The Weekly Briefing


crtcThe CRTC has issued notice to hear renewal of television licenses held by large English- and French-language ownership groups Nov. 22-24 in Laval, QC. With respect to certain license conditions specific to each ownership group, the Commission says it intends to examine: Rogers: OMNI broad service and news requirements, as well as Rogers’ application for the mandatory distribution of a new ethnic discretionary service as part of the basic service; Bell: its proposal to shut down 40 rebroadcasting transmitters across the country; Corus: exceptions sought regarding local programming requirements for some of its services; and Groupe TVA and Groupe V: specific local programming requirements in various regions of Quebec, OLMC reflection and the method of calculating CPE requirements. The Commission also intends to discuss the decision on repurposing spectrum in the 600 MHz band made by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The use of the band is now subject to a joint effort by Canada and the U.S. to repurpose some amount of spectrum, currently used to support broadcasting, for mobile services. The 600 MHz repack will result in a new digital television (DTV) allotment plan for both countries, which could impact the majority of Canadian OTA TV broadcasters and require them to change channels or convert to digital to repack transmitters more tightly in lower frequencies, while making the upper portion available for mobile use. The entire Notice can be read here.

Michael Bublé
Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé will return to host the 2017 June Awards on CTV . Bublé’s 2013 hosting performance earned him a Canadian Screen Award for best host. The Junos will air on Apr. 2 from Ottawa as a nod to Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Bell Media is teaming up with Banger Films and Shed Creative (a division of Universal Music Canada), to produce a documentary taking viewers on-stage, in the crowd and behind-the-scenes of the Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour. The feature doc will premiere across an array of Bell Media TV and on-demand platforms in 2017, including TMN, MUCH, and CTV, before moving exclusively to CraveTV.

wiftThe 2016 Women in Film and Television (WIFT-T) Crystal Award winners are:

Creative Excellence Award – Michelle Crespi, executive director/producer of lifestyle for Bell Media

Digital Trailblazer Award – Barbara Bailie, director, application solutions for DHX Media

Mentorship Award – Deborah Osborn, production planning executive

Outstanding Achievement in Business Award – Tracey Pearce, president of distribution and pay for Bell Media

Special Jury Award of Distinction – Patricia Ellingson, former creative head of children’s and parent’s media from 1998 – 2015

The awards will be handed out at the 29th Annual Awards Gala Dec. 6.

Michael Hirsh
Michael Hirsh

Michael Hirsh, the entertainment mogul dubbed “the Father of the Canadian animation industry,” will be celebrated for his contributions to the global animation industry, receiving a 2016 Animation Hall of Fame Award at the World Animation & VFX Summit Gala in Marina Del Rey, CA. Hirsch is the newly-appointed CEO of WOW! Unlimited Media Inc., a rebrand of Ezrin Hirsch Entertainment Inc. after it was acquired by Vancouver’s Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. Rainmaker announced the acquisition last week, along with its merger with YouTube giant Frederator Networks that gives the animation studio a bigger stake in online content delivery.

Quebec media and entertainment group Attraction has signed an agreement to acquire CMJ Productions, the Montreal-based company that boasts a catalogue of 550 hours of TV productions on-air in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. The CMJ Productions team will remain in place with John Kuyk at the helm, supported by Judith Beauchemin.

cbsThe Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that Radio X (CHOI-FM) Quebec City aired inaccurate information on a Feb. 19 talk show and violated its codes on clandestine newsgathering. The Anglican Church of Québec complained after Arthur le midi host André Arthur and co-host Alexandre Leblond alleged on-air that a goat and a donkey kept by the Church at one of its properties were being mistreated. The Church provided the station with inspection reports from MAPAQ that proved otherwise. Afterward, Alexandre Leblond presented himself under an assumed name and as a CÉGEP student, not as a journalist, when he visited the Church in-person. The CBSC noted in its Nov. 2 decision that the CAB Code of Ethics requires full, fair and proper presentation of all news, opinion, and comment. It also said the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada’s (RTDNA) Code of Ethics states that clandestine techniques should only be used when necessary. In this case, the techniques were not necessary as there was clear evidence that the animals were well kept and the situation did not require Leblond to lie about his identity. CHOI-FM has since removed Arthur le midi from its schedule.

