The Weekly Briefing


Laurie Brown

Laurie Brown has launched a new podcast, days after wrapping up her more than 10-year gig hosting CBC Radio 2 late night program The Signal. Billed as “useful podcasts to keep you company into the night,” the first episode of Pondercast dropped on iTunes and at over the weekend.

The new Oldies 99.7 FM (CKNC-FM) went to air in Norfolk County, ON at noon on Sept. 1, spinning The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up as its introduction to listeners. Operated by My Broadcasting Corporation, the station is currently in the required testing period, playing “10,000 Songs in a Row.” A date for the official launch and introduction of the on-air team are TBA. MBC now operates 21 radio stations and web portals across Ontario.

Linda Olsen

Calgary’s Global News Hour at 6 with Linda Olsen and Scott Fee will now be simulcast on Corus-owned sister station News Talk 770 (CHQR-AM). Previously, Calgary Today with Angela Kokott ran from 3 – 6:30 p.m., followed by Sports Talk with Jock Wilson, starting at 6:30 p.m.

102.1 the Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto will once again be hosting the CASBY Awards. Listeners can visit to vote for the 2017 nominees and a chance to win tickets to the Nov. 1 event at The Phoenix, featuring nominees The Sheepdogs, Bleeker, Current Swell and the Ascot Royals.

The CRTC has given itself a four-month extension to review the broadcast licences of a handful of radio stations. The commission has extended a temporary renewal until Dec. 31 for International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. (CJLU-FM) Halifax, (CJLU-FM-1) Wolfville; DARR FM Radio Ltd. (CJRP-FM) Saint John, (CJRP-FM-1) Rothesay; Cochrane Christian Radio (CFCJ-FM) Cochrane; Blackburn Radio Inc. (CIBU-FM) Wingham, (CIBU-FM-1) Bluewater; Dufferin Communications Inc. (CIDC-FM) Orangeville; RNC Media Inc. (CHXX-FM) Donnaconna, (CHXX-FM-1) Sainte-Croix-de-Lotbinière; Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Radio Station Corp. (CICN-FM) Aldina, SK; Rogers Media Inc. (CJAQ-FM) Calgary, (CJAQ-FM-1) Banff, (CJAQ-FM-2) Invermere; CFPV-FM Radio Ltd. (CFPV-FM) Pemberton, BC; Total Change Christian Ministries (CHVI-FM) Campbell River, BC; I.T. Productions Ltd. (CJRJ-AM) Vancouver.

Torry Holt, Ed McCaffrey, Lance Moore, and Geoff SchwartzSiriusXM Canada will offer comprehensive coverage of the 2017 NFL season, featuring live broadcasts of every game plus in-depth NFL talk on the SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. The NFL begins its 98th season on Sept. 7. New to the SiriusXM NFL Radio roster this year are former NFL standouts Torry Holt, Ed McCaffrey, Lance Moore and Geoff Schwartz.


Arnold Amber

Arnold Amber, 77, on Sept. 4, of cancer in Toronto. Prior to a lengthy career with CBC, Amber was an international correspondent for Reuters in Africa and Europe. Amber went on to become director of TNG Canada from its inception in 1995 until he retired in 2011, leading the union through its evolution into CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union. Amber served as president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild (CWA Canada Local 30213) through significant periods, including the creation of a single bargaining unit for English-language employees in 2004 and a 50-day lockout the following year. Over the course of his career, Amber was recognized with three Gemini awards for executive producing CBC news specials. In 2014, he became the first person to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom, in recognition of his work helping journalists around the world. He was one of the founding members of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, serving as its president for two decades, and helped create the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), which speaks out for media workers. In 2013, he was awarded the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award.

Bill Phillips

Bill Phillips, 83, Aug. 24, in Oliver, BC. Phillips was born and raised in Vernon, BC where he began his broadcasting career at CJIB radio in the 1950s. He went on to anchor news and host at CBC Radio and TV in Vancouver from 1958 to 1960, in addition to stints as a program host, commentator and anchor at CHAN-TV, CHQM-AM/FM and CJAZ-FM Vancouver. Phillips retired to the Okanagan in the mid-1990s where he worked as a relief anchor at CIGV-FM Penticton and was a freelance writer for the Penticton Herald. He continued writing, blogging and doing freelance voice work right into 2017, including acting as the familiar voice of BC Tel in the 1980s and 90s.

Skip Prokop

Skip Prokop, 74, on Aug. 30 of congestive heart failure. Best known as the drummer for 1970s Canadian rock band Lighthouse, Prokop was also a salesman and radio host at CFNY-FM Toronto in the 1980s. Prokop hosted “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” a Sunday night Christian rock show required under FM regulations of the day, which allocated for specialty programming outside the format. Prokop went on to found audio production house Skip Prokop Music and Japicta Publishing.


