The Weekly Briefing


Adam Wylde, Amber Payie, Brad Barker, and Maurie Sherman

Radio Humber has inducted alumni Adam Wylde, Amber Payie, Brad Barker, Maurie Sherman, Mora Austin, and Ryan Doyle into the Radio Humber Hall of Fame. Jerry Chomyn, creator of 96.9 Radio Humber (CKHC-FM), received the Builder’s Award, recognizing his service to the program. Chomyn not only wrote and acquired the CRTC application, but was also a teacher in the broadcast and journalism programs. 2017 marks the 45th year of the Radio Humber Broadcasting program. You can find interviews with and tributes to this year’s inductees on Radio Humber’s YouTube channel.

Corus Radio Edmonton staff from 92.5 Fresh Radio (CKNG-FM), CISN Country (CISN-FM) and 630 CHED have put together a fun video celebrating the Edmonton Oilers’ first return to the playoffs in 10 years. You can check out the video here.

LIFE 100.3 Barrie’s annual Sharathon fundraiser Mar. 29-30 raised $168,222 in one-time donations, 112 per cent of the station’s goal, and $3,428 in new monthly pledges from over 1,000 donors. LIFE 100.3 has repeater stations in Owen Sound at 90.1 FM, Peterborough at 89.3 FM and in Huntsville at 98.9 FM.

Lisa Williams

Lisa Williams is celebrating her 30th anniversary on-air in Windsor. Williams began as the traffic reporter at CKWW-AM in 1987 while still in high school, joining Cam Gardiner on The Cam and Lisa Show for 16 years. Since 2003, she’s been co-hosting The Morning Drive on Bell Media’s AM800 CKLW with Mike Kakuk, which has been number one in its time slot.

Kevin Oschefski

Kevin’s Longest Morning radiothon on 100.5 KISS (CHUR-FM) North Bay raised over $75,000 for Rotary4Kids on Mar. 30-31. Morning show host Kevin Oschefski spent 29 straight hours straight on-air. Donations help cover uninsured medical costs, mobility devices and recreational programs.

About 100 demonstrators protested outside Radio Centre-Ville 102.3 FM (CINQ-FM) Montreal last week, the city’s only ethnic community station. The protest was over commercialization of the station’s airwaves in an ongoing power struggle between the ethnic groups that produce programming in eight languages and management. The selling of commercial airtime in a bid to manage financial pressures has bitterly divided members.

The 27th Radio And Production Awards have been handed out with multiple awards for Newcap Radio Vancouver copywriter Chris Leitz and Bell Media Edmonton copywriters/voice talents Gary McClenaghan and Jamie Watson. The Canadian winners include:

Best Feature Production: Legends We Lost, Newcap Radio, Vancouver, BC. Producer: Cameron Wendt; Copywriter: Chris Leitz; Voice Talent: David Kaye

Best Imaging: Bear – Summer Imaging, Bell Media, Edmonton, AB. Producer: Gary McClenaghan; Copywriters: Gary McClenaghan, Jamie Watson; Voice Talent: Gary McClenaghan, Jamie Watson

Best Commercial – Large Markets: OAB – Bad Coffee, Corus Entertainment, Toronto, ON. Producer: Jay Helmus; Copywriter: Peter Wildman; Voice Talent: Carly Myers

Best Promo – Large Markets: Hello It’s Me, Adele – Tease, Newcap Radio, Vancouver, BC. Producer: Dan Macintosh; Copywriter: Chris Leitz; Voice Talent: Rachel McGrath, Chad Erickson

Best Promo – Medium Markets: Bear – Edmonton’s Newest Millionaire Promo, Bell Media, Edmonton, AB. Producer: Gary McClenaghan; Copywriters: Gary McClenaghan, Jamie Watson; Voice Talent: Gary McClenaghan, Jamie Watson

Best Commercial – Small Markets: Beaver Rubbing 101, Power 104, Kelowna, BC. Producer: Bob Johnstone; Copywriters: Doug Loepp, Bob Johnstone; Voice Talent: Bob Johnstone

SiriusXM Canada has announced the return of SiriusXM’s Top Comic competition with a $25,000 grand prize and a guaranteed spot at three of Canada’s biggest comedy festivals in 2018. Until Apr. 24, Canadian comics can register at Auditions will be held before a live audience and recorded for broadcast on SiriusXM’s uncensored comedy channel Canada Laughs (ch. 168).

