News about news
- The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an appeal by Vice, which is seeking to prevent the RCMP from getting hold of reporter Ben Makuch’s chat logs with a suspected terrorist. Vice and Makuch lost lower court rulings on this case.
- A right-wing group that tries to scam mainstream media in order to discredit them failed spectacularly in a sting against the Washington Post apparently meant to sew doubt about allegations against Republican senate candidate Roy Moore. The Post published the story of what happened.
- A New York Times profile of a Nazi sympathizer was heavily criticized online for “normalizing” such despicable views, forcing the Times to respond with … not an apology really, but an acknowledgment that this is a sensitive issue.
- The Canadian Media Concentration Research Project has published its annual report, with quantitative measures of how Canada’s media ownership is concentrated. The good news is that concentration has declined slightly among the big media/telecom companies. The bad news is that it’s still high, among them and among unregulated industries like web search.
- The U.S. Congress has pulled the media credentials of Russian-owned RT after it registered as a foreign agent. That makes them ineligible, according to the rules.
- The Globe and Mail polled Canada’s provincial press galleries to see how many reporters are working there. The results are pretty depressing. Saskatchewan doesn’t have anyone full-time (though it does have a most-of-the-time reporter). Only three provinces have more than 10 full-time. And interestingly, Quebec’s press gallery is larger than Ontario’s. (With only four anglo reporters — Gazette, CTV, CBC and Global — language doesn’t completely explain the difference.)
At the CRTC
- We have a new commissioner. Mélanie Joly announced the appointment of Monique Lafontaine as the new Ontario commissioner, to take effect Jan. 2. That’s too late for her to sit on the panel that held a hearing this week to decide who can start new radio stations in two Ontario communities. The hearing panel was instead composed of the vice-chair broadcasting and the commissioners for Atlantic Canada and Alberta. Lafontaine replaces Raj Shoan, who is still fighting to reverse Joly’s decision to re-fire him after a court found in his favour judging that the previous disciplinary case against him was improper.
- The commission has published licence renewal applications from most independent television stations and specialty channels not owned by Bell, Rogers, Corus, TVA and V. Among the highlights:
- Télé-Québec admits failing to meet its 60% Canadian content requirement for 2015-16, reaching only 58.76%. It doesn’t explain why, but does say it was unintentional and in other years it well exceeded its obligation. It also requests that its licence condition requiring 21 hours a week of programming for children 2-11 be expanded to children 2-17 in light of new competition from channels like Quebecor’s Yoopa, DHX’s Télémagino and Corus’s Disney.
- CHEK in Victoria, which was purchased by its employees in 2009 from Canwest, had only 45% Canadian content in 2012-13, well short of the 55% (and 50% primetime) quotas. It says this was a lack of oversight when “the viability of the station was in issue.” It has since put measures in place to add more monitoring. CHEK says it plans to invest $250,000 in the coming years to upgrade its master control to “current standards and to prepare for 4K.” The station reports spending $2.5 million a year on local news.
- In the licence renewal application for CHCH in Hamilton, I learned that TV stations and distributors use Slack to communicate about time-sensitive simultaneous substitution issues like live programming and reported errors.
- The commission has approved a new French-language community station in Gatineau using the transmitting facilities of the former Radio Ville-Marie retransmitter: 1000W daytime and 180W nighttime at 1350 AM.
- CKJS, an ethnic station in Winnipeg owned by Evanov, has been approved for conversion to the FM band, despite the objections of an unprotected low-power station that will now have to vacate their frequency.
- TVA has requested a change to its new licence, which requires that all prime-time documentary, drama, comedy, variety, reality, general entertainment or children’s programming have described video as of Sept. 1, 2019. TVA wants that to apply only to new programming, rather than have to pay to add video description to programs from its library if it wants to re-air them in primetime (7-11pm).
- TVA is also proposing to move the transmitter for TV station CFCM-DT in Quebec City, from a tower it owns to the Marie-Guyart building further east near the parliament buildings. The new transmitter, on the same tower as the V and Télé-Québec stations, would be 80kW, down from 210kW, and 174.6m high, up from 117.1m. The result would be a similar signal to the existing one. TVA says it needs to liberate its tower at Université Laval because of a residential development project.
- Rogers has apparently had enough with funnelling money to its Viceland TV channel, and has provided notice that it will no longer finance its losses. The channel has an average-minute audience of 2,900.
