The Weekly Briefing


Close to two years after the CRTC approved CJCS Stratford’s move from AM to FM, Vista Radio launched Juice FM on Aug. 3.  Listeners can find the station at 107.1 on the FM dial, which will air simultaneously with 1240 AM for about three months.

Stingray has joined forces with VIA Rail to soundtrack the travels of passengers along the Québec City-Windsor Corridor. Stingray will offer free, six-month access to the popular Stingray Music mobile app to all travellers who activate the app using VIA Rail’s on-board WI-FI. Stingray will also partner with VIA Rail to install, in its largest train stations, new digital signage providing passengers with up-to-date information.

Radioplayer Canada has unveiled new interfaces for the Sonos home sound system, Google’s Chromecast, and Apple CarPlay. The app, featuring 400 Canadian radio stations, brings CBC/Radio-Canada together with the stations of Bayshore Broadcasting, Blackburn Radio, Blackgold Radio, Byrnes Communications, CAB-K Broadcasting, Central Ontario Broadcasting, Clear Sky Radio, Cogeco Media, Corus Entertainment, Durham Radio, Fabmar Communications, Golden West Broadcasting, Harvard Broadcasting, Larche Communications, Newcap Radio, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Rogers Media, Rawlco Radio, RNC Media, Saskatoon Media Group, Vista Radio, and Westman Communications Group, as well as the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC).

VMS Media Group, one of the outlets left empty-handed following the CRTC’s urban Indigenous radio station proceedings, is appealing the decision. Following the denial of its applications to operate stations in Edmonton and Calgary, VMS is now arguing that commissioner Linda Vennard, who sat on the hearing panel, was in a conflict of interest for accepting gifts from ethnic broadcaster Red FM. In a previous proceeding, Vennard was already found in conflict for accepting a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers from the broadcaster on her birthday. VMS’ appeal states “the Commission’s decision does not meaningfully contribute to a diversity of news voices in Calgary or Edmonton and ignored the support of Indigenous communities.”


Kenneth “Ken” Markham Ogden

Kenneth “Ken” Markham Ogden, 75, died Aug. 3 at Saint John Regional Hospital. Ken spent more than 40 years working as a producer at CHSJ radio and television in Saint John, including directing several award-winning commercials. Ogden started at CHSJ-AM after high school in 1960 as an operator and worked his way into commercial script writing and production. Later, he added TV commercial production to his resume and went on to produce shows as well. He was part of the new MITV, which went to air in 1988 and was later sold to Canwest and rebranded Global Maritimes. Ogden retired in 2006. He was also an artist, musician and writer and was a member of several bands, including Saint John’s own “Beetles.”

Robert MacLaren

Robert MacLaren, 82, on July 6, at home in Bridgewater, NS. MacLaren joined CKBW-AM Bridgewater in 1952. Starting out as a DJ, he moved up the ranks to sports director, news director, program director and eventually became general manager and part owner of Acadia Broadcasting Company Limited. On-air at CKBW, Bob will be remembered for his strong, distinctive news voice and for co-hosting the TELEFUN program with the late Ginny Flemming. The show ran for 13 years and two cookbooks of original local recipes resulted. As an extension of his broadcast career, Bob was president of the Atlantic Association of Broadcasters and named an Honorary Life Member in 1995. In 1996, Bob was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.


CBS Corporation has announced it’s launching CBS All Access internationally. The digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service will launch initially in Canada in the first half of 2018, with other markets to follow. Launched in Oct. 2014, CBS All Access is on track to exceed four million subscribers by the end of 2017. The service is currently available online at, on mobile devices via the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, and on Roku Players, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Fire TV. Pricing for non-U.S. markets will be announced at a future date.

The Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) consultation paper on repurposing spectrum on the 600 MHz band, says TV stations operating in 600 MHz will only be required to change channels if their spectrum is needed for mobile broadband. Urban stations would receive a minimum of one year of notification, while those in other areas would be afforded at least two years notice. You can read more here.

CBC and Netflix have renewed Anne (With An E) for a second season. Produced by Northwood Entertainment, the second season sees an increased order from eight hours to 10 and begins shooting this fall. Season 2 of the series (known as Anne in Canada, and Anne With An E on Netflix) returns in 2018. For Season 2, series creator Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) has assembled an all-female writers’ room including Jane Maggs (Bellevue, Cardinal), Shernold Edwards (Haven, Sleepy Hollow), Kathryn Borel (Rush, American Dad), Amanda Fahey (Saving Hope), and Naledi Jackson (21 Thunder, The Detail).

CBC Sports has a broadcast partnership with AFL Canada to stream all 10 International Cup games played by the Canadian National AFL Women’s team Northern Lights and the Canadian National AFL Men’s team Northwind. The International Cup runs August 5-19 in Melbourne Australia. All Northern Lights and Northwind matches will be live streamed and made available on demand at, as well as via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices within Canada.

Toronto-based LaRue Entertainment has inked a distribution deal with Vivendi Group’s recently-launched SVoD app Studio+ for its dark political/crime comedy Filth City. The 12-part digital series, inspired by late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, has been available for streaming exclusively on Studio+ in France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador. A multi-platform launch will happen in Canada later this year.

