The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Marci Ien

Marci Ien is the new Liberal Member of Parliament-elect for Toronto Centre, following Monday’s by-election to fill the seat vacated by former Finance Min. Bill Morneau. Ien’s successful jump to politics comes the same week her new book Off Script: Living Out Loud drops, which details the pressure she felt to “stay on script” as the first Black woman in Canada to co-host a national morning show.

 

Gave Lindo

Gave Lindo, who has been CBC’s Executive Director of OTT Programming for the past two years, has left the public broadcaster to join TikTok Canada. Lindo is now the video sharing platform’s Director of Content Programming, Canada. Prior to joining CBC in 2017, he was the executive director of the Reelword Film Festival and before that worked in the public broadcaster’s Business & Rights department.

Ginella Massa

Ginella Massa is joining CBC News where the network says she’ll helm a new weeknight, prime time program, set to launch early next year. Massa, who has been an anchor and reporter with CityNews Toronto since 2016, made history when she became the country’s first hijab-wearing TV news reporter at CTV Kitchener in 2015. She’ll join CBC in mid-November when the public broadcaster says development will begin on a new program for the 8 p.m. timeslot on CBC News Network. She’ll also contribute to CBC News specials and file feature stories to The National as a “special correspondent.” Read more here.

Salimah Shivji

Salimah Shivji and Glen Kugelstadt have been hired as the CBC’s reporter/producer team in Mumbai as it moves to establish a permanent bureau in India. Shivji has been with CBC for 15 years, most recently as a senior reporter in the Parliamentary bureau, while Kugelstadt is a veteran cameraman and producer with previous experience overseas. CBC News Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon has also revealed the public broadcaster’s plans to hire a national network reporter and field producer in the North to file from the N.W.T, Yukon and Nunavut.

Lisa Laco

Lisa Laco is retiring from CBC Thunder Bay after nearly three decades. Laco arrived in Northwestern Ontario in 1992 to produce the morning show after holding a similar role with CBC in St. John’s, NL. She’s gone on to host Superior Morning (formerly The Great Northwest) for 23 years. Her last day with the public broadcaster will be Dec. 31.

Steven Ladurantaye

Steven Ladurantaye has resigned as head of News & Current Affairs at Scotland’s STV. An STV spokesperson told The Times, Ladurantaye had left “for medical reasons around mental health, for which he is receiving treatment.”  Prior to joining STV in late 2018, Ladurantaye was in a Managing Editor role at CBC.

 

 

Jamie Tawil

 

Jamie Tawil is leaving Global News Radio 640 (CFMJ-AM) Toronto to take on a dual anchor-reporter role with Global Okanagan. Starting Dec. 7, Tawil will anchor multiple editions of Global Okanagan’s late night newscast, while also reporting for the network. Tawil has been with AM 640 since 2015, most of that time as senior morning news anchor.

“Danger” Darren Grieve

“Danger” Darren Grieve is the new midday host on 101.5 Whistler FM (CKEE-FM). The longtime CFOX Vancouver personality takes on the new role in addition to his duties as a traffic reporter for News 1130 (CKWX-AM) and contributor to JACK 96.9 FM (CJAX-FM). 

Isabella Zavarise

Isabella Zavarise is joining News 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver as a weekend anchor and reporter. A 2018 BCIT graduate, Zavarise has been working with CBC P.E.I. as a reporter, editor and VJ for the last two and a half years.

Ryan Carroll

Ryan Carroll is the new afternoon drive host at 96.3 BIG FM (CFMK-FM), starting Nov. 2. Caroll has been in a combined afternoon host/music director role at Corus sister station 104.3 Fresh Radio (CKWS-FM) since 2017. 

Kolter Bouchard has announced that at 29, he’s been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and started chemotherapy treatments this week. In a video posted to Twitter, Bouchard said the 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) afternoon show he co-hosts with Meredith Geddes will go on as he continues broadcasting from home.

