News about news
- Journal de Montréal columnist Richard Martineau is suing left-wing media website Ricochet for a mean-spirited but satirical article that said he died. The website is using this as a fundraising opportunity, and brought in more than $28,000 in less than a day.
- WPTZ chief meterologist Tom Messner has been inducted into the Vermont Broadcasters Hall of Fame. What surprises me is not only that such a thing exists, but that Tom Messner was not already in it. (I mean, WPTZ is technically a Plattsburgh station, but come on.) His counterpart at WCAX, Sharon Meyer, was also inducted.
- Though he called it “one of the most irresponsible pieces of journalism … I have seen in over 15 years working in the business,” the National Observer’s Michael De Souza failed to convince the National NewsMedia Council (the press council that covers Ontario and some other provinces) to agree with his condemnation of a Financial Post article about pipelines. The decision noted that De Souza did not give concrete examples of any factual inaccuracies or journalistic malfeasance on the part of the piece in question.
At the CRTC
- I tried to get some clarification from the CRTC about the status of CFNV 940 AM, whose deadline to launch passed on Nov. 21. A spokesperson tells me: “As per staff information and on the Commission’s record, 7954689 Canada Inc. has informed the Commission that it was ready to commence operations. A licence will be issued once the Commission will have received a copy of all the documents from the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Ministry.” Further clarification later: “The applicant has advised the Commission before its deadline and the deadline was met.” So the station can launch legally without requesting a further extension. We’re still waiting on a decision from the commission on an extension request for the English-language station at 600 AM, whose deadline passed Nov. 9.
- The commission is cutting staff at its regional offices as it restructures to work more virtually. The offices will remain open, but will have reduced services for the public. It used to be to read applications at the CRTC you had to go to a regional office and look through files. Now, everything is available online, and about the only time you hear about regional offices are when talking about individual commissioners or when someone appears at a hearing via teleconference.
- Now that a new francophone commissioner has been named (albeit temporarily), the CRTC has restarted the process of reviewing the French-language music quota for French-language commercial radio stations. A hearing date has not been set.
- The commission has approved (with no public process) transfers of ownership of two independent TV specialty channels:
- GameTV, from Kilmer Enterprises (owned mainly by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman and minority owner Lawrence Tanenbaum) to Leonard Asper’s Anthem Sports & Entertainment (which also owns Fight Network and FNTSY Sports Network) for $4 million. GameTV is one of the few specialty services to not charge a wholesale fee to TV providers. It’s unclear if this will continue under its new owner. The acquisition was announced in August. Asper tells the commission the channel is unprofitable, but synergies might help the group turn toward profitability.
- OUTtv, from James Shavick to Ronald N. Stern (via several holding companies), for $850,000. Stern is a major entrepreneur, and owns FP Newspapers, which owns the Winnipeg Free Press.
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) November 30, 2016
- Shaw has informed the CRTC it will shut down CJBN-TV in Kenora, Ont., Canada’s smallest television station, both in terms of power (178W) and audience. What little local programming it has (including the weekly Good Morning Sunset Country) will be taken over by the Shaw TV community channel after it closes on Jan. 27. Shaw owned CJBN before it bought Global TV, and chose never to bring CJBN fully into the Global family. When Shaw Media was sold to Corus, Shaw kept the station. This summer, as Shaw was seeking renewal of its TV licences, the CRTC said it must either increase its local programming from 30 minutes to seven hours a week, or seek an exception to the policy. Shaw decided in mid-November it would pull the plug. Three jobs are being cut, and two others are moving to Shaw TV.
- Blue Ant Media is converting its radX channel into a Canadian version of BBC Earth, with natural history programming including Planet Earth. The change happens Jan. 24 with a free preview of the new channel.
- The National Football League has asked the federal government to require the CRTC to reverse its Super Bowl ad substitution decision. The first Super Bowl without simultaneous substitution is less than two months away.
- CBC has released details of its programming plans for 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary. It starts with a New Year’s Eve special with musical performances across the country.
- RDS is starting a new long-form interview show, Zone Langlois with Geneviève Langlois, next week.
- Les Appendices, one of my favourite Quebec TV shows, is on the cancellation fence.
- Better news for Mensonges, the addikTV drama, which will get a fourth season.
- Numeris released its diary market radio ratings last week. In Quebec City, the big winner is Radio X … or Radio X and FM93 … or Radio-Canada. It’s enough to have prompted arguments among the stations, anyway. The overall central market ratings show Radio-Canada has the highest share, beating out FM93 slightly, followed by Radio X. But it’s very easy to manipulate the dials to give you whatever you want. The Journal de Québec lists the most popular shows in the market, and Quebec-wide roundups (Rouge FM leads in Gatineau, Énergie in other measured markets) are available from ActusMédias and InfoPresse. L’Avantage also has a look at the Rimouski market. Quarterly data for metered markets, including Montreal, come out this week.
