I was busy on election night, but I set a couple of PVRs to record election night TV broadcasts so I could review them for you. It took a while to get through all the broadcasts from all the networks (and I was busy doing other things too) but here you go, almost two weeks later. How the various broadcasters fared.
Bell Media is proposing to bring V’s local news broadcasts in-house, but otherwise isn’t putting much substantive on the table to convince the CRTC it should be allowed to acquire the V network of television stations in Quebec for $20 million.
The CRTC published the application on Tuesday, setting a hearing date of Feb. 12 in Montreal to hear the application. Bell is proposing to buy the five V stations (CFAP-DT Quebec City, CFJP-DT Montreal, CFRS-DT Saguenay, CFKS-DT Sherbrooke and CFKM-DT Trois-Rivières), plus digital assets like Noovo.ca, but leave the specialty channels Elle Fictions (formerly MusiquePlus) and MAX (formerly Musimax) to a yet-to-be-named company owned by the current owners of V.
V’s affiliate stations in Gatineau, Abitibi, Rimouski and Rivière-du-Loup, owned by RNC Media and Télé Inter-Rives, are unaffected by the transaction, and Bell says it intends to renew its affiliation agreements with them when they expire in 2020.
In the brief included in the application, Bell and V say the conventional TV network is continuing to lose money, despite the ratings gains it has generated and the synergies from owning two specialty channels (which Bell had to sell off to get its acquisition of Astral Media approved in 2013). Groupe V Média says it has lost almost $7 million in the past two years.
“For a small independent broadcaster in the Quebec market, these losses cannot be supported and have begun to have an impact on its other services,” the application says.
News about news
Ok wait I've got one more. In this file, Public Safety *redacted the sections of the act they were using to withhold the information.*
Like, I can't even know why I can't know the information. pic.twitter.com/n2kfUO3ZiH
— Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling) October 4, 2019
- As if it’s not clear how much of a joke Canada’s access-to-information system has become, this example from Justin Ling of redacting the reason for a redaction, or this example from the Ottawa Citizen of CSIS refusing to confirm details about getting an award for transparency. Or this example from Ling about the government redacting details about its plans to reform access to information even after it had already released that information.
- The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Radio-Canada journalist Marie-Maude Denis does not have to reveal her sources in her investigation of former Liberal minister Marc-Yvan Côté. Instead it sent the case back to the lower courts to be reassessed.
- Kahnawake’s newspapers and radio station issued a joint statement explaining why they did not name someone who was arrested before they were charged with a crime, even though many people know the identity of the accused.
- A former Occupation Double candidate is suing three clickbait websites — Narcity, Hollywood PQ and Showbizz.net — for repeating allegations against him posted on another candidate’s Instagram without giving him a chance to respond to them first.
- A Journal de Québec story about former NHL player Donald Brashear working at a Tim Hortons, and the matching stories at other media, led to accusations of “job shaming” from people who apparently think it’s shameful to work at a Tim Hortons. One of those matching stories included a photo of Georges Laraque, which gave Laraque a good laugh. The error was due to a bad caption on a Getty Images photo from 2009. Patrick Lagacé talks to Brashear’s employer to get context.
- Frédéric Marcoux, a journalist at l’Express de Drummondville, has left his job after a dispute with his employer about his coverage of a Liberal candidate’s connections to a Colombian drug trafficker.
- Saint-Lambert mayor Pierre Brodeur hired an external company to investigate leaks to the media. The investigation included looking through councillors’ work emails without their consent or knowledge.
- Enquête’s Marie-Maude Denis explains in a radio interview how the Sûreté du Québec plays favourites with journalists, and rewards those she calls “good ponies” with access to ensure positive coverage.
Four years after the CRTC found Videotron failed to comply with its obligations related to community television programming, the commission is taking a very critical look at Bell Canada’s community TV services, with questions suggesting it is concerned Bell is inappropriately redirecting funding that was supposed to go to community TV in small Atlantic Canadian communities toward large productions out of Toronto and Montreal that are essentially spinoff shows of commercial productions that air on Bell Media TV channels.
In a notice of consultation posted last month, the commission published applications for licence renewal for Bell Fibe and Bell Aliant TV services in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec. The applications, which include 42 documents, shows repeated rounds of questions over two years about Bell’s community TV operations, which operate under the Bell TV1 brand (formerly Bell Local).
Today, the Quebec government announced tax measures to support print media companies, as the finance department’s publication titles it. It estimates the cost at about $50 million a year by 2023-24.
Here’s what it contains (I’ve bolded key terms):
New wage tax credit
The main measure is a new refundable 35% tax credit for “corporations that produce and disseminate print media that are recognized as eligible media.”
Calculated on employee wages, the credit is capped to a maximum of $26,250 per employee, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019.
Eligible corporations are those that own eligible media at least a year old that “must consist in the production and daily or periodic dissemination (at least 10 times a year) — by means of a print publication, an information website or a mobile application dedicated to information — of original written information content” as described below.
The following are specifically not eligible for the tax credit:
- Corporations exempt from income taxes
- Crown corporations like the CBC
- Broadcasting corporations (radio or television)
To be eligible, a publication must produce “original written information content, which must pertain to general interest news, be specifically intended for the Québec public and cover at least three of the following information topics”:
- municipal affairs
- international sector
- business and the economy
- local interest news
- miscellaneous news items
Content that doesn’t meet that standard includes:
- content from a press agency or another media
- specialized content pertaining to a type of personal, recreational or professional activity and geared specifically towards a group, association or category of persons
- content for which a compensation is paid by a third party or a partnership
- content of an advertising or promotional nature, such as an advertorial
- theme-based content on, for example, hunting and fishing, decoration or science
So publications that mainly consist of press releases or sponsored content, or are geared toward specific hobbies and consumers, are not eligible. But publications that have some of this content might still be eligible. It says only that this content must be “on an incidental basis” and provides no quantitative measure.