- CBC has unsurprisingly signed on to be the host broadcaster for the next two Paralympics — 2018 and 2020. It’s the first time the CBC has signed a deal for multiple Paralympic games. For 2018, the English-language coverage will include daily broadcasts and live broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies. For Radio-Canada, it’s a bit less ambitious, with only weekend broadcasts plus the ceremonies.
- Hamilton police have charged a Maryland man, Fawaz Abu Hamad, with causing a disturbance after he shouted “FHRITP” at CHCH reporter Britt Dixon during an interview outside a police station — the third time that week someone had shouted that phrase at her. The accused is a Maryland resident, which prompted coverage in the Baltimore Sun.
- We have premiere dates for the second seasons of CTV and Global miniseries that were heavily promoted and well-watched last winter: Global’s Mary Kills People returns Jan. 3 at 8pm, and CTV’s Cardinal Jan. 4 at 9pm. Both are also distributed in the U.S. — Mary Kills People on Lifetime and Cardinal on Hulu. Lifetime hasn’t set a debut date for Season 2 yet. Mary Kills People has also been picked up in French on Séries+, starting Feb. 8.
- ESPN is cutting another 150 jobs.
- Corus is in the process of rebranding its news-talk radio stations as “Global News Radio“. It’s unclear if stations in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will also switch brands, but the three stations in Ontario have:
- Rogers has rebranded Calgary’s Kiss 95.9 as 95.9 CHFM. Also it’s all Christmas music now.
- The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has put out another decision about the morning show on Énergie 94.3 FM in Montreal, this one about comments by sports columnist Martin Lemay reacting to a tweet that seemed to encourage violence toward women. Lemay said the author deserved to be punched in the face, and the CBSC said that was a no-no.
- Cumulus Media, which owns 446 radio stations in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy.
- The Globe and Mail launched its redesigned paper on Friday. The new layout has more whitespace and feels a bit more magazine-like. But the news is hiding some major cuts: it’s losing its dedicated B.C. section and no longer distributing in print to Atlantic Canada, forcing some people there to take drastic measures. The Globe is also launching a new newsletter curated by the women at the paper.
- Time Inc., owner of Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly and Fortune, has been sold for $2.8 billion in a deal backed by the Koch brothers, prompting worries about Time being turned into a right-wing mouthpiece.
- Los Angeles alt-weekly LA Weekly has seen the majority of its staff fired after a new mysterious owner finalized its purchase.
- J-Source profiles the Winnipeg-based Indigenous youth publication Red Rising Magazine.
- The New York Times profiles Reade Brower, who has built up a mini empire as the owner of most newspapers in Maine. It’s like New Brunswick’s Irving family but without the oil.
News about people
- The Montreal Gazette issued a public apology for tweets sent out by football writer Herb Zurkowsky commenting about Shania Twain’s appearance during the Grey Cup halftime show. Zurkowsky apologized shortly afterward but that apology was criticized as well. He deleted both tweets and made a stronger apology the next morning.
- The Weinstein fallout train keeps coming. Sportsnet has dumped Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun for inappropriate behaviour (but no allegations of assault). NBC fired Today anchor Matt Lauer after an employee reported sexual harassment (and the network was aware of several investigations — including this one — about his behaviour). He’s very sorry, BTW. Public radio star Garrison Keillor was also fired for “inappropriate behaviour” which he apparently believes is more story than fact.
- Gary Bell, an overnight host on AM 640 in Toronto, has been fired for on-air comments that were deemed anti-Semitic.
- CBC president Hubert Lacroix is coming to the end of his mandate, so he met with La Presse and said the Conservative government’s cuts to the CBC would have been even higher — $175 million — if not for his ability to talk them down to a $115-million cut.
- Denise Balkissoon is becoming a full-time columnist for the Globe and Mail.
From Ian Howarth’s Rock ’n’ Radio https://t.co/KKoAWaO9M2 — the story of “the most significant thing” in Chuck Chandler’s life: Organizing a live broadcast of the Lennon-Ono 1969 bed-in for CFOX pic.twitter.com/nPexEY70lZ
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) November 29, 2017
- Chuck Chandler (a.k.a. Charles P. Rodney Chandler), radio host at several stations including CFOX and CKGM in Montreal in the 1970s.
- Fellowship for aboriginal investigative journalism (deadline: Dec. 1)
- Casual camera editor, APTN (deadline: Dec. 8)
- National online investigative journalist, Global News (deadline: Dec. 12)
- Associate editor, Reports & Rankings, Macleans