The Weekly Briefing


Wawatay Communications Society has announced cross-party support from several MPs asking Canadian Heritage Min. Melanie Joly to repeal the CRTC decision awarding radio licences to APTN for two stations in Ontario (Ottawa and Toronto). Wawatay says the decision disregards the sovereign rights of the Chiefs of Ontario, who supported its applications. While APTN/FPR is proposing top-forty stations, Wawatay says its programming would broadcast over 40 hours per week in-language and more than 30 hours of news. The network, which operates stations in Sioux Lookout and Timmins that repeat to 24 communities, was forced to restructure in 2015 after facing closure amidst an increasing debt load.

The CRTC has approved RNC MÉDIA’s request to amend the broadcasting license for WOW 97.1 (CHLX-FM) Gatineau by deleting the condition of license related to a 20 per cent broadcast requirement to play jazz and blues. RNC’s application indicated continued financial losses due to the non-viability of airing 20 per cent of musical selections in a different format from the rest of the programming. With jazz targeting an older audience, RNC also said it was diminishing advertisers’ interest.

The CRTC has renewed the licenses of 10 Corus Radio stations through 2024. They include Edmonton stations CHED-AM, CHQT-AM, CISN-FM, and CKNG-FM; CJOB-AM Winnipeg; CHAY-FM Barrie; CFPL-FM and CFPL-AM London; CFNY-FM Brampton; and CKDK-FM Woodstock.

The CRTC has approved an application from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to convert its English-language religious station VOAR-AM Mount Pearl, NL to FM. The new 100,000 watt station will operate at 96.7 MHz. Seventh-Day stated that its current AM transmitter was in need of replacement and that the conversion would also help improve signal quality in the St. John’s metro area.

Vista Radio’s 94.3 the Goat (CIRX-FM) and COUNTRY 97FM (CJCI-FM) Prince George helped raise $61,113 and collected 331 Buddy Bears for the 13th annual Variety – The Children’s Charity Radiothon. The proceeds go towards mobility equipment, specialized therapy, medication, education and counseling.

Arlene Bynon, Kim Campbell, Paul Martin, and Dave Thomas

SiriusXM Canada has announced its Canada 150 weekend lineup which includes the airing of the Greatest Canadian Songs of All Time on The Verge (ch.173), as voted on by Canadians. Airing July 1 on Canada Talks (ch. 167) is Creation of Our Nation with Arlene Bynon. Broadcast live from Charlottetown, PEI, she’ll be joined by special guests including former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell and Paul Martin, comedian Dave Thomas and chef Michael Smith. Comedy channel Canada Laughs (ch. 168) will be taken over by LetterKenny star K. Trevor Wilson, followed by the PB & J Canada Day Jam comedy special, paying tribute to the 150 best moments and people in Canadian comedy.

Lochlin Cross

95.7 CRUZ FM (CKEA-FM) Edmonton has started an online petition to have Nickelback replace Irish rockers U2 at Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill. A press release quoting morning show host Lochlin Cross says “Canada needs to step up and ensure that a Canadian band takes the stage to represent us!” As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had fewer than 200 signatures.


Sean Westphal

Sean Westphal, 42, passed away suddenly in Edmonton on June 24. Westphal was creative director at Harvard Broadcasting Edmonton, Hot 107 (CJNW-FM) and 95.7 CRUZ FM (CKEA-FM), from CKEA-FM’s launch in 2010. Originally from Surrey, BC, Sean attended Vancouver’s Columbia Academy of Radio, Television and Recording Arts and went on to work for the Alberta Radio Group (Newcap Edmonton), Power 104 (CKLZ-FM) Kelowna, The Bounce (CHBN-FM) Edmonton, and Wired 96.3 (CFWD-FM) Saskatoon, among other stations.



