The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Jim Hughson is retiring from sports broadcasting after 42 years. Hughson, 64, began his hockey broadcast career in 1979, calling South Peace Hockey League games on CKNL Radio in his hometown of Fort St. John, B.C. Stops at CKIQ Kelowna and CKNW Vancouver followed, before Hughson made the move to Toronto in the early 1980s to call play-by-play for the Toronto Maple Leafs on CBC-TV. He joined TSN from 1986-94, calling both hockey and baseball before returning to CKNW to anchor Vancouver Canucks broadcasts from 1994-99. He returned to national broadcasts and Sportsnet in 1999. He was hired in 2005 by CBC as Hockey Night in Canada’s secondary play-by-play announcer, signing an exclusive six-year contract in 2008 with the public broadcaster that saw him replace Bob Cole as the primary HNIC announcer the following season. In 2014, he re-joined Sportsnet, with Rogers’ acquisition of the national NHL rights. Read more here.

Steve Murphy

Steve Murphy, CTV News Atlantic’s Chief Anchor and Executive News Editor, is stepping aside from his day-to-day role on the local edition of CTV News at Six. His last day anchoring is Nov. 30, however Murphy will continue to contribute commentary and feature stories to the station. Murphy started his career in 1977 at CFBC Saint John, NB and went on to host of “The Hotline” on CJCH Halifax, before moving into television. He was the principal host of Live at Five for seven years before assuming his current role in 1993.

Kevin Stanfield

Kevin Stanfield is CTV News Calgary’s new weekday weather anchor, succeeding longtime broadcaster David Spence, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Stanfield has been with the station for the past five years. He began his career as a reporter in Smithers, B.C., and has also held traffic and weather roles with Global Saskatchewan and the Canadian Traffic Network in Toronto.

 

Allya Davidson

 

Allya Davidson has joined CBC’s Fifth Estate as Senior Producer. Davidson arrives from CTV’s W5 where she’s been for the last five years as an Investigative Documentary Producer and more recently Senior Producer. Davidson previously worked on the Fifth Estate from 2013-15 as an Associate Producer.

Jennifer Crosby

Jennifer Crosby is leaving television news to join the University of Alberta in a communications role. Crosby started her career as an anchor and reporter with CHEK News in Victoria. She’s been with Global Edmonton since 2009, most recently as a Senior Anchor and Producer, co-anchoring Global News at Noon Edmonton.

G98.7 (CKFG-FM) Toronto has parted ways with Mark & Jem in the Morning. Mark Strong and Jemeni G had both been helming the station morning show since 2011. An actor, writer and producer, Strong got his start in radio as part of The Morning Rush on Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM) in 2001. Jemeni, who is also a poet, actress and music journalist, has been in radio since her teens, initially as part of Hip Hop show The Powermove on Toronto community station CKLN-FM. G98.7 has yet to announce a new morning show.

Brady Jones (aka Brad Johns) has officially joined The Morning Hot Tub lineup, alongside Mauler, Rush and Jenni. Based out of The New Hot 89.9 (CIHT-FM) Ottawa, Jones has been behind-the-scenes producing the multi-market Stingray morning show.

Anthony Conte

Anthony Conte, Imaging Producer for 98.1 CHFI Toronto & Rogers Sports & Media’s National Imaging Lead for AC, has been promoted to the role of Production Manager. In his new position, he now oversees the radio production departments in Ottawa, Kingston & Halifax. Conte has been a key player on the Toronto programming and production teams for the past decade, previously imaging for Sportsnet 590 The FAN (CJCL-AM) Toronto.     

Derek Welsman

Derek Welsman moves from Stingray’s boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto to join the Rogers Sports & Media Creative Team as the new Imaging Producer for 98.1 CHFI and National Imaging Lead for their AC format. Welsman has over 20 years experience in the Toronto market with Stingray, Corus and Astral Media. Dan Macintosh, who was most recently with Corus Toronto, has joined boom 97.3 as Senior Imaging Director.

Corey Graham

Corey Graham has joined Blackgold Broadcasting’s news team. He’ll anchor afternoons and report on 89.7 The One Ponoka’s Best Country” (CKPA-FM) set to officially launch Sept. 27. Graham was formerly a host at TSN 1260 (CFRN-AM) Edmonton from 2004, up until layoffs this past February. He’s also the stadium voice for the Edmonton Elks, and provides play-by-play for both the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas soccer teams and the Edmonton Huskies football club. 

