Navdeep Bains, former federal Industry, Science & Innovation Minister, has been appointed Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Rogers as part of a post-Shaw merger executive shuffle. In the new role, Rogers says Bains will build on his years of public and private sector leadership to help improve connectivity in rural and remote Indigenous communities across Canada, including leading Public Policy and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts for the company. Bains joins Rogers from CIBC, where he’s served as Vice-Chair of Global Investment Banking for the past year and a half.
Zoran Stakic has been appointed Chief Transformation Officer, joining Rogers from Shaw where he served as Chief Operations Officer and Chief Technology Officer for the past five years. Rogers says he’ll work across the organization to help bring together Shaw and Rogers products and services to ensure a seamless transition for our customers. With Shaw for the past two decades, Stakic was formerly VP, IT & Strategy Execution at Sprint Canada. Terrie Tweddle moves from the role of Senior Vice-President, Communications & Responsibility to Chief Brand and Communications Officer, responsible for advancing the company’s brand and reputation.
Ted Woodhead, Chief Regulatory and Government Affairs Officer, will be leaving Rogers, with Marisa Wyse, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, assuming Regulatory Affairs. Lisa Durocher, EVP of Financial Services, will also move to report to Chief Commercial Officer Mahes Wickramasinghe. In addition to the executive leadership changes, Brad Shaw, former Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer at Shaw, and Trevor English, Shaw’s former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial & Corporate Development Officer, have joined the Rogers Board of Directors. Read more here.
George Leith has joined Harvard Media as its new Executive Vice President & Managing Partner, responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day business activities. He arrives from Saskatoon-headquartered software company Vendasta, where he’s served in roles including Chief Customer Officer, Chief Revenue Officer and Vice-President, Sales over the past decade. His career began in local radio in Saskatchewan in the late 1980s with Golden West Broadcasting’s CJYM 1330 Rosetown and 1210 AM (CFYM-AM) Kindersley where he worked in sales and as a play-by-play announcer, before working his way up to morning drive and program director, among other roles. He left radio in 1996 to found ag-focused publisher Prairieland Publishing Group. Leith will also serve on the company’s board of directors. Read more here.
John J. Jordan has joined Harvard Media as the company’s new Chief Digital Officer. Jordan has previously held senior positions, including Director of Digital Revenue at McClatchy, Executive Vice President at Vendasta, and Vice President of Partner Success and Product at TownNews. In his new role, he’ll lead Harvard Media’s digital strategy, driving revenue growth and digital audiences, and overseeing all digital operations, including interactive and digital solutions.
Chris Myers, Program Director at Play 107 (CKPW-FM) and 95.7 CRUZ FM (CKEA-FM) Edmonton for the past seven and a half years, is among those caught up in restructuring at Harvard Media this week. Myers’ purview also included serving as PD for Kraze 101.3 (CKIK-FM) Red Deer. The midday hosts on both Edmonton stations, Jenna Winterburn and Derek Allen, and producer Seth Hennig were also casualties. Read more here.
Meredith Geddes has left the afternoon drive show on 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto. Geddes has been hosting the show, alongside Kolter Bouchard, since late 2018. Geddes tells Broadcast Dialogue she’ll have more to say about where she’s landing in mid-May. Corus says it will be recruiting a new afternoon co-host for Bouchard.
Heidi Rasmussen has joined William F. White International in Winnipeg as Director, Sales and Operations. Rasmussen previously served as the General Manager for Pattison Media’s QX104 (CFQX-FM) and 94.3 The Drive (CHNW-FM) Winnipeg from 2014-19. Prior to that, she served as General Sales Manager for Shaw Media in Winnipeg.
Jess Wernick, Corus Barrie Cluster Promotions Coordinator with 93.1 Fresh Radio (CHAY-FM), BIG 101.1 (CIQB-FM) and 95.1 The Peak (CKCB-FM) and a weekend on-air personality, has left Corus Radio. Wernick is the new Area Manager of Group Events at Canada’s Wonderland.
Jamil Jivani has announced his intention to seek the Conservative nomination, federally, in Durham. Jivani, whose nightly talk show on the Bell Media talk network was cancelled in January 2022 (followed by a subsequent lawsuit for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal) is a graduate of Yale Law, author, community advocate, and special adviser to the Ontario premier. Jivani has most recently been contributing to Postmedia’s platforms.
