The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

(l-r) Russ Lacate, Greg Harper, Thor Diakow, & Mary Cranston.

Rogers Sports & Media has made staff cuts at its radio and television properties, that include the cancellation of Breakfast Television in Calgary and Vancouver, as well as the JACK 96.9 (CJAX-FM) Vancouver morning show. Mary Cranston, Thor Diakow, Greg Harper, John Streit, and Christian Adler are among the Citytv staff released, along with News 1130 (CKWX-AM) meteorologist Russ Lacate, senior managing editor Bruce Claggett, longtime afternoon news anchor Jim Bennie, weekend anchor/producer Toby Kerr, and web editor/reporter Mike Hall. As part of newsroom restructuring, morning co-anchor John Ackermann also moves to afternoons. On the FM side, Jeff Brown, Charis Hogg and Paul Brown, who had been teamed together on the JACK 96.9 morning show since Aug. 2018, have also been released. News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax morning editor Steve MacArthur, anchors Skye Bryden-Blom and Steve Gow, talk show hosts Sheldon MacLeod and Todd Veinotte, and morning reporter David Heintzman were also pink-slipped, among what’s believed to be a total of 100 layoffs. Read more here.

Peter Harrison, Melody Rose, & JC Douglas

JC Douglas and Melody Rose have been released from the C100 (CIOO-FM) Halifax morning show as part of what Bell Media says are “programming changes.” Douglas has been a staple in the market for 30 years and was formerly the long-serving program director at Stingray’s Q104 (CFRQ-FM). He’d been with C100 since 2015, while Rose joined the morning show in late 2016. The show’s third co-host, Peter Harrison, remains with the station. iHeartRadio’s CJ104 (CJCJ-FM) Woodstock, NB has also laid off morning personality Ed Shaw. He’d been with the station since 2018 and hosting the show solo since February of this year.

Kevin Desjardins

Kevin Desjardins is the new president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB). Dejardins previously worked with the CAB from 2005-07 in communications, member services, and public affairs. For the last eight years, he’s been the Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Dental Association. Desjardins is the organization’s first president since Glenn O’Farrell’s resignation in Dec. 2008, which was followed by a decision to restructure and downsize the association. His appointment comes as Sylvie Bissonnette, CAB Vice-President, Finance & Administration and CFO, retires this month. Bissonnette has been with the organization since 1991. Read more here.

Jeffrey Orridge

Jeffrey L. Orridge has been named the new CEO of TVO, effective Nov. 30. Orridge, a former CFL commissioner and CBC Sports executive, most recently had been Chairman of Toronto-based Tiidal Gaming. He succeeds Lisa de Wilde, TVO’s longest serving CEO, who stepped down at the end of 2019 after 14 years at the helm of the public broadcaster. Read more here.

Paul Beaudry

Paul Beaudry is Cogeco’s new Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs following the retirement of Nathalie Dorval, who had held the role since 2013. For the past three years, Beaudry had been with TELUS as Director, Broadband Policy and Regulatory Affairs.

Hughes Choquette

Sébastien Viau is the new General Manager of Quebecor’s COLAB STUDIO, overseeing the development of the collaborative marketing studio. Before joining Quebecor, Viau was VP, Sales and Marketing for the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec. His appointment is effective Nov. 23 and follows the retirement of current GM Robert Renaud. Hughes Choquette is also promoted to Senior Director, Branding Strategy & Head of Creative. With Quebecor since 2015, Choquette will be in charge of the creative side of the team dedicated to Vidéotron and Fizz; the company having recently chosen to bring its creative services needs in-house.

Sarah Etherden & Craig Junner

Blue Ant Media has promoted Sarah Etherden to VP, Global Communications and Craig Junner to VP, Programming, Canadian Media. The company says Etherden’s promotion reflects the significant role she’s played in building the profile of its distribution business, production companies and media brands globally, while also overseeing internal communications. Junner’s new position reflects his on-going leadership in overseeing content and programming strategy for Blue Ant Media’s eight linear Canadian channels, as well as strategy for the company’s SVOD and AVOD channels. They’ll both continue to report to Jamie Schouela, President, Global Channels and Media.

