The Weekly Briefing

Image Credit: Alamy

REVOLVING DOOR:

Ian Hanomansing has been named the permanent host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup, in addition to his duties with The National. Hanomansing has been filling in as a guest host since the 2020/21 season, when Duncan McCue went on sabbatical, and has been a key part of the shift to simulcast the show on CBC News Network on Sunday afternoons. McCue will be the host of a brand new weekly program on CBC Radio One and CBC Listen this fall, which will showcase the best of audio documentary storytelling. He most recently hosted CBC Podcasts’ Kuper Island, which tells the story of survivors of the Indian residential school.

Rudy Buttignol

Rudy Buttignol, CEO of The Knowledge Network, will part ways with the B.C. public broadcaster, effective June 30, following an equity audit that found a distinct lack of representation in its commissioned programming and a subsequent petition. Buttignol had been at the helm of the network for 15 years. Prior to joining Knowledge Network in 2007, he served as President of BBC Kids, and before that held various roles at TVO over a 13-year period, leaving as Creative Head, Network Programming.

Robert Turner

Robert Turner has been named APD for Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto. Turner has been a host and Chief Operator with the station for 24 years. He currently hosts The Early Edition, a first look at the day’s news, traffic, weather, and sports. 

Alex Boissonneault

Alex Boissonneault will succeed Claude Bernatchez as host of ICI Radio-Canada Première morning show, Première Heure. Boissonneault has spent the last six years with Radio-Canada’s National Assembly bureau. Bernatchez announced his departure from Première Heure in May after 17 years. He’ll host his final show June 23. Bernatchez has been with Radio-Canada since 1988, hosting on both radio and television with stops in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

Imani Walker

Imani Walker is joining The Brandon Gonez Show as a producer. Walker has been with CBC since 2018, starting out as an editorial assistant and associate producer at CBC News Network, before moving over to CBC Radio as an associate producer on Metro Morning, Here and Now, and Ontario Morning.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith is making a run at re-entering politics, aiming to win the United Conversative Party (UCP) of Alberta leadership nomination, so she can enter the race for Alberta premier. Smith, who stepped away from her Corus Radio talk show last year, has most recently been hosting a show on right-of-centre specialty channel, The News Forum and a podcast for The Western Standard.

Jim Deane

Jim Deane is retiring as CEO of Saskatchewan’s Access Communications. Deane, who has been with the telecom cooperative since 1981, will depart in January 2023. He has served as CEO since 2000, overseeing the 100% community-owned organization that’s now expanded to over 235 communities. The Access Board of Directors has established a CEO Search Committee. 

Michael Ball

Michael Ball has left Regina’s The Wolf 104.9 (CFWF-FM) where he’s co-hosted the morning show for 25 years. Ball has stepped down to focus on being the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and host of the 620 CKRM Sports Cage. Better known as “Ballsy,” he replaces Derek Taylor in the Riders’ play-by-play role who departed in February after being recruited by CJOB Winnipeg to handle play-by-play duties for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Al Tompson

Al Tompson is joining Rogers Sports & Media as Content Director, Calgary Music Brands, overseeing both JACK 96.9 (CJAQ-FM) and STAR 95.9 (CHFM-FM). His first day on the job is July 1. Tompson parted ways with Stingray in April after a combined 17 years with Stingray/Newcap. Up until restructuring in March 2021, Tompson had served as Director of FM Programming for Calgary and Edmonton.

Andy Berridge

Andy Berridge is leaving X92.9 Calgary (CFEX-FM). Berridge has been with the station since 2017 as an on-air personality and Digital Content Producer. A 2015 Humber College grad, Berridge started his career with Bell Media’s Halifax stations.

Peter Klein

Peter Klein has joined Daily Hive in Calgary as a staff writer. Klein is also the co-host of Game Over: Calgary on the sdpn YouTube Channel and other podcast platforms. He was formerly with Sportsnet 960 (CFAC-AM) Calgary in various roles, including morning show co-host and afternoon producer.  

 

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

Edison Research and NPR’s 2022 Smart Audio Report, which looks at usage of voice technology in the U.S., finds smart speakers are increasingly the go-to to gain access to media with 35% or 100 million Americans, 18+, now owning a smart speaker (up from 32% in 2021). More than half (51%) of those looking to buy a smart speaker said they want to replace an old radio (a 31% increase from 2017); 63% are using the tech for music discoverability (up 19% from 2017); while 47% are listening to podcasts via smart speaker (up 18% from 2017). A demographic breakdown of smart speaker owners shows those ages 45-54 are the biggest listener group at 28%, followed by those 65+ (21%). Read more here.