Tom Clark
Tom Clark

Global News has planned extensive America Votes 2016 coverage starting Nov. 6 with a special broadcast from Washington, D.C. hosted by Chief Political Correspondent Tom Clark. Nov. 7 – 9, host Dawna Friesen will anchor Global National, also from Washington. Senior National Affairs Correspondent Eric Sorensen will host a special live web program on election night that will stream on the Global site, Facebook and YouTube.


Dave Broadfoot
Dave Broadfoot

Dave Broadfoot, 90, on Nov. 1. Best known for his work on the radio version of CBC’s Royal Canadian Air Farce from 1973 to 1993, the North Vancouver native’s memorable characters included hockey player Big Bobby Clobber and Sgt. Renfrew, an RCMP officer who never seemed to get his man. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Broadfoot appeared on the Wayne and Shuster Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Big Revue and Comedy Cafe, as well as CBC Radio’s Funny You Should Say That. His last regular television role was in the short-lived 2004 CBC sitcom XPM. Broadfoot’s many awards include the Juno Award for comedy recording, 13 ACTRA awards for writing and performing for radio and television, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Canadian comedy. He was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1983 and was an honorary sergeant major of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Bobby Hales
Bobby Hales

Bobby Hales, 82, unexpectedly on Oct. 15. Hales was the leader of Vancouver’s Bobby Hales Big Band and an intrinsic part of the city’s music scene in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s as an accomplished trumpet player, composer, arranger and conductor. He composed and arranged original music for both television and the movies including The Beachcombers theme and the music for the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He was also a mainstay in the programming department at CBC Vancouver for three decades where he started as music director for the local edition of TV program Music Hop in the 1960s. Hales was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1996.



Richard Costley-White
Richard Costley-White
Chuck McCoy
Chuck McCoy

Richard Costley-White and Chuck McCoy will receive the 2016 Hall of Fame Award from the The Ontario Association of Broadcasters next week in Toronto. Costley-White, who died in 2015, was chairman and president of Blackburn Radio and was the fifth generation of the Blackburn family in the media business. Chuck McCoy started at CKY in Winnipeg in 1965 and worked his way to 1050 CHUM as an air talent. His most recent role was executive vice president with Rogers Toronto.  

CBC Radio One in St. John’s, NL celebrated its move to the FM dial Oct. 28. Zach Goudie and Transmitter Terry hosted a drive-thru morning show with listeners pulling up for free coffee and getting their radio preset reset to 88.5 FM. The morning included a special appearance from Honeymoon Suite. CBC says there are no plans to cease simulcasting on 640 AM at this time.

A new trial has been ordered in the 2013 court case that led Corus Radio to cancel the Dean Blundell morning show on 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto. Show producer Derek Welsman, who served as jury foreman, talked about the sex assault trial on-air and made crude jokes about the gay accused and the complainants. In its decision released Monday, the Ontario Court of Appeal says the incident created the impression that Joshua Dowholis’ trial wasn’t fair. Dowholis’ convictions were set aside and a new trial ordered.

Country 105 (CKQM-FM), Energy 99.7 (CKPT-FM) Peterborough and 91.9 BOB FM (CKLY-FM) Lindsay wrapped up the 6th annual Bras Around the Building on Oct. 28. More than 7,000 bras were donated and close to $17,000 was raised for Breast Cancer research. Over the six years of the campaign, more than $100,000 has been raised.

Ron Tarrant
Ron Tarrant

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) recently handed out its Alumni Awards. Jennifer Carlson and Lorenzo Donadeo were named as Distinguished Alumni, joining only 35 so recognized since 1988. Ron Tarrant, Levi Kuta and Josh Traptow were recognized as Outstanding Young Alumni. If you missed it the first time, check out Ron Tarrant in the Broadcast Dialogue podcast here.

SiriusXM Canada is launching nine holiday music channels starting Nov. 2 and rolling through Dec. 30. This year’s line-up includes contemporary, traditional, country, religious, and francophone offerings.

Photo courtesy of Fred Sherratt
Photo courtesy of Fred Sherratt

Lots of photos documenting the demolition of the iconic CHUM building at 1331 Yonge Street in Toronto have recently appeared on social media. This shot is from Fred Sherratt whose longtime barber up the street, Sandy Bozzo, captured the very moment when the digger plowed through the former CHUM Limited VP, EVP and CEO’s long-time office. Sherratt’s tenure in the building spanned five decades from 1969 to 2006.


cmfThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced a new $2M Web Series Pilot Program to support demand for Canadian linear Drama or Children’s and Youth web series. Eligible projects must be a Canadian original, linear series in the CMF-supported genres of Drama or Children’s and Youth, created initially for the web, in its second or subsequent season. The deadline for funding applications is Jan. 17. Find more info here.

