The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Maureen Holloway

Maureen Holloway has left CHFI-FM Toronto after five years with the station’s morning show as Rogers Sports & Media gets set to introduce a new lineup in the time slot. Holloway joined the show following Erin Davis’ departure in 2016, while Mike Cooper had been filling in for Darren B. Lamb, who has been off on leave since early this year. As of Monday, Tracey Moore is temporarily guest hosting from 7 – 9 a.m. weekdays, in addition to her CityLine duties. KiSS 92.5 (CKIS-FM) personality Brooksy also joins the show, alongside Christine Cardoso. In other changes, morning show producer Gord Rennie announced he’s been relieved of his position after 16 years.

Jim Crichton

Jim Crichton has announced his retirement from CTV Windsor. Crichton has had a 47-year career in broadcast journalism, including 21 years with CTV Windsor as the anchor of CTV News At Six. His final broadcast will be Friday, Nov. 26. A native of nearby Port Colborne, ON, Crichton started his radio career in 1974 at 1470 CHOW-AM Welland. From there, he worked at CJRN Niagara Falls, CHEX Radio Peterborough, CKKW Kitchener, CHNS Halifax, and Broadcast News. Crichton has also lectured in journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax and St. Clair College.

Carole MacNeil

Carole MacNeil has announced she’s leaving CBC News. Her last day with the public broadcaster will be Oct. 26. MacNeil, who has been with CBC since 1987, currently hosts CBC Rundown with Carole MacNeil on CBC News Network. She was formerly one The National’s regular hosts, anchoring Saturday nights, and from 2009-16 hosted weekday afternoons on CBC News Network, in addition to other programs and specials. She started her career with the public broadcaster at CBC Fredericton.

Gary Gunter

Gary Gunter has been named General Manager of Toronto’s G98.7FM (CKFG-FM) as CINA Radio Group closes on its acquisition of the station. Up until this past July, Gunter was Market Senior Vice-President of Sales with iHeartMedia in Norfolk, VA. The 30-year radio sales and marketing veteran started his career as an Account Executive for Clear Channel Radio in his hometown of Chicago in 1995. He’s also held roles with Radio One in St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit; and Cox Media in Orlando. CINA Radio, which also operates multicultural stations CINA 1650AM Toronto, CINA 102.3FM Windsor, and CKIN 106.3FM Montreal, was the successful bidder for G98.7 after Intercity Broadcasting Network – the founding licensee of the station under the late Fitzroy Gordon – was placed in investigative receivership. Read more here.

Victoria Williston

Victoria Williston has accepted the News Director position at CityNews Ottawa. Williston has been the morning show anchor at CityNews/1310 News (CIWW-AM) for the last three years. She previously worked with Rogers Sports & Media at 680 News (CFTR-AM) as an anchor and traffic reporter.

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson has announced his departure from News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver. Wilson has been with the station for 21 years, most of that time reading overnight news. His last day with News 1130 is Oct. 15.

Aastha Shetty

Aastha Shetty is leaving 570 News (CKGL-AM) Kitchener to join CBC News Windsor. Shetty has been working with Rogers Sports & Media as an anchor and reporter since 2018. 

Anya Nazeravich

Anya Nazeravich has departed Global News Winnipeg to head marketing for the Trans Canada Brewing Company. The 2020 Red River College Creative Communications grad started her career with Corus Entertainment as an anchor on 680 CJOB. More recently, she’d been focused on digital broadcast journalism.

Alex Boutilier

Alex Boutilier has announced he’ll be joining Global News Ottawa as a National Reporter, Politics and Investigations, filing across online, TV and radio. Boutilier arrives from the Toronto Star where he’s been a staff reporter for the last eight years.

Melanie Green

Melanie Green has left her Audience Development role at Pacific Content. The former CBC Vancouver current affairs producer and Star Metro reporter had been with the branded content producer since Jan. 2020. Green hasn’t gone public with where she’s headed, but has indicated she’s making a move out of media.

Greg Douglas

Greg Douglas, aka “Dr. Sport” is now contributing to online publication, The Orca. The BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee and former Vancouver Sun columnist used his inaugural post to discuss the decline of local sports radio.

