At the CRTC
- Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is keeping her hands off the CRTC, claiming it’s independent. (And yet she just removed one of its commissioners.) Those looking for her to overturn unpopular decisions may find themselves disappointed.
- The CRTC’s discussion on Reddit about zero-rating and differential pricing of Internet service has begun. The thread is just about unanimous against the idea of charging different rates for different types of Internet traffic. Many want data caps eliminated entirely, which would make the issue moot, but I don’t think that’s a reasonable outcome of this, especially as Internet providers offer faster and faster speeds to end users.
- The commission is holding a hearing this week into applications for new radio stations serving Edmonton, mainly ethnic stations. The panel hearing the applications does not notably include the commissioner for Alberta, Linda Vennard, possibly because she accepted flowers and chocolates from a party in the hearing and got rapped on the knuckles by the ethics commissioner for it.
- The CRTC has effectively eliminated the difference between specialty and pay TV channels from a regulatory perspective by standardizing their regulations. Most cable channels are specialty, and only a few are pay: The Movie Network/TMN Encore, Super Écran, Cinépop, Super Channel, Family and Vivid TV. The two big differences after the change are that these channels can now air advertising and they can produce their own programming.
- The CRTC has released a map of radio and TV stations that broadcast emergency alerts. Unfortunately there are a lot of practical issues with this map. They’re listed by callsign and licensee company name, which most people are unfamiliar with. Radio stations list frequencies but TV stations don’t list channels. And stations sharing an antenna tower can’t be distinguished from each other no matter how far you zoom in.
- The CBC Radio One transmitter in Rouyn-Noranda has had technical changes approved so it can move the transmitter to colocate with others owned by the CBC. The biggest change from a listener perspective is a change in frequency from 99.9 to 91.9.
News about news
- The Journal de Montréal was the subject of a police search warrant, with reporter Michael Nguyen’s computer being seized. The invesigation relates to a story by Nguyen about a judge who went on a tantrum when she couldn’t get out of the courthouse parking garage. The police want to know how the journalist allegedly got access to confidential documents. Unsurprisingly, groups such as the FPJQ and the CAJ are up in arms, as is Gazette columnist Basem Boshra.
- Newspaper publishers Le Devoir, Groupe Capitales Médias (Le Soleil et al), TC Media and Hebdos Québec have joined a coalition to demand more support from the provincial government, including more newspaper advertising. They also want tax credits, and exemptions from recycling taxes and sales taxes. The Montreal Gazette, La Presse and the Journal de Montréal/Québec are not part of this coalition. The idea that newspapers want to not help pay for recycling is pretty ballsy. If you exempt newspapers, might as well not have a recycling tax at all.
- As if we didn’t need enough reasons to be skeptical of polls, the New York Times took raw data and gave it over to four pollsters, and found they came back with different results.
- There were plenty of live fact-checks and other live coverage of the U.S. presidential debates, but NPR impressively posted live transcription of the debates (based on closed captioning), adding in annotated comments. The comments focused on context, rather than playing the true-or-false game. It must have taken a lot of resources, but it was worth it for an event like this. NiemanLab has a story on how this was done, funneling the transcript into a Google Doc and editing it from there.
- CBC’s This is That website has begun adding [SATIRE] to the end of headlines after noticing that a lot of people aren’t getting that when they share stories on social media. This clunky solution fixes a problem we’ve known about for at least five years. The biggest issue is that previews on Facebook and Twitter show the URL beginning with cbc.ca and it’s not immediately clear that the story is satirical, particularly for people unfamiliar with the show This is That. A similar issue happens with the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz, whose fake news stories appear under the domain name of a respected news outlet. Giving each of these their own separate domain name would go a much longer way toward helping people distinguish real news from fake.
- The Hamilton Spectator is celebrating its 170th anniversary (which is apparently significant). Among the stories it’s looking back on is one about CHCH television.
- The CBC held its annual public meeting in Moncton on Tuesday. President Hubert Lacroix’s speech notes how well it is serving the region, but doesn’t announce anything major.
- More details about the Blacklock’s Reporter copyright case, plus a discussion about it with Michael Geist on Canadaland.
- The Rainy River Record in northwestern Ontario is no more.
- Black Press, which closed several newspapers on Vancouver Island including the Nanaimo Daily News, is launching a new island-wide publication called the Vancouver Island Free Daily.
