The Weekly Briefing


An early morning fire Wednesday in the CN Tower antenna interrupted the signal of several Toronto FM and television stations between 5:40 and 7:40 a.m., while fire crews powered down the antenna for safety reasons. CN Tower chief operating officer Neil Jones says the plastic casing on a single coaxial cable leading to the antenna, melted, which appears to have started the fire. Jones says the only damage was to the one cable and a team from the broadcaster that owns it will be called in to investigate the unusual event. While about 80 per cent of Toronto FMs stayed on-air because they have low power sites elsewhere, all stations are back up and running on full power, with the exception of the affected broadcaster.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on market capacity for another radio station in Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan. Vista Radio has applied for a broadcasting licence for a new commercial FM station. The deadline for filing interventions is Sept. 15.

The approximate ratio of country radio playtime in Canada is still one female song to every nine male songs. Global News, which is owned by Corus, listened to three different country radio stations for 12 hours and tallied the number of songs by male artists, female artists and mixed groups (containing both male and female members). Based on 12-hour listening samples of Country 104 (CKDK-FM) Woodstock, KX96 FM (CJKX-FM) Oshawa and 93.7 JR FM (CJJR-FM) Vancouver, Global found just 16 female songs to 162 male songs; 22 female to 119 male; and 14 female to 151 male songs, respectively. Brad Gibb, PD for Corus stations FM96 (CFPL-FM) London, Country 104 and 103.1 Fresh Radio (CFHK-FM), lays some of the blame at the feet of old-school radio programmers failing to embrace more contemporary trends. Read more here.

Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole

In addition to Tim Hortons coming on as title sponsor for Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole’s hotly-anticipated return to TSN, the network has announced Coors Light as the title sponsor of the Jay and Dan Podcast. The Coors Light sponsorship extends to a Coors Side Seats on-set interview segment, as well as a special Coors Reporter who will cover major sporting events. SC With Jay and Dan – presented by Tim Hortons will air weeknights at midnight ET, beginning Sept. 4, looping the following morning. Onrait and O’Toole will also contribute original content throughout the day across TSN’s digital and social media platforms, including Jay and Dan rankings, and commercial and movie trailer parodies.

Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev

The Rogers Cup Semifinal between breakout Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev was the most-watched tennis match ever on Sportsnet. The match reached 1.46 million Canadians on Saturday night across Sportsnet and Sportsnet 360 with a peak audience of 741,600 viewers. The French-language broadcast drew even higher numbers with TVA Sports reporting a peak 777,000 viewers during the the men’s semifinal, averaging 550,000 viewers and a market share of 23.9 per cent.

Lorde, Alessia Cara, Liam Payne, Scott Helman

Lorde will headline Day 1 of the iHeartRadio Canada Beach Ball at Vancouver’s PNE Ampitheatre on Sept. 3. Lorde joins Alessia Cara, Liam Payne, Scott Helman, Shawn Hook, The Strumbellas and Virginia to Vegas, while Blondie, Christian Hudson, Ruth B, Serena Ryder and Train take the stage Sept. 4. Additional talent announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

Lana Gay, Keshia Chanté, Dean Brody, and The Dears

Indie88 (CIND-FM) Toronto afternoon host Lana Gay, singer/songwriter Keshia Chanté, country artist Dean Brody, and Montreal band The Dears are among those who’ve curated playlists for the Mastercard Priceless Cities program with Apple Music. Listeners can sample playlists and learn about the curators on Starting Aug. 15, new playlists will be released every other week until the end of 2017.


David Milliken

David Milliken, 72, on Aug. 3 in Minden, ON. Milliken was a reporter and editor for the Renfrew Mercury, the Ottawa Journal, Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald, before joining Canada Newswire (CNW) in 1982. Initially hired as director of Client Services, coordinating business development, Milliken stayed with CNW for 32 years in operations, product management and sales, including a position on the company’s board of directors, before retiring from a senior VP role in 2013. In 2011, he penned a history of CNW, From Wire to Web. Milliken was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the National Press Club, Toronto Press Club, Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), and the RTDNA. He also served as chair of the development committee for the Bachelor of Public Relations Program at Humber College, and on the advisory committee for the journalism programs at the University of Western Ontario and Algonquin College. Milliken was twice nominated for Ontario’s Premier’s Award, winning it in 1995.


