The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Stéphanie Paquette

Stéphanie Paquette has been appointed as the CRTC’s Regional Commissioner for Quebec for a five-year term, effective Nov. 23. Paquette has nearly 30 years of experience in the media industry. A law graduate from the Université de Montréal, she began her career as a lawyer in private practice before becoming legal counsel at CBC/Radio-Canada. After 11 years with the public broadcaster, she joined French-language digital site, Les Têtes à claques as Director of Business Affairs. For the past 13 years, she headed Videotron’s team responsible for the acquisition and multiplatform distribution of television channels and entertainment applications. Paquette has also been a member of the CTAM Canada Board of Directors for the past year.

Melanie Nagy has announced her departure from CTV National News after 11 years. Nagy, who most recently served as Vancouver Bureau Chief for the network, spent almost a decade with CBC as a reporter, prior to joining CTV in 2012.

Randy Reid and Paul “Mastermind” Parhar

Randy Reid has been appointed Operations and Business Development Manager and Paul “Mastermind” Parhar as Program Director at Toronto’s FLOW 98.7 (CKFG-FM). The move follows the exit of former General Manager Gary Gunter over the summer, who joined CINA Radio Group in September 2021, following its acquisition of the former Stingray station. Reid and Parhar join the iconic hip-hop and R&B brand under the guise of BIPOC-focused marketing and media content solutions agency, VX3. They’ll also continue to retain their roles with North Toronto community radio station VIBE 105 (CHRY-FM), run by the Canadian Centre for Civic Media and Arts Development, of which Reid is CEO. Read more here.

Gary Gamble

Gary Gamble hosts his last morning show on Lite 88.5 (CKDX-FM) Newmarket/Toronto on Friday, Nov. 17. Gamble will remain Director of Operations for Evanov Communications, but will no longer be waking up in the middle of the night to host the morning show, as he has done for more than 26 years. Gamble’s long-time co-host, Stacey Englehart, will be staying in mornings with the station promising more details to come.

Garth Materie has signed off as host of CBC Saskatchewan’s Blue Sky, prior to a Dec. 15 retirement date. Materie, 63, has hosted the noon-hour call-in show for 15 years. On-air in the province for 42 years, he started his radio career in 1982 in Yorkton, moving on to stations in Regina and Swift Current, before joining CBC Saskatoon in 1988. 

Robyn Beazley

Robyn Beazley has announced her departure from 98.9 myFM (CHCD-FM) and Oldies 99.7 (CKNC-FM) Simcoe, ON. Beazley has been working with MBC (My Broadcasting Corporation) since 2016, holding roles across promotions, news, and on-air. She has joined Simcoe and District Humane Society as Marketing, Fundraising and Promotions Manager.

Matt Vettese

Matt Vettese has been laid off from Corus Entertainment’s BIG 101 (CIQB-FM) Barrie. With Corus since 2019, Vettese had been hosting afternoon drive and serving as assistant music director.

Adam Burns

Adam Burns has departed The Canadian Press (CP) to join Toronto-based SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education) as Communications Manager. Burns leaves CP after eight and a half years, holding roles including National Desk Editor, Eastern Canada News Editor, and most recently Assistant Editor, Broadcast.

 

Meredith Martin, Cara Stern, Dan Dimillo, and Sandra Gionas are among the TVO employees who have opted not to return to the Ontario public broadcaster following 11 weeks of job action that concluded earlier this month. As part of a buyout option offered to employees, Politics Today reports that 13 union members chose to leave TVO, including much of the union local executive. Both longtime producers on The Agenda – Martin, Canadian Media Guild (CMG) Branch President and Stern, CMG Branch Vice-President – had been with TVO, 22 and 10 years, respectively. Dimillo had been an education worker with the broadcaster since 2018, while Gionas had been a journalist and producer with TVO for 27 years.

Tim Querengesser

Tim Querengesser is the new Managing Editor of Taproot Edmonton. Querengesser is a longtime freelance writer and formerly a Managing Editor at Metro Edmonton and Senior Editor at Alberta Venture. He was most recently Communications Lead at the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.

Gwen O’Toole

Gwen O’Toole has joined The Podcast Exchange (TPX) as the company’s new Director of Sales. Prior to joining TPX, she held the position of Digital Strategy Lead and Digital Account Director at Quebecor Media for eight years, including helping grow the company’s QUB Radio platform.