To be eligible, an employee the tax credit is applied to must:
- “report for work at an establishment situated in Quebec” or outside Quebec if 75% of employees work in Quebec
- not be a shareholder of the company or partnership, or a member of a coop having more than 10% of voting rights
- works at least 26 hours a week for at least 40 weeks
- devote at least 75% of their time to “directly undertaking or supervising activities relating to the production of original written information content for dissemination purposes” or “the carrying out of information technology activities related to the production or dissemination of such content.”
- information gathering
- fact checking
- other content-preparation activities
- management or operation of computer systems, application or technology infrastructure
- operation of a customer relations management service
- management or operation of a marketing information system designed to raise the visibility of the media and promote it to an existing or potential clientele
- any other activity of a similar nature that could be called a management or operating activity for the purposes of the eligible media
- tasks related to digital conversion activities of a print media
- administrative tasks of an individual
- operations management
- legal affairs
- public relations
- contract prospecting
- human and material resources management
Digital transformation tax credit
The refundable tax credit for digital transformation of print media, announced in 2018 under the Couillard government, will be extended a year until Dec. 31, 2023. The 35% tax credit, also applied to wages, has similar eligibility criteria for the corporations, and a maximum of $7 million a year.
Extension of aid programs
Existing programs to support written news companies will be extended to 2023-24 and enhanced. No details were provided.
Full exemption from recycling tax
Taxes imposed on newspapers to compensate for the costs of recycling what they print will be effectively eliminated by increasing support to RecycleMédias to completely offset those costs.
The government is also announcing that its advertising placement policies will be reviewed to “better support regional media.” No details were provided.
News about news
- The Vancouver Sun has apologized after publishing an opinion piece that argued against ethnic diversity. The newspaper’s attempts at damage control have left some wanting.
- Many journalists, particularly at the Globe and Mail, have published an open letter saying that Unifor president Jerry Dias does not speak for them when making partisan comments against the Conservative Party.
- La Presse says the Quebec government will announce a payroll tax credit to help news media.
- Pew Research has data about the tens of thousands of layoffs in journalism in the past decade, which have affected not just traditional media but online outlets as well.
- La Presse is doing YouTube videos with its journalists as part of its fundraising campaign.
- Infoman does a good job debunking the viral Trudeau-getting-too-close-to-people photos by (a) showing video of them in context an (b) doing the same with other politicians.
- New York magazine looks at what’s next for Vice, after HBO dropped its daily news show.
It’s been nine years since a pair of local businessmen came onto the scene and declared they wanted to change how commercial radio works in this city with an $81-million bid for Corus radio stations in Quebec that were being sold to Cogeco. Eight years since, with a third partner, they got a licence for a station on the clear channel of 940 AM. Seven years since they got a second licence for 600 AM. Three years since the first station went on the air. Two years since the second station joined it.
For all that time, we’ve been waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the Bell-Astral deal to conclude, in case they had to sell one of their stations (the transaction closed in 2013). Waiting for TTP Media to solve various technical problems with their transmission site. Waiting for them to build a studio and hire talent. Waiting for the launch of regular programming, that has been promised “soon” for three years.
As it stands, the French station, CFNV 940, has spoken word programming through an agreement with online radio station CNV. CFQR 600, the English station (no relation to the old CFQR-FM at 92.5), is still running an automated music playlist. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the owners.
But a few weeks ago, Nicolas Tétrault, one of the three partners, posted a video on LinkedIn apparently seeking foreign investment in the stations.
In the seven-minute video, Tétrault talks about the duopoly in commercial radio in Montreal, with Bell Media and Cogeco Media owning most of the market share here, how “extremely complicated” it is to enter the market when there is “no financing available for radio stations,” and how the company owns “millions of dollars of equipment” but has no debt.
“It is impossible to find financing in Quebec,” Tétrault said. “The banks, they don’t lend to media, private funds don’t lend, pensions … no funds are available.”
Tétrault’s invitation notes that foreign investors can own up to 30% of a broadcasting company, and he tags his post with the United States, United Kingdom, France, India, Israel and the Cayman Islands.
This is the first I’ve heard about TTP Media needing money. In its initial applications to the CRTC, the group said its partners were investing $4.5 million, added to a $21 million loan from James Edward Capital Corporation, to provide financing to launch the stations.
Two years ago, when I asked Rajiv Pancholy about finances, he reassured me that it wouldn’t be an issue because he has negotiated loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the past and “I have the credibility in Canada on Bay St. and Wall St.”
Tétrault might not have that kind of credibility though, since he just went through a personal bankruptcy. A judge discharged the bankruptcy trustee on Jan. 18.
Finally, it’s curious that Tétrault makes no mention of his other partner, Paul Tietolman, though he mentions Pancholy twice (using “partner” in the singular). Rumours abounded about a rift between Tietolman and his partners, which all three had denied. A change in ownership would require CRTC approval.
Neither Tétrault, Pancholy nor Tietolman responded to my requests for an interview.
Since the announcement of the new afternoon show Let’s Go with Sabrina Marandola, some people have been asking what happened to Jeremy Zafran, who handled traffic updates for Homerun. With the new show and its “transportation columnist,” Akil Alleyne, who also does daily traffic, Zafran disappeared from the air.