Stuart McGinn

Stuart McGinn has joined the morning anchor team at 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener, alongside co-anchor Lisa Drews. McGinn has been with Rogers Sports & Media since 2017, anchoring and reporting at 1310 News (CIWW-AM) Ottawa and 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto.

Annalise Nielsen

Annalise Nielsen has accepted a new role with Pacific Content as Senior Manager of Business Development. Nielsen was formerly with Rogers Sports & Media’s Frequency Podcast Network as Manager of Content and Business Development.

Scott Steele

Scott Steele has joined Vancouver-based PlayMPE in a Music Industry Relations capacity. Steele previously helmed Canadian label management at Glassnote and worked with Sony Music as a regional promotions rep. Prior to that, he spent almost 15 years in radio including promotions stints with Harvard Broadcasting and Rogers Sports & Media.

J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth

J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth has been appointed Director, Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement, a newly- created NFB position based in Toronto. In collaboration with the NFB Indigenous Advisory Committee, J’net will provide leadership and cultural awareness within the NFB to implement organizational change and transformation. J’net previously served as the Indigenous Outreach and Learning Coordinator with the Royal Ontario Museum Learning Department and prior to that was Developer & Manager for Centennial College’s Indigenous curriculum.

Dave Baxter

Dave Baxter is retiring as President & CEO of Westman Communications Group, effective March 2022. Baxter has been with the Brandon, MB-based telecommunications and internet service provider since 1995, starting as the company’s Chief Financial Officer, before assuming the President & CEO role in 1997.

Damon Berger

Damon Berger has joined WildBrain in the newly- created position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In the role, Berger – who was formerly at Mattel as Vice President, Head of Digital Engagement – will drive new business and revenue through media sales, social commerce and digital marketing. WildBrain has also promoted Stephanie Betts to Chief Content Officer (CCO) and Deirdre Brennan to Chief Operating Officer (COO). In her elevated role, Betts is responsible for overseeing WildBrain’s content slate, cultivating talent in both animation and live-action production at WildBrain Studios. Brennan takes on an expanded remit to integrate the company’s AVOD network, WildBrain Spark, into her existing portfolio of content and distribution operations. Due to the management realignment, the role of Managing Director at WildBrain Spark will no longer exist with Jon Gisby to exit the company.

Sandi Treliving

Sandi Treliving has been appointed the new Chair of Telefilm’s Talent Fund. A dedicated philanthropist, mental health advocate and supporter of Canadian arts and culture, Treliving has been on the Talent Fund Advisory Board since 2014. She replaces Christine Magee, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Sleep Country, as Chair. Magee had served in the role since 2018. New to the Advisory Committee is serial entrepreneur Nathan Yeung, who is currently a VP with Find Your Audience, a marketing outsourcing firm for mid-size businesses. 

RADIO & PODCAST:

CKJS Winnipeg, the Evanov Communications-owned ethnic station, has begun testing for its conversion from 810 AM to 92.7 FM. Once testing is completed, the station will simulcast for the allowed three-month period. Evanov says there will be no over-the-air change as the station will continue to direct programming to at least 19 cultural groups in 16 different languages. CKJS on FM will have its transmitter on a brand-new broadcast tower, built and owned by ECI. In a company announcement, President and CEO Paul Evanov called the station “an integral part” of the company’s Winnipeg cluster which includes CHWE-FM and CFJL-FM, demonstrated by its pandemic investment in the market. One of 16 radio stations operated by Evanov, CKJS was originally founded in 1974 by Casimir Stanczykowski, who was also behind Montreal multicultural station CFMB. Subsequent to its initial ownership, CKJS was operated by Newcap Broadcasting from 2006-11, prior to its acquisition by Evanov. 

Giant FM (CIXL-FM) and Country 89 (CKYY-FM) Welland, ON are going solar. The Wellport Broadcasting stations are installing solar panels in an effort to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. With installation set to be completed by month’s end, the stations will also benefit from savings on their hydro bill. By integrating Welland Hydro’s Net Metering program for customers who generate electricity from a renewable energy source, any unused electricity is sent to Welland’s distribution system for a credit towards future electricity costs. 

Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto has launched new weekday podcast, The Breakfast Wrap. Hosted by Moore in the Morning host John Moore, new episodes of the 30-minute podcast will drop weekday mornings at 6 a.m. ET across all major podcast platforms, featuring the day’s top stories.

