The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Zuraidah Alman

Zuraidah Alman will host a new 5 p.m. CTV News Toronto weekday newscast, beginning Monday, Nov. 13. The new newscast will air ahead of the new early evening edition of CTV National News at 5:30 p.m., anchored by Sandie Rinaldo. Alman will also continue to anchor CTV News Toronto at 11:30.

James Peters

James Peters has taken over as News Director at CFJC Kamloops, as Dave Barry moves into the role of TV Operations Manager for Pattison Media’s Kamloops and Prince George stations. Peters, who has been with the station for more than 17 years, moves up from the position of Assistant News Director, a position he’s held since 2018. 

Laura Geddes

Laura Geddes has left the Virgin Radio morning show, heard in Kitchener and London, that she co-hosted alongside Jeff & Backstage Ben. Citing a need to focus on her health in a post to social media, Geddes had been heard on Virgin Kitchener since 2019 and the London station since 2020 when the show expanded to an additional market. Prior to that, she was a morning show co-host on 91.5 The Beat (CKBT-FM) Kitchener and a swing announcer at 94.5 The Bull (CIBU-FM) Wingham.

Frank Cameron

Frank Cameron is retiring from Halifax-area community radio station, 105.9 Seaside FM (CFEP-FM). Cameron, 85, had been heard on the station since 2005, following a career that started at CKEC New Glasgow, followed by CKCL Truro, CHNS Halifax, and later national CBC program “Music Hop” and the Halifax version “Frank’s Bandstand.” He joined CBC full-time in 1967, until his retirement from the public broadcaster in 1995.

Johan Wibergh

Johan Wibergh has joined the BCE Board of Directors. Wibergh is the former Chief Technology and Information Officer of Vodafone and former EVP & Head of Business Unit Networks for Ericsson

Nick Gawne

Nick Gawne has joined WildBrain as Chief Financial Officer as part of a streamlined business structure. Gawne brings over 20 years’ experience in finance, operations and business development in the media space with a focus on kids’ and family IP, including almost 15 years with eOne, most recently as Executive Vice President and General Manager following eOne’s acquisition by Hasbro. Based in Toronto, he reports to WildBrain President and CEO Josh Scherba, succeeding Aaron Ames, who will continue in an advisory capacity. Additionally, Stephanie Betts has been appointed Executive Vice President, Content Creation in an expanded role that builds on her longstanding leadership of the company’s development and production business. Kate Smith has been appointed Executive Vice President, Audience Engagement, overseeing all aspects of WildBrain’s content distribution, YouTube network and digital marketing. Maarten Weck has been appointed EVP, Global Partnerships and Licensing, and will spearhead oversight of key global IP partnerships across the WildBrain ecosystem and WildBrain CPLG. Deirdre Brennan, Chief Operating Officer, has departed the company to pursue other opportunities. 

Raj Mishra

Raj Mishra has joined QYou Media’s Indian operations as group CEO. Mishra was appointed to QYOU’s board of directors in May, bringing a background that includes his instrumental role as the first employee at Musical.ly in India (now TikTok), leading it to over 60 million monthly active users. In 2019, he took on a new challenge within ByteDance where he spearheaded strategy for their suite of products, including the app Helo, and then joined Triller as the Country GM and India Head. Most recently, he’s been consulting for a number of digital and gaming companies including QYOU’s India business units.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Doug & Mary Kirk surrounded by Durham Radio employees at OAB Connection 2023.

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) has presented its annual OAB Hall of Fame honour to Durham Radio President Doug Kirk. Kirk founded Durham Radio in 1994 with the acquisition of CHOO 1390 AM Ajax, ON, going on to grow the company to seven stations over the last three decades, including KX96 (CJKX-FM) Ajax, 94.9 The Rock (CKGE-FM) and CKDO Oshawa, KX 94.7 (CHKX-FM) Hamilton/Burlington, 92.9 The Grand (CHTG-FM) Haldimand County, and WAVE 98.3 (CIWV-FM) Vancouver. A past president of OAB from 2008-16, Kirk reflected on his love for the medium during his acceptance speech, taking the opportunity to advocate for independent broadcasters, acknowledging the challenges ahead. OAB also handed out awards recognizing station promotion, community service and creative at Wednesday’s awards luncheon. Read more here. More coverage of OAB Connection 2023 to come.