Alyson Walker

Alyson Walker is stepping down as Chief Commercial Officer at Toronto-headquartered esports and entertainment company, OverActive Media. Walker joined OverActive in 2019 and was a member of the executive team that took the company public in 2021. Her background includes serving as VP, Brand Partnerships and Client Strategy at Bell Media, Vice President, Content at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), and Executive Director, Marketing Partnerships & Licensing with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Hussain Currimbhoy

Hussain Currimbhoy is Hot Docs’ new Artistic Director, overseeing programming for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto’s Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and Docs for Schools, its national educational program. Currimbhoy succeeds Shane Smith, who departed the organization in June. A producer, director and film curator, Currimbhoy has worked as a programmer at Sundance Film Festival, Sheffield DocFest, Melbourne International Film Festival, Nordisk Panorama Film Festival, Doc 10, and the Red Sea International Film Festival. Additionally, Hot Docs’ Associate Director of Festival Programming Heather Haynes has been promoted to the role of Director of Festival Programming. 

RADIO & PODCAST:

FEATURE: Broadcasters should be harnessing the power of data and station web presence to drive new revenue and make more strategic decisions, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters’ (OAB) Connection 2023 heard last week. In one of the conference’s early sessions, Programming Integrated: On-Air Goes On-Line, Amanda Cupido, founder of Lead Podcasting, called on those in the room to focus on the the amount of data radio stations can get from their websites and gauge what the user experience is like, how long listeners stay, what they stream and where they go next. Navigating beyond the impacts of Bill C-18, the Online News Act, which has seen the Facebook and Instagram pages of many media companies censored in the wake of Meta’s news ban in Canada, was also touched on in more than one panel discussion, including how much stock stations should continue to put into social media. Read more here and find a list of this year’s OAB Award winners here.

Kim Wheeler is the host of “Words and Culture,” a forthcoming series of Indigenous-language focused radio programs set to air on SiriusXM Canada.

The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) and SiriusXM Canada have partnered on the launch of Words and Culture, a series of radio programs supporting the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous languages. Scheduled to debut in early 2024, five six-episode series will be produced by an all-Indigenous team, led by Anishinaabe and Mohawk producer and SiriusXM host Kim Wheeler, weaving together conversations with Indigenous language keepers, community stories, and featured music by Indigenous artists. Each of the five series will delve into a distinct Indigenous language family – Iroquoian, Athabaskan, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), Inuktitut, and Cree – hosted by learners and speakers of the language. Read more here.

The CRTC has approved an application by Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre for a broadcasting licence to operate an English- and Kanyen’kéha-language Indigenous (Type B Native) FM radio station in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, east of Belleville, ON. The station will operate at 89.5 MHz (channel 208A) with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 2,100 watts. TTO proposes to offer 126 hours of programming each broadcast week, including 119 hours of local programming and seven hours of wrap-around programming.

Brian Cook

The Manitoba Country Music Association (MCMA) has recognized 730 CKDM Dauphin as Radio Station of the Year and Brian Cook, host of afternoons on Native Communications’ NOW Country 104.7 FM (CIUR-FM), as Radio On-Air Personality of the Year at the recent 2023 MCMA awards ceremony. Find the full list of winners here.

Curtis Pope

Curtis Pope, host of The Road Show on Rogers Sports & Media Country 107.1 (CKQC-FM) Abbotsford, and Jaxon Hawks, evening show announcer and music director at Pattison Media’s JRFM (CJJR-FM) Vancouver, were recognized with this year’s Country On-Air Personality of the Year honours at the B.C. Country Music Association’s (BCCMA) 46th annual awards. Find the full list of winners here.

Don Taylor is among the 2024 inductees into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame . Currently the co-host of Donnie and Dhali on CHEK TV and a contributor to Sportsnet 650 (CISL-AM) Vancouver, Taylor’s career began at CJDC Radio and TV in Dawson Creek, BC in 1979. From there, he held roles at CKGY Red Deer, before returning to Vancouver as the host of Sports Page on CKVU-TV from 1985-2000. Taylor has also worked with CFOX, CKNW, Sportsnet Pacific, and served as the afternoon co-host on TSN 1040 (CKST-AM) Vancouver from 2003-21.

P1 Media Group’s annual Christmas Music Research is out, finding that “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms is America’s #1 Christmas song, reclaiming the position it has held for six of the last seven years. Holiday Classics rule the Top 20, including two versions of “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 2022’s #1 stream and airplay song Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” ranked #26 in total appeal this season, however trails this year’s #1 song by less than three percentage points. Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree” from 2010 and Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” (2014) are the two highest-testing original Christmas songs from the 2000s, ranking #11 and #29, respectively. More respondents this year (27%) said Christmas Music should begin on Thanksgiving, 23% said early November, 20% the beginning of December, and 19% mid-November. P1 says the most surprising finding in the study is that 60% (vs. 48% in 2022) said Christmas music programming should cease airing on New Year’s Eve.