 

Orbyt Media, in collaboration with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund and First People’s Radio, is making a one-hour special available to stations to air on Sept. 30, marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The program, which doesn’t require a licence fee, is comprised of interviews and stories from A Day To Listen, which ran on more than 400 Canadian radio stations on June 30. Sign up here.

Futuri has released key findings from its Future of Audience and Revenue Study with SmithGeiger. The study revealed tectonic shifts in how Americans perceive, consume, and pay for media content, exploring radio, TV, social media, digital publishing, and eSports, sports and betting. Polling more than 2,000 Americans and nearly 200 media executives, among its findings are that among a wide range of audio and print brands, consumers named local radio as the most reliable source for clarity and facts (45%). A majority (65%) of HHI $100k+ Americans depend on radio for their pandemic news. The study also found consumers want more content. 57% of Americans watched streamed content more often over the past few months. 51% watched TV more often, 48% used social media more often, and 30% listened to local AM/FM stations more often. The report also reveals that media execs are nervous about the future, showing gaps between emerging issues media executives considered to be important and their confidence in the industry’s capability to address them, pointing to the need for meaningful change. 

iHeartMedia and WARC have released new research indicating that while podcast ad spending is growing, there is a gap in advertiser investment in audio. The white paper indicates that while 31% of consumer media consumption is now audio, just 8.8% of the average ad budget spend is allocated to audio. It also found that 25% of advertisers don’t invest in audio at all, even though research shows adding radio to a TV campaign can enhance average ROI by 20%.

Nielsen says lighter podcast listeners are fueling audience growth. Nielsen blames the pandemic, in part, for pausing the growth of heavy podcast listeners due to revised lifestyles and schedules. The number of heavy listeners however is now increasing, rising from 25% earlier this year to just under 30% as of May.

Alan Cross has published new children’s book, The Science of Song, written with his wife Emma Cross, Nicole Mortillaro, and illustrated by Carl Wiens. The book is based on a touring science music exhibit called The Science of Rock’n’Roll that Cross helped create. Aimed at kids, aged 8-14, you can read a review from Kirkus here and order the book here.

SIGN OFFS:

Allan Slaight

Allan Slaight, 90, on Sept. 19. Born in Galt, ON, Slaight was the son of a newspaperman who moved the family to Moose Jaw, SK when he bought the Moose Jaw Times-Herald in 1945 and then local radio station, CHAB-AM. Slaight started his career at CHAB-AM in 1948 at age 17 as a reporter, going on to host late-night jazz program, Spins and Needles. Stops at CFRN, CJCA and CHED Edmonton followed before he headed east to Toronto in 1958 to join CHUM as program and promotions manager, guiding the station through its format transition to rock n’ roll and unseating rival station, CKEY. He went on to serve as program director and by 1965 was appointed Vice-President of Radio CHUM-1050 Ltd. The following year, Slaight stepped away from conventional broadcasting and uprooted to England to establish a sales agency for pirate radio station Radio Caroline, which broadcast 12 miles off the English coast in international waters in protest of the BBC’s broadcasting monopoly. By 1970, he had formed Slaight Broadcasting, raising $2.5 million to buy CFGM 1310 AM in Richmond Hill, ON. He went on to acquire a stake in CFOX Montreal, going on to merge the stations with IWC Communications. Later that year, he’d also acquire the debt-ridden Global Television Network. In 1976, Slaight applied for an FM licence for a sister station to Toronto’s CFGM-AM with Q107 going to air on June 1, 1977. From there, acquisitions like outdoor advertising business Urban Outdoors followed, and a 49% stake in Standard Broadcasting. After a court battle, he would go on to buy 84.8% of Standard’s shares for an estimated $110 million. The deal required Slaight to sell Q107 and CFGM, but brought CFRB, CKFM, CJAD-AM, CJFM-FM, Capital Radio in London, CJOH-TV, and CKTB and CJQR St. Catharines under his domain. In 2007, he authorized the sale of Standard Radio to Astral Media in a $1.08 billion deal. Among the many accolades Slaight received over the years was induction into the Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001. In 2005, he received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. He was honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame last December. Read more here.

