The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Glenn Pelletier

Glenn Pelletier has retired from 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener after a 40-year broadcast career. Since his start in 1981, Pelletier has anchored and reported for stations including 570 CHYM Kitchener, CTV News Kitchener, CFCA/CKKW Kitchener, CBC Radio, CKBB Barrie, and 58 CKY Winnipeg, in addition to a season working with the Toronto Blue Jays radio team with Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. Pelletier held a number of roles with 570 News from sports anchor to hosting “The Glenn and Gary Show” and “570 Afternoon News with Glenn Pelletier.” He’d been anchoring the 570 Morning News since Nov. 2005, alongside Lisa Drew.

Ted Michaels

Ted Michaels has announced his plans to retire after a 45-year career in radio. His last full day with AM 900 CHML Hamilton will be Dec. 15, however he’ll continue to host the Health and Wellness Show on the station. Michaels’ career started at 1280 CHAM Hamilton, which then became 1280 CJJD. He went on to stops at 1090 CKKW Kitchener, 790 CKMW Brampton, 1430 CJCL Toronto, 590 CKEY Toronto, and 680 NEWS (CFTR-AM) Toronto. He’s been with CHML since 2004.

Veronica Cooper

Veronica Cooper has announced her retirement from Victoria’s CHEK-TV after 37 years. Cooper has spent her entire broadcast career with the station, holding positions over the years from Education and Health reporter to News Editor, Archivist, Weather Host, and co-host of CHEK Around. She most recently had been producing weekly features Vital People, featuring those making a difference in the community, and This Week in History.

Daniel Bernhard

Daniel Bernhard is leaving his role as Executive Director of public broadcasting watchdog, FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting (FCB). Bernhard is joining the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) as CEO, effective Sept. 6, where he’s succeeding Yasir Naqvi, who is running for the Liberals in Ottawa Centre. Bernhard had been with friends since 2018, when he took over for FRIENDS founder Ian Morrison.

Kieran Oudshoorn

Kieran Oudshoorn is Canadaland’s new Managing Editor of Podcasts. Oudshoorn was previously with the CBC where he’s worked in Whitehorse, Iqaluit, and Victoria.

Cruise

David Cruise is the new midday host at KiSS 105.3 (CISS-FM) Ottawa, heard 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Cruise has been hosting weekends on the station for the last 10 months. Prior to returning to Ottawa, he was co-hosting mornings on Virgin Radio (CFMG-FM) Edmonton, alongside Britt Jones until they were replaced last August by the syndicated Brooke & Jeffrey.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole, who was part of layoffs at TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver when the station dropped its all-sports format, is returning to Bell Media and BNN Bloomberg (CFTE-AM). He’ll be producing weekend programming like The Sport Market as well as Seattle Seahawks games.

Kamil Karamali

Kamil Karamali is leaving Global News Toronto to return to the West Coast and Global BC as a reporter. Karamali started his broadcast career with Corus Entertainment in Vancouver as a weekend talk show producer and traffic reporter with AM 730 (CHMJ-AM) and CKNW. After stints in TV and radio with Bell Media Terrace, CBC in Ottawa and Vancouver, and CTV Calgary, Karamali joined Global Toronto as a reporter in late 2017.

Elizabeth McSheffrey

Elizabeth McSheffrey is joining Global BC as an online journalist. McSheffrey has been a digital broadcast journalist with Global Halifax for the last three years. She’s also worked as a media trainer with Journalists for Human Rights, reported for the National Observer and freelanced in Nairobi, Kenya covering the Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks in 2014-15. McSheffrey will join the Burnaby bureau on Sept. 7, but will be working with the national federal election team covering the Indigenous beat until voting day.

David Baxter

David Baxter is joining the Global News Ottawa bureau as a producer for the federal election campaign, working on Global National and The West Block. Baxter arrives from Global Regina, where he’s been an Assignment Editor and Saskatchewan Provincial Affairs reporter since 2015.

Ntawnis Piapot

Ntawnis Piapot is leaving CBC Saskatchewan for a national reporting position with The Globe and Mail, based in Winnipeg. Piapot has been a multi-platform reporter with the public broadcaster since 2018. She’s also worked as a national correspondent for APTN.

RADIO & PODCAST:

The CRTC has approved the sale of Toronto’s G98.7 (CKFG-FM) to Neeti P. Ray following the station’s receivership and a subsequent bidding process last fall. Ray is a multicultural broadcaster, who owns and operates CINA-FM Windsor and CINA 1650 AM Mississauga, among other stations. Specializing in programming for the Caribbean and African community, the commission has previously found G98.7 in serious non-compliance in reference to musical selections, amount of spoken word programming including news, and other licence requirements.