SiriusXM has unveiled a new SiriusXM Streaming app, rolling out to subscribers across North America beginning Dec. 14. Key features coming to the new SiriusXM app include Always-On Personalization & Curation with four curated sections – Music, Talk & Podcasts, Sports, and For You; Greater Content Discovery with new pages dedicated to teams, shows, channels, and artists; Revamped Playback with a new and improved media player optimized for each type of content; Enhanced Search; Improved Podcast Listening; and a Central Audio Library that allows listeners to save content they like. SiriusXM has also unveiled a new logo and mascot, a fresh take on its iconic dog, now named “Stella.” Read more here.

SiriusXM Canada has announced the return of its holiday music lineup, including three new channels: Trans-Siberian Orchestra Radio, Smokey’s Holiday Soul Town and Sleep Christmas. Other offerings include Hallmark Channel Radio, featuring music and carols from the Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas movies; Holidays with The Tenors; Mannheim Steamroller Radio; and Noël Incontournable playing Francophone Christmas classics with music from Ginette Reno, Bruno Pelletier and Laurence Nerbonne.  

Ken Farrell, General Manager, 989 XFM, and Amy Carver, Executive Director of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation.

98.9 XFM (CJFX-FM) Antigonish, NS has now helped raise more than $1.7 million over the last 30 years during the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation Hospital Help Day. This year’s 12-hour live broadcast was held Oct. 25, raising nearly $84,000.

Rogers Sports & Media’s Frequency Podcast Network has launched In This Economy?!, a spin-off of its daily affairs podcast, The Big Story, billed as a “survival guide” to help navigate an unpredictable economy. Hosted by Jordan Heath-Rawlings, the weekly show will share the stories of real people seeking out realistic solutions to money problems. Since the launch of The Big Story five years ago, the show’s producers say the singular theme that’s emerged is that a growing percentage of the population can’t afford to live basic, comfortable lives. Read more here.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill reunites with former 100.3 The Bear (CFBR-FM) Edmonton colleague Jake Daniels. In this episode, you’ll hear Jake’s infamous story about Nazareth, recollections of watching Nickelback’s ascension into stardom and Woodstock ’99 (Jake was there), how he still hates country music and Metallica, and advice on the benefits of going vegan. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:


(l-r) UCB National Promotions Director John Connor, CHRI Promotions Director Care Baldwin, CHRI Community Relations Director Lydia Paulino, WGTS Morning Show Host Jerry Woods.

FEATURE: UCB Canada is celebrating 20 years on-air with the launch of a national streaming channel, in response to listener demand from outside the listening area of its 12 stations across Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We spoke with National Promotions Director John Connor about the radio group’s plans to launch two new FM signals in 2024 and more. Read Broadcast Dialogue’s interview with Connor here.

 

SIGN OFFS:

Doriana Temolo, 64, on Nov. 1 after a battle with breast cancer. A trailblazer for women in news, Temolo started her career in 1978 at CKNW, when its studios were still located in New Westminster, BC. By 1983, she had moved into television news with CKVU-TV in Vancouver, going on to join BCTV (now Global BC) in 1987. Temolo initially joined the station as a reporter, anchor and producer, eventually moving into a producer role on Global National for a decade, part of the original team that launched the national newscast in 2001. She was appointed news director in 2011, a role she held until 2016. Under her direction, the newscast won numerous awards, including the Canadian Screen Award for Best National Newscast in 2015.

TV & FILM:

The SAG-AFTRA picket line in New York City on July 14, 2023. (@sagaftra/Twitter)

ACTRA (The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) says it’s relieved SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) after a 118-day long strike. On strike since July 14, the union says the tentative three-year contract includes “above-pattern” minimum compensation increases, provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus. 

Crave award-winning original series Letterkenny will drop its twelfth and final season on Dec. 25, consisting of six new episodes. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, Crave’s first-ever original series premiered in 2016, establishing a loyal fanbase. According to data provided by Bell Media, Letterkenny is the most-streamed Canadian show on the platform for the past several years. 

CBC is bringing extended three-part original series Blackberry to CBC Gem and CBC TV on Nov. 9. All three episodes will be available to stream for free on CBC Gem and beginning that evening, a new episode will air weekly on CBC TV. From Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films, Blackberry is director and co-writer Matt Johnson’s (Nirvanna the Band the Show) take on the rise and demise of the world’s first smartphone, starring Jay Baruchel (This Is The End) and Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

l-r: Supinder Wraich, Enrico Colantoni, Stephen Lobo; from bottom left to right: Adolyn H. Dar, Brian Markinson, David Cubitt

CBC and Lark Productions have announced casting and production details for Anar Ali’s (Transplant) character-driven police procedural Allegiance (10×60), now in production in Vancouver and BC’s lower mainland. A CBC Original series, being produced in association with Universal International Studios, the series features an ensemble cast led by Supinder Wraich (Sort Of), Enrico Colantoni (Station Eleven), Stephen Lobo (Continuum), Adolyn H. Dar (Superman & Lois), Brian Markinson (A Million Little Things) and David Cubitt (Virgin River); with showrunners Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern (Flashpoint, X Company) at the helm. Allegiance will premiere on CBC Gem and CBC TV in winter 2024.

Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado will host and perform at the 2024 JUNO Awards Broadcast on March 24. The 53rd Annual JUNO Awards, produced by Insight Productions, will broadcast and stream live from Scotiabank Centre in Halifax on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally at CBCMusic.ca/junos and CBC Music’s YouTube page. Furtado will host the awards for the second time since her 2007 debut in Saskatoon. The JUNO Awards has also announced the induction of hip-hop pioneer Maestro Fresh Wes into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Tegan and Sara will be honoured by CARAS with the 2024 Humanitarian Award recognizing their contributions to Canada’s social culture and worldwide, to be presented by actor, producer, director, and Halifax native Elliot Page.

The 2023 Canada’s Walk of Fame 25th Anniversary Celebration will be co-hosted by The Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, along with singer, songwriter, Broadway star and previous Walk of Fame inductee Deborah Cox. Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Dec. 2, CTV will broadcast the event Dec. 16. Inductees announced to date include The Honourable Rosalie Silberman Abella, Michael Budman and Don Green, Tantoo Cardinal, Degrassi, Avril Lavigne, Connor McDavid, Dr. Brenda Milner, Rick Mercer and Gary Slaight. Also joining Canada’s Walk of Fame this year are the 13 Canadian rock bands and musicians honoured during “Canada’s Rock of Fame” including April Wine, Chilliwack, Glass Tiger, Lee Aaron, Lighthouse, Loverboy, Max Webster, Michel Pagliaro, Platinum Blonde, PRISM, Rough Trade, The Parachute Club, and Trooper

Global News’ Remembrance Day coverage will include two special presentations, Canada Remembers, hosted by Dawna Friesen, and No Stone Left Alone, hosted by Tracy Tong, along with regional specials in Vancouver and Calgary. Friesen will be joined by Dean Oliver, Director of Museum Services at Know History Inc., and former Vice President of the Canadian War Museum. Airing at 7:30 a.m. PT, 8:30 a.m. MT, 10:30 a.m. ET, CT, and 11:30 a.m. AT, the special also includes Mercedes Stephenson and David Akin reporting from Ottawa and coverage of an Indigenous ceremony and the Remembrance Day ceremony live from Ottawa. No Stone Left Alone will air at 10 a.m. ET, CT, MT, and PT and 11 a.m. AT, highlighting the service and sacrifices of Canada’s military. Following the national broadcast, Global Calgary will air Calgary Remembers at 10:30 a.m. MT, in partnership with the Field of Crosses, hosted by Global News anchor Linda Olsen, live on location, and Blake Lough in studio. Global BC will also air BC Remembers at 10:30 a.m. PT. The one-hour ceremony at Victory Square in downtown Vancouver will be hosted by anchors Chris Gailus and Sophie Lui.

OUTtv has commissioned three new documentaries. Produced by Firestarter Productions, Our Gay Family explores a family with three generations of women living a gay life from their early twenties to mid-fifties; The Last American Gay Bar, produced by Kristian Day Media and Daylite Pictures, is a three-part series telling the story of the rise and fall of gay bars in America through the eyes of three red state institutions; while Escape to Paradise is a one-off doc looking into the life of Filipino-American drag queen and reality television personality Manila Luzon, produced by Producer Entertainment Group.

Wallop Film has announced that TELUS original documentary Tojo and the Tale of Daruma, based on the life of internationally acclaimed Chef Hidekazu Tojo, is in production in B.C. and Japan. The documentary, from Director Mads K. Baekkevold (Chamber of Ox) and writer Natalie Murao (No More Parties), follows the Master Chef’s story, known as the chef who invented the California Roll and for moving seaweed to the inside of rolls as a way to appeal to western palates. Despite his success, he has faced a staggering amount of prejudice since immigrating to Canada in the ‘70s. Using his story as a springboard, the film is billed as “a touching immigrant narrative centered on a man standing tall in the face of adversity.” 

