Category Archives: Media

Media News Digest: FPJQ award finalists, TVA launches app, Gannett cuts hundreds of U.S. newspaper jobs

News about news

  • Finalists for the FPJQ’s Judith Jasmin awards have been announced. The awards honour the best in Quebec journalism. Since you’re looking for the penis-measuring stuff, here’s how it breaks down by organization:
    • La Presse: 9 (including a sweep of the opinion category)
    • Radio-Canada: 5
    • Le Devoir: 2
    • Montreal Gazette (Postmedia): 2
    • Journal de Montréal (Quebecor): 2
    • Le Droit (Capitales Médias): 1
    • Le Guide de Montréal-Nord (TC Media): 1
    • Canal D (Bell Media): 1
  • Speaking of the FPJQ, the organization also does its elections during its annual conference. The candidate for president is a familiar name to anglo Montrealers: CTV’s Stéphane Giroux, who has been on the board for three years.
  • CBC executives appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Tuesday. We didn’t learn much that’s new (mainly politicians questioning their competition for ad dollars and dealing with pet gripes), but I wrote a story about it anyway for
  • Val d’Or police officers are suing Radio-Canada because of an Enquête program that broadcast allegations of abuse and assault of local aboriginal people.

At the CRTC

  • The commission has released its annual Communications Monitoring Report. Look at all the statistics! There’s enough of them to push whatever agenda you want. But generally, traditional broadcasting is in slow decline, TV subscriptions are flat (as the population grows), and specialty TV channels generally still make a lot of money. One concerning statistic though, young people (ages 12-24) listen to half the traditional radio that other age groups do (partly because of technological changes, but party I’m thinking because that group doesn’t have cars).
  • The commission issued a series of mandatory orders against broadcasters who were using licences for tourist information stations in Surrey, B.C., to broadcast general programming.





News about people


Upcoming events

Former Mix 96 morning man Andre Maisonneuve dies, leaving radio community in mourning

Montreal’s radio community is in mourning this weekend, with the news that Andre Maisonneuve, the morning and afternoon host on Mix 96, has died of cancer.

The Ottawa Citizen has a story on Maisonneuve, speaking to his brother and a long-time friend.

Outside of Montreal, Maisonneuve was better known as “Katfish Morgan”, and for the past decade worked at Live 88.5 in Ottawa. The station, owned by Newcap Radio, posted a tribute to him on Saturday.

Maisonneuve worked in radio for 18 years before getting a gig here in his hometown, at stations in London, Ont., Calgary, Halifax and Toronto. In 1998, he was named the morning man at Mix 96, along with Ted Bird. A year later, Bird reunited with Terry DiMonte on CHOM and Maisonneuve was paired with Nat Lauzon. (They notably inaugurated their new show by driving a Zamboni to Toronto, which garnered them some media attention in small towns along the 401.)

Lauzon, who had also worked with Maisonneuve at Mix 99.9 in Toronto a couple of years earlier, took the news particularly hard. Even before he died, she had often shared cherished memories of the Andre and Nat show on her Facebook page.

I asked Lauzon for comment about her friend’s passing. She didn’t want to talk on the phone because of her fragile emotional state, so she wrote this to me instead:

In a terrible year where we have lost so many of the greats, I consider Andre among them.

Andre could do anything. He was that rare blend of uber-talented jock but with the kind of vulnerability that allowed listeners to know him as a person, too. He was warm, kind, interested, creative and genuinely, naturally funny. On the air, Andre would take you places that were silly and ridiculous, then grow them and explore them without fear. And if they bombed, so what? And if they were winners, so what? The joy was in getting there, the reward was in trying. He was never afraid to be the foil or take chances. But more so, he was happy to stand back and let you shine. He could trust a moment and let it breathe instead of filling it will noise. He knew how to work WITH people, on the air. He was a careful listener and built the moment instead of clamouring for punchlines. (I don’t need to tell any “radio person” how rare a quality this is.)

