Harvard Broadcasting’s X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer for the last three years. Prior to that, she was in a similar role at 104.3 Fresh Radio (CKWS-FM) Kingston, ON.

Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal will return to the airwaves April 5 with new “sports variety” show, Donnie and Dhali – The Team, on Victoria’s CHEK-TV. The pair were formerly heard on TSN Radio/Team 1040 (CKST-AM) until Bell Media dropped the format in several markets last month. Ryan Henderson, another former 1040 employee, will serve as the show’s producer. The show will be multicast live, from 10 to noon Monday to Friday, on multiple platforms including CHEK television, the soon-to-be-launched CHEK+ app (for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Android and iOS) and as a live and on-demand podcast. The program will be produced at Oh Boy Production Studios in Vancouver.

Kayla Goodfield

Kayla Goodfield has transitioned from her Digital Content Editor and Writer role with CTV News Toronto to a new position as a Digital Producer with BNN Bloomberg. Goodfield has been with Bell Media since 2016.

Robyn Crawford

Robyn Crawford is joining News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver as a producer and anchor. Crawford has been with Corus Vancouver since 2017, starting as a traffic anchor with AM 730 (CHMJ-AM) before joining CKNW as a reporter and anchor.

Aparita Bhandari

Aparita Bhandari has been hired as a producer with Pacific Content. A freelance journalist, Bhandari is also the co-host of Khabardaar, a weekly Hindi/Urdu language podcast discussing Bollywood movies. 

Hannah Daley

Hannah Daley has joined The Wire Report as Deputy Editor. Daley has been with allNovaScotia.com since 2018, most recently as a business reporter with allNewBrunswick.com, based in Moncton.

Hayley Woodin

Hayley Woodin has been named the first Executive Editor of Business in Vancouver (BIV). Woodin has been a contributor to the publication since 2016 and in the last year has taken on leadership of BIV’s magazine portfolio. She’s also contributed to BIV’s radio, television and podcast activities, including serving as the former co-host and co-producer of the Business in Vancouver show on Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM).

Tyler Olsen

Tyler Olsen, who up until December was a reporter with Abbotsford News, has announced he’s now Managing Editor of online startup, Fraser Valley Current. The subscriber e-newsletter model will focus on local news in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.

Asmaa Malik

Asmaa Malik and Gavin Adamson have been appointed Co-Interim Chairs of the Ryerson School of Journalism following the resignations of Chair Janice Neil and Lisa Taylor, associate chair and the school’s undergraduate program director. Their departure follows a public letter issued by Ryerson journalism students, accusing the school of failing to represent and support BIPOC and LGBTQ students in the program. A formal search committee for a permanent Chair will be set up in the near future. The School of Journalism says as part of its ongoing commitment to change and development, it will embark on an intentional review and transformation process to be led by Kamal Al-Solaylee.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Edison Research and Triton Digital have released the 2021 Infinite Dial – the longest-running survey of consumer digital behaviour. Conducted in January, it found that after years of growth, online monthly audio listening plateaued at 68% or 193 million Americans. Weekly consumption saw a slight increase, while average time spent listening saw a seven per cent increase from 15 hours and 12 minutes a week in 2020 to 16 hours, 14 minutes a week this year. Weekly podcast listening saw growth from 24% of the U.S. population to 28% (80 million Americans, 12+). Weekly listeners averaged eight podcast episodes per week with those listeners averaging 5.1 different podcast shows. Read more of the survey’s findings, here.

Zoomer Radio AM 740 (CFZM-AM) has launched new morning show, The Morning Zoom with Sam and Jane, airing weekday mornings from 6 – 10 a.m. Samantha Houston has worked with ZoomerMedia for the last three years, after stints on the 1050 CHUM morning show and as an anchor for CTV News Channel. Jane Brown, who formerly anchored morning news on CFRB for a decade, has been with Zoomer Radio since 2009 as a news anchor and associate news director.