Rogers Media Inc. has applied to the CRTC on behalf of Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited to effect a change in the ownership and control of CJDL-FM and CKOT-FM Tillsonburg. TBCL is owned by Lamers Holdings Inc., which Rogers Media would acquire for $3.96M plus a proposed tangible benefits package representing six per cent of the value of the transaction, to be paid in equal payments over a seven-year period.


Neil Macrae

Neil Macrae, 65, Mar. 30, of cancer, at his home in Palm Springs. Macrae started out in radio in 1969 working nights at CJVI-AM Victoria, moving on to sports and hosting stints at CHWK-FM Chilliwack, CKWX-AM Vancouver and CJOR-AM Vancouver before landing at CKNW NewsTalk 980 in 1983. Macrae became legendary as part of the Frosty Forst morning show with his biting editorials and wasn’t afraid to play the role of radio villain. Along the way there were high profile on-air battles with Vancouver Canucks general manager Brian Burke and the team’s current owner Francesco Aquilini, among others. Macrae continued as a sports presence on CKNW until 2012, ending his radio career in 2013 with the cancellation of his sports comment on Rock 101 (CFMI-FM). Married to Laurie Rix, the couple also ran The Rix Family Foundation, donating to charities and universities across Canada.

Bill Gibson, Mar. 16. Hailing from Granville Ferry, NS, Gibson was in sales with the CHUM Group in Halifax in the 1970s. He went on to work in broadcasting in other Canadian markets, becoming a motivational speaker and trainer working out of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Harold Hamilton

Harold Hamilton, 88, Mar. 23 in Victoria after a brief illness. Hamilton was known as the Voice of the Great Prairie West during his 24 years as a news anchor at CKCK-AM radio and television in Regina. He retired to B.C. in 1990.

Dave McCormick

Dave McCormick, Mar. 29, following a lengthy illness. Big Daddy, as he was known on-air, got his start in radio in Hamilton at age 14. He made the move to CFUN-AM Vancouver in 1957 as a DJ, music director and assistant program director. From there, radio took McCormick to KYNO-AM Fresno, KOL (KKOL-AM) Seattle and KMEN-AM San Bernardino. He returned to Vancouver in the early 1970s, first at CKNW-AM  and then at sister station CFMI-FM where he created the long-running Discumentary program, which ran from 1971-86. He later hosted afternoon drive at CJJR-FM Vancouver from 1986-98 and then middays at sister station CKBD-AM until 2008. He spent the last few years of his career as a host at CISL-AM Vancouver. McCormick’s accolades included BC Broadcaster of the Year and four-time winner of the BC Country Music Association’s Country Broadcaster of the Year. He was inducted into the BC Country Music Association Hall of Fame in 1998.

Evelyn Harper, 97, Mar. 21. Harper was a longtime CBC Vancouver employee, starting out in 1939 as a stenographer in the Farms & Fisheries Department. She worked her way up the ranks to production assistant and in 1970 became a program commentator with Agriculture and Resources.

Mario Loreto

Mario Loreto, 82, on Apr. 3 after a long journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Loreto was an avid salesperson with CKGB-FM Timmins, ON, starting with the station in 1967 and staying through various ownership changes until his retirement in 1996. Always upbeat, Mario is well-remembered locally for stepping into the role of Santa on the station every year on the Talk To Santa show, which aired for 15 minutes every day leading up to Christmas.




CHCH-TV Hamilton is partnering with Waze for Broadcasters, the real-time, crowdsourced navigation app, to enhance its traffic reports. With over 400,000 users in the Golden Horseshoe Region, the app will provide CHCH instant access to Waze Complete Traffic Intelligence, a combination of historical and real-time traffic information sourced from drivers themselves. Viewers can become “CHCH WAZERS” and proactively report problem areas while on the road.

TVOKids is receiving critical acclaim with 12 nominations for the 2017 Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence, and a record-setting 23 nominations for the Daytime Emmy Awards – the most TVO has ever earned for its children’s content from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Among the nominations was recognition by the YMA for TVO mPower in the category of Best Original Interactive Content. mPower is a new, online game that helps build foundational K-6 math skills for students in the classroom.

Australia’s longest running television drama Neighbours will be available on LGBTQ network OUTtv, starting Apr. 20. Canadian viewers will be able to watch the daily drama weekdays at 2:30pm ET and 5:30pm ET, on the same date as the Australian broadcast, with an omnibus of five episodes on Saturdays. OUTtvGO subscribers will be able to stream episodes at any time.

Blue Ant International, a division of Blue Ant Media, is expanding its library with a Digital Studios category. The distribution group is now offering short-form digital content from natural history to comedy and animation to fuel demand from social media and digital platforms. The expanded slate includes new series like Paranormal Survivor: Evil Surrounds You, which puts the viewer in the middle of the experience using 360-degree technology.