He was a master of voices, with an impressive and ever-expanding stable of impersonations and characters. In a radio age, where so many “bits” come packaged from prep services, we wrote our own. Because Andre could handle any special voice requirements those bits entailed — from impersonations to accents to singing … it was endless, often surprising even himself! We laughed. So much. Andre had a winning, engaging laugh.

What I’ve said here of course, is all radio-related and barely scratches the surface of who he was personally (and at one point, I hope to write more on that), but it’s not difficult to find echoes of these same sentiments from across the country, from folks who knew Andre at various points in his lengthy radio career.

Andre was my colleague, but he was also my big brother and my teacher and my friend. His is a huge loss to radio — but also to those who loved him. My heart breaks for his two amazing kids, who he was fiercely proud of. I am hardly alone in admitting that losing him has me roiling with grief and anger. Very simply, I adored him. I will love and miss him always.

Maisonneuve and Lauzon broke up (work-wise) in 2002 when the station’s lineup was shuffled and both moved to other parts of the day. He went back to the morning show in 2004, paired with Lisa Player. In 2005, Maisonneuve moved to Ottawa for the launch of Live 88.5 (CILV-FM) and became Katfish Morgan again. He stayed there until just recently, when his disease forced him off the air, though he didn’t publicize that fact.

The station’s tribute reads in part:

Andre was a great broadcaster, a tremendous team player and a fearless leader.

Andre gave birth to LiVE 88.5. He “lived life large” and he was an absolutely magnificent human being. He taught us all to live in and for the moment. All those that enjoyed the pleasure of his company on and off the air knew and felt that he was always “present.” We built an entire radio station on those very same principles.

Andre was a truly loyal friend to all who knew him. He had a real zeal and a “lust for life” like no one we have ever known.

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Postmedia to cut another 20% of its workforce as losses escalate

Postmedia, my employer, posted its year-end financial results today, which includes a $100-million quarterly loss and a bunch of other numbers that don’t look good.

For those who don’t have a financial stake in Postmedia, these numbers may not matter to you. But more significant for people in the media industry is the company’s response: It wants to cut its total payroll by 20%. After implementing changes over the past year, including staff reductions, that reduced its operating expenses by $75 million a year, it’s doing the same again, cutting a fifth out of its $361-million payroll.

Assuming the cuts are evenly spread, this would mean Postmedia losing about 800 of its 4,000 employees at newspapers including the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun/Province and lots of smaller papers.

The company plans to do this in part through a voluntary buy-out program, which means I may lose some more colleagues. And I’m not 100% reassured that my own job is safe.

This is only the latest triple-digit staff reduction to come to a Canadian media giant in the past decade. Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, CBC and others have also made significant cuts, which increases the supply of journalists in the marketplace and makes it harder for others, particularly young people, to find jobs in the field.

The CWA union, representing many Postmedia employees, is urging the government to take action, and presumably order Postmedia broken up.

More coverage in the Postmedia-owned Financial Post, or The Canadian Press.

Media News Digest: Ezra appeals to Justin, deal on Torstar culture review, Rogers getting a new CEO

News about news

  • Ezra Levant is appealing to his favourite shiny pony, Justin Trudeau, after The Rebel was barred from covering a UN climate change conference because it’s an “advocacy media”. Canadian journalism organizations are supporting The Rebel, and an organization like the UN should be as open as possible within reason, though no one could really argue that The Rebel isn’t more about advocacy than journalism.

At the CRTC




News about people

Good reads


Upcoming events

TTP Media comes back from the dead with weeks to go until deadline

After five years of almost nothing happening, could the mythical TTP Media be on course to get an AM radio station on the air in a month?

Though it looked this summer as if the company had all but abandoned its quest to become a news-talk radio powerhouse in Montreal, a major development suggests the project has been revived, even though there’s less than a month to go until the first final deadline to get a station on the air.

Nicolas Tétrault, one of the partners in 7954689 Canada Inc., posted two videos to YouTube last week that showed the Kahnawake transmitter site that the new stations at 600 and 940 AM are set to broadcast from. In one of them, Tétrault describes the installation as having been purchased that week from Cogeco Media.