It turns out Zafran has been dropped by the CBC. And he’s not happy about it.
“My staged elimination was set almost two months ago and much like the CBC Montreal staff, few people were aware of my contract non-renewal,” Zafran wrote to me. “The excuse was the job title change adding ‘the story of traffic’ responsibility to the existing job. That was smoke and mirrors. I was told that I was not ‘the strongest candidate for the new job,’ a ruse considering my replacement’s zero experience on radio let alone in traffic: a position on air that is a difficult art form to master. As a veteran announcer and host in Montreal, I worked the last two months with professionalism with my head held high.”
Though the public broadcaster wouldn’t call this “staged,” it did say the new position was “an open competition and anyone could apply” and Zafran was on a yearly contract that “did expire and was not renewed.”
Alleyne, whose previous job was as a reporter with CityNews Montreal, hired there only a year ago, is indeed pretty green. He studied law in the Washington, D.C. area before returning to Montreal. Before that he had brief stints reporting for CBC and The Suburban.
Having listened to his traffic reports a few times on air, he was quite rusty at first, missing the smooth flow that more seasoned traffic reporters have shown on commercial and non-commercial stations. But he’s gotten better as he’s gotten used to the position.
But why replace Zafran?
Here’s the official explanation:
Montrealers get around the city in so many ways and we wanted to tell those stories — beyond traffic updates on highways and cars. So we created a new position of a transportation columnist. While the columnist still does traffic updates, they are responsible for a regular transportation column.
In other words, in CBC’s eyes, it’s a columnist who also does daily traffic updates.
Zafran doesn’t buy that description, and though he doesn’t offer any theories on why exactly management has soured on him, he does offer this:
The CBC has free reign on hiring and without a ratings-based mentality, bosses can literally turn a mime into a weather person and no one in management will face any consequences. And yet here I am paying the price.
But he also makes a case for what he’s done in the position:
I built their traffic department from nothing, negotiated to gain full access to all the CGMU cameras — at no cost, on my own initiative and time — and was considered by (Transports Québec), the SQ, EXO, STM, Ville de Montreal, CN, other hosts who relied on my hits from competing stations, not to mention internally at CBC Montreal as the ‘go to expert’ for traffic and transportation. I created the @montrealdrive Twitter page leaving it at 3600 followers, a few hundred less than the Homerun program itself. This was a planned removal that was witnessed by all.
Zafran said he has received a “mass outpouring of support and disappointment” following the news, after having worked for CBC for eight years.
“On a bright note,” he wrote, “I’m not dead. I can eat dinner again with my young family and I am catching up on all that I have neglected at home. I will not accept a character assassination by those who attempt to discredit me or my work. They know what they did to me and in turn my family life, but if they can sleep well at night then rest assured so will I.
“The job doesn’t define the person, that’s up to me. I won’t lose another breath over this tragedy, Steve. Soon better things will arrive, I’m in my prime and I will return from these last 8+ years to a professional, respectful environment for my 30th year on air in 2020, all chez nous.”
Zafran was also once the weekend weather presenter on CBC Montreal’s local TV newscast, but that role has since been eliminated. Now the anchor, Sean Henry, does brief weather updates himself.
Besides broadcasting, Zafran also does acting and voice work, including various radio and TV ads, and you may have seen him pretending to be a pharmacist on posters at your local Jean-Coutu. Before joining CBC in 2011, he did various on-air roles for 940 News and Q92.
With days to go before the first preseason games, the regional TV broadcasters for Canada’s seven NHL teams have released their schedules, and we now have an almost full accounting of where every game will be broadcast.
There are few changes from last year. The regional broadcasters for each team are the same (Sportsnet for the Canucks, Flames and Oilers, TSN for the Jets, Senators and Canadiens, and both for the Leafs) and the splits are about the same, with between 36 and 40 national games where Sportsnet also has the regional rights, and between 22 and 32 national games for teams where Sportsnet doesn’t.
Here’s the national/regional split by team:
- Canucks: 36/46
- Oilers: 40/42
- Flames: 39/43
- Jets: 22/60
- Leafs: 40/42
- Senators (English): 27/55
- Senators (French): 30/52
- Canadiens (English): 32/50
- Canadiens (French): 22/60
In French, TVA Sports retains national rights and RDS still has the regional rights for the Canadiens and Senators.
But that could change next season. The Flames and Oilers TV and radio contracts are up in 2020. And though it would be a surprise if Sportsnet didn’t renew its TV rights, there might be a fight for the Oilers’ radio contract, currently held by Corus’s CHED, against Bell Media’s TSN Radio.
Here’s how it all breaks down per team.
Numeris has released top-line numbers for its summer ratings period, and those figures show The Beat still at twice Virgin’s audience, while CJAD’s audience has continued to slip.
Here’s the market share for Montreal anglophones, ages 12+, for May 27 to Aug. 25, 2019:
- CJAD 800: 25.6%
- The Beat 92.5: 20.8%
- CHOM 97.7: 12.2%
- Virgin Radio 95.9: 10.7%
- CBC Radio One: 6.8%
- TSN Radio 690: 3.4%
- CBC Music: 2.4%
- Rythme 105,7: 2.4%
- 98,5fm: 2.3%
Remaining stations are below 2%.
Virgin has tried turning things around by replacing its morning team of Freeway and Natasha with Cousin Vinny and Shannon King. It’s too early to tell if that had any impact on ratings. But at least Virgin has climbed back above CBC, which it was below during the last ratings book.
Among Montreal francophones (also 12+, May 27 to Aug. 25, 2019):
- 98,5fm: 16.3%
- Rythme 105,7: 13.8%
- ICI Première: 12.0%
- 107,3 Rouge: 11.4%
- CKOI: 10.2%
- CHOM 97.7: 6.1%
- Énergie: 5.9%
- The Beat 92.5: 5.4%
- Virgin Radio 95.9: 4.3%
- ICI Musique: 2.6%
- 91,9 Sports: 1.7%
Remaining stations are below 1%.
Not much change here, with news-talk station 98,5 ahead and Rythme the top music station. Énergie’s numbers are very low, falling below CHOM. Expect some change there if the numbers don’t rebound soon. Their numbers were so bad they made a video making fun of the very idea of ratings.
The spin zone
- The Beat: Best results ever (highest weekly reach)
- 98,5fm: #1 station in Montreal, best among adults and women 25-54, highest reach
- Rythme 105,7: #1 music station in Montreal (and having a bit of fun at their own spin)
- Rouge: Best among adults 18-34
- CKOI: Best music station among adults 24-44
- Énergie: What does #1 mean, anyway?
- ICI Première/Musique: Increase in listeners, #3 in Montreal
(Updated with social media posts from on-air talent)
Breakfast Television Montreal is no more. Staff were informed just after Thursday’s show that it was their last one.
Eight jobs will be lost as a result of the cancellation. It leaves 41 Rogers Media employees in Montreal — 21 at CityNews and OMNI, and 20 in sales.
“This decision was very difficult, but at the end of the day, the show was not sustainable,” an emailed statement quoted Colette Watson, SVP of Television & Broadcast Operations, Rogers Media, as saying. “We remain deeply committed to the local market in Montreal and are redirecting resources to our news presence in Montreal at CityNews and OMNI Television with Italian news and the launch of a national third-language newscast next year in support of our OMNI 9(1)(h) licence. We recognize and thank all employees who worked at BT Montreal over the years for their incredible work and commitment and making mornings brighter for our viewers.”
BT Montreal had just celebrated its sixth anniversary.
News about news
- This week was the Quebec National Assembly’s hearings into the future of news media. I previewed them in an article for the Montreal Gazette (in which I, for the first time, interviewed my own boss in an on-the-record capacity). Quebec City bureau chief Philip Authier has been covering the hearings themselves (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), in which just about every person appearing whose name isn’t Pierre Karl Péladeau argued the business model for news is declining and they need help of some sort. Transcripts and video are available here. Among the highlights:
- Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion used her time with Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau to ask him about the Journal de Québec’s treatment of her, repeatedly telling her she couldn’t criticize Péladeau and pulling her column when she repeatedly did anyway. Péladeau refused to give a meaningful answer, accusing her of making a spectacle. But he told one of his media outlets, reported in another of his media outlets, that he has no knowledge of what happened with her column, but his media outlets offer diverse opinions and it’s perfectly normal to forbid employees from publicly criticizing “colleagues.” Patrick Lagacé explains the issue well.
- Radio-Canada says it is prepared to help regional media, including through training and collaborations, though it is not offering any specific details in its submission.
- Le Devoir presented 17 recommendations, including tax credits, abolishing the recycling tax on newspaper publishers, and limiting government spending on advertising on foreign-owned media to 5% of the total. It also wants any measures to be equitable and not be contingent on any editorial standards or press council membership.
- Another proposal: a 5% tax on internet services to benefit news media. For the average household that spends $54.17 a month on internet service (not including mobile data), that would cost $32.50 a year.
- University of Ottawa professor Marc-François Bernier has a suggestion of turning Télé-Québec into some online regional news hub, funded by the government. I find this suggestion confusing, since Télé-Québec has no news department and no significant regional presence. (It has transmitters throughout Quebec but none carry programming different from the Montreal mother station.)
- Journalism professor Dominique Payette brought back her idea of licensing professional journalists (though she refers to it as conferring a “status”). I discuss my issues with this idea in this post from 2010.
- One of the big issues related to the Groupe Capitales Médias financial crisis is its pension plan. Unless some miracle happens, retirees will probably see their benefits cut by a quarter. The CSN has proposed a workers’ cooperative model, and unionized employees also endorsed it, but it’s far from certain how such a model would be sustainable financially. Meanwhile, La Presse reports Quebecor wanted to cut 2/3 of staff if they took over the chain.
- Quebec’s labour ministry says an error led to a press release being mostly redacted in an access-to-information response.
- James Sears, editor of Your Ward News in Toronto, has been sentenced to a year in prison for hate speech against women and Jews. The publisher of the publication, who expressed regret over its contents, has been sentenced to a year of house arrest.
- A Montreal-based journalist for a military news website is trying to use new protections for journalists to have child pornography possession charges against him dropped.
- The Washington Post admits it erred in allowing a source to have his quotes removed from a story.
- A survey shows a minority but still significant number of Americans believe news from satirical websites like The Onion to be true.
News and the federal election
- Moderators have been announced for the leaders’ debates (though Justin Trudeau may not participate in all of them):
- Maclean’s debate, Sept. 12
- Paul Wells, columnist, Maclean’s
- Munk debate, Oct. 1
- Rudyard Griffiths, chair
- English debate, Oct. 7
- Althia Raj, Ottawa bureau chief, HuffPost Canada
- Susan Delacourt, Ottawa bureau chief, Toronto Star
- Rosemary Barton, national news anchor, CBC News
- Dawna Friesen, national news anchor, Global News
- Lisa LaFlamme, national news anchor, CTV News
- French debate, Oct. 10
- Patrice Roy, news anchor, Radio-Canada
- Hélène Buzzetti, Ottawa correspondent, Le Devoir
- Patricia Cloutier, National Assembly correspondent, Le Soleil
- François Cardinal, editorialist, La Presse
- Alec Castonguay, political bureau chief, L’Actualité
- Maclean’s debate, Sept. 12
- Unifor’s very anti-Conservative stance in the federal election campaign has made journalists represented by Unifor’s locals uncomfortable.
At the CRTC
Radio Humsafar is trying for a third time to get #CRTC approval for a new antenna location for CIRF, its new station at 1350 AM in Brampton. Last site was rejected for being in Mississauga. New site is 1.5km away from approved site, at 280 Rutherford Rd. S. pic.twitter.com/UYhNe7P3En
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) August 26, 2019
- Radio Humsafar’s desperate attempts to secure a transmitter site for its new Brampton AM radio station before its deadline to launch is coming together. After getting its previous choice rejected twice because it was too far into Mississauga, the new proposal is well within Brampton and seems technically sound. But the deadline is Oct. 21, and the CRTC has already given the group extensions on that deadline, so the latest request is being put to a (shortened) public consultation.
- The commission has begun a formal proceeding to review new 36-month cellphone financing plans being offered by the major telecom companies, to see if they are consistent with Wireless Code provisions that would normally cap such plans at 24 months.
- The federal cabinet has declined to order the CRTC to review the decision granting OMNI a licence extension and giving it millions of dollars of free funding. A petition demanding it be overturned was filed by other applicants looking to offer an alternative.
- A hearing has been called for Allarco’s Super Channel and four McBride Communications radio stations (CFPV-FM Pemberton, B.C., CKPM-FM Port Moody, B.C., CIMM-FM Ucluelet, B.C. & CHMZ-FM Tofino, B.C.) to explain serious licence compliance issues.
- New mandatory closed captioning quality standards came into effect on Sept. 1, though they will only be enforced as of March 1. The new standards limit how many errors can be found in live programming.
- Bell has been ordered to maintain wholesale roaming service for Videotron clients as the commission studies whether some Videotron clients are engaged in permanent roaming on Bell’s network and whether Bell can terminate its contract with Videotron for that reason.
- Stingray is applying for a licence for the Stingray Hits TV channel, since it has passed the 200,000 subscriber mark and no longer qualifies for an exemption from licensing.
- CBC is proposing licence changes to its radio stations in northern Quebec:
- Creating a CBC Radio One station in Kuujjuaq, transferring its transmitters in Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuaq, Salluit and Puvirnituq from the Iqaluit licence. The purpose is to create a network of stations that blends programming from CBC North (including Kuujjuaq-based Tuttavik) and CBC Quebec (an hour a day of Quebec AM). The station’s schedule would also replay Tuttavik at 9pm weekdays.
- Creating a CBC Radio One station in Chisasibi, transferring its transmitters in Chisasibi, Wemindji, Waskaganish, Waswanipi and Mistissini from CBC Quebec. The purpose is to transfer Cree-language programming — Winschgaoug (8-9am/4-5pm) and Eyou Dipajimoun (12-1pm) — from the French stations to the English ones. The ICI Première licence would be dropped and the transmitters transferred to the licence of ICI Première in Montreal.
- English Christian music station CJTK-FM Sudbury (KFM Radio) has received approval for a rebroadcasting transmitter in Kapuskasing (88.5 FM, 510W).
- Community radio station CIHO-FM (Radio Charlevoix) has gotten a renewal for four years. Its new licence requires it to broadcast that it failed to meet licence requirements in the previous term. The station says its former general manager left and forgot to tell anyone that they have to report annually to the CRTC.
- Bell Media has applied to shut down CILC-FM Celista, B.C., which retransmits CILK-FM Kelowna (EZ Rock). The 50-watt transmitter “was originally installed by the previous owner of CILK-FM who spent time in the Celista area allowing him to monitor CILK-FM Kelowna from his recreational property.” The application says Celista residents will be served by EZ Rock Salmon Arm, 27km away.
- The commission has approved an application for a second transmitter of CKBF-FM at Canadian Forces Base Suffield in southeast Alberta. The new transmitter (101.7 FM, 920 watts) will be on the base itself rather than almost 20km southeast.
- Zazeen’s TV distribution licence in Quebec and Ontario has been revoked, as it is no longer necessary. Zazeen continues to broadcast as an exempt service with fewer than 20,000 subscribers.
- The CRTC is giving CKFG-FM (G98.7) Toronto a six-month extension to fulfill its financial obligations for Canadian content development. The station said it needed the extension because it needs to sort out issues related to the estate of founder Fitzroy Gordon, who died in April.
- New foreign TV channels approved for distribution in Canada:
- Radio-Canada’s ombudsman confirms that “liquid salt” is basically the same as putting salt in water, at least when it comes to sodium intake. The insistent complaints of the manufacturer, forwarded from the CRTC, were dismissed.
- The Globe and Mail’s public editor explains why there is so much coverage of U.S. politics (and its president in particular) lately. She also doesn’t think the Globe is “Trudeau bashing” with its coverage of SNC-Lavalin.
- Quebec Press Council:
- CHOI’s Jeff Fillion was blamed for describing Mexicans and Central Americans as hard workers who won’t learn French and won’t join unions.
- A Denis Lessard story in La Presse was found to have gone too far by stating as fact that former PQ MNA Nicolas Marceau was leaving politics when he had explicitly stated he was still in reflection about his future.