John Lott

John Lott, senior baseball writer for The Athletic, is retiring. Lott, 76, previously covered the Toronto Blue Jays for the National Post for 16 years. He also spent 24 years teaching in the Centennial College Journalism program and served as program coordinator. 

 

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

Numeris has cancelled its Fall 2020 Radio Release. In a communique to members last week, the audience measurement agency said while it was confident earlier this year that it would be able to maintain measurement during the pandemic by moving the diary online-only, “…the impact of COVID-19 and its extenuating factors have made it more challenging to recruit with response rates lower than planned with households struggling to find the time to complete the diary during this pandemic.” It will now focus on a Spring 2021 Release using the diaries collected for Fall and continuing enumeration for Spring. Lars Wunsche, Executive Vice President, Sales at Evanov Radio Group, is among those with concerns about the Fall book cancellation, telling Broadcast Dialogue “we are now forced to wait until we see any ratings indication for changes and investments that were made. By the time the results are provided, some of these significant adjustments will be almost a year old.” Read more here.

LISTEN: Numeris President & CEO Neil McEneaney was on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast with an update on the introduction of a new audio strategy, the motivation behind a recent staff reorganization, and how Numeris is managing some of the challenges brought about the pandemic. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

LISTEN: Matt Cundill responds to McEneaney’s update on the Sound Off Podcast, specifically taking issue with Numeris’ confidence in the TV paper diary method. In this episode, he also sounds off about how radio got here and what the industry should do next.

Jim Richards

iHeartRadio Canada has launched a new series of national talk shows focused on positivity and the importance of mental wellness. Two new six-part series – Life Matters (12-1 p.m. ET) and Listen For A Change (1-2 p.m. ET) – started airing Fridays on Bell Media talk stations last week. The new series of shows will also be available for download on the iHeartRadio Canada app. Life Matters is hosted by Tony Chapman and focuses on the stories of inspiring Canadians who have overcome adversity, while Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto host Jim Richards helms Listen For A Change, featuring real-time expert support for listeners struggling with their mental health.

CBC has released audience data indicating engagement across the public broadcaster’s platforms was up substantially between March and July. CBC says visits to its CBC Listen platform were up 50% with an average 1.2 million visits weekly in the quarantine period, while it recorded a 40% jump in podcast downloads (14 million monthly). CBC Radio One tuning was up 20%, hitting record share of 16.5%.

Corus Entertainment’s Curiouscast podcast network has struck a partnership with Podcast Radio in the UK that will see sample episodes of Curiouscast’s top podcasts played on the station. Podcast Radio UK launched in February and broadcasts on DAB digital radio in London, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow. Among the podcasts to be featured are true crime series Crime Beat and Dark Poutine, The Ongoing History of New Music, and ASMR sleep podcast Nothing Much Happens.

CBC North has launched Inuit Unikkaangit, an Inuktitut-language podcast that replays thousands of hours of recently digitized interviews and conversations with Inuit. Inuit Unikkaangit, which means “our stories” or “Inuit stories”, is hosted by archivist Mary Powder who plays those interviews for the descendants of the original storytellers, some of whom are hearing them for the very first time.

Paul Romanuk, former Hockey Night in Canada and TSN broadcaster, is seven episodes into his music podcast, The Walrus Was Paul. Romanuk chats with guests like musicians Dave Bidini, Stephen Stanley, Jim Cuddy, and former MuchMusic personality Christopher Ward, about their respective love for The Beatles, diving track by track, into their favourite Beatles or Beatles solo album. 

 

Kristy Andre Henderson

 

Bayshore Broadcasting producer Kristy Henderson Andre has been selected as one of Radio Ink’s “30 and Under Superstars.” Currently the sole producer for nine stations, she sometimes produces up to 80 commercials in a day and on average 130 a week. She’s been with the radio group since 2010. Andre will be featured in an upcoming issue of the publication in December.