Super Channel is launching Super Channel VAULT, a newly-branded channel featuring hand-picked, critically acclaimed, award-winning films. The new channel launches Apr. 28 on SC3. The collection of carefully curated films will also be available for viewers to watch on Super Channel On Demand.


Roku is the most popular TV streaming box in the U.S., according to a report published by comScore. With a market share of 18 per cent, Roku is followed by Amazon’s FireTV at 12 per cent. Google Chromecast comes in third at eight per cent, while Apple TV has just five per cent of the market. The report also finds that while Millennials and Gen Xers now spend more time watching digital media than live TV, live TV still accounts for 84 per cent of all viewing. Leading the market in on-demand streaming is Netflix (40 per cent), YouTube (27 per cent), and Amazon Prime Video (17 per cent).

Streaming experienced overall year-over-year growth of 68 per cent according to the latest numbers from the Recording Industry Association of America. Total U.S. retail sales hit $7.7 billion US in 2016 – the largest single-year gain for the industry in nearly two decades. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music led the majority of that growth, which now account for more than 50 per cent of music industry revenue.

Vice Media is expanding to the Middle East, aiming to have 50 staff in Dubai by the end of the year. The launch of a website and digital channel is anticipated this summer with the company also actively discussing a 24-hour regional cable channel that would offer news and lifestyle programming in English, Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Urdu.

Twitter will begin live-streaming select MLB games starting this Friday, just as the NFL did with Thursday Night Football games. As part of Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s partnership with Twitter, one out-of-market game will stream for free every Friday starting with the Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers. The games will be available on or MLB‘s Twitter page.

TELUS has donated its new iOS mindfulness app, thinkFull, to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) BC Division. The stress management app aims to improve the mental health of young adults by helping them monitor and develop coping strategies. Developed in partnership with the CMHA and mental health non-profit Mind Your Mind, thinkFull was the result of TELUS’ first Social Enterprise Competition.

Corus Entertainment has launched Kid Food Nation National Recipe Challenge and Kid Food Nation online hub with the the Government of Canada and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. The program invites kids aged 7 to 12 to submit an original healthy recipe with 26 winners to be chosen from across the country. The newly-launched online hub features videos and on-air segments with TV hosts, celebrity chefs, local talent and experts complementing the Kid Food Nation program being delivered at Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada.


Allan Reid

Allan Reid, president & CEO of CARAS and The JUNO Awards, issued a statement this week apologizing for comments co-host Russell Peters made during Sunday’s telecast.

In the statement, Reid distances himself and organizers from jokes criticized for sexualizing women. Peters opened the show with a monologue referring to young girls in the audience as a “felony waiting to happen.” He also jokingly questioned why Heritage Minister Melanie Joly was presenting an award, adding that it didn’t matter because “she’s hot, so who cares?” Joly has called the jokes inappropriate. Meantime, Vancouver will host the 2018 JUNO Awards and JUNO Week celebrations March 19-25, 2018.

Melanie Joly

Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, has announced an additional $4.15 million will be injected into the Canada Music Fund (CMF) to promote Canadian artists abroad. Approximately 100 artists will directly benefit from this funding, which will enable them to increase their discoverability in the global digital market and reach new audiences abroad.

Roujeh Ramadan

Chill Telecom has folded. Started by 19-year-old Roujeh Ramadan, the Kitchener-based wireless service, promising $35 unlimited talk and text plans, had signed up 200,000 pre-registered customers. The startup says it will be returning nearly $300,000 in crowd-funding.

Bell Media has struck a worldwide music publishing and administration partnership with independent music rights management company ole to manage its in-house music catalog. The multi-year deal will increase revenue generated from Bell Media’s 12,000 track audio-visual collection, including television music like The Hockey Theme, CTV News themes and compositions from original programs.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has cut its program budget by 5.8 per cent due to an expected decline in contributions from Broadcast Distribution Undertakings for the year to come. The CMF is committing $349.7M to support Canada’s television and digital media industry in 2017-2018, based on revenue estimates from Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors; and recoupment/repayment revenue from funded productions. CMF says it’s reduced its administration budget to direct the most funds possible to its programs.

JJ Johnston

Some of the best radio brains around will be ripe for the picking at the Consultant’s Roundtable at Canadian Music Week on April 20. The 8:15 a.m. session, moderated by JJ Johnston, provides the opportunity for you to ask the experts your questions face-to-face.  The Alan Waters Young Broadcaster Award in memory of the legendary Steve Young will also be presented at the session.