Anwar Knight has joined The Weather Network as a National Anchor. Knight was formerly a weather, news anchor and host with CTV News for 15 years, up until getting caught up in layoffs in Feb. 2021. He’ll also continue to be seen on CBC News.
Cindy Tran has announced she’s returning to CBC Ottawa after just seven months with The Canadian Press (CP). Tran joined CP as a reporter in the Ottawa bureau last October after working as an associate producer and reporter with CBC Ottawa since late 2020.
Edward Djan is joining CityNews Winnipeg as a video journalist. A 2023 Toronto Metropolitan University Journalism grad, Djan has been working with Cogeco Connexion in Halton, ON for the last year, as well as gaining experience as a breaking news reporter in the Toronto Star radio room.
Charmaine Straker has been elected as the new Canadian Media Guild (CMG) APTN Branch Secretary Treasurer, joining Branch President Bruce Spence and VP Dennis Rondeau on the Branch Executive. Straker has been an Associate Director with APTN in Winnipeg for the past decade.
Rizwan Jamal has been appointed President and Chief Commercial Officer of Xplore, effective May 1, responsible for the telecom provider’s sales, marketing, and product development. Jamal previously worked at Bell Canada for over 11 years where he most recently served as President, Residential and Small Business. Prior to Bell, he spent 11 years at TELUS in various roles, including Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Ford owners are more likely to listen to AM radio, according to audience data compiled by Cumulus Media and Westwood One’s Audio Active Group. Ford is among the automakers that is phasing out AM radio, starting in 2024, including vehicles manufactured for the Canadian market. Outlined in a blog post from Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard, he points to the Nielsen Fall 2022 survey revealing 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly with one in three American AM/FM radio listeners reached monthly by AM. Citing further data from consumer insights profiler MRI Simmons, Bouvard says Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. AM radio listeners and are more likely to listen to AM radio. One out of five American AM radio listeners own a Ford vehicle, while 23% own a General Motors vehicle. Bouvard says, as reflected in Edison’s Share of Ear, AM/FM radio’s actual share (73%) is three times larger than what advertisers perceive (28%). Read more here.
QR Calgary has announced that for the 32nd consecutive year, it is once again the exclusive broadcast partner of eight-time Grey Cup Champions, the Calgary Stampeders. For the first time, Stampeder games will be broadcast on both FM at 107.3 CFGQ and continue on the AM dial at 770 CHQR. For the next three years, play-by-play announcer Mark Stephen and colour commentator Greg Peterson, along with game host Jock Wilson, and sideline reporter Dave McIvor, will call every pre-season, regular-season and playoff game, in addition to extensive pre-game and post-game coverage. Fans can catch the action, starting May 22, with a pre-season match up against the visiting Edmonton Elks. The regular season opens June 8 when the Stampeders play at home against the BC Lions.
Remembering with Jeff Sammut is a new podcast from the former Sportsnet 590 The Fan (CJCL-AM) producer and technical director, telling the behind-the-scenes stories of favourite cultural figures. The podcast kicked off April 13 with Sammut remembering late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie with his wife, Kaya Usher. Forthcoming episodes will see Sammut discuss The Golden Girls with television producer Stan Zimmerman; late sports broadcaster Pat Marsden with his former The Fan co-host Don Landry; actor Bob Einstein with John Byner; and MASH with Loretta Swit, among other guests.
99.3 County FM (CJPE-FM) Prince Edward County has announced local Home Hardware dealer Adam Busscher and family as Honourary Chairs of the community station’s Radiothon 2023, taking place May 25-28. Raising funds to keep the non-profit, volunteer-driven station on-air, more than one-third of the station’s annual income is derived from donations and grants. This year’s event will celebrate the return of all live performances by 45 local musicians from the County FM studios throughout the four-day event.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced the performers and presenters set to take the stage at the Canadian Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Music Canada. The second iteration of the event, which was put on pause during the pandemic, takes place in Calgary on May 18 at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), and streams live at 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET on CBC Gem, CBCMusic.ca/junos and on CBC Music’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Jann Arden will induct country music superstar Terri Clark, who featured Arden on her song “Leavin’ On Your Mind,” while vocalist Ranee Lee will honour fellow jazz sensation Dr. Oliver Jones. Three of this year’s inductees – Diane Dufresne, Terri Clark and Trooper – will grace the stage.
