CTV National News Executive Producer Rosa Hwang has departed the network as Bell moves to lay off 1,300 staff, amounting to six per cent of the media division. David Hughes, Ramneek Gill, Sophia Skopelitis and Jonathan Kay will expand their oversight within the news division, while Joanne Woo is now News Director, CTV News Channel/Manager, Ottawa News Operations. Corey Bellamy assumes the role of Director, Digital Growth, rejoining CTV News from Bell’s corporate digital product group. The network also announced the closure of its bureaus in L.A. and London with those caught up in the layoffs including L.A. Bureau Chief Tom Walters, Chief International Correspondent Paul Workman, Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier, CTV National News Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, and UK-based correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian. Other casualties include Parliamentary Bureau field producer Ian Wood, W5 correspondent Molly Thomas, CTV Morning Live Calgary host Joelle Tomlinson, CTV Vancouver Island reporter/anchor Jordan Cunningham, and TSN field producer Matt Dunn, along with the staff of six AM radio properties being shuttered, including TSN Radio 1260 (CFRN-AM) Edmonton’s Shawn Simpson, Marc Stevenson, Ryan Rishaug, Jason Strudwick, Connor Halley, and Jason Gregor, among others. Read more in our Radio & Podcast column.
Karen Mitchell has retired from CTV Winnipeg after 15 years as News Director. Mitchell started her career in 1993 as part of the CJOJ Belleville, ON launch team. Her career then took her to CJOK-FM Fort McMurray, Craig Broadcasting Global News and CBC. Mitchell had been with CTV Winnipeg since 2000, working her way up from reporter/weekend producer. She was recognized with RTDNA Canada’s Distinguished Service Award last year.
Emma Ens is leaving CTV Kitchener after more than 15 years for a new opportunity. Ens, who started with the station as a technical operator in 2007, had been working as an assignment editor and reporter for the last six years.
Katarina Szulc has left CBC Edmonton to work as a freelance reporter, based in Mexico, where she’ll cover Latin America. With CBC for the past year, Szulc previously worked as a reporter and web editor with CityNews Vancouver.
Dione Wearmouth is joining CityNews Calgary as a part-time anchor and reporter. Wearmouth arrives from Brunswick News where she’s been a reporter for the last year and a half for the Daily Gleaner and Kings County Record. Prior to that, she was a videojournalist with CKPG-TV and worked with Vista Radio’s stations in Prince George.
Karli Zschogner has joined APTN News as a video journalist, based in Inuvik, NWT. Zschogner has been serving as the editorial director of the Arctic Youth Network mentoring and publishing program for the last eight months and working as a freelance journalist.
Amanda Young has accepted the role of Branded Content & Integrations Manager, Eastern Canada, at Rogers Sports & Media. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for leading the Eastern regional branded content & integration team. With Rogers Sports & Media for over 15 years, Young has successfully led promotions in several different markets, including JACK FM (CJAQ-FM) Calgary and CHFI Toronto. Most recently, she led BC&I campaign strategy and execution in priority Eastern Markets. She’ll continue to work out of Ottawa.
Geri Mayer-Judson has joined 980 CKNW Vancouver as an on-air contributor. Mayer-Judson has been a traffic reporter in the market for the past two years, most recently with the Canadian Traffic Network (CTN).
Sean Fitz-Gerald is among the Canadian staff laid off by The Athletic as the digital subscriber publication, acquired by the New York Times last year, moves to cut 20 reporters or about four per cent of its journalists as part of a company reorg. Other reporters will move from their current beats to new ones as some local NHL and MLB beats are eliminated, and the publication moves to appeal to a wider audience, including more regional and general assignment coverage. Based in Toronto, Fitz-Gerald had been with The Athletic since 2016 as one of its first dozen hires.
Vanessa Steinmetz and Nicole Butler are now co-CEOs at Pier 21 Films. With the appointments, Pier 21 becomes a fully female-led production company, with Pier 21 founder Laszlo Barna transitioning to the role of Chair. Steinmetz, a former SVP Production Finance at Entertainment One, is overseeing financing and business operations; while Butler, former COO with Pier 21, leads development and production activities. Current projects include Season 3 of Run the Burbs for CBC; Late Bloomer, starring Jasmeet Raina for Crave; and recently-announced Indigenous comedy Don’t Even, created by showrunner Amber-Sekowan Daniels, also for Crave.
