Dahlia Kurtz is landing on her feet with a new gig hosting a morning talk show on SiriusXM. The former host of “The Goods” which aired weekends on Ottawa’s 580 CFRA, Kurtz was caught up in February’s round of layoffs at Bell Media. Starting April 12, “Good Mornings with Dahlia Kurtz” will air live, Monday to Friday, from 7 – 8 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks (Channel 167). Read more here.
Shaye Ganam is set to launch a new show that will air on Global News Radio stations, 770 CHQR Calgary and 630 CHED Edmonton. Starting April 12, the show will air in Calgary from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MT and in Edmonton from 9 a.m. to noon. Ganam has been the co-host of 630 CHED Mornings, alongside Chelsea Bird since Sept. 2019, and is the former longtime co-host of Global News Morning and Global News at Noon on Global Edmonton. Corus says a new co-host will be joining Bird on CHED Mornings.
Jeff Rechner, the original afternoon host at JACK 96.9 (CJAX-FM) Vancouver, will be the show announcer on upcoming NBC game show, Small Fortune. The eight-episode series debuts May 31, hosted by stand-up comedian and actor Lil Rel Howery. Now based in L.A., Edmonton-born Rechner has also done voiceovers for Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Tonight Show, among other work.
Cherise Seucharan has joined Canadaland as a reporter as the outlet doubles down on its original reporting. Seucharan, who has previously done reporting stints at The Globe and Mail, StarMetro Vancouver, and CBC Vancouver, will be working on the flagship Canadaland podcast.
Hayley Cooper, who was part of recent layoffs at Bell Media, has accepted a position with Etobicoke Centre MPP Kinga Surma as Director of Communications. Up until February, Cooper had been a reporter with Toronto’s Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM). Prior to joining the station in 2015, she worked at News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver, AM 1150 (CKFR-AM) Kelowna, and Radio NL (CHNL-AM) Kamloops, among other stations.
John Woo has left Sportsnet after a decade to join the Toronto Blue Jays as a content producer. Woo started freelance producing for the network in 2011 and was most recently a features producer, directing and producing segments and opening teases for Hockey Night in Canada, NBA on Sportsnet, MLB on Sportsnet, and Sportsnet Central.
Rob White and Tami Jeanneret have reunited on the 105.1 The River (CJED-FM) Niagara morning show. The duo previously hosted together on the station from 2003-05, before Jeanneret left to teach at Niagara College. Now owned by Byrnes Communications, both Jeanneret and White had been working at EZ Rock (CHRE-FM) in St. Catharines before getting caught up in last November’s purge at Bell Media.
Justin Crouch is joining Harvard Broadcasting’s X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer as the new host of afternoons, in addition to taking on music director duties. Crouch has held a similar position at Rogers-owned 97.7 Rock (CFGP-FM) Grande Prairie since 2017. Prior to that he spent six years as the midday host at Q99 (CIKT-FM) Grande Prairie.
Julian Kolsut has left Victoria’s CHEK-TV after four years as a multimedia journalist with the station. Kolsut is moving into documentary film, but will remain based on Vancouver Island.
Engine Media Holdings has appointed David Paschkes as Executive Vice President of Sports and eSports Partnerships, while Jason Rogers has been promoted to Vice President of Corporate Development & Partnerships. Paschkes was most recently at CBS Experiences (CBSX), the company’s experiential events division, where he was Executive Vice-President and Managing Director. Since joining Engine Media, Rogers has been the lead on corporate integration initiatives among the TSX-traded company’s assets since its tri-party merger of Frankly Media, Torque Esports, and WinView Games in May 2020. In his new role, he’ll lead Corporate M&A, Business Development and Strategic Planning across Engine’s assets.
Dennis Heaton has resigned his position as President of the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), due to an increasing professional workload as he embarks as showrunner on a new series. Heaton will still retain his seat on the WGC Council as representative of the Pacific-Western Region until the end of the current term in May 2022. WGC Treasurer Alex Levine, who has served on WGC Council since 2018, has been named WGC President, while Marsha Greene has been appointed VP. Andrew Wreggitt has resigned from the position of VP and assumes the role of Treasurer.