Blackgold Broadcasting has announced the launch date for its new radio station in central Alberta. 89.7 FM The One (CKPA-FM) will officially sign on Monday, Sept. 27 with its Country “90s to now” format, joining sister stations 93.1 FM The One (CJLD-FM) Leduc and 88.1 FM The One (CKSS-FM) Stony Plain and Parkland County. Testing of the 89.7 FM frequency is underway in anticipation of the launch.

David Bray

FEATURE: David Bray writes about the Radio Connects’ spearheaded initiative that’s resulted in radioCount being named the new audience measurement provider for 22 markets across the country. Bray believes the development bodes well for buyers, advertisers and broadcasters with the future starting to look much brighter for radio measurement. Read more here.

Audible has announced the launch of an unlimited listening catalogue for Audible.ca members. For no additional cost, members now receive unlimited access to the Plus Catalogue of over 12,000 titles, featuring thousands of classic and contemporary audiobooks as well as Audible Originals. As part of the Plus Catalogue, members can listen to Oracle, developed by Canadian thriller author Andrew Pyper and performed by actor Joshua Jackson in the role of an FBI psychic who helps solve abductions and homicides. Also on offer is Highly Legal, starring director, actor and comedian Jay Baruchel, which takes listeners on a deep dive into the legalization of cannabis in Canada. Over 500 Frenc­h titles from Quebec are part of the catalogue, including Habiter: Les univers de Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse and the audiobook series Ti-Guy La Puck with Pier-Luc Funk.

Robyn Edgar

Pacific Content sound engineer Robyn Edgar explores the pitfalls of over-editing your podcast dialogue in her latest blog post for the branded audio studio, sharing four steps to consider so your audience can hear what you’re saying with your podcast, not how it’s made.

LISTEN: Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Famers Brother Jake Edwards and Gerry Forbes are on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast talking about their foray into podcast as part of the Dean Blundell podcast network where they aim to revive the edgy style they built their careers on without the limitations of terrestrial radio. The mega duo talk about where radio has been, where it’s headed, and why they’re betting on podcasting.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Catherine O’Brien of Branch Out Programs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who turned in her career as a tax preparer for one in podcasting. She talk about doing branded podcasting well and shares some success stories from her company, including Smidgen, which you will adore if you love southern cooking.

SIGN OFFS:

Wayne Harrett

Wayne Harrett, 60, on Aug. 14, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Harrett started volunteering in community radio in the mid- to late ’80s at Dalhousie University campus station CKDU Halifax, before starting Seaside FM in a room in his home in 1998 with a low-watt transmitter. CFEP-FM Eastern Passage, NS officially hit the airwaves in August 2002 with Harrett holding roles from general manager and program director to announcer. The not-for-profit station quickly grew a loyal following with Harrett recruiting retired radio talent like CHNS and CBC veteran Frank Cameron, CFDR and MITV host Gail Rice, and CKBW and CJCH personality Blain Henshaw, among others. Seaside’s eclectic playlist also struck a chord with listeners, featuring a unique mix of b-sides, oldies and homegrown talent, that spans the tunes of local rocker Joel Plaskett to Anne Murray, Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and lesser known artists from the ’60, ’70s, and ’80s. That combination found a generationally wide-ranging audience, with Plaskett and other local musicians often participating in station fundraising events, which have consistently exceeded their targets over the years, including a 2015 campaign for a new tower that saw the station get a power boost from 900 to 2,500 watts. Read more here.

Geoff Scott

Geoff Scott, on Aug. 5 after a short illness. Scott studied journalism at Carleton University and went on to become a household name as a Parliament Hill correspondent on Hamilton’s CHCH-TV during the 1960s and 70s. While still in school, he worked with best friend, Rich Little, performing comedy shows in the Ottawa area. He started his own company, Geoff Scott Communications, in the 1970s and was the first journalist to report news from Ottawa and Parliament Hill tailored to local markets. In 1978, Scott won a byelection in Hamilton Wentworth, and served as the Conservative MP for the riding for 15 years. 