 

Dana Wigle

Dana Wigle is set to step into the role of General Manager at Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM), starting Nov. 30. Wigle was previously with the station from 2010-17, starting out as an account executive before moving into the role of Director, Advertising Sales. She’s also held sales and marketing positions with Rogers Communications, as well as AMC Theatres. She succeeds Lorie Russell, who has held the position since March 2019, and announced her departure in September. Read more here.

Jenn Dalen-Gordon

Jenn Dalen-Gordon has been promoted within Stingray to Operations Manager for the B.C. Interior stations (K97.5, K96.3, Radio NL, New Country 100.7, New Country 100.3), as well as overseeing the Real Country and New Country brands, nationally. Now based in Kamloops, Dalen-Gordon departs Red Deer where she was previously Regional Program Director, Red Deer/Rural AB/Kelowna/Kamloops.

 

Roo Phelps

 

 

Roo Phelps is filing in for Shannon Ella while the Pure Country network midday host is on mat leave. Phelps assumes the role in addition to her duties as host of The Roo Phelps Show, which airs evenings on the EZ Rock network in the Okanagan and B.C. Interior.  

Ed the Sock

Ed the Sock has debuted a new one-hour show on SAUGA 960 AM (CKNT-AM). Ed the Sock Lives!, which debuted Nov. 13 and will air in its regular Friday timeslot at 2 p.m. ET, with repeats Sunday and Saturday evenings. 

Chris Coburn has announced he’ll retire from Country 107.1 (CKQC-FM) Abbotsford in the new year after almost 39 years in radio. Following his graduation from Humber College, Coburn started his career with CJWA in Wawa, ON in 1982. He went on to stints with CFBQ Parry Sound, ON; CKLQ Brandon, MB; and CFFR and CHFM-FM Calgary, before moving to the West Coast in 1993 to host mornings on JR Country (CJJR-FM) Vancouver. In 2008, he moved to morning drive on The Peak (CKPK-FM). He’s hosted mornings in Abbotsford since 2012.

Joshua Grant, the former Corus Entertainment social media manager who went public with his allegations of racism earlier this year, has signed on to manage social media for George Stroumboulopoulos’ team, including his new show for Apple Music Hits. Grant has also worked as a Senior Communications Officer at CBC.

Fantisha Bailey

Matrix Solutions has added several new hires as the media ad sales platform continues its ongoing global expansion. Fantisha Bailey is the company’s new Product Manager. She’s previously worked in Traffic with Comcast Spotlight, among other roles; Todd Barkes, formerly VP, Advertising Operations with Yangaroo/DMDS, joins as Strategic Director of Sales Engineering; while Chris Snyder is named Software Architect.

RADIO & PODCAST NEWS:

The CRTC has launched an online survey as part of its review of commercial radio, soliciting comments from Canadians on their radio listening habits, behaviours and views. The review follows the commission’s report Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada, which found that an increasing number of Canadians are streaming audio content on digital platforms. Among other questions, the online survey asks respondents to rank the importance of commercial radio, alongside CBC/Radio-Canada, podcasts, music streaming, and satellite radio; and asks how frequently and on what types of devices listeners are accessing audio. It also dives into how the commercial radio experience could be improved, including gauging support for Canadian content rules and whether respondents would support or oppose imposing Canadian content quotas on services like Spotify and Apple Music. Read more here.

Oldies 96 (CINB-FM) Saint John, NB launched Nov. 9. The new community radio station marks the return of well-known Saint John radio personalities like Donnie Robertson, Trish Hamilton, Terri Wallace, Bruce Weaver, and Rick Mantle to the airwaves. The station is operated by Don Mabee, who previously ran CINB-FM as Christian music station NewSongFM (which continues to stream online), along with his son, Matt. 

JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) Toronto has renamed its main production studio after Canadian music icon Jeff Healey. Healey recorded in the studio that now bears his name from 2005-08, when he hosted the popular My Kinda Jazz program on the station. Healey’s widow Cristie and longtime friend Roger Costa were on hand for the unveiling. After a battle with cancer, Healey died in 2008 at age 41.

JACK 96.9 FM in Vancouver and Calgary are selling “Ugly Christmas Sweater” masks in support of the Greater Vancouver and Calgary Food Banks. For every four-pack sold, the vendor will donate a mask. Use the code JACK969 for free shipping.

The New Classical FM and Zoomer Radio’s Holiday Hope Fund kicked off this week. Until Dec. 24, listeners are asked to make a donation to Scott Mission. Since its inception in 2008, the fund has raised almost $400,000 for the charity which has been helping Toronto’s disadvantaged since 1941.

STORYHIVE’s first Podcast Edition is now open for applications until Dec. 2. STORYHIVE is seeking locally reflective, non-fiction podcast pitches from creators in Alberta and British Columbia. This edition will award production grants of $10K to 10 successful applicants, along with distribution on select TELUS platforms. Each podcast must meet submission guidelines to be eligible.

The Vancouver Podcast Festival is going ahead virtually Nov. 18-22. Among this year’s offerings are a session on how to monetize your podcast; a pitch session, hosted by CBC’s Faith Fundal, that allows B.C. podcasters to get feedback on their best podcast show pitch; and a podcast workshop led by Ryan McMahon (Thunder Bay, Red Man Laughing).

LISTEN: Peggy Kelly and Carole Gerson, authors of new book, Hearing More Voices: English-Canadian Women in Print and On The Air, 1914-1960, are our guests on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, talking about their project to acknowledge the early women of radio and print, whose names have been lost to history. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

LISTEN: Tony Coles, iHeartMedia executive and President of the Black Information Network, is Matt Cundill’s guest on the Sound Off Podcast. Coles talks mentorship, pivoting to programming, finding new talent, and gratitude. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

Stirling Faux

MILESTONE: 980 CKNW Vancouver host Stirling Faux marked 50 years in radio last Sunday. Faux signed on as a host on CKSO Sudbury, ON on Nov. 15, 1970, the start of a career that took him to CFTR Toronto, CFOM Quebec City, CKLG/CFOX-FM, CFMI-FM, CKNW Vancouver, and CHQR Calgary, returning to Vancouver and CISL-AM, before re-joining CKNW in 2016. Faux was joined by radio legends, including Bob Saye, Doc Harris, and Red Robinson on Sunday’s show.

 

The Broadcast Dialogue Canadian Radio Awards are continuing to accept nominations until Nov. 29. Be part of this inaugural event celebrating the great radio – across small, medium, and large markets – that’s come out of a challenging year. Check out the 13 categories – from Music Director and Program Director of the Year to Best Community Service Initiativehere. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and supporters, “The Howards” are free to enter.

SIGN OFFS:

Lito Taruc

Lito Taruc, 62, on Nov. 17, following a heart attack. Taruc was the longtime co-anchor of “Good Morning Philippines” on Evanov Radio Group’s CKJS 810AM Winnipeg. Following the lead of his brother Resty, who pioneered a one-hour program on the station called “Radyo Pilipino” in the mid-1970s, Taruc joined CKJS in 1997. He was with the station for over 20 years, becoming news director for CKJS Filipino programming in 2003. Taruc was also a well-known community leader, and president of the Philippine Association of Manitoba, as well as the Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba. He unsuccessfully ran for a city council seat in the inner-city ward of Daniel McIntyre in 2010.