- The city of Lloydminster (you know, the one that straddles the Saskatchewan-Alberta border) is apparently so frustrated with news coverage it doesn’t agree with that it’s started its own publication to set the record straight.
- Shomi is a lame duck. The joint venture between Rogers and Shaw has announced it’s shutting down on Nov. 30. I chatted about what this means with CBC News Network’s On The Money. Bill Brioux notes that new Amazon shows aren’t available yet here, and suggests it might be because Amazon will launch its video service in Canada. The Globe reports shomi’s shutdown will “affect” 74 full-time and 33 part-time or contract staff.
- Meanwhile, Videotron unveiled its programming plans for Club Illico this season: A second season of Blue Moon, a new original police drama, and French translations of series like Designated Survivor.
- Apparently moms really hate Caillou, the Canadian children’s series that airs on PBS in the United States.
- The fourth and final season of the English version of 19-2 has begun filming in Montreal.
- The CBC has greenlit a new drama called 21 Thunder, set and filmed in Montreal, about an under-21 soccer academy.
- CBC’s This Life, which is also a Montreal-set drama (and, like 19-2, is an English remake of a French Radio-Canada series produced by Sphere Media Plus’s Jocelyn Deschenes), returns for Season 2 on Sunday. TV Junkies talks to its showrunner about what to expect. Mike Cohen chats with actresses Lauren Lee Smith and Stephanie Janusauskas (warning: lots of Season 1 spoilers).
- TSN and Sportsnet have finally announced their Maple Leafs regional broadcast schedules, a month after announcements were made for the other teams. The fact that the Leafs are the only team to split their regional rights is probably why. The schedules are similar to last year, but there will be a couple more national Canadiens games. Here’s how it breaks down for the regular season (note that RDS and TVA Sports include their companion channels RDS2, RDS Info and TVA Sports 2):
- Canadiens: 44 national games and 38 regional games on Rogers channels; 22 national games on TVA Sports, 60 regional games on RDS
- Senators: 27 national games on Rogers channels, 55 regional games on TSN5; 60 regional games on RDS and up to 22 national games on TVA Sports
- Maple Leafs: 40 national games on Rogers channels, 16 regional games on Sportsnet Ontario, 26 regional games on TSN4; 23 national games on TVA Sports
- Jets: 22 national games on Rogers channels, 60 regional games on TSN3; 8 national games on TVA Sports
- Oilers: 37 national games and 45 regional games on Rogers channels; 5 national games on TVA Sports
- Flames: 37 national games and 45 regional games on Rogers channels; 6 national games on TVA Sports
- Canucks: 36 national games and 46 regional games on Rogers channels; 2 national games on TVA Sports
- Three Canadian TV series are nominated for International Emmy Awards: CBC’s Interrupt This Program, Bravo’s 19-2 and Radio-Canada’s 30 vies.
- The U.S. presidential debate had 84 million viewers in the U.S. according to Nielsen, plus many millions more who watched online, making it the most-watched presidential debate ever. RDI also rated it the most-watched presidential debate ever. Numbers in Canada will be further complicated by the fact that Numeris doesn’t count Canadians watching on CNN or the American networks.
- Major radio players in Canada that aren’t Bell Media, including Rogers, Corus, Cogeco, Newcap, RNC Media, Pattison, Golden West, Rawlco, Harvard and Vista, have signed on to the RadioPlayer streaming app. Bell Media is going a different route with the iHeartRadio app. Both are similar to TuneIn in function. RadioPlayer is also promising access to on demand and podcast audio.
- During an interview last week on Télé-Québec’s Deux hommes en or, Pauline Marois suggested that Richard Bain, the man who tried to assassinate her on election night in 2012, may have been influenced by some (unnamed) anglophone radio hosts who made “malicious” interpretations of what the PQ stands for. Bain listened to both CBC Radio and CJAD, it was determined through the trial, but I’m guessing it’s the latter that she has more in mind.
- Virgin Radio has a new nationally syndicated top 20 music show airing on weekends, under the iHeartRadio brand, and hosted by former Virgin Radio Montreal host Andrea Collins. In Montreal, it airs Sundays at 10am. A similar show was developed for Bell Media’s French stations (Énergie, Rouge FM and Boom FM, depending on the market), airing 9-10am on Sundays and hosted by Patrick Langlois.