Tom Lombardi

Tom Lombardi has been hired as Strategic Advisor for Network Media Group’s NFT research and development. Lombardi has over two decades of experience in investment banking, principal investing, and emerging technologies, most recently focused on bitcoin and NFTs. He was most recently Managing Director at 3iQ, responsible for overseeing marketing strategy and execution of a $2 billion digital asset firm invested in bitcoin and Ether. Lombardi is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, teaching Digital Asset Finance to MBA students.

Marie-Claude Poulin

Marie-Claude Poulin is Sphere Media’s new Producer, Feature Films and Fiction. With 18 feature films to her credit, Poulin founded MCP Productions in 2016. Her latest feature, Tempête, co-produced and directed by Christian Duguay, will be released in 2022. Poulin also sits on the board of directors of the Quebec Bureau of Cinema and Television.

Geoff Teoli

Geoff Teoli is taking on the role of Acting Film Commissioner for Vancouver. Teoli brings more than two decades of experience in locations, workplace safety and permitting to the position, which leads business expansion and investment attraction initiatives on the city’s behalf. Teoli was a location manager for 18 years, and subsequently served as executive director of Actsafe, the industry’s health and safety advisory and training association. Since joining the City of Vancouver in 2018, he’s served as Senior Branch Manager in its Film & Special Events Branch.

Osas Eweka-Smith

Osas Eweka-Smith is the National Film Board’s (NFB) new Publicist and Public Relations Officer, based in NFB’s Halifax office. Eweka-Smith will initially be working remotely from her home in Alberta, before relocating to Halifax in January. Over the last 12 years, she’s worked for the Government of Alberta, City of Edmonton, Alberta Legal Information Society, Covenant Health and the University of Alberta. Outside of PR/communications, Eweka-Smith is an emerging filmmaker. 

Thomas Santram

Thomas Santram, Deputy General Counsel at Cineplex, has been elevated to Vice Chair on the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Board of Directors. Former Bell Media VP of Communications Scott Henderson moves into Santram’s former Academy Secretary role. Justin Stockman, English Content Development & Programming at Bell Media, also joins the board.

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell has been named Lakehead University’s next chancellor. Deverell will be formally installed at convocation in 2022 as the first person of colour to serve as chancellor. Deverell was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005 for her pioneering work in broadcasting. The founder of Vision TV, she was the first woman to lead a journalism program at a Canadian university at the University of Regina. She also served as News Director at APTN from 2002-05.

 

(l-r): Desmond Brown, Susan Harada, Farah Nasser, Sunny Puri, and Connie Walker.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has welcomed five new members to its Board of Directors for the 2021-22 year, each serving three-year terms. They include former journalist Desmond Brown; Susan Harada, associate journalism professor, Carleton University; Global News’ journalist and anchor Farah Nasser; Sunny Puri, principal and portfolio manager, Anson Funds; and Connie Walker, journalist and host for Gimlet Media. Find the full list of current board members, here.

Dennis Steiger

Dennis Steiger is joining Xplornet as its Chief Technology Officer. Steiger will lead all aspects of architecture, planning, design, implementation, and operations of the Xplornet national, rural broadband network. Steiger has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and media industries, including holding the role of Chief Technology Officer for Shaw Communications from 1994 to 2014 and NBN Co., Australia’s National Broadband Network.

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

The 2021 Broadcast Dialogue Canadian Radio Awards, presented by HD Radio, close to submissions this Monday, Oct. 11. Thanks to our sponsors and supporters, “The Howards” are FREE TO ENTER. Enter your station talent across 22 categories, including new awards for Best Canadian Multi-Market Program, Best Performance in a Commercial, Best Use of Sound, and Campus or Community Station of the Year. Learn more here.

Evanov Communications has added Jewel 88.5 (CKDX-FM) to its LITE rebranded stations. Licensed for Newmarket and located in the Toronto CMA, Evanov says the station’s soft pop playlist now skews younger. Spanning the ‘70s to today, LITE 88.5 will include more current hits while retaining core artists like Ed Sheeran, Adele, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, and Michael Bublé

94.7 Hits FM (WYUL-FM), the so-called “border blaster,” licensed to Chateaugay, New York and serving Greater Montreal and the Seaway River Valley, including Cornwall, ON, has flipped to Educational Media Foundation’s K-Love Christian Contemporary format. Martz announced in June it was selling WYUL and sister station Wild Country 96.5 (WVNV) Malone, NY to EMF. After 19 years, 94.7 Hits FM signed off at midnight Sept. 30 with Linkin Park’s “This is the End.” Montreal media blogger Steve Faguy captured some of the audio from the station’s last day.