The videos were removed shortly after they were noticed and I sent an inquiry to Tétrault about the status of the stations.

But Richard Lachance, president of Cogeco Media, confirmed to me that the transmitters, towers and other assets at the site were indeed sold. The purchase price, he said, is confidential.

Meanwhile, the domain name that the group had let lapse was re-registered about the same time, Oct. 11. It’s a parked domain and the records don’t indicate its owner. An email sent to Tétrault’s address, which bounced this summer, seems to have gone through this time, but I don’t know for sure if he received it.

Though these signs are encouraging — the transmitter purchase would make no sense if they weren’t serious about putting these stations up — the group is up against tight deadlines.

On Nov. 9, the CRTC’s “final” deadline to launch the English news-talk station at 600 AM hits. And Nov. 21 is the “final” deadline to launch the French station at 940 AM. I write “final” in quotes because the CRTC’s first “final” deadline to launch at 940 was actually November 2015, but they changed their mind and granted another one.

Technically, the deadlines are to get the stations operational, which requires a period of on-air testing first. But it’s possible the CRTC would be lenient if at the deadline the station is at least doing said testing. This, of course, says nothing about all the other issues involved, like programming. There have been no high-profile (or even, to my knowledge, low-profile) poachings of staff from other radio stations or other announcements that would suggest they’re lining up talent yet.

A check of the 600 and 940 AM frequencies also shows no test signal on either.

It’s a small step and we know little else, since the partners still won’t talk. But the purchase of the site, even though it was supposedly being finalized a year ago but only closed this month, is a solid step forward.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said the YouTube video mentioned only the 940 station. Someone who watched it heard mention of 600 as well, so maybe my memory is faulty.

Yet more journalists of tomorrow

Concordia journalism bursary winners from 2014-15.

Concordia journalism bursary winners from 2015-16.

On Monday, the Montreal Gazette will be presenting awards in the form of bursaries to students in Concordia University’s Journalism department. As has become sort of a tradition for the past half-decade, I’m so lazy that I’m only now writing up my interviews with the winners of last year’s awards (which to be fair, were given out in January) and the year before (uhh, my dog ate it?).

I chatted with each of them briefly about their origins, their futures, and what they think about journalism. Here’s what they had to say:

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CRTC rules CKIN-FM is not breaking its licence conditions with Arabic-language focus

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has dismissed a complaint against CKIN-FM 106.3 by Radio Moyen Orient (CHOU 1450 AM) that it is not respecting its licence conditions by drastically increasing the amount of Arabic programming it broadcasts.

The complaint, filed in the spring by the city’s incumbent Arabic radio station, said that when Neeti P. Ray purchased CKIN-FM from Groupe CHCR (owner of CKDG-FM 105.1), it promised to maintain the station’s ethnic focus and serve the same languages. But after the acquisition closed, the station essentially turned itself into an Arabic station, broadcasting Arabic programming daily from midnight to 7pm, Spanish music until midnight on weekdays, and relegating the six other languages to an hour each on Saturday and Sunday nights.

For CHOU, this meant direct competition, which it judged was unfair. (CKIN-FM’s media kit boasts that FM is better than AM, without naming CHOU directly.)

But as I noted, and as Ray noted, and as the CRTC noted, nothing in the conditions of licence prevents them from doing this. The ethnic broadcasting policy incorporated into the licence conditions says that a certain number of languages and ethnic groups have to be served, but does not place a minimum or maximum number of hours.

The only place where CKIN-FM broke its licence conditions was (coincidentally?) during the week sampled by CHOU when it came two languages short of its required eight. The station explained this by saying that there was a schedule change, and two programs that aired on Saturday one weekend and Sunday the next were just outside the sample week (weeks are defined as Sunday to Saturday). This is a very reasonable explanation (though broadcasters should exceed their requirements to give themselves more flexibility and avoid situations like this), and the CRTC agreed.

CKIN-FM’s licence is up next August, and issues of licence compliance can come up again when the CRTC considers licence renewal.