Rose Mueller has joined AMPIA (Alberta Media Production Industries Association) as the organization’s new Operations and Communications Coordinator. Mueller has held communications roles with organizations from the federal government to the Edmonton Aboriginal Business & Professional Association. She was most recently Communications Manager at the Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre.
David Craig is the new President of Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB). Craig is Director of Programming & Development at MCA Media, which operates The Miracle Channel and Corco TV. Brett Adnum, Chief Operating Officer at Golden West Broadcasting, moves into the position of Past President.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Bell Media’s NewsTalk 1290 CJBK London, TSN 1260 (CFRN-AM) Edmonton, BNN Bloomberg Radio 1410 (CFTE-AM) Vancouver, Funny 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver, Funny 1290 (CFRW-AM) Winnipeg, and Funny 1060 (CKMX-FM) Calgary went off the air as of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday. Station websites showed 404 errors or had notices posted, informing listeners that “The Realities of AM Radio in the broadcast media landscape have made this change unavoidable.” Pending CRTC approval, Bell will also sell AM 1150 (CKOC-AM) Hamilton and Funny 820 (CHAM-AM) Hamilton, as well as Windsor’s AM 580 (CKWW-AM) to a third party. Bell Canada President Mirko Bibic cites profit losses of as much as 50% in the company’s radio business pre- to post-pandemic, along with declines in legacy phone revenues. Read more here.
Radiodays North America held its inaugural event in Toronto last week to rave reviews. At this year’s Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame Awards, Patrick Grierson, the late founder of Canadian Broadcast Sales (CBS), was recognized as the recipient of the 1st annual Allan Slaight Radio Salesperson of the Year Award. Grierson, who passed away in May 2022 at the age of 77, started his 40-year career with Standard Broadcasting in the 1970s, retiring in 2017 as leader of the largest national radio sales organization in Canada. Veteran Toronto music director Wayne Webster, who has been with Stingray’s boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto for the last 13 years, was this year’s Allan Waters Hall of Fame recipient. An alum of Q107 (CILQ-FM), CHUM-FM, and Mix 99.9 (CKFM-FM), among other stations, Webster joked that he had spent most of his life trying to stay out of the spotlight, as he accepted the award. Read more here. More Radiodays North America coverage to come.
Canadian Music Week (CMW) and the Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) have announced the recipients of the 2023 Canadian Live Music Industry Awards (CLMIAs). RBCxMusic’s BrandxMusic program was named Program of the Year, while the Unison Fund won the Community Impact honour. FM Systems was named A/V Production Company of the Year. Mississauga was named Music City of the Year.
The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) wrapped up their 87th annual conference in Banff on Thursday, June 8 with the WAB Gold Medal Awards Gala. Two longtime radio reporter/anchors are this year’s WAB Hall of Fame inductees – Barry Lamb of CJRB Boissevain, MB and Tony King of Calgary’s 770 CHQR. Tyler Carr, morning show co-host on Evanov Communications’ Energy 106 (CHWE-FM) Winnipeg, is the recipient of the 2023 WAB Leader of Tomorrow Award. Read more here.
The National Campus & Community Radio Association (NCRA) handed out its annual Campus & Community Radio Awards in Broadcast and Online (aka the CRABOs) on Friday, June 2 at its 41st annual conference in Calgary. The University of Calgary’s CJSW won a leading 12 awards, including Best Current Affairs or Magazine Show for Sprawlcast, and two awards for residential school series, Survivors (Grace Heavyrunner, Cam Siferd, Jasmine Vickaryous), which picked up Best Documentary and Best Aboriginal Affairs and Culture Programming. Catherine Fisher of Kootenay Co-op Radio (CJLY-FM) Nelson, BC was given the Radio Legend Award. CJLY-FM also won in the Best in Podcasting category. Find the full list of winners here.
Red Robinson has been posthumously honoured by NABS with the Heart Award, recognizing his history of service to the organization supporting the health and wellbeing of those in media, marketing and communications. Robinson, who was pivotal in bringing NABS to Western Canada, was recognized at the organization’s Benevolence Bash in Toronto on Wednesday evening, with his daughter Kellie accepting the award virtually on her father’s behalf. NABS is marking its 40th anniversary, with founder Rupert Brendan, who travelled from the UK, and Daniel Rabinowicz, founder of Quebec counterpart bec, also recognized.
