The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Mike Stafford, the morning show host on Toronto’s Global News Radio 640 (CFMJ-AM), and Corus Entertainment have parted ways after the news/talk veteran allegedly used a racist slur in a newsroom chat, as first reported by VICE News. This isn’t the first time Stafford has courted controversy over his 20-year run with the station, including a series of off-colour social media posts in 2019 directed at the South Asian and Muslim community that resulted in a brief on-air suspension. Read more here. Greg Brady is filling in until Stafford’s replacement is named.

Cam Clark

Cam Clark is Pattison Media’s new General Manager/General Sales Manager in Medicine Hat, AB, effective Sept. 7. Clark brings over 30 years of broadcast experience to his new role, including time with TSN, CKND-TV, and CHUM Radio in Winnipeg. He’s been based in Brandon, MB since 2006 as General Manager for Westman Radio’s Q Country 91.5 (CKLQ-FM), 880 AM (CKLQ), and STAR FM (CKLF-FM). He replaces current Medicine Hat GM Dave Sherwood, who’ll be retiring at the end of 2021 after 30+ years of service.

Kristian Jack

Kristian Jack has joined the Canadian Premier League as Vice President of Media & Content. Up until layoffs at Bell Media this past February, Jack had been a soccer host, analyst and commentator with TSN since 2013. Prior to that, he was a broadcaster with The Score network for a decade. 

Éric Grenier

Éric Grenier has announced he’s leaving the CBC parliamentary bureau after nearly seven years with the public broadcaster. Grenier joined the bureau in 2014 as polls analyst and host of The Pollcast Podcast, in addition to appearing as a regular guest on shows like Power & Politics. He’s held the position of Senior Writer, Polling Analysis since 2017.

Teresa Wright

Teresa Wright is leaving The Canadian Press (CP) Ottawa bureau to teach Journalism and Communications at Holland College in Charlottetown. Prior to joining CP three years ago, Wright was the chief political reporter for Prince Edward Island daily The Guardian for more than a decade.

Eleanor Noble

Eleanor Noble has been elected by ACTRA’s National Council to a two-year term as National President. Eleanor replaces David Sparrow, who stepped down as National President after serving in the role for four years and remains on council as Past President. Noble is currently Vice-President of ACTRA Montreal and Chair of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee. Her screen credits include Incendo’s Seasoned with Love, CBC’s Detectives, I.D.’s Fatal Vows, and APTN’s Mohawk Girls, with voice performance credits on Disney’s Trulli Tales, Netflix’s Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends and video games Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, and Prince of Persia. 

Kyle Fostner

Kyle Fostner has been named Executive Director of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). Fostner assumes the role after serving as Interim Executive Director for the past 18 months. He’s been with VIFF since 2014, starting out as a Venue Manager, and then Guest Services Manager before becoming VIFF’s first-ever Director of Operations in 2016. More recently, he led the $2.8M renovation of VIFF Centre. 

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

Vista Radio has launched Country 90.5 FM (CFCH-FM) North Bay, which officially signed on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:30 a.m. with “Outlaws and Outsiders” from North Bay’s Cory Marks. The launch marks the return of the CFCH call letters to North Bay, one of the first stations in the region, established by Roy Thomson in 1930. Thomson’s granddaughter Sherry Brydson now owns Vista Radio. Fresh off a 20+ year stint with Rogers in North Bay, Kevin Oschefski takes on the role of Program Director, in addition to morning show duties with “The Kevin O Show,” while Lindsay Cooper hosts middays. Drew Ferris returns to North Bay in afternoon drive after hosting mornings at Moose 99.3 FM (CFSF-FM) West Nipissing. 

The CRTC has approved a new broadcasting licence for Mohawk Multi Media Inc., initiating a power increase for its English and Kanien’ke:ha (Mohawk) language Indigenous ration station in Kanesatake/Oka, Que. The applicant currently operates low-power Indigenous radio station CKHQ-FM Kanesatake and is transitioning the station’s status to protect its frequency. The station will operate at 101.7 MHz (channel 269A1) with an effective radiated power of 51 watts (omni-directional antenna with an effective height of the antenna above average terrain of 55.9 metres). The station will broadcast 126 hours of programming a week, 119 hours of which will be local. The remaining seven hours will consist of wrap-around programming originating from Indigenous radio station CKRK-FM Kahnawake. 