Sportsnet 650 (CISL-AM) Vancouver appears to have picked up about 40% of the TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) audience following Bell Media’s move to drop the format in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton in February. According to the latest PPM ratings release, every 650 show saw a bump in its 25 to 54 listenership, with Scott Rintoul’s 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. show pulling in a 5.2 share with men, 25-to-54, in February, quadrupling his previous 1.3 ratings performance. TSN 1040 personalities Don Taylor and Bob Marjanovich previously garnered a 6.1 share in the timeslot. 

canadian music weekBuffy Sainte-Marie, Nile Rodgers and Timbaland are among those set to take part in the upcoming 2021 Canadian Music Week (CMW) Virtual Conference & Festival, May 18-21. Registration is now open. The 20th Anniversary Independent Music Awards will be streamed live from the El Mocambo on Friday, May 21, hosted by Matt, Carlin and Josie Dye of Toronto’s Indie88 (CIND-FM) and feature performances by 2019 Indie Award-winners Monowhales, July Talk, Sam Roberts Band, Walk Off The Earth, and CZN, the winners of the 2020 Jim Beam National Talent Search. The Canadian Music Week Festival will be free to the public this year, featuring both Canadian and international artists. It will stream on the CMW Festival website from May 18-21 and be available to view on-demand. Learn more about this year’s speaker’s lineup, here.

LISTEN: Lauren Hunter of Edmonton’s SONiC 102.9 (CHDI-FM) is the winner of this year’s Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award, an honour annually presented during Canadian Music Week in memory of radio programmer Steve Young. On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we talk to the Young Broadcaster of the Year about finding creative inspiration, aspiring to be the Jimmy Kimmel of Edmonton jokes, and her advice for other young broadcasters looking for their break.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Howard Kroeger talks about the birth of the Classic Hits format, which is now celebrating its 20th year. Kroeger discusses how the BOB FM format came together, why Winnipeg was the place to make it happen, and the growth of the format across North America. 

SIGN OFFS:

Bill Inkol

Bill Inkol, 92, on March 15. Inkol was hired at CJCS Stratford in 1951 and quickly ascended to the position of sports director, before moving into TV in London in 1962. He went on to join CKCO-TV Kitchener as sports director in 1967 (now CTV Kitchener) where he would spend the rest of his career, up until his retirement in 1994. Among other programs, Inkol was known for co-hosting “Blue Jays Banter” and “Bowling for Dollars.” He also contributed to CTV national sports broadcasts and covered five Olympic Games, in addition to many other events.

Norm Wright

Norm Wright, 82, on March 15. Wright’s career began in 1957 when he was hired at age 17 as an announcer at CFCO Radio in Chatham. He went on to work at CFJR Brockville, CKSF Cornwall and then mornings at CFRA Ottawa. In 1961, he moved into television at CKMI-TV Quebec City as a news anchor and host of the popular “Teen Club” show – a precursor to American Bandstand. In the early 1970s, he became owner and operator of CFOM Quebec City, while also earning agency experience as a Marketing Director with Pierre Tremblay Publicitee. Wright and his wife moved to Otty Lake just outside of Perth, ON in 1974 after being invited to join the faculty of Algonquin College’s Media Division in Ottawa, where he taught for 25 years in the Radio and Television Broadcasting program. While there, he also worked as a news, sports and weather anchor at the Ottawa CBC affiliate, CBOT-TV, from 1979 until 1992. Wright and business partner Brian Perkin, went on to secure a broadcast licence for Perth, founding Lake 88.1 (CHLK-FM) radio and teaming up with news announcers Michael O’Brien and later Ian Sutton to host Lake 88’s morning show in the early days of the station. Wright retired in 2014.

Donnie Verge

Donnie Verge, 80, on March 15. Hailing from Halifax, Verge began his television career with ATV (now CTV Atlantic) in 1966. In 1988, he moved over to Global Television as Operations Manager, until his retirement in 2005. Alongside his broadcast career, Verge was a Certified Master Guide and avid sportsman.

TV & FILM:

 

Telefilm Canada says it will continue to suspend its physical presence at international festivals and markets until Aug. 31. Its physical offices across the country will also continue to remain closed until at least Fall 2021. In the meantime, Telefilm says it will continue to ensure a robust presence for Canadian productions and talent at virtual events and will coordinate a digital promotion campaign aimed at amplifying Canadian film, television and digital media production in the international marketplace.

Canada Media Fund (CMF) has launched virtual cross-country consultations and a series of invitation-only roundtables, running from March 16 to April 9. Those interested, can sign up here to attend a virtual town hall meeting or share their thoughts with CMF by filling out an online questionnaire before April 16.

TSN delivers multi-platform coverage of NCAA® MARCH MADNESS® with TSN and TSN Direct subscribers gaining access to every game. TSN’s coverage of the men’s tournament begins with the play-in games March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, featuring teams vying to qualify for the remaining four spots in the tournament, continuing all the way to the championship game on Monday, April 5. TSN’s coverage of the women’s tournament begins with the First Round on Sunday, March 21 and continues through to the championship game on Sunday, April 4 at 6 p.m. ET, live from Alamodome in San Antonio. Kate Beirness and Kayla Grey will host the network’s coverage from the TSN studio, alongside analyst Jack Armstrong and two-time NCAA® women’s basketball champion and point guard for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, Kia Nurse. Matthew Scianitti will also provide updates for SPORTSCENTRE, including recurring segments with Nurse, “3 Point Play” and “AND 1.”