- A Richard Martineau column in the Journal de Montréal that described the Black Coalition of Quebec as a “sacré bon racket” was defended as fair comment.
- La Presse was found to have done nothing wrong in attempting to contact the son of Alain Sirard by email hours after Sirard’s suicide. Sirard killed himself after a report of him falsely accusing parents of having beaten their children was published by Radio-Canada and La Presse.
- Éliane Gamache Latourelle, the “jeune millionnaire” exposed by a story in La Presse as not being nearly as rich or successful as she pretended, filed a long series of complaints against the journalist Nathalie Petrowski. Almost all were dismissed, some because they had insufficient evidence. The one that was upheld related to a factual error saying Instagram photos geotagged to Panama were deleted, when in fact they were still available and had no geotagging.
- A column by Paul Journet in La Presse about SLAV made an error about the number of cases of slavery in New France. The error was corrected after it was brought to light, and the council was satisfied with that.
- Audrey Chédor, who asked La Presse to write about a bill related to gender assignment of intersex children, complained about more than a dozen aspects of the resulting story because she didn’t agree with its angle or how she was treated by the journalist. The council found in La Presse’s favour on every point.
- A La Presse story about an opinion poll related to gun legislation sparked a complaint about its statements. The council found that it was simply reporting the results of a survey and the statements were not inaccurate.
- The council’s appeals panel has sustained two decisions — one that says it did not violate privacy to say what street someone lived on in a story about flooding, and another that says a TVA report about a school’s prom conflicting with Ramadan lacked rigour and was discriminatory.
- Wow Unlimited Media finally took over Comedy Gold, the specialty channel it acquired from Bell Media in a $6.8-million deal approved by the CRTC more than a year ago. It then immediately shut down all operations, though it says it is “exploring strategic partnerships to structure a financially attractive business plan for a potential WOW!-branded linear channel.”
- Corus is shutting down specialty channels CosmoTV and IFC on Sept. 30.
- Disney+ is launching in Canada on Nov. 12. The streaming service will cost $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year.
- MusiquePlus quietly died, the rotting carcass that was once Quebec’s specialty channel devoted to music has been rebranded as Elle Fictions and now broadcasts mostly imported content that appeals to women. The final nail brought up some nostalgia among former staff and a look back in Le Devoir.
- Star Académie is returning to TVA in 2021, though without Julie Snyder.
- The creators of Radio-Canada legal drama Ruptures are working on an English adaptation. No broadcaster has picked it up yet.
- RDI has a new weekly show this fall about misinformation online. Alexis de Lancer hosts, with Bouchra Ouatik and Jeff Yates.
- Some results on the fight against video piracy:
- Regional TV broadcast schedules for Canadian NHL teams are being released (we’re still waiting for TSN):
- Vancouver Canucks: 36* national games (15 on Hockey Night/Day in Canada, 15 on Sportsnet, 5 on Sportsnet One, 3 on Sportsnet 360 (all of which are on another channel as well, including one on Citytv Vancouver)), and all 46* regional games on Sportsnet Pacific (nothing scheduled so far on the SN Vancouver Hockey overflow channel), plus 5 preseason games on Sportsnet One (2 of them also on Sportsnet Pacific)
- Edmonton Oilers: 40 national games (10 on Hockey Night in Canada, 1 on Hockey Day in Canada, 16 on Sportsnet, 9 on Sportsnet One, 2 on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, 2 on Sportsnet 360) and 42 regional games (38 on Sportsnet West, 3 on Sportsnet Oilers, 1 on both), plus 2 preseason games
- Calgary Flames: 39 national games (14 on Hockey Night in Canada, 1 on Hockey Day in Canada, 10 on Sportsnet, 6 on Sportsnet 360, 7 on Sportsnet One, 1 on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One) and 43 regional games (38 on Sportsnet West, 5 on Sportsnet Flames), plus 1 preseason game
- Ottawa Senators (French): 30 national games on TVA Sports, 52 regional games (25 on RDS, 26 on RDS2, 1 on RDS Info), plus 3 preseason games on RDS,
- Montreal Canadiens (French): 22 national games on TVA Sports, 60 regular-season games and six preseason regional games on RDS.
- Fall previews:
Here are @Shaun925thebeat's last few seconds on air, for those who missed it. It's the end of a longer speech about his gratitude to his listeners and his employer. pic.twitter.com/yifoMOXHo8
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) August 18, 2019
- It didn’t get as much attention as the morning show change at Virgin Radio, but there’s been a change at The Beat 92.5 as well — Shaun McMahon has left the station (saying it was not his decision) and been replaced by Mark Bergman, the former program director and afternoon drive host at Virgin.
- Arsenal Media’s M 103.5 in Joliette has rebranded as O 103.5, which consolidates all of Arsenal’s stations under three brands (Plaisir and the soon-to-launch Hit Country are the others).
- Chris Biggs, Jason Barr and Patsie Jamie are the new morning team on Ottawa’s Chez 106.1.
- A study shows women are getting much less airplay than men on country music radio stations in Canada.
- Quebec City’s WKND 91,9 has signed a new five-year contract with morning host Martin Dalair.
- Peter Mansbridge has a new podcast about the Canadian election. So does Kevin Newman.
- SiriusXM has added a Tragically Hip station on its online and app platforms.
- Publishers are suing Audible, the audio book company, over a speech-to-text feature that automatically generates captions. The publishers argue Audible is illegally converting the works back into books.
— Greg O'Brien (@gregobr) September 3, 2019
- The Hamilton Spectator’s presses ran for the last time on Aug. 31. The change in printing plant means a change in appearance, with a redesign and a smaller page size.