92 CITI FM is running new contestWe Love Phillythat signals Phil Aubrey’s addition to the station as part of a revamped morning show. Aubrey announced his departure from the Power 97 (CJKR-FM) Winnipeg morning show in February when it was already rumoured he would join former Power Mornings co-host Shalinda Kirby at 92 CITI FM. Kirby crossed the street to Rogers Sports & Media last November and has most recently been heard in middays. Rogers will only say that “Aubrey is an outstanding talent in the Winnipeg market and we look forward to hearing him on the air wherever he turns up next.”

CISN Country 103.9 Edmonton will host The Concert BEFORE The Concert as Garth Brooks gets set to host two sold-out dates in Edmonton. His show on Saturday, June 25 was the fastest sellout in Commonwealth Stadium history and the 122,000 tickets sold makes it the biggest set of shows in the stadium’s existence. Knowing that some fans were not able to get tickets, CISN will host an hour of Garth Brooks’ music and interviews, starting at 6 p.m., June 24 and 25.

Wendy Mesley and Maureen Holloway have released the inaugural episodes of their new podcast, Women of Ill Repute, which has debuted at #1 on Apple Podcasts’ Canadian Performing Arts chart. Citing inspiration from notable women throughout history like Lucille Ball, Tallulah Bankhead, Cher, and Dorothy Parker, the media veterans’ early episodes include Mary Walsh: Fart In A Mitt and Jody Wilson-Raybould: Good Trouble. In the coming weeks, the show will feature conversations with guests including criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein, best known for representing Jian Ghomeshi; tv and radio host Marilyn Denis; JUNO Award-winning singer/songwriters Jann Arden and Molly Johnson.  

The Canadian Podcast Awards are open for nominations until July 13. The fifth annual awards will be presented online in September across 31 categories, including The People’s Choice Award, given to the audience favourite across all categories. Last year’s winner was Toronto-based pop culture pod, I Hate It, But I Love It.

SOCAN says while royalties were up in 2021, the average writer-member received just $67 in royalties from online streaming last year. SOCAN has announced its 2021 fiscal results, including $353-million paid to the more than 180,000 songwriters, composers, publishers and visual artists the organization represents. Total collections increased by 6% over 2020 to $416-million, while domestic collections were also up 6% year-over-year to $310-million. Internet collections for use of music increased 30% to $135-million, with reproduction rights for internet audio-visual use more than doubling, synchronization up 37%, and international reproduction rights revenue up 32% over 2020. The organization says internet music revenue is starting to stabilize due to market saturation, while internet audio-visual is still seeing significant increases with the introduction of new services in Canada like Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. Read more here.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Buzz Knight returns to talk about his new podcast Takin’ A Walk, themed around simply going for a walk with guests and the ensuing conversation. Knight, who spent much of his career as a radio executive at Beasley and CBS Radio, talks with Matt Cundill about why he decided to start Takin’ A Walk and the unique challenges presented by recording a podcast while walking around the streets of NYC, Boston, Chicago or wherever he finds himself. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

TV & FILM:

Oxford Economics has released new data highlighting the significant economic impact of The Umbrella Academy in Ontario with more than $77.3 million spent on production for Season 2 alone. The analysis found that local wages and salaries accounted for the majority (59%) of production spending, with the remaining 41% ($31.9 million) spent on local goods and services. From the procurement of props and costumes to transportation and accommodations, The Umbrella Academy supported more than 980 Ontario-based businesses. From Southwest Ontario to Sault St. Marie, production spending contributed a total of $111 million to Ontario’s GDP. Oxford’s analysis found that for every 100 people employed on the production, a further 80 jobs were created across the province. In total, Season 2 stimulated 1,120 jobs in Ontario, including 620 direct jobs for local artists and technicians. The Ontario-shot series is produced by NBC Universal’s Universal Content Productions for Netflix and is available to watch in more than 190 countries. Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy hit Netflix on June 22.

Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment have started principal photography on the seventh season of original comedy series Workin’ Moms (13×30). Creator and Executive Producer Catherine Reitman (Black-ish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who also stars in the lead role of Kate Foster, has also announced this will be the show’s final season. The new season, currently shooting in and around Toronto, will premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in Winter 2023, followed by a global release everywhere outside of Canada on Netflix. Reprising their roles are Dani Kind as Anne; Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny; Philip Sternberg as Nathan; Ryan Belleville as Lionel; Sarah McVie as Val; Sadie Munroe as Alice; Peter Keleghan as Richard; Nikki Duval as Rosie; and Enuka Okuma as Sloane Mitchell.

CTV has revealed the farmers hoping to find true love in new dating series Farming For Love. Selected via an open casting call earlier this year, a group of single British Columbia-based farmers, growers, ranchers, a horse trainer, and a vintner were selected for the inaugural season of the new CTV Original series. Based on Fremantle’s long-running format The Farmer Wants A Wife, the franchise has led to 191 weddings and 445 children since its inception. Singles from across Canada interested in dating one of the selected farmers can apply and find more info here.

Global is set to launch Season 2 of Departure on July 13 at 9 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation July 15 on Global and July 18 on Showcase. Departure stars Emmy-winner Archie Panjabi and the late Christopher Plummer, in his last onscreen role. The intense conspiracy series follows the investigation into the mysterious crash of a controversial new high-speed train travelling between Toronto and Chicago. Back for a six-episode season, Departure was a Top 20 hit with total viewers and the #1 Canadian series across all key demos when it premiered in 2020, according to data provided by the network.

The Amazing Race Canada returns to CTV Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning July 5. Host Jon Montgomery returns for Season 8 as an all-new cast of racers competes. Teams this season include Broadway performers Catherine Wreford Ledlow and Craig Ramsay; Canadian Olympic cross-country skier Jesse Cockney and his sister, Inuvialuk actress Marika Sila; and JUNO Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Jully Black and her close friend, Kathy Hunter. Read more here.

Global will debut Season 24 of Big Brother on Wednesday, July 6 at 8 p.m. ET, and available to stream live and on demand with STACKTV, the Global TV App and Global TV.com. The 90-minute live premiere episode will follow a group of all-new houseguests as they move into the Big Brother house. Hosted by Julie Chen Moonves, episodes will air Thursday at 9 p.m. ET, featuring live evictions, and Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET. 

The Weather Network is airing Power to the People, a weekly documentary series that explores the renewable energy revolution empowering Indigenous communities across Canada. Each week, host Melina Laboucan-Massimo features renewable energy or sustainable living projects driven by Indigenous Peoples, from wind farms and solar power plants to run of river hydroelectric projects and tidal energy initiatives. Licensed from RealWorld Media, the Power to the People content series is an additional opportunity for The Weather Network to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities in Canada. Six weekly episodes will air on Fridays (7 p.m., 10 p.m., 1 a.m.), starting June 17. The series is also available on The Weather Network’s Climate section online and IPTV platforms. More episodes will follow in Fall 2022.

Super Channel Original docuseries Secrets of Big Data, from Shark Teeth Films, will premiere July 4 on Super Channel Fuse. All six episodes will be available to binge watch or stream on Super Channel On Demand, the same day. The series tells the stories of the future that big data is bringing to our doorsteps. In four stories each episode, experts contribute their hypotheses as the story is told through archive imagery, stock footage, and a data driven approach to motion graphics and CGI. 

Professor Mark Horton

Cottage Life’s original documentary special, The Roanoke Mystery: New Evidence, follows renowned British archeologist Professor Mark Horton and local historian Scott Dawson as they dig for evidence to help solve one of America’s oldest and most controversial mysteries: what happened to the first English colony on Roanoke Island? Featuring interviews, never-before-seen archeological evidence and cutting-edge scientific analysis, the special offers compelling theories on the fate of the first European colonists in the Americas, who settled on Roanoke Island in 1587 and suddenly vanished without a trace three years later. The Canadian broadcast premiere airs July 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT as a two-part documentary special on Cottage Life. The special is a co-production between Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Media company and BriteSpark Films, part of Argonon Media

FuboTV has secured exclusive Canadian broadcast rights for the Premier League for the 2022/23, 2023/24, and 2024/25 seasons. The action starts Aug. 6 and runs through May 28 as the league launches into its first round of matches, featuring Crystal Palace v Arsenal, Everton v Chelsea, and West Ham v Manchester City. Matches will be available live and on demand through the FuboTV platform.