LISTEN: Jeff Vidler of Signal Hill Insights returns to the Sound Off Podcast. In this episode you’ll hear some thoughts about podcast’s possible shift back to indie-focused business models, the difference between American and Canadian podcast consumption, and those of Quebec vs. The Rest of Canada, as well as ways podcasters can interact and learn about their audiences. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
ICYMI: Canadian Music Week (CMW) is inviting nominations for the Allan Waters Young Broadcaster of the Year Award, in memory of Steve Young, until May 12. Nominations for the 14th annual award, recognizing a young Canadian broadcaster, can come from anyone working in the industry. Candidates must be under 30 years of age as of Dec. 31, 2022 and work in On-Air, Programming, Promotion, Production or Creative. Read more here.
Fred Sherratt, 93, on April 22 with his family by his side. Sherratt got his start in radio in 1948 as an announcer at CKCL Truro, NS. In 1949, he moved to Northern Ontario where he was a salesman and announcer with Roy Thomson’s stations. By 1956, Sherratt had co-founded CFRS Simcoe, ON and served as its General Manager until 1960. It was then that he joined the CHUM organization and was named GM of CKPT Peterborough. Five years later, he returned to Nova Scotia to take over the helm of CJCH Radio in Halifax as Vice-President and General Manager. In 1969, Sherratt was named Vice-President of CHUM Limited and in 1971 joined CHUM and other investors to buy CJCH-TV, of which he was named President. Soon after, CHUM Limited acquired CKCW-TV Moncton, NB and CJCB-TV Sydney, NS which came under the umbrella of the Atlantic Television System and led to founding of the Atlantic Satellite Network. He went on to serve as President of ATV and Executive Vice-President and CEO of CHUM Limited, overseeing CHUM’s broadcast operations across the country from company headquarters in Toronto. He eventually retired as Chief Operations Officer, stepping down in late 2002 as Vice-Chairman, but continuing as a director and consultant. Sherratt served on many industry boards and committees over the years including as Chairman of the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM), a Director of the CTV Television Network, and on the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Board and Executive Committee. He was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2008, received the first ever Ontario Association of Broadcasters’ Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009, he was honoured at the JUNO Awards, where he received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. Read more here.
Vic Folliott on April 21, following complications from a seizure. Folliott spent the entirety of his 50-year broadcasting career in Ontario. His early stops included hosting a country show on CKPC-AM Brantford in the early 1970s, before going on to become the founding Program Director of BX93 (CJBX-FM) London at station launch in 1980, in addition to on-air and Music Director responsibilities. From there, he spent 14 years at Great Lakes Broadcasting’s CKGL 96.7 (now CHYM 96.7) Kitchener as Operations Manager. A brief stint followed as General Manager at CKWR-FM Kitchener and then a turn in sales at KICX 106 Orillia. Folliott went on to help launch The Grand 101 (CICW-FM) Centre Wellington in 2014, serving as General Manager and hosting the morning show for the first year. He moved into sales, prior to retiring from the station in Sept. 2020. He’d most recently been hosting “In Studio and On The Road” on RogersTV in Kitchener, highlighting people and places in the Waterloo Region.
Don Daynard, 88, on April 20. Daynard began his broadcasting career as a junior copy boy at CFOS Owen Sound in 1953. From there, he made stops at CHEX-TV Peterborough, CKCR Kitchener, CJET Smiths Falls, and briefly CFGM Richmond Hill, before landing in Toronto where he spent the rest of his 50-year career. Daynard was on-air at CFRB, before joining CKFM in 1969 where he had a 12-year run with “Daynard’s Drive-In” in morning drive, in addition to hosting Saturday evening show “Lookin’ Back.” Daynard was lured over to the CHFI morning show in 1987, initially hosting the show solo, until being paired with co-host Erin Davis. He semi-retired in 1999, continuing to host “Saturday Night Oldies” on the station until 2004. Read more here. Watch Erin Davis’ tribute to Daynard below:
Bill Auchterlonie, 73, on April 5. Auchterlonie’s radio career began behind-the-scenes at CFRB Toronto, while studying art and film production at York University. He returned to radio in 1974, following his studies, with stops at CKMW Brampton, AM 710 (CJRN) Niagara Falls, and CHAM Hamilton. He landed at CKTB St. Catharines in 1986 where he hosted a morning talk show for a decade. He left radio in 1997, going on to serve as the Executive Director of the Kidney Foundation of Canada – Niagara District and the United Way of South Niagara. With an avid interest in all things art, Auchterlonie established the Inuksuk on the Lake Art Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2017, promoting Inuit and Six Nations artists. He chaired the group that established a monument to Nikola Tesla in the region and served on the board of Rodman Hall and Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. With a lifelong interest in astrology, more recently Auchterlonie had been hosting the “Auchterlonie on Astrology” podcast and contributing astrology columns to Niagara Now.