Katey Sagal

CTV has announced key dates for its Spring 2021 schedule featuring three new series. New drama Rebel, starring Katey Sagal (The Conners, Sons of Anarchy) – inspired by and executive produced by Erin Brockovich – headlines the Spring lineup with the 10-episode series airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, beginning April 8. New half-hour comedy Home Economics, starring and executive produced by Topher Grace (That ‘70s Show) premieres Wednesday, April 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, before moving to its regular Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT timeslot, beginning April 14. Also debuting next month is the new, female-led reboot of 1970s David Carradine series, Kung Fu, starring Olivia Liang (Legacies), airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV2, beginning April 7.

Mary Berg

CTV Life Channel, in association with Boat Rocker Studios, Unscripted through Proper Television, has announced that production has begun on new culinary series Mary Makes It Easy. Hosted by Mary Berg, the new series consists of 25 half-hour episodes, including a holiday special. Filming in Toronto at Berg’s home kitchen, Mary Makes It Easy follows Berg as she offers tips and recipes to solve everyday cooking woes.

Global is adding new comedy United States Of Al, from executive producer Chuck Lorre and creators/writers David Goetsch and Maria Ferrari, to its TV roster. Premiering Thursday, April 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT, the series stars Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young in a comedy about the friendship between Riley (Young), a Marine combat veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life in Ohio, and Awalmir (Kalyan), the interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan and has arrived to start a new life in America. 

marblemedia, in association with Cloudco Entertainment, has received a series order for Overlord and the Underwoods (20×30) from CBC, Nickelodeon International, and ITV, in association with BYUtv. The original half-hour, live-action, single camera family comedy follows the Underwoods, a North American family whose life is turned upside down when their distant cousin, Overlord, the second most-wanted villain in the universe, seeks refuge in their home after being forced into intergalactic witness protection. Created by BAFTA-winning showrunner, Anthony Q. Farrell (The Office, Little Mosque on the Prairie) and Ryan Wiesbrock, creator of Netflix Original series Buddy Thunderstruck and the live-action adaptation of Holly Hobbie for Hulu and Family Channel, pre-production on the series has begun in Toronto.  

Hollywood Suite has announced the Canadian broadcast premiere of documentary short What About Our Future? on March 21. Directed by Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos and Cláudio Cruz, the film follows the group of teens who organized the largest climate strike in Vancouver’s history, which included appearances by environmental activists Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki. Hollywood Suite and the David Suzuki Foundation will present a screening of the film, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and Canadian climate activists on April 29. Register here.

 

The Communist’s Daughter (8×10 mins), a web series about the daughter of two happily married Communists who struggles between fitting in at high school and upholding her family’s idealistic beliefs, will premiere on CBC Gem on March 19. Set in 1989, the series is created and directed by Leah Cameron (Coroner) and executive produced by Lauren Corber of LoCo Motion Pictures (How to Buy a Baby), Josh Gal, Emer Connon and Cameron, with Natalie Novak of Natalie Novak Films (Falling) serving as producer.

Big Cedar Films has announced the return of popular series Farm Crime, premiering April 1 on CBC Gem. Returning for a second season, the true-crime docuseries takes a deep dive into the world of farming and agriculture. Comprised of six episodes, Farm Crime Season 2 explores the dark side of Canada’s agriculture industry from an invasion of Asian murder hornets in British Columbia to a million-dollar sting operation on Nova Scotia’s baby eel fishery. Farm Crime Season 1 launched in August 2018 and set the record as the most-streamed CBC Gem original unscripted series over its first seven days. Warner Bros. Unscripted Television has optioned the format to develop a U.S. version of the show. 

Wattpad and CBC are developing two original series, Near or Far and The Last Place to Hide, for CBC Gem as part of a content partnership to identify emerging Canadian Wattpad writers and stories. First announced in 2018, the partnership has been extended through 2022. A CBC Gem original series, The Last Place to Hide – co-created by Taylor Hale and Lisa Baylin in association with Wattpad Studios and iThentic – is a young adult (YA) thriller. YA drama Near or Far, from Wattpad author Emma Szalai, is focused around the story of 18-year-old twins Sadie & Lauren, and is co-created by Szalai and Duana Taha in association with Wattpad Studios and Harlow Creative.