Olivia Nuamah is leaving ACTRA after just six months as the organization’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. ACTRA says Nuamah, who is a former Executive Director of Pride Toronto, is pursuing another opportunity outside of the industry. ACTRA says it will commence an executive search to identify potential candidates for the role and ensure a smooth transition.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Stingray has introduced a syndicated morning show across its The Breeze easy-listening stations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax and syndicated evening programming on its Classic Rock stations in the west. The Morning Breeze with Brad & Deb, hosted by Brad Dryden and Deb Smith out of 96.5 The Breeze (CKUL-FM) Halifax, is airing on 96.3 The Breeze (CKRA-FM) Edmonton and 104.3 The Breeze (CHLG-FM) Vancouver from 6 – 10 a.m. local time. Each market also has a reporter dedicated to covering traffic, weather, and breaking news. Stingray has also launched “Rock of The West,” weeknights on Stingray Classic Rock stations across Western Canada including K-97 (CIRK-FM) Edmonton, K96-3 (CKKO-FM) Kelowna, and Zed 98.9 (CIZZ-FM) Red Deer. Travis Currah, the afternoon host at Zed 98.9 Red Deer, is hosting the show. The new shows follow a round of restructuring that included The Breeze Edmonton morning show host Sean Burke and The Breeze Vancouver’s Kelly Latremouille.
The Canadian Podcast Awards are open for nominations across 29 categories, in addition to the Bob Goyetche Award, recognizing podcasters who’ve made an impact and helped grow the community, and the People’s Choice Award, open to the top nominated podcasts across all categories and awarded to the audience favourite. Podcasts eligible for the awards must be recorded with the intent for first run distribution through RSS. Radio and video redistributed as podcasts do not qualify. Podcasts must have five episodes released in the preceding year and meet Canadian content requirements for inclusion in the Canadian Podcast Awards Directory. Podcasts can be nominated by any registered member of the Canadian Podcast Awards.
Hot Docs’ new year-round Podcast Development Lab has issued a call for submissions. In partnership with Inspirit Foundation, the lab will offer five fellowships for emerging BIPOC storytellers with non-fiction series ideas in early development. Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their podcast ideas and create a proof-of-concept sample that will help take their work to the next level. Each project will also receive a $1,000 creator grant to support the development of their work. Podcast Development Lab fellows will be selected via an open application process. Find guidelines here. The deadline for applications is May 13.
MTM JR has released a report on Canadian kids, aged 2-17, and their podcast consumption. Findings from the report include that kids who listen to podcasts tend to do so frequently. Three-quarters of kids who listen to podcasts do so at least once a week and nearly a quarter listen to podcasts daily. Younger podcast listeners (aged 2-11) are more likely to listen to podcasts on a daily basis than teens. Music podcasts represent the most popular genre among kids, followed by family podcasts and comedy. The family genre is most popular among kids aged 2-11, while teens are more likely to listen to podcasts about music and comedy. Podcasts are not as popular as streaming music services or audio content on YouTube with about 11% of 2-17 year olds listening to podcast content.
TVO’s latest podcast, Unascertained, is a six-part series that debuted this week, delving into the troubling story of Soleiman Faqiri, a young man whose 2016 death in an Ontario prison has yet to be explained. It follows a family’s search for justice and how the prison system has failed people with mental health issues. New episodes will be posted each week on TVO.org, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and anywhere podcasts are available.
LISTEN: Steve Kowch was at CJAD 800AM in Montreal in 1997 when the station announced that all tombstones in the province would need to be changed to French within a year. On the latest episode of the Sound Off Podcast, Kowch recounts one of radio’s best April Fool’s Day pranks ever (even if the joke hit a little too close to home for most listeners). Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
Colin Watson, 79, of acute leukemia. After studying Engineering at the University of British Columbia and receiving an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, Watson started a career in the cable industry and eventually assumed the position of Vice President of Operations for Canadian Cablesystems Limited (CCL). After Ted Rogers acquired CCL in 1979, Watson was appointed President of Rogers Cable and went on to lead the division for nearly 20 years, working closely with Phil Lind to expand the cable business into the U.S. After selling the U.S. Cable business a few years later, the venture resulted in raising more than $1 billion, allowing Rogers to fund wireless in Canada. In the 1980s, Watson and Lind started a live call-in program on Rogers Cable 10 called “Ask Us” where they would take live calls from customers, addressing their issues and answering their questions on TV. Watson left Rogers in 1996 to become President and CEO of Spar Aerospace Limited, but remained a Company Director for several years.
Ed Kay on April 5. After graduating from the Radio College of Canada in Montreal, Kay joined Edmonton’s CFRN-TV in 1956 as a control room operator. He was promoted to junior announcer after one night neither announcer showed up. By 1961, he had worked his way up to the position of chief announcer. For two decades, Kay was a host on The Noon Show, alongside George Lund and Doug McFarland, that featured everything from skits to cooking tips. Kay also interviewed guests on Alberta A.M. and filled in on both the news and weather desks. After 33 years, he retired in 1989.