TV & FILM:
Global News will have extensive coverage of the Coronation of King Charles III, beginning May 1. The Morning Show will celebrate Coronation Week with Royal expert Bonnie Brownlee, among other guests. Road to the Coronation: A Global News special (airing on Global News’ streams, starting April 29) sees Europe Bureau Chief Crystal Goomansingh look at the storied history of the Stone of Destiny, or Stone of Scone, a block of red sandstone contained within the Coronation Chair that Charles will sit upon. Global National coverage leading up to the Coronation will include analysis and feature interviews by Dawna Friesen in London, as well as episodes of Global National overlooking Westminster Abbey, anchored by Friesen, May 4-6. The Coronation of King Charles III – A LIVE Global News Special will air May 6, starting at 5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT, anchored by Friesen with special guests Brownlee, military historian Brian MacDonald, along with Goomansingh who’ll be among the crowds on the streets of London.
Lisa LaFlamme will be returning to CityNews as a special correspondent for the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla. LaFlamme will lead the network’s coverage from London, alongside reporter Cynthia Mulligan. Starting May 3, they’ll be reporting daily for CityNews, Breakfast Television, CityNews 680 and 98.1 CHFI. LaFlamme will also appear on the Big Story Podcast to discuss the coronation. The former CTV National News Senior Anchor first joined CityNews as a special correspondent for coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September. Coverage will begin May 3, prior to the Coronation, which will be covered live in a special May 6 event, starting at 5 a.m. ET and 2 a.m. PT on Citytv and CityNews 24/7.
The 27th annual Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) Screenwriting Awards were handed out Monday night at Koerner Hall in Toronto, the first in-person WGC Awards ceremony since 2019. Kurt Smeaton was recognized for Best Comedy Series for Children Ruin Everything, while in the Feature Film category, Clement Virgo won for Brother. Marsha Green was recognized for her work on The Porter with the award for Best Drama Series. Special awards were presented to Laura Good, winner of the Sondra Kelly Award (which provides $5,000 to a woman screenwriter in mid-career for research/development on a self-initiated project), and Adrian Morphy, who was awarded the Jim Burt Screenwriting Prize for his script, The 300 Year Old Man. Susin Nielsen, creator and showrunner of Family Law, received the Showrunner Award. Find the full list of winners here.
Angelica Lisk-Hann was presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2023 Award of Excellence at the 21st ACTRA Awards on Wednesday. Lisk-Hann, who has over 250 film and television credits, got her start in stunts in the 1998 film, Half-Baked, with recent stunt coordinator credits including Accused, the 2023 Canadian Screen Award-winning film Brother, CBC series Little Dog and upcoming TV series Cross (based on James Paterson’s Alex Cross novels) on which she is also 2nd unit director. She has also taken on the role of mentor through her company The Collective Action Group, which mentors established stunt performers through her assistant stunt coordinator initiative and helps guide new stunt talent breaking into the entertainment business.
Pixomondo (PXO) and Seneca Polytechnic have partnered to offer a specially-designed training program starting this fall. Developed by PXO’s Virtual Production Academy, the 12-week program in Virtual Production: Virtual Art Department Content Creation will be taught by industry professionals using PXO’s proprietary techniques. The program is designed for professionals and graduates of programs in visual effects, 3D modelling, game animation and similar specialties. It will be delivered online, giving students the flexibility to take part from their homes. Graduates will receive a microcredential completion badge from Seneca and have direct access to employment opportunities at PXO. The partnership is the first announced by the new Seneca Film Institute.