Super Channel and the Canadian Film Fest (CFF), an indie-spirited festival dedicated to celebrating Canadian filmmakers, have teamed up to present a virtual edition of the second annual Canadian Film Fest presented by Super Channel. Starting April 1 and running for three consecutive weekends, nine feature films will premiere on Super Channel Fuse on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. All festival feature films will have a linear-only limited run, in addition to 30 short films interspersed into the schedule around the feature film presentations. CFF will also feature pre-recorded and live Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions and a virtual awards presentation. The festival will open with the Toronto premiere of Sugar Daddy (dir. Wendy Morgan), starring Kelly McCormack (Letterkenny, A Simple Favour) and Colm Feore (The Umbrella Academy, The Borgias). Closing out the festival on April 17 is Range Roads (dir. Kyle Thomas), making its Canadian premiere, starring Alana Hawley-Purvis (The Great Fear) and Joe Perry (Everfall, Blood Mountain).

Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has selected six new music creators to participate in the 2021 Slaight Music Residency: Kalaisan Kalaichelvan, Kaïa Kater, Scott Harwood, Alexandra Petkovski, Deanna Choi, and Aubrey McGhee. The musicians come to the program to deepen their knowledge and experience working in film and TV through a creative and business experience that will fully integrate them into the on-screen narrative storytelling process. Chaired by Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Jordan and composer and musician Lesley Barber, music residents will jump into sessions exploring the connection between music and cinematic storytelling.  

Fabienne Colas

Fabienne Colas has announced the creation of new organization, Women of Colour Thrive (WOCThrive), a community of experts who can effectively identify gaps, implement solutions, and create opportunities for diverse female talent to lead and contribute. According to a 2020 Catalyst report, while a 14% higher proportion of women of colour (WOC) have post-secondary education vs. non-racialized women, they are under-represented by 39% in the workforce. Originally from Haiti, Colas is an award-winning actress, filmmaker, producer and business owner. Her primary mission is to change the landscape of Canadian TV and film by making it more diverse and equal.  

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

CBC has introduced CBC Lite, a low-bandwidth product offering text-based content in a low-data usage format. While still in its early stages, CBC Lite offers trending and standard CBC stories as text with embedded links to discover additional content. Enabling pages to be downloaded on dial-up in seconds rather than minutes, CBC says the product aims to start bridging the gap towards a better CBC experience for everyone. The platform is built around a method called server-side rendering. With modern websites often expecting faster internet connections and computer processors, the work required to render a web page is often left to the user’s computer, resulting in longer load times, more data transfer and performance issues for older devices or slower connections. Server-side rendering allows CBC remote servers to do the heavy lifting, rather than the user’s computer, and then sends the user’s browser a few lightweight, easy to process files. 

The Breach is a soon-to-be launched ad-free, paywall-free journalism platform promising in-depth investigative coverage not found in establishment media. Among those who have signed on as contributors are Avi Lewis, who’ll host a video series for The Breach, in addition to Linda McQuaig, Martin Lukacs, Pam Palmater, Russ Diabo, El Jones, Bianca Mugyenyi and Azeezah Kanji. It pledges to tackle issues from scrutinizing the oil and corporate lobby to police and the military, structural racism, colonial land theft, and big tech. Since launching its crowd-funding appeal on March 10, The Breach has already raised 85% of its $100,000 fundraising goal.

Twitter plans to roll out its Twitter Spaces live audio feature to all users in April. A competitor to iOS and invitation-only chatroom platform, Clubhouse, right now only select Twitter users are able to host Spaces chats, while anyone can join an existing Spaces room.

Media Technology Monitor (MTM) is set to launch new product, MTM Newcomers which will focus on the media consumption habits of those who have come to Canada within the past five years. Highlights from the report include that new Canadians skew younger than the rest of the population, which is reflected in their ownership and use of media technology. 99% of those who report arriving in the past decade say they have a smartphone with 57% owning an iPhone, compared to 49% of those born in Canada. More than half of newcomers are opting to watch “TV My Way” and are embracing Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Recent arrivals are also big fans of YouTube, both for video and music content, with 95% of those who have arrived within 10 years saying they watch videos on YouTube, while 93% stream music via the site – compared with three-quarters of the rest of Canadians who watch YouTube and less than two-thirds who use the platform to stream music.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications are to be combined in a $26 billion transaction, subject to regulatory approvals. The combined company would create a headquarters for all Western operations at Shaw Court in downtown Calgary where the President of Western operations and other senior roles would be based. Additionally, Brad Shaw, Executive Chair & CEO of Shaw Communications, and another Director to be nominated by the Shaw family, would be named to the Rogers Board of Directors. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is among the organizations and policy experts expressing concern about the proposed transaction, with PIAC saying the deal will mean fewer wireless competitors in many Canadian markets and will undo regulatory intervention over the last 15 years aimed at promoting a fourth national wireless carrier to bring down cellphone prices. While Shaw Communications divested its 38.6% stake in Corus Entertainment in 2019, the Shaw Family Trust – a separate corporate entity – remains in control of the publicly-traded media company with Heather Shaw the Executive Chair of the Corus Board of Directors and Julie Shaw its Vice-Chair. Industry insiders anticipate that might be one of the facets of the Competition Bureau’s exploration of the deal, but ultimately the telecom side of the merger and the potential consumer impact will be the focus. Read more here.