TV & FILM:

Ontario Creates and VICE Media Group have released new research that finds work culture and championing mental health and diversity are key to attracting the next generation of young creatives, in addition to mentorship and skills support not being offered in traditional learning environments. VICE surveyed 1,000 young Canadians for The Future of the Creative Workforce – 500 Gen Z (18-24 years old) and 500 Gen Y (25-30 years old) – in both English and French, to better understand awareness and interest in careers in the creative industries. 78% of those surveyed said work-life balance is the most important thing to consider when choosing a job, although they recognized creative industry careers often require long hours on set, in a studio or at the office, so balance may not mean “evenings and weekends free.” Gen Z and Gen Y also express a large desire to see different types of representation (gender, sexual identity, ethnicity, etc.) both in creative and behind-the-scenes roles. Read more here.

CTV and Crave have announced the straight-to-series order for new original drama, Sullivan’s Crossing. From the team behind internationally renowned series, Virgin River, and adapted from the Sullivan’s Crossing novels by Virgin River author Robyn Carr, production and casting details will be revealed in the coming months. With broadcast details still to be announced, the 10 episode, one-hour series will air and stream in both English and French. Reel World Management’s Roma Roth, and Christopher E. Perry will executive produce with Roth also serving as showrunner. 

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has added more star power to the lineup of its seventh biennial fundraising special. Airing on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. ET & PT and 7 p.m. CT, Reese Witherspoon and media entrepreneur Jim Toth, are executive producing the special that will be co-hosted by Anthony Anderson, Ken Jeong & Tran Ho, and Sofia Vergara. A special segment during the event will feature appearances from Canadian news and sportscasters Bryan Mudryk (TSN), Carolyn Mackenzie (Global’s The Morning Show), Danielle Michaud (Sportsnet), and Murdoch Mysteries star Yannick Bisson, who share their personal connections to cancer. Other Canadian celebrities supporting the special include Cottage Life’s Adam Holman, Family Feud Canada’s Gerry Dee, 102.1 the Edge’s Kolter Bouchard, ET Canada’s Sangita Patel, along with cast members from CBC’s Heartland and Global’s Family Law and Nurses. The special will air simultaneously on more than 60 participating media platforms across Canada and the United States, and will be available to stream live and on-demand on several streaming platforms.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch is the recipient of this year’s TIFF Tribute Actor Award. Cumberbatch will next be seen in Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion, and Amazon Studios’ The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, directed by Will Sharpe — both of which will have their Canadian premieres at TIFF. Cumberbatch joins a list of recently announced TIFF honourees, including two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain; award-winning documentary filmmaker, singer, and activist Alanis Obomsawin, who will be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media; and Academy Award–nominated French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award at this year’s awards broadcast.

WOW! Unlimited Media has announced that, after a year of record growth, its Mainframe Studios is opening a new virtual studio based in Toronto. Known for its award-winning CG-animated productions, the Vancouver-based studio has grown from 400 to over 650 people since 2020 and continues to grow. The new Toronto studio will be virtually connected to Mainframe’s Global Studio Pipeline without incurring any additional physical lease requirements. Mainframe says its commitment to a long-term work from home strategy provides flexibility for its teams with a strong focus on work-life balance that will provide opportunities for talent across Ontario. Mainframe currently has 12 titles in production, including 11 CG series and the studio’s first 2D animated series, The Guava Juice Show, a YouTube Originals slated for release in late 2021.   

Citytv has set fall premiere dates, continuing as the home for “Bachelor Nation” this fall with all-new series Bachelor in Paradise Canada, starting Oct. 10, featuring Bachelor-alumni Kevin Wendt as the bartender and Jesse Jones as host. KiSS 92.5’s Deepa Prashad and Daryn Jones host The Bachelor After Show: After Paradise. New-to-Citytv is Season 23 of Law & Order: SVU (Sept. 23), new drama Ordinary Joe (Sept. 20) starring James Wolk (Mad Men, You Again), Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise (Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D.) (Sept. 22) and Law & Order: Organized Crime (Sept. 23).  

New to FX & FX Now are Y: The Last Man (Sept. 13) starring Ben Schnetzer as the last surviving male human on the planet. The highly-anticipated Impeachment: American Crime Story, the third instalment of FX’s award-winning limited series which examines the national crisis that led to the first impeachment of a U.S. President in more than a century through the eyes of the women at the centre of the events: Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford) premieres Sept. 7. New seasons of Ryan Murphy anthology horror series American Horror Story: Double Feature (Aug. 25) and vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows (Sept. 2) join the roster of new and returning shows.