The awards nomination period for the Western Association of Broadcasters closes this Friday, Apr. 7. All member stations of the WAB are eligible to submit entries for the Gold Medal Award for Community Service, Leader of Tomorrow and Broadcast Hall of Fame.  For more information on award criteria, visit  Award winners will be celebrated June 8 at the 83rd Annual WAB Conference in Banff.


Toronto-based Ward-Beck Systems celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. Through five decades of continuous operation, the company has made the transition from vacuum tubes to solid state devices, the digitization of analog signals and the shift to networked audio and video signals. Ward-Beck Systems Ltd. was first incorporated in April 1967.

Do You Really Understand Your Audience?

By Alan Burns

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
-Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

How well do you understand your target audience, your core listener?  Why is that important – isn’t it enough to know which songs they want to hear?  Those two questions can help take you or your organization from good to great, your ratings from average to stellar. I can answer them for most radio stations: a) you don’t understand your audience well enough, and b) it’s tremendously important that you get better at it.

Here are two questions you should be able to answer if you program a music radio station:

  1. How many of your target listeners will say that your station understands them very well?
  2. What’s the number one thing they want from your radio station?

By the end of this article I’ll give you the answer to question 1, and the most common wrong answer to question 2.

In the business world (think retailing and services), knowing as much as possible about your customer is accepted as one of the foundations of success. One case study I saw recently showed the customer value of a financial firm increasing by as much as 70% after the company made a concerted effort to understand its “audience” better.

But as growth coach Dave Kahle says “The expression ‘know your customers’ has been proclaimed from the pages of marketing books and the lips of marketing gurus so often that it has become a cliché.” However, it’s been my experience that, while everyone gives lip service to the concept, very few businesses really practice it. A recent study concluded that 80% of brands lack the customer data to drive effective marketing campaigns.

Here’s how important really understanding your target in radio is: the more they feel your station understands them, the more they will listen, the more likely they’ll be to become P1s of your station, and ultimately the more likely they will be to cooperate with a ratings survey.

My company, Alan Burns and Associates, has been conducting national studies of female radio listeners in the U.S., primarily those who listen to contemporary formats Top 40, Hot AC, and Mainstream AC, since 2010. In the very first study we noticed that women who agreed that there was a radio station in their area that “really, really understands me” were more likely to say they were listening to radio more lately than in the past, and the radio listening of those who disagreed with the statement tended to be declining.

We dug a little deeper in the next study and found that heavy radio listeners were 54% more likely than light listeners to feel there was a station that really “got” them. “Heavy/deep” listeners to Top 40 stations were almost 75% more likely to feel deeply understood. It was becoming clear that understanding the audience better led to more listeners/listening and thus better ratings and revenue.

With help from our friends at Strategic Solutions Research, we recently completed our latest national study of 2000 female radio listeners aged 15-54, and in this year’s study we dug even deeper into how well women felt radio understood them, and how important this might be to radio stations.

We will present the results of the entire study at this year’s Canadian Music Week, but here are a few quick highlights relating to the importance of understanding the target thoroughly:

  • Great news – most women felt more understood by the radio station they listen to most than by cosmetics manufacturers and fashion buyers.
  • On the other hand, only 36% of these women felt the station they listen to most understood them very well, and
  • The more a woman feels a radio station understands her, the greater the likelihood that she will be a heavy listener, a P1 listener of that station, an opinion leader who will generate good word-of-mouth about the station, and the more likely she will be to cooperate with a ratings survey (Numeris, Nielsen, etc.).

In other words, the deeper your understanding of your audience, the nicer your life will be because you’ll be more successful in your chosen profession.

“Most of the successful people I know are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
– Bernard Baruch, Financier and Industrialist

So the answer to question number 1 at the beginning of this article – how many of your target listeners will say your station understands them very well – is 36%. That’s for an average radio station. Great radio stations will be higher. Very few if any Program Directors know what their station’s number really is.

Most music radio PDs think they know the answer to question 2, which was “what is the single most important thing women want your station to do?”  The most common answer I get to that question from programmers is “play their favorite songs, obviously!” But that’s wrong – it’s number 2 on their priorities and an important part of accomplishing what women want most.

Number 1 is… to be revealed at our Canadian Music Week session. Hope you can join us for CMW. If you can’t make it to Toronto, and you want to know what number 1 is, shoot me an email via

Alan Burns is the Founder of Alan Burns and Associates, which has provided consulting to hundreds of AC, CHR and Gold AC radio station clients since 1985. 

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