CityNews 680 is 30 years old. I take a look at some of the moments that have helped define the powerhouse all-news radio station. https://t.co/iMyL1r1J6S
— Richard Southern (@RichardCityNews) June 7, 2023
Rogers Sports & Media’s CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) Toronto is celebrating 30 years as an all-news station. The station officially adopted the format on June 7, 1993, transitioning from CFTR 680 AM’s Top 40 format with Starship’s “We Built This City.” Eight million time checks and 1.5 million traffic reports later, the station is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Retired News Director Scott Metcalfe has put together a podcast on the evolution of the brand.
Vista Radio has rebranded Moose FM (CFXN-FM) North Bay as North Bay’s Classics 106.3 Jet FM. Officially launched on June 7 to coincide with Armed Forces Day in North Bay, 106.3 Jet FM is a nod to the community’s proud aviation history. Mike Monaghan continues as host of weekday mornings, with Richard Coffin moving into the morning news position. Ty Demerah is being heard in middays and cluster program director and broadcaster Steph Larouche on the “Flight Home.” “After the difficult last few years that everyone in the area’s endured, we feel like something fresh and fun was in order,” said General Manager Peter Hobbs. “It’s more than a ‘fresh coat of paint.’ We’ve got some fun programming and contesting surprises we’re pretty pumped about unveiling along with the great classics all day every day.”
The CRTC has denied an application by Radio Markham York Incorporated to rebroadcast 105.9 The Region (CFMS-FM) Markham, ON in Pickering. Radio Markham had proposed operating the rebroadcasting transmitter to improve the station’s access to its primary market, particularly eastern Markham, where its current signal is deficient. It further submitted CFMS-FM’s inability to provide a strong signal to the area puts it at an economic disadvantage with neighbouring stations able to sell more advertising. The commission received 39 interventions in support of the application, mainly from local business, community groups, and listeners, including the Mayor of Markham, however the commission found lack of a compelling economic need for the proposed rebroadcasting transmitter, noting the station is showing good ability to manage its income and expenses in the market it is currently serving, even with denial of the application.
CBC has launched new investigative podcast, The Banned Teacher, hosted by award-winning CBC Ottawa journalist Julie Ireton and produced by Allison Cook. What begins with one woman’s search for justice uncovers untold stories of alleged historical sexual abuse by the same high school music teacher. The 10-part investigative series explores the trauma these now adult women live with as they search for answers, and the sexism they face when they seek accountability. The first three episodes are currently available on the CBC Listen App. New episodes will be released every Monday, until the series finale on July 3.
iHeartMedia’s Hot AC station The New Mix 102.9 (KDMX-FM) Dallas has secured Canadian voiceover talent Matt Fogarty and Melissa Thomas as new branding voices. KDMX-FM returns to its former “MIX” branding, abandoning its former NOW 102.9 moniker.
LISTEN: Tyler Glen, former longtime program director and morning show host on STAR FM (CKSR-FM) and CKLQ in Brandon, MB, is on the Sound Off Podcast. After more than two decades on-air in the market, Glen now livestreams his own morning show on Twitch.tv. He shares anecdotes with Matt Cundill about his morning show career, the incredible community that exists in Brandon, and more. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:
Doug Caldwell, on June 12. Following his graduation from the Radio Television Program at NSCC Kingstec, Caldwell got his start in broadcasting with Annapolis Valley Radio in Kentville, NS in the early 1980s, holding roles from copywriter to on-air and assistant music director. He joined Q104 Halifax in 1983 as Music Director and an on-air personality, before moving into a more than two-decade career in music marketing, initially as National Promotion Director for Island Music Canada and then National Marketing Manager for Virgin Music Canada from 1991-2001, working with acts from the Spice Girls to Lenny Kravitz and Smashing Pumpkins. He went on to work as the marketing lead for the Associated Labels Department at EMI Music Canada. Concurrently, Caldwell taught courses on Music Industry Marketing and the History of Pop Music at Toronto’s Trebas Institute, George Brown College, and the Metalworks Institute of Sound & Music Production in Mississauga. In more recent years, Caldwell had worked in sales and marketing with Toronto indie label Sparks Music and served as a contributing writer on Jeff Woods’ nationally syndicated show “The Legends of Classic Rock.”