According to the Media Technology Monitor’s (MTM) Sneak Peek Report, just two per cent of Canadians are using Amazon Prime Video, even though awareness of its entry into the Canadian market late last year is high. The report also finds that among Canadians who watch TV content online, seven per cent are using “pirated” TV services, with that number declining to three per cent among Francophones. MTM, a research product of CBC, also found half of Canadians reported being very concerned about the consequences of “fake news.”

Statistics Canada’s look at the Canadian Television Broadcasting sector for 2016 finds total operating revenues rose 0.9 per cent from 2015 to $7.5 billion in 2016. Profits before interest and taxes increased 15.9 per cent, from $732.8 million in 2015 to $849 million. Gains were the result of increased subscription revenue of $68.3 million. Public and private subsidies increased 5.8 per cent to $944.8 million. Those were offset by a 0.9 per cent decrease in air time sales and a 7.5 per cent decline in other revenue.

The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) has filed an appeal to Cabinet asking it to overturn CRTC broadcasting decisions 2017-149 and 150, over concerns about the standardized programs of national interest (PNI) requirement for Bell Media and Corus Entertainment. The WGC maintains the move will lead to reduced broadcaster spending on Canadian shows and a Canadian screenwriter “talent drain.”

Stingray has announced plans to launch an all-4K music television channel in July. The channel, featuring what the company bills as “visually-stunning, non-stop, and commercial-free” music programming, will be offered to all pay TV providers across the country.

Justin Trudeau, David Johnston, Jeremy Hanson, and Dave Williams

CTV’s Your Morning will air a special live broadcast from Parliament Hill on June 30. Your Morning: Celebrating Canada 150 will air at 6 a.m. ET on CTV, CTV GO, and CTV News Channel. The three-hour broadcast will feature an interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and guests including Governor General David Johnston, Canadian astronauts Jeremy Hanson and Dave Williams, Snowbird Captain Blake McNaughton, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, country music artist Dean Brody, singer-songwriter Serena Ryder and Maritime Bhangra Group, among others.

Margaret Atwood

Record-breaking Bravo series The Handmaid’s Tale, will be available to stream on CraveTV, starting July 28. Leading up to the finale, the series averaged 794,000 viewers per episode, with a series-high 965,000 viewers for Episode 8, making it the most-watched new program on Canadian entertainment specialty TV this year. The television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel has been renewed for Season 2.

The Snowsnaps

The Snowsnaps, an animated series inspired by animated feature film La Guerre des Tuques 3D/SNOWTIME! has launched Snowsnaps: The Band Contest inviting singers and dancers, age 12-17, to be part of a musical competition. To submit an application, young artists have to share a video of themselves performing a song acappella, either in French or English, from the album La Guerre des Tuques 3D. The deadline for submissions at is July 21. The 26-episode series will be broadcast in a 15-minute format on Télétoon and Treehouse, starting in fall 2018.


John Boynton

The Toronto Star has announced it’s shutting down its tablet app Star Touch on Aug. 1, just two years after its launch. The newspaper will lay off 30 staff, with a memo from Torstar chief executive John Boynton saying Star Touch would be replaced by a “new universal app that operates on both smartphones and tablets.” Boynton’s memo goes on to say that readers and advertising volumes were significantly lower than forecast. Torstar had aimed for 180,000 Star touch users by the end of 2016 and spent about $23 million on the app.

Facebook has marked a milestone, reporting two billion monthly users. The company says each day, more than 175 million people share a love reaction, and on average, over 800 million people like something on Facebook. More than 1 billion people use Groups every month. Facebook Messenger and Facebook-owned WhatsApp boast about 1.2 billion monthly users. By comparison, Instagram has 700 million monthly active users, while Twitter has about 328 million.

Davis Sanchez and Brodie Lawson

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has announced a new live streaming deal with Twitter Canada. #CFLTHISWEEK, a 30-minute live show hosted by Brodie Lawson and three-time Grey Cup champion Davis Sanchez with guest appearances by Max Rosenberg, will air at 3 p.m. ET every Wednesday @CFL on Twitter. The live streaming deal is a first for a Canadian sports property.

