Troy Reeb will take on an expanded role at Corus Entertainment as Executive Vice President Networks and Content, effective Nov. 1. The new appointment sees Reeb assume responsibility for studio content, in addition to his current oversight of multi-platform broadcast networks, news and audio as Corus continues to “streamline” its programming operating model, the company noted in an announcement. With the appointment, Corus is eliminating the position of Executive Vice President Content and Strategy, currently held by Colin Bohm, who will exit the company at the end of the month. Bohm has been with Corus for 21 years, holding roles including Managing Director, Nelvana and Head of Corus Kids. Read more here.
Pascal Tanguay will take Montreal National Sales under his wing at Québecor Expertise Média, in addition to Direct Sales in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, as well as Print Sales and TVA Sports Sales. Karl Berthomé and Caroline Jacques, along with their respective teams, will join forces with the existing team, reporting to Tanguay. The move follows the appointment of Patrick Jutras as President of MELS and Chief Advertising Officer of TVA Group and Québecor Media.
Frédérique Gagnon will manage sales for TVA’s Saguenay and Eastern Quebec offices, reporting to Nathalie Langevin. Gagnon began her career with Groupe Capitales Médias in Saguenay, and from 2017 to present, has held the position of Practice Manager, Digital Expertise for Quebeor’s regional offices. The three teams – Quebec City, Saguenay and Rimouski – will combine their expertise to offer solutions to customers in Eastern Quebec.
Heidi Petracek has joined Global National, as Global News’ national correspondent based in Halifax. Petracek, who has been a familiar face to CTV Atlantic viewers for the past 13 years, steps into the position left vacant with the retirement of Ross Lord earlier this year. Petracek, who originally hails from Langenburg, SK, began her broadcasting career with CBC as a reporter in Regina and Saskatoon, before moving on to hosting, producing and reporting roles with the public broadcaster in Toronto, Corner Brook, St. John’s and Halifax. After a decade with CBC, she joined CTV Atlantic in Halifax in 2010, initially as a co-host on the local edition of CTV Morning Live. Read more here.
Daniele Hamamdjian is joining Global National on a temporary basis as a Special Correspondent reporting from the Middle East on the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Contributing to Global News across all platforms, her reporting will add to the network’s on-the-ground coverage from Europe Bureau Chief Crystal Goomansingh, Senior Correspondent Jeff Semple, National Correspondent Stewart Bell, video journalists Barry Donnelly and Tim Lee, and Senior Producer Kieron O’Dea. Hamamdjian has reported from the front lines in more than 25 countries. Up until this past June, she was a reporter with CTV News for 17 years, the past decade as UK correspondent.
Deana Sumanac-Johnson is the new CBC News Network weekend evening anchor. She’ll continue to work Wednesday to Friday as a Senior Education Reporter. Sumanac-Johnson has been with CBC for two decades, including more than 15 years as National Arts Reporter.
Angela Jung has signed off from CTV Vancouver. Jung has been a multimedia reporter with the station for the last five years and prior to that held the same role with CTV Edmonton.
Isabella Zavarise is joining CTV Vancouver full-time as a reporter. Zavarise came to CTV as a freelancer videographer with a previous stint at Insider, based in Los Angeles, while she pursued an M.A. in Specialized Journalism at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, she spent time as a videojournalist with CBC Prince Edward Island.
Katelyn Wilson has returned from maternity leave with a new job at CTV Ottawa. Wilson had been with CTV Barrie since 2021 and prior to that, was a reporter with Global News in Regina and Lethbridge.
Brent Rose has announced his departure from Global News after 12 years as current affairs show, The New Reality comes to an end. Director of Photography, camera operator and editor of the series for the past three years, Rose previously held the title of Supervising Producer, Original Video Content Production and Workflow.
Lauren O’Neil has joined 640 (CFIQ-AM) Toronto as a reporter/anchor. O’Neil left her role as a Senior Editor at blogTO in August after seven years with the publication. She’s also worked with CBC Toronto as a trends reporter and social media producer.