Walter Kemp, 85, on June 9. CKDU Halifax’s longest-serving programmer, Kemp had hosted “Saturday Morning Musical Box” since February 1985 — the first week the Dalhousie University campus station hit the airwaves. He went on to serve the radio station for 38 years. Born in Montreal and educated in Toronto, Harvard, and Oxford, Kemp founded and chaired the Music Department at Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier), before moving to Halifax in 1977 to become Chair of the Dalhousie Music Department and Director of the Dalhousie Chorale. Since 2005, Kemp had served as Artistic and Administrative Director of Opera Nova Scotia.
Scott Bodnarchuk, 63, on June 5. The General Sales Manager for Rogers Sports & Media’s radio stations in Atlantic Canada for the last 12 years, Bodnarchuk claimed “he never worked a day in his life” because of his passion for radio sales, according to his obituary. Based in Halifax, Bodnarchuk joined Rogers in 2011 as Retail Sales Manager, Atlantic. Prior to joining Rogers, Bodnarchuk ran the Local Management Agreement (LMA) between CHUM’s stations in Halifax and Newcap Radio. Read Danny Kingsbury’s tribute here.
Joy Rosen, 65, on June 9. Originally from Montreal, after completing her B.A. in English at the University of Toronto, Rosen found herself with a desire to make documentary films which took her to Syracuse University, where she graduated with a M.Sc. in Television, Radio and Film. Rosen founded Portfolio Entertainment with Lisa Olfman in 1991 after the company they were working at downsized, building the venture into a globally-recognized production, distribution, and animation company with a catalogue of over 2,000 episodes of animation, kids, scripted and digital media content. Together with Olfman, Rosen was awarded the 2015 WIFT-T Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business and the Rotman Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Ab Douglas (Abram Driediger), 93, on March 21. After graduating from Queen’s University, Douglas started his broadcasting career in 1951 in Manitoba. He went on to become CTV’s Parliamentary Bureau Chief and co-anchored the first CTV National News program with Baden Langdon (later with Peter Jennings) in November 1962. In 1967, he joined CBC to produce documentaries and work as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, where he remained until 1972. He also served as the national reporter in Edmonton and Vancouver. In 1980, he went on to a teaching position at the University of Regina School of Journalism. He concluded his career helping set up the Inuit broadcasting network, based in Nunavut. Retiring in the 1980s, he ran the family cattle and horse ranch near Maple Creek, SK until moving to Kelowna in 1989. In 1993, he published On Foreign Assignment: The Inside Story of Journalism’s Elite Corps, taking readers “behind-the-scenes to a formal dinner with DeGaulle and to a beach party at the Kennedys.’
TV & FILM:
Eternal Spring, Jason Loftus’ animated documentary about comic book illustrator Daxiong, was the big winner at the Rockie Awards International Program Competition at Banff World Media Festival (BANFF). Eternal Spring won the Grand Jury Award, in addition to the prize for Social Issues & Current Affairs. The $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content was awarded to CBC/HBO Max comedy Sort Of, while ICI.TOU.TV’s Geomapping Love (Geolocaliser l’amour) won the Prix Francophone. The Emerging Talent Prize of $10,000, awarded to an outstanding short fiction or short non-fiction video submission not funded by a streamer or network, went to National Film Board (NFB) production Magical Caresses, a series of animated erotic confessions by Lori Malépart-Traversy. Magical Caresses also won Best Short-Form Non-Fiction Series. Read more here.
The Guild of Music Supervisors, Canada (GMSC) and Canadian Music Week (CMW) have revealed the winners of the 2023 Canadian Sync Awards, recognizing the craft of music supervision in filmed media. Cody Partridge of Pear Tree Music Supervision was the recipient of a leading three awards for his work on Crave series Shoresy, feature film Bandit, and the IIHF World Juniors broadcast. Marlon Knight was presented with “The Huey” award, in memory of legendary music supervisor David Hayman, bestowed upon an aspiring music supervisor who has passion for the craft.
In honour of our final farewell, the studio has been dedicated to @MarilynDenisCTV for 34 incredible years in daytime television. 👏 And if it couldn’t get any better, former The Marilyn Denis Show floor director, Kathy Adetuyi stopped by to present this honour to Marilyn. 🎉 pic.twitter.com/4kkPMS5rU2
— The Marilyn Denis Show (@TheMarilynShow) June 9, 2023
Bell Media has dedicated a studio to Marilyn Denis, marking the 34 years of daytime television she produced there. Denis signed off from The Marilyn Denis Show for the last time Friday after 13 seasons on-air. Denis, 64, will continue on the CHUM 104.5 Toronto morning show, alongside Jamar McNeil, where she’s been a fixture for 37 years, in addition to being heard on Marilyn Denis Does A Podcast.
