Media News Digest: One last Blais blast, indigenous radio stations, CBC launches in London

News about news

At the CRTC

  • It’s Jean-Pierre Blais’s last week as chair of the CRTC, his five-year term ending on Saturday. No announcement has been made about his replacement, even on an interim basis, and he has made clear that he did not re-apply to his position. His imminent departure not only means a lot of retrospectives are being written about him (professor Michael Geist, former commissioner Timothy Denton), but it also means he is a bit more outspoken than before, and he raised a lot of eyebrows at a speech in Banff this week. Among his statements:
    • The CRTC must act to improve wireless competition, possibly going as far as to regulate retail rates (though this would be undesirable)
    • It’s “just bad governance” for the federal government to leave so many commissioner seats vacant for so long
    • “Music quotas on the radio will no longer serve their purpose,” and “maybe the better way to support Canadian music is to require radio broadcasters to invest in showcase events”
    • Things like tax credits are “anachronisms”
    • Two thirds of the work CRTC does now is on the telecommunications side rather than the broadcasting side
    • The commission has 417 people working for it, of whom 16 are indigenous and 59 visible minorities (and this is seen as a positive thing)
    • “The French-language radio market—Quebec City’s infamous shock jocks—builds and reinforces its own echo chambers that deepen societal rifts.”
    • “Some people in the creative groups in this country are all too deeply entrenched in their own echo chambers.”
    • The CBC “should focus on news rather than commentary. It must stop chasing clicks, and it must always publish verified stories from credible sources.”
    • The commission’s critics are “conspicuously silent on matters that cast the CRTC in a more favourable light”
    • “I hope to see CRTC Commissioners appointed with greater independence—at arm’s length from government so that each is assessed solely on his or her exceptional qualifications” — a hilarious statement from the man responsible for getting Raj Shoan fired.
  • In one of Blais’s last decisions, the CRTC has approved five new indigenous radio stations serving the urban markets of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa to replace the failed Aboriginal Voices Radio. The licences are split among three groups: First Peoples Radio, which is basically APTN, gets Ottawa and Toronto; Northern Native Broadcasting, which runs CFNR-FM Terrace, gets Vancouver; and Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta, which runs a station with retransmitters throughout Alberta, gets Edmonton and Calgary. FPR/APTN had applied for all five markets and argued that its applications were not severable, but the CRTC called that bluff, arguing they should still be able to function with fewer stations. The commission was not impressed by applications by two other groups, one because they proposed a hybrid indigenous/South Asian programming, and the other because its business plan was “speculative”. Each station has two years to launch (though extensions can be given) and their licences expire in 2023. Here are their conditions of licence, beyond the standard ones:
    • Vancouver: 106.3 MHz, 9,000W, 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 120 hours a week of local programming
    • Edmonton: 89.3 MHz, 100,000W, 7 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 20% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 120 hours a week of local programming
    • Calgary: 88.1 MHz, 100,000W, 7 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 20% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 117.5 hours a week of local programming
    • Ottawa: 95.7 MHz, 9,100W, 9 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming (of which 5 must be local as of Year 3), 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 60% local programming
    • Toronto: 106.5 MHz, 2,600W, 9 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming (of which 5 must be local as of Year 3), 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 60% local programming
  • The commission has approved a new radio station in Simcoe, Ont., which is near Brantford. The station, owned by My Broadcasting Corporation, plans a classic hits format.
  • The commission found that two other southern Ontario markets — Aurora and Brampton — are not healthy enough to sustain more radio stations (especially because they’re so close to Toronto)

TV

Radio

  • CBC finally launched its London, Ont., station this Monday. The station has a local morning show for the first time, and is home to a regional afternoon show that covers southwestern Ontario including Windsor. The first few minutes on air were captured on video.
  • As the June 30 deadline to launch approaches, people have been asking me more frequently about TTP Media and their promised English-language talk station at 600 AM. There is movement on that front — the station has chosen a callsign: CFQR, the same call letters used by the former Q92. But there hasn’t been a peep on that frequency yet. Managing Partner Nicolas Tétrault, who remains active on Twitter (but purged its history recently for some reason and no longer references radio in his bio) has not responded to my requests for information. The French station, CFNV 940, is on the air officially but only playing automated music. So your guess is as good as mine.

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4 thoughts on “Media News Digest: One last Blais blast, indigenous radio stations, CBC launches in London

  1. Michael Black

    But what connection, other than The Suburban, does Beryl Wajsman have to Westmount? I don’t know, but it seems like he’s parachuting himself in. Whoever becomes mayor has always been low key, someone most people have never heard of before taking the office I don’t think he’s going to get far, and fussing over Provincial election boundaries is a way secondary part of being mayor. Getting a few names for filing is easy, I think he’ll find resistance after that.

    Michael

    Reply
  2. Dorothy Lipovenko

    If Beryl Wajsman runs but is not elected Westmount mayor, his candidacy alone is worth the price of admission.
    I’ll bet the political eco-system has been throw out of alignment just by Wajsman’s interest in the job.

    Reply
  3. Gump Racicot

    Everyone in Westmount should read the Gomery Report on the Sponsorship Scandal, and in particular what unflattering things Judge Gomery said about Beryl Wajsman’s honesty, before voting.

    Reply

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