Thinktv and Ipsos Canada’s recent Ad Nation study highlights consumer media habits vs. advertising perceptions of “average Canadians.” In general, a Radio Connects analysis says the study found the advertising industry underestimates how much time the average Canadian spends listening to live radio by 15%, while the industry perception of podcast consumption is nearly two and a half times greater than Canadians surveyed stated. The study also found Canadians are listening to Spotify three times less than the industry perceives they do. 

LISTEN: Paige Nienaber, the VP for radio marketing consultancy CPR Promotions, is on the latest Sound Off Podcast. Nienaber is consulting over 350 stations across the U.S. and Canada at a time when radio is working through challenges like 40% less cume than a decade ago, and more audio options than ever before. In this episode, he looks back at successful promotions from radio’s past that still work today. 

SAVE THE DATE: This year’s Canadian Radio Awards submissions head to the jury this week. Due to a record number of entries this year, we are pushing the winners’ announcement date to Tuesday Dec. 5. Stay tuned for details. You can listen to winning entries from past years at CanadianRadioAwards.com.

SIGN OFFS:

Donald Shebib

Donald Shebib, 85, on Nov. 5. After studying sociology and history at the University of Toronto, Shebib enrolled at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in 1961. He gained experience working on several productions by cult filmmaker Roger Corman and famously as a cinematographer and editor on classmate Francis Ford Coppola’s first film, “Dementia 13.” Rather than pursue a career in Hollywood, Shebib returned to Canada and started producing documentaries for the National Film Board (NFB), CTV and CBC. He went on to a six-decade career, receiving critical acclaim for his 1970 feature film “Goin’ Down The Road,” one of the first depictions of Toronto on screen, which earned several Canadian Film Awards and was named the sixth-best Canadian film of all time by the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. Among Shebib’s television credits, he directed episodes of Night Heat (1986-88), The Edison Twins (1985-86), The Campbells (1988-90), E.N.G. (1990-92), and Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994-95). Shebib’s final feature film “Nightalk” premiered at TIFF in 2022, executive produced by his record executive son, Noah “40” Shebib.

TV & FILM:

Megan Follows & Lauren Collins

Crave has announced new, six-part short-form comedy series, My Dead Mom. From LoCo Motion Pictures, creator Wendy Litner, and executive producer Lauren Corber, the Crave Original series is currently in production in Toronto, and stars Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables, Reign) and Lauren Collins (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Slip). The series, exploring the complicated nature of grief through mothers and daughters, marks filmmaker Chandler Levack’s (I Like Movies) television directorial debut. Rounding out the cast are Rainbow Sun Francks (High Fidelity), David Reale (The Boys), Daniel Maslany (Murdoch Mysteries), Daniel Kash (Slasher), and guest star Matt Murray (In the Dark).

Crave has ordered a fifth season of Canada’s Drag Race, the #1 most-streamed Canadian reality show on the streaming service this year. Produced by Blue Ant Studios, in association with Crave and World of Wonder, Canadian drag artists can submit applications now. The series’ fourth season debuts on Crave on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET, and is also available on World of Wonder’s SVOD platform WOW Presents Plus in the U.S., and in more than 160 countries around the world, coming soon to BBC Three and iPlayer in the UK.

UFC has announced new long-term broadcast agreements with Sportsnet and TVA Sports for Canadian media rights to UFC’s live events, starting in 2024. Sportsnet will be Canada’s English-language home for UFC Fight Night cards and Pay-Per-View prelims across its channels and live streaming on Sportsnet+, while TVA Sports will serve French-Canadians nationwide. Both Sportsnet and TVA will also showcase additional marquee UFC live programming, including Dana White’s Contender Series, to fans across multiple platforms. UFC Fight Pass will continue to offer its customers in Canada eight exclusive UFC Fight Night events per year and all early preliminary fights from each UFC live event. UFC Pay-Per-View main cards will remain available through current cable, satellite and digital providers. Sportsnet and TVA Sports previously served as Canada’s broadcast partners from 2011-14.

Tyrone Edwards

Tyrone Edwards hosts CTV Original one-hour special The Take Back, Friday, Nov. 24. The Take Back shines a spotlight on 14-year-old Hartley Bernier, a dedicated fundraiser and ambassador for SickKids Hospital and budding voice actor (Rex on Paw Patrol), providing him with a celebrity-filled birthday bash at Canada’s Wonderland – marking the first time Hartley, who is immunocompromised, and his family enjoy a large social gathering with family and friends. Guest appearances include actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), actor Robbie Amell (The Flash), and Forbes 30 Under 30 actor/writer Anthony Burch. Then, HoopQueens founder Keesa K. is given a second chance after a pivotal fundraising and launch event was lost due to the pandemic. Special guests include four-time WNBA champion and Olympic gold medallist Sheryl Swoopes, Canadian Women’s National Basketball alum and two-time Olympian Tamara Tatham, Commissioner and CEO of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Mike Morreale, WNBA All-star Cheyenne Parker, TSN anchor Kayla Grey, and JUNO-winning rapper TOBi.