Crave is expanding its direct-to-consumer subscription offering with ad-supported tiers. Launching this summer, Bell Media says the new plans will give customers a range of options to access Crave content, with plan details and price points to be announced at launch.
Bell Media has unveiled its English and French-language original content slate for 2023/24, totalling 96 titles and 1,037 hours of original content. The network is upping the ante on reality series, including English and French-language versions of international format The Traitors, greenlit for CTV and Noovo, both hosted by Karine Vanasse (Cardinal). Comedian Russell Peters will host The RP4, a series of comedy galas for CTV Comedy Channel, and is also the subject of a new Crave documentary. New Crave Original series include sketch comedy offering The Dessert from Kids in the Hall’s Bruce McCulloch, and comedy series The Trades from the producers of Trailer Park Boys. Bell Media Studios has announced new daytime series The Good Stuff with Mary Berg.
Global’s 2023/24 broadcast slate is led by new procedural drama Matlock starring Kathy Bates in the titular role. Also joining the lineup is new drama Elsbeth, starring Carrie Preston, based on and named after the fan favourite character from The Good Wife and The Good Fight. Also coming to Global is new medical drama Doc, based on the Italian format, and comedy Poppa’s House starring Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr. Corus Entertaiment’s speciality lineup includes the premiere of Ted, a live-action comedy series based on the film franchise, with Seth MacFarlane reprising the voice of the iconic teddy bear; Based on a True Story, a dark comedic thriller starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina, following a realtor, a former tennis star and a plumber who seize a unique opportunity to capitalize on America’s obsession with true crime; limited drama series Apples Never Fall, based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel, starring Annette Bening, Sam Neill, Jake Lacy, and Alison Brie; and The Tattooist of Auschwitz, an adaptation of the best-selling book, starring Harvey Keitel.
Blue Ant Media has announced its 2024 original slate for its Canadian specialty TV and global FAST offerings. It includes new commission Holmes on Homes: Building a Legacy, featuring home reno pioneer Mike Holmes, in a reboot of his original franchise, this time joined by son Michael and daughter Sherry. The series will premiere on Cottage Life in Canada and also air on free streaming channel Homeful globally. Also greenlit is A Secret to Die For, commissioned for T+E and Total Crime, and Intervention Canada (Season 6), in partnership with A+E Networks, for Makeful. Rounding out the lineup are returning series, Haunted Hospitals and Mysteries from Above.
Paramount+ has announced a Canadian content strategy in development, commissioned features and acquired programming. Paramount+ Canadian series in development include Hate The Player: The Ben Johnson Story, a scripted comedy from writer Anthony Q. Farrell and New Metric Media about the scandal that brought the “world’s fastest man”; Len & Cub, a limited six-part series dramatizing the true story of the secret relationship of two young men in rural 20th-century New Brunswick, from writer Lynne Kamm and producers Muse Entertainment and Elliot Page’s Page Boy Productions; Carpe Demon, a one-hour series based on the best-selling book series by Julie Kenner, about a suburban mom with a secret past as a Demon Hunter; They Drive At Night, a dark comedy about two best friends, a vampire and a werewolf, on a road trip across Canada; and Paramount+ Original Documentary 500 Days in the Wild from filmmaker Dianne Whelan (This Land, 40 Days at Basecamp), a solo self-recorded journey across Canada.
Corus Entertainment’s Waterside Studios, an IP and production venture focused on premium scripted Canadian content for youth and primetime audiences, has started production on new series Geek Girl (10×30), based on the best-selling novels by Holly Smale. Production is now underway in the UK with co-producers RubyRock Pictures and Aircraft Pictures and will continue in Canada later this summer. Slated to premiere on YTV and STACKTV in Canada and worldwide on Netflix next year, the series will be distributed globally by Nelvana thereafter.
marblemedia says its original, single-camera teen comedy series, Davey & Jonesie’s Locker has officially wrapped production in Toronto. From creator and comedy writer Evany Rosen, who serves as showrunner, the series is set to stream on Prime Video in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and on Hulu in the U.S.