Robert Linney

Robert Linney, 86, on Sept. 14. Following his graduation from Winnipeg’s St. John’ s High School, Linney went to work for CN Rail as an apprentice while also working on his radio certification, via correspondence, through the Radio College of Canada. He continued to work at the CNR, finally getting his first job in television in 1959 with Dow Television. After a short stint at Eaton’s TV repair, he landed a job with CBC Winnipeg as a TV Maintenance Technician in 1961. During his tenure there, he had the opportunity to travel as part of CBC’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games production crew to Columbia, Japan, Germany and New Zealand. Linney retired in 1992 as the Manager of Regional Engineering. 

Murray Dobbin

Murray Dobbin, 76, peacefully on Sept. 8 at his home in Powell River. Originally from Saskatoon, Dobbin had a 40-year journalism and broadcast career that included producing several programs for CBC Ideas, columns for The Winnipeg Free Press, Hill Times, and the Financial Post, and authoring five books, including “Preston Manning and the Reform Party,” “The Politics of Kim Campbell,” and “The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen.” An “advocacy” journalist, Dobbin was a past board member with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Canadian for Tax Fairness, and an advisor to the Rideau Institute on International Affairs. More recently, he’d been a contributor to iPolitics, The Tyee, and a senior editor at Rabble.ca.

TV & FILM:

DGCThe Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the 13 listed films for the 2021 DGC Discovery Award, its annual long list of emerging directors to keep an eye on this festival season. They include Trevor Mack, BC, Portraits from a Fire; Danis Goulet, ON, Night Raiders; Kaveh Nabatian, Que., Sin La Habana; Jorge Thelien Armand, Que., La Fortaleza; Jennifer Holness, ON, Subjects of Desire; Brettan Hannam, NS, Wildhood; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, BC, Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy; Yasmine Mathurin, ON, One of Ours; Thyrone Tommy, ON, Learn to Swim; Philippe Gregoire, Que., The Noise of Engines; Rhayne Vermette, MB, Ste. Anne; Stephanie Joline, NS, Night Blooms; and Caroline Monnet, Que., Bootlegger. 

Hot Docs and Netflix have announced they are partnering on It’s Funny Because It’s True —a new short documentary initiative aimed at discovering the next generation of filmmakers through humorous non-fiction tales. The program will see five filmmakers selected through an open call, who’ll receive $20,000 USD to make their films under the mentorship of the Netflix documentary team and other film professionals. The completed films will premiere in 2022 on @NetflixFilm, the streamer’s social media channels dedicated to all things film. Eligibility and guidelines will be available on Sept. 29 when applications open. Read more here.

Sportsnet will deliver national and regional coverage of all 82 regional Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers broadcasts this season, in addition to 56 exclusive Toronto Maple Leafs games throughout the 2021-22 campaign. Canada’s teams begin their 2021-22 NHL season on Sportsnet on Oct. 13, which also marks the debut of the network’s new state-of-the-art studio. Beginning Oct. 15, regional Canucks coverage includes the return of play-by-play announcer John Shorthouse, game analyst John Garrett and reporter Dan Murphy. Starting Oct. 19, regional Oilers coverage will feature play-by-play host Jack Michaels, alongside game analyst Louie DeBrusk and reporter Gene Principe. Starting Oct. 18, regional Flames games will be called by play-by-play broadcaster Rick Ball, game analysts Kelly Hrudey and Cassie Campbell-Pascall and reporter Ryan Leslie. Beginning Nov. 21, regional Leafs coverage includes play-by-play calls by Chris Cuthbert, alongside game analyst Craig Simpson and reporter Shawn McKenzie.

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has announced that six games from the upcoming 2021-22 regular season schedule will be televised by CBC as part of the CHL’s new multi-platform, multi-year broadcast rights partnership. The six games include representation from each of the CHL’s three member leagues beginning Saturday, Oct. 2 featuring the Regina Pats hosting the Prince Albert Raiders. All six CBC games will air Saturdays in October and November at 3 p.m. ET. In addition to being broadcast on CBC TV, all six games will also be available via CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem, in addition to live streaming coverage of one CHL game per week through the end of the regular season.

U SPORTS and CBC Sports have struck a four-year agreement that will see the public broadcaster become the exclusive English-language digital home of U SPORTS National Championships. Under the deal, CBC Sports will be the home of all U SPORTS National Championships broadcasts in English through the 2024-25 season. U SPORTS also announced Monday that CBC Sports will be the English television home of the 56th Vanier Cup at Université Laval’s TELUS-UL Stadium on Dec. 4. Having returned as an official U SPORTS broadcast partner during the 2019-20 season, CBC will increase its coverage from six championships two years ago to all 19 championships this year. 

