News about news
- Caroline Locher (who, full disclosure, I went to journalism school with) is stepping down as general manager of the FPJQ as of Sept. 1 for another job. The notice for a replacement has been posted, with a deadline of July 20.
- So there was a float during the Fête nationale parade on Saturday that accidentally looked hella racist. The group behind it said it was all a misunderstanding before eventually apologizing. This sparked plenty of hot takes by white people: Mario Girard and Étienne Côté-Paluck in La Presse, Lise Ravary and Richard Martineau in the Journal de Montréal, Philippe Labrecque at HuffPost Québec and Simon Jodoin at Voir, among others. Fortunately some clued in that asking black people about this might be a better idea, so we got more informed opinions from La Presse (Ricardo Lamour), Le Devoir (Myrlande Pierre) and Vice (Gabriella Kinté).
- Three CNN journalists have resigned from the company after an insufficiently sourced article linking a Trump confidant to Russia was published without being properly vetted.
- ABC has settled a lawsuit with a South Dakota meat producer after saying it used “pink slime”. ABC admits no wrongdoing.
- Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times over an editorial that blamed her for the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in 2011.
At the CRTC
- Peter Menzies, vice-chair telecommunications, is stepping down on July 15, a year before the end of his mandate. This departure leaves only four permanent commissioners when there can be up to 13. Five positions — and all three senior positions — are listed as vacant (one of which, the chairperson, is being temporarily filled by Judith LaRocque, and another is in dispute as Raj Shoan continues his legal battles). The federal government needs to get moving on replacements.
- A notice of hearing for Sept. 7. Besides the radio compliance issues are other applications:
- An application by CIHW-FM Wendake to upgrade from a 50-watt low-power station to a 400-watt regular-power station. The increase in power would allow the station to be received in nearby Quebec City, to serve the indigenous population living closer to the provincial capital.
- An application by Stingray for new licences for Stingray Juicebox, Stingray Loud, Stingray Retro and Stingray Vibe. These music video channels that Stingray bought from Bell Media had their licences revoked because they had fewer than 200,000 subscribers and so qualified for an exemption from licensing. Stingray says all four now have had more than 210,000 subscribers for three consecutive months, being distributed by Rogers, Shaw Cable, Eastlink, Telus, Sasktel, Cogeco, Zazeen and others.
- An application by Vintage TV Canada for a discretionary service licence. Similar to Stingray, this is an existing channel that no longer qualifies for an exemption because of the growth in subscriber numbers.
- An application for the sale of CJUI-FM Kelowna, B.C. (103.9 Juice FM), from Vista Radio to Avenue Radio, for $650,000.
- An application by CKRW in Whitehorse to replace its main AM transmitter with an FM one. (It currently has temporary authority to use its FM transmitter as its main.) The new transmitter in Whitehorse would have a power of 4,400 watts.
- The commission has agreed with a request from RNC Media’s CHLX-FM Gatineau (WOW 97,1) to remove a licence requirement that 20% of its music be jazz. The CRTC found that the station met the requirement, continued to lose money, and that deleting the requirement would not unduly impact other stations in the market, and so approved the request. The station was first licensed in 2001 as a classical music station, and in 2008 it got the CRTC to remove most of its specialty music obligations, leaving only the 20% jazz requirement, as it shifted to an adult contemporary format.
- CKLX-FM Montreal (91.9 Sports) as well as CKXO-FM in Chibougamau have had their licences renewed for a full seven years until 2024.
- AM-to-FM conversions approved in Norman Wells, NWT (CBC Radio One) and Mount Pearl, N.L. (VOAR)
- Members of City Montreal and Breakfast Television, including Elias Makos and Derick Fage, took part in a charity softball game on Tuesday against (but in support of) the McGill Memory Clinic and Jewish General Hospital. The TV team lost 11-2, which they consider better than CBC’s 25-10 loss a week earlier.
