The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has concluded that the f-word should not have been broadcast before 9 p.m. and viewer advisories should have been included during a football game airing on TSN 4 at 7 p.m. ET last July. Microphones on or near the field during the CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats picked up coarse language from the players on three occasions. In one case, the commentator apologized for the language, pointing out it was live television. A viewer complained, suggesting the broadcaster should have anticipated such behaviour and taken measures to prevent it from airing. The CBSC English-language panel found breaches of Clauses 10(a) and 11 of the code for broadcast of the f-word and the lack of viewer advisories.

Rick Moffat

Montréal’s TSN 690 (CKGM-AM) and the Montreal Alouettes have announced a new multi-year broadcast rights agreement that sees TSN 690 remain the exclusive English-language home of all Alouettes games. Rick Moffat returns to provide play-by-play commentary, joined by former CFL cornerback and three-time Grey Cup champion Davis Sanchez.

SiriusXM Canada has launched 150 for 150, the ultimate search for the 150 greatest Canadian songs of all time. To be chosen by Canadians and a panel of industry experts, SiriusXM is inviting Canadians to vote daily for their top three favourite songs from the database, as well as add their own picks to help create the historical catalogue. All 150 songs will air throughout Canada Day weekend in July and throughout the year on SiriusXM’s The Verge (ch. 173).

ATB has agreed in principle to underwrite the development of the Alberta Podcast Network for its first two years. The network will support the creation of Alberta-based podcasts of high quality for larger audiences with CKUA Radio helping promote the venture. For updates on how the network is progressing, visit albertapodcastnetwork.com

The historic CHCM-AM building in Marystown on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula was demolished on May 15. The station opened in 1962 as an affiliate of Newcap-owned VOCM. While the bricks and mortar location closed in 2016 when the company consolidated programming for Marystown, Grand Falls and Stephenville out of St. John’s, Newcap still employs a news person and sales account manager in the area, who work out of a home-based office.

1050 CJNB, Q98 (CJCQ-FM) and 93.3 The Rock (CJHD-FM) North Battleford raised over $190,000 on May 12 during the On Air for Healthcare Radiothon. Battlefords Union Hospital (BUH) partnered with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group for the second annual event, which raised funds to purchase surgical equipment for BUH’s recently recruited ears, nose and throat surgeon.

Caroline Rioux

SoundExchange has acquired the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA), the music licensing collective representing the vast majority of songs recorded, sold and broadcast in Canada on behalf of music publishers. The move marks the first time that a U.S. collective for sound recordings and the music publishing sector have come together under common management. CMRRA will continue to operate out of its Toronto headquarters with president Caroline Rioux and her management team remaining with the operation, reporting to the board of directors of SXWorks, a new subsidiary of SoundExchange. CEO Michael Huppe will lead SXWorks as chairman of the new company.

Jason Hawes

NewsTalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto is the first Canadian station to pick up new syndicated, late-night, live, paranormal series Beyond Reality Radio, hosted by Ghost Hunters co-creator Jason Hawes. NewsTalk 1010 started airing the series this week, Monday to Friday midnight to 2 a.m. ET. The series is distributed by Momentum Media Networks in Canada.

SIGN-OFFS:

Andy Michaelson

Andy Michaelson, May 10, in St. Albert, AB. Michaelson started his career as a radio announcer and reporter in the 1960s at CHED-AM Edmonton, followed by CKYL-AM Peace River and CJCA-AM Edmonton. He moved to Vancouver in the 1970s where he was heard on-air over the next two decades as Andy Michaels on CISL-AM, CKNW-AM and as morning show co-host on CJOR-AM. Michaelson later worked as a communications consultant in Vancouver and Edmonton. He eventually found his calling as a writer and poet in St. Albert, AB devoting many hours as a teacher and mentor to both children and adults, encouraging them to  write and perform their poetry. He was a co-founder of Poets’ Ink, a local writing group and regularly performed at poetry readings. In 2009, Andy received a St. Albert Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Award for Arts Promotion and in 2011, a St. Albert Community Recognition Award for Arts and Culture.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Bell has launched Fibe Alt TV, billed as Canada’s first widely available app-based live TV service. With no traditional TV subscription or set-top box required, Alt TV is accessed through the Fibe TV app and offers up to 500 channels on the screen of your choice. Initially available to Bell Fibe Internet customers in Ontario and Québec, and coming to Atlantic Canada and Manitoba, Alt TV will start at $14.96/month with select Fibe Internet packages. It offers access to two TV streams at a time with customers able to add individual channels to build their own packages.

The CRTC has issued a competitive call for applications for a new television service offering national multilingual and multi-ethnic programming including news and information. If licensed, the service would receive mandatory distribution on the digital basic service starting in 2020. As an interim measure, the CRTC has approved the licensing and mandatory distribution of Rogers Media-owned, multilingual, multi-ethnic channel OMNI Regional on all digital basic television packages in Canada. With CRTC concerns the service won’t fully meet the needs of Canadians, OMNI Regional is receiving mandatory distribution for a three-year period only and may not be renewed.

The CRTC has renewed the licences of the large French-language television groups Groupe TVA, Groupe V, Bell and Corus and the large English-language television groups Bell, Rogers and Corus for a new five-year term effective September 2017. In doing so, the CRTC also imposed new hurdles for local TV licence renewals with station owners now required to give 120 days notice of an intended closure to allow for public hearings. Commercial English-language stations will continue to be required to broadcast at least seven hours of local programming per week in non-metropolitan markets and at least 14 hours per week in metropolitan markets. Local programming requirements for commercial French-language stations will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, using a benchmark minimum of five hours of local programming per week.