Dan Levy

Dan Levy has struck a first-look feature and scripted content deal with Netflix that will see the Schitt’s Creek actor/writer/director write and produce. He’ll start with an original untitled romantic comedy, co-produced by SISTER’s Stacey Snider and Kate Fenske. His TV deal with the streamer will start in July 2022 when his current three-year deal with ABC Signature ends where he currently has four projects in the works. Of the nine Primetime Emmys Schitt’s Creek won last year, Levy claimed four including Outstanding Comedy Series, Supporting Actor – Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing and Directing – Comedy Series.

Boat Rocker has landed a first-look deal with Cleve Keller and Dave Noll, the award-winning creative producers behind over 50 television series, including the Chopped franchise. Keller and Noll will develop and produce original unscripted programming for Boat Rocker under their Keller Noll banner. They previously had a first look deal with Entertainment One. Previous credits include syndicated game shows Punchline (Fox) and Face the Truth (CBS) and Rocco’s Dinner Party (Bravo).

Piazza Entertainment says production is underway in Manitoba and Ontario on new original drama, SKYMED, for CBC and Paramount+, the ViacomCBS streaming service. Created by Julie Puckrin, the serialized character-driven series features an ensemble cast that includes Natasha Calis (Nurses), Ace (Aason) Nadjiwan (Batwoman), Morgan Holmstrom (Siberia), Praneet Akilla (Nancy Drew), Thomas Elms (The Order), Mercedes Morris (Between), Kheon Clarke (Riverdale), Rebecca Kwan (Taken), Braeden Clarke (Outlander), and Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys). Set to premiere in 2022-23, the high stakes medical rescue drama follows budding nurses and air ambulance pilots, set in remote Northern Canada. 

Leslie Norville

Black Life: A Canadian History, an eight-part docuseries exploring the history of the Black experience in Canada, has been greenlit by CBC. In addition to showrunner Leslie Norville and Northwood Entertainment’s Miranda de Pencier, NHL All-Star P.K. Subban (Ugly Duck Productions) is on board to executive produce as is journalist and filmmaker Nelson George, and Black Lives Matter Canada co-founder Sandy Hudson. Norville and de Pencier have also assembled a team of consulting producers and writers, including former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, rapper and broadcaster Shad, and activist Ravyn Wngz. The producers will partner with eight Black Canadian directors, one for each episode, with the series to premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in 2023.  

LISTEN: As cult CHCH-TV kids’ series Hilarious House of Frightenstein celebrates its 50th anniversary, Michelle Melanson and Ken Cuperus of Headspinner Productions talk to Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast about the debut of new pre-school adaptation Happy House of Frightenstein, and the responsibility of caretaking a Canadian pop culture institution. Click here for a sneak peek of the updated live action adaptation, Headspinner is currently pitching.

Distribution360 has picked up Happy House of Frightenstein as part of the distributor’s push into scripted formats. Also part of its fall slate are marblemedia’s Race Against the Tide, available both as a 10 x 30 series and as a format. Best in Miniature, 10 x 60 and format, also created by marblemedia, is another skills-based competition format in which expert miniaturists are tasked with building their dream home in miniature form at 1:12 scale. Rounding out the new factual competition shows is Season 2 of Blown Away, 10 x 30. 

Sebastian Clovis

Great Pacific Media (GPM), the unscripted division of Thunderbird Entertainment Group, in partnership with Corus Studios, has announced the start of principal photography on HGTV Canada’s Gut Job in Toronto. Gut Job (8×60) will see the return of fan-favourite Canadian contractor Sebastian Clovis from popular lifestyle series, $ave My Reno. In the new series, Clovis will guide property owners through the biggest home renovations of their lives. Gut Job will air on HGTV Canada in 2022 with casting underway in the GTA.

Blue Ant Media is marking its 10-year anniversary this month, announcing 10 new and returning originals to premiere on its portfolio of Canadian specialty networks. They include Cottage Life’s highest-rated original, Life Below Zero: Canada, which has been renewed for a second season, a Canadian adaptation of the BBC Studios format. Also returning to Cottage Life, is Blue Ant Media and APTN co-production Merchants of the Wild (Season 4) and Ice Vikings (Season 3). New on T+EThe Lost Colony of Roanoke (Season 1), which follows a team of archaeologists as they dig for evidence to help solve one of America’s oldest and most controversial mysteries. Blue Ant has also greenlit new docuseries Griff’s Great Canadian Adventure, the first original commission for BBC First in Canada since Blue Ant Media launched the channel in partnership with BBC Studios last March. Blue Ant has also greenlit documentary specials, The Digital Divide (working title) and Strange Creatures (wt) for BBC Earth.