Stirling Faux

Global News Radio 980 CKNW Vancouver has announced a refreshed weekend morning lineup. Stirling Faux, who has been filling in since early 2020, gets a permanent Saturday timeslot from 6 – 9 a.m. with Weekend Mornings with Stirling Faux, starting Oct. 9. He’ll be followed by A Word in Edgewise hosted by Jon McComb at 9 a.m., who comes out of semi-retirement. The show features McComb and rotating talk show hosts from across the country, discussing the major headlines of the week. Weekend Mornings with Raji Sohal will air Sundays from 6 to 9 a.m., starting Oct. 10. Sohal joined CKNW earlier this year as a contributor to Mornings with Simi. Born and raised in the Lower Mainland, she previously worked as an arts reporter and podcast host with CBC Montreal.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has made an FCC filing that calls on the commission to loosen radio ownership caps in the U.S. Citing both declining revenue and audience due to increased competition from streaming services, NAB says local radio stations’ OTA ad revenues fell 44.9% ($17.6 billion to $9.7 billion) from 2005-20. FM stations in the 253 Arbitron/Nielsen continuously measured markets saw OTA revenue fall from $10.5 billion in 2005 to $6.0 billion in 2020, a decline of 42.9%. According to Nielsen, Average Quarter Hour (AQH) FM listening has dropped 23.5% in the past five years. 10 radio companies have also filed with the commission requesting rule changes, including Connoisseur Media, Townsquare Media, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Midwest Communications, the Frandsen family stations, Cherry Creek Media, Neuhoff Media, Eagle Communications, Patrick Communications and Legend Communications.

The Canadian Podcast Listener has released some early returns from its forthcoming study indicating that podcast listening in French Canada is up sharply, with monthly listening rising from 17 to 21% and weekly podcasting up from 12 to 17%. The fifth year for the study, The Canadian Podcast Listener will come out with a full release in late November, co-published by Signal Hill Insights and Jeff Ulster with the support of The Podcast Exchange (TPX).

Humble and Fred celebrate 10 years of podcasting on Oct. 14 with a special livestream at 7 p.m. ET. The duo recently visited Toronto Mike’d to talk about the last decade, the evolution of podcasting, and the uniqueness of their success. Listen here.

 

Bell Let’s Talk has introduced new mental health podcast series, From Where We Stand: Conversations on Race and Mental Health, hosted by CTV Your Morning’s Anne-Marie Mediwake, CHUM 104.5 morning co-host Jamar McNeil, and broadcaster and comedian, Candy Palmater. Starting Oct. 6 and over the next six weeks, the series will explore mental health issues affecting culturally diverse communities throughout Canada. It will feature guests sharing their personal stories and mental health journeys, alongside mental health experts who can help Canadians understand the impacts of racism and injustice on mental health. Weekly episodes will explore topics like intergenerational trauma, first generation immigrant experiences, language barriers and how stigma affects men’s mental health. 

LISTEN: Dave Cadeau, the former Director of Programming for Sports Radio at Rogers Sports & Media, has been recruited as the Executive Producer of the new Ti-Cats Audio Network – an in-house content machine super-serving fans with daily and game day programming – amid increasingly scant resources in conventional broadcasting. On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we welcome Cadeau to talk about the future of pro-sports media content and the ever-changing sports radio landscape.

LISTEN: Rob Walch, the VP of Podcast Relations at Libsyn, returns to the Sound Off Podcast. In this episode, Walch debunks myths and puts podcasting into perspective, discusses having a presence on YouTube, and as the host of Today in iOS, dives into Apple’s plans for the future.  

Serena Ryder

Canada’s Walk of Fame has announced that six-time JUNO Award winner Serena Ryder is the 2021 recipient of the Allan Slaight Music Impact Honour presented to a musician, duo, or group that continues to make a positive impact with their talent and benevolence in the field of music. Ryder joins past honourees Alessia Cara, Drake, Brett Kissel, Carly Rae Jepsen, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd, among others. She’ll be presented the honour during the annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Gala at Toronto’s Beanfield Centre on Dec. 4. A special broadcast will air at a later date on CTV. Other Arts & Entertainment inductees to the Walk of Fame this year include Keanu Reeves, Graham Greene, Bruce Cockburn, Jully Black, and Salome Bey, “Canada’s First Lady of Blues.”