Stephanie Joline (Image Credit: Stoo Metz)

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its eighth annual awards gala June 18 at Casino Nova Scotia in front of a sold-out crowd as the awards show made its in-person return for the first time since 2019. The Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film went to Night Blooms from writer/director Stephanie Joline and producers Marc Tetreault and Jason Levangie (Shut Up & Colour Pictures). Joline also took home the Best Nova Scotia Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic, while actor Alexandra McDonald took home an ACTRA Maritimes Award for Outstanding Performance for her role as Laura in the film. The first season of CBC original comedy Moonshine from showrunner Sheri Elwood and producer Charles Bishop (Six Eleven Media) won Best Television Series. Find the full list of winners here.

ACTRA has launched new campaign, You’re in Good Company, which gathers well-known Canadian faces like Jayne Eastwood, Jean Yoon, and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as the performers’ union raises awareness of its fight to maintain the National Commercial Agreement, governing performers who make commercials. A series of videos will be rolled out over the coming weeks, featuring these and other performers across Canada.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

BBTV Holdings says it’s trimmed its workforce by 14% following a cost optimization initiative resulting in a more focused resource allocation towards key high margin revenue drivers, specifically across its Plus Solutions including Content Management, Direct Advertising Sales and Mobile Gaming Apps. Shareholders in the Vancouver-headquartered creator monetization solutions provider are being told to expect to see the positive impact of these changes on performance starting from Q3 2022 onwards. BBTV says it will continue to review the performance of its operations for opportunities to operate more efficiently and further close the gap to profitability.

Twitter is testing Notes in Canada, a new feature that allows users to publish longform written content on the platform. Notes will give writers on Twitter the chance to go beyond 280 characters for the first time, using a rich-text editor to capture articles, thought pieces, and other kinds of content, including photos, videos, GIFs, and Tweets. To start, Twitter is partnering with a small group of writers from Canada, the U.S., the UK, and Ghana to test drive the feature. These writers will have a Notes tab on their profile on the web. Notes comes via a new team at Twitter called Twitter Write, focused on building tools so readers and writers can get the most out of Twitter. The platform says that includes journalists, authors, but also bloggers, newsletter publishers, comedians, content creators, social media managers, poets, screenwriters, or anyone else with something to say. 

Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford have released their 2022 Digital News Report, which finds while many publishers had a relatively good year with increased revenue, future growth is likely to be challenged by inflation and rising energy prices, squeezing household budgets currently devoted to paying for news and potentially impacting advertising revenues. While the majority of people remain engaged and use news regularly, the report finds many are also increasingly choosing to limit their exposure to it. The growth of “selective news avoidance” is cited as a possible explanation as to why consumption levels have mostly not increased, despite the uncertain times in which we live, with news avoidance doubling in Brazil (54%) and the UK (46%) since 2017. Facebook remains the most-used social network for news but users are more likely to say they see too much news in their feed compared with other networks. TikTok has become the fastest growing network in this year’s survey, reaching 40% of 18–24s, with 15% using the platform for news.

Newsroom AI, a London, UK-based content creation platform has expanded its technology portfolio with a new Conversational Content product under the name of Public. The new offering complements the company’s Stories creation suite, licensed by The Guardian, Yahoo, Google, Seven West Media, and Lonely Planet. Public will allow creators to publish a new form of choose-your-own-adventure web experience, allowing consumers to engage with editorial or brand-supported content through Whatsapp, Telegram or WeChat. The company encourages creators to embrace a more direct, conversational communication style to help build more meaningful bonds with audiences exhausted by the media and technology landscape.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Image Credit: Alamy

The CRTC is imposing new spending and reporting requirements on CBC/Radio-Canada that the regulator says will promote the creation of more diverse content, while providing the public broadcaster with flexibility to fulfill its mandate across traditional and online platforms. The five-year licence renewal acknowledges how online platforms have changed the way Canadians consume content and for the first time allows the public broadcaster to meet its condition of licence via its streaming platforms, CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV. The decision is a first in allowing a Canadian broadcaster to meet its Canadian content obligations on a platform outside linear TV and radio. The CRTC is imposing new spending requirements relating to Canadian programming, programs of national interest such as drama and documentaries, as well as Indigenous programming and programming by and for equity-seeking communities; Canadian and French-language content music requirements on radio stations are being maintained to ensure continued support for homegrown artists, while adding a new content requirement for Indigenous music. The CRTC is also maintaining CBC/Radio-Canada’s local programming requirements in non-metro markets where Canadians have access to fewer sources of news and less reliable and affordable internet services. Read more here.