Mélanie Joly

Canadian Heritage, on the advice of Minister Melanie Joly and with the support of Cabinet, has referred the CRTC’s May decision on PNI (programs of national interest) and French-language content back for reconsideration. A statement reads “We are asking the CRTC to reconsider these decisions in order to ensure that we achieve the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete.” Joly says the government heard the voices of petitioners from the creative industries community, as well as the province of Quebec.

Mario Mota

TV ‘cord-cutting’ in Canada slowed in the first half of 2017 compared to the previous year, according to new research from Ottawa-based consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services Inc. Publicly-traded television service providers combined lost 22 per cent fewer TV subscribers in the first half of 2017 (101,000), compared to the same period in 2016 (129,000). Boon Dog’s Mario Mota attributes the turnaround to TV subscriber performance at Shaw Cable and the launch of its BlueSky TV service, based on Comcast’s X1 TV platform. Mota notes however, with about 200,000 housing starts in Canada, traditional TV service providers are losing pace with household growth and therefore TV subscription penetration is declining at a greater level than simply cord-cutting numbers suggest.

Netflix Canada is raising its monthly subscription rates, the first increase for Canadian subscribers in nearly two years. A standard Netflix plan, allowing subscribers to watch content on two screens simultaneously, is now a dollar more at $10.99 a month. The basic plan, which doesn’t offer HD quality and only permits streaming on one screen at a time, also goes up a dollar to $8.99. Premium plan subscriptions are $2 more a month to $13.99, offering four simultaneous streams and ultra HD 4K content.

Bell Media is setting prices for next year’s SuperBowl ads, based on the assumption the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution ban will be overturned. BCE Inc. has been fighting the 2015 decision, with the support of the NFL, and took the same sales strategy last year, then downgraded prices 35 per cent when a stay of the simsub ruling failed to come through. The matter is still before the courts. Bell says the ruling led to a loss of $11 million in ad revenue compared to 2016.

Rogers is beefing up OMNI Regional’s multilingual news content with daily newscasts in Mandarin and Cantonese, starting Sept. 1. The 30-minute broadcasts will be produced by Fairchild TV. Approved for a three-year licence in May, the channel will also air national newscasts in Punjabi and Italian. More programming details are expected in the coming weeks.

Bloomberg TV Canada says it’s changing the focus of its programming effective Sept. 1 and is cancelling original series Bloomberg North and Bloomberg Markets: Canada. 22 jobs are impacted. Bloomberg says a new schedule will follow in September.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found speciality service HIFI in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Violence Code in separate airings of The Mechanic, 10,000 B.C., and The Trailer Park Boys in Nov. 2016. CBSC found HIFI broadcast adult coarse language, violence and sexual activity during daytime hours, failing to mention “sexual activity” in its viewer advisory.  HIFI also rated the program incorrectly and failed to display the rating icon for 15 seconds at the beginning of the first and second hours.

Diana, 7 Days, a two-hour documentary on the week following the 1997 death of Princess Diana will air on CTV Sept. 1 from 8-10 p.m. ET. Produced by Sandpaper Films for the BBC, the film marks the first and only time Prince William and Prince Harry have sat for on-camera interviews about that week. The film also includes interviews with family members, close friends, political figures and journalists, including Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Earl Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

Vic Rauter, Russ Howard, and Cheryl Bernard

TSN will provide coverage of the first-of-its-kind Everest Curling Challenge Aug. 25 – 27 from Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, NB. Current women’s and men’s Olympic champions, as well as reigning Scotties, Brier, and World Champions vie for the sport’s largest prize. Teams will compete in a unique mixed format, with each roster consisting of two male and two female curlers selected via draft, excluding players from their regular competition teams. Coverage is available live and on demand to TSN subscribers via and the TSN GO app, and will also be available to U.S. viewer via live stream on ESPN3. TSN’s broadcast team for the event includes play-by-play announcer Vic Rauter, and Olympic medal-winning analysts Russ Howard and Cheryl Bernard.