Tom Gibney, 84, on April 5. Originally from Yorkton, SK, Gibney was working in the Alberta oil patch when he applied for and landed a job in radio. Initially on-air as Gary Gibney, he worked at CFCN Radio and TV in Calgary, including hosting a daily talk show, in addition to a stint with AM 770 (CHQR-AM), among other stations. Gibney arrived in Toronto and CFTO-TV in 1973 where he would spend the next three decades. Gibney’s supper hour newscast was a ratings leader with the popular anchor also hosting the Lotto 6/49 draws, which were syndicated across Canada. Gibney entered semi-retirement in 2001 and officially retired after years of fill-in announcing in Nov. 2007. Among other career highlights, Gibney had an uncredited cameo as an announcer in the 1976 feature film Network.
Jon Crossland, 68, suddenly. Crossland spent his formative years in Hood River, OR and while studying at the University of Oregon and Washington State University, he began his career in radio in Pullman, WA. He went on to work in radio sales at stations in Tacoma, WA and Edinburg, TX. Over his 42 years in radio, Crossland held positions in management at Entercom in Seattle; spent 12 years as Regional Sales Manager with CBSI-Wicks Broadcast Solutions-Marketron; and served as Senior Sales Manager at WideOrbit for 13 years. Last April he joined SDS (Specialty Data Systems) in Toronto as Vice President, Sales.
Howard Barker, 82, on March 29, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Glenboro, MB, Barker enrolled in a broadcasting course at the Brown Institute in Minneapolis, MN in 1963 and landed a job with CFRY in Portage la Prairie, MB after graduation. Barker would go on to a four-decade career with the station, many of those years as the Farm News Director, providing live coverage at fairs in the region from June to August every year. He retired from the station in 2003.
TV & FILM:
Hot Docs has announced the launch of the Hot Docs Independent Cinemas Relief Fund. Developed and administered with the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE), the fund will provide urgent financial relief to Canadian independent cinemas to better prepare them for their eventual reopening. Donations will be collected until the close of this year’s Hot Docs Festival, May 9, on Hot Docs’ website and at the end of the online ticket checkout process. To be dispersed in late spring and early summer, the fund will distribute 14 grants of $2,000 each. All donations are considered charitable and are eligible for a tax receipt.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) says its 2021-22 program budget will invest $364M in Canada’s television and digital media industries. CMF has also published Program Guidelines for the coming fiscal year with a summary of changes here. The CMF will continue most of the Flexibility Measures introduced last May to help stakeholders continue adapting until production picks back up to pre-pandemic levels. The CMF is also introducing a four-pronged approach to improve equity and inclusion in the industry, introducing a new Performance Envelope Factor that rewards broadcasters that licence projects from production companies that are owned/controlled by BIPOC indviduals, a new $10.5M Pilot Program for Racialized Communities that will support BIPOC-owned production companies, updated evaluation grid points in Convergent and Experimental Stream Programs, and it will carve out at least 25% of the Conceptualization Program, Predevelopment Program and Early-Stage Development Program for production companies owned/controlled by members of a diverse community. CMF will host two upcoming webcasts April 22 for the French-language and English-language markets.
Telefilm Canada is embarking on a new initiative promoting the discoverability of Canadian content to audiences in the U.S. Via new website canadanow.us, audiences can find out where they can watch Canadian films and series as well as explore new content. At the core of the initiative is the Canada Now microsite, developed in collaboration with Telescope, that features close to 5,000 productions across 150 VOD platforms. In partnership with the Consulate General of Canada in New York and the National Film Board, Canada Now will feature a section each month with New Arrivals, Classic Films and a spotlight called Indigenous Voices.
Telefilm Canada is currently accepting submissions for its 11th edition of Canada: Not Short on Talent program at Cannes, a curated market showcase presented at the Short Film Corner online. Not Short on Talent is a Telefilm Canada initiative that presents a selection of new Canadian short films at international markets. The selected films will screen at Short Film Corner, a component of the Cannes Market which runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. Those selected will have access to training sessions developed by Short Film Corner as well as the market’s online programming. The deadline to enter is April 23.
Streamland Media has announced it’s acquiring Sim Video International’s post production business, Sim Post. Streamland says the strategic acquisition will expand the company’s technical portfolio by increasing its unscripted and scripted content offerings in North America and bolstering Streamland’s existing presence in Los Angeles and Vancouver. It will also give the company a substantial picture and sound finishing footprint in New York City. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of this year with no interruption of services to Sim Post clients. Read more here.
MEDIAPRO Canada has secured an agreement to provide a cloud-based playout solution for REV TV Canada, the 24/7 motorsports network available in over six million Canadian homes, and the new home for the MotoGP World Championships. Mediapro Canada will also be supporting the channel with remote production facilities and live integration for a series of motorsport events across Canada and the US. The company’s playout centre and broadcast facilities in Toronto are part of the wider Grupo Mediapro’s international playout service, which provides customers around the world with self-managed channel playout automation.
