The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Corus Radio launched Feel Good Winnipeg Peggy @ 99.1 (CJGV-FM) on Christmas Day. Rebranded from 99.1 Fresh Radio, the new format features upbeat 80s pop and current adult contemporary. Corus says the station launched in “music intensive mode” with a hosting line-up TBA.

Indigenous broadcasters CFNR-FM Terrace, BC and CFWE-FM Edmonton have committed to building a regional news network to promote key issues facing First Nations peoples in their provinces. The Western Indigenous News Network will draw on the broadcast resources in each newsroom, delivering news to over 200,000 indigenous listeners in 140 communities.

The CRTC is giving TTP Media until June 30 to launch an English radio station at 600 AM Montreal. First authorized in 2012, the station is owned by a trio of Montreal businessmen, including managing partner Nicolas Tétrault who cited “uncertainty created by the consolidation of the commercial broadcasting business in Montreal” as one of the issues that has forced the group to re-evaluate its business case to satisfy financial lenders.

98.9 myFM (CHCD-FM) Simcoe’s Christmas Wish Campaign delivered 250 gifts to kids in need in Norfolk County. Now in its 13th year, the campaign sees listeners fulfil the Christmas Wish of a child, read out hourly on the air. Listeners were invited to call in to pledge that gift, buy it and put it under the tree at a sponsor location.

Q99 (CIKT-FM) Grande Prairie has set new records in donations and cash raised for the local food bank with its 8th annual Stuff A Bus campaign. Despite a challenged local economy, the community donated over 37,000 items and $15,000 for the Salvation Army.

Corus Radio London Drive-Thru Toy Drives collected $22,040 and 10 trucks full of toys for the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper program. AM980 (CFPL-AM), FM96 (CFPL-FM), Fresh Radio (CFHK-FM), and Country 104 (CKDK-FM) were involved in the Dec. 16 event.

John Divinski

A 12-hour radiothon on 98 The Beach (CFPS-FM) Port Elgin raised $64,000 for the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Light the Way campaign. The Dec. 15 event was broadcast live from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and featured community members sharing stories of their hospital experiences. Bayshore Broadcasting’s John Divinski was the honourary chair of this year’s campaign.

Corus Entertainment Kingston’s 28th Annual Clothes For Kids Mission raised over $100,892. The campaign will see more than 2,000 children outfitted with snowsuits this Winter.

NewsTalk 770 (CHQR-AM) and the Westin Calgary hosted a radiothon in support of children’s charities in Calgary. $329,350 was raised during the 12.5-hour broadcast.

SIGN-OFFS:

Bob Moir

Bob Moir, 87, Dec. 18 at Humber River Hospital. Moir spent four decades with CBC Sports as an executive producer and commentator. Hailing from Winnipeg, Moir began his career with CBC in 1952, calling the Grey Cup in 1958. He went on to serve as a commentator at the network’s first Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. During the 1972 Olympics, Moir was in Munich when terrorists took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and 11 were later killed. He and late CBC commentator Don Wittman snuck into the Olympic Village, posing as doctors, to report live. Moir went on to executive produce CBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Montreal in 1976, Seoul in 1988 and the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. He closed out his career as executive producer of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, for which he won multiple Gemini Awards. Over his more than 40 years with the network, Bob recruited and promoted many well-known commentators and analysts and was a mentor to many production and technical staff. He earned induction into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1985 and was also an inductee of the CBC Sports Hall of Fame.

Dan Roman

Raymond Mostoway, aka Dan Roman, 75, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 21 at his home in New Brunswick. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Dan was 16 years old and still in high school when he began his radio career at CKSW-AM Swift Current. He soon joined his brother Duff Roman on-air in Toronto at CKEY-AM and CHUM-AM. The brothers also co-founded Roman Records, with their label producing David Clayton Thomas (Blood Sweat and Tears), The Paupers, and Levon and The Hawks who later became The Band behind Bob Dylan. Dan went on to work at CJCH-AM Halifax in the 1970s and became program director at 960 AM CHNS before relocating to New Brunswick. While station manager at CKCW-FM Moncton, Dan met the love of his life Bernice Comeau, a volunteer for charity promotions. They later put down roots in Quispamsis, NB where Dan was General Manager at K100 (CIOK-FM) Saint John until his retirement.