Paramount+ is now the streaming home of Yellowstone in Canada. As of this week, all seasons of the franchise are available to stream on Paramount+, including the first eight episodes of the fifth and final season. As announced last week, the series final installment moves to November 2024 with two more spinoffs forthcoming under the working titles 1944 and 2024. Paramount+ is also exclusively streaming Dutton family origin stories 1883 and 1923.

Stingray has introduced ZenLIFE by Stingray on VIZIO WatchFree+ (channel 583), marking its entry into the wellness space as a Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) channel in the U.S. ZenLIFE features a wellness music collection spanning genres including Spa, Zen, Healing, and Meditation as well as a variety of easy-listening music, featuring light acoustic, relaxing jazz, and study and focus music, complemented by tranquil nature videos. 

Pink Triangle Press (PTP) is launching an initiative, with support from the Canada Media Fund (CMF), aimed at promoting greater diversity within the Canadian film, television, streaming, and gaming industries. PTP says the partnership will advocate for LGBTQ2S+ professionals working in screen industries through research, reporting, and recognition, with the foundation of their work established via an industry-wide survey to identify needs, gaps, systemic issues, and opportunities for those working in film, television, streaming, and gaming. PTP says a series of industry “Pink Papers” focused on LGBTQ2S+ representation will be released with contributions from the editorial team at Xtra Magazine, to be made available in 2024 to the industry at large as a resource.

LISTEN: Beyond bringing film to audiences, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has made an effort in recent years to explore new technology and champion local artists and tech talent. VIFF presented the second edition of Signals at this year’s festival, in partnership with DigiBC, an interactive exhibition featuring 35 curated projects that investigate the potential of creative tech in storytelling. On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast we catch up with VIFF Executive Director Kyle Fostner, DigiBC Executive Director Loc Dao, Dene interdisciplinary artist Casey Koyzcan, and filmmaker Loretta Todd, one of the matriarchs behind the IM4 Lab, an inclusive Indigenous space offering mentorship in immersive technologies.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Les Coops de l’information is embracing a 100% digital model, publishing its last weekly print editions on Dec. 30, as set out in the Quebec and Eastern Ontario regional media collective’s 2020 business plan. That includes Le Droit in Ottawa-Gatineau, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, Le Quotidien in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Le Soleil in Quebec City, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, La Voix de l’Est in Granby and Les As de l’info, a website dedicated to youth. Les Coops de l’information will continue to produce print editions of its Mag Affaires in all six markets, citing content that stays relevant for longer. In anticipation of the end of weekly print editions, the Coops launched a voluntary departure program this summer with 125 workers signing up, representing about one third of the CN2i workforce. 

Pattison Media has launched new digital portal everythinglifestyle.ca, featuring heath and wellness content, accompanied byChoosing Wellnesspodcast episodes produced by partner everythingpodcasts.com. The site features stories on everything from sleep apnea to workout advice, meditation, and moving past regret, accompanied by recipes sponsored by Jim Pattison Group-owned Save-On-Foods.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Quebecor-owned TVA Group has announced major changes “to secure its future at a time of crisis for the global media industry,” that will include the elimination of 547 positions or 31% of the network’s current workforce. The sweeping layoffs will encompass 300 positions in in-house production, 98 positions related to the operation of TVA’s local stations, and 149 positions in other departments. In its third-quarter financial results, TVA Group reported a year-to-date loss of nearly $13 million in the Broadcasting segment. Citing profound changes, namely the “globalization of television viewing, driven by the proliferation of on-demand digital broadcasting platforms” and “the tectonic shift in advertising spending” to web giants like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, TVA Group says it’s implementing a three-pronged reorganization plan that includes restructuring of Quebecor’s news division, a move away from in-house production, and consolidation of the company’s real estate assets. Read more here.

Canadian Media Guild (CMG) members on the picket line outside 2180 Yonge Street on Sept. 28, 2023 (X/@TVO_CMG)

TVO journalists and producers have voted to accept a new collective agreement, ending 11 weeks of job action. Members of the TVO branch of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) walked off the job Aug. 21, seeking better wages after what the union said were below-inflation wage increases over the last decade, and improved job security for temporary staff. The deal includes a wage increase of 7.7 per cent over three years, including three per cent retroactive to 2022, 2.75 per cent in 2023, and 1.75 per cent in 2024. The union says the agreement also improves access to permanent job opportunities for temporary staff. Read more here.