CTV News’ Question Period returns for its 51st season beginning this Sunday, Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. ET on CTV, CTV News Channel, CTVNews.ca, and the CTV News app. Marquee daily political program Power Play, returned Aug. 16 and will air special extended two-hour editions for the duration of the election, weeknights from 5 – 7 p.m. ET. The new seasons of both programs are led by host Evan Solomon, with CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier hosting Power Play on Fridays.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Stingray Group has launched its first bundle with Amazon’s Prime Video Channels in Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Starting this week, Prime members have access to the Stingray All Good Vibes subscription (CDN $9.99/month) which includes Qello Concerts by Stingray, Stingray Karaoke, Stingray Classica, Stingray DJAZZ, and Stingray Naturescape. David Purdy, Chief Revenue Officer at Stingray, said the Amazon deal reflects “a shared commitment to evolve and adapt to subscribers’ needs and guarantees new levels of growth and success in the industry.” 

Creator News is live, a new aggregated content website in which Media Central Corporation owns a 25% equity interest. The licensed platform will include content produced by NOW Magazine, Georgia Straight, CannCentral and eCentral Sports with Media Central earning 20% of the revenue Creator News generates determined by the percentage of page views on its titles. Creator News has entered into similar licensing agreements with other publishers and plans to continue to build content partnerships as the site matures. While most other aggregators use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bots to select featured stories, Creator News is only the second aggregated content platform to employ a human “curator” to improve the quality of the feeds beyond the capabilities of current AI technology. Creator News’ Toronto-based curator is Adam Waxman, who brings 10 years of curation experience from his role as editor and publisher at DINE magazine, a founding content partner of Creator News. Creator News anticipates introducing a mobile app later in this year.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana and its creator studio, Kin Community Canada, have teamed up to bring global licensing deals to kin creator and vegan cookbook author Lauren Toyota, and home décor expert Alexandra Gater. With two bestselling cookbooks and more than 1 million followers, Toyota’s goal is to create a line of accessible vegan comfort food that will appeal to both vegans and non-vegans alike. The first campaign for Gater will launch in Fall/Winter 2021 online, featuring homewares inspired by her signature style, blended with functional and affordable features to transform any living space.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Unifor says Bell Media has announced the layoff of 27 staff and reclassified another 22 jobs at its Queen Street location in Toronto. The union told Broadcast Dialogue that details of how the layoffs will “shake out” and whether they will extend to other bureaus is the subject of ongoing talks. This is the fourth round of layoffs at Bell Media this calendar year after successive restructuring at the executive level and middle management in January, followed by job losses in sales, administration and news, among other positions. In February, newly-named Bell Media President Wade Oosterman signalled to employees in a memo that restructuring had been “completed.” A Bell Media spokesperson said while the company is not commenting on specifics, “any changes we make reflect our focus on making Bell Media more responsive to the needs of audiences, advertisers and content creators, including embracing digital technologies that enhance our agility and cost efficiency.” Bell said most employees will have the opportunity to apply for redefined roles and other available positions within the company. Read more here.

CRTCThe CRTC has denied a request from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to waive conditions of licence and regulations relating to broadcaster expenditures for the 2019-20 broadcast year. The CAB made the application in July of last year, requesting immediate regulatory relief related to expenditure and exhibition requirements for private broadcasters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission is instead implementing an extended payment approach that grants the large ownership groups a three-year period, until Aug. 31, 2023 (the end of the 2022-23 broadcast year) to pay shortfalls relating to CPE and PNI expenditures (including shortfalls relating to required expenditures on independent production and original French-language programming) incurred as of Aug. 31, 2020. With the exception of locally reflective news, the commission is also giving television broadcasters 10% flexibility in regard to CPE and PNI under-expenditures until the end of their respective extended payment periods. For the radio sector, the commission is deferring payment of shortfalls over two broadcast years (2021-22 and 2022-23), incremental to any existing annual CCD regulatory contribution requirements, with 50% of the total shortfall incurred to be paid in each of those broadcast years.

A Federal Court judge has ordered three pirate TV providers to pay more than $29 million in damages to Bell, Rogers and TVA, who submitted that pre-loaded set-top boxes and internet protocol television (IPTV) have been undercutting paid access to their content. The defendants, INL3D, Morcor, Ottawa Tek and its sole director, Raheel Rafiq, were found to have deliberately encouraged consumers to bypass legitimate ways of accessing content by promoting free access to hundreds of programs. Granting a permanent injunction against the defendants, the judgement awards the broadcasters statutory damages in the amount of $29,300,000, as well as punitive damages in the amount of $300,000 and a lump-sum amount of $75,000 for costs. Read more here.