Rogers Media’s new national multilingual channel OMNI Regional debuted Sept. 1 with half hour, daily national newscasts in Cantonese, Italian, Mandarin, and Punjabi. Regionally-focused, weekday current affairs programs are also being produced locally in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver. Focus Cantonese, Focus Mandarin and Focus Punjabi offer provincial, municipal, healthcare and business news. In Quebec, Rogers has partnered with independent ethnic broadcaster ICI Television to offer local information, lifestyle and entertainment programming on the channel, in both French and English. Branded as ICI Television in Quebec, it will also carry OMNI’s daily, national newscasts. OMNI Regional is being offered nationally on all digital basic television packages with top stories from the day available online at

UNIFOR, the union representing OMNI workers, says it plans to file complaints with both the CRTC and Rogers over the contracting out of Chinese-language broadcasts to Vancouver-based Fairchild Television. The union says the company is trying to save money by subcontracting to the lower-paying Fairchild and that the definition of “produced” under the conditions of OMNI Regional’s licence need to be clarified. While Rogers says it retains full editorial control over the newscasts, the Chinese & South Asian Legal Clinic is among those voicing concerns about handing news production off to a competitor in a medium with limited voices. Critics from the Chinese community have likened Fairchild’s conservative leanings to Fox News.

The CRTC has approved an application from Shaw Communications, on behalf of Shaw Cablesystems and Star Choice, exempting it from having to distribute OMNI television stations as part of the basic service of its broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) in Ontario, Alberta and BC, and of its direct-to-home satellite BDU Shaw Direct for Southern Ontario. They’ll instead distribute the regional feeds of OMNI Regional, which will provide the same programming. Similarly Quebecor Media, on behalf of Videotron, is relieved from distributing ICI (International Channel/Canal International) as part of the basic service. The condition will expire if the mandatory order for the distribution of OMNI Regional is no longer in effect.

The CRTC has released statistical and financial summaries for individual discretionary and on-demand services. Among the most dramatic showings are a 22 per cent decline in revenue for Rogers On Demand, from $47.2 million to $36.5 million. M3 (formerly MuchMoreMusic) posted a 15.5 per cent revenue decline, while Sportsnet (formerly Rogers Sportsnet) posted a 48.3 per cent gain in revenue to $545 million. You can read the full report here.

Elias Makos

Sportsnet Central Montreal, City Montreal’s weekly half-hour sports panel discussion show, has been cancelled. In a statement, Rogers Media said it’s evolving its local strategy with the coming launch of the daily CityNews newscast in Winter 2018. Rogers says City will continue to provide coverage of Montreal sports teams and events on Breakfast Television, in addition to the new daily newscast. Sportsnet Central host Elias Makos will remain with City as the new media producer and fill-in host and weather presenter on Breakfast Television.

Steve Paikin

TVO has officially launched two of its Ontario Hubs, a new journalism initiative focusing on in-depth analysis of regional issues that impact communities across the province. Funded through The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman, the initiative will see four new staff journalists embedded in communities across Ontario who will create and lead networks of freelancers and contributors. The Hubs team will create articles for, segments for The Agenda with Steve Paikin every Friday, and short documentaries. Two of four hubs were launched this week – one covering Northwestern Ontario, based in Thunder Bay; and a second hub covering Southwestern Ontario, based in London. Two additional hubs will be announced later this fall.

Production has begun in Toronto on the inaugural season of CTV’s new original music series The Launch. Fergie and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, joined by music mogul Scott Borchetta, are the first group of musical mentors shaping the creation of new releases by undiscovered artists. After an international casting call and extensive A & R process that reviewed more than 10,000 emerging performers, 30 have been selected to participate in the new six-part, hour-long series, debuting early next year on CTV. The network says the format is being readied for international roll-out.

Shawn Mendes

MTV Canada’s fall lineup has been refreshed with reboots of MTV Unplugged and TRL. Canadian Shawn Mendes will be first to perform on the reinvented MTV Unplugged on Sept. 8. Returning to MTV for the first time since 2008, video request show TRL will air weekdays, beginning Oct. 2. New fall premieres include music videographer Rory Kramer’s thrill-seeking adventures with musicians like Iggy Azalea and Justin Bieber in Dare To Live. 90’s House features Lance Bass, Christina Milian and 12 millennials reliving the “most rad decade ever.”

Space has renewed its original series Killjoys for Seasons 4 and 5. The two-season, 20-episode pickup will act as the final chapters for the Space drama. Season 4 is slated to begin production in Toronto in 2018.

Discovery is marking the planned demise of NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft with original special Saturn: Inside The Rings, produced by Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) and anchored by Daily Planet co-host Dr. Dan Riskin. Airing on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, the special will deliver raw coverage of the final moments of the Cassini team’s two-decade mission and the spacecraft from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.