- Postmedia has shut down Hamilton Magazine.
- Le Soleil is encouraging readers to donate directly to them to support their continued existence.
- CTV Montreal reports on the efforts to resurrect The Gleaner in Huntingdon.
- Montreal Dog Blog, Nat Lauzon’s side project, is being “retired” and transitioning to a social media community.
- Vividata, which measures audiences for newspapers and magazines, is working on a “passive mobile measurement panel” which seems to mean getting people to install software on their mobile devices that lets Vividata track everything they read.
News about people
Today we say happy retirement to one of the best. @smccarthy55 is a top notch reporter, mentor and all-round lovely guy. The @globeandmail Ottawa bureau will miss him dearly. Hope to see you around soon, Shawn! pic.twitter.com/aBwqTpBXG2
— Michelle Zilio (@MichelleZilio) August 30, 2019
- Several people are departing Sportsnet, including Nick Kypreos, Doug Maclean, John Shannon.
- Sports analyst Derek Aucoin has glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer.
- Marie-Ève Bédard has been named Radio-Canada’s new correspondent in Paris.
- The Montreal Gazette writes about Suzanne Desautels’s new job doing podcasts for the English Montreal School Board.
- Jim Connell has been named the new afternoon news anchor at K103 in Kahnawake.
- Dany Dubé will be a hockey analyst for RDS this season, which means he won’t be for TVA Sports. (He remains the colour analyst for Canadiens games on 98.5 FM)
- Scott Dyer has retired as president of Corus production company Nelvana. Pam Westman has been named his successor.
- Sunny Freeman is the new managing editor at The Canadian Press, being promoted from business editor.
- TSN 690 has dropped François Gagnon as an analyst.
- Natasha Gargiulo, recently dropped from Virgin 95.9, has done some fill-in work at Breakfast Television.
- Patrick Jutras has been named head of advertising sales at Quebecor Media. He was previously at its subsidiary Videotron.
- Reporter Kristy Kirkup has begun her new job at the Globe and Mail.
- Alyson Lozoff has lost her job on the Vegas Golden Knights broadcast team … and gotten a new job with the Anaheim Ducks broadcast team. Her replacements in Vegas include Daren Millard, formerly of Sportsnet.
- Laura Lynch has been named the interim host of The Current on CBC Radio One.
- Daryl McIntyre is leaving his job as anchor of CTV News in Edmonton on Sept. 13. Erin Isfeld will anchor solo after that.
- Mark Pupo is the new editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest.
- Elliott Price, formerly of TSN 690 in Montreal and The Fan 590 in Toronto, is now on the Niagara IceDogs broadcast team at 610 CKTB.
- Hailey Salvian is the new Senators beat writer at The Athletic.
- Joel Senick is the new anchor of Global News at 11 in Calgary.
- Billy Shields, formerly of Global Montreal, has joined CTV Montreal as a videojournalist. He also got his Canadian citizenship.
- Marie-Danielle Smith is leaving the National Post, moving from Ottawa to B.C.
- Jordan Timm, former head of news at the National Post, has left to join The Logic.
- Alex Trebek is back at work at Jeopardy! after finishing chemotherapy.
- Sherri van der Veen is the new station and news director at Global Regina. A new station manager will be hired to replace her previous role at Global Saskatoon.
- The Athletic, and in particular Sean Fitz-Gerald, has been doing a lot of profiles of Canadian sports media personalities.
[Dernière heure] L’animateur et journaliste Pierre Nadeau s’éteint à 82 ans. Il était atteint de la maladie de Parkinson depuis plus d’une décennie.
— Radio-Canada Info (@RadioCanadaInfo) September 3, 2019
- Pierre Nadeau, Radio-Canada journalist
- Kerry Marshall, Vancouver radio broadcaster
- Kenneth McAlpine, The Amazing Race Canada contestant
- Gord McDougall, Ottawa radio reporter
- Kerry Stratton, New Classical FM host
Voici la photo que chaque pays membre a choisie sur son site officiel pour illustrer la même réunion au G7. Sept points de vue bien différents… pic.twitter.com/rp0hrlnSrt
— Brut FR (@brutofficiel) August 27, 2019
- A good breakdown of how the G7 leaders released photos that, for the most part, distorted reality to make it seem as if they were leading the other leaders.
- Editorial intern, Reader’s Digest in Montreal (deadline: Sept. 5)
- Political reporter, National Post in Ottawa (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Senior news editor, Edmonton Journal/Sun (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Staff reporters, The Logic in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Production assistant, Vocal Fry Studios in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 10)
- Managing editor, Montreal Gazette (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Reporter, APTN in Ottawa (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Reporter-editor (one-year contract), The Canadian Press in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Host, CBC’s As it Happens in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 13)
- Photo journalist, Global News Montreal
- Canadian government reporter, Bloomberg News in Ottawa
- Online video journalist, Global News in Toronto
- YouTube creator, Postmedia News in Vancouver
- R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship (deadline: Oct. 28)
*Correction: I was off by one on the Canucks games’ regional/national split because of a typo on Sportsnet’s website.
If you only follow the big North American sports and only care about your local team, you might not be familiar with DAZN. But if you watch the English Premier League, one of the top leagues of international soccer, you’ve had to become very familiar with them this month.
Though the deal was announced in April, it was only when the season started on Aug. 9 that Canadians started really noticing that their EPL games are no longer available on TV. Instead, they have to shell out $20 a month for DAZN, a two-year-old streaming service. And they have to figure out how to get that streaming service to work on their TVs.