Stingray has announced the addition of five new FAST Channels on Pluto TV now available to audiences in Canada. The lineup includes Stingray Naturescape, Qello Concerts by Stingray, Stingray Classica, Stingray DJAZZ, and Stingray CMusic, which reinvents music videos to offer a revolutionized version of classical music.

CBC has released the Preliminary Industry Report on Production Carbon Emissions, summarizing the carbon footprint submissions of 64 original English-language independent and in-house entertainment productions. Since January 2022, CBC has required Canadian independent and in-house entertainment producers to use an albert carbon calculator to deliver a carbon footprint on all original productions. The first Canadian media company to set this standard, its main findings indicate that the largest sources of carbon emissions from production are travel and transport (43%), filming spaces (23%), and material usage and disposal (22%). Radio-Canada intends to issue its own report in 2024.  

Netflix is renewing its support for Women in Animation Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator (ACE), adding a new role to the program and providing additional support for marketing and promotion at festivals. The ACE program is designed to advance the careers of women in the animation industry by giving them a key credit in the creation of their very own short film, TV proof of concept or web series pilot, and providing mentorship and training along the way to ensure they are set-up for success. Running over the course of two years, it will now support nine creative roles. ACE 3 is made up of eight creatives from B.C., Quebec, and Ontario including writer Sunita Balsara, story supervisor Anna Bohac, composer Amanda Cawley, director Sonia Furier, producer Stephanie Hodgson, animation director Molly Lacoursière, editor Isabel Ribeiro and assistant art director May-Yun Ong

Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced the full lineup for its 23rd edition taking place in-person from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, with online screenings available Dec. 4-17. Among this year’s festival highlights—which includes 35 features and 62 shorts from 14 countries, are the opening night Canadian Premiere of Netflix’s MAESTRO, written, produced, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, alongside Carey Mulligan, chronicling the lifelong relationship between Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. May December, directed by Todd Haynes (whose film Carol won the WFF Audience Award for Best Feature Film in 2015), also makes its Canadian premiere at WFF23, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore.

The Banff World Media Festival has opened its call for entries for the 2024 Rockie Awards International Program Competition. Recognizing global content, view this year’s categories here, including the new Best Use of Music in a Series category. The deadline for entries is Jan. 26.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Canada Media Fund (CMF) has published the first edition of Perspectives, a new publication from its Foresight and Innovation team. The inaugural issue, titled Flipping the Screen, dives into the digital creator economy, its contours, rules, and its changing face as it expands out of our phones to conquer larger screens, especially pertinent as the CMF launches its Pilot Program for Digital Creators.

BBTV Holdings, the Vancouver-headquartered creator solutions company, says total views in the third quarter of this year reached 103.6 billion, an 8% increase year-over-year, driven by a 115% increase in YouTube Shorts viewership to 53.0 billion views in Q3 2023. Monetization in the form of RPMs (Revenue per Thousand Views) was flat at $0.54, compared to $0.54 in Q2 2023 and declined by 38% compared to the previous year. The year-over-year decline in RPMs is a direct result of the emergence of YouTube Shorts viewership. Over time, based on industry stakeholder feedback, the company says it’s expected that the monetization of YouTube Shorts should improve to more closely reflect that of regular-length YouTube videos. Subsequent to quarter-end on Oct. 17, BBTV announced its plan to undertake a go-private transaction, subject to approval.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Canadian Heritage Min. Pascale St-Onge has released the final policy direction around the Online Streaming Act to the CRTC, clarifying that social media, digital creators, podcasts and video games will be exempt from regulation. Canadian Heritage has set out a two-year timeline for the commission to make any changes to its regulatory framework necessary to implement the order. The next phase of consultations – a three-week hearing that will hear from at least 130 intervenors – is slated to get underway in Gatineau on Nov. 20. Read more here.

APTN has undertaken a reorganization, citing the need to remain financially viable following the CRTC’s automatic three-year administrative renewal for television broadcasters, through August 2026. APTN CEO Monika Ille said the Indigenous network has not been immune to the challenges facing the industry, saying that “in real dollar terms, APTN’s revenue has declined substantially” since its last licence renewal in 2018. To remain economically sustainable, the broadcaster has been looking for cost-saving initiatives that include a reorganization of its Saskatoon news bureau and the elimination of two positions. It has also decided not to fill a vacated director-level position. Read more here.