Ken Hashizume is the new News Director at 1460 CJOY Guelph. Hashizume has been an an anchor and reporter with the Corus Radio station since June 2022. In radio news for more than two decades, his resume includes stops at CHML Hamilton, Bayshore Broadcasting’s stations in Owen Sound and Orillia, and Shoreline Classics (CIYN-FM) Kincardine. Hashizume fills the role vacated by Darren Baxter earlier this year.
Bryn Griffiths is set to return to the airwaves in Edmonton, filling in for Chelsea Bird on the 630 CHED afternoon talk show during her pending maternity leave, starting Nov. 1. The former TEAM 1260 (CFRN-AM) Edmonton sports director and Sportsnet Fan 960 (CFAC-AM) Calgary host has more recently been focused on podcasting and marketing ventures.
Tom McGouran will begin hosting mornings on Native Communications’ Now Country 104.7 (CIUR-FM) Winnipeg starting Oct. 30, alongside Naomi Kay. The veteran host’s first foray into the country format, McGouran was most recently at Corus Entertainment’s Peggy @ 99.1 (CFPG-FM) and among the station talent released in late September ahead of an anticipated format flip.
Jordan Keating has taken over the local morning show on Country 93.3 (CJOK-FM) Fort McMurray. With Rogers Sports & Media’s stations in the market since late last year, Keating is also heard on sister station 97.9 Rock (CKYX-FM). He previously worked with VOCM and what is now the Stingray cluster in Newfoundland.
Zena Burns has announced her departure as Senior Vice President, Content and Special Projects, at Futuri. Burns, who has been with the company the last eight years, will step down at the end of the year. The former SVP of Programming Partnerships at iHeartMedia, Burns says she’s exploring evolving her podcast, My 23-Year-Old Self: True Stories From The Come Up, and pursuing more cause-related work.
Peter Newman has joined William F. White International (WFW), a Sunbelt Rentals Company, as Branch Manager, Specialty Equipment in Toronto. Newman has been a Grip in the Toronto film industry for 23 years. In addition to countless commercials and music videos, he has been Key Grip on many productions, including Titans, The Umbrella Academy, and Fellow Travelers, and served as the Key Technician for The Amazing Race Canada.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Golden West Broadcasting’s CJRB Radio 1220 Boissevain, MB celebrated 50 years on-air on Oct. 19. Alongside CFAM Radio 950 Altona (1957) and AM1250 Radio (CHSM) Steinbach (1964), the addition of CJRB in 1973 formed the trio of stations known as “Radio Southern Manitoba,” serving local audiences with news, weather, sports and farm information. Long-serving news announcer Barry Lamb and longtime sales person and hockey host Ivan Strain are two of the names synonymous with the station. Lamb retired from CJRB this past June after 43 years with Golden West.
Stingray’s Real Country 95.5 (CKGY-FM) Red Deer celebrated 50 years with a party at Bo’s Bar and Stage on Oct. 20 with performances from Aaron Goodvin, Hailey Benedict and Lemon Cash. Originally launched in 1973 at 1170 on the AM band, CKGY switched to FM in 2001. The station rebranded in 2016 from KG Country to the Real Country brand, in line with other Newcap-owned country stations in Alberta at the time.
UCB Canada board members, staff and listeners gathered on Oct. 20 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the broadcast ministry with a gala event. From its first station, CKJJ-FM, in Belleville, ON in 2003, UCB Canada now has 12 FM frequencies, establishing it as the largest Christian radio ministry in Canada. It’s now soft-launched a nationwide streaming channel with several new FM signals due to sign on in 2024.