Rudy Blair

Rudy Blair has been named the official host of Canadian Music Week’s Virtual Voices Series. Prior to launching his website, Rudy Blair Entertainment Media, the entertainment journalist previously spent 23 years with 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto. Among other accolades, Blair is an inductee of the Humber College Radio Broadcasting Hall Of Fame.

Rod West

Country 105 (CFDC-FM) Shelburne, ON took its morning show on the road, Sept. 23-24. Broadcasting live from Sobeys in Orangeville, Rod & Jill asked listeners for help restocking the shelves at the Orangeville Foodbank. Rod West camped in the store parking lot for three days and nights, braving rainstorms and single-digit temperatures. The event saw more than 2,000 lbs. of food collected and $1,200 raised in cash donations.

JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) Toronto is welcoming the return of its Sound of Jazz Concert Series following a year-long hiatus. The 45th season will feature six special concerts between October 2021 and March 2022 in the Long & McQuade Performance Hall at the JAZZ.FM91 studios. The season gets underway with the Jeremy Ledbetter Trio on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. Audiences will be able to hear each concert LIVE on the air and online via JAZZ.FM91’s Facebook page. As with all Sound of Jazz concerts, the performances will also be archived for an upcoming episode of the weekly Sound of Jazz program, Sundays at 4 p.m. Find full concert details at jazz.fm.

99.3 County FM (CJPE-FM) Prince Edward County, ON has received a $30,000 donation from the John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation that will facilitate construction of a two-person, accessibility-compliant sound isolation booth (Whisper Booth) and recording studio. Beyond improving and expanding the station’s recording capabilities, the new Whisper Booth will allow more people to simultaneously take advantage of the station’s recording technology. Many advertisers across Prince Edward County use the station’s recording services to support their businesses, in addition to 150+ non-profits seeking a platform to reach their audience. Construction of the Whisper Booth will begin this year, with completion in the spring of 2022.

The Edmonton Broadcasters Club will host its Fall Virtual Luncheon on Oct. 20. Featuring Holger Peterson, CKUA and CBC personality and the former owner of Stony Plain Records, the event is open by donation with proceeds funding the organization’s annual NAIT Radio/TV/Digital bursary awarded to the top student in the course.

TV & FILM:

Drunken Birds [Les oiseaux ivres], by director/co-writer Ivan Grbovic and co-writer Sara Mishara, will represent Canada in the nomination process for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. Drunken Birds [Les oiseaux ivres], which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the Platform program, will be released on Oct. 15. The film stars Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Hélène Florent, Claude Legault, Marine Johnson, Maxime Dumontier, Amaryllis Tremblay, Karl Walcott, Yoshira Escárrega, Gilberto Barraza, and Normand D’Amour. It follows a Mexican seasonal worker’s quest to find his lost love, which takes him to the Bécotte farm near Montréal. Read more here.

IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) resumed bargaining Wednesday in a last-ditch attempt to avert what would be the organization’s first nationwide strike mandate in the union’s 128-year history. While Canadian union members aren’t included in the strike authorization, job action would inevitably have some reverberations through Hollywood North. Particularly on higher budget U.S. productions shooting in Canada, some crew members may be covered by one of the collective agreements affected by the stalemate.

Shamier Anderson & Stephan James

Boat Rocker has struck a first-look deal with brothers, Shamier Anderson and Stephan James, the stars of its highly-anticipated series Invasion (Apple TV+) and Beacon 23 (AMC), respectively. Under terms of the deal, they’ll develop and produce original television projects for the company under their Bay Mills Studios banner. In 2016, Anderson and James co-founded B.L.A.C.K. and currently serve as co-chairs and co-founders of The Black Academy, a division of B.L.A.C.K. which aims to combat systemic racism while celebrating and inspiring Black talent in Canada. The Black Academy’s awards show, celebrating Black Canadian talent across film, television, music, sports, and culture has secured a multi-year broadcast deal and is being produced by Insight Productions, a Boat Rocker Company, planned for fall 2022. 