It shouldn’t be this hard to watch the hockey games you want

Ever since the fall of 2014, when Rogers began a 12-year broadcasting rights deal with the National Hockey League, hockey fans (and Montreal Canadiens fans in particular) have been scratching their heads, pulling their hair out and engaging in other clichés trying to figure out how to watch their games.

There were several changes that took place all at the same time:

  • Rogers acquired national rights to NHL games, which includes Saturday night games (formerly CBC), Wednesday night games (formerly TSN) and Sunday night games (a new national window)
  • Rogers changed the way Hockey Night in Canada worked. Rather than split the CBC TV network and assign different stations different games, it used its multiple channels to make every broadcast national. On the plus side, it made it easier for people in Vancouver or Toronto to watch a Canadiens game, but on the minus side, it made it harder for the sometimes fan to catch their local team if that team wasn’t the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Rogers sub-licensed French-language national rights to TVA Sports, taking those rights away from RDS. For the first time in a decade, RDS did not have a monopoly on French-language NHL rights and would not broadcast all 82 Canadiens games.
  • Rather than let TVA Sports broadcast all Canadiens games, the team signed a separate regional rights deal with RDS, which meant the network would have to be blacked out outside the team’s region. Similarly for the Senators, which RDS also picked up regional rights to.
  • Some teams signed new regional rights deals. The Canadiens signed an English deal with Sportsnet, whereas before TSN had some regional games. The Senators went from Sportsnet to TSN for its regional rights. And the Maple Leafs had its regional rights split between TSN and Sportsnet, leaving Leafs TV without any games.
  • TSN went to five channels, ending part-time special regional channels for the Jets and Canadiens and making TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5 the main channel for regions served by the Jets, Leafs and Senators, respectively.
  • Rogers took control of NHL GameCentre Live, and made changes to that service.

To help people out, I wrote a story for the Montreal Gazette explaining the changes as best I could and included a full-page chart of every Canadiens game and what channels it would be available on.

A year later, there were enough demands from readers for another one that the sports editor asked me to repeat it.

And once again this year. Despite the situation being very similar to last year, the Gazette devoted another full page to the TV schedule and a story explaining what’s different. (I’ve also updated a story from last year for fans outside the Canadiens’ broadcast region.)

Don’t blame Rogers

Because these changes happened after Rogers took over as the national broadcaster, many fans blame the company for every blackout, complication or lack of availability of broadcasts. Some of that is earned, but most of it is not. It’s the National Hockey League, not Rogers, that sets the rules.

The anger is particularly high for Montreal Canadiens fans, who are used to seeing every game on RDS. The sub-licensing with TVA Sports meant that not only would Saturday night games move to the competing network, but RDS’s remaining games would have to be blacked out in most of Ontario and western Canada. The fact that Rogers made all 82 games available in English for the first time ever wasn’t enough to counteract that.

The NHL lets its teams sell rights to most of their games on a regional basis, meant to protect teams’ markets from competition for viewers. There are also games, usually on specific nights, where the league sells the rights on a national basis and there are no blackouts. It’s the same in Canada and the United States, and it also exists in other leagues (you think it’s complicated up here, look at the mess that is regional sports networks in the U.S.)

So I find myself spending a lot of time explaining to people how it works, that broadcasters don’t want to black out their channels, that it’s not just a money grab by Rogers, that it has nothing to do with the CRTC or whether a team has sold out a home game (that’s an NFL rule).

But knowing all that I do, there are some things that even I don’t understand, and that I think could be changed.

Do we need regional rights anymore?

The idea behind regional rights blackouts, whether it’s the NHL, MLB or the NFL, is to protect a sports team’s home market. If you’re starting a new Major League Baseball team in, say, Vermont or Connecticut, you want people in that area to be fans of your team. So you carve out an exclusive territory, and you make sure that other teams can’t broadcast all their games in that territory. You don’t want to make it as easy for people in your area to become Yankees fans.