Jason & Carlos Sanchez, Sadaf Foroughi, Cory Bowles, and Cody Brown

The Directors Guild of Canada has announced the 15 nominees for the 2017 DGC Discovery Award. The nominees include Carlos & Jason Sanchez (A Worthy Companion); Sadaf Foroughi (Ava); Cory Bowles (Black Cop); Cody Brown (Gregoire); Stephen S. Campanelli (Indian Horse); Wayne Wapeemukwa (Luk’Luk’l); Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still); Kyle Rideout (Public Schooled); Jordan Canning (Suck It Up); Jamie M. Dagg (Sweet Virginia); Seth Smith (The Crescent); Sophie Goyette (Still Night, Still Light); Winston DeGiobbi (Mass for Shut-Ins); Sofia Bohdanowicz (Maison du Bonheur); and Ian Lagarde (All You Can Eat Buddha). The 16th edition of the DGC Awards will be presented at the annual Gala on Oct. 28 at The Carlu in Toronto, hosted by Mary Walsh.

Quebecor and TVA Sports are the major sponsor and official broadcaster of the 8th edition of the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal (GPCQM). Featuring 160 riders from 30 countries, the event takes place Sept. 8 in Québec City and Sept. 10 in Montréal, the only North American stops on the UCI WorldTour. Announcer Michel Godbout and analyst Randy Ferguson will be in the booth, while Yvan Martineau will provide coverage on the ground.


Trinity Western University has launched Worship Lab Radio, an online indie Christian radio app aimed at filling a void in Christian music. The app offers both a platform for indie worship artists and an outlet for worship leaders to connect with emerging artists. Worship Lab Radio is available for Apple and Android devices by downloading the NRT Radio app.


The Canadian Press celebrated 100 years on Sept. 1. Established in 1917 by an Act of Parliament during the First World War to bring home stories from the front, CP grew into a non-profit co-operative owned by member newspapers across the country. In the early days, rewrite desks had to keep wire-service copy tight as teletype networks could transmit no more than 66 words a minute. CP’s French-language service was established in 1951 and wire photos added the following year. A broadcast news service for radio stations was set up in 1954. In the 1980s, CP switched from landlines to satellite delivery, and in 1997 began migrating operations to the Internet. In 2007, the agency began producing video for the web. Read more about CP’s evolution here.

Gary Miles

Gary Miles will posthumously receive the The Ontario Association of Broadcasters2017 Ontario Hall of Fame Award. The awards presentation will be held during the OAB fall conference Connection ‘17 on Nov. 9 at the Marriott Toronto Airport Hotel. The OAB is also inviting broadcasters to submit their application for the Broadcast Order of Achievement, recognizing tenure in broadcasting: Bronze for 10-14 years of service, Silver for 15-24 years of service and Gold for 25+ years of service. Those wishing to be recognized can apply online.

Tom Asacker

Tom Asacker has been announced as the morning keynote speaker at Connection ’17. Asacker is the author of five business books including The Business of Belief, Opportunity Screams, A Little Less Conversation and A Clear Eye for Branding.

Frank Technologies has kicked off a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo looking for $250,000 to begin production of a new smartphone that it’s dubbed “frank.” In its appeal, the Ottawa-based upstart known for its use of colourful language in its marketing, says “It’s about time to disrupt the shit out of the North American smartphone industry because let’s be honest, it’s just not frank that the Big Guys charge $1,000 for a product that only costs around $150 to make.”

Madelaine Drohan

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is hosting a panel exploring how the Age of Trump has led to renewed international interest in all things Canadian. Covering Canada will feature Madelaine Drohan, Canada correspondent for The Economist, Jodi Rudoren, editorial director of NYT Global, the international edition of the New York Times, and Stephen Rodrick, the contributing editor for Rolling Stone who recently profiled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The event, on Sept. 19 at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto, is part of the J-Talks series, exploring pressing media issues.

Michel Bissonnette, Guy Crevier, Alexandre Taillefer, and Brian MylesFor its inaugural Montreal J-Talk, The Canadian Journalism Foundation brings together Michel Bissonnette, executive vice-president for Radio-Canada; Guy Crevier, publisher of La Presse; Alexandre Taillefer, managing partner of the investment fund that owns L’actualité; and Brian Myles, publisher of Le Devoir. They’ll be joined by Colette Brin, director of Université Laval’s Centre d’études sur les médias. Gerald Fillion, host of RDI Économie, moderates. State of Flux: Media’s Next Moves takes place Sept. 27 at Concordia University.

Pauline Dakin, the former longtime CBC national health reporter, has penned a book recounting a childhood spent on the run from the mafia. Published by Penguin Books, Run, Hide, Repeat​: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood is available in book stores and online. Based in Halifax, Dakin is now an assistant professor at the University of King’s College School of Journalism.   

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