9 Story Media Group has acquired a minority equity stake and entered into a first-look deal with Knights Of, an award-winning, inclusive publishing company. Created by Aimée Felone and David Stevens, London-based Knights Of focuses on improving inclusivity in children’s books. Under the terms of the deal, 9 Story has exclusive first-look rights to acquire audio-visual, merchandising, theatrical and ancillary rights to Knights Of book properties. Its roster of authors includes Elle McNicoll (A Kind of Spark), Kelly Yang (Front Desk, Three Keys), Jason Reynolds (Look Both Ways, The Run Series) and Sharna Jackson (High-Rise Mystery).

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced the six participants selected for the inaugural cohort of Women in Post, a program designed to address the barriers to entry and advancement for women in the post production industry. The creators chosen for the first edition are: Brittany Lewis (BC), Editing/ VFX Editing; Elian Mikkola (SK), Editing; Daniela Pinto (ON), Post Production Audio; Ariana Saadat (BC), VFX Supervision; Set Shuter (ON), Post Production Supervision; and Penelope Walcott (ON), Post Production Audio. Women in Post is presented by Netflix and supported by lead post house partner, Company 3, and supporting partners, Rocket Science VFX and Urban Prairie Post.

Rogers Hometown Hockey returns for an eighth season, Oct. 16-17. Enhanced protocols for entry to this season’s tour include proof of full vaccination, mandatory face masks, social distancing, and touchless activations. Ron MacLean and Tara Slone return to host every Monday evening, starting in the Township of North Dumfries, ON. That will be followed by the first pre-game show of the season Monday, Oct. 18 leading into the New York Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs broadcast on Sportsnet and via stream on SN NOW. The first phase of the tour schedule will include stops in Lindsay, ON (Oct. 23-25); Belleville, ON (Oct. 30 – Nov. 1); Township of Oro-Medonte, ON (Nov. 6-8); and Greater Sudbury (Nov. 13-15). The remaining cross-country tour stops will be announced on a rolling basis due to the changing nature of pandemic public health regulations from province to province. 

WildBrain Television has unveiled Family Channel and Family Jr.’s fall lineup during a month-long free preview. Competition series Crime Scene Kitchen, hosted by Joel McHale (Community), is among the shows making its debut in which teams of bakers become “culinary detectives” as they enter the “Crime Scene Kitchen” where a mouth-watering dessert that has just been made has disappeared. It airs on Family Channel Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Other premieres include Game of Talents, hosted by Wayne Brady (Let’s Make A Deal, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), pitting two teams of contestants against each other as they attempt to figure out the surprising – and sometimes bizarre – hidden talents of mystery performers; in addition to American Ninja Warrior Junior; Berry in the Big City; Lucas the Spider; Spooky Movies on Fridays through October & Hallo-week, Oct. 25-31.

Crave has announced the lineup of celebrity guests joining Canada’s Drag Race resident judges Brooke Lynn Hytes, Brad Goreski, Amanda Brugel, and Traci Melchor each week, ahead of the Season 2 premiere Oct.14. They include singer/songwriter Bif Naked, photographer and director Caitlin Cronenberg, actress and comedian Emma Hunter, actor Connor Jessup, recording artist Fefe Dobson, YouTube star and transgender activist Gigi Gorgeous, dancer/choreographer Hollywood Jade, and artist and personality Mitsou.

All That Glitters (6×60’), a British competitive jewelry making series, is coming to Makeful TV this October. Hosted by London-based, Canadian comedian and actress Katherine Ryan, alongside jewelry designers and judges, Shaun Leane and Solange Azagury-Partridge, the show follows eight aspiring jewellers as they compete to show they have what it takes to shine in the world of jewelry design. The series has its Canadian broadcast premiere Monday, Oct. 18. 

Super Channel and Blood in the Snow Film Festival (BITS), a showcase of contemporary Canadian horror films, have joined forces once again to bring a hybrid edition of the upcoming 2021 BITS to Canadian horror film fans. This year’s festival will see the virtual portion run on Super Channel Fuse over Halloween weekend, Oct. 29 – Oct. 31, with the in-person festival returning to the Royal Cinema Nov. 18-23. The Blood in the Snow Film Festival presented by Super Channel will showcase five horror features and a variety of hair-raising shorts programs. In addition to exclusive Canadian film premieres, the virtual film festival experience will include pre-recorded film intros and Q&A’s with filmmakers. 