Facebook has launched a new video platform to a limited number of American users as it moves toward producing its own premium video content. Called Watch, the tab is personalized to help users discover new shows, including what friends and communities are watching. Live comments will also be visible while watching a show. Watch features original programming financed by Facebook, alongside videos from other creators. A deal with Major League Baseball will also see one live game broadcast each week.

Saeed Jones, Isaac Fitzgerald, and Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale

BuzzFeed and Twitter are launching a new weekday morning show Sept. 25. AM to DM will livestream 8 – 9 a.m. ET from the @BuzzFeedNews Twitter account. The program will be hosted by Saeed Jones, BuzzFeed News’ executive editor of culture and Books editor Isaac Fitzgerald. Fox Business Network and CNN veteran Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale produces. Following a traditional morning-show format, AM to DM will see the day’s top stories covered by staff reporters, with news and commentary on politics, business and entertainment. Features unique to the medium will include segments like “everyday Twitter heroes,” jokes and live comments from the twittersphere. Twitter is also developing a 24-hour news channel with Bloomberg Media, set to debut this fall.


Esther Enkin

CBC News managers have been put on notice to avoid using unverified video from sites like YouTube by CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin. Enkin investigated a viewer complaint surrounding a discredited video purportedly taken by a passenger on a New York-bound flight hit by a drone, used in the context of a story about the air crew on a Montreal-to-Ottawa flight, reporting they had to avoid a drone on approach. CBC News Ottawa managing editor Ruth Zowdu agreed using the footage from the internet was “sloppy journalism and did not meet CBC standards and practices.”

Rogers is appealing a Federal Court of Appeal ruling preventing the company from demanding payment from copyright owners who want help finding suspected movie and TV pirates using its networks. Rogers’ application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada states “If upheld, the decision imposes costs and burdens on ISPs that are not contemplated by the legislative scheme, and that will require innocent users to bear compliance costs that should be borne by infringers.”

TELUS Q2 2017 results show consolidated operating revenue increases of 3.9 per cent to $3.3 billion in the second quarter, over the same period a year ago. Profit slipped 7.2 per cent to $386-million or 64 cents a share with the company spending more on handset subsidies. In wireless, network revenue increased by 7.2 per cent to $1.7 billion, reflecting higher ARPU as customers move to higher-rate plans, increased data usage, and continued postpaid subscriber growth, including subscribers acquired from Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS). In wireline, data services and equipment revenue increased by 5.6 per cent to $1.0 billion. In the quarter, TELUS attracted 121,000 new wireless postpaid, high-speed Internet and TV customers, up 29,000 over the same quarter a year ago.

Quebecor Inc.’s Q2 2017 consolidated financial results show revenue up four per cent to $1.03 billion, from the same period of 2016. Adjusted operating income was $395.3 million, up $35.0 million (9.7%), the largest quarterly year-over-year increase in almost five years.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $132.4 million ($1.09 per basic share) in the second quarter of 2017, compared with $9.8 million ($0.08 per basic share). The Telecommunications segment grew its revenues by $39.7 million (5.1%) and its adjusted operating income by $26.3 million (7.3%), while Videotron significantly increased its revenues from mobile telephony ($26.8 million or 21.8%), Internet access ($13.9 million or 5.7%), business solutions ($4.6 million or 17.1%) and the Club illico over‑the‑top video service ($2.4 million or 32.4%). Recognized in the second quarter was Videotron’s sale of AWS-1 spectrum licence in Metro Toronto to Rogers for $184.2 million. The Media segment grew its adjusted operating income by $8.4 million (121.7%), mainly the result of higher broadcast advertising and subscription revenues.

Freedom Mobile’s 185 call centre employees in Windsor have voted to reject a “final offer” from the company. The employees joined the United Steelworkers (USW) in January and began negotiations for their first collective agreement in March. The USW says it’s looking to resume talks.

Registration is open for the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Connection 2017 annual conference and awards gala scheduled for Nov. 9 at the Marriott Toronto Airport. Find out more here.




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