For many people, it was complicated and expensive, so they wrote in to their local newspaper and asked it to write about the problem. And that local newspaper turned to me.
In Saturday’s Gazette, I have a story about DAZN’s new deal for the EPL, and talk to a bar owner and a stay-at-home fan about what it’s meant for them. I also talk to DAZN itself about how they’re keeping their fans satisfied after botching the rollout of NFL games in 2017.
You can read the story for all of that fun stuff. But I also asked Norm Lem, SVP of revenue at DAZN Canada, about what he sees as the future of sports broadcasting in general, as consumers have seen prices go up and the number of services they have to subscribe to increase. I also asked him if we should expect DAZN to bid for something bigger, like rights to Canadian NHL matches, Blue Jays, Raptors or CFL.
Here’s what he had to say.
After 18 months of development and testing among 3,000 of its employees, Videotron launched its Helix IPTV platform on Tuesday.
Based on Comcast’s X1 platform, Helix joins the Ignite TV platform by Rogers and the Blue Sky TV platform by Shaw, also based on the same technology. Three of Canada’s four largest cable companies (Cogeco uses a TiVo-based system) now have products that can compete with Bell’s Fibe TV, offering features like restart (watch a currently airing or recently aired program that was not recorded) or cloud-based PVR.
I went to Tuesday’s launch event to report on it for Cartt.ca, and asked the people there a bunch of really technical questions. Here, based on their answers and my own opinions, is some analysis of the features in the new Helix system:
Updated Aug. 30 with comments from Marandola.
CBC Montreal has found a permanent replacement for Sue Smith, who departed its afternoon radio show Homerun at the end of June. And not only a new host, but a new name and a new focus.
Let’s Go with Sabrina Marandola, which starts Tuesday (still 3-6pm weekdays), will focus on the local community, according to the CBC’s story on the subject:
This is going to be a show that will leave people feeling informed and upbeat about their city. I think many people are tired of being inundated with bad news. Let’s Go will delve into the important issues we all care about, but will bring you stories of people who are trying to find solutions and make a difference.
Part of that sounded like either a rebranding exercise or an attempt to replace hard news with more fluffy feel-good stuff, so I asked Marandola about it.
“I really feel people are really tired of negative news, and I speak to a lot of people (who say) I really tune out of the news, it’s really negative a lot of the time,” she told me. “I want to really leave people with an upbeat feeling about the place where they live.”
Marandola insists they will still be tackling the hard news, not just in the regular newscasts (which won’t change) but in the show’s segments as well.
“We’re still talking about the issues that matter to people. It’s really just the angle we choose to cover.”
She gave an example of spring flooding in Quebec. On Homerun, the instinct might be to find a flood victim to interview, to talk about the financial and emotional toll of the devastation. But with Let’s Go, Marandola prefers to talk to someone who can help listeners with information, on how to get compensation from the government, for example.
It’s more about solutions than problems.
“Homerun, it did a lot of that already,” she noted. “With this new show, I want that to be our focus. That is the thread throughout the show. With Homerun it kind of organically happened.”
Another focus of Let’s Go will be meeting new people and learning new things.
“One of the questions we’ll be asking ourselves in the morning meeting is: Are we meeting someone new? I want to meet someone new every day,” Marandola said.
She also wants to have more panel discussions, featuring people at a table who don’t normally talk to each other much. Like a millennial and a senior. Trying to find common ground between them.
And she wants to talk about Montreal beyond its anglo hot spots of the west end and West Island. Coming from the east end, she knows “there’s huge English-speaking communities there,” along with places like Châteauguay, Laval and Brossard.
“I want to bring stories from all different places of the Montreal area,” she said.
The basic structure of the show, with news, weather and traffic reports, and regular columnists including Duke Eatmon (music) and Douglas Gelevan (sports) won’t change. Nor will the people behind the scenes, including producer Allan Johnson.
But one addition to the team is a transportation columnist, Akil Alleyne. (He was one of the reporters that launched CityNews Montreal. Even though that was only a year ago, most of that group has already moved on. Andrew Brennan and Emily Campbell were recently hired by CTV Montreal.) Once a week, he’ll be filing a story about some transportation issue, talking to commuters or answering questions from them.
With the recent launch of electric Bixis, for example, Marandola said Alleyne would try them out and offer a perspective on how it works and whether it would be useful for listeners.
So why the name change? Marandola didn’t choose the name. That was higher up the chain.
“We researched a bunch of names,” explained Debbie Hynes, regional manager of communications for CBC. “One of the things we liked about this name, and the audience liked about it, it’s the idea of movement,” which works for the time of day when parents are picking up kids from school or heading home after work.
Marandola, who saw a list of potential show names during the process, said Let’s Go was, coincidentally, “kind of a catchphrase in our (very Italian) family,” and fits her well.
All hail the CBC PM radio queens ? pic.twitter.com/GHU5g6MrrL
— Kamila Hinkson (@kamilahinkson) August 30, 2019
I talked to her shortly after she had a chance meeting with former Homerun host Sue Smith, who came into the office unannounced on Friday. She told me that while they’ve been in touch over the past few weeks, Marandola hadn’t gotten any advice from Smith (and of course, it’s her show, she’s not trying to replicate Smith), but she’d try to corner her before she leaves.
“I really already miss Sue. It’s so strange being here and not hearing her laugh or seeing her in the office.”
The new show has a Twitter account, @LetsGoCBC.
Let’s Go with Sabrina Marandola airs weekdays 3-6pm on CBC Radio One in Montreal, starting Sept. 3.