As part of Monday’s license renewals, the CRTC is adopting a five per cent PNI or “programs of national interest” expenditure requirement for all services within the groups, of which at least 75 per cent be allocated to independently-produced programming. In their interventions, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and Writers’ Guild of Canada (WGC) noted that the Bell and Corus groups had averaged an eight per cent PNI expenditure level from the 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 broadcast years. The DGC submitted that existing spending be maintained and proposed that the PNI expenditure requirement for all three groups be set at nine per cent, while ACTRA proposed that it be initially set at eight per cent and increased annually over the next licence term. Media unions were quick to decry Monday’s policy changes with Unifor saying the decision will do nothing to stop further cuts to local television news. The WGC also called the changes “a major blow to Canadian screenwriters – and Canadian audiences.” Executive director Maureen Parker said the cuts “could mean the devastation of Canadian domestic production,” amounting to an over $200 million loss for PNI over a five-year licence term.

As part of Monday’s bulk release of CRTC regulatory decisions, the commission has approved Bell Media’s request to delete required contributions to MuchFACT, the Much-funded Foundation to Assist Talent. The MuchFACT program contributed as much as $2 million a year to Canadian music video and digital content creation. The commission also granted Bell Media’s request to delete the condition of licence requiring adherence to a terms of trade agreement with the Canadian Media Producers Association; for Book Television, Fashion Television and MTV2, to delete the condition of licence requiring that no less than 25 per cent of all Canadian programs broadcast by the licensee, other than news, sports and current affairs programming, be produced by independent production companies; for Bravo!, to delete requirements to contribute to BravoFACT; for TMN Encore, to delete the condition of licence, as part of its expenditures on Canadian programming, to devote a maximum of $500,000 to the preservation and restoration of Canadian films; for The Comedy Network (TCN), to delete the expectation the licensee direct 75 per cent of expenditures on original Canadian production to independent production companies; for Space, to delete the expectation that the licensee acquire a minimum of 75 per cent of all original, first-run Canadian programming, other than news and current affairs broadcast on the service, from independent production companies; and for MTV, to delete expectation that the licensee acquire programming from independent production companies and allocate $50,000 in each broadcast year to independent production companies for concept and script development.

The Handmaid’s Tale is now Bravo’s most-watched broadcast ever, according to final Numeris data which confirms 793,400 viewers watched the April 30 premiere episode, also making it the most-watched series premiere on a Canadian Entertainment Specialty channel this broadcast year. Preliminary live plus same-day audience data for Episode 3 of the series shows an audience increase of 21 per cent over Episodes 1 and 2. The series is now averaging 722,600 viewers per episode.

Troy Reeb, senior VP of news, radio and station operations for Corus Entertainment tweeted that more investigation is merited after Global News videographer Jeremy Cohn was arrested Tuesday night at the scene of a fatal collision in Hamilton. Freelance journalist David Ritchie is facing a charge of obstructing police stemming from the same incident. Hamilton Police say they are still investigating.

GENERAL:

Quebecor Inc. has announced a 22.2 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend for the first quarter of 2017. Revenues were $996.4 million, up $21.0 million (2.2 per cent) from the same period in 2016. Telecommunications grew its revenues by $27.4 million (3.5 per cent) and its adjusted operating income by $18.4 million (5.1 per cent) in Q1. Videotron Ltd. significantly increased its quarterly revenues from mobile telephony ($26.5 million or 22.8 per cent), Internet access ($8.8 million or 3.6 per cent), business solutions ($5.8 million or 22.7 per cent), and the Club illico over-the-top video service ($1.3 million or 16.9 per cent). There was a net increase of 30,000 revenue-generating units (0.5 per cent) in the quarter, including 27,000 connections to the mobile telephony service, 15,300 subscriptions to cable Internet service and 9,800 memberships in Club illico.

CBC/Radio-Canada will begin mass digitization of the public broadcaster’s audiovisual archive collection, starting in winter 2018. CBC will digitise 720,000 physical media assets (audio and video) while Radio-Canada will digitise more than 650,000 assets that include audio, video and film. In addition to making the material more accessible, the CBC says the move is necessary to address the deterioration of physical recording media, equipment obsolescence and the increasing cost to production staff and media librarians of maintaining playback devices. At least 20 new positions will be created internally to support the project which will take at least five years.

Bell is apologizing to its customers after 1.9 million email addresses and approximately 1,700 names and active phone numbers were stolen from a company database. In a statement Bell said there was no indication that any financial, password or other sensitive personal information was accessed and that the incident wasn’t connected to the recent, global WannaCry malware attacks. The company said it was working closely with the RCMP cyber crime unit in its investigation and has informed the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Freedom Mobile has announced the expansion of its LTE network into Calgary and Edmonton. Having first launched in Toronto, Vancouver and surrounding areas in Nov. 2016, Freedom Mobile says it’s moving forward with planned updates for a complete LTE rollout by the end of 2017.

The Association of Central Canada Broadcast Engineers (CCBE) Conference is set for Sept. 28 – Oct. 1 at the Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City, ON. Michael McEwen, director general of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) will deliver the keynote address. You can find the conference agenda here.

The 70th Annual British Columbia Association of Broadcasters Conference is underway in Osoyoos, BC. The event’s social program kicked off Tuesday with 18 holes at the Osoyoos Golf Club. Conference highlights included Thursday morning’s Industry Leaders Panel, moderated by Paul Ski, special advisor to the president, Media, for Rogers; as well as keynote speaker Roger Haskett on The Power of Play.

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