T+E original horror anthology series, Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life, premieres Oct. 15. Executive produced by Eli Roth, the carefully curated collection of ghost stories plays out like mini horror films, immersing audiences in the world of those being haunted. Based on real stories, the victims’ first-hand accounts are enhanced with dramatic reconstructions. The series also captures unexplainable events taking place behind the scenes during production, from flickering lights to strange noises and electrical devices coming to life on their own. The series premieres during T+E’s Creep Week Halloween event running from Oct. 9-17.

Shaftesbury has announced that Season 3 of Departure has begun production in St. John’s, NL and Toronto. Produced by Shaftesbury, in association with Corus Entertainment, Starlings Television and Red Arrow Studios International, the drama is directed by Canadian Screen Award winner T.J. Scott (Orphan Black, Star Trek: Discovery), who is also one of the series executive producers. Departure is created by Vincent Shiao with Jackie May serving as showrunner.

Bell Media says it ended the 2020/21 broadcast year, claiming the top three entertainment specialty channels among Adults 18-49 with a total of five in the Top 10 among A25-54, according to Numeris audience data supplied by the network. Bell says CTV Comedy Channel was once again the most-watched entertainment specialty channel in the A25-54 and 18-49 demos, for a third consecutive year. Discovery and CTV Drama Channel joined CTV Comedy in the Top 3, as the #2 and #3 entertainment specialty channels, respectively, for A18-49. Rounding out the Top 10, CTV Sci-Fi Channel secured the #9 spot for both A25-54 and A18-49, while Much claimed #10 for A25-54. Bell Media says its specialty programming included four of the Top 10 most-watched series for A25-54, including Star Trek: Discovery, which claimed the #1 spot for the second year in a row. Sitting at #4, #5, and #6 among A25-54 are Discovery’s Gold Rush; The Handmaid’s Tale on CTV Drama Channel; and Resident Alien on CTV Sci-Fi Channel, which was also the top new series on entertainment specialty television for the broadcast year.

CTV Comedy Channel’s all-new Roast Battle Canada debuts Oct. 11. The eight-episode, half-hour series features two scorching standoffs between a pair of Canadian comics looking to be crowned battle victor by a panel of judges. As previously announced, overseeing the battle of the barbs is host Ennis Esmer, along with judges Russell Peters, Sabrina Jalees, and Jeff Ross Presents: Roast Battle Season 1 semi-finalist, K. Trevor Wilson. Set to air Mondays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, all-new episodes will also be available to stream on CTV.ca and the CTV app

Dustin Milligan

Copper Quartz Media has announced that Dustin Milligan has boarded the documentary feature Food for the Rest of Us as executive producer. The film, which had its world premiere at DOXA, will also launch at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema for an in-theatre screening on World Food Day on Oct. 16 with a portion of the proceeds going to Foodshare Toronto. Milligan is best known for his performances in Rutherford Falls, Schitt’s Creek and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race, but he is also a born and raised Yellowknifer which drew director Caroline Cox and co-producer Tiffany Ayalik to the project. Milligan executive produces alongside Stuart Henderson of 90th Parallel Productions.   

AMI, in partnership with Nikki Ray Media (Fire Masters, Home to Win), has begun principal photography on six Season 1 episodes of AMI-tv’s Fashion Dis in Toronto. The show challenges traditional norms that lack inclusion, with each episode featuring the head-to-toe overhaul of a frustrated style seeker discouraged by an industry that lacks adaptive options. Series experts include Ardra Shephard, a blogger and leader in the Multiple Sclerosis community; Bella Strange, a makeup artist catering to the LGBTQ+, disability and special effects communities; Susan Shipley, a master stylist with extensive experience in accessible hair care services; Izzy Camilleri, style expert and a pioneer in adaptive clothing; fashion stylist Melonie Lawrence, and photographer KC Armstrong.