Bill C-11 – the Online Streaming Act – passed third reading in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 208 to 117. C-11, which would bring tech platforms like Netflix and Spotify under the Broadcasting Act, now heads to the Senate where it will be subject to a pre-study by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport & Communications.

Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications, and Quebecor have announced an agreement for the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor, subject to regulatory approval. The parties say they strongly believe the agreement addresses concerns raised by the Commissioner of Competition and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED) regarding viable and sustainable wireless competition. Under the terms of the Divestiture Agreement, Quebecor has agreed to buy all Freedom-branded wireless and internet operations, spectrum and retail locations on a cash-free, debt-free basis for $2.85 billion. It also includes a long-term undertaking by Shaw and Rogers to provide Quebecor transport services (including backhaul and backbone) and roaming services. The sale does not include Shaw Mobile, whose 450,000 wireless customers would stay with Rogers. The Competition Tribunal has scheduled four to five weeks of hearings for the Competition Bureau’s case against the Rogers/Shaw merger, starting in November.

 

Jack Nagler

Jack Nagler, CBC’s Ombudsman for English Services, has filed his Annual Report, saying complaints surged in the period from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. The office received 8,457 comments, complaints and expressions of concern, up 60% from the previous year. 431 complaints were received about CBC’s federal election coverage over the course of the campaign – fewer than the number received during the 2019 election. There were 1,342 complaints regarding CBC’s coverage of issues relating to the pandemic with about half dealing with questions relating to the “Freedom Convoy” protest. “So the numbers were way up, but complainants cranked up the volume in a second way, and that was through loud and angry communication,” wrote Nagler. “The frequency and ferocity of fury in the messages I received was jarring, and also somewhat discouraging. While I do not track the number of complaints I reject on the basis of profanity and insulting language, I can report that it has spiked significantly.”   

Brodie Fenlon

CBC Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon is clarifying that the public broadcaster did not retract any of its stories on the Freedom Convoy. In a new blog post, Fenlon says misinformation continues to “bubble up” about CBC’s coverage, most recently at a special parliamentary committee examining why the Emergencies Act was invoked amid the protests. Fenlon says the claim that CBC News retracted its stories about foreign donations to the convoy protest movement, made via GoFundMe and GiveSendGo, is false and that CBC stands by its reporting.

Unifor members in the Bell Canada clerical unit returned a strike mandate June 19, just ahead of this week’s negotiations with the company. The approximately 4,200 workers in the bargaining unit perform clerical and other duties, working across Ontario and Quebec. More than two-thirds of the membership voted, with 65% voting in favour of strike action. Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer, says with workers witnessing their own household costs skyrocketing at the same time as Bell profits hit record highs, the membership is looking for “real” wage increases. Workers are also seeking to continue to work-from-home and looking for an enforceable floor of employment in the bargaining unit. The union says Bell has engaged in a concerted effort to downsize the bargaining unit through attrition, contracting out and other forms of erosion. The two parties began meeting with a federal conciliator June 20.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

The New Maison de Radio-Canada (NMRC) hub in Montreal has been awarded second place in the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Technology & Innovation Awards. The new building, designed to house a staff of more than 3,000, incorporates cutting-edge, end-to-end Media-over-IP infrastructure with more than 400 IP routers constituting the backbone of the network, making it capable of forwarding 450Tbps of real-time media traffic and carrying more than 50,000 media flows. The NMRC’s IP technologies allow virtually unlimited audio/video signal routing infrastructures to be built, significantly boosting flexibility, agility, and production efficiency. The network is one of the largest and most ambitious of its kind. The first CBC Montreal newscasts were delivered from the new facility this week.

Ross Video has been named the first corporate ambassador of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA). Ottawa-headquartered Ross, which already had a “designation” as a Canadian Compassionate Company (CCC), is being elevated to a new certificate program reflecting high standards for employees dealing with grief, loss, or the illness of a loved one. As an ambassador, they’ll be collaborating with other Canadian companies to encourage them to do the same. Ross Video CEO David Ross says the company believes there’s a competitive advantage to “have the backs of our employees so that they feel supported and in turn have the backs of our customers. People need to feel safe and appreciated to do their best work.”