CRTCThe CRTC has issued a call for comments as it reviews the Video Relay Service (VRS), a telecommunications service that enables sign language users and voice telephone users to communicate with each other. The commission is launching the proceeding to examine whether VRS efficiently addresses the needs of Canadians with hearing and speech disabilities; whether the regulatory framework requires improvements; and whether the governance structure and funding model and cap remain appropriate. The deadline for submission of interventions is June 9. 

The COVID-19 Media Impact Map for Canada, launched a year ago by the Local News Research Project, the Canadian Association of Journalists and J-Source to measure the pandemic’s effects on labour and services across the media industry, now puts the number of media jobs lost at over 3,000. The project says 67 media outlets have closed temporarily or permanently. Of those, 40 are permanently closed (29 community newspapers, five radio stations, four online outlets and two television stations). 182 media outlets have reported layoffs or job losses with a total of 17 companies with multiple media holdings also reporting layoffs or job losses. 3,011 editorial and non-editorial jobs have been cut temporarily or permanently, with 1,269 of those job losses confirmed as permanent. 

Unifor Local 2000 is lauding an arbitration decision that upholds seniority rights for two union members laid off by Vancouver-based Glacier Media at the start of the pandemic. The decision orders the employer to make the two union members whole and reinstate one of them, who has been laid off for close to a year. Last April, Glacier Media laid off employees at Burnaby NOW and the New Westminster Record, shortly after the global pandemic was declared. The union grieved two of the layoffs – one in the editorial department and the other in sales, as well as a third case where an employee’s hours were reduced. All three had more seniority than other members in their respective classifications. The company argued the layoffs were valid because employees did not have the necessary skills to do the work. Arbitrator Ken Saunders ruled that two of the three layoffs violated the union contract that stipulates “the most junior person with the necessary skills to do the work shall be laid-off first.”

Grant Robertson

The Sidney Hillman Foundation has awarded the 11th annual Canadian Hillman Prize to Grant Robertson of The Globe and Mail for his investigation into how Canada’s global pandemic early warning system went silent just months before COVID-19. Robertson’s reporting revealed the federal government shuttered key parts of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). The Hillman judges also recognized The Death Report, produced by APTN and The Hamilton Spectator’s House of Horrors with honourable mentions. The foundation will host a virtual Canadian Hillman Prize Ceremony on March 25 at 7 p.m. 

Bell Media, in partnership with the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), is launching the first-ever IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity in Advertising) competition. Brands and agencies are invited to enter for the chance to win $1 million worth of media inventory on Bell Media platforms. The focus for the inaugural IDEA contest is on campaigns that highlight Indigenous communities with a clear message of diversity and inclusion. The closing date for entries is April 23. 

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Knowledge Network, British Columbia’s public broadcaster, has tapped video playback technology provider, JW Player, as it expands beyond traditional linear broadcasting. With the pandemic heightening demand for streaming content, the network has seen over 55% viewership growth year-over-year. It’s now averaging 306,800 views per month with its Knowledge Original Search and Rescue North Shore its most viewed program in 2020-21. Episode 1 had over 16,000 video plays in the first week and more than 29,000 in the first month. 

Audionamix has launched an on-demand web application for automated stem separation. The browser-based separation interface automatically isolates dialogue from music and effects or stem specific instruments from a song using cutting-edge AI separation technology. The solution enables upmixing, removal of copyrighted songs for distribution, and dubbing. The web app also makes monetizing stems for sync, sampling, and remixing simpler, eliminating the need to track down studio sessions that may no longer exist. 

ADVERTORIAL: RFHawkeye from Dielectric is a unique and revolutionary product to measure on-line/in operation, the degradation of transmission lines and moreover detect sparks/arcs. David Rusch interviews Dielectric Electrical Engineer Dan Glavin for Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast.