The Weekly Briefing

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REVOLVING DOOR:

Michelle Mearns

Michelle Mearns has joined SiriusXM Canada as Vice President of Programming and Operations, reporting to CEO Mark Redmond. She’ll be responsible for the development and production of all Canadian programming as well as technical operations. Her appointment comes as John Lewis, Senior Vice President, Programming and Operations, retires after 17 years with SiriusXM. Mearns arrives from Apple Canada, where she led strategic partnerships, content marketing and played a significant role in the launch of Apple Music in Canada. She’s also held marketing roles with Twitter Canada, Facebook Canada, and CBC Music. Read more here.

Leslie Roberts

Leslie Roberts has departed CTV and 580 CFRA Ottawa, with Friday, May 27 his last day. Roberts, who’ll turn 58 this month, joined CTV Ottawa as a co-host on the local edition of CTV Morning Live in June 2019, arriving from Montreal off a two-year hosting stint at CJAD. In addition to CTV Morning Live, which airs from 6 – 9 a.m. weekdays, Roberts has been hosting CFRA talk show Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts, from 9 a.m. – noon. Read more here.

Roz Weston is set to step away from ET Canada after 17 seasons to focus on the upcoming launch of his memoir, A Little Bit Broken. Weston is better-known as one half of the The Roz & Mocha Show, which originates on KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) Toronto and airs in various dayparts on other KiSS-branded stations within the Rogers Sports & Media network. He’ll film his final episode of ET Canada on June 23, which Corus Entertainment says will include a special farewell. Weston announced his book deal with DoubleDay in April. Available now for pre-order, it will come out Sept. 27. Read more here.

Phil Kallsen

Phil Kallsen has resigned as Regional Program Director, Southwest Ontario for Bell Media to return to Calgary to be closer to family. Kallsen had held the position since last October. He’ll be relaunching his consulting business, PH1L K CONSULTING.

Tony Marinaro

Tony Marinaro has departed TSN 690 (CKGM-AM) Montreal after a 20-year run. Marinaro had most recently been hosting weekday show, The Montreal Forum, as well as Habs Lunch. He’ll continue hosting his Montreal Canadiens-focused pod, The Sick Podcast.

Eden Debebe

Eden Debebe is joining CP24 as an anchor and reporter. Debebe arrives from Rogers Sports & Media where she’s been an anchor/reporter with CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) and a Digital Content Producer with OMNI Television the past four years.

Isabella Zavarise

Isabella Zavarise is joining Insider, based in Los Angeles. The former CBC P.E.I. video journalist has been in California for the last six months, pursuing an M.A. in Specialized Journalism at the University of Southern California. She’s most recently been working as a data reporter with Crosstown LA.

Maddy Eisenberg

Maddy Eisenberg is signing off from the 580 CFRA Ottawa  traffic desk. Her last day is June 10. Eisenberg has been with Bell Media for the last six years.

Kirby Bourne

Kirby Bourne is leaving Corus Edmonton where she’s been serving as Digital Content Coordinator. Bourne has been with Corus since 2013, starting as an anchor and reporter with 630 CHED, before transitioning into a digital role in 2016.

Heidi Lee

Heidi Lee has joined Global News as a National Online Reporter, based in Toronto. A 2022 Ryerson Journalism grad, Lee was formerly the News Editor at The Eyeopener and also has experience freelancing for the Hong Kong Free Press.

Kitty Walsh

Kitty Walsh is the new Executive Director of Development at Atomic Cartoons, the Kids & Family Division of Thunderbird Entertainment Group. Prior to joining Atomic, Walsh was Director of Development at Disney Junior, where she most recently served as the lead development executive on new series Robogobo and recent special Mickey’s Tale of Two Witches. Atomic’s Rose Stacey has also been promoted from Development Coordinator to Manager of Development and will be working with Walsh on advancing the original development slate and bringing in original IP.

Kim Guise

Kim Guise has been named Telefilm’s Western Regional Feature Film Executive for a two-year term, starting June 6. With over 20 years of experience in the film and television industry, including 10 years as an investment analyst at Telefilm in Vancouver, Guise will help support emerging talent and render financing decisions for feature films in the Western Canadian region. Anita Damiani is the new Quebec Regional Feature Film Executive for the Francophone market as of April 1, for a five-year term. Damiani has over 20 years experience in the industry, including 16 years at Telefilm as a distribution analyst, marketing specialist and lead for the national Theatrical Exhibition Program and French-language documentaries. Guise will be based out of the Vancouver office, while Damiani will remain in Montreal.

Sean Porter

Sean Porter has been promoted by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) to Vice-President, National Industrial Relations and Counsel. He’ll join the CMPA’s senior leadership team, overseeing national industrial relations strategy for the organization, lead national labour negotiations, and drive CMPA priorities related to labour and employment legislation. Porter has been with the CMPA since 2018 as Director, National Industrial Relations and Counsel. In 2021, he was promoted to Lead Negotiator and Senior Director.

David McTeague

David McTeague has joined FACTOR (Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings) where he’ll be working in client services. McTeague was most recently with Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) as the station’s Promotions Manager and Sponsorship Development Lead. He’s also held marketing and promotions roles with G98.7FM (CKFG-FM), FLOW 93.5 (CFXJ-FM), Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM), Blackburn Media’s stations in Wingham/Owen Sound.

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

radioCount has released Spring 2022 data for five Continuous Measurement markets: Belleville, Peterborough, North Bay, Thunder Bay and Lethbridge. Reflecting data collected between Oct. 4, 2021 and April 24, 2022, highlights of the release include that listeners 12+ tuned an average of 18.1 hours of radio a week. Tuning with women increased across all age demos from Fall 2021, with listening among those 18-49 up 11%, and up 8.5% with women, 25-54. The survey also found that Breakfast listening (Mon-Fri, 6a-10a) increased three per cent from Fall, among adults 25-54. Evening reach (Mon-Fri, 7p-12a) was also up across key buying demos.

Don Shafer

OPINION: This week, veteran programmer Don Shafer offers a rebuttal to David Bray’s editorial last week on Format vs. Talent, sparked by the suspension of Q107’s Derringer in the Morning. “Perhaps this is a minor point about what comes first, like a chicken or the egg,” writes Shafer. “However, having worked with some amazing teams across Canada, it’s my opinion that the format is not the magic that comes out of that ‘little box’ that Orson Welles talked about.” Read more here.

Canadian Music Week’s (CMW) RadioActive gets underway Tuesday, June 7 in Toronto featuring in-person programming on Day 1 and on-demand virtual sessions on June 8. Among the highlights, Jeff Vidler of Signal Hill Insights and Caroline Gianias of Radio Connects will present Radio on the Move 2022. Now in its 13th year, the study will include the latest Share of Audio findings and what’s happening with AM/FM streaming and in-car audio consumption. “Radio futurologist” James Cridland will deliver the event’s opening keynote – “Radio’s Bright Future: Ideas for Canada from Around the World.”

SiriusXM Canada has launched SiriusXM Music Town, a nationwide program as part of the satellite radio provider’s previously announced partnership with Live Nation Canada. It will see Canadian acts like Arkells, Dallas Smith, Walk off the Earth, and 2Frères descend on four lucky towns for one night. Communities can apply until June 12 with 16 finalists to be announced across four regions – Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and Eastern Canada – when Canadians will be invited to vote for the top town in each region.

Obvious Allegory is launching new podcast, Aborsh, about abortion in Canada, hosted and created by actor/writer/director Rachel Cairns. Dropping its first two episodes on June 13, the podcast examines why abortion is still such a big deal, what “choice” really means and looks like, and why that answer is different for different people. Incorporating interviews, research, and cultural commentary, the podcast features conversations with experts including Joyce Arthur, the founder of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada; Dalhousie University Political Science professor Rachael Johnstone; and Chantal Parkinson, founder of the Pro-Choice Society of Lethbridge and Southern Alberta. The project originated as a one-woman play by the same title.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill addresses the question of whether you should transcribe your podcast? He also answers questions like why is it the responsibility of the content creator to provide a transcript? Why would I want someone reading the show when I want them listening to it? And why should I pay for this? Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

RPM: Where Radio People Meet held its first gathering of B.C. broadcasters since Fall 2019 on Tuesday, May 31 at the River Rock Theatre in Richmond. The semi-annual gathering, now in its 21st year, included the presence of event founder and living legend, Red Robinson. (Photos courtesy Jack Lew)

TV & FILM:

Jean Marc Vallee (Image Credit: Alamy)

Jean-Marc Vallée will be among the Banff World Media Festival’s Rockies Gala Award honourees this year. Vallée, whose numerous film and television directing credits include The Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, and Big Little Lies, will be posthumously awarded the Canadian Award of Distinction, given to a Canadian whose body of work exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry. Winnipeg-based independent production company Eagle Vision – led by Lisa Meeches and Kyle Irving, and behind series like Burden of Truth, Ice Road Truckers, and Oscar-winning feature film, Capote – will be presented with the Innovative Producer Award, recognizing the entrepreneurial excellence and achievement of an independent producer in TV/digital media. The awards will be handed out at an in-person ceremony at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on Tuesday, June 14, hosted by Canadian R&B/Soul icon Jully Black. Read more here.

CBC has announced its 2022-23 programming slate for CBC TV and CBC Gem, featuring over 40 new and returning original series and specials. The lineup includes second seasons of comedies Sort Of, Strays, Run The Burbs, and Son of a Critch, as well as returning shows Workin’ Moms and the 30th anniversary season of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. New comedy shows include Comedy Night with Rick Mercer and CBC Gem original teen drama, Fakes. Heartland, Murdoch Mysteries, Moonshine, and Diggstown also return this fall, in addition to new family drama, Essex County – a limited series based on Jeff Lemire’s graphic novels – and an English-language adaptation of Radio-Canada series PLAN B. Pretty Hard Cases will also return for a third season. Other new additions include CBC Gem original LIDO TV, hosted by Colombian-Canadian musician and artist Lido Pimienta; Marie Clements’ five-part Indigenous drama Bones of Crows (in partnership with APTN); and factual series Bollywed revolving around an iconic bridal shop in Toronto’s Little India. Absent from the renewals list are medical drama Coroner as star Serinda Swan departs the series, and sketch comedy series TallBoyz.

CTV, Fremantle, and Reel World Management have announced the cast attached to new CTV Original drama series, Sullivan’s Crossing, an adaption of the bestselling novels by Robyn Carr (Virgin River). In the lead role of Maggie Sullivan, Canadian actress Morgan Kohan (Transplant) heads the cast alongside Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) as Cal Jones, and Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) as Maggie’s estranged father. With production on the 10-episode, one-hour series set to begin this summer in Nova Scotia, also joining the principal cast are Tom Jackson (Cardinal), Andrea Menard (The Velvet Devil), Lynda Boyd (Virgin River), Allan Hawco (Jack Ryan), and Amalia Williamson (Northern Rescue). Sullivan’s Crossing is being produced as an interprovincial co-production with Nova Scotia-based producer Mike Volpe and Ontario-based producer Mark Gingras

CHEK has unveiled a new logo and refreshed branding campaign. It’s the first brand update for the Victoria station since CHEK became independent and employee-owned 12 years ago. Created in-house by CHEK Art Director Dave Lackmanec, Indigenous artist (Kwagiulth) Lou-Ann Neel was also commissioned to provide a version of the new logo for use on special occasions and when presenting Indigenous programming like upcoming documentary, A Cedar is Life. CHEK is in its 66th year of broadcasting. It was the first private television station in B.C. when it launched Dec. 1, 1956, becoming independent and employee-owned in 2009 when the employees, their union and community-minded investors came together to save the station from fading to black.

Lynda Steele and Jody Vance are teaming up for weekly one-hour talk show, The Steele and Vance Show, launching Sept. 8 on CHEK TV. Steele, who was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from RTDNA Canada in 2019, has had a 35-year career that includes 17 years anchoring the supper hour newscast on Global Edmonton. She was most recently the host of highly-rated afternoon drive show, The Lynda Steele Show, on 980 CKNW Vancouver. Vance has been in radio and TV since the late ’80s, holding roles from sports anchor and host on CBC to her current gig as a freelance Canadian correspondent for Al Jazeera English TV and TheOrca.ca. The Steele and Vance Show will air Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and available to stream on CHEK+ and for download as a podcast. CHEK says the show will anchor its new primetime lineup of local talk shows, including BC Legends with former BC Finance Minister and broadcaster Carole Taylor, and This is Vancolour with Mo Amir. Read more here.

CTV Atlantic is offering expanded coverage of the 38th IWK Telethon For Children, starting with two-hour musical special, A Telethon Tribute To Your IWK, Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m. The tribute, featuring Maritime performers like David Myles, Matt Anderson, Carleton Stone, and Jenn Grant and The Gilberts, will honour the IWK Health staff who continue to provide world-class care amid ongoing challenges through the pandemic. The special will lead into the telethon on Sunday, June 5, the IWK’s largest annual fundraiser. Familiar faces joining the broadcast will include CTV News at Six Chief Anchor Todd Battis, CTV News At Five hosts Jayson Baxter and Maria Panopalis, entertainment reporter Katie Kelly, and CTV Morning Live’s Ana Almeida, in addition to longtime telethon host and CTV Atlantic special correspondent Steve Murphy.

Goalcast continues to broaden its availability through a FAST licensing agreement with DistroTV. Montreal-based Goalcast features motivational content, including documentaries, speeches and short films. Viewers can stream DistroTV for free on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google TV, LG TV, Samsung TV, Sony TV, iOS, Android, or the web.

Nova Scotia is increasing the project cap under the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, making it easier for larger productions to film in the province Effective immediately, the maximum amount of funding a project can receive is $10 million, up from $4 million. Nova Scotia is also investing an extra $16.4 million in the film fund above the annual budget of $25 million, bringing the fund’s total to $41.4 million for 2022-23. To date, 75 film fund applications have been approved for 2022-23. Applicants can apply for a grant of between 25 to 32% of their eligible Nova Scotia costs.

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has announced the 2022 summer cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, a professional, immersive story room experience and original series development intensive for Canadian TV writers. The cohort will be joined by award-winning writer-producer and CFC alumnus Patrick Tarr as Executive Producer in Residence to lead the story room. Together, they’ll work as a team to develop Tarr’s original series, Think Tank, a serialized one-hour procedural/mystery. The selected writers are: Toronto-based screenwriter Rebecca Grenier; CFC Directors’ Lab alum Svjetlana Jaklenec; South Asian screenwriter Abdul Malik (Peace by Chocolate, Transplant); Toronto-based writer Emma Malm; screenwriter Clint Murphy; and Hellman Wilhelm, a Taiwanese Canadian screenwriter and co-founder of Canted Pictures. Applications are now open for the first-ever ½ hour comedy series cohort of the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, which will run from October until the end of March. Learn more and apply here.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Canadaland, Arsenal Media, Overstory Media Group, Discourse Community Publishing, Indiegraf, Metro Media, Narcity Media and Vocal Fry Studios, are among a coalition of more than 100 independent Canadian news publishers, pushing for amendments to C-18, the Online News Act. The coalition says it’s come together to ask for basic fairness, saying that as currently structured, Bill C-18 does not specifically direct funding towards supporting the critical work of journalists, lacks transparency mechanisms and risks leaving out small, medium size and independent publishers. Modelled after Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code, the coalition says measures must be taken to avoid repeating the mistakes of that legislation with an estimated 90% of negotiated revenues in Australia flowing to the three largest media companies. Read more here.

The Digital Publishing Awards have announced this year’s winners with Radio-Canada claiming a leading 12 awards, including seven Gold and five Silver. The Globe and Mail received five awards in total — four Silver, plus Gold in Innovation in Digital Storytelling for Jeremy Agius’ The Void in Calgary on the city’s high rate of commercial vacancies. The Toronto Star’s The Last Orca on Marineland’s lone captive orca, was a Gold winner in Best Digital Editorial Package and Best Digital Design. Toronto’s The Local won General Excellence in Digital Publishing (Small Division) and Best News Coverage (Community Publication) for Vaccinating Toronto. The Narwhal also picked up Silver and Gold awards for Best Photo Storytelling.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

(Image Credit: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News)

The Commissioner of Competition says Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications have agreed not to proceed with closing their proposed merger until a negotiated settlement is agreed upon with the Competition Tribunal. As a result, there is no need for the Tribunal to hear the Commissioner’s application for an interim injunction. Rogers and Shaw said in a release Monday that work continues to fully divest Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile, as part of the proposed merger and that the agreement with the Commissioner will allow the parties to focus on addressing the Competition Bureau’s concerns with the transaction in order to reach a settlement.

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) in the U.S. has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow (pictured above) set as a standard for the profession.

The Edward R. Murrow Awards winners for Region 14 have been announced, including 24 Canadian wins. CTV Vancouver picked up five awards, including Overall Excellence, Breaking News, Investigative Series, News Series and Newscast for CTV News at Six. Global Toronto and CBC Toronto each won two awards in the Television (Large Market) category. In Radio, Rogers’ CityNews branded radio stations picked up four honours, including recognition for CityNews 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver for its Digital and Newscast submissions, and an Overall Excellence award for CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) Toronto. Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto captured four awards, including a nod for its news documentary on Gordon Lightfoot.

RTDNA Canada has announced the finalists for its National Awards of Excellence, recognizing excellence in digital and broadcast journalism. This year’s winners will be revealed at the RTDNA Awards Gala on June 11 in Toronto. By network, CBC goes into the awards with a leading 36 nominations, followed by CTV News with 15 nods. Global secured seven nominations, while CityNews, TSN, and Narcity Canada each make the list twice. Find the Best Local News finalists here.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has announced the winners of the 2021 CAJ Awards for outstanding investigative journalism. The Narwhal claimed a leading four awards, including the CWA Canada/CAJ Award for Labour Reporting, and the Environment and Climate Change Award. Freelance photographer Amber Bracken won in the Photojournalism category for her Wet’suwet’en crisis portfolio, published by The Narwhal, while Stephanie Kwetásel’wet Wood won the JHR/CAJ Emerging Indigenous Journalist Award for her portfolio feature, also published by the not-for-profit environmental journalism site. Other winners include The Globe and Mail, TVO, and CBC Podcasts.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has awarded its Charles Bury Award to the Canadian lawyers who have generously provided pro-bono legal services to help uphold journalists’ rights to report on matters of significant public interest. Sean Hern, a Victoria, B.C.-based lawyer who represented the CAJ and a coalition of independent media in the Fairy Creek case, accepted the award on behalf of all lawyers being honoured at the CAJ’s annual awards gala dinner in Montreal. The Charles Bury Award, formerly called the President’s Award, is given under circumstances of exceptional merit to people or organizations that have made a significant contribution to Canadian journalism. 

Unifor is launching a new website to help journalists and media workers seek help to deal with online harassment. More than 60% of Unifor journalist members have reported being harassed, with almost a quarter reporting daily harassment. The site will offer counselling advice for Unifor members, non-members and freelancers, including tips on documenting abuse, reporting harassment to employers and police, and protecting personal information. The site was developed in conjunction with media members on the front lines and bargaining units that have addressed the issue in their workplaces. Besides the new site, Unifor is developing draft collective agreement language for bargaining and training for union leaders. 

Unifor members at Bell Technical Solutions (BTS) have voted to ratify a new collective agreement that includes significant improvements in benefits, RRSP contributions, and wages for members across Ontario. Quebec members will vote on ratification June 10. The agreement includes 13% wage increases over four years for members with more than seven years’ service. Members on the progression scale will also see an increase of 2.5% on top of their current bi-annual increase. In addition to wage and benefit improvements, the new collective agreement will grow the unit by 307 new full-time positions, aiming to make jobs better for workers with consecutive days of rest, scheduling and work-life balance improvements. The union also secured the creation of a Racial Justice Advocate, a new union program that seeks to combat racial discrimination and support workers experiencing racism.