Wayne Gretzky has reached a multi-year agreement with Turner Sports’ networks to offer studio analysis during key moments of the NHL regular season and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs that will reportedly pay him in the neighbourhood of $3 million per season. Veteran play-by-play commentator Kenny Albert and analyst Eddie Olczyk will be Turner Sports’ main commentators calling live games on TNT and TBS. Gretzky, 60, has also announced he’s stepping down as Vice-Chairman of the Edmonton Oilers.
David Spence has announced his plans to retire as CTV Calgary’s Chief Meteorologist this fall. Spence started his broadcasting career as a DJ at a radio station in Campbell River, BC in 1979. Spence first joined CFCN Calgary in 1981, leaving to work in Winnipeg for several years, before returning to CTV News Calgary. He became the main weather anchor for the station in 1992. Spence celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first weathercast at the station this past April. He was honoured in 2017 with an RTDNA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Linda Aylesworth is retiring after four decades with Global BC. With the station since 1981, she was hired out of the BCIT Journalism program as a director, moving into reporting in 1989. Focused in health, science and environmental journalism, Aylesworth’s reports have earned her an Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Reporting, several RTDNA Dave Rogers Awards, and a Jack Webster Award for Best Science Reporting.
Brian Dance has announced his retirement from CBC Vancouver after 51 years in broadcasting. Dance started his career as a DJ at CHUB Nanaimo in 1969, before he transitioned into news and sports at CFAC Calgary. His first gig with CBC was in sports with CBC Radio in Calgary in 1971, followed by a run as a national sports reporter with CBC Toronto from 1984-89. Dance joined CBC Vancouver as part of its radio sports team in 1989. He’s been the Weekend Editor for radio news since 1997.
Charis Hogg, an alum of the JACK 96.9 (CJAX-FM) and CFOX morning shows, and Jeremy Baker, who currently helms afternoon drive on CFOX, are joining Vancouver’s 102.7 The Peak (CKPK-FM) in mornings. The introduction of The Early Show with Charis and Jeremy is the latest in a series of changes at the Pattison Media alternative rock station as programmer Dustin Collins, who moved over from Corus Entertainment’s CFOX and Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) in late 2019, continues to put his imprint on the station. Earlier this year, that included parting ways with former morning show duo Tyler & Lynch. Collins is recasting the station with a conscious effort to draw in more listeners, aged 30-44, with a focus on women. Read more here.
Brittney Matejka is joining CTV Morning Live Calgary. Matejka joins the station from Global News Regina where she served in various roles, starting in 2018, from Digital Broadcast Journalist to anchoring morning weather and traffic.
Jaden Lee-Lincoln is joining CTV London as a videojournalist. Lee-Lincoln has been working as a VJ and reporter with CTV Saskatchewan since 2019.
Tyler Janzen is the new morning show host at Pattison Media’s 93.3 The Rock (CJHD-FM) in North Battleford, SK. A graduate of the Western Academy Broadcasting College, Janzen was previously on-air at 100.3 Cariboo Country (CKCQ-FM) and AM 570 (CKWL-AM) Williams Lake, BC.
Russell MacKenzie has announced he’s joining Acadia Broadcasting’s newly-acquired Halifax station Hot Country 103.5 (CKHZ-FM). MacKenzie, who previously worked for Acadia in Thunder Bay, was most recently on-air in mornings at FX101.9 (CHFX-FM) Halifax.
Jennifer Ditchburn has been appointed President & CEO of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, effective June 1. Ditchburn steps into the role after serving as Editor-in-Chief of the IRPP’s digital magazine, Policy Options, from 2016-21. Prior to joining IRPP, she spent two decades covering national and parliamentary affairs for The Canadian Press and CBC.
Joanna Smith is the new Ottawa bureau chief for The Canadian Press. Smith was formerly with the Toronto Star’s Ottawa Bureau before joining CP as a reporter and editor in 2016.
Nick Taylor-Vaisey and Zi-Ann Lum have joined Politico. Taylor-Vaisey arrives from Maclean’s where he’s been a Digital Editor since 2012. Lum, formerly with HuffPost Canada’s Ottawa bureau, will cover the energy and environmental policy beat while Maura Forrest is on parental leave.
Amir Ali, who has been a technical and content producer with 980 CKNW Vancouver since 2017, is leaving the station to join Daily Hive Vancouver. Ali was most recently assigned to the Lynda Steele Show.
Karine Courtemanche has been appointed as an independent director of WildBrain Ltd. Courtemanche is the CEO of PHD Canada and Touché!, and fills the seat on the board vacated by long-standing director, David Colville, who announced his intention to retire in December. Courtemanche also sits on the boards of the Canadian Out of Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau (COMMB), where she was Chair in 2017, and Canadian Ad Standards.
Trevor Hampden has been appointed Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, ACTRA National, following the departure of Olivia Nuamah. Hampden brings 25 years of media, broadcasting, financial and not-for-profit experience to ACTRA, including helping launch the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) in 1994. In addition to corporate roles with Dynamic Funds and McCarthy Tétrault, Hampden has worked as a researcher, assignment editor and producer with Business News Network, National Post, CP24, Citytv and CBC.
RADIO & PODCAST:
CBC has announced a new podcast addition to its Spring slate from the creators of popular true crime podcast, Someone Knows Something. The Next Call tackles unsolved cases in a pandemic-restricted world. Through a series of phone and video calls with victims’ family members, the police and even potential suspects, host David Ridgen uncovers new information, reigniting each case. The first case looks into the disappearance of 15-year-old Melanie Ethier who vanished from New Liskeard, ON in September 1996. The Next Call joins the previously-announced A Death In Crytopland and a new season of The Village, investigating the unsolved deaths of two transgender women in Toronto’s queer community.
Robyn Flynn and Michaela Schreiter are set to host a new show across the TSN Radio network focused on women’s sports. Featuring player profiles, game analysis and more, She’s Got Game will air Saturday mornings (11 a.m. ET), starting June 5. Flynn is a CJAD 800 Montreal producer, while Schreiter is a host on TSN 1200 (CFGO-FM) Ottawa and also hosts a podcast on the CFL Ottawa Redblacks.
Shaw Communications is partnering with Calgary’s Mount Royal University (MRU) to introduce a new podcasting initiative intended to support and amplify community voices and stories. Launching this fall, the Community Podcast Initiative (CPI) at MRU’s School of Communication Studies is a first-of-its-kind program for a Canadian university that will see students and the community develop, produce and promote storytelling through podcasting focused on giving a voice to marginalized and underrepresented groups. Facilitated by the Journalism and Broadcast Media Studies program and powered by a $100,000 donation from Shaw, MRU intends to use the program as a launching pad to establish the school as a national and international leader in podcasting education.
SiriusXM is partnering with TikTok on several new audio initiatives aimed at increasing its reach with teens, including the introduction of TikTok Radio. Available on the SiriusXM app, the channel will feature trending music and audio from the short form mobile video app, akin to swiping through TikTok’s “For You” page. SiriusXM-owned Pandora will also introduce a new series called TikTok Tastemakers that will see popular TikTok creators host and curate playlists, alongside commentary.
LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt goes solo this week with some ideas for the post-pandemic Great Radio Reset. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
Jack Schoone, 82, on April 5. Schoone’s first foray into radio was in 1959 following his discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces. He joined Irving Zucker’s Kitchener stations as a controller and quickly became manager of CKCR AM and FM at the age of 23. Schoone soon took on responsibility for CHIQ Hamilton, and arranged the sale of the three stations. In 1969, he embarked on a career as an owner with the purchase of CKNB Campbellton, NB, marking the birth of Eastern Broadcasting. The company expanded rapidly with the addition of CFCY Charlottetown and CKCW Moncton, and in each market added an FM frequency even though AM was still dominant. Eastern soon acquired the Roy Thomson group of stations in northern Ontario and later the Countryside group in southern Ontario. Telemedia eventually purchased the Ontario operations, while MacLean Hunter acquired Eastern’s Atlantic stations. Announcing his retirement in 1988, by 1993 Schoone had returned to broadcasting under the Radiocorp banner with the purchase of K Lite FM and CKOC in Hamilton, as well as CJBX FM and CJBK in London. Once again, his ability to lead turnarounds saw Telemedia come knocking to acquire the stations in 2000. Schoone was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Hall of Fame in 2003.
Peter Klein (aka Peter Kaye) on April 10. Klein started his radio career in 1988 as an operator at CKO 99.1 Toronto at age 16. From there, he joined CJCL 1430 as an operator, starting in the early 1990s, staying with the station through its transition to The Fan 1430 and The Fan 590. In total, Klein spent 12 years with Telemedia Radio, holding roles from producing Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, and TSN Bullpen features to serving as a Telemedia Network Radio producer and voicing commercials and other production. Klein went on to hold several part-time announcer roles at AM 96 in Cambridge, ON and The Edge 94.9 (CKGE-FM) Oshawa. From 2002-07, he was the weekend overnight and morning host on EZ Rock 97.3 (CJEZ-FM) Toronto.
TV & FILM:
Sinking Ship Entertainment has picked up 12 Daytime Emmy Nominations with technical nods for Ghostwriter, Endlings and Odd Squad. The 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be presented Friday, June 25. Find the full list of nominees here.
Part 1 of the Daytime Emmy Award Nominations came out today and Sinking Ship Entertainment has received 12 nominations in the first wave!
Congratulations to everyone and stay tuned for June 28th to see the rest of the nominations! pic.twitter.com/3z9dKQtEo6
— Sinking Ship Ent (@SinkingShipEnt) May 25, 2021
Transplant and Schitt’s Creek were among the multiple award winners on the final night of the Canadian Screen Awards recognizing Cinematic Arts. Transplant won Best Drama Series with lead actor Hamza Haq claiming Best Lead Actor, Drama Series. Schitt’s Creek was named Best Comedy series with Catherine O’Hara also winning Best Lead Actress, Comedy. In the film categories, Akilla’s Escape won five awards including Achievement in Casting, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay. Indigenous horror feature Blood Quantum also claimed five awards: Achievement in Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Visual Effects and Editing. Beans won Best Motion Picture, with Tracey Deer also claiming the John Dunning First Feature Film Award. Find the full list of winners here.
Convergence Research has released its 2021 Couch Potato Reports. Based on analysis of over 50 OTT services (over 35 providers), led by Netflix, it estimates 2020 Canadian OTT access revenue grew 35% to $2.05 billion, with 32% growth forecast for 2021, continuing to mostly benefit non-Canadian players. The report says Canadian TV subscribers and access revenue are currently not seeing as steep a rate of decline as the U.S., but that could change in the medium term- dependent on new or expanded OTT offers in Canada. It estimates 2020 Canadian Cable, Telco, Satellite TV access revenue declined 3% to $8.14 billion and forecasts another 3% decline in 2021. It estimates a decline of 389,000 Canadian TV subscribers last year, predicting a further drop of 427,000 in 2021. Convergence says as of 2020, 35% of Canadian households did not have a TV subscription with a Cable, Satellite, or Telco TV access provider, predicting this number will rise to 45% by 2023.
Canadian Heritage has announced an increase of $49 million to the Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) for Canadian audiovisual productions. The top-up brings the STCF’s coverage capacity to $149 million through March 31, 2022. Canadian Heritage says increased investment in the STCF will allow more productions to make use of the program to meet their shooting schedules, heading into the sector’s busiest seasons of spring and summer. Telefilm Canada, which administers the program, will continue to compensate production companies whose filming is shut down or interrupted as a result of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis on set or an outbreak among the production team.
Telefilm Canada has unveiled a simplified method to accelerate the drawdown schedules for the Production program and the Theatrical Documentary program, as part of Telefilm’s revised corporate plan mandate to adapt and provide flexibility within its funding programs. Telefilm says the accelerated process will ease the administrative burden on producers and allow for faster disbursement of funds earlier in the production. For Telefilm’s participation of up to and including $500,000: disbursements will be made in two (85% and 15%) or three (60%, 30% and 10%) instalments, based on Telefilm’s risk analysis. Up to and including $1,500,000: disbursements will be made in three (60%, 30% and 10%) or four (35%, 35%, 20% and 10%) instalments, based on Telefilm’s risk analysis. For participation over $1,500,000: disbursements will be made in four instalments (35%, 35%, 20% and 10%).
Telefilm has released program data for the inaugural round of funding for its Development Stream for Racialized Persons. Through the new stream, over $2.5M was invested in 143 projects from 93 companies. Companies could develop up to two projects supported at $18,000 each. Funding for the Racialized Stream in Development was originally budgeted at $500,000 for the fiscal year. To support an industry largely on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Telefilm made a one-time redirect of funds to support all eligible projects submitted to the Development Program. The total funding for the Development Program in fiscal 2020-21 totalled over $11.65M.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) completed another first for Canada’s screen industry by commissioning an in-depth survey of the country’s racialized creators, organizations, and production companies. The survey, conducted online between Dec. 21 and Feb. 16 by IPSOS Research, shows how difficult the situation is for some racialized players: 38% of producers have personal incomes of less than $30,000 a year before taxes; 40% of companies have annual operating budgets of less than $50,000; with average annual operating budgets 28% lower for businesses owned by women. In addition to financial indicators, the report also provides a snapshot of racialized production operations in Canada: half or more of the employees self-identify as racialized individuals in 81% of the companies, most or all of current projects in seven out of 10 companies involve Afro-descendant or other racialized individuals. 90% of companies create content in English, 30% in French, and 40% create in foreign languages.
Corus Entertainment has announced its slate of premium original content for 2021/22 with 35 greenlights and renewals across its portfolio of specialty networks and streaming platforms. With over 500 hours of content sold this year, Corus Studios broadens its reach with eight new series and 13 returning shows that will debut across Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, and HISTORY. Nelvana has greenlit four brand new animated series and one returning fan-favourite. Corus has also announced its first-ever original series for Adult Swim with Psi Cops (26×11), while popular kids cartoon Toopy and Binoo has been greenlit to return in 2022 as an animated feature film of the same name (1×80).
CTV has revealed a slate of new and returning series for the network’s summer schedule, headlined by reality competition series LEGO Masters, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, beginning June 1. Hosted by Will Arnett, the series follows teams of LEGO enthusiasts as they go head-to-head with an unlimited supply of LEGO bricks. Also heating things up this summer is The Celebrity Dating Game, airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, starting June 14. Hosted by actress and singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Michael Bolton, the game show features celebrity singles in their pursuit to find love. Additionally, the newly re-imagined version of the extreme obstacle course series, WIPEOUT, hosted by John Cena, Nicole Byer, and Camille Kostek, joins CTV’s summer sched July 11 (with new episodes currently airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Comedy Channel).
ET Canada Presents: Help India, a half-hour fundraising special in support of the Humanitarian Coalition’s emergency response efforts will air Monday, May 31 on Global. The special will feature Canadian celebrities, many of whom are personally impacted by India’s COVID-19 crisis, in addition to supporters like LL Cool J and Nick Jonas. The special will open with entertainment reporter Sangita Patel and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sitting down for a discussion on the global COVID-19 pandemic. Also set to appear are comedian Russell Peters, actress Mindy Kaling, actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), actor Rizwan Manji (Schitt’s Creek), actress Sandy Sidhu (Nurses), television personality Anisha Ramakrishna (Family Karma), Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, and entrepreneur and author Arlene Dickinson (Dragons’ Den).
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is introducing the International Indigenous Screen Industry Summit, aimed at facilitating conversation and empowering Indigenous media professionals. Taking place June 21 and hosted on the festival’s virtual conference platform, the event is timed to coincide with National Indigenous Peoples Day. The day-long event includes panels, round table discussions, networking events and sessions with Indigenous creators. The program was created with the guidance of an advisory board that includes Monika Ille, CEO, APTN; Melanie Hadley, Program Director, WarnerMedia; Kerry Swanson, Associate Director, Indigenous Screen Office; Jesse Wente, Director, Indigenous Screen Office; Jason Ryle, Producer, Curator, Project Manager, Consultant; Naomi Johnson, Executive Director, imagineNATIVE; and Adriana Chartrand, Institute Manager, imagineNATIVE. Find the full agenda here.
Indspire has announced the recipients of the 2021 Indspire Awards and introduced Jennifer Podemski as its new executive producer, heralding a new format for the June 22 broadcast of this year’s show. Twelve Indigenous achievers from a diverse list of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities will be honoured during the broadcast on APTN, APTN lumi, CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One and CBC Listen. The new format will focus heavily on the story of each recipient.
APTN Indigenous Day Live (IDL) returns June 20 to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) with a lineup pairing Indigenous artists with Canadian music icons to perform a line-up of collaborations in English, French and Indigenous languages. The multi-platform broadcast will take audiences to stages in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Dartmouth, NS. Hosted by Earl Wood and Janelle Wookey, IDL 2021 will feature performances by Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Tom Wilson, iskwē, Neon Dreams, Julian Taylor, and Charlotte Cardin. Tribute segments for Manitoba’s sesquicentennial and the 25th anniversary of NIPD will be woven throughout the event, portraying the history of Indigenous Peoples and their contributions to Canada.
Pass Through Productions & Bright Shadow Productions have announced APTN lumi original series Querencia from writer/director Mary Galloway will launch on the platform on June 1. The coming of age 2SLGBTQ+ web series that centres on the budding romance between two young Indigneous women will launch, accompanied by a special virtual premiere event hosted by imagineNATIVE. Following the premiere, the entire series will go live on APTN lumi on June 1 at 11 p.m. ET. The first two episodes will also be available as a part of the Inside Out Festival. Querencia began in 2019 when Mary Galloway and Jessie Anthony won the APTN/imagineNATIVE Web Series Pitch Competition. They were also selected by the Canadian Film Academy to submit to the Telefilm Talent to Watch program and awarded further funding to expand the series. Shot in Vancouver, Querencia was backed by a full crew of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ representation.
CBC TV premieres Our Game, the behind-the-scenes documentary that shows how the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) safely returned to competition just three months after the initial COVID-19 lockdown last March. Premiering May 29 at 1 p.m. ET, in addition to the broadcast, Our Game will be live streamed via CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app. Produced in partnership with Guelph-based video production company Ward 1 Studios, Our Game is directed by Alex Vander Vlugt, who also serves as co-producer and Garrett Smith (of Ward 1 Studios), with Ansh Sanyal (Director, Brand & Marketing, CEBL) also co-producing.
CBC says production is underway in Halifax on Season 3 (8 x 60) of Diggstown. CBC renewed the legal drama for a third season last year, with production pushed to spring 2021 due to COVID-19. Joining the cast this season are Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People), Crystle Lightning (Trickster) and Nicole Muñoz (Van Helsing). Jully Black guest stars in the season premiere, playing a long-term Continuing Care Assistant charged with assault and criminal negligence, while Michelle Hurst will guest in a later episode as a client.
The Kids in the Hall have announced they are finally in production in Toronto on their new series for Amazon. The Canadian Amazon Original series joins All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, currently in production, and the recently announced LOL: Last One Laughing with host Jay Baruchel.
We’ve started filming brand new episodes for The Kids in the Hall’s 8-episode Amazon Original series in Toronto! #wereback #kidsinthehall @PrimeVideoCA @DaveSFoley @BrucioMcCulloch @kevinthekith @Mark_DMcKinney @ScottThompson_ pic.twitter.com/5VicmhCj5Y
— Kids in the Hall (@KITHOnline) May 26, 2021
The Quebecor Fund Board of Directors has announced the Canadian production companies that will receive nearly $2.5 million in financial backing in the 42nd round of the Fund’s Television Production Assistance Program. Of that amount, $225,000 is being granted under the Convergent Production Support component to Productions du Masque inc. for a project that will air on TVA Group. Under the Creation of Intellectual Property Support component, $1,298,880 is being granted to five projects from Untamed productions 4 inc., Productions Lustitia inc., Maki Média inc., Yzanakio and IceWorks Animation inc. Broadcasters backing the development of these projects are TVA Group, Bell Media, Corus and Société Radio-Canada. Under the Production of Intellectual Property Intended for International Markets Support component, launched in partnership with the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Quebecor Fund is contributing $947,700 in this round and the CMF $527,700 for a total of $1,475,400, to be divided among five fiction projects and one documentary project produced by Trio Orange inc., Productions KOTV II inc., Sphère Média inc., Productions Pixcom inc., Encore Télévision inc. and Les Productions Sovimage inc., set to air on TVA Group, Corus and Bell Media.
Open Screenplay, the Toronto-headquartered online screenwriting platform, has issued a statement following an Israeli air strike May 17 that destroyed its satellite offices in Gaza. While none of Open Screenplay’s employees were harmed, the attack resulted in the death of at least four civilians. Open Screenplay had hired a team of young developers in Gaza, graduates of an incubator called Gaza Sky Geeks, created by Mercy Corps, in partnership with Google, the Canadian Government, and Amazon Web Services, to create opportunities in the city which has an unemployment rate of 49%. “Open Screenplay was a place where our Gaza team could dream of building a better future for themselves and their families. With this bombing, their dreams are shattered,” said Founder and CEO Khaled Sabawi. Sabawi is calling for an independent investigation into Israel’s targeting of civilian buildings, including the offices of Open Screenplay.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Videotron is launching a second subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform for French-language unscripted programming. Set to launch later this year, Vrai will feature original productions revolving around documentaries, entertainment and lifestyle, launching with 40 original non-scripted productions in French. Videotron says Vrai’s streaming catalog will grow to 100 original Quebec titles by the end of 2022, in addition to international acquisitions. Quebecor Content has been working on developing content for the platform for the past year. Among those original series, singer and actress Mélissa Bédard and comedian Christine Morency will question the prejudices and preconceived ideas about overweight people in documentary series J’t’aime gros, produced by Iprod Media and directed by Chloë Mercier, while Jonathan Roberge will dive into the world of Montreal crime between 1957 and 1977 in La Guerre des hold-up.
Découvrez Vrai, la nouvelle plateforme de contenus francophones non-scriptés lancée par @Videotron . Style de vie ✨, enquête 🔎, humour 🎭, cuisine 🍱, documentaire 🎥, téléréalité 👀 et bien plus.
Vrai – Un monde sans filtre.
— Vrai (@vrai_ca) May 26, 2021
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has officially launched MTM Newcomers, its first annual media study focused on the growing demographic of those who have come to Canada within the past five years. Among its findings are that although English is the most common language spoken in newcomer households, 54% watch content in another language to connect with their country of origin. Newcomers are 37% less likely than Canadian-born respondents to subscribe to a paid TV service, such as cable or satellite. However, they are more likely to fall under the “TV My Way” category and watch TV content online. 85% subscribe to at least one Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service, such as Netflix, while close to one in 10 subscribe to a foreign-language SVOD, such as Hotstar or iQiyi. 71% of newcomers used social media in the past month and are more likely than Canadian-born respondents to use WhatsApp and TikTok. Virtually all newcomers own a smartphone with six in 10 owning an iPhone.
Postmedia Network has made a strategic minority equity investment in Wise Publishing, which operates digital personal finance publications, MoneyWise.com and MoneyWise.ca. The two companies will partner on various initiatives, including providing Postmedia’s audience with access to increased personal finance content while further building the MoneyWise brand.
Media Central Corporation used its regularly scheduled monthly virtual town hall to provide employees with a snapshot of the company’s future, discussing 2020 losses totalling $4.6 million under its previous board. Installed in late November, the new board says it’s been working with management to restructure the business for growth including moving both the Georgia Straight and NOW Magazine into smaller offices to reduce monthly operating costs. Media Central says it intends to build its future on three pillars: high-quality news products on all platforms with print being the “storefront” that creates brand awareness for new digital products; new advertising revenue models that will be introduced mid-year to support and diversify traditional revenue streams impacted by COVID-19; and building “scalable” digital audiences with its first new digital product release scheduled for June.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
APTN, Ricochet Media, The Narwhal, Capital Daily, Canada’s National Observer, The Discourse, IndigiNews, Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) are part of a coalition planning to file a court application guaranteeing journalists substantive access to cover the ongoing old-growth logging demonstration in the Fairy Creek watershed, near Port Renfrew, B.C. The coalition has sent a formal letter to the RCMP calling for an immediate end to journalist exclusion zones; that journalists be allowed close enough to unfolding events to record video and sound, conduct interviews and take photographs; that the RCMP refrain from using physical obstructions that block the view or prevent the media from capturing audio; and that arrest or detainment of journalists and seizure or interference with equipment cease. Read more here.
The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) have announced that retired CBC P.E.I. executive producer Donna Allen and Robert Jones of CBC New Brunswick will be inducted into the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame. Allen spent 36 of her 38-year journalism career at CBC P.E.I. before retiring this year. She began her career at CBC as a traffic reporter in Halifax, before moving to P.E.I. in 1985 as a radio writer. She was soon promoted to producer of afternoon show, Mainstreet, then producer of the morning show, Island Morning, and for the past decade has served as executive producer of News and Current Affairs for the bureau. Jones has been a journalist in New Brunswick for 33 years, most of that time as an investigative reporter with CBC News in Saint John. His reports on government, business, and the justice system have been recognized with multiple national and regional awards, including a dozen AJAs. Many of Jones’ stories have triggered official investigations or changes in government policy.
Pacinthe Mattar is the 2022 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow. Mattar will study how journalism can better foster, retain and promote Black, Indigenous and other racialized journalists, with a focus on developing initiatives that lead to more representative newsrooms and coverage. Prior to joining Toronto-based branded podcast and content company, Antica Productions, as a senior producer in 2019, Mattar was a producer for CBC Radio One, working on shows like The Current and As It Happens.