Titan1Studios is spinning off their animation projects into separate division, Missing Socks Entertainment. The new Calgary-based studio will develop and produce high quality projects for a global audience, overseen by Titan1Studios Founder & CEO Rathan Moorthy, and recently named VP, Content Wes Ambrecht. The first three projects under the Missing Socks banner include Modern Rogues: Call To Action, an animated fish out of water action-comedy following real-life YouTubers Brian Brushwood and Jason Murphy as they venture into the world of international espionage at the behest of a secret government agency. With 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube, Brushwood and Murphy will executive produce and lend their voice talent to the new series. Dragons & Warts, written by Daniel Callaghan & Luke Watson, a half-hour adult animated workplace comedy set in a medieval fantasy world; and WTF! Wrestling the Federation, created by puppeteer & writer Kanja Chen (Fraggle Rock), an animated half-hour comedy set against Calgary’s middling 1980s wrestling promotion round out the studio’s initial slate.
The Province of British Columbia is investing $42 million in the motion picture, music, publishing and interactive digital media industries in the province. The new funding includes $22.5 million over three years for Amplify BC to build the province’s music talent and help launch careers; $15.9 million over three years to support B.C.’s domestic motion picture productions, workforce and creators, which includes $900,000 for programs that focus on developing workers’ skills, recruiting more workers from under-represented groups, and supporting environmentally friendly practices; $3 million over three years for a new program to support innovation and growth for independent B.C.-owned interactive digital media companies; and $600,000 over three years for the publishing industry.
The Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA) is facilitating a new training program for aspiring media workers in the province, fueled by $900,000 in funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada. The one-year program, which started a pilot phase on April 1, will provide successful applicants with training workshops and on-set mentoring with media productions in the province. Intended to help boost film and television production in Saskatchewan, the program aims to help 50 Saskatchewan residents learn the film and television business. A second pilot program is expected to get underway in June.
Youth Media Alliance (YMA) is launching the Steven DeNure Children’s Content Internship to encourage YMA members to offer students or emerging producers an immersive paid work experience, in English or French, with a production company or broadcaster working in children’s content. YMA will provide $4,500 for a 12-week internship, to be matched by the mentor company (interns receive $9,000 over 12 weeks @ 40 hours per week, at a rate of $750/week). At its discretion, YMA may also provide financial assistance to the mentor company to cover travel and/or registration expenses for the intern. Applications are now open until May 15 on the YMA portal.
Corus Studios and McGillivray Entertainment Media (MEM), the production company founded by Scott McGillivray, have announced a four-year production commitment and exclusivity deal, including producing new series and seasons starring the HGTV Canada host, including Scott’s Vacation House Rules, which starts production on Season 5 this month. The content will be exclusively distributed by Corus Studios and produced for HGTV Canada. Corus has also renewed its exclusive licensing of all eight seasons of Income Property for Canadian broadcast across linear, STACKTV and PlutoTV. Season 4 of Scott’s Vacation House Rules premiered April 23.
Crave, in association with Pier 21 Films, has announced that production is underway in Toronto and Hamilton on new comedy series, Late Bloomer. Created by and starring Jasmeet Singh Raina (Jus Reign), the eight-part series, inspired by Raina’s life as a Punjabi Sikh millennial and online celebrity, follows a burgeoning content creator as he tries to balance his ambitions for success with his commitment to his family, community, and culture. Raina is joined onscreen by an ensemble cast including Baljinder Singh Atwal (Des Pardes) and Sandeep Bali as Jasmeet’s parents; Ashley Ganger (Grand Army) as his sister, in addition to Sugenja Sri (The Handmaid’s Tale), Sachin Mahashi, and Ahamed Weinberg (Insecure). Under the moniker Jus Reign, Raina was one of Much Digital Studios’ first content creators in 2015 and became known for his deadpan comedic style and commentary on race and pop culture.
Super Channel has announced that three-part true-crime docuseries, Thunder: The Life and Death of Arturo Gatti, is set to premiere May 14 on Super Channel Fuse, with all episodes available to stream via Super Channel On Demand as of May 1. The Super Channel Original docuseries is produced by Edmonton’s Adam Scorgie and Shane Fennessey of ScoreG Productions, along with co-creator, Alex Orlando.