Doug Laite

Doug Laite, 81, on Nov. 13. Laite’s presence was a staple on CBC radio and television in Newfoundland and Labrador for 30 years. Best known as the host of variety TV series “All Around the Circle”, which aired from 1964-75 and helped make many local performers household names, he also hosted the CBC St. John’s radio morning show, “Radio Noon”, “On the Go” and “Country Jamboree”, among other programs over the years. Laite was also called upon to officiate numerous important events in the province, including the funeral service following the 1982 Ocean Ranger disaster, and several royal visits. 

TV & FILM:

View of construction update on Pinewood Toronto Studios lot, Nov. 10, 2020 (CNW Group/Pinewood Toronto Studios)

Pinewood Toronto Studios has started major construction on its multi-stage expansion of more than 200,000 sq. ft. of new sound stage and support space. Pinewood says the five-acre new build will better meet growing demand from domestic and international film and television clients in Toronto, and bring the production facility to a total of over 525,000 sq. ft. The expansion features five new sound stages totalling 102,000 sq. ft., 58,000 sq. ft. of additional office and support space, and 15,000 sq. ft. dedicated to a mill shop and workshop space, in addition to a new 25,000 sq. ft. workshop added in 2019. Upon completion, the facility will house 16 sound stages, along with offices that can house multiple productions at a time.

Grandé Studios (CNW Group/Bell Media)

Bell Media has acquired a minority investment in Montreal’s Grandé Studios, which provides production facilities, camera and lighting equipment rentals in Montréal and Toronto, as well as technical services to the TV and film production industry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Grandé Studios facilities have already been home to several Bell Media original productions including Transplant, La Semaine Des 4 Julie, and Crave Original film The Song of Names, in addition to Hollywood blockbusters like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Jack Ryan, and Roland Emmerich sci-fi feature Moonfall, one of the biggest productions currently filming in Canada.

Matt Shewchuk

Big Time Decent Productions is a new Vancouver-based prodco launched by producer and director Matt Shewchuk, the executive producer of Rust Valley Restorers and producer of OUTtv series Dog Dudes, among other shows. The prodco’s focus will be on developing and producing unscripted and scripted series, feature films and digital content. It’s already in development on a number of new projects with Corus Entertainment and has brought industry veteran René Brar on board as Head of Development. Big Time Decent Production’s first series, Backroad Truckers, produced in partnership with Mayhem Entertainment and distributed by Corus Studios, will premiere on History in Winter 2021. The company has also secured strategic partnerships, including post-production services with producer and editor Bridget Durnford (Chicago Med, Fargo), and a development deal with showrunner Tommy Blacha (Metalocalypse) for a new half-hour animated comedy series.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has released details of the Development Pilot Program – Experienced Producers, supporting projects in the development stage by experienced producers where no Canadian broadcaster is attached. The total amount of funding available is $3M. Eligible projects must be in the Drama, Children & Youth or Documentary genres. Click here to access the guidelines and here to apply between Nov. 26 and Jan. 21.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Shaw Rocket Fund (SRF) are renewing their partnership to fund the production of Canadian digital animated series for children and youth audiences that encourage the use of new technology. Applications for financing must be submitted to SRF by Jan, 6, 2021. Click here to access the program guidelines. The third round of financing through the CMF-SRF Kids Digital Animated Series Program will have a total budget of $4.5M, with the maximum contribution provided to a project funded through the program the lesser of $525,000 or 75% of eligible costs.

Will Pascoe

The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) has announced that award-winning writer/producer/director Will Pascoe will serve as Showrunner-in-Residence for the 2021 Scripted Series Lab. Pascoe will mentor six up-and-coming BC-based screenwriters selected to participate in the program and lead the writer’s room as they develop his original series in the PSP’s flagship training program starting in January. Going into its third year, the lab will be a combination of in-person and virtual meetings to reflect current COVID-19 production protocols. Pascoe most recently wrapped showrunning the third season of Amazon’s Absentia. He’s also written for Fox’s The Finder, Bell/SyFy Channel’s, Bitten; NBC’s Chicago Med; BBC Worldwide/Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons and Hulu’s Shut Eye. 

TSN’s weeklong Grey Cup Unite virtual celebration is underway, culminating with a special of the same name on Saturday, Nov. 21. The broadcast will feature CFL ON TSN host Rod Smith in conversation with special guests including CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and Hall of Famers Doug Flutie, Danny MacManus, and CFL ON TSN’s own Henry Burris. James Duthie also sits down for an interview with Winnipeg Blue Bombers star running back and 107th Grey Cup MVP Andrew Harris.

The Masked Dancer will join CTV’s winter schedule Sunday, Dec. 27. Based on The Masked Singer and inspired by a segment on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Masked Dancer will air regularly in the Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET timeslot, starting Jan. 6. Hosted by comedian Craig Robinson, and featuring panellists Ken Jeong, choreographer and singer Paula Abdul, actor Brian Austin Green, and actress/singer Ashley Tisdale, the show features celebrity contestants performing dance routines while covered from head-to-toe in elaborate costumes and masks, leaving viewers and panelists to guess their identities.

Melissa Grelo

CTV airs The Original Santa Claus Parade in a new, two-hour primetime special, premiering Saturday, Dec. 5 on CTV and CTV2. A closed nighttime parade route at Canada’s Wonderland, adhering to local health and safety protocols, is allowing the tradition to go ahead in its 116th year. Produced by Bell Media Studios, guest performers will include Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge, Meghan Trainor, Ruth B., Shaggy ft. CARYS, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Melissa Grelo of CTV’s The Social and Kelsey McEwen of Your Morning host. 

Tom Brown

CTV Toronto has launched its 25th annual Toy Mountain campaign in support of The Salvation Army. This year’s event has set a goal of collecting 150,000 new, unwrapped toys this holiday season – with an emphasis on the greatest area of need: girls and boys aged 7-9, and youth aged 10-17. CTV Toronto weather anchor Tom Brown will provide progress updates throughout the duration of the campaign on CTV News At Six. He’ll bring the campaign to a close Friday Dec. 18.

Jus Reign

Pier 21 Films has partnered with Canadian YouTube personality Jasmeet Singh Raina (aka Jus Reign) on new half-hour series Late Bloomer (w/t), currently in development at the CBC. Inspired by his own real-life experiences as a first generation Indo-Canadian, Late Bloomer focuses on Raina’s journey navigating his newfound internet fame, dating, spirituality, culture, and his dysfunctional (yet loving) family. With more than 167 Million YouTube views, 970,000+ subscribers and 1M+ fans on Facebook, Jus Reign is known for his irreverent humor incorporating his ethnic background and upbringing. Comedian/actor/producer Russell Peters is attached to executive produce. 

Ryan McMahon

Stories From the Land, a podcast dedicated to Indigenous storytelling, has been adapted into a documentary series by Wanderer Entertainment Inc. for CBC Short Docs. The first two episodes in a four-part series aired as part of a “sneak-peek” on CBC’s Absolutely Canadian Nov. 14 in Ontario, and on CBC Gem. The complete series will be available to stream in early 2021. Narrated and hosted by Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon, the series of short documentaries picks up where the podcast ends, with each themed episode a collection of documentary vignettes of new stories, interviews and landscapes woven together by a visual tapestry. The series also features a soundtrack by DJ Shub, taken from his new album “War Club.”

MBM TV INC. has announced the Canadian Premiere of their latest series America’s Wild Border: Northern Exposure on Nov. 18 on Love Nature. The series, filmed along the world’s longest border between Canada and the U.S., follows the wildlife that live with one foot in two worlds. The Vancouver-based production studio, MBM TV, produced the series in partnership with Tamarin Productions Inc. for Blue Ant Television. It features the work of Emmy-nominated cinematographers, including Director and DP Jeff Morales

Bell Media has announced that LETTERKENNY’s ninth season will start streaming on Crave on Christmas Day. All seven new episodes will drop at once. 