StatsRadio has added more stations to its audience measurement service, which is now serving 107 stations across Canada and the U.S. This summer, the Quebec-based startup will begin servicing eight new stations, including Jewel 98.5 (CJWL-FM), ELMNT FM 95.7 (CFPO-FM), CKCU-FM 93.1 and CHUO-FM 89.1 in Ottawa, as well as PROUD-FM (CIRR-FM), ELMNT FM 106.5 (CFPT-FM), CJRU 1280 AM and CHOQ-FM 105.3 in Toronto.

MRC Data says the Alt Rock genre continues to grow with the support of its hardcore fans. MRC says 30% of U.S. music listeners tune into Alt Rock monthly with a majority of those listeners considering themselves fans (listening at least weekly). In addition to growth in streaming, they’re also buying the genre more (+20% vs. 2020). The uptick in genre consumption has led to Alt Rock album success on the Billboard 200 with albums like “OK Orchestra” by AJR, “Scaled and Icy” by twenty one pilots, “Delta Kream” by The Black Keys,Chemtrails Over the Country” by Lana Del Rey, and “Medicine at Midnight” by Foo Fighters, debuting in the Top 10.

Spotify has launched its live audio product, the Spotify Greenroom app, in 135 markets for both iOS and Android, following its acquisition of Betty Labs in March, the company behind sports-focused audio app Locker Room. Spotify says the Greenroom offering will continue to evolve as new programming hits the platform spanning music, culture, entertainment and sports topics. It will also launch a Spotify Creator Fund, which will help live audio creators monetize their work. Interested creators can sign up to find out more about participation when the fund opens later this summer.

Amazon Music has launched DJ Mode for its U.S. customers to bring the feel of live radio to music streaming. DJ mode will serve up personalized, hosted stations, supported right now on four playlists: Rap Rotation, Country Heat, All Hits and Billie Eilish Takeover. The service is bundled as part of Amazon Music Unlimited.

 

 

The DGC (Directors Guild of Canada) Podcast officially launched this week with each episode featuring a conversation between filmmakers that takes listeners behind the scenes into the technique and process behind their work. Hosted by DGC Directors Aubrey Arnason and Katia Café-Fébrissy, among those featured in creative conversations are Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Yung Chang, John Fawcett, Tatiana Maslany, Sarah Polley and Garrett Bradley.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill catches up with Christian Zyp, a host on University of Alberta campus and community station, CJSR 88.5 FM Edmonton where he helms the show “Moving Radio.” This episode does not have any discussion of breaks, bits, PPM numbers, digital anything, or workforce reductions. This is the story of community, friendship and gratitude. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Warren Barker

Warren Barker, 92, on June 15. Originally from Okotoks, AB, Barker’s broadcast career began at CJCA Edmonton in 1947 at the age of 18. The young broadcaster made stops at CKRD Red Deer and CKDA Victoria, before landing at CKNW New Westminster in 1952. Barker initially joined the station as a back-up host for CKNW founder Bill Rea on the program “Ranger’s Cabin,” but by the following year had joined the newsroom and by 1959 was promoted to news director. Barker went on to hold the position for the next 32 years, building the newsroom’s reputation for both competitive news coverage and developing young journalism talent. Barker retired in 1991, but continued to contribute as an editorial commentator. He received the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to journalism in British Columbia in 1993 from the Jack Webster Foundation, and was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Hall of Fame in 1998. Barker was inducted into the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA) Hall of Fame in 2003. Read more here.

David Larsen

David Larsen, 62, on June 11, after a battle with cancer. Larsen’s career in radio started at age 19, working in Squamish, BC where he was heard on three different stations under three different on-air handles. Larsen went on to work in Lethbridge and Calgary, before landing at SILK FM (CILK-FM) Kelowna as program director where he also put together a successful morning show that he co-hosted for the next eight years alongside Tony Peyton and Kelly Abbott Church. Larsen eventually left to join Rogers Radio in Vancouver and Chilliwack, before he and Peyton reunited in 2009, reigniting their morning show on K96.3 (CKKO-FM) for a decade, up until Peyton’s retirement in 2019. Larsen subsequently joined JACK 103.1 (CHTT-FM) Victoria as PD for the brand re-launch in the market and morning show co-host. Read more here.

TV & FILM:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced the winners of the 2021 Rockie Awards International Program Competition. The UK came away with a leading 11 awards, followed by the U.S. with 10. Canada claimed five awards, while Australia and France took home four awards each. Among the Canadian winners were Vancouver podcast production and creative studio Kelly&Kelly, which won in the Podcast: Fiction category for Hindsight, a dramatized series based on world events and produced for Al Jazeera Podcasts. Kelly&Kelly notably won the inaugural Best Podcast honour at last year’s Rockies for This Sounds Serious. Canada-UK co-production Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Associated Producers Ltd., Cornelia Street Productions, UppiTV, Anonymous Content, EPIX), won in the History & Biography category, while Happily Married (C’est comme ça que je t’aime) (Cineflix Media, Casablanca Productions, Ici Tou.tv) claimed the Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content. Read more here.

Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that the streaming giant will start production on its first Original Canadian feature film later this year and is sponsoring a national rollout of Women in Animation Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator (ACE), as it ramps up activity in Canada. Featured on the opening day of the BANFF World Media Festival, Sarandos talked about lessons learned from the pandemic and the streamer’s plans as it establishes a Canadian headquarters in Toronto after 10 years of doing business on this side of the border. Part of that expanded activity includes acquiring the global rights to Canadian sci-fi sequel Code 8: Part II from Collective Pictures, which will be directed by Jeff Chan and see acting cousins Robbie Amell (Upload) and Stephen Amell (Arrow) reprise their roles. Read more here.

Bell Media has confirmed a Canadian content lineup of more than 75 titles for its 2021-22 season, featuring new original series, documentaries, and specials. Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, The Amazing Race Canada will head back on the road in 2022. Crave has confirmed orders for new scripted comedy Du Me A Favor starring 4YE Original’s Jermaine Richards and Trevaunn Richards; six-part, limited dramatic series Little Bird, created by Jennifer Podemski (Unsettled), who also serves as executive producer, alongside Hannah Moscovitch (X Company), Jeremy Podeswa (Game of Thrones) and Rezolution Pictures/Original Pictures; and Thunder Bay, an investigative series based on the Canadaland podcast, produced and hosted by Anishinaabe journalist Ryan McMahon. As production begins on Seasons 10 and 11 of LETTERKENNY, Crave also confirms upcoming spin-off SHORESY. Reinforcing CTV’s fall schedule are returning and new series, including The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, The Conners, The Masked Singer, Young Sheldon, Home Economics, and Season 3 of CTV Original JANN. New series include The Wonder Years, The Big Leap, thriller La Brea, hip-hop series Queens, and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes returns to CBC for a 29th season this fall with an expanded order (24×30). Season 29 also sees the show move to the 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) timeslot Tuesday evenings, premiering Sept. 14 on CBC and CBC Gem. Starring Mark Critch and Trent McClellan, the upcoming season also welcomes Aba Amuquandoh as an official cast member. Ahead of its premiere, the show will be holding auditions for a fourth series regular. CBC says the show continues to expand its reach with content shared over the course of Season 28 receiving more than 32 million views, generating over 100 million impressions, and resulting in nearly 10 million engagements.

CTV Comedy Channel Original Corner Gas Animated returns for a fourth and final season, July 5. The latest chapter in the 17-year long history of the Corner Gas franchise is set to conclude with 13, new half-hour episodes, which will feature cameos from Tantoo Cardinal, Kim Coates, Simu Liu, Mark McKinney, Rick Mercer and Steven Page. Launching in April 2018, Corner Gas Animated debuted as the most-watched series premiere in the history of CTV Comedy Channel. The series has earned 13 Canadian Screen Award nominations, taking home six trophies in the last three years, including back-to-back wins for Best Animated Program or Series in 2020 and 2021; and Best Writing, Animation in 2019 and 2020.

NBCUniversal streamer Peacock has ordered 10 episodes of family comedy, Take Note, from Toronto’s Lambur Productions. Created by Joan Lambur, the series follows a group of tween contestants competing in a fictional reality singing competition. It will star Braelyn Rankins (Doom Patrol); Nadine Roden (Designated Survivor), Broadway actor Aadin Church, and Sebastian Spencer (Overlord and the Underwoods).

marblemedia is developing new one-hour drama series, Persuasion, based on Canadian entrepreneur and TV personality Arlene Dickinson’s best-selling book. marblemedia has optioned the rights with Dickinson to serve as an executive producer on the series, along with marblemedia’s Matthew Hornburg, Mark Bishop and Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy, with Alexandra Zarowny attached to write and executive produce. The fictional series will explore the fast-paced world of marketing and public relations through the lens of a tenacious young mother with no formal education in the 1990s and her transformation into a marketing maven and celebrity in present day. 

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has launched a new website. Directors.ca is an interactive search tool that assists producers, showrunners and other key decision makers in finding a DGC Director for their next project by curating a tailored list of directors that meet their criteria by entering specifics such as language, genre and credits. The list can then be narrowed down further with additional filters like studios worked with and residency. Each director’s profile includes an array of information from a biography to contact info, social accounts, credits and reels.  