Groupe Média TFO and digital entertainment studio Frima are launching the first mobile-first, Canadian animation series for young people in 2017. MaXi, a French-language production following the adventures of a pair of part-time siamese twins, will be available for iOS and Android, as well as in linear format for television through 26 eleven-minute episodes. The mobile first format is in-sync with the rapidly changing media consumption habits of kids aged 9 to 12 and their rapid and rabid adoption of smartphones and tablets.

playsterPlayster, the Montreal-based entertainment streaming service, has announced a partnership with IDW Publishing that will introduce hundreds of classic and indie comics and graphic novels to its platform, including G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, Godzilla, Star Trek and Transformers. The service can be accessed via Playster’s iOS and Android apps, as well as through any web browser.

Netflix, Apple, Google, Microsoft and YouTube are the among the most-loved brands, according to a new multi-country study by Accenture Interactive and Fjord. The Love Index 2016 also reveals that Netflix, Fitbit, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are setting the pace for brand experience. The study included 26,000 people in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil who rated 70+ brands in the auto, banking, hospitality and retail. Read more here.


videotronFive days of CRTC public hearings got underway Oct. 31 to tackle the practice of “differential pricing” for Internet customers. The hearing was sparked by complaints that Videotron charged customers as much as 800 per cent more to use music streaming services. There is public pressure on the CRTC to ban data caps on wireless and Internet plans outright, based on the principle of net neutrality, which argues all ISPs should treat all content equally. In the U.S., broadband service like a public utility preventing ISPs from offering preferential treatment to sites that pay for faster service.

TVA Group is reporting a $32.5 million net loss attributable to shareholders for the third quarter of 2016. The $0.75 per share loss compares to a loss of $0.84 per share in the same quarter of 2015. The Quebecor Media Inc. subsidiary saw a drop in operating income despite a strong performance by the TVA Sports channel, buoyed by the broadcast of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The company says its film production & audiovisual services continue to suffer from the lack of major Hollywood productions.

thomsonThomson Reuters Corp. announced plans Nov. 1 to cut 2,000 jobs across 150 locations upon releasing third quarter results for 2016. The company will shave at least $200 million from its cash run for 2017, allowing it to re-invest in priority areas. Profit was down slightly to $286-million or 37 cents per share, while adjusted earnings amounted to 54 cents per share. Revenue for the third quarter was $2.74-billion. Thomson Reuters announced in October, it plans to establish a new technology centre in Toronto, with hiring of 400 jobs to begin in December.

Rogers Communications Inc. announced Nov. 1, it has priced a US$500 million offering of debt securities of 2.90% senior notes due 2026. The net proceeds from the issuance will be about US$487 million and will be used to repay outstanding bank credit facilities and general corporate purposes. The debt securities will be issued by RCI, guaranteed by Rogers Communications Canada Inc. and are not being offered in Canada or to any Canadian resident.

Quebecor Media Group is eliminating 220 positions, or eight per cent of its workforce, mainly affecting managers, professionals and administrative support staff as well as 125 positions at TVA Group. Newsrooms and news coverage will not be affected. The company’s sales forces, including newspapers, will now be fully integrated under the responsibility of the existing Advertising Network, which was already responsible for national sales, media creativity and research. TVA Publications will cease publication of two magazines — CHEZ SOI and Tellement bon — in order to concentrate its efforts on its flagship brands.

reporterA coalition of media organizations and press freedom groups is calling on the Canadian government to endorse a Reporters without Borders campaign to appoint a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the safety of journalists. A joint letter was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, citing research that 787 journalists and media personnel were killed while exercising their profession over the last 10 years, including 77 in 2015 alone. In 9 out of 10 cases, these crimes remain uninvestigated and unpunished. The letter was signed by Rogers Media, RTDNA Canada, Newspapers Canada, National Newsmedia Council, The Tyee,, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Freelance Union, CWA/SCA Canada, Centre for Free Expression, Canadian Freelance Union, and the Fahmy Foundation.

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