The CRTC has approved an application by Skigin Radio for a broadcast licence to operate a low-power, Indigenous (Type B Native) FM radio station in Woodstock First Nation, NB. Serving the Maliseet People of the Wolastoqiyik territory, the station would operate at 107.7 MHz with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 50 watts. Skigin proposes to broadcast 112 hours of local programming and 14 hours of wrap-around programming per broadcast week. Of that programming, 104 hours would be devoted to musical content (20% from Indigenous creators) and the remaining 22 hours devoted to spoken word programming targeted at children and youth as well as educational, religious, news and public affairs programming. During each broadcast week, Skigin proposes to devote 100 hours to English-language programming, 20 hours to programming in various Indigenous languages (Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq and Ojibway) and six hours to French-language programs.
Stingray’s Ocean 100 (CHTN-FM) Charlottetown, PEI premiered two new songs Wednesday morning co-written by the late Jimmy Buffett and PEI singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant. “Johnny’s Rhum” and “Portugal or PEI” were recorded last April in Buffett’s Shrimp Boat Studios in Key West, Florida. Both appear on the late “tropical rock” icon’s forthcoming album Equal Strain On All Parts, set to be released Nov. 3. Buffett had hoped to come to PEI in person this past summer, prior to his health deteriorating. He entered hospice care in late August, just days before passing away from a rare form of skin cancer on Sept. 1. Read more here.
OP-ED: The National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) says it’s deeply disheartened by the recent development surrounding University of Ottawa campus and community station CHUO-FM, in which 7.7% of the undergraduate student body decided to withdraw their support for the country’s first bilingual, licensed, independent radio station. NCRA writes that “the incident underscores the fragile state of our current media and news landscape. Campus radio stations have always been pivotal in delivering news, information, and programming tailored specifically for on-campus and off-campus audiences.” Read the NCRA’s full statement here.
Carleton University campus and community station CKCU 93.1 FM Ottawa is holding its annual funding drive, Oct. 27 to Nov. 12. This year’s goal is $165,000. CKCU programming is made possible by almost 200 volunteers. Apart from its English-language content, CKCU also offers programs in French and at least eight other languages, connecting diaspora communities in the region. CKCU-FM is the oldest campus community radio station in Canada, broadcasting since 1975. Donations can be made online at CKCUFM.com where charitable receipts are provided instantly or call in a pledge at 613-520-3920 during your favourite program.
The 22nd annual CKNX Healthcare Heroes Radiothon brought in $488,221 in donations this year, supporting eight Wingham area hospital foundations, including the Clinton Hospital Foundation, Hanover and District Hospital Foundation, Listowel Memorial Hospital Foundation, Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation, Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation, Seaforth Community Hospital Foundation, Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation, and the Wingham and District Hospital Foundation. Anchored by morning show hosts Buzz Reynolds and Julie B., the Radiothon has now raised $14,309,862 over its 22 years.
Sarah Nick has advanced to the Top 5 in On-Air Coach’s annual Radio Star competition. Nick, the morning show co-host on Pattison Media’s 104.7 The Lizard (CKLZ-FM) Kelowna, is up against talent from Nigeria, Scotland and Birmingham, UK as the international competition moves forward toward the final.
SiriusXM is proving NBA fans with comprehensive audio coverage of the 2023-24 NBA season, with live broadcasts of every game through the postseason and The Finals, including all 67 games from the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament. The SiriusXM NBA Radio channel (channel 86) will feature a daily lineup of talk shows that includes The Starting Lineup, hosted by Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine, Give and Go with Rick Kamla and Antonio Daniels and NBA Today, hosted by Justine Termine and Eddie Johnson. Listeners will also hear analysis from former NBA players, coaches and front office execs including Amin Elhassan, Tim Legler, Rick Mahorn, Sam Mitchell, Will Perdue and Reggie Theus.
LISTEN: Jennifer-Lee Gunson, owner of Vancouver-based branded content business, J-Pod Creations, is on the latest Sound Off Podcast. An actor, prior to enrolling at BCIT, Gunson landed in afternoon drive at The Bear (CKNL-FM) Fort St. John, middays at 101.3 The River (CKKN-FM) Prince George, and eventually the Canadian Traffic Network in Vancouver. Currently the host of the “Measure Twice, Cut Once” podcast for the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver, in this episode she talks about surviving the pandemic and starting her company, including how what she learned in radio applies to making great on-demand audio.