Stingray’s Classic Hits and Classic Rock stations will pick up boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto’s 7th annual Halloween broadcast Oct. 31. For six hours Saturday night, all 22 stations will air “IGOR’S Virtually Haunted Halloween House Party” with special guests joining in via “Zoombie.” boom producer Derek Welsman is featured in the role of Igor.

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group partnered with Battlefords Union Hospital Foundation to stage the On Air for Healthcare Radiothon last Friday. Heard on CJNB, Q98 (CJCQ-FM), 93.3 The Rock (CJHD-FM), and supported by BattlefordsNOW, this year’s event raised $127,496. The Radiothon took place remotely with a drive thru donation site set up in the CJNB parking lot. 

SIGN OFFS:

Earl Green

Earl Green, 86, on Oct.12. Green’s 50-year journalism career started with the Oshawa Times in the late 1950s. He moved on to the Toronto Telegram, and in 1969 went to London to write for The Guardian. He eventually returned to Canada and joined the Ottawa Citizen, rising to the position of city editor. The last three decades of his career were spent at CBC News Ottawa where he held various roles from assignment editor to online writer. He retired at age 78. 

Cory O’Kelly

Cory O’Kelly, 73, on Oct. 8. O’Kelly got his start in journalism in the mid-1950s, at age 16, at the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. He later moved over to CBC Radio Thunder Bay in the late 1970s and in 1984 joined CBC TV Ottawa as a city hall reporter. Known for his trademark humour, among the programs he hosted was current affairs program, Metro, which included a segment called “Open Your Purse” where unsuspecting women were asked to dump out their purses and talk about the contents. Upon his retirement from CBC in 2014, it was found O’Kelly had filed more than 5,000 stories.

TV & FILM:

The Short-Term Compensation Fund for Canadian Audiovisual Productions (STCF) will open for applications Oct. 30. The temporary federal measure is aimed at minimizing the consequences of the lack of insurance coverage for film and audiovisual productions either interrupted or abandoned due to COVID-19. Through the fund, Telefilm will indemnify eligible producers for Canadian production costs directly caused by an interruption of more than one day in filming or the producer’s abandonment of the production prior to the end of filming due to a confirmed diagnosis of an actor or director declared on the insurance policy covering the project, or any confirmed outbreak on set that requires a complete production shutdown. Details and criteria for the application process are now online.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) has announced the winners of the 2020 DGC Awards. Among those recognized were Vincenzo Natali, who picked up Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Tall Grass. Michelle Latimer won the Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary for Inconvenient Indian, while the DGC Discovery Award went to Tracey Deer for Beans. Holly Dale took the Oustanding Directorial Achievement in a Dramatic Series category for her work on the pilot for Transplant, while Daniel Levy and Andrew Cividino were recognized in the Comedy category for directing the finale of Schitt’s Creek. Find the complete list of winners here.

The 2020 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has announced this year’s award winners. Among those recognized were actor Lorne Cardinal, who received this year’s August Schellenberg Award of Excellence. The Sun Jury Award was presented to Objibwe director Evelyn Pakinewatik for her short film Mooz Miikan, while Best Dramatic Feature went to New Zealand’s Kiel McNaughton for The Legend of Baron To’a.

The Vancouver Economic Commission’s (VEC) annual film industry report says the B.C. film, television, visual effects and animation industry broke new records in 2019, spending more than $4.1 billion. Of that, more than $3.1 billion was spent on physical production alone, with the remainder accounted for by the sheer volume of post-production and animation activity largely centered in Vancouver. VEC says the industry’s job-creating power has grown steadily over the years with spending in B.C. tripling over the last eight years.