Scruff Connors

Jeffrey Newfield, aka Scruff Connors, 64, on Dec. 18. One of the original Canadian shock jocks, Connors’ legacy is the well-remembered stunts he embarked on at numerous stations. His most prominent work was with Q107 in Toronto, where he became morning host in 1980. After broadcasting in other cities, he returned to Q107 in the early 1990s to join the “The Q Morning Zoo.” In between, he did stints at WYSP-FM Philadelphia, CHTZ-FM St. Catharine’s and CFBR-FM Edmonton. He also spent time at CFSL-AM Weyburn, CJKR-FM Winnipeg, and MOJO (CFMJ-AM) Toronto. His stunts ranged from confining himself in the Q107 studio and repeatedly airing Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, to a 1995 contest he announced in Winnipeg where selected listeners could watch Super Bowl XXIX in Miami. Thirty fans were chosen to meet Connors at the airport where they boarded a bus that took them to watch the game on a monochrome television at a lounge in the tiny community of Miami, Manitoba. Scruff also used his popularity for good, responding in 1980 after Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope. Connors raised $72,000 for cancer research by hosting a 36-hour “Scruff-a-thon” on Q107. Following his layoff from MOJO Toronto in 1995, Connors underwent quadruple bypass surgery and later battled bladder cancer, retiring to Osoyoos, BC.

Beverley “Bev” Wakeman Edwards

Beverley “Bev” Wakeman Edwards, 87, on Dec. 7, following a brief illness. Raised in Muskoka, Wakeman is best remembered for producing the “Wally Crouter Show” at CFRB Toronto where he worked for 38 years. Edwards and his wife Bernice were retired to the Skeleton Lake area.

Eileen Olive Forbom

Eileen Olive Forbom, 86, in Sudbury. Born in Oshawa, ON, Eileen grew up in Scotland and moved to Sudbury at the age of 17. She joined CKSO-AM Sudbury in 1948, and worked there for 38 years, retiring as the first female general manager. She also helped start Canadore College.

Gordie Tapp

Gordie Tapp, 94, passed away peacefully in Burlington, ON on Dec. 18. The legendary Canadian entertainer started out in the golden age of radio in Guelph, quickly getting pulled to CHML-AM Hamilton to develop an evening show called What’s On Tapp?. CHML’s Main Street Jamboree put Gordie on the map, airing on both radio and television in the 1950s. He then moved on to CBC’s Country Hoedown from 1956-1965. That’s where the hayseed character Cousin Clem was borne, which he would later take south of the border to the long-running CBS variety show Hee Haw. Tapp was a member of the Order of Canada and was the first inductee into the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame, the city he lived in for nearly six decades.

Jack Lowe

Jack Lowe, 82, passed away on Jan. 2. Jack immigrated to Canada from Barbados when he was in his teens, graduating from Toronto’s Central Tech High School. He started working as an engineer for Foster Hewitt’s radio station CKFH-AM 1430 in 1959 where he spent many a hockey game lugging 1940s equipment up to the ‘gondula’ in Maple Leaf Gardens to broadcast Leafs games with Hewitt. He remained with the station through three ownership changes and one frequency change, moving into semi-retirement in 2002.

Greg Barnsley

Greg Barnsley, 83, on Jan. 2 after a short illness. Barnsley was one of the first employees at CFQC-TV (CTV Saskatoon) when the station went to air in 1954. A familiar face in Saskatoon media and beloved weatherman, Barnsley retired in 1992. The CTV Saskatoon studio was upgraded and renamed after Barnsley in 2014. His son Jim continues to work at CTV Saskatoon as a camera operator.

 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Kevin O’Leary

Bell Media announced Dec. 23 that potential Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary will no longer appear as a contributor on CTV News or BNN. Bell hired the businessman, commentator, Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den star away from the CBC two years ago. Bell’s announcement came following the launch of a leadership bid exploratory committee and website. Bell says O’Leary could continue to appear as a guest, but not in an official capacity.