The Fabienne Colas Foundation, which is behind Black Film Festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa, is expanding to Calgary. The Calgary Black Film Festival (CBFF) aims to connect authentic Black stories with viewers of all ethnic origins in Alberta, which is home to Canada’s third largest Black population after Ontario and Quebec. The inaugural CBFF will run entirely online, May 26 – 30, with #CBFF21 All Access Passes on pre-sale now on the festival’s website. The inaugural festival program will be announced in early May. CBFF encourages filmmakers to submit their films for consideration by April 20. Eligibility criteria is available here.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced an exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ session featuring Channing Dungey, the new Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, Emmy Award-nominated producer Greg Berlanti and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Kaley Cuoco for an in-depth discussion on comedic thriller, The Flight Attendant. The virtual festival will take place online June 14 – July 16.
Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards. Hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Melissa Villaseñor, the ceremony will air live April 22. New Spirit Awards categories added this year include Best New Scripted Series, Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, Best Male Performance, Best Female Performance and Best Ensemble Cast. Little America and Unorthodox lead the nominees in the TV categories with three nominations each. Previous Best Feature winners available to watch on Hollywood Suite On Demand include: Moonlight, 12 Years A Slave, Birdman, Little Miss Sunshine, Brokeback Mountain, The Wrestler, and Lost in Translation.
The CRTC has approved the addition of ANC to the list of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution. ANC is a 24-hour, English-language news service providing programming of interest to overseas Filipinos and viewers with an interest in the Philippines.
Cogeco Connexion is the latest cable provider to carry all-reality subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service hayu from NBCUniversal International. The best of reality TV service is available to Cogeco customers on EPICO which offers a combination of internet and television entertainment. EPICO customers will have access to over 300 shows and 8,000 ad-free episodes through their hayu subscription, including shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and series exclusively available in Canada, such as Love Island UK and Australia, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and more.
Youth Media Alliance (YMA) is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award to Michelle Melanson Cuperus. Melanson Cuperus has 30 years experience in the production business with her first credit was on PBS series Shining Time Station, starring George Carlin. Since then, She’s worked with Nelvana, CBC, Cookie Jar Entertainment, and Radical Sheep Productions, developing, producing and executive producing a wide variety of children’s television including The Berenstain Bears and award-winning Stella and Sam. She’s also the founder of Women Drawn Together, an organization that fosters learning, networking, and mentorship for women in the animation community. YMA’s Emerging Talent Award is being awarded to identical twin TV producers, Rennata and Georgina Lopez, of Lopii Productions. Lopii Productions has already produced the series My Home, My Life! and My Stay-at-Home Diary, as well as two shorts for season 50 and 51 of Sesame Street. They’ll be recognized at a virtual gala to be streamed live from the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on May 26.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
LISTEN: NewMusicNation is the brainchild of Steven Kerzner and his alter ego, MuchMusic and cable tv icon Ed the Sock. Kerzner has embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to launch an online music channel that would capture the spirit of MuchMusic in its heyday, with a focus on new Canadian talent. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, both Kerzner and Ed the Sock join us to talk about the NewMusicNation concept and why it’s time to restore the MuchMusic legacy for a new generation.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has launched the Android version of the AMI-tv app, created especially for the blind and partially sighted community. Available now for download in the Google Play Store, the app joins the previously released Apple iOS and tvOS iterations. AMI worked in close collaboration with testing partners Fable Tech Labs Inc. – a diverse community of accessibility professionals, each living with a disability – who helped refine the app to ensure the highest level of accessibility and user experience. Android users now have access to AMI-tv programming like AMI This Week, Double Tap TV, Employable Me and Level Playing Field; original documentaries; and behind-the-scenes digital exclusives. The AMI-tv App for Android boasts closed captioning on all content; accessibility enhancements featuring bolded text; tutorials explaining the app’s features; the option to access AMI-tv programming for English, AMI-télé for French, or both; and Integrated Described Video built into every program.
The Chesterfield launches its second season on April 13 with new interviews with Canadian artists including comedian Colin Mochrie, writer Scaachi Koul, composer Dan Hill, and actor RH Thomson. Created by FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting as a place for conversations about Canadian culture, the digital series is hosted by Ben Rayner and iskwē. New episodes will drop every Tuesday on FRIENDS’ YouTube channel.