According to Numeris, average minute audiences during prime time on conventional and specialty channels were down nine per cent between the end of May and mid-July, compared to the same period last year. Canadians are watching HBO’s Game of Thrones, with the Season 7 premiere on July 16 drawing over 1.8 million total viewers. Viewership for America’s Got Talent on City is up slightly over last summer (averaging almost 1.85 million weekly viewers), while The Amazing Race Canada on CTV is drawing almost 1.76 million viewers each week. CBC’s summer ratings are actually up two per cent this summer with ratings up 19 per cent for Season 3 of Still Standing, and Canada Day coverage marking Peter Mansbridge’s final broadcast, drawing just under a million viewers.  According to Nielsen, the summer viewership drop-off has been more pronounced in the U.S. where ratings are down 14 per cent at Fox and 25 per cent for CBS, among adults 18-49.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on measures to provide for dispute resolution between video-on-demand operators and discretionary services. The deadline for filing comments is Sept. 19.


ACTRA members have voted 78 per cent in favour of ratifying the 2017-2020 National Commercial Agreement (NCA). The settlement provides for a new single Digital Media Use fee payable on all commercials produced for or moved over to Digital Media. The agreement also promotes new work opportunities for performers in low-budget digital media commercials with the ACTRAonline Opportunity Pilot Project. All rates and fees, with the exception of the Pilot Project will increase by six per cent over three years, commencing with a two per cent increase effective Aug. 5.

In a case that could set a precedent for online news sites, Le Soleil, Le Devoir and La Presse have won a court injunction preventing political news website from publishing excerpts of their stories online. The newspapers argued that La Dose was profiting financially by aggregating headlines and lead paragraphs from their news stories, even though they linked to the original stories. La Dose is appealing the injunction.


BCE Inc. has released its Q2 2017 results reporting net earnings of $811 million, with net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $762 million, or $0.84 per common share; BCE operating revenue was up 6.7 per cent in Q2 to $5,699 million, mainly driven by seven per cent growth in service revenue, reflecting increases at both Bell Wireless and Bell Wireline, including contributions from the acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) on Mar. 17, as well as higher year-over-year revenue at Bell Media. In Q2, BCE reported 88,611 net new wireless postpaid customers, a net loss of 21,695 prepaid subscribers; 16,427 net new Fibe TV customers, a net loss of 29,764 satellite TV customers; and 1,407 net new high-speed Internet customers. At the end of Q2, total BCE customer connections across all services totalled 21,923,299, up 4.8 per cent from the year before.

TVA Group Inc. recorded a net loss attributable to shareholders in the amount of $1.9 million or $0.04 per share in the second quarter of 2017. TVA recorded adjusted operating income of $5,076,000 in the Broadcasting & Production segment, due mainly to a 30.2 per cent decrease in the adjusted operating loss of TVA Sports, which saw ad revenue grow for the third consecutive quarter, with year-over-year increases of 77.6 per cent. Film Production & Audiovisual Services recorded $2,031,000 in adjusted operating income, up $1,093,000 due to increased soundstage and equipment rental. TVA’s board of directors has approved a plan to expand the MELS production complex in the Technoparc, near the Bonaventure Autoroute. The project involves construction of a 160,000 square-foot building which will include a 60,000-square-foot soundstage. Groundbreaking is planned for the fall, with the facility ready by summer 2018.

Lionsgate has released its Q1 2018 results, reporting revenue of $1.01 billion, net income attributable to shareholders of $174 million, or basic EPS of $0.84. The results included the company’s gain on the sale of its equity interest in EPIX during the quarter. With Lionsgate’s acquisition of Starz, fiscal 2018 first quarter results aren’t directly comparable to prior reporting periods. Media Networks segment revenues increased 9.2 per cent to $390.5 million from $357.6 million last year. Segment profits decreased 7.9 per cent in the quarter due to higher marketing costs to support the increased number of original series. Motion Picture segment revenues increased 15.8 per cent to $472.4 million, driven by the strong home entertainment performances of John Wick: Chapter Two, La La Land, Saban’s Power Rangers and The Shack.  Television Production revenues declined 18.6 per cent to $156.6 million in the quarter due to the timing of episodic deliveries.

The CRTC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office, promoting close cooperation in the enforcement of spam and telemarketing laws in both jurisdictions. The CRTC has entered into similar bilateral agreements with the United States Federal Trade Commission, United States Federal Communications Commission, New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs and Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has proposed setting aside 30 megahertz of spectrum in the 600-MHz frequency band for newer, wireless operators with less than 10 per cent of the national market share. The move would create room in the market for smaller wireless competitors like Shaw’s Freedom Mobile, Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron Ltd., Tbaytel, Sasktel and Eastlink, who would be able to bid without competition from the big three national carriers – Rogers, BCE Inc. and Telus. All bidders would be able to compete for licences covering the other 40 MHz. “Low-band” spectrum is highly-valued for its in-building penetration and range.

Glen Campbell

Benztown has put together an audio tribute to the legendary Glen Campbell, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 81 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Listen here.



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