Tom Lucas, 73, on Oct. 3. Born in Montreal, Lucas spent his formative years in Vancouver honing his love of music and radio and eventually befriending his idol Red Robinson. He landed his first on-air gig at CKAY in Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island in 1968 where “Tom Lucas” was born. He joined CKOC Hamilton in 1971, with stints at CFGO Ottawa and CJKL Kirkland Lake to follow, before returning to Vancouver and CFUN. “The Luker” was a constant around Vancouver in the 1970s and ‘80s, hosting sock hops, fashion shows, Miss Teen Vancouver pageants and on-location remotes. He went on to join CKVU-TV Vancouver as a weatherman, in addition to hosting a weekly TGIF segment. He later worked at CHRX, CKWX, CJJR and the Canada-wide “Saturday Night Gold Line Request Show” on the Satellite Radio Network. Lucas took over the CISL morning show, following Red Robinson’s retirement in 2001. He went on to develop the Radio Real Estate Show in 2006, showcasing local realtors and mortgage experts, in addition to hosting the Retro Rock Party Line on CFUN.
Barry Gaudin, 77, on Oct. 5. Gaudin (aka Barry Gordon) got his start in radio at Penticton’s CKOK in the early 1970s. From there, he headed to Vancouver’s CJOR and then on to CFAX Victoria. In 1974, he was hired by CKNW as a weekend announcer. Around the same time, sister station CFMI had hired a new morning show announcer, who went M.I.A. on day five of his employment. Gaudin was tapped to fill-in on in mornings, which turned into a gig extending into the early 1980s. A morning stint followed at CIOF 1040 Vancouver. Outside of broadcasting, he got in on the video rental craze early, opening a store in Langley which he operated for several years. Gaudin returned to CKNW and CFMI in the early 1990s where he served in an IT role. He retired in 1996.
TV & FILM:
Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) handed out the 22nd Annual DGC Awards on Saturday evening at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, the organization’s first in-person awards gala since 2019. “Women Talking” earned a leading four awards, including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Sarah Polley and her team, Best Production Design – Feature Film for Peter Cosco, Best Picture Editing – Feature Film for Christopher Donaldson & Roslyn Kalloo, in addition to Best Sound Editing. CBC/HBO Max comedy Sort Of picked up three awards including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for Fabrizio Filippo. Documentary To Kill A Tiger, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, The Handmaid’s Tale and Essex County also picked up multiple honours. Find the full list of winners here.
Crave and APTN limited drama series Little Bird has won the MIPCOM Cannes Diversify TV award, in the Representation of Race and Ethnicity – Scripted category. The awards are dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion in all its forms across the international television industry. Led by an Indigenous creative team, Little Bird was co-created by showrunner Jennifer Podemski and head writer Hannah Moscovitch. The creative team includes directors Zoe Hopkins and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and was written by Moscovitch, Hopkins, Shannon Masters and Darrell Dennis. Little Bird is currently airing on APTN and PBS, and streaming on Crave, APTN lumi and PBS.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival juries have selected winners across film, video, audio and digital media works in 16 different categories for the 2023 Awards Presentation. Among them, Cody Lightning’s Hey, Viktor! won the Dramatic Feature Award; Connie Walker was awarded the Narrative Audio Award for Gimlet Media’s Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s podcast; while Lindsay McIntyre picked up the Live Action Short Award for Nigiqtuq (The South Wind).
Canada Post has issued a new stamp commemorating the career of celebrated Canadian actor Donald Sutherland. Following his breakout role in 1967 WWII film The Dirty Dozen, Sutherland landed the lead in 1970 feature film M*A*S*H as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, earning him the first of nine Golden Globe nominations. An eclectic range of roles in nearly 200 film and television productions has followed. The Canada Post stamp takes its inspiration from movie posters, featuring an image of the actor’s profile, with several of his movie titles in English and French. It’s cancelled in Sutherland’s birthplace of Saint John, NB. Read more here.