But as fans here continually complain, that kind of thing won’t make them change allegiances, it’ll just frustrate them. A Habs fan in Toronto is going to stay a Habs fan, regardless of how many games are available to them on TV. And the regional rights blackouts don’t help when teams are close enough together that they can’t really have separate regions. (The Oilers and Flames share identical regions, as do the Canadiens and Senators, and many teams of different leagues in the New York area and southern California.)

What if we just eliminated them? Keep the split between rights sold by the league and those sold by individual teams, but end out-of-region blackouts.

The Canadian Football League doesn’t have regional blackouts. All games for all teams are national, and TSN holds the rights. And yet teams serving smaller markets, like the Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, aren’t complaining about people from their region being able to watch Toronto or Montreal games. And the Saskatchewan Roughriders are still crazy popular in that province.

In Canada, Major League Soccer splits game rights between national and team-sold broadcast deals. That’s why RDS (national) and TVA Sports (team-based) split the rights to Montreal Impact games. But there are no MLS regional blackouts in this country.

It’s too late to renegotiate existing agreements (mainly because too many parties are involved), but when the national deal comes up in 2026, Rogers (or Bell, or whoever) and the NHL should sit down and explore the possibility of lifting these blackouts in Canada.

Let me pay for it

An even more frustrating problem is for people who pay for services set up to watch out-of-market teams: NHL Centre Ice and NHL GameCentre Live. There, we have the reverse problem: Those broadcasts that are available on regular TV are blacked out in these services. (Though Rogers has made national games available in GCL and some in-region regional games as well.)

I get the need to protect regional rights holders. But if I’m paying $200 a year to watch NHL games, I should be able to watch everything. The NHL should either tell regional rights-holders to live with the competition, or come to some agreement whereby some of that $200 goes to compensate the regional rights-holder for the money they would otherwise get from a subscription to their TV channel. (And, of course, making sure that it’s their feed that’s used, ensuring that viewers see their ads.)

There’s progress being made. Making national games available on GCL is a big step forward. Making regional games available for authenticated subscribers is another, but Bell, Rogers and Quebecor need to sit down with each other and finally hammer out an agreement that allows their services to be fully available to each other’s TV subscribers. It only serves to annoy subscribers and alienate fans when Videotron subscribers can’t access Sportsnet Now and Bell subscribers can’t stream TVA Sports.

Other things can also be done, like linking GameCentre Live and NHL Centre Ice so you only have to pay for one of them to get both. Or creating new packages that make it easier and cheaper to follow a single team rather than the entire league.

More and more fans are saying screw it and watching pirated streams online. Some are even paying a few bucks a month for it, because it’s simple and reliable. As a recent Sportsnet Now ad showed, that’s the real competition here.

If people are willing to pay $200 a season to watch hockey, the least you could do is not make them jump through hoops on top of that.

This is your problem, NHL. Fix it before you lose even more fans and even more potential revenue.

Media News Digest: Esks mic drop, Sportsnet loves the Jays, internship application season

News about news

At the CRTC




  • Sportsnet has a new ad (that you’ve probably seen 100 times if you watch Jays games) selling Sportsnet Now as a legal alternative to unreliable pirated streams. It’s interesting that this ad acknowledges the existence of such methods, which suggests they’ve become very popular.
  • TSN’s Bob McKenzie has a podcast.

News about people

Good reads


Media News Digest: Lisée’s ideas, cuts at 24H Vancouver, The Goods is bad, and shomiites are looking for work

News about news

At the CRTC

  • A couple of interesting new applications in this notice. Bloomberg TV Canada, which is owned by Channel Zero (the company behind CHCH Hamilton, Silver Screen Classics, Rewind and some porn channels they don’t talk about), has passed the 200,000 subscriber mark which means they’re no longer eligible for exemption from licensing. The application is unremarkable except for two points: It asks to be required to broadcast only 25% Canadian content during its first licensed year, rather than the standard 35% (it argues that for independent channels, that 35% requirement is being phased in). The commission also had concerns that the program supply agreement with Bloomberg means Channel Zero doesn’t really control the programming. CZ says that’s not true, but the details of its answer (and even some of the questions) are redacted in the public file.
  • The notice also contains new applications for radio stations in:
    • Mount Pearl, N.L. (100kW Christian music FM station replacing the existing AM station VOAR)
    • Saint John, N.B. (860W Christian music FM)
    • Simcoe, Ont. (18kW classic hits FM owned by My Broadcasting Corp.)
    • Peace River, Alta. (100kW hot country FM, replacing AM station CKYL and its existing FM retransmitter on the same frequency) — the same company is also proposing a power increase for CKKX-FM, KIX 106.1.
    • Mount Jubilee, Yukon (482W CBC Radio One retransmitter owned by the Yukon government, but licensed to an employee since the law says a licence cannot be given to a government body)