Corus Entertainment has signed a development agreement with Duncan Studio, an L.A. based independent animation company, to produce original animated feature films for the global market. Under the terms of the agreement, Corus’ Nelvana will invest in the development of new content created by Duncan’s in-house production division Duncan Originals as well as from Nelvana’s library of children’s IP, and select third party properties. The first title to be developed is Mother Nature, a character-driven, action-adventure feature created by Duncan Studio founder Ken Duncan

Titmouse Vancouver animation workers have voted 98% in favour of unionizing. The move represents the first time an animation studio in Canada has unionized, according to IATSE local 938. Among the studio’s animated titles are Star Trek: Lower Decks for CBS All Access and Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures for Disney XD. Titmouse also has studios in New York and Los Angeles. 

CTV, Project 10 Productions, and SEVEN24 Films have announced that CTV Original comedy JANN has been acquired by streaming platform Hulu. The deal sees Hulu secure exclusive U.S. rights for the first two seasons of the Canadian Screen Award-nominated series. The first season, consisting of six episodes, and the eight-episode second season of JANN will start streaming in the U.S. early next year.

Bell Media says its original drama Transplant has been embraced by U.S. viewers since its Sept. 1 launch on NBC. Currently averaging 5.2 million total viewers per episode, according to Nielsen data supplied by Bell, Transplant is currently the most-watched scripted series (comedy or drama) on broadcast television in the U.S. According to Nielsen data, the Oct. 6 episode delivered the biggest viewership lift yet with an additional 2.065 million viewers. Encore episodes of Transplant continue Tuesday, Nov. 10 on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV app.

CTV News Channel is once again on a nationwide free preview through the end of November. The network says the preview comes on the heels of the channel’s most-watched broadcast year on record, according to Numeris data supplied by Bell Media. The freeview is available through participating television service providers including Bell, Bell Aliant, BellMTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, and participating members of the CCSA.

Rogers customers can now access Amazon Music directly through Ignite TV, in addition to the Amazon Prime Video app. Building on its suite of applications available on Ignite TV, Rogers is the first telecom in Canada to integrate Amazon Music onto its platform. To access either Amazon Music Unlimited or Prime Music, customers need an active membership to Amazon Music Unlimited or a Prime membership. 

TELUS has signed an agreement with mental fitness app Calm to bring sleep, meditation and relaxation content into the homes of Optik TV and Pik TV customers. The collaboration is a first for Calm. Free to Optik and Pik TV subscribers, content includes guided meditations, breathing exercises, as well as Calm’s Sleep Stories.

Sophie Kokott

Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV), in association with the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced Sophie Kokott as the recipient of the 2020 WIFTV Whistler Film Festival Film Market Preparation Mentorship Program. Based in Saskatoon, Kokott was recognized for her project Butter as one of the co-founders of Floor Thirteen Films. She’ll receive industry immersion at the Whistler Film Festival, as well as personalized coaching sessions with this year’s producer/mentor, Tina Pehme, Creative Partner, Sepia Films, and co-founder of Honalee Entertainment.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Quebecor’s TVA Sports says it’s responding to sports fans’ changing demands as it moves to 100% digital-only sportscasts, as well as daily news podcasts. “Over the past few years, we have seen sports fans’ consumption habits changing, and the pace of this change has accelerated during the pandemic…from now on, we will deliver sports news where the fans are, while adding more live sports events to our programming,” Executive Producer Louis-Phillipe Neveau explained in a release. The channel says it will be enhancing its programming with more live sports coverage while continuing to air flagship evening shows, Dave Morissette en direct and JiC. It will also offer sports highlights, videos and results on tvasports.ca, its app and social media. Neveau said the shift “will entail some changes to the TVA Sports team, including some reassignments, in order to meet the channel’s objectives.” The union representing employees says 17 positions are impacted.