Telefilm has released its Indigenous Reconciliation Plan “as part of the continual nature of reconciliation and a desire to maintain a reciprocal relationship with Indigenous creators and partners.” Crafted through a collaborative two-year process, the plan gathered input from Telefilm’s Indigenous Working Group, interactions with filmmakers, and dialogues with Indigenous partner organizations. It’s structured around four core areas — strengthen, expand, engage and learn — setting out commitments for the next 18 months and three years. Among other measures, Telefilm says it will continue to expand Indigenous reconciliation efforts beyond the $4 million funding envelope for Indigenous projects and implement any best practice recommendations from Indigenous Screen Office consultations and around eligibility criteria for accessing Indigenous-specific funding.
Paramount+ in Canada, BIPOC TV & Film, and the National Screen Institute have partnered on the Elevate program, providing business development mentorship, as well as strategies for growth and stability to BIPOC-owned production companies. Applications are now open until Nov. 30. The Elevate program will run from January 2024 to March 2025.
Harlow Creative, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, and CBC have announced that production is underway in Toronto and Montreal on new CBC Gem youth family drama Near or Far (8×12). Based on the original story by Wattpad author Emma Szalai (Until I Met You, Maybe Perfect), written and created by Duana Taha (SurrealEstate, Degrassi), and directed by Vanessa Magic (True Dating Stories, The Future Above Us) and Duana Taha, the original series will continue production until early November and is slated to launch in spring 2024. Focused on sisters Lauren (Fanar Zak) and Sadie (Chloe Avakian) Mostafa, one of the only immigrant families in their bucolic lakefront Ontario town, Near or Far boasts an all-Canadian cast, including Brendon Kienhong Tremblay (Alert: Missing Persons Unit), Addison Holley (Annedroids), Christine Sahely (The Expanse), Soroush Saeidi (Transplant), Kalista Wilson (Transplant), and Tommie-Amber Pirie (Michael: Every Day).
Crave has revealed the cast of Canada’s Drag Race Season 4, premiering Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET. Featuring 11 Canadian queens, the nine-episode season will be available to Canadian audiences in English and French. Season 4 is set to launch simultaneously on World of Wonder’s SVOD platform WOW Presents Plus in the U.S. and more than 160 countries around the world. Queen of the North Brooke Lynn Hytes, celebrity stylist and TV personality Brad Goreski, and ETALK senior correspondent Traci Melchor return as resident judges.
Crave has confirmed a Season 3 order for original series, Shoresy. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, and produced by New Metric Media in association with Play Fun Games and Crave, the hockey comedy continues to follow fan favourite character, Shoresy (Keeso), and the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs of the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (The NOSHO). Production on Season 3 begins in Sudbury in November.
CBC Sports is bringing audiences action from the Pan American Games, taking place in Santiago, Chile through Sunday, Nov. 5 and featuring more than 8,000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 39 sports. CBC Gem and CBC Sports digital platforms are offering multiple streaming feeds of sporting events at Santiago 2023, with a focus on Canadian athletes. The official broadcaster of the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, Pan Am Sports Channel, is also available for free in Canada throughout the event, offering additional live feeds.
JWeekly Canada will air a Mental Health Special on Oct. 28 as host Susan Minuk sits down with sportscasting legend Michael Landsberg for a candid and sobering look at Landsberg’s own struggles with mental illness. Ieden Wall follows with a candid chat with Toronto mental health therapist, Liz Beiterman. Season 4 of the grassroots Jewish talk show debuted on Sept. 30 on OMNI TV.
Prime Video has announced two Amazon Original hockey documentaries in collaboration with NHL Productions. Set to premiere in 2024, Chosen One: Alexandre Daigle highlights the Quebec-born teenage hockey phenom, positioned to be the saviour of the expansion Ottawa Senators. Saving Sakic follows the high-stakes saga that ensued when Colorado Avalanche CEO Charlie Lyons was blindsided by an attempt to sign away the captain of his team, future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic. With only seven days to raise $15 million to save his star, Lyons finds a lifeline from an unexpected place – Hollywood.