Hollywood Suite will be the exclusive Canadian home of HBO Max Original 10-part war drama, Valley of Tears, starting Saturday, Dec. 19. The biggest budget Israeli TV series of all time, its debut on Hollywood Suite follows its launch in its home country and on HBO Max in the U.S. Inspired by the true events of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel, the series follows young combatants thrust into a war that it was later revealed could have been avoided by leaders they blindly trusted.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Caitlin Havlak and Erin Millar

Indiegraf, the platform for independent publishers and journalists led by sisters Caitlin Havlak and Erin Millar, has announced an investment from New Media Ventures, a U.S.-based investment fund focused on innovation, that will pave the way for it to enter the American market. Co-led by Toronto-based Marigold Capital, which has also invested in Havlak and Millar’s The Discourse, Indiegraf’s aim is to help journalist-entrepreneurs launch digital news outlets to fill gaps in community news. Since its launch this spring, it’s grown to serve 18 publishers in 23 communities. 

Rogers Communications, Sportsnet, and the University of Waterloo have announced the launch of the Sportsnet Hockey Hack: Powered by Rogers 5G. The virtual hackathon is a week-long opportunity for student teams to design applications to enhance the fan experience for Sportsnet viewers, using Rogers’s 5G technology and data from the NHL’s Puck and Player Tracking system during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Potential solutions could involve augmented reality and second screen experiences, as well as fantasy and other gaming or e-commerce applications. Rogers has also announced a 5G program dedicated to the research and development of sports and fan engagement as part of its three-year partnership agreement with the University of Waterloo to advance 5G research in the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor. 

Robert Half global staffing has undertaken a study that indicates almost three-quarters of professionals they surveyed (72%) are videoconferencing for a least a quarter of their workday. At least 44% said they’ve experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic. 59% said video calls can be helpful, but are not always necessary, while 22% said the novelty of video conferencing has worn off over the past eight months. 15% prefer to communicate via other channels, like email or phone. Slightly more women (48%) than men (41%) said they’re tired of video conferencing.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Corus Entertainment has released an overview of the findings of a diversity review undertaken following allegations of a workplace culture of racism and micro-aggressions. Conducted by Toronto-based intercultural trainers and consultants, DiversiPro, among the review’s findings was that some managers did lack intercultural awareness with not enough accountability measures in place to ensure diversity and inclusion goals were being met. DiversiPro also concluded that a lack of diversity within company leadership has had a negative effect on the overall workforce. In addition to evidence of what the overview cites as “negative experiences, including micro-aggressions,” employees who identified as BIPOC, LGBTQ or with a disability, had less of a sense of inclusion than other staff. A lack of trust in internal harassment complaint procedures was also noted. Read more here.

Ernest Tucker

Ernest Tucker, the CBC’s first Black journalist, will be inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame next month. Born in Bermuda, Tucker was the first Black graduate of the journalism program at Ryerson University in 1954. Unable to find work, he entered Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) and upon his graduation in 1958, returned to Bermuda, working as a freelance writer for The Royal Gazette as its first Black journalist, before coming back to Toronto when one of his pieces caught the attention of an editor at the Toronto Telegram. He joined the CBC Toronto newsroom in October 1961 and was famously on the desk alone when John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963, writing and producing the breaking story that went to air. He later moved to CBC Montreal before retiring in the mid-1990s. Tucker died at age 87 on Jan. 3, 2019. Read more here.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says broadcasters must disclose their ownership interest following a complaint that CTV Toronto promoted Crave series Canada’s Drag Race during a newscast, without disclosing they are both owned by Bell Media. A viewer complained that the segment during the July 4 edition of CTV News at Six was effectively an advertisement for Crave and that broadcasters shouldn’t be allowed to use their newscasts for this type of self-promotion. The CBSC’s English-Language Panel found that CTV should have disclosed its relationship to Crave to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest and should have ensured that the phrasing of the report’s introduction distinguished news content from advertising as required by the code. Read more here.