Hollywood Suite kicks off a full month of horror films and thrillers this October with the Canadian broadcast premiere of horror anthology series Slasher: Flesh & Blood on Oct. 4. The fourth season, starring horror legend David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome), will roll out with two new episodes airing each Monday in October at 9 p.m. ET on Hollywood Suite’s 2000s channel. Episodes will be available on Hollywood Suite On Demand the Wednesday following their premiere. The thrills and chills will continue all month long with horror franchises including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Friday the 13th (1980), Scream 3 (2000), Bride of Chucky (1998) and Insidious (2010), alongside films from horror masters Dario Argento and Alfred Hitchcock

TELUS Optik TV customers can now access British and international programming from AMC Networks’ Acorn TV. Specializing in British television, Acorn TV features original and exclusive new and classic dramas, mysteries, and comedies including Whitstable Pearl, Manhunt starring Martin Clunes, My Life is Murder starring Lucy Lawless, and Bloodlands starring James Nesbitt, among other series.

OneSoccer has launched as a linear channel on TELUS’ Optik TV service, going live on TELUS’ portfolio of extended, free preview channels as HD channel 980. Optik customers gain access to a wide range of Canadian men’s and women’s soccer with 80% of the channel’s programming Canadian content, including live coverage of the Canadian Premier League (CPL), Canadian Championship, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team games in the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team as they vie for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, as well as a range of international soccer. Studio programs include OneSoccer Today, hosted by Andi Petrillo, and featuring pundits Kristian Jack and Oliver Platt.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) has announced an expanded international rollout of its Viaplay streaming service in five new markets, including Canada, by the end of 2023. Viaplay will launch in the UK in the second half of next year and then in Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the end of 2023, bringing its mix of Nordic, local and international series, films, documentaries and kids content to 16 countries. NENT Group is looking to attract 12 million Viaplay subscribers by the end of 2025, approximately half of those from international markets. Viaplay’s accelerated expansion follows the streamer’s recent launch in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and upcoming launches in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Read more here.

Bell has announced a collaboration with TikTok Canada that lets the app’s users with Bell 5G co-create with friends in real time using Paint Portal, a new 5G multi-user augmented reality (AR) experience. Best experienced with the faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency of 5G, Paint Portal allows users in different locations to use AR brushes to paint together, simultaneously seeing their own environment and the 3D AR painting that they’re co-creating in real time. Bell has partnered with Canadian creators @justinhopper, @kissyduerre, @dominosantantonio and @monikapilon to kick off #Bell5GPaintPortal, which launches Sept. 27.

The National Screen Institute (NSI) has partnered with TikTok Canada to offer the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, a new, part-time online training program designed to empower up to 30 Indigenous content creators to grow their TikTok presence, learning the key elements of storytelling and essential building blocks for a successful digital career. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

BBTV Holdings is launching Rights Management solutions for live events, from sports league games and pay-per-view events, to live concerts and awards shows. The formal launch of the solution will further expand the company’s range of capabilities within Content Management, generating more viewership, revenue and insights from live content at a time when digital live streaming is a key growth area for major events. BBTV says the live streaming market is expected to grow to $184.3 billion USD by 2027, seeing 99% growth in hours watched on major digital platforms from April 2019 to April 2020, driven by younger audiences including 63% of Millennials who stream live events regularly.

The 26th Annual Webby Awards are officially open for entries. Judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, the Webbys honour the best of the internet across Websites & Mobile Sites; Apps & Software; Video; Advertising, Media & PR; Social; Virtual & Remote; Podcasts; and Games. Check out past winners in the Webby Winners Gallery + IndexThe early entry deadline is Friday, Oct. 29.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has released two decisions, the first in regards to a news report about a stabbing in North Vancouver that aired during CTV Vancouver’s CTV News at Six on March 27 and the second about a headline repeated in CP24’s ticker March 31 that inaccurately informed viewers that COVID restrictions were going to be loosened when in fact they were about to be tightened. The CTV Vancouver report included scenes of paramedics attending to injured people and cell phone footage of the suspect stabbing himself in an intersection prior to his arrest. A majority of the CBSC Panel concluded, with one member abstaining, that it was acceptable to show these images, but unanimously concluded the station should have provided an express warning in advance in accordance with the CAB Violence Code. The CP24 broadcast included a headline in its ticker that repeatedly showed the headline “Premier Ford says an announcement coming tomorrow about plan to loosen restrictions in Grey zones.” The station acknowledged the error, but pointed out that other content airing at the same time provided correct information. The CBSC Panel concluded that the inaccuracy breached the News clause of the CAB Code of Ethics and the Accuracy clause of the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics, saying that given CP24’s format, written information is just as important as the oral.