After halting research and development on its own in-house IPTV streaming service, Rogers Communications has announced plans to launch a new service developed by U.S.-based Comcast in early 2018. As a result of the change, Rogers is taking a $500M write down in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31. The company says using Comcast’s technology will ensure customers have access to the most advanced features on the market, while staying competitive at a reasonable cost.

CBC has renewed its original comedy series Kim’s Convenience for a second season. The first season drew an average audience of 933,000 viewers per episode. Produced by Thunderbird Entertainment in association with Soulpepper, the series will return in fall 2017.

Brent Butt

The Comedy Network has greenlit an animated version of Corner Gas. The 13-episode, half-hour series slated for the 2017-2018 broadcast season is being re-imagined by creator and star Brent Butt, who will executive produce with David Storey from Prairie Pantoons (335 Productions) and Virginia Thompson from Moving Mountoons (Vérité Films). The series begins pre-production this month in Vancouver and Toronto, with the main cast confirmed to return. Casting is currently underway for the character Emma, who will live on in the animated world with the blessing of the late Janet Wright’s family.

Howie Mandel

Toronto native Howie Mandel will host the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards. The show, honouring the best in Canadian film and television, airs live on CBC TV on March 12.

Bell Media has launched a new appeal of the CRTC’s Super Bowl ad policy, outlawing simultaneous substitution of Canadian ads. Bell and the National Football League filed with the Federal Court of Appeal Dec. 28. Simultaneous substitution generates about $250-million in annual revenue for Canadian broadcasters with the CRTC’s 2015 ruling aimed at tackling viewer complaints about substitution errors during live programming and viewers missing big-budget U.S. Super Bowl ads.

TVO is celebrating Ontario’s and Canada’s 150th anniversary with educational content. TVO’s multiplatform celebration includes stories and themes related to the immigrant experience, aboriginal roots, contemporary Canadian identity, and Ontario’s contribution to Confederation and the world. Throughout 2017, sesquicentennial content will be marked with a special TVO-designed tribute logo for Canada/Ontario150.

Montreal’s Stingray Digital Group Inc. is acquiring premium Pay TV channel Classica from Unitel. Unitel will continue to produce and deliver programming for Classica, while Stingray will have full access to its vast catalogue of more than 1,500 titles and 2,000 hours of Unitel-owned and produced content. Launched in 1996, Classica presents operas, ballets, and concerts from the most renowned opera houses, concert halls and music festivals. The channel is currently distributed in 40 countries, available to an estimated 20 million subscribers. 

TV cord cutting in Canada continued to escalate in 2016. While Canada’s top telecommunications providers – BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. – gained 626,000 wireless subscribers and 212,000 Internet subscribers in the first three quarters of the year, they lost 157,000 television subscribers over the same period. Landline subscriptions were down 471,000. Analysts anticipate the year-end cord cutting tally could reach 200,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of 173,000 in 2015.

ONLINE CHANNELS:

The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, divisions of Pelmorex Media Inc., made Apple’s Best of 2016 list. Of the two million apps currently available on the App Store, The Weather Network and MétéoMédia app was ranked in the top half of the Top 50 Free Apps of 2016. The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are currently ranked fourth in Canada’s Top Mobile App Properties behind Facebook, Google and Apple according to comScore Media Metrix.

Videotron has been named a Top Recruiter of 2016 in Canada by LinkedIn. Videotron obtained the highest score across all industries in the big company category. The score is based on the activity level and effectiveness of recruiters on the social network.

SoundCloud is the latest addition to Videotron’s Unlimited Music catalogue, bringing the number of streaming platforms covered by the service to 18. Videotron Mobile says it plans to continue expanding Unlimited Music, which allows Premium mobile subscribers to use participating music apps without impacting data usage.

The CRTC says Bell’s broadband performance results were not as positive as initially reported in its September study. The first-ever national, independent study measured broadband speeds Canadians were experiencing compared to speeds advertised by service providers. The commission says following the report’s publication, it came to the attention of research company SamKnows, that the wrong metrics were used to analyze the upload speeds of Bell Canada’s DSL Internet services. The revision finds Bell’s four DSL plans did not meet advertised upload rates, delivering an average of 85 per cent of the advertised speed, compared to the 134 per cent quoted in the original study.