Pier 21 Films is partnering with Canadian comedian Julie Kim on a new half-hour comedy series in development at a major broadcaster. The development deal marks Kim’s debut at the helm of a sitcom and comes on the heels of her gala performance at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and a 40-theatre North American tour with Ronny Chieng (Crazy Rich Asians, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah). Kim will co-write the pilot with Strays alum, Clara Altimas. The show is a workplace comedy that follows a headstrong doctor (played by Kim) who, after losing the promotion of a lifetime as an emergency medicine physician in the U.S., finds herself back in her Canadian hometown, operating a rundown walk-in clinic.
Sphere has announced a change in its international film distribution activities. Operating under the Sphere Films brand, Sphere is refocusing its film distribution activities in Canada, and will cease its international sales activities as of June 16. Sphere Films International has enjoyed success handling distribution for films like Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone, Canada’s official selection at the 2020 Oscars, and more recently Viking (Stéphane Lafleur), Riceboy Sleeps (Anthony Shim) and Sweet As (Job Clerc).
ACTRA Toronto has partnered with Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada to launch the Permit Access Fund with the goal of reducing barriers and creating a pathway for performers from under-represented communities to access full membership within the union. The $25,000 bursary will cover 50% of the cost of up to 200 work permits for low-budget productions under ACTRA Toronto’s Low Budget Guideline (LBG), available to first-time and emerging producers working with emerging and diverse performers to create productions for theatrical or festival use. On their first qualifying work permit, a performer can join ACTRA as an Apprentice. On their third qualifying work permit, a performer can apply for Full membership.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) has announced Misdirect: The Nick Nemeroff Comedy Grant, a new initiative aimed at supporting emerging Canadian comedians who embody the spirit of the late Canadian comedian. The grant will provide a cash prize of $10,000 CAD to the winning comedian, intended to be utilized for their next television special, album, or other comedy-related project. Eligibility requirements will be announced prior to the opening of submissions this fall.
Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released early insights from the first phase of its #CanConDef research initiative at Banff World Media Festival (BANFF), which got underway Sunday. Reflecting a combination of online surveys and in-depth ethnographic interviews, the research involved the participation of over 2,500 Canadians from both the audiovisual industry and general public. Among its preliminary findings, a BANFF panel – moderated by CMF President and CEO Valerie Creighton – heard that for the public, instilling a sense of national pride and social cohesion is the most important objective in the redefinition of Canadian content. While industry respondents tended to agree that Canadian content is defined by its creators living in Canada, employing Canadians, and being owned by a Canadian production company, members of the public are more likely to consider geographical content elements like characters living in Canada, a location set primarily in Canada, and filming in Canada. Read more here.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) congratulated Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez at the 2023 Banff World Media Festival, lauding the passage of Bill C-11 and the CRTC’s ongoing work to update the regulatory framework. To recognize Rodriguez’s contribution to the industry, CMF CEO Valerie Creighton presented him with a special trophy to celebrate his leadership and vision in making the Online Streaming Act law.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
ZoomerMedia has announced its acquisition of The Peak Media Collective Inc. (PMC). Founded in 2020 by Brett Chang, Alex Blumenstein, and Taylor Scollon, with the backing of a $350,000 seed round supported by The Logic and TechTO, The Peak’s flagship daily finance and tech newsletter boasts readership of 115,000. Aimed at young professionals, the outlet also produces The Peak Daily, a 7-minute weekday news roundup, which has aired on Corus Radio talk stations since 2022, and Free Lunch, featuring weekly deep dive interviews which purports 100,000 downloads a month, according to a ZoomerMedia announcement. The brand also has strong followings on TikTok and Instagram. The deal’s aggregate purchase price of $5 million is comprised of $3.5 million cash on closing and a $1.5 million promissory note. Read more here.
ZoomerMedia has completed its acquisition of all outstanding shares of Museland Media Inc., publisher of Ludwig Van, Canada’s digital voice for classical, opera, chamber and choral music headlines, reviews, and feature interviews. The media company says the acquisition connects ZoomerMedia to a wider audience of arts enthusiasts of all ages, who have been all but abandoned by mainstream newspapers and broadcasters. With an audience of 65,000 monthly readers and 100+ partner arts organizations, ZoomerMedia said Ludwig Van is the ideal online complement to its The New Classical FM radio stations. Founded by former Toronto Star music critic Michael Vincent in 2017, who had a mission to keep arts coverage alive, Vincent says joining ZoomerMedia will allow Ludwig Van to take that calling to the next level with new podcasts and original features. The aggregate purchase price of $1.1 million is comprised of $700,000 cash on closing, and a $400,000 vendor note at 5% interest annually, principal repayable in three years. Read more here.