TSN will broadcast complete coverage of the 2023 NFL DRAFT from Kansas City, April 27–29, beginning with the Carolina Panthers’ first overall pick of the First Round, airing Thursday, April 27 at 8 p.m. ET, while Rounds 2 and 3 are live on Friday, April 28, with TSN+ delivering complete coverage of Rounds 4 – 7 on Saturday, April 29. TSN Sportscentre presents profiles of the top prospects on the draft board, with additional insight provided by TSN’s Jesse Palmer. Farhan Lalji, Dave Naylor, Davis Sanchez, and Kara Wagland preview and break down the major picks throughout the First Round, with Lalji reporting on-site in Kansas City. Additionally, BarDown’s Luca Celebre, Chris Hein, Matthew Hempstead, Eric Kirk, Thomas Pocrnic, and Jesse Pollock will host a livestream on TSN’s YouTube channel to evaluate each team’s picks throughout the First Round.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has confirmed Jennifer Mullin, CEO of Fremantle, as a keynote speaker as part of its renowned Summit Series lineup. In addition, BANFF has announced two exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ sessions featuring actress, producer, writer and author Lilly Singh as well as the World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Sharon Horgan, the award-winning actress, writer, producer and director behind AppleTV+ comedy thriller Bad Sisters, is also confirmed as a keynote speaker. She’ll be presented with the Award of Excellence at the Rockies Gala. The 44th edition of the Festival will take place in-person June 11–14 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced early details around its 48th edition, Sept. 7–17. Among other changes, TIFF is renaming its Contemporary World Cinema, or CWC film program as “Centrepiece.” The festival says the new title better reflects and amplifies its full spectrum of programming as “a showcase for acclaimed titles from festivals around the globe, highly anticipated premieres from Canadian and international talents, and the latest work of influential filmmaking luminaries.”
The CFC Gala: Take 35, the Canadian Film Centre’s annual fundraising event, presented by Netflix, is set to take place May 11 at Rebel Nightclub in Toronto. This year’s gala celebrates CFC’s 35th anniversary and is inspired by the decade the CFC was “born” – the ‘80s – from the entertainment straight through to the decor, atmosphere and fashion. Featuring entertainment from Canadian New Wave band Spoons; The Collective, featuring Cleopatra Williams, and more, dinner will be followed by after party, CFC After Dark, presented by Eggplant Music & Sound, an ‘80s dance party with DJ Jade Elektra.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Black Press Media, which owns and operates 84 Canadian and 42 American local news sites, is licensing Village Media’s custom content management system, Villager. The companies say the move will empower Black Press to better serve local communities with new site capabilities and state-of-the-art digital publishing and community-based marketing programs. Villager is licensed to a collaborative partner network which includes 44 sites across Dougall Media in Northwestern Ontario, Glacier Media in Western Canada, Great West Media in Alberta and other U.S. partners, in addition to the 29 Village Media-owned sites it operates in Canada and the U.S. Village Media says the collaboration significantly increases the scale of the entire Canadian network, which is now able to execute national advertising campaigns, sponsored content and conduct market research, while paving the way for new models of sustainable local news operations across 145 Canadian communities.
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) says five of the 10 editorial staff at BuzzFeed’s Toronto operation, who became members of CWA Canada Local 30213 in 2019 and landed their first collective agreement in fall 2021, have been notified they are being laid off. The union says all five work for the affiliate shopping network, writing “listicles” and other consumer choice-focused content. Five other CMG members at BuzzFeed Canada will not be affected. BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told staff via email on April 20 that the company was shutting down its news division and laying off roughly 15% of its total workforce — about 180 people.
The Global Task Force for public media is calling on Twitter to correct the designation of four of its members, which have been labelled as “Government-funded Media”. The group says the misleading label was applied without warning or consultation to the accounts of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), CBC/Radio-Canada, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and Radio New Zealand (RNZ). The organization points out that Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,” which is clearly not the case with the aforementioned broadcasters, whose editorial independence is protected by law. Earlier this month, Twitter also applied the “Government-funded Media” label to several BBC accounts, before changing it to “Publicly-funded media” after objections from the public broadcaster. The BBC is also a member of the Global Task Force, in addition to France Télévisions (France), ZDF (Germany), and SVT (Sweden).