TELUS has released its 2020 Indigenous Connectivity Report, which highlights partnerships between TELUS and Indigenous communities throughout B.C. that have brought high-speed internet to approximately 18,500 homes, businesses, and community hubs. By the numbers, 178 Indigenous communities are now serviced by TELUS, with 56 of those connected to TELUS PureFibre.

SaskTel has released its 2019/20 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, detailing the company’s efforts in the areas of environmental stewardship, ethical leadership, inclusiveness, diversity, and community support. Highlights include SaskTel’s contribution of just under $2.9 million to 957 non-profit and charitable organizations, community associations, venues, events and partnerships in more than 233 communities across the province

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Ahmad Shakil

The HIDI Group has announced the consulting engineering firm’s expansion into Ottawa. Ahmad Shakil will head the office in the National Capital Region, joining the company’s existing operations in Greater Toronto, Calgary and Dubai. The HIDI Group works in seven integrated engineering disciplines, including Communications, Audiovisual, Security, and Energy Services.   

Rise, the advocacy group for women in the broadcast technology sector, has announced the winners of this year’s Rise Awards. The ceremony saw Sandy Nasseri, CEO and founder of Southern California tech reseller and systems integrator MelroseINC, presented with the Woman of The Year Award. Yulia Rozmarin, R&D Project Manager at broadcast equipment provider LiveU, won the Engineering category, while Kerry Shreeve, VP of Technology Operations at Discovery, was awarded the Technical Operations honour. Find the full list of winners, here.

2020 WABE Convention recap, submitted by President Rob Brown

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) 2020 convention took place Nov. 4th & 5th, marking 70 years for our organization. This convention was held virtually and literally put together between mid-August and November. Just ahead of our first organizational meeting in March, we were thrown into the unprecedented global pandemic.  Immediately, we had to shift gears. It became evident early on that an in-person convention would not be possible.

Our then President, Clint Hollinger, was determined that cancelling the convention was not an option. We quickly changed gears and explored the option of hosting a virtual convention. We partnered with the Scarritt Group and put together a digital platform. WABE attracted over 160 member delegates, which is twice the normal number of delegates that we see during an in-person convention. This illustrated one of the benefits of having an online convention, as we were able to welcome delegates from across the country. The convention itself featured several very well attended paper sessions, along with expanding our educational offering with an ON-DEMAND section containing additional media content.    

I would like to recognize the efforts of this year’s committee: Our outgoing Past President Bill Stovold for his guidance and advice. Paper chairs Mike Modney and Tessa Potter, who did an outstanding job coming up with remarkable LIVE and ON DEMAND content.  Host Chair Marco Auriti and Sessions Chair Sarah Boutette who were highly creative in their efforts of getting this virtual convention off the ground. Eric Becker was our exhibitor liaison who helped bring together our vendors into this new virtual world. I would also like to recognize that once again, the glue that held this event together was our WABE Office Manager Kathy Watson.  

Another benefit of a virtual convention is that the convention remains accessible online until the end of August 2021. When you paid your $25 delegate fee, you retain access to the WABE site. You can go back, look at papers, and will be able to attend future offerings every quarter through educational seminars. If you have not yet registered, you can still register online any time for $25 to access that content, including LIVE papers that were recorded. That includes the exhibit hall with the ability to gain vendor’s contact information.  

Laverne Siemens

During the convention Awards Ceremony, we recognized members of our community with the following awards: 

Retirement Awards: George Buzunis, Chris Lee, John Bos, Allan Smale and Jonathan Hutchinson

Spirit Award: Jonathan Hutchinson

Excellence in Engineering Award: Mike Modney

RW Lamb Award: Laverne Siemens

We are also pleased to announce our new executive board members for the next two-year term:

President: Rob Brown

Past President: Clint Hollinger

Secretary/Treasurer: Tessa Potter

Most importantly, we thank our numerous sponsors and exhibitors who ventured out into the new virtual world with us, by providing their continued financial support of our convention. Without their participation, our conventions would not be possible.

Rob Brown

WABE President