Rogers Communications has announced unaudited financial and operating results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Total revenue and total service revenue increased by 36% and 40%, respectively, driven by growth in Cable and Wireless, including year-over-year gains due to the July 2022 network outage-related credits of $150 million issued to customers last year. Wireless service revenue increased by 15%, primarily due to growth in the mobile phone subscriber base, revenue from Shaw Mobile subscribers acquired through the Shaw transaction, and the impact of the July 2022 network outage-related credits. Cable service revenue increased by 105%, primarily as a result of the Shaw acquisition. Media revenue was up 11%, primarily as a result of higher sports-related revenue, including at the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says Shaw integration targets are ahead of schedule with synergies realized year to date now at $188 million and the company anticipating a $600 million run-rate by year-end.

Quebecor has reported consolidated financial results for Q3 2023. Further to the acquisition of Freedom Mobile, Quebecor recorded revenues of $1.42 billion in the third quarter, up $271.7 million (23.8%), adjusted EBITDA of $624.4 million, up $106.4 million (20.5%), and adjusted cash flow of $482.4 million, up $79.3 million (19.7%) compared with the same period in 2022. The Telecommunications segment increased its revenues by $287.9 million (30.6%) and its adjusted EBITDA by $100.0 million (20.4%), reflecting, among other things, the contribution of the Freedom acquisition. TVA Group generated adjusted EBITDA of $16.5 million in Q3, an unfavourable variance of $1.7 million, and negative adjusted EBITDA of $11.3 million for the first nine months of 2023, an unfavourable variance of $23.0 million. Quebecor says even though TVA Group increased its market share by 0.5 points to 40.6% in the third quarter of 2023, ad revenues continued their sharp decline. 

The Jack Webster Foundation has announced the 2023 Webster Award winners, recognizing excellence in B.C. journalism. Global BC was among the multiple winners, including Best News Reporting of the Year, a new category this year, presented in memory of Keith Bradbury, won by Sarah MacDonald and Clayton Little for “Failed in Life and Death: The Story of Noelle O’Soup.” Global BC’s Paul Johnson and Cody Chaban won in the Excellence in Health Reporting category for “Diversion of Drugs.” The Narwhal picked up three awards, including Excellence in Legal Journalism, Excellence in Environment Reporting and Excellence in Multimedia Journalism. Find the full list of winners here.

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2024 Canadian Hillman Prizes, honouring excellence in investigative journalism in service of the common good. The Hillman Prizes celebrate print, digital and broadcast reporting that exposes social and economic injustice and leads to meaningful public policy change. For the first time, the Foundation will award three annual Hillman Prizes instead of one. Previous Canadian Hillman Prize winners include The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, the Crackdown podcast, CBC’s fifth estate, the Calgary Herald, CBC/Radio-Canada, and TVO.

FRIENDS is calling on Canadians to submit their essays on the topic of media and democracy for the 2024 Dalton Camp Award. The $10,000 prize is presented annually by FRIENDS with the winning essay also to be published by media partner, The Tyee. The Dalton Camp Award is open to any Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. An additional Student Journalism Prize is open to recent graduates or students currently enrolled in journalism, broadcasting, media studies or communications programs at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution. The winner of the Student Journalism Prize will receive a prize of $2,500. Submissions are open.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Spanish Point Technologies has struck a strategic partnership with SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). The Irish tech solutions company will work closely with SOCAN to streamline operations, including multi-rights repertoire management, usage ingestion and matching, distribution processing, in addition to providing an interactive member portal. Using its Matching Engine solution – a cloud-based enterprise business system for copyright management organizations – Spanish Point says it will streamline processes and reduce customization, resulting in better quality data and an improved experience for members to ensure music creators and publishers are efficiently paid royalties they are owed.

Guy Bouchard

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), an international, non-profit developing voluntary standards for digital television, has elected three media and technology executives to serve on the ATSC Board of Directors for three-year terms, beginning in January 2024. Mark Aitken, Senior Vice President of Advanced Media at Sinclair Broadcast Group, has been re-elected for a second three-year term. Also elected to the ATSC Board are Dr. Paul Hearty, Chief Standards Strategist at Samsung Research America, and Kerry Oslund, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development at the E.W. Scripps Company. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has also appointed Guy Bouchard as an ATSC board member representing IEEE. Bouchard, who is Chair of the Montreal Chapter of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, succeeds Dr. Yian Wu of Communications Research Centre Canada on the board.  

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