The Weekly Briefing


CBC Manitoba’s annual Harvesting Hope donation drive raised $172,903 for the Winnipeg Harvest food bank last weekend. The annual event, heard on CBC Radio One 89.3 FM, CBC Winnipeg News at 6 p.m. and, featured live performances from local musicans and spread stories of those in need.

CHYM-FM Kitchener’s Tree of Hope Radiothon raised $241,166 on Dec. 1. The annual event, in its 24th year, raises funds for Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region.

CBC Toronto’s annual food drive, Sounds of the Season, has raised $340,084 so far for the Daily Bread Food Bank. As of Dec. 2, CBC listeners had brought in some 2,610 kilos of non-perishable food donations. Donations are being accepted online until Dec. 31.

CBC/Radio Canada’s Open House and Food Bank Day in British Columbia broke records, raising $780,347 for BC food banks. A mix of live broadcasts and events, as well as an open house at the Vancouver Broadcast Centre, saw network personalities Peter Mansbridge, Erica Johnson and Ian Hanomansing, as well as Kim’s Convenience stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Andrea Bang, join local CBC personalities.

The 39th Annual CKNW Orphans’ Fund Pledge Day raised over $1.5 million for BC kids with special needs last week. Hosted by CKNW NewsTalk 980, Rock 101 (CFMI-FM) and Global BC personalities, Pledge Day helps support 15,000 children annually with the Orphans’ Fund remaining one of the largest sources of individual grant funding in the province.

WILD 95.3 (CKWD-FM) Calgary, The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, New Amsterdam Vodka and Alberta Music have announced the winners of the first Project WILD, designed to help launch the careers of up-and-coming Alberta country artists. The Dungarees from Edmonton came in first, walking away with over $100,000. Sykamore from Carseland placed second, winning $75,000, while third place winner Ken Stead from Edmonton was awarded $50,000.

94.9 CHRW-FM London, ON, Western University’s campus radio station, hosted its annual All Women’s Voices event on Dec. 6 to commemorate the anniversary of the killing of 14 women at École Polytechnique. For 24 hours starting at 12 a.m., CHRW exclusively broadcast female voices from the Western community and beyond, including discussion on violence against women.


CBC/Radio-Canada has announced a line-up of special Canada 150 programs. CBC News Network will kick off 2017 with live New Year’s Eve coverage from Parliament Hill, including a ceremonial relighting of the Centennial Flame. The public broadcaster’s English and French networks have come together on a number of joint projects, including Train 150 – a multiplatform series that offers a close-up, cross-country view of Canada. CBC highlights include Canada: The Story Of Us, a ten-part television history series; Becoming Canadian, a digital-first series focusing on the stories of new Canadians who take the Oath of Citizenship; and Short Docs: Indigenous, a collection of short digital documentaries by emerging Indigenous storytellers.

David MacNaughton

NFL Canada’s managing director David Thomson has written a letter making the case for airing Canadian commercials during the upcoming Super Bowl broadcast Feb. 5. The Nov. 23 letter to Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, asks the federal government to halt a CRTC order prohibiting simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl, calling the practice “a critical enabler for development and sustainability of Canadian content.” The Super Bowl is Canada’s most-watched television event, with an average of 9 million viewers.

Maxime Remillard

Groupe V Media has chimed in on CBC/Radio-Canada’s proposals to the CRTC to review the public broadcaster’s funding and eliminate advertising on its platforms. While Groupe V agrees that the proposal would increase the amount of ad dollars available to private broadcasters and restore balance, the Quebec broadcaster also feels strongly it must be undertaken at a lower cost. In a statement last week, president Maxime Remillard said asking Canadian taxpayers for $400 million per year is “unreasonable,” adding “by moving ahead creatively and being bold, it would be entirely possible to revise the model without having to inject as much money.”