Music Canada is lauding a Supreme Court of Canada decision in Equustek Solutions v. Google, upholding a ruling that Google can no longer provide global search results that point to a website that unlawfully sells the intellectual property of another company. Music Canada joined several other creative industry associations as interveners in the case. The Supreme Court rejected Google’s approach of only delisting individual pages within sites, which a lower court described as promoting a “Whack-A-Mole” approach to online infringement. It also rejected Google’s claim that, as a non-party, it was “immune” to court orders. The order applies across all of Google’s search engines worldwide.

Omny Studio has introduced a new monetization option to deliver video pre-roll ads across podcast listens on the web. Customers of the on-demand audio publishing platform will be able to connect their podcast with the premium video advertising marketplace to open up an additional revenue stream for their content. Video ads can be enabled as skippable or non-skippable pre-roll for embedded podcast players, on both desktop and mobile, with targeting available by user location/IP, station network, show and episode metadata.

Anna Olson

Food Network Canada celebrity pastry chef Anna Olson has partnered with digital media and entertainment company Kin Community Canada, which will manage and leverage marketing for Olson’s Oh Yum YouTube channel. Oh Yum has over 178,000 subscribers and 11 million video views. The fourth season of Bake with Anna Olson hits Food Network Canada this fall.


Barbara Frum

Barbara Frum, the late host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens and The Journal, has been inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame. Frum’s children, Canadian Senator Linda Frum and political commentator David Frum, were among those on hand for Tuesday’s induction ceremony in Toronto. Frum died in 1992, at age 54, after a long battle with leukemia. CBC’s first inductee to the News Hall of Fame was Knowlton Nash in 2015, while former foreign correspondent Joe Schlesinger was inducted last year.

Doug Murphy

Corus Entertainment has released its Q3 results with consolidated revenues up 28 per cent for the quarter and 65 per cent year-to-date. Net income attributable to shareholders was $66.7 million ($0.33 per share basic) for the quarter and $162.7 million ($0.81per share basic) year-to-date. President and CEO Doug Murphy says heading into a new broadcast year, the company expects its brands and content to produce continued audience share gains, supported by an “exciting” fall schedule.

Michael Cohl

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, the first live theatrical production from Bell Media’s joint venture with Canadian producer Michael Cohl’s Iconic Entertainment Studios (Spamalot; Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark; Rock of Ages: The Musical), has debuted to critical acclaim following its world premiere June 20 in London’s West End. Bat Out Of Hell begins its Toronto run Oct. 14 at Ed Mirvish Theatre.

The deadline for the Jack Webster Awards has been extended until July 13. Eligible BC print, broadcast and online journalists can enter in categories including Breaking News (one each for print, radio and tv); Feature/Enterprise Reporting (one each for print, radio and tv); Digital Journalism; Legal Journalism; Chinese Language and Commentator of the Year, among others. The awards will be presented at the 2017 Jack Webster Awards Dinner on Oct. 12 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

Angela Sterritt

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) has extended its journalism training program in northern Ontario First Nations for another three years, thanks to renewed funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The funding supports developing radio, print and online reporting skills among First Nations community members wanting to pursue careers in journalism. JHR will hold its first Indigenous reporters conference in Lac Seul First Nation from July 11-13. Called the Mookitaakosi Conference, the three-day event will bring together those currently in the program and feature keynote speaker Angela Sterritt from CBC Vancouver, an award-winning Gitxsan journalist and writer.



AcuityAds Holdings Inc. has entered into a partnership with Newcap Radio. Leveraging the AcuityAds Self-Serve programmatic marketing platform, Newcap Radio will now be able to offer digital advertising services to its radio advertisers. The deal enables Newcap Radio advertisers to target listeners using other channels, including desktop and mobile devices, providing wider audience reach and the ability to use digital campaigning to reinforce radio advertising efforts.



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