CTV Sci-Fi Channel is set to premiere new original series SURREALESTATE, July 16. The 10-episode, one-hour paranormal series is produced by Blue Ice Pictures and shot last summer in St. John’s, NL. The series depicts real estate agent Luke Roman (Tim Rozon, Wynonna Earp, Schitt’s Creek) and his eclectic team of associates who correct unconventional problems in “metaphysically engaged properties.” Joining Rozon is Schitt’s Creek co-star Sarah Levy as a neurotic real estate agent with a secret; Adam Korson (Teachers) as research specialist and former Catholic priest; Savannah Basley (Wynonna Earp) as a no-nonsense office manager; Maurice Dean Wint (Diggstown) as the resident “MacGyver”; and Tennille Read (Workin’ Moms) as client Megan Donovan. Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano also directs two episodes of the series and guest-stars in one.

W SERIES, TSN, and RDS have reached a multi-year media rights agreement making Bell Media’s sports networks the Canadian home of the all-female professional motor racing series. Presented in partnership with FORMULA 1, the 2021 W SERIES schedule features eight events, beginning Saturday, June 26 live from the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria. Live coverage of W SERIES on TSN is led by a broadcast team that includes hosts Lee McKenzie and Anna Woolhouse; lead commentator Alex Jacques; co-commentators David Coulthard and Billy Monger; pitlane reporters Ted Kravitz and Amy Reynolds; and analyst Naomi Schiff.

Spin Master Corp. is launching the Spin Master Future of Play Scholarship program supporting the education and career advancement of individuals from underrepresented communities in the fields of toys, entertainment and digital games. Spin Master is committing $100,000 annually in financial aid as well as mentorship and on the job experience. Spin Master will grant eight scholarships per year: three entertainment, one gaming, and four toy scholarships with two in Canada and two in the U.S. The scholarships are available to individuals from underrepresented communities, including BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA+ and indigent students seeking post-secondary education within the fields of toy design, animation, creative production, digital gaming and app development. In addition to financial support, recipients will have the opportunity to secure an internship at Spin Master and the potential for full-time employment upon completion of studies. The deadline for applications is July 23.

Netflix and Hot Docs have been recognized for their innovative partnership in developing the Hot Docs Canadian Storytellers Project (HDCSP). Business / Arts awarded the project this year’s Community Impact Award at its 2021 Business / Arts Awards, which annually recognize partnerships between business and the arts.

 

TELUS is donating the full cost of movie rentals – up to $15,000 – from the Celebrate Pride collection in its On Demand library to Rainbow Railroad Canada this month. Until June 30, Optik and Pik TV customers can view titles from the collection of 39 films including  Ammonite, Boy Erased, Milk, Moonlight, and Rocketman. Optik and Pik TV customers can also access a curated selection of free titles from TELUS Originals, STORYHIVE, and YouTube playlists available on the Community Connections channel, 345, featuring Canadian films celebrating BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Bell Media has announced it will revive the iconic MuchMusic brand as a TikTok channel, starting July 7, with a focus on drawing in Gen Z and younger Millennials. The digital reimagining of the video channel promises to build on MuchMusic’s legacy “for delivering the most relevant youth content” and will be available exclusively on TikTok and social media platforms. The partnership will encompass artist-hosted tent-pole events, live performances, and brand integration opportunities, with segments tied to the original brand, like Video On Trial, Intimate and Interactive and MuchMusic Spotlight, to resurface as part of the launch. The team behind TSN digital brand, BarDown, will drive engagement on the platform and accompanying social media channels, while Bell says a new team of VJs, creators, and Much Studios personalities will be introduced. Read more here.

Brodie Fenlon

CBC News is turning off Facebook comments across News, Current Affairs and Local for a four-week period. “Compounding the stress and anxiety of journalists is the vitriol and harassment many of them face on social media platforms and, increasingly, in the field,” wrote Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon in a blog post this week. “If public discourse is a litmus test of the health of a society, the conversation on social media suggests we have a problem. It’s one thing for our journalists to deal with toxicity on these platforms. It’s another for our audience members who try to engage with and discuss our journalism to encounter it on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where they are almost guaranteed to be confronted by hate, racism and abuse.” Fenlon says the conversation has degraded to the point where moderation is unsustainable. The four-week test will provide the public broadcaster with insights into how changing use of Facebook comments may — or may not — impact how stories reach audiences. Comments will continue to be welcomed on CBCNews.ca.