The CRTC has set a hearing date for Nov. 22 to consider Rogers Communications’ application to acquire Shaw Communications and take over its 16 broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite undertaking Shaw Direct, satellite relay distribution undertaking (SRDU) Shaw Broadcast Services, and Shaw Pay-Per-View. Considering the size and scope of the proposed $26 billion transaction, the commission will consider whether the acquisition is in the public interest, how it will affect current customers, and in particular, will scrutinize Rogers’ strategy to migrate Shaw customers. The deadline for submission of interventions and comments is Sept. 13. The federal Competition Bureau has its own investigation underway, while the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) is also studying the proposed transaction. Read more here.

Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM) have passed a resolution looking to the federal government to review the recent decision by the CRTC to rescind its 2019 wholesale rates decision that would have compelled big telecoms to offer smaller competitors more affordable rates to access their networks. Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff says COVID-19 “has underlined the fact that broadband internet for all citizens is a basic necessity and essential utility, and access does not simply refer to broadband infrastructure availability, but also to its affordability.” OBCM is comprised of mayors of Ontario’s largest cities and collectively represents nearly 70% of Ontario’s population.

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) has decided to move forward with a virtual conference, Nov. 3-4. Continuing on the success of its 2020 webinar sessions, OAB says the event will allow more staff to be able participate without additional travel costs. Sessions this year will encompass Sales Training, Promotions, News, Imaging, Talent Panel, and Effective Social Media, among other topics.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is condemning the arrest of a photojournalist by RCMP at the Fairy Creek watershed on Vancouver Island, just days after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered police not to interfere with media access absent a bona fide operational reason for doing so. RCMP arrested photojournalist Colin Smith, who was covering ongoing demonstrations for Victoria Buzz. Despite Smith having identified himself as media, officers seized his backpack, drone, and two professional grade cameras, and detained him in the back of a police van. Police later decided not to proceed with charges. The CAJ says the arrest is the latest example of the spirit of the judge’s order not being respected by RCMP, with several reporters contacting the association to report that mounties are still deterring photographers and requiring journalists to stay far away from where police are arresting protestors. 

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Ross Video is undertaking a green energy expansion at its manufacturing facility in Iroquois, ON. Ross is one of three Cornwall-area businesses receiving Ontario government funding with nearly $3 million in Regional Development investment. At Ross, the investment will facilitate over 40 jobs in manufacturing, with further positions being created as a result of the company’s continued growth. Ross is investing $15 million in the 55,000 sq. ft. facility expansion to build space for two major production lines in Iroquois. The investment will also help fund the purchase of new equipment, add local capacity for consolidation of operations from international acquisitions, increase production efficiencies, facilitate innovation and expand sales into new markets.  

Dejero and Montreal-based multi-media production company, Scratch Takes, were behind the successful live streaming of a new world record attempt for the highest number of caber tosses in one hour during the 45th annual Montreal Highland Games earlier this month, despite limited onsite network connectivity. Scratch Takes deployed a Dejero GateWay M6E6 network aggregation device during the event, featuring Smart Blending Technology to combine connectivity from local cellular networks providers – Bell, Telus and Rogers – with two allocated SIM cards for each network.

The 6-modem GateWay created a ‘network of networks’ to deliver enhanced reliability, expanded coverage, and greater bandwidth; ensuring uninterrupted live streaming of the record-breaking event to the Montreal Highland Games’ YouTube channel. The games, which saw Jason Baines set a new world record of 161 caber tosses in one hour, took place on the grounds of Montreal’s Douglas Hospital where there was no viable access to fiber, and using a portable wireless router was not an option as it would have had to rely solely on one network for bandwidth. 

Broadcast Dialogue - NAB ShowNAB Show, set to take place Oct. 9-13 in Las Vegas, will require all attendees and participants to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. In a letter to the show community issued Wednesday, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Executive Vice President of Global Connections and Events Chris Brown said the safety protocol “is a positive step in reducing the spread of COVID-19,” with other measures under consideration. NAB says multiple indicators show a strong eagerness among the NAB Show community to return in person, including steady attendee registration. New and returning companies to the Show Floor include Amazon Web Services, AJA, B&H, Canon, Grass Valley, MediaKind, Panasonic, Ross, Sony, and Verizon. While the full conference program is still being finalized, industry events like the Radio Show, Sales and Management Television Exchange and AES Show, are co-locating in Las Vegas, broadening the base of attendees.