Telefilm Canada has been entrusted with the administration of five audiovisual productions financed under the Harold Greenberg Fund’s French-language Program. The program, which will cease operations Dec. 15, will transfer close to $1.4 million to Telefilm in order to ensure that the five productions receive the investments committed by the fund. The Harold Greenberg Fund has also made a commitment to donate all remaining funds raised by its French-language Program to the Talent Fund by April 30, 2022. The donation marks the 25th anniversary of Harold Greenberg’s death and pays tribute to the businessman and philanthropist who left his mark on the Canadian audiovisual industry. 

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

YouTube will start rolling out a “radio-like” background listening experience to Canadians, free of charge, starting next month. Beginning Nov. 3, YouTube Music listeners in Canada will be the first to enjoy the new feature before it becomes available globally. The update will allow users to continue listening to YouTube Music while using other apps, texting, or when their screen is off. The feature is ad-supported, promising a “radio-like experience featuring the artists, songs, and albums you love, plus personalized mixes on shuffle without the hassle of having to keep the YouTube Music app open on your device.” The new playback experience includes what YouTube calls “continuous radio stations” based on user behaviour, in addition to a hands-free YouTube Music experience integrated with Google Assistant driving mode for those listening in-car.

DAZN, together with partner YouTube, are streaming the UEFA Women’s Champions League for fans around the world, marking the official start to a landmark multi-year deal announced earlier this year. From Oct. 5 through to the finals in May, all 61 matches will be available live on DAZN and free globally on DAZN’s new UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel. The first time UEFA has centralized all Women’s Champions League matches, audiences will be able to follow every single match throughout the entire season in a single place, for free. DAZN says this type of universal availability and exposure is overdue and essential to ensure women’s football overall rises into the mainstream where it belongs.

Sportsnet has officially relaunched SN NOW with new pricing and packaging options. Featuring a refreshed user interface and personalized viewing, the reimagined app features an enhanced 24/7 free tier that launches with the NHL Opening Night doubleheader Oct. 12, starring the expansion Seattle Kraken, while the SN NOW Premium package bundles all of Sportsnet’s live and on-demand content with NHL LIVE and WWE Network. Sportsnet President Bart Yabsley says new features will continue to be added including stats, overlays, timeline markers, and betting integrations in the near future. Sportsnet’s linear content continues to be available through SN NOW at no extra cost to Sportsnet linear TV subscribers by signing in with their credentials through participating providers.

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has announced a two-year digital partnership agreement with CBC Sports. Fans will be able to enjoy 13 of the conference’s championships via CBC Sports’ digital platforms, cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app, and CBC Gem. Among the OUA season events making their way to the CBC Sports platforms are men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s hockey, women’s rugby, men’s and women’s soccer, swimming, track and field, men’s and women’s volleyball, and wrestling. 

Media Central Corporation is selling NFTs of nine iconic magazine covers published by NOW Magazine and the Georgia Straight as collectibles, featuring Grimes, Drake, Seth Rogan and other Canadian artists that have defined Vancouver and Toronto’s arts and entertainment history. Media Central says the sale of NFTs is aligned with its strategy to develop new digital revenue models to diversify its revenue streams. 

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA NEWS:

CRTCThe CRTC has set a hearing for Dec. 6 where it will entertain several applications, including one from The News Forum for a broadcasting licence to operate its national English-language discretionary service. The channel has been broadcasting since Aug. 2020, but now exceeds 210,000 subscribers and is seeking to obtain a licence to continue its operations. The commission will also hear an application from Cogeco Media for authority to acquire the assets of French-language station CILM-FM Saguenay from Arsenal Media and an application from Arsenal to acquire French-language stations CHGO-FM Val-d’Or, CHOA-FM Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitters CHOA-FM-1 Val-d’Or and CHOA-FM-2 La Sarre, and CJGO-FM La Sarre and its transmitter CJGO-FM-1 Rouyn-Noranda from Cogeco. Burns Lake & District Rebroadcasting Society is also seeking a broadcasting licence to operate a community radio station that would re-broadcast programming from CBC Vancouver, Knowledge Network, and APTN

PwC Canada has published a report, commissioned by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, that indicates Canadians nearly tripled their average data use between 2015 and 2019, growing at a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The trend is forecast to accelerate due to the widespread launch of unlimited data plans. Despite this growth in consumption, Average Revenue per User (ARPU) has remained relatively flat for wireless service providers, increasing at just 1.9% CAGR from $64 to $69 between 2015 and 2019. Canadians surveyed were asked to indicate what monthly monetary amount they would be willing to accept in exchange for giving up their smartphones for a year. The average amount required to give up their smartphone was $948 per month, or $11,376 per year. 59% of respondents said they would accept no less than $150 per month, or $1,800 per year, to give up their smartphone.