MTM 18+ and MTM JR. have released two reports on Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Findings include that close to eight in 10 Canadians, 18+, say pricing is the most important factor when subscribing to SVODs. Among Canadian adults, importance of SVOD features vary depending on age, income bracket and language. Anglophones tend to have higher interest in pricing than francophones (80% vs 75%), while francophones are more likely to look for platforms offering original content. 91% of anglophone families subscribe to at least one SVOD service and four in five anglophone kids (2-17) watch SVOD content in a typical month. Animated content is the most popular genre, mostly driven by younger kids. Although we are seeing growth in services like Amazon Prime Video (58%) and Disney+ (45%), Netflix remains the most popular SVOD service among anglophone kids aged 2-17.

LaurDIY, one of Canada’s Top 5 female YouTube creators, is among the social influencers in the Kin creator network.

Corus Entertainment’s Kin Community Canada has added access to 115,000 new Canadian creators to its active roster, deepening the company’s investment in influencer marketing and media strategy. In addition to the agency’s curated core group of Kin Creators, clients now have access to a national influencer marketing database, spanning arts and culture, entertainment, fashion, beauty, food, home and DIY, wellness, and parenting. According to data provided by Corus, advertisers are seeing a return of $5.20 for every $1.00 spent on influencer marketing, a 420% return on investment, with the industry expected to grow to $15 billion dollars by 2022.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

CRTCThe CRTC has approved an application by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to increase the maximum percentage of proceeds from the Independent Local News Fund that can be allocated to any one station or group of stations operated by the same licensee in a given market from 10% to 12% in any given year. The change will take effect Sept. 1, the beginning of the 2021-22 broadcast year.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says discretionary services, Starz 1 and Starz 2, violated the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Ethics and Violence Codes when it aired numerous films containing coarse language prior to 9 p.m. The decision concerns multiple broadcasts in Dec. 2020 and Jan. 2021. The CBSC says viewer advisories on a number of the broadcasts did not mention key elements of the programs, such as sexual content and violence. The broadcasts in question included feature films like High Fidelity, Ramy, The Right Kind of Wrong, The Hangover and Bridesmaids. The CBSC Panel considered that all of the broadcasts were acceptably rated 14+, though the episode of Ramy was close to the 18+ line given its mature sexual theme.

CBC says it doesn’t plan to appeal a court decision that found the Conservative Party of Canada’s use of its coverage and news clips in 2019 federal election advertising was fair use. “While we don’t agree with the Court’s decision, we have decided that launching an appeal could risk further damage to our reputation at a time when Canadians are depending on us for news and information they can trust,” the public broadcaster stated in a post to its corporate website June 11. “This issue is bigger than one court case. Around the world, credible, reliable journalism has never been more critical to the health of our democracies. Manipulating content for partisan purposes undermines the public’s trust in that vital work. CBC/Radio-Canada will continue to defend the integrity of its journalism, and we urge political parties and interest groups to commit to keeping journalistic content out of their campaign materials.” 

APTN is the winner of the 2020 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for Death by Neglect, a stark investigation that delves into a First Nations child-welfare system in which three sisters took their own lives. This year’s finalists included CBC News (Inside Rideau Hall); The Globe and Mail (Silenced); Montreal Gazette (The Dorval seniors’ home); La Presse (The Other Epidemic: sexual exploitation of kids on the internet); and the Winnipeg Free Press (A Stain on Our Game). Closing out its 50th anniversary year, the Michener Award was founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor general, to honour excellence in public service journalism.

The Globe and Mail has won this year’s Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism in the large-media category at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards. The Globe was honoured for its series investigating why Ottawa and the Public Health Agency were unable to respond effectively to the COVID-19 crisis despite Canada’s heavy investment in pandemic preparedness after the SARS outbreak. Named after CJF founder Eric Jackman, the award honours news organizations, large and small, that embody exemplary journalism and have a profound and positive impact on the communities they serve. In the small-media category, Victoria-based not-for-profit publication, The Narwhal, won for its reporting based on freedom-of-information requests on the Site C dam, the most expensive public project in B.C. history. 

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has announced the winners of its annual Media Awards, led by radio and television this year. Among them were Global News Radio 640’s Care Gone Wrong: Inside Ontario’s Nursing Homes which won Radio – Best In-depth Feature or Series; Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip of CTV National News won Television – Best News Coverage, while CTV’s W5 (Avery Haines, Paul Haber, Brett Mitchell, Jerry Vienneau, André Lapalme) claimed the award for Television – Best In-depth Feature or Series. Global’s Olivia Bowden and Patrick Cain won Online – Best Story for their look at how COVID-19 hit Toronto’s Black communities. Lauren Pelley of CBC News was recognized in Online — Best In-depth Feature or Series for her coverage of how the pandemic impacted health care workers.