Yannick Bisson

Yannick Bisson, star of long-running CBC-TV series Murdoch Mysteries, will receive ACTRA Toronto’s 2017 Award of Excellence. Bisson has over 60 performing credits to his name, including 10 seasons in the role of Det. William Murdoch and previous stints on Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye and High Tide. He’ll receive the honour at the performers’ union award gala on Feb. 25.

Bell Media’s MuchFACT (A Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) has awarded $452,900 to 23 Canadian musicians in its December funding round. Awarded in the categories of Content Package, Music Video, Online Music Video/Project and Digital Tools, recipients include Feist, We Are Wolves, Grandtheft, Jazz Cartier and Scott Helman, among others. The next deadline for submitting MuchFACT applications is Jan. 12.

Rogers Media has announced its upcoming original Viceland documentary series Rise, produced in partnership with VICE Studio Canada and APTN, will premiere three episodes at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Rise explores issues around land, decolonization and political governance told from an Indigenous point of view by showcasing those on the frontlines of change. Episodes to be screened at Sundance include Sacred Water, focusing on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation; Apache Stronghold, focusing on Arizona’s San Carlos Apache tribe and their stand to protect the sacred lands of Oak Flat; and Red Power, focusing on the evolution of the Red Power Movement.

Global airs its 10th Canada’s Walk of Fame broadcast special Dec. 19. This year’s inductees include TV personality Jeanne Beker, musician Corey Hart, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, actor/director Jason Priestley, former NHL’er Darryl Sittler, actor Al Waxman and country music star Brett Kissel. Tatiana Maslany, Lanny McDonald, Kiefer Sutherland and Margaret Trudeau are among those presenting.

BBC Worldwide North America and Blue Ant Media are partnering to launch BBC Earth in Canada. Scheduled to debut on Jan. 24, the commercial-free channel will feature factual programming like Planet Earth II and The Hunt. BBC Earth will replace Blue Ant Media’s existing adventure-focused speciality channel radX.

Mario Mota

Mario Mota, an Ottawa-based researcher and consultant, says Canadians are continuing to cut the cord in record numbers despite CRTC-mandated basic cable plans. Mota, with Boon Dog Professional Services, says the numbers show the seven major publicly traded TV service providers lost a combined total of 98,476 TV customers in the first two fiscal quarters of this year, from March through September. Year over year, that’s a loss of 13 per cent more subscribers than in 2015. Mota predicts Canada is on track to lose 200,000 TV subscribers this year. According to the CRTC, 1.57 per cent of Canadian TV subscribers had signed up for basic TV by June, much less than the anticipated five per cent.

Jean Pierre Blais

As the CRTC’s pick-and-pay reforms took effect Dec. 1, chair Jean-Pierre Blais issued a warning to television service providers. Blais said the commission will be closely monitoring how providers implement their new so-called ‘skinny cable’ offerings and whether they’re following best practices. With the licences of most providers recently renewed for just a one-year term, Blais said when those licences are up for renewal “we will not hesitate to take action if any provider doesn’t conform to the established policy or respect Canadian consumers and their right to choice.” Blais also reminded Canadians, it’s their responsibility as informed consumers to do their homework.


Kenneth Haslam

Kenneth Haslam, Nov. 17, in Warkworth, ON. Remembered by his colleagues as the CBC “language god” who would rap broadcasters’ knuckles for bad grammar, Haslam began his radio career with CBC at age 19 in his hometown of Montréal. In 1953, he joined the English Language Division of Radio Nederland in Hilversum, the Netherlands, as a news reader. He eventually returned to CBC Toronto where he was a familiar staple on both the network news desk and the original host of the long-running show “Ideas,” which began airing in 1965. A passionate fan of jazz and the classics, Ken also took a turn at hosting “Afternoon Concert” and “Symphony Hall.” As Broadcast Language Counsellor in Toronto, he coached other CBC news readers and broadcasters on proper pronunciation and other presentation errors that left a lasting legacy beyond his retirement from the public broadcaster in 1990.