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
Rogers Communications has announced new agreements with SpaceX and Lynk Global to bring satellite-to-phone coverage to Canadians in areas that aren’t being served by traditional wireless networks, pending regulatory approval. Rogers will leverage SpaceX’s Starlink low earth orbit satellites and Rogers national wireless spectrum, in addition to a partnership with Lynk Global, to bring coverage to remote areas that currently remain unconnected including national parks, rural highways and remote wilderness areas. It will start with satellite coverage for SMS text and eventually extend to voice and data. The technology, which is already in use in the U.S., would be a first for Canada. Once commercially available, satellite-to-phone coverage would work with all 5G and 4G smartphones, supporting SMS and MMS text and enabling Canadians to reach 9-1-1 as first responders and emergency services upgrade their systems for emergency SMS texting. Read more here.
The CRTC says that the current strike by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) may impact the release of commission decisions. A post to the commission’s website cautions that “Due to the labour dispute, there may be service and publication delays and we may not be able to meet our usual service standards.”
The BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) will host its first gathering since 2019 next week as the 73rd BCAB Conference converges on the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC on May 4. BCAB President Rob Germain says the streamlined, one-day event is aimed at making the association’s first conference, post-pandemic, as accessible as possible. With the rapid progression of digital adoption during the pandemic, Germain said this year’s conference will include discussion on meeting audiences where they are as well as celebrating the industry’s strengths. The event is headlined by keynote speaker Jim Pattison, CEO and Chairman of the Jim Pattison Group. Germain said registration for this year’s event is on par with the organization’s 2019 conference, but they would like to see as many people as possible come out. Read more here.
Niagara College School of Media Professor Peter VandenBerg was honoured this week with national and global recognition for his dedication to student success. VandenBerg, Program Coordinator of Niagara College’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film (BRTF) program, known to students and colleagues as “Dutch,” received two awards – a Gold Leadership Excellence Award from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and an Outstanding Educator Award at the Silver level from the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP). A 1993 graduate of the BRTF program, VandenBerg began teaching in the program in 2009 and is known for actively seeking unique learning opportunities for students to apply their skills via industry partnerships. Read more here.
The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) were handed out April 20 in three separate events at College of the North Atlantic (St. John’s, NL); University of King’s College (Halifax, NS) and St. Thomas University (Fredericton, NB). Among the winners in the Radio category were VOCM St. John’s, which won Gold for Breaking News for its Hurricane Fiona coverage. The CBC St. John’s Morning Show was named Best Information News Radio Program, with CityNews Halifax morning show The Morning News securing Gold for Best Newscast. In the Television categories, ICI Acadie’s Alix Villeneuve, who is based in Fredericton, claimed Best Videojournalist, while CBC P.E.I.’s “Compass” was named Best Newscast. The awards ceremonies will be broadcast on Eastlink Community TV at 10 p.m. AT every Thursday during May, and also available via Eastlink On Demand.
The Michener Awards Foundation, celebrating the best in public service journalism, has announced its 2023 Michener-Deacon Fellowship has been awarded to Molly Thomas for her investigative project “Afghanistan’s Secret Schools: Version 2.0.” Thomas’ project focuses on efforts to keep a Canadian promise alive — access to education for Afghan women. Thomas has been a correspondent with CTV’s W5 since 2020. The Michener-L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship goes to Sarah Trick and Alanna King to create a new style guide for Canadian media to help journalists cover disabilities thoughtfully, accurately and with nuance. Trick, the lead journalist on the project, is a multiply-disabled, neurodivergent digital media producer at TVO, while King is also employed at TVO as an instructional liaison. Each fellowship is worth $40,000 plus $5,000 in expenses.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has announced its shortlist for the annual CJF Award for Climate Solutions Reporting that celebrates a journalist or team of journalists whose work shines a spotlight on climate change and innovative solutions. The three finalists for the $10,000 prize are: CBC’s The Fifth Estate for The Big Burn, a report about “green-washing” in Canada’s wood pellet industry (Allya Davidson, Harvey Cashore, Lynette Fortune, Lyndsay Duncombe and Diana Swain); The Narwhal for its reporting on Indigenous-led conservation efforts (Emma Gilchrist, Jimmy Thomson, Carol Linnitt, Shawn Parkinson, Arik Ligeti, Ashley Tam, Stephanie Kwetásel’wet Wood, Lindsay Sample, Taylor Roades and Jesse Winter); and Kristin Nelson for stories produced for CBC Radio about individuals grappling with the realities of climate change, including The Last Coal Miners for The Doc Project. Finalist story submissions are available on the CJF awards page.