- RNC Média has pulled the plug on whatever it did with CFTX-FM in Gatineau. It was Capitale Rock and then started simulcasting sports shows out of Montreal. Now it’s gone in a completely different direction, as a 70s-80s-90s pop music station called Pop 96.5. Its Facebook page is more active than its website. The Abitibi Capitale Rock station is staying with that brand, at least for now. The move makes a bit of sense when you consider that Bell Media swapped an adult hits station to country. Though there’s still Boom 99.7 and Jack FM out of Smiths Falls to compete with, plus all the adult contemporary and hit music stations.
- Rogers is acquiring Tillsonburg Broadcasting, which owns two radio stations in the town southeast of London, Ont. The price was not disclosed, and the transaction requires CRTC approval.
- Étienne Boulay got his legs waxed live on air on Énergie 94.3. Video was posted to Facebook.
Online and other
- A man who makes T-shirts for tourists with an image of the Olympic Stadium has been threatened with legal action because he did not get authorization to use it. This isn’t about copyright on a photo, but rather copyright on an architectural structure. (For what it’s worth, Big O architect Roger Taillibert seems willing to help resolve the issue.)
- The Concordian, one of the student newspapers at Concordia University, is calling on everyone to boycott MTL Blog after the latter posted a creepy ranking of students’ hotness based on Instagram photos (and without asking them first). The post has been removed, but nothing is likely to change anything at the controversial website.
- The way Facebook has been counting video views was inflating its numbers, the company announced.
- A judge has ruled a bylaw in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough banning outdoor advertising is unconstitutional.
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) September 22, 2016
News about people
- Montreal Gazette editor-in-chief Lucinda Chodan had her head shaved in a fundraiser for Leucan last week. She explains why in a column.
- CJAD has lost both hosts of The Exchange: Dave Kaufman is moving to London and Dan Delmar is leaving to focus on his PR company (Delmar says he plans to remain a CJAD contributor though). The departures open up a chance for the station to come up with a new format or hire one permanent host for the whole week. The last show is Friday.
- Matthew Ross is the new host weekend mornings at TSN 690.
- Daniel Viola has announced he’s leaving as editor-in-chief of Montreal-based Maisonneuve Magazine. In a series of Twitter posts, he explains that the $13,800 a year salary isn’t enough for him, and he’s moving back to Toronto.
- CBC completed the game of musical chairs in radio that started with taking Shad out of the host hair at Q. Raina Douris takes over from Tom Power on CBC Radio 2 mornings (Power is the new host of Q). Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe will host weekend mornings, taking over from Talia Schlanger, who’s leaving for NPR.
- Mark Iype is taking over as editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun.
- A couple of high-profile Canadian journalists abruptly left Twitter: Paul Wells of the Toronto Star left after Twitter gave an apparently equivocal response to the Turkish government’s request to block a journalist’s tweets. CBC’s Steve Ladurantaye (a former Twitter employee), meanwhile, apparently just shut his account off to take a break, noting that he has 12 months to change his mind. Both of these acts remind me of Andrew Coyne, who disappeared from Twitter in 2014 only to come back a few months later.
- Secularist and former PQ candidate Djemila Benhabib is in the middle of a slander lawsuit after claiming a Muslim school was creating extremists. The Journal de Montréal covered what happened yesterday.
- Gazette columnist James Mennie, who has been seen almost exclusively online lately, is back in print with a new regular feature interviewing newsmakers and people in the business community.
- The Toronto Star’s Joe Fiorito is retiring.
- George Stroumboulopoulos had to make an unplanned trip to Los Angeles after a friend, actor Richard Hong, was killed in an apparent robbery attempt at Strombo’s L.A. home.
- Tasso went to the doctor.
- The Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor on what Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy win means in the debate over Canadian content regulations
- The Montreal Gazette’s Marian Scott looks back at 1799 after someone sent a copy of a newspaper from that year to the Gazette.
- Joe Lemire at Vocativ on sportswriters’ love of Marriott hotels (mainly because of the company’s loyalty program)
- Dean Stock, brother of hockey analyst P.J. Stock, has lost his battle with ALS.
- Oct. 1: The Bill Lee biopic Spaceman is being screened in town.
- Oct. 2: Journées de la culture. Radio-Canada has an open house. As does MAtv.
- Oct. 5-16: Festival du nouveau cinéma
- Oct. 28: Deadline to apply for Globe and Mail summer internship program