Prime Video has announced the Season 2 cast of LOL: Qui rira le dernier? The French-language Amazon Original comedy series returns after its hit first season, using 45 cameras to catch all of the action during the unpredictable six-hour competition which follows a group of established comedy stars and up-and-coming talent. An adaptation of Documental, the successful Japanese Amazon Original series created by and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto, the new cast of competitors includes Roxane Bruneau, Fabien Cloutier, Pier-Luc Funk, Philippe Laprise, Katherine Levac, Mariana Mazza, Neev, Stéphane Rousseau, Tai TL, and Rosalie Vaillancourt.
Prime Video has entered into a global agreement to distribute the Crunchyroll anime subscription service. Now available via Prime Video Channels in the U.S. and Canada, with Sweden and the UK launching this week, Prime members can now select from two Crunchyroll memberships: Fan or Mega Fan, both of which allow customers to stream the entire Crunchyroll library ad-free, while enjoying new episodes shortly after their release in Japan. Crunchyroll is an independently operated joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan).
Paramount+ has set a date to roll out new tier subscriptions in Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil. The streamer will roll out a “Premium” plan on Nov. 16 that supports 4K UHD, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, in addition to four concurrent streams for $13.99/month. An ad-supported tier will follow in 2024. Currently, there’s just one subscription option available in Canada at either $9.99/month or $99.99/year.
MTM Jr. has released new data focused on usage of Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services amongst kids under 18. It finds 81% of anglophone households subscribe to at least one SVOD service, while four in five kids aged 2-17 watch SVOD content monthly. Households with children are 11% more likely to subscribe to SVODs than the average anglophone household (90% versus 81%). They are also 50% more likely to subscribe to an SVOD than they are to a linear TV service (90% versus 60%). Netflix remains the most popular SVOD service for both household subscriptions and viewership among kids with 76% of anglophone kids able to access a Netflix subscription, followed by Amazon Prime Video (63%) and Disney+ (54%). 71% of French-speaking households subscribe to at least one service with Francophone households with children 28% more likely to subscribe to an SVOD service than the average household (91% versus 71%). 78% of French-speaking children aged 2-17 have access to Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime Video (56%) and Disney+ (50%).
GEMS Vancouver, in association with Whistler Film Festival (WFF), has announced Rebecca Strom as the recipient of the 2023 GEMS Whistler Film Festival Market Preparation Mentorship for her feature film, Until the Night Turns; about a 16-year old struggling to run her family’s farm while her father operates an illegal dog fighting ring. Strom’s mentor will be award-winning filmmaker Karen Lam. A BC-based multidisciplinary creative, Strom has worked in front of and behind the camera for nearly 15 years. She is currently co-developing 10-episode digital series Dandyland with support from TELUS StoryHive, slated for release on Optik TV in summer 2024. Select credits include writing Before MARS, the 30-minute prequel for Ron Howard’s MARS series, produced for the National Geographic Channel, and writing romantic whimsical zombie film, BITE, which received a Spotlight Award at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Pelmorex Corp., parent company of The Weather Network, MétéoMédia, Eltiempo.es, Clima, and Otempo.pt weather brands, has announced the launch of a new generative-AI powered tool offering personalized weather recommendations. Your Weather Assistant, currently available on The Weather Network app and online in English, with French and Spanish language capabilities in development, blends weather data with language learning to provide users with real-time information. Patent-pending, recommendations Your Weather Assistant can provide include personalized forecasts, weather-appropriate wardrobe suggestions, activity and travel recommendations, and historical weather information. Pelmorex says this is the first in a series of innovations as the company positions itself as “an AI-frontiered weather and climate organization, with a focus on helping users and businesses make informed decisions using cutting-edge technology.” Read more here.