- Just about every radio station puts video clips on YouTube or streams using Facebook Live these days, but CKOI is experimenting with something more formal in terms of video streaming. Once they work the kinks out, it could spread to Cogeco’s other radio stations.
- There’s pressure from both sides of a controversial issue at the FCC in the United States: Whether to weaken protections of Class A AM stations (so-called clear channel stations) so that smaller stations don’t have to drastically reduce (or even eliminate) their signals at night. The big clear-channel stations are on one side, while smaller Class D stations are on the other. These protections are why stations from far-away markets like Chicago, New York and Boston can be heard here at night, and conversely why Montreal Class A stations — TSN 690, CKAC Circulation 730 and the upcoming 940 AM station — can be heard from as far away and even farther.
- National CBC radio shows are posting full transcripts online in a way that allows people to read as they’re listening. This is being billed as a way to help Canadians with hearing difficulties or who have trouble with English, but I can imagine other technological uses as well.
— Karima Brikh (@KarimaBrikh) December 6, 2016
Saying goodbye to our office this week. Duct tape cake. A nice nod to the grimy carpet that has seen… a lot. pic.twitter.com/voDlz4faB9
— Jacqueline Nelson (@j2nelson) December 5, 2016
- The Globe and Mail is moving into its new home on King St. E. in Toronto.
- Le Devoir is also moving, on Friday, from its long-time home on Bleury St. to new offices on St-Laurent Blvd.
- Le Devoir launched a new smartphone application. It’s simple, with a continuous stream of stories in several sections (starting with À la une) and limited ability to customize. But it’s pretty, allows some flexibility in notifications, and allows favouriting of articles. Best of all, it’s well integrated with the website, so sharing stories between the app and desktop or social media users is seamless. The app is free until March 1, after which it will be available only to subscribers.
- Rogers hasn’t announced a buyer for L’actualité magazine yet, but Alexandre Taillefer basically confirmed it’s him. That will be good news for employees.
- A restructuring of management at Rogers’s English-language magazines means Maclean’s editor-in-chief Mark Stevenson is out, while other staff take on different roles.
- Transcontinental has acquired “all B2B financial brands” from Rogers for an undisclosed sum. Included in the deal are Advisor’s Edge, Advisor’s Edge Report, Conseiller, Le journal du Conseiller, Benefits Canada, Avantages, Canadian Insurance Top Broker, Canadian Investment Review and Canadian Institutional Investment Network.
- Three jobs were cut and some restructuring is in the works for the Métro newspaper in Montreal.
- Transcontinental says its media division is no longer a core part of its business. This is usually a hint that such a division would be for sale, but more likely in this case it’s just an acknowledgment that Transcontinental’s printing division is by far its bigger money-maker. Transcontinental Media (now TC Media) has radically transformed through acquisitions and sales in recent years. It owns Métro in Montreal and most community newspapers in Quebec.
- The Canadian Media Guild union is complaining about stall tactics by Vice Canada.
- Writer Colin Horgan has started something called Article Magazine. It’s a magazine. With articles.
News about people
- Barry Morgan, who was let go by CJAD, had a conversation with Mike Cohen. His door is open to future opportunities.
- Craig Silverman is the new media editor for BuzzFeed. In addition to leading the BuzzFeed Canada team in Toronto, he’ll be continuing his lifelong mission of chronicling media screwups (he was the guy who started the sadly now defunct Regret the Error corrections website).
- Jonathan Crowe, anchor of Here and Now at CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, is retiring to go into teaching. He made the announcement on the air on Tuesday.
- Cam Cole, Postmedia’s best sports columnist who doesn’t work at the Montreal Gazette, is retiring from the Vancouver Sun.
- Malcolm McNeil is retiring from The Canadian Press.
- Theresa Tedesco is leaving the Financial Post.
- James Bradshaw, who took over the media beat at the Globe and Mail from Steve Ladurantaye, is switching to covering banking in January. The Globe will find someone else to cover media, but an announcement on who will fill that job hasn’t been made yet.
- Dave Morissette has returned to CKOI, where he will be a regular contributor to the afternoon show. His day job remains as one of the main personalities at TVA Sports.
- Tanya Lapointe, who was an arts reporter with Radio-Canada but took a leave of absence a year ago, has decided not to return. She began a relationship with director Denis Villeneuve, who has been very busy of late with Hollywood movies, and she’s been helping him with them.
- Leslie Roberts, the new guy at CJAD, stopped by CTV for an interview.
- La Presse on how Quebec celebrities manage their social media, and how everything they post there can end up being reported on as news.
- The New York Times on Bana Al-Abed, the Twitter girl from Syria whose authenticity is under question but hasn’t been debunked.
- Robert Gibbens, who I mentioned last week, has been given a proper obituary in the Montreal Gazette by two former colleagues who worked with him closely.
- Greg O’Neill, Globe and Mail copy editor
- Dec. 11: CBC Montreal Christmas Sing-In