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) has announced photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Shelby Lisk as the winner of its 2nd Annual Award for Outstanding Work by an Indigenous Youth Reporter. Lisk has been recognized for her story For our children: How families are passing down Indigenous languages, published by TVO.org. Lisk has roots in Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) and is based in Ottawa, where she currently works as TVO’s Indigenous Hub staff writer.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has published a new survey that finds Quebecers are the most confident they can identify false news. Among the survey’s findings, Quebecers are more likely to trust journalists (72%) and politicians when it comes to news about COVID-19 and the vaccine. The Prairies and Alberta have the least trust in politicians and government authorities. Albertans say they are least informed about what is going on with COVID-19, however, feel most informed about the side effects of the vaccine (77%). Quebecers are most likely to consume news daily (75%), primarily television (56%), but are also more likely to read newspaper websites (36%) and sponsored posts on social media (29%) than the other provinces and territories. Albertans are least likely to consume news daily (61%). The online survey of 2,013 Canadians, 18+, was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights in early March.
The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled to uphold Canada’s first-ever website blocking framework in the case of TekSavvy Solutions v. Bell Media Inc. et al. In 2019, Bell Media, Groupe TVA, and Rogers Media filed a lawsuit against IPTV provider GoldTV for alleged copyright infringement, asking that ISPs be ordered to block it with the Federal Court subsequently issuing a site-blocking injunction requiring certain ISPs in Canada to block identifiers related to GoldTV, including GoldTV.ca. In response, Chatham-based independent ISP TekSavvy Solutions appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. TekSavvy hasn’t indicated whether it will take its appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Last month, the federal government launched a consultation on whether website blocking should be used to curb piracy online.
Bell Mobility has announced the expansion of its 5G network to 23 new markets across Québec, Ontario and Manitoba. Bell 5G’s reach has been expanded in Manitoba (St. Andrews and Stonewall), Ontario (Barrie, Burlington, Clarington, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, McNab/Braeside, Moravian, Pickering and Waterloo) and Québec (Ascot Corner, Champlain, Magog, Rivière-du-Loup, Saint-Catherine-de Hatley, Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes, Saint-Maurice, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières). Touting mobile data access speeds of up to 1.7 Gbps, Bell 5G is now available to approximately 35% of the Canadian population. Bell says it’s on track to cover up to 70% by the end of the year.
TELUS is upgrading its relationships with data intelligence company, Loop Insights, announcing a multi-year reseller agreement in which TELUS will sell Loop solutions directly to its national customer base as a TELUS product. Previously an IoT Marketplace partner, the expanded relationship gives Loop direct access to a large network of TELUS clients and the company’s sales & support team. TELUS will provide marketing, pre-sales, and sales services for Loop products, joining Loop’s growing roster of reseller and licensing partners that include NTT Data, Vend, Oracle and Shopify.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
PromoSuite has announced an end-to-end integration between WideOrbit’s WO Traffic and WO Automation for Radio applications and the PromoSuite Production radio workflow platform. The solution will benefit radio stations using PromoSuite Production, including speeding up the order entry process, streamlining cart number assignments, eliminating duplication, and reducing overhead associated with dubbing audio files into WO Automation for Radio.
LISTEN: On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, our publisher Shawn Smith talks with Susie Hedrick, CEO of vCreative, one of the industry’s leading broadcast workflow software providers. Hedrick talks about the recent evolution of the company, their new offering for television workflow, and about being the right solution at the right time during COVID-19.
Rise, the membership group for gender diversity within the broadcast technology media sector has announced the pairing up of mentees and mentors for its fourth annual mentoring scheme in the UK, its second in APAC, and its first in North America. The 2021 program sees a variety of experienced broadcast technology media sector industry leaders, at a diversity of levels of seniority, ready to offer expertise, knowledge and guidance to 49 women. Among the Canadian mentee pairings in the North America group are Vanesa Andrés, Technical Sales Rep, CAST Group, who will mentor Julie Sakes, Supervising Account Manager, Deluxe Distribution; Rachel Archibald, Director of Marketing, Clear-Com will mentor Amanda Holtstrom, Product Manager, Ross Video; and Barbara DeHart, Director of Alliances, Grass Valley, who will mentor Jordan Linekar, Data i/o Technician, Deluxe Media. Read more about this year’s cohort here.
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