The Western Association of Broadcasters has announced the lineup for its 83rd Annual Conference in Banff, Alberta, June 7-8, 2017. Bloomberg TV’s Amanda Lang will speak on the importance of innovation and managing change in broadcasting. Gordon Borrell from Borrell Associates will offer a look into the future of the industry. Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, will speak to medium’s many unique and positive strengths. While Tom Webster of Edison Research will provide a unique perspective on the truths of both digital and analog media. Registration is now open at

Unifor is calling on the CRTC to bring in measures to boost local news and programming, including restoring ethnic news programming in Italian, Punjabi, Cantonese and Mandarin on Rogers-owned ethnic channel OMNI TV. The union told recent CRTC hearings on the future of local TV that private broadcasters are out of touch with public opinion and that under a proposal from Bell Media and Rogers to tie local news expenditures to broadcast revenue, there would be a steady decline in local news coverage. Unifor wants the CRTC to establish steady and predictable expenditure on local news as a condition of license, which it says companies can afford thanks to broader interests in Internet, cable, phone and other services.

Shaw Communications Inc. and Vancouver Bike Share have announced a multi-year partnership agreement that will see Shaw become the system-wide presenting partner of the City of Vancouver’s public bike share system. Branded Mobi by Shaw Go, Shaw is pursuing plans to connect the bike share stations with its Shaw Go WiFi network, with an eye to providing complimentary WiFi access across the bike share system’s footprint.

The Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) is now accepting online entries for radio, television, online, magazine and newspaper items from 2016. Nominations are also being accepted here for the AJAs’ Lifetime Achievement Award. The deadline for entries is Feb. 1. Selected journalists will be honoured at a gala reception and awards event at the St. John’s, NL Convention Center and JAG Hotel on May 6.

Cast and crew prepare for the Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon that raised $42,000+ for families in need. Photo courtesy of Mike Lorusso.

More than $42,000 was raised at the Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon in North Bay, ON thanks to a successful partnership between the Lions Club, Canadore College and broadcasters Cogeco TV and Country 600 (CKAT-AM). The Dec. 4 event was hosted by KFM 103.5’s (CJTK-FM-1) Dean Belanger, 101.9 ROCK’s (CKFX-FM) Vicki Tyler and Mitch Belanger and CogecoTV’s Greg Estabrooks, Clarke Heipel and Matthew Sookram. Broadcast from the studio at Canadore College, the telethon also doubled as a learning exercise for students from Canadore’s School of Media.

The CRTC is eliminating staff at its seven regional offices in a bid to transition to a “digital first” approach to client services. Displaced employees will be offered positions at the National Capital Region headquarters in Gatineau where stakeholder interaction via social media and website chat will be consolidated. Regional offices will otherwise remain intact.


Videotron Mobile is now offering Apple Music, Napster and Tidal as part of its Unlimited Music service, which launched in 2015. That brings the number of streaming services under the Unlimited Music catalogue to 17. The controversial service, which allows premium mobile plan customers to stream music from specific third-party apps without impacting their monthly data cap, has sparked a so-called “net neutrality” review by the CRTC.

YouTube Canada has revealed the top trending videos of 2016. While Channing Tatum & Beyonce’s Lip Sync Battle on Spike TV came in first, followed by Adele Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show, there were some notable Canadian moments. The Ellen Show segment So You Want to Move to Canada, Eh? came in third. Also making the top 10, video of the epic scale of the Fort McMurray fire captured behind Global News reporter Reid Fiest as cars streamed out of the city, as well as a clip of President Obama’s attempt to pronounce Mississauga during the State Dinner he hosted for Prime Minister Trudeau. A new Canadian record was set this summer with viewers from 188 countries tuning into CBC’s livestream of the Tragically Hip’s final concert. 2016 saw 199 Canadian YouTube channels reach the 100k subscriber mark, 42 hit the 1M subscriber mark, and Canada’s biggest YouTube star, Lilly Singh, hit the 10M subscriber mark.

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