The Federal Court of Appeal has indicated it will hear TekSavvy Solutions’ challenge to the CRTC’s controversial decision in May to backtrack on a move to compel big telecom to offer smaller competitors more affordable rates to access their networks. A date for the hearing has yet to be published. The CRTC decision set permanent rates for third-party aggregated wholesale access to the level of interim rates established in 2016, before the commission’s Aug. 2019 decision that slashed rates incumbent telecom companies, like Bell, TELUS and Rogers, were allowed to charge independent internet service providers (ISPs).

Xplornet Communications has launched its rural 5G standalone network, powered by the Ericsson Radio System. The rollout will start in New Brunswick and expand across that province over the next six months. Over the course of 2022, Xplornet plans to expand its 5G broadband network to 250 additional rural communities across Canada, promising speeds of up to 100Mbps and unlimited data plans.

Shushma Datt

The Jack Webster Foundation will honour South Asian broadcasting trailblazer Shushma Datt and B.C.-based journalism non-profit The Tyee at its upcoming Webster Awards. Datt will be recognized with the 2021 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award, which honours an exemplary B.C. journalism career. Datt worked at The Times of India and the BBC before moving to Canada in 1972. Facing significant racism from mainstream outlets because of her Indian accent, by 1984 she started her own radio station, Radio Rim Jhim. The first Indo-Canadian woman to be granted a CRTC licence, in 2005 she launched Sp!ce Radio (CJRJ-AM) Burnaby. The 2021 Bill Good Award, honouring a B.C. individual or organization that makes a significant contribution to journalism in the province, is being presented to The Tyee, which over the past two decades has become a leading source of news, opinion, culture, and investigative journalism despite early skepticism about its business model. The Webster Awards will take place online on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. PT, hosted by Global BC’s Chris Gailus and Sophie Lui.

James Cridland

James Cridland, radio futurologist, PodNews editor, and internet strategist, has been confirmed as a speaker at the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Connection 2021 virtual conference. A special OAB member sponsorship has been created that provides station staff with 40 registrations. Not a member? Individual full conference member tickets are available for $149; non-member tickets $199. Registration will open soon. 

The 2021 EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship has extended its application deadline to Oct. 15. The study tour to Brussels is slated to take place in March 2022, contingent on public health protocols. Organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), the fellowship aims to recognize outstanding journalistic talent among young Canadians. Since 2001, three candidates have been selected every year to participate in the week-long study tour to experience the EU institutions, the Canadian Mission to the EU, and media outlets in Brussels. Eligible participants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents, between 18-30, actively enrolled in a Canadian university/post-secondary institution or active in the field of journalism.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

The Western Association of Broadcasters (WABE) 71st annual convention will be a virtual event, Nov. 3-4. WABE will once again be teaming up with the Scarritt Group to host the event with the lineup to include educational papers from David Vargas, Senior Research Engineer, BBC, who will speak on 5G technologies for media distribution, and Steven Holmes, a solutions architect, advisor and consultant, who will talk about monitoring hybrid SDI in the ST2110 uncompressed domain. On the radio side, Kirk Harnack will speak on Virtualization and Chris Lapp from Cisco will speak on programming. There will also be sessions on highly-requested topics such as AM troubleshooting, Emergency Planning and Project Management. Learn more here.

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) has introduced a major revision to the AES Recommendations for Loudness of Internet Audio Streaming and On-Demand Distribution. To resolve excessive loudness, compromised quality, and inconsistent levels, AES has provided updated recommendations for establishing and implementing an effective Distribution Loudness for streaming and on-demand audio file playback. The TD1008 guidelines replace the previous TD1004 recommendation for streaming loudness from 2015, recommending bringing track normalization to -16 integrated and the loudest track on an album to -14 integrated. It also recommends that speech within streams be normalized to -18 LUFS to accommodate the gain of current player devices and that music be normalized to an average of -16 LUFS in operations where music and speech are separately normalized and played out automatically.

Videolinq, the Ontario-headquartered software-as-a-service company allowing users to send live video to multiple web and social media sites simultaneously, and real time caption solution provider StreamText, have announced a partnership. The two organizations are now offering a cloud-based, integrated solution which simplifies the process to encode closed captions directly into live video streams. With the new partnership, users can add captions to video platforms like Vimeo, Facebook, YouTube, Brightcove, Twitch, Twitter and other streaming service providers.