Bell Media has confirmed that production on its Quibi content will cease at the end of the week and a number of contract positions eliminated. As Quibi’s exclusive Canadian news and sports provider, Bell’s move comes roughly a month ahead of the short form video platform’s “on or about Dec. 1” shutdown date. “NEWSDAY BY CTV NEWS, NEWSNIGHT BY CTV NEWS, and SPORTS AM BY TSN will deliver their final broadcasts on Quibi this Friday, Oct. 30,” Rob Duffy, Manager, Communications for CTV News, TSN, and Bell Media Sports, told Broadcast Dialogue in an email. “A number of contract positions will be eliminated as a result, though no on-air talent are affected.” Duffy declined to say how many contract staff are impacted. 

Brad Danks

OPINION: Broadcast Dialogue contributor and OUTtv CEO Brad Danks has penned new column My Quibble with Quibi: A Lesson for Canada? Danks explores some of the takeaways from the short form video platform’s failure and outlines implications for the Canadian broadcast system in an increasingly crowded SVOD landscape, including a tech evolution that’s outpacing regulation. 

Media Central Corporation has announced that it’s received a request “from certain minority shareholders” to hold a special meeting of shareholders. “The stated intention of the Meeting is to replace the Company’s current Board of Directors. MediaCentral is currently reviewing the requisition and will update all shareholders as required,” the publicly-traded company indicated in a release. In addition to last year’s purchase of NOW Toronto, the company acquired Vancouver alt-weekly The Georgia Straight earlier this year. CEO Brian Kalish issued a controversial notice in June to shareholders indicating the company’s alt weeklies would be moving away from their focus on arts and venues, in favour of more esports, health, education and finance coverage.

News Media Canada, which represents Canadian print and digital publishers including Torstar, Postmedia, and the Globe and Mail, is calling on MPs to support the adoption of Australia’s approach to counter Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital advertising market. The recommendation is contained in Levelling the Digital Playing Field, a report commissioned by News Media Canada and prepared by FTI Consulting, which conducted an indepth analysis of action taken in democracies around the world to address the same challenge. Australia’s approach includes a draft code-of-conduct that would impose fines of up to $10M for tech companies that don’t comply. News companies would also negotiate content deals as a bloc with tech giants, among other measures. University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has written a series of blog posts, that among other points, say News Media’s interpretation of the Australian approach would open the door to hundreds of millions in tariff retaliation by the U.S. under USMCA.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Corus Entertainment’s Q4 and 2020 year end results reveal that Corus Radio segment revenues dipped 43% in the fourth quarter and 28% for the year, while segment profit fell $5.7 million (83%) in Q4 and $18.6 million (54%) for the year, as discretionary ad spending dried up. On the Television side, ad losses were mitigated by demand for content from U.S. broadcasters and streaming services, with segment revenues down 13% in Q4 and 9% for the year. TV advertising revenues decreased 25% in the quarter and 15% for the year, while subscriber revenues dipped by 1% for both the quarter and year. Read more here.

Rogers Q3 results for the three months ended Sept. 30, saw total revenue decrease by 2%, driven by a 9% decrease in Wireless service revenue, which was mainly a result of lower roaming revenue due to global travel restrictions during COVID-19, and lower overage revenue, as a result of the continued adoption of Rogers Infinite unlimited data plans. Cable revenue decreased by 1%, while Media revenue increased by 1%, primarily as a result of higher revenue from the resumption of NHL hockey, offset by lower revenue at the Toronto Blue Jays due to COVID-19. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA decreased 4% in the  quarter. Media adjusted EBITDA decreased by 32%, or $41 million, primarily due to higher programming and sports costs associated with the resumption of NHL hockey, partially offset by higher revenue.

Cogeco says the fourth quarter results of its media business was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the lower level of economic activity, notably in the retail industry, had an adverse impact on advertising revenues. However, the quarterly revenue decline compared to last year was slightly less than experienced during the third quarter. It says it’s also encouraged by advanced bookings for the new fiscal year for certain advertising verticals and in non-urban areas. Revenue increased by 2.2% to reach $624.2 million. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 1.6%, due to an increase of 3.0% in constant currency in the Communications segment mostly as a result of the American broadband services operations’ organic growth, combined with the impact of the Thames Valley Communications acquisition completed on March 10. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 6.7% to reach $299.9 million mostly attributable to higher adjusted EBITDA in the Communications segment due to increases in both the American and Canadian broadband services operations, partly offset by a decrease in media activities.