Sam Cooper, a veteran of Global News, The Province and the Vancouver Sun, has started independent journalism website, The Bureau on the Substack platform. With a reputation as a watchdog for corruption and Asian organized crime, Cooper’s 2021 book, Wilful Blindness: How a network of narcos, tycoons and CCP agents infiltrated the West, dived into the lack of policy that led to the rise of rampant money laundering and drug trafficking in Vancouver. The Bureau is promising groundbreaking investigations and stories on crucial issues, including but not limited to China’s interference in Canada.
CBC News Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon has outlined in a blog post how CBC/Radio-Canada journalists will use artificial intelligence in the public broadcaster’s journalism. Fenlon writes that the bottom line is readers will never have to question whether a CBC News story, photo, audio or video is real or AI-generated. What that means in practice: No CBC journalism will be published or broadcast without direct human involvement and oversight, nor put to air or online without vetting by a CBC journalist. CBC will not use or present AI-generated content to audiences without full disclosure, clarifying it will never rely solely on AI-generated research in its journalism. AI won’t be used to recreate the voice or likeness of any CBC journalist or personality except to illustrate how the technology works, and only then in exceptional circumstances. The public broadcaster has also committed to not feeding confidential or unpublished content into generative AI tools for any reason. Fenlon said the guidelines are preliminary and subject to change as the technology and industry best practices evolve.
Virtual Artifacts has announced the beta launch of Hibe News, an online platform that merges social networking and search engine features. The Montreal-based tech provider says Hibe News sets out to redefine the digital media landscape by providing users with access to authentic content from verified publishers and to ensure fair compensation for media outlets, via a revenue sharing model. The company says Hibe News has been designed in line with global legislative initiatives like Bill C-18 in Canada, California’s Journalism Preservation Act, and similar bills proposed by the U.S congress and European Union. A group of users is currently testing the platform and providing feedback.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
Canadian Heritage has published the proposed policy direction that will guide the CRTC as it works toward developing a new regulatory framework under Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. The commission has been explicitly directed to exclude content made by social media creators under the Act, including podcasters and any content on social media not also made available on a non-social media broadcast undertaking, as well as video games. In terms of the issue of discoverability of Canadian programs, the CRTC is being directed to implement discoverability in a way “that respects and, where possible, increases choice for users while also minimizing the need to alter algorithms of broadcasting undertakings.” In response to concerns about the tight timelines outlined in its previously-announced public consultation process, the commission has extended the deadline for the submission of interventions to July 11 and the deadline for the submission of replies to July 26. Read more here.
The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled the CRTC had no jurisdiction to force CBC/Radio-Canada to apologize for use of the “N-word” on-air and has sent the decision back to the regulator for review. On appeal by the public broadcaster on freedom of expression grounds, the court agreed with the analysis of the Attorney General of Canada, who intervened in the case in support of CBC, saying the Broadcasting Act does not give the regulator the power to control programming content directly. The case stems from a complaint about an August 2020 segment on ICI Radio-Canada Premiere, in which commentator Simon Jodoin and host Annie Desrochers discussed a petition for the dismissal of a Concordia University professor who quoted the title of a book containing the “N-word” in French during a class.
The CRTC, Competition Bureau, and Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) have come together under the banner of the newly-formed Canadian Digital Regulators Forum to strengthen information sharing and collaboration on matters related to digital markets and platforms, including artificial intelligence (AI). The three agencies, who already share responsibility for enforcing Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL), is headed by Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell, CRTC Chairperson Vicky Eatrides, and Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne. Supported by a Core Working Group, which will meet quarterly, the three organizations will exchange best practices, conduct research and market analyses, and problem solve with an aim to strengthen the work of all three agencies as they keep pace with rapid changes in the digital economy. Read more here.
Canadian Broadcasters for Sustainability, a group of 22 Canadian broadcasters, has come together to increase environmentally sustainable change. The group includes Accessible Media Inc., Asian Television Network, Bell Media, Blue Ant Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Channel Zero, CHEK Media, Corus Entertainment, Hollywood Suite, Knowledge Network, New Tang Dynasty (Canada), Nunavut Independent Television Network (Uvagut TV), OUTtv, Pelmorex Corp., Remstar Media, Rogers Sports & Media, Super Channel, Télé-Québec, TFO, TV5, TVO and WildBrain. Committing to embedding environmentally sustainable thinking in their commissioned productions – excluding news and current affairs, the group will share learnings with an eye to reducing duplication and increasing the collective impact and speed of environmentally sustainable change. Read more here.