TVO Today’s Shift Happens is a six-part series of online videos that explore how people and communities in Ontario discover their power to pivot when their plans change. The first episode, “The Graveyard Shift,” is now available online and will be followed with weekly launches on Mondays through Nov. 27. Each six- to 10-minute video in the series highlights how desperate people are putting their faith into something new and unknown, from securing a new family home to preserving an aging community built on ideals, to safeguarding Canada’s refugee claimant system against biased technology.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:
The CRTC is proposing to relax Corus Entertainment’s regulatory obligations on an “exceptional basis” as the media company saw a dramatic decline in its financials over the last year. Corus sent an application to the regulator earlier this month stating that high inflation, its sub-$1 share price, and its debt-to-liquid cash ratio had reached “unacceptable levels” after the company saw a 61% free cash decline over the previous year, resulting in it halving its dividend to preserve cash. It’s requested a temporary reduction in its obligation to programs of national interest (PNI) from 8.5% to 5% of the previous year’s revenues and extending the deadline to pay back what it already owes the regulator from the pandemic relief period. “Given the urgency of the situation, the Commission determines that it is appropriate to give immediate consideration to Corus’ application on an exceptional basis,” the CRTC said in a letter addressed to the company. The deadline for interventions is Nov. 3.
Bell Media has entered into an agreement to acquire the Canadian business of outdoor and out-of-home media company, Outfront Media. As of the end of 2022, Outfront operated 9,325 total displays in Canada, generating $91.9 million USD in revenue last year. Bell is acquiring Outfront’s Canadian business for $410 million CDN in cash, excluding adjustments, with the transaction expected to close in 2024, subject to regulatory approval. Stewart Johnston, Senior Vice-President, Sales and Sports, Bell Media, said Outfront’s assets are a natural compliment to the 45,000 advertising faces available under its own out-of-home division, Astral. Read more here.
RTDNA Canada has handed out its National Awards of Excellence and Best Canadian Local News Awards, recognizing the best of digital and broadcast journalism, at its National Conference and Awards Gala over the weekend. CBC News led the National winners, capturing 15 awards and sweeping the Audio categories, while CTV picked up eight awards. The public broadcaster also dominated the Local News Awards with CBC Saskatchewan and CBC Calgary among the bureaus recognized with multiple honours. Among other awards, CityNews Vancouver journalist Kier Junos was recognized with the inaugural Emerging Journalist Award. Find the full list of winners here.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has released new survey data indicating almost half (48%) of Canadians are not confident in their ability to distinguish between fake news generated by AI and human-produced content. The survey found a majority (58%) of respondents have encountered misleading or false online/social media information in the past six months they believe was generated by AI. Those most confident in their ability to determine the difference between AI and human content generation (52%), 63% were Gen Z (aged 18-26) and more likely to be male (58% versus 46% of women), living in Atlantic Canada (57%), Quebec (56%), and Ontario, in addition to the least educated (54%). Read more here.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), in partnership with Intact Financial Corporation, will convene a panel of experts on Nov. 8 to probe the effectiveness of climate-solutions journalism. The free virtual event will bring together a panel of climate journalists, academics and editors to discuss how to make climate journalism more engaging and impactful, including Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood, a member of The Narwhal team that won the 2023 CJF Award for Climate Solutions Reporting; Dr. Anabela Bonada, Manager of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation; Mark Hertsgaard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Covering Climate Now, and Diego Arguedas Ortiz, Network Manager of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Laura Lynch, host of CBC’s “What On Earth?,” will moderate. Register here.
Colin D’Mello, Global News’ Queen’s Park Bureau Chief is among the former Seneca Polytehnic graduates featured in a new student recruitment campaign, in partnership with Forsman & Bodenfors Canada. The latest iteration of the campaign builds on the “Driven by Ambition” concept introduced in 2022, turning the spotlight on six more Seneca grads who are channelling their education into successful careers. New Driven by Ambition advertisements are now appearing on GTA transit, digital signage, television and online.
BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:
PSSI Global Services has announced majority interest investment in the broadcast transmission provider by new partners Don Daseke and Derek Blount. The company says the strategic investment marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the company, positioning it for future growth. Daseke, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of North American transportation giant Daseke, Inc., will serve as Chairman of PSSI, while Blount, a seasoned operations and financial executive, will serve as the company’s CEO and Chief Financial Officer. Under the new ownership structure, PSSI says it’s poised to expand its engineering, event management, and transmission services into new markets while accelerating growth and expanding service offerings to its customer base. PSSI International Teleport (PIT) will continue to operate out of Pittsburgh.
Hisense and Verance are introducing the first mass market ATSC watermark detection for NextGen TVs across their ATSC 3.0 product lines, giving broadcasters the ability to deliver new interactive experiences on select Hisense ULED and Laser TVs via cable, satellite or antenna. The Verance Aspect watermark provides commercial implementation of the ATSC audio A/334 watermark specification. Broadcasters are including watermark signals in their services, which pass transparently through all distribution paths and set-top boxes, triggering NextGen TV broadcast applications for opted-in consumers including Sports Betting, Fantasy Sports, Watch Party, Personalized News & Weather, and Advanced Emergency Information.
Snow is in the forecast, a Halloween costume has been purchased for my daughter, and WABE is a month away. I’m about to spook you with a reminder that Oct. 31st is the early bird deadline to register for WABE to take in the full conference at the best price! Sign up today! We would love to know you are coming.
Kicking of the convention this year, on Nov 27 at 7 p.m., is our Media Mixer networking event. For the Media Mixer, think Manitoba social meets work gathering, slash grow your network event. Tickets are $25 for anyone not purchasing a full delegate pass. This is a great chance to come and meet the community, share a snack and see who you might already know.
Our full schedule has a bit of something for everyone who attends, as well as some special guests you are going to want to meet, such as SMPTE Executive Director David Grindle, Vancouver Post Alliance’s Kelsy Wittmann, and Canadian Media Producers Association’s Jason Lee, just to name a few. We also have some great presentations and panel discussions lined up that you are not going to want to miss. There are going to be some great talks about AI, Security, Lens Filters, SDI IP video, Radio in the Cloud, the Data possibilities of ATSC, how to choose the right mic, how to give a good presentation, how to prepare for technical changes in media, among others. You will learn something you didn’t know at WABE, and it can come as a surprise through a conversation at breakfast, from a paper, or from a discussion on the exhibit hall floor. Explore our way through the never-ending changes in technology we work with every day, which WABE has always been about.
We know taking time off work and paying out of pocket to attend a convention is not easy for technical folks working behind the scenes this year. At WABE, we are working hard to make this a community easy to access, local, and affordable. We want all of those working with tech, whether it’s operating, installing, repairing, or selling, to have a place to come explore, share, and be part of this dynamic and connected group. It is still a small industry, so if you come, there is a pretty good chance you will meet an old friend, a colleague, or a business acquaintance. If you are a Vendor or supplier, we still have sponsorship opportunities available to help you showcase your business.
To our Gold Sponsors: Applied Electronics, Burli Software Inc., Deltech CGI, G.S. Broadcast Technical Services, & Tieline, The Pipe Shop Venue, Pippin Technical Services, RCS Canada, and Ron Paley Broadcast & DJB Radio, we cannot thank you enough for your contributions this year and for helping us to create a sold-out exhibit hall at The Pipe Shop Venue at the Shipyards. Almost every media technology in the world is represented by the vendors who are in the Free Exhibit Hall. You can get your free pass by clicking on this link.
To our Silver Sponsors, year after year, you are such loyal supporters of what we do.
To our Bronze Sponsors, we are so thankful for your participation.
Something is stirring this year in Vancouver and you are not going to want to miss WABE at The Shipyards District, Nov 27-29.
Tessa Potter, WABE President