The CRTC has renewed Bell’s Fibe TV community television licences serving Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces, while finding Bell misallocated nearly $36 million in local programming spending. In a lengthy decision, the commission cites Bell for trying to pass off shows like LetterKenny, Let’s Get At’er (a behind the scenes look at the Crave series’ Sudbury shooting locations), and Mary’s Big Kitchen Party (featuring Mary Berg of CTV’s Mary’s Kitchen Crush), as locally reflective. The commission says Bell was using funding from the local expression budgets of its small exempt BDUs in the Atlantic Provinces to fund expensive non-local productions that were based in either Toronto or Montréal. Accordingly, Bell has been ordered to pay as a condition of licence nearly $18 million to the Canada Media Fund (CMF), corresponding to the excess portion of misallocated contributions to local expression. Read more here.

 

 

CBC/Radio-Canada is taking aim at reports it’s being granted a $33.7 million federal COVID-19 bailout. The public broadcaster issued a press release Monday attempting to debunk recent stories published by Blacklock’s Reporter, the Post Millennial, Rebel Media, and True North, featuring headlines like “CBC-TV Gets A Covid Bailout” and “Trudeau Liberals give failing CBC-TV bailout in midst of pandemic.” While the reports maintain the Liberal government has crafted a pandemic bailout for CBC-TV to compensate for a dip in advertising revenue, the public broadcaster says it has received no additional funding from government and that the documents cited, and tabled in Parliament last week, reflect an internal transfer of funds from CBC/Radio-Canada’s current capital budget to its current operating budget. “As the [Supplementary] Estimates make clear, this is an ‘Internal reallocation of resources for the COVID-19 impact to advertising revenues and operating costs,’” CBC said in the statement. Read more here.

LISTEN: With Canada’s 15th annual Media Literacy Week underway, Matthew Johnson, Education Director at MediaSmarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy, joins Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast to share his thoughts on how to help rebuild trust in legitimate news sources. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here: 

CTV News’ Washington correspondent Richard Madan

CBC and CTV News are among 24 media organizations that have signed a statement urging the U.S. government not to move forward with proposed changes that would shorten the visa length for foreign journalists. The “I visa” is required for all foreign journalists operating in the U.S. Valid right now for up to five years, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing to limit the visa to 240 days, with a possible extension of a maximum of 240 days. News organizations say the move would seriously impact the work of the foreign media covering the U.S.  “Many foreign news organizations have a permanent presence in the US by sending correspondents there for a number of years (commonly 2-5 years),” reads the statement. “This period of time allows the individual journalists to better understand the country and therefore better report on it to the rest of the world.”

The Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) presents its 42nd Annual Awards for Journalistic Excellence on Nov. 18. The virtual event will get underway on CEMA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, at 8 p.m. ET, and will feature at-home acceptance speeches, remote artistic performances, and messages from special guests. A new CEMA logo will also be unveiled.

 

The Jack Webster Foundation, recognizing excellence in journalism in B.C., has announced its 2020 Student/Indigenous Student Journalism Award recipients. Each recipient will be awarded $2,000. Read more about the Indigenous Student Journalism Award recipients here, and the Student Journalism Award recipients here.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) next J-Talks Live virtual event explores what it will take for journalism to survive in this new reality. The free webcast takes place Thursday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. ET. The featured guests are S. Mitra Kalita, senior vice-president for news, opinion and programming for CNN Digital, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. They’ll be in conversation with host Anna Maria Tremonti.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Orban is making its Loudness Meter software available free of charge. The software is sponsored by Orban’s loudness controllers for FM radio, television, and streaming. Learn more here.