Every Canadian journalist knows our FOI system is broken.
— Matt Frehner (@mattfrehner) June 9, 2023
The Globe and Mail has launched Secret Canada, a searchable database of over 300,000 Freedom of Information summaries, in response to Canada’s broken FOI system. The project is intended to help Canadians navigate records held by public institutions. Some of its insights are based on the work of Tom Cardoso and Robyn Doolittle from The Globe and Mail’s investigations team, who decided to take on Canada’s FOI system in the fall of 2021, filing more than 430 requests to public bodies across the country asking for data from their FOI request tracking systems.
The Investigative Journalism Foundation (IJF) is getting a $40,000 USD injection from The Data-Driven Reporting project, funded by the Google News Initiative, to build Canada’s first-ever database showing stocks, real estate and other financial assets owned by politicians at the federal level in every province and territory. IJF says the database will make it easy for Canadians to see which politicians own stocks in companies they’re regulating, and which politicians are passing laws that benefit their own bank accounts.
Press Gallery President Guillaume St-Pierre presented the oversize novelty cheque and invited me to say a few words. I thanked the Gallery and also the CBC’s @cbctom Tom Harrington, who took the initiative to establish the fund in memory of his friend, who passed away in 2020. pic.twitter.com/bTLTIWxa2V
— Allan Thompson (@ProfAllan) June 11, 2023
The Peter Leo Emerging Reporter Fund has officially been established at Carleton’s School of Journalism, supporting a graduating journalism student to pursue an innovative and original research/reporting project with a preferred focus on broadcast journalism. Students will be required to submit a detailed pitch/proposal for their project, and the Journalism Program will lead the selection process joined by one or more representatives from CBC Radio News, which may provide editorial guidance, with the final product to possibly be broadcast on CBC Radio. Leo was the leader of CBC Radio News live specials for more than 20 years. The award was established by former colleague Tom Harrington and friends.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has announced the winners of its annual Media Awards competition. CityNews and CBC were multiple winners, with Talia Ricci of CBC Toronto recognized in the Online category for Best News Story, along with Mike Crawley of CBC Toronto (Radio – Best news report), Lauren Pelley (Radio – Best in-depth report or series), and Aarti Pole and David Eggleston (Television – Best news report). CityNews’ Mahnoor Yawar and Gabrielle Dainard won Television – Best in-depth report or series, while Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond were recognized for Online – Best in-depth feature or series for Mulligan’s first-person account of kicking cancer.
Steve Murphy, retired executive editor and senior anchor for CTV Atlantic, will publish his latest book “Murphy’s Logic: Insights from 45 years in the news business” in October. Also the name of his bi-weekly commentary segment that airs on CTV Atlantic News at Six, this is Murphy’s third book, but first since 2006. Both a professional memoir and a commentary on the current state of media, Murphy says the book will dive into “spin” techniques being employed by newsmakers to avoid answering real questions. He’ll also discuss inadvertently becoming part of the story, including his infamous interview with former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion during the 2008 federal election, something he’s never written about publicly.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
Bell Media has unveiled new and expanded ad solutions, headlined by the launch of Addressable TV (ATV), allowing advertisers to deliver tailored ads to specific households or devices, based on demographic and behavioural data across Video on Demand (VOD), livestreams, and linear content. By enabling ATV on Bell Fibe TV, Bell Media says it’s the first media company in Canada to offer Addressable TV on linear channels via a Canadian broadcast distributor. The company has also introduced upgrades to SAM, its proprietary Strategic Audience Management tool, including faster optimization, expanded user capabilities, and automation. Bell DSP, Bell Media’s programmatic advertising marketplace, will also bolster its offerings with Addressable Audio tech later this year, allowing brands to insert digital audio ads in live radio broadcasts and podcasts, with audience targeting.
SXM Media ad tech subsidiary AdsWizz has released its State of Audio Technology Report for 2023, a detailed guide to technology tools in digital audio advertising. The whitepaper, which covers everything from the shifting data and privacy landscape to ongoing changes and predictions for the audio industry, is available for download here.