BCE Q3 operating revenue increased 0.9% year-over-year to $6,080 million, the result of 1.7% higher service revenue driven by wireless and residential internet subscriber growth, as well as acquisitions made over the past year, including Distributel and FX Innovation, partly offset by a 3.9% decline in product revenue, including lower media revenue due to the ongoing advertising recession. Media operating revenue decreased 1.3% to $710 million as a result of lower year-over-year ad revenue, partly offset by higher subscriber revenue. Advertising revenue was down 5.2%, as advertiser demand and spending, particularly for TV, continued to be impacted by ongoing unfavourable economic conditions as well as the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes. Total digital revenues grew 26%, the result of ongoing Crave and sports streaming direct-to-consumer growth and increased advertising bookings from Bell Media’s strategic audience management (SAM) TV media sales tool. Crave subscriptions totalled approximately 3.1 million customers, including direct-to-consumer streaming subscriber growth of 13% over last year. 

Cogeco has announced financial results for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31. Q4 revenue increased 2.6% to $766.7 million. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 1.0%, driven by growth in the Canadian telecommunications segment and higher revenue in media activities, partly offset by a decline in the American telecommunications segment. Canadian telecom revenue increased 4.1%, mainly driven by high-speed internet service additions over the past year, higher revenue per customer and contribution from the oxio acquisition completed in March. Revenue in media activities increased by 8.3%.

TELUS has released unaudited results for the third quarter of 2023, reporting consolidated operating revenues and other income increased by 7.2% over the same period a year ago to $5.0 billion. That growth was driven by higher service revenues in the TELUS technology solutions (TTech) and Digitally-led customer experiences – TELUS International (DLCX) segments. That was offset by lower TV and fixed legacy voice services revenues, primarily due to technological substitution. Total telecom customer growth of 406,000 was recorded, up 59,000 over last year, an all-time quarterly record, driven by strong customer demand. Mobile Phone net additions amounted to 160,000, the company’s best third quarter on record, and a record-setting quarter for Connected Device with net additions of 179,000. Meanwhile, the company noted that TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle has purchased 395,843 common shares for an aggregate purchase cost of approximately $10 million over the past fiscal year. Entwistle now holds a total of 800,000+ TELUS common shares, taking his salary in shares for six consecutive years from 2009-15. 

A Canadian Telecommunications Association-commissioned report entitled Connecting Canadians through resilient networks: The impact of the telecom sector in 2022 and beyond, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), finds that Canada’s six largest telecoms invested $13.3 billion in capital expenditures in 2022 to continue expanding and strengthening their wireless and broadband networks. PwC observes in the report that for the year ending September 2023, cellular and internet access service prices declined by 17.2% and 7.8%, respectively, while over the same period, the Consumer Price Index for All-Items increased by 3.8%. PwC estimates that the sector directly contributed up to $76.7 billion to the national GDP and supported 724,000 Canadian jobs in 2022. 

Catherine Tait

CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait outlined her priorities for her second term during an appearance before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last week. The first is the launch of the National Indigenous Strategy; the second to ensure the importance of the public broadcaster in Canada’s news ecosystem and creative sector as the CRTC considers how to implement the Online News Act and Online Streaming Act; with Tait’s third priority to work to secure recognition of journalists as “essential” to the protection of democracy. Tait also told the committee, CBC/Radio-Canada is looking ahead to an uncertain future as it encounters the same challenges as other media in facing the “fierce competition of the global giants.” She revealed CBC’s Board of Directors has asked her to look at a “Transformation Plan” to strengthen the public broadcaster for the future “doubling down on our strengths: proximity, relevance and inclusion.”

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Bell Media has unveiled Streets-to-Screens, a multiplatform program, brought to market in collaboration with Desjardins, enabling virtual product placement across TV, radio, out-of-home (OOH), and digital. Leveraging Bell’s ad-synching Radio-to-Road program, where select roadside digital boards synchronize with ads on specific radio stations, Street-to-Screens uses the company’s first party data to extend virtual product placement through TV viewing at home. To maximize exposure, Bell Media says it’s employing geo-fence technology to retarget mobile users exposed to digital out-of-home boards, ensuring a sustained and impactful presence across various media channels. Read more here.

Quickplay is expanding its global footprint with the establishment of a new office in Europe and the appointment of media, sports and technology veteran Wim Ponnet as President, EMEA. The Toronto-headquartered cloud-native tech solutions provider says the new office will address heightened industry demand for its open architecture OTT solutions. Formerly Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer of Endemol Shine Group, and Senior Director, Strategy and Operations at Yahoo!, Ponnet was most recently a founding partner and CEO of FanTechCapital, an investment firm at the intersection of sports, media and tech.

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