- Like Shaw and Rogers before it, Bell has made cuts at its community channels in large markets to redirect that money to local commercial television stations, per the new CRTC policy. This includes about 20 staff at TV1 in Montreal. I asked Bell to confirm the cuts, and their response was this: “Our ability to now redistribute funds in support of local news presents the opportunity to ensure that our communities continue to receive coverage of the issues that matter most to them. We don’t discuss actual staffing numbers, but there has been some restructuring within Bell TV 1.”
- Forgot to mention this last week: The nominations for the Prix Gémeaux, Quebec’s television awards, were announced. One of the biggest hits of the year, the daily drama District 31, hasn’t been nominated, because it is the only eligible series in its category, and the rules therefore exclude it. This goes back to the feud between the Gémeaux and producers (Fabienne Larouche and Julie Snyder in particular) that was settled when the Gémeaux split its drama categories into “daily”, “annual” and “seasonal” categories based on the number of episodes a year.
- The Netflix series Sense8 has been uncancelled long enough for a two-hour finale after overwhelming pressure from the audience.
- Rupert Murdoch’s proposed $20 billion takeover of Sky has become a political issue in the U.K.
- CBC Radio has cancelled the program The 180, hosted by Jim Brown.
- CBC Radio is introducing a new show and podcast, called Seat at the Table, hosted by Montrealers Martine St-Victor and Isabelle Racicot, starting Saturday at 10am. Bill Brownstein has a profile in the Montreal Gazette.
- The Toronto Star has killed Star Touch, its tablet app based on the La Presse+ platform, and issued 30 layoff notices. The app will be replaced by a universal tablet/smartphone app after its final edition on July 31. Not only is this bad news for the Star after spending tens of millions of dollars on this project, but it’s bad for La Presse, which sold the platform to the Star and hoped to sell it to others down the road. La Presse+ is still successful, but with one spectacular failure and no other successes, it’ll be very difficult to sell this plan to other publishers in the future.
- Canadaland has investigated and found that Rogers is not paying back the Canadian government for subsidies it got for printing magazines it no longer prints. Both the government and Rogers seem to say that Rogers still met its requirements under the program, but it’s unclear how that makes sense.
- The New York Times is battling with its own copy editors over cuts to the copy desk. The copy editors argue the paper has turned its back on them, wanting to cut their head count in half (as I sit here imagining being outraged at a copy editing desk of only 55 people). The Times responded by saying it has far more editors per story or reporter than its competitors and that it has no intention of eliminating copy editing. That didn’t stop a walkout by employees in protest.
- Facebook is eliminating the ability to edit headlines and photos when sharing links, after this ability was abused by people promoting fake news. (Generally, I only used this when an encoding issue caused curly apostrophes to appear as a jumble of code.)
- The Conversation, a website devoted to bringing journalists and academics together to make academic research more digestible, has begun a Canadian spinoff. They also want to have a French version.
News about people
— Cindy Sherwin (@CSherwinCTV) June 26, 2017
- Beryl Wajsman continues to milk as much free publicity as possible for his Westmount mayoral run, with an apparent official announcement this week.
- In case you hadn’t heard, because he wants to be low-key about it you see, Peter Mansbridge is retiring from The National this week. His final broadcast will be the Canada Day special. The CBC honoured him by renaming the atrium at the entrance to the CBC building in Toronto as Mansbridge Hall.
- A bit of a shuffle at Rythme FM: Jean-Philippe Dion becomes Mitsou’s new co-host at lunchtime, replacing Sébastien Benoit, who moves to the afternoon drive show with Marie-Soleil Michon.
- Cindy Pom is leaving Global News to pursue a master’s degree in Paris.
- Greta Van Susteren has been let go as a host at MSNBC, less than six months after starting there.
- Videojournalist, CityNews Montreal
- Senior Reporter for Global News in Ottawa
- Associate Producer, VICE du jour in Montreal
- Digital journalist, CBC Quebec City (deadline: July 1)
- Business reporter, Canadian Press in Toronto (deadline: July 17)
- General manager, FPJQ (deadline: July 20)
- On-Air Host, CHOM 97.7 (deadline: July 28)