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) has announced the Call for Entries for the 2017 Digital Publishing Awards, honouring excellence by Canada’s digital publishers. With awards in 22 categories, the competition is entering its second year. The deadline for submissions, from digital publishers or content creators whose work appeared in 2016, is Jan. 31.

GENERAL:

The CRTC has declared broadband internet access a basic service for all Canadians, a decision that could pave the way for universal access to high-speed service in remote, northern and rural areas. The commission set new speed targets of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services. It also wants to see an unlimited data option for fixed broadband services and the latest mobile wireless technology available not only in homes and businesses, but along major Canadian roads. The CRTC is establishing a $750M fund over five years to support projects in areas that do not meet these targets.

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) has received CRTC approval to transfer its Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking (BDU) licences to Bell Canada. The decision is the first of three regulatory approvals required to complete the closing of BCE’s acquisition of MTS, expected in early 2017. The transfer of the terrestrial broadcasting licence enables the rollout in Winnipeg and other locations of Bell Fibe TV. Bell announced the $3.9-billion MTS transaction on May 2, and a five-year, $1 billion plan to roll out new broadband network infrastructure and next-generation services – including Fibe TV, Gigabit Fibe Internet and LTE wireless services from Bell Mobility – across Manitoba.

The Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 awareness campaign began Boxing Day on multiple TV networks, online and Jan. 2 in Cineplex and Guzzo theatres and at Hot Docs. TV and online videos feature six-time Olympic medallist Clara Hughes and Bell Let’s Talk spokespeople Howie Mandel, Marie-Soleil Dion, Serena Ryder, Michael Landsberg, Michel Mpambara, Stefie Shock, Mary Walsh and Étienne Boulay speaking candidly about their own personal experiences with mental illness and recovery. The campaign prompts Canadians to send a Bell Let’s Talk message of support on Jan. 25 and Bell will donate five cents to mental health programs. 2016’s record saw 126 million messages sent and a $6.3M Bell donation.

RTDNA Canada will expand its awards for 2017. The association says the move addresses concerns from members around the increasing importance of digital; the creation of network awards for categories previously limited to the regions; and recognition of the growing importance of live network sports programming. The new awards are: Editorial Commentary – Network; Live Special Events – Digital; Sports Feature – Network; and Sports – Live Special Events, with a Network category for digital, radio and TV.

Pierre Morrissette

The latest appointees to the Order of Canada include broadcasters Pierre Morrissette and David Onley. Morrissette is the founder, chairman and CEO of Pelmorex Media Inc., which operates The Weather Network and MeteoMedia. David Onley was the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and a former television journalist. He began his career hosting a weekly science show for CFRB-AM Toronto before joining the CKO radio news network and City, starting as a weather specialist and moving into roles as a news anchor and host. He was one of Canada’s first on-air television personalities with a visible disability, using a mobility device due to paralysis.

Canada’s telecom stocks are expected to be under more pressure in 2017, according to the annual outlook report from Desjardins Capital Markets. Analysts predict interest rate volatility and continued challenges in TV, including the increased move to online video streaming, will create higher risk. Desjardins has lowered price targets for Bell ($64.50 from $67.50), Rogers ($57.50 from $61) and Telus ($49 from $50).

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has concluded Game TV should only have broadcast the David Cronenberg film Eastern Promises after 9 p.m., with detailed advisories and an 18+ classification due to the violence, sex, coarse language and mature themes. Game TV broadcast the film at 8 p.m. ET on June 9, 2016 with viewer advisories alerting to the violence, coarse language and mature themes, but no classification icon. The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who lived in the Pacific time zone and therefore saw the broadcast at 5 p.m.

The CBSC has found that a KiSS FM (CISS-FM) Ottawa host clearly left the impression contest rules had not been followed, violating the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics. The cue-to-text contest was entitled Big Bag of Cash with each contestant to be chosen randomly. On March 21, the host told one contestant she had chosen her text message because she liked the emoticons in it. After a listener complained, the station says its investigation found the contestant had in fact been randomly selected. The host had only said she picked the emoticon message to provide an entertaining intro to the segment.

 

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