Xplornet Communications has closed on $1.5B CDN in term loan financing that encompasses a seven year first-lien facility of $995 million USD and an eight-year second-lien of $200 million USD. In addition to the two term loans, Xplornet will have a $160 million CDN revolver due 2026, that is undrawn at close. Proceeds of this financing will be used toward the successful acquisition of 3500 MHz spectrum in the recent Canadian auction, refinancing the company’s existing first-lien term loan, and for general corporate purposes. Xplornet says by taking advantage of low borrowing costs, it’s enhancing its ability to accelerate the rollout of its fibre-to-the-home and 5G wireless rural broadband network.

Bell Media, Corus Entertainment, CBC/Radio-Canada, The Canadian Press, APTN, the Canadian Journalism Foundation, and the Canadian Association of Journalists, are among 19 outlets and organizations that have come out with a joint statement condemning recent harassment of Canadian journalists. The coalition says “while criticism is an integral part of journalism and democracy, there can be no tolerance for hate and harassment of journalists or for incitement of attacks on journalists for doing their jobs.” “That these attacks inordinately target women and racialized journalists speaks to the motivation of the people engaging in this behaviour,” the statement continues. “We are united in supporting our journalists and newsrooms against those who seek to silence their stories and threaten their safety.” CBC plans to lead an upcoming #NotOK forum on responding to online harassment against journalists, with the expectation that the industry can develop and advocate for initiatives that address the issue. The Coalition for Women in Journalism recorded more than a dozen threats against Canadian journalists in September, with Global News anchor Farah Nasser highlighting her experience with harassment following a judgement that handed former Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin Johnston an 18-month jail sentence.

CBC/Radio-Canada, VRT and RTBF are spearheading support for the Brussels Declaration, calling for protections around journalist safety. According to research conducted by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, more than 900 attacks on journalists were perpetrated in Europe in 2020. VRT and RTBF dedicated the annual conference of Public Broadcasters International (PBI) to the role of public service media in democratic systems. In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Brussels Declaration endorses the right to a democratic society with a free and secure press and media. Signatories commit themselves to adhering to five principles, including improving the safety of journalists and other media staff, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations.

(l-r): Karen Attiah, Wendy Gillis, Adrian Harewood, Anna Maria Tremonti

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is hosting a free virtual event that will explore the media’s reliance on official police accounts. It will feature Karen Attiah, columnist with The Washington Post; Wendy Gillis, crime and police reporter for the Toronto Star; and Adrian Harewood, host of CBC News Ottawa at 6, in conversation with host Anna Maria Tremonti. The webcast on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. ET, is part of the CJF’s J-Talks Live program that explores pressing journalistic issues. Find registration info here

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Powergold Music Scheduling has introduced the next incarnation of its software, Powergold NXT. Purpose-built to meet the evolving needs of broadcasters as the industry moves toward technology hubs and decentralized work, Powergold NXT is built on Microsoft SQL Server database technology. Allowing radio programming teams to use the software wherever they work, one of NXT’s features is Network Optimized Mode which automatically detects and compensates for poor networking performance, especially a slow or high-latency VPN/WAN connection. Powergold NXT also gives programmers more control over their music scheduling with rule optimization, schedule snapshots, element merge functions, music research imports, and an “undo” function back to any point in time, among other features.

Vizrt has released its real-time virtual enhancement solution for sports, Vizrt XR Venue. Featuring Viz Arena 5, the XR Venue solution empowers sports broadcasters to enhance content with state-of-the-art live AR graphics. With this release, XR Venue enters the IO platform, which offers more flexibility and scalability to produce either upstream at the venue or in a downstream workflow at the studio and a flexible choice of playout – fill & key or a composited video signal for specific production workflows.

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) 71st annual convention, being held virtually Nov. 3-4 is now open for registration. Featuring two days of online papers, virtual exhibits and networking opportunities, delegate registration is open until Thursday, Oct. 28. Learn more here.