MediaSmarts is calling for more algorithmic literacy tools and resources for youth following a series of focus groups conducted with youth, ages 13-17, to gain insight into how young Canadians understand the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms, privacy and data protection. Algorithmic Awareness: Conversations with Young Canadians about Artificial Intelligence and Privacy, funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, found that while youth understand and appreciate the benefits of recommendation algorithms, they are troubled by algorithmic data collection and data sharing practices. Youth also questioned the fairness of algorithmic assumption based on data about race, gender, sexual orientation, or health status and want developers and platforms to be more aware of the consequences of relying too heavily on this technology.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
Jim Pattison Broadcast Group has announced it’s rebranding as Pattison Media Ltd. to reflect the company’s evolution beyond terrestrial radio and television. President Rod Schween said the new corporate brand symbolizes Pattison Media’s commitment “to nimbly navigate the new media and broadcasting landscape that we find ourselves in.” The new Pattison Media logo incorporates three “J’s” – a nod to owner Jimmy Pattison – which Schween said symbolize audio, video and digital, the three media components that are the foundation of the organization. In support of the rebrand, the company is launching $16 million business revitalization campaign, AMPLIFY Canada. The campaign will highlight the stories of local business, community groups and individuals who have amplified their communities in the 36 markets across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba where Pattison Media operates. Read more here.
Thaioronióhte Dan David is the recipient of the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his achievements that include launching the APTN news service and his life-long support of journalism initiatives around the world. Based in Kanehsatà:ke, near Oka, Que., David has worked extensively as a journalism trainer abroad in South Africa, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan. He’s also a past chair of diversity at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. David will be honoured at the CJF Awards virtual ceremony on June 9 at 7 p.m. ET. To sign up to watch the free event, visit the CJF Awards page.
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is launching a new Canada-wide campaign ahead of an anticipated federal election. “I Am Canadian Content” will target 15 swing ridings across the country with its pillars including “returning CBC to its public purpose” and compelling American media companies like Facebook, Google, and Netflix to invest in Canadian stories. Among the Canadian cultural figures who are supporting the campaign are The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Jann Arden, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Colin Mochrie, Andrew Phung, and Fred Penner. FRIENDS has previously been active by undertaking grassroots campaigns in swing ridings during the 2015 and 2019 federal elections.
Videotron has acquired Cablovision Warwick Inc. and its network. Established in the Centre-du-Québec region for 47 years, the company serves the municipalities of Warwick, Kingsey Falls and Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey. In the coming months, households currently served by Cablovision Warwick will be able to switch to the Videotron network.
Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) has introduced a new free diversity and inclusion resource for employers. WCT’s Gender Parity Scorecard (GPS) is an online program that allows employers to assess how their current practices for diversity and inclusion compare with those of leading companies in the labour market. It offers tutorials on best practices and helps employers chart a course to improve their progress in creating more welcoming and equitable workplaces. The program is accessible via the WCT website.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
NAB Show and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) have announced a joint forum Oct. 12 that will link SCTE·ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta with NAB Show’s Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology (BEIT) Conference in Las Vegas. The joint forum will be the first live, bi-coastal collaboration between SCTE, a subsidiary of CableLabs, and the National Association of Broadcasters, organizer of NAB Show. Joint sessions will include live, interconnected presentations and audience questions with hosts at each location to field questions and moderate the conversation. The dual-site event will also feature live panels and interactive discussions that explore topics like dynamic ad insertion and NextGen TV. Sam Matheny, NAB’s chief technology officer and Chris Bastian, SCTE’s chief technology officer, will open the event with a fireside chat on leadership over a link between the two venues. The session takes place during the BEIT Conference in Las Vegas, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary at NAB Show, Oct. 9–13 and SCTE·ISBE Cable-Tec Expo, Oct. 11–14 in Atlanta.
Vimond, a provider of streaming and content management platform software for the broadcast industry, has announced a reseller partnership with Applied Electronics in Canada. Vimond’s suite of video editing, publishing and management tools include Vimond IO, a browser-based live clipping, video editing and publishing tool running in the cloud that allows editors to edit videos with frame accuracy in a web browser and publish the results directly to SoMe or any video CMS. The platform is built as a cloud-native SaaS product providing users with access to a non-linear editing platform designed to allow broadcasters, news, and sports organizations to ingest video from live streams and file-based footage before editing and publishing to multiple platforms and social media.
Orban Labs is now offering a line of AM and FM processors with integrated Nielsen PPM encoders. The company’s OPTIMOD-FM 5500i, 5700i, and 8600Si processors have received Nielsen certification and are now available with onboard PPM encoding. These three products join Orban’s XPN-AM, which was the industry’s first processor to receive Nielsen certification, and has been shipping with internal PPM encoding since last fall.