The Jack Webster Foundation has announced the recipients of its Professional Development Fellowships for 2023. They include Tamara Baluja, a producer at CBC Vancouver, who is completing a Master in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College where she’ll learn writing techniques and structures for memoirs, personal reflections and opinion writing; Alistair Taylor, Editor, Campbell River Mirror, who has enrolled in the Stylistic Editing course offered through Simon Fraser University; and freelance Vancouver photojournalist Tallulah, the recipient of a self-defined fellowship that will assist her further studies of documentary filmmaking at UNBC. Tallulah’s fellowship is in the name of the late B.C. reporter, Don Matheson, whose estate has provided funding for professional development awards for B.C. born journalists.
RTDNA Canada will host its next webinar on May 1, featuring Global News’ National Online Journalist Craig Lord presenting on how to write financial stories for real people. Lord will share tips on how to break down the big financial news of the day. Click here to register.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
LISTEN: On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, the first in a series recapping NAB Show 2023 in Las Vegas, starting with a conversation with David Grindle, the Executive Director of SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), who took the helm of the organization last July. We also catch up with Paul Beck, President of the Museum of Broadcast Technology in Woonsocket, Rhode Island to talk about preserving broadcasting’s analog heritage and the museum’s move into providing props to the industry. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
SMPTE has announced the initial release of its Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) On-Set Virtual Production Camera and Lens Metadata project. The RIS On-Set Virtual Production initiative seeks to achieve the interoperability of all on-set equipment. The initial release targets the use of traditional VFX as a step toward future releases that will cover camera and lens metadata for on-set virtual production and camera tracking metadata. The work is hosted in a public repository where SMPTE members and the public can provide comments and feedback. Additional releases are planned covering camera and lens metadata for on-set virtual production and camera tracking. SMPTE RIS is also working toward several other deliverables for 2023, including the Interactive Virtual Production Wall Chart, which will showcase how virtual production works from start to end.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched the Future of Television Initiative, as announced by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. The public-private partnership is aimed at ensuring a smooth transition to ATSC 3.0 for broadcasters, other associated industries and the American public. NAB says it will establish and lead the effort with industry, government and public interest stakeholders “to establish a comprehensive roadmap for an orderly and expeditious transition to this exciting new viewer experience.” The Future of Television Initiative will incorporate three working groups, each designed to address critical components of the transition with a focus on addressing existing hardware, the technical aspects of executing the transition, and regulatory issues.
North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) released the NABA Insights on Hybrid Radio and Metadata for Broadcasters document at NAB Show during the Broadcasters and Hybrid Radio – It’s All About the Metadata session. The document was written by the NABA Radio Committee’s Hybrid Radio and Metadata Working Group, developed to help improve radio broadcaster’s awareness of hybrid radio technology and understand the importance of metadata usage. It highlights the changing automotive media and entertainment landscape regarding audio services, the role metadata and hybrid radio play in improving the broadcast product, and how broadcasters can position themselves for success. NABA says proper use of hybrid radio and metadata will help broadcasters maintain their dominant position in the automotive audio landscape and maintain listener interest.
WideOrbit has launched WO Fusion, described as “a next-generation sales platform that creates a scalable application for broadcast TV and radio, as well as cable and broadcast network sales teams.” Introduced at NAB Show, WO Fusion leverages secure, encrypted, browser-based toolsets, building on the company’s WO Media Sales product, presenting sales teams with a single, unified view of all incoming demand, across digital, linear, and reach extension buys from both automated and manual channels. WO Fusion’s open architecture is API-based, allowing for integrations with linear traffic and digital ad serving platforms.
Orbyt Media has entered the RADIUS HUB buying platform, allowing agencies across Canada to send digital RFPs and receive national campaigns across Orbyt Media’s network of more than 400 radio stations. Currently used by several other Canadian ad agencies, RADIUS HUB aims to improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of buying and selling network radio.
FEATURE: Our April update from WABE (Western Association of Broadcast Engineers) President Tessa Potter includes details of the association’s plans to hold a May 15 meetup in downtown Winnipeg and more details of its forthcoming conference in Vancouver this fall. Read more here.