News about people

Good reads


Upcoming events

The ridiculous assumption underlying iHeartRadio Canada

Today was launch day for iHeartRadio Canada, a new mobile app, platform and brand licensed by Bell Media.

Aside from a weekly top 20 countdown show, and the rebranding of the Much Music Video Awards, most of the effects so far aren’t on the air but rather on digital media, and affect how you access radio stations through the Internet.

Many people were no doubt surprised when they visited their local radio station’s website today to find out it had been replaced by a page on

Like a lot of website redesigns these days, this change favours style over substance. It’s very simplified, with only four or five pages in the navigation menu: News, Shows, Contests, Audio/Video, and Events. (There are also smaller links to contact pages, a list of recently played songs, and social media accounts.)

Other stuff has fallen by the wayside. One person already emailed me to note that full-show podcasts that used to be accessible on the old websites are nowhere to be found now. (The audio/video section has clips.) Blogs also appear to have little place on these websites.

Putting everything on no doubt makes administration easier for Bell Media, but it also strips away each station’s individual branding. It harkens back to the “portal” mentality of the late 1990s, when media outlets owned by large corporations were made into sections of larger websites, like, and

TSN Radio stations are an exception to this, thought they didn’t have their own websites to begin with, and they also have pages on iHeartRadio.

For most stations, particularly music stations, the websites are adequate. The listen live function is front and centre, and schedules and other basic information isn’t hard to find. And it seems as though there is some ability to customize the websites for each station’s needs.

But looking at the bottom of the page, you see links whose usefulness can be questionable. Click on “On-Air Hosts”, for example, and you get this list, of all 892 on-air personalities at all Bell Media radio stations throughout the country, in an unclear order. (It appears to be alphabetically by first name, but that breaks down once you hit Page 2.)

It might sound like nitpicking, but there’s an assumption underlying this design, that all of Bell Media’s 100+ radio stations are interchangeable, and Canadians will be just as interested in a small-town station across the country as their local station.

And that flies in the face of what the industry has been telling us for years now is the power of traditional radio: the importance of being local.

iHeartRadio mobile app: Like TuneIn, but with more bugs and limited to stations owned by Bell

This mentality is made crystal clear by the iHeartRadio mobile app, which is available on Android and iOS devices.

The app is very bare-bones considering Bell has been hyping it for so long now. It asks you to pick styles of music you’re interested in, and then suggests stations (either Bell Media traditional radio stations or themed iHeartRadio audio streams). You can set up an account and save your favourites, but registration isn’t required to use the app.

There’s a “Local Radio” tab that uses the phone’s GPS function to find radio stations in your area.

iHeartRadio app listening to CJAD.

iHeartRadio app listening to CJAD.

Once you’ve picked a station to listen to, there are options to play, favourite, and buttons you can press that will let you call, email or text message the station — assuming the app has the station’s phone number, text message line and email address plugged in, and many stations don’t have that.

The other buttons are previous, next and scan. Those buttons assume that you’ll be spending time switching radio stations, and not just between local stations but between Bell Media stations across the country, regardless of region, format or language.

Occasionally, every handful of skips or so, there’s a 15 or 30-second unskippable video ad. There are also small banner ads that appear in the app.

The app looks nice. Many stations provide titles of songs currently playing, and the app loads album art where it has that information. The name of the current show is also displayed.

But there’s a lot missing. There’s no access to podcasts or on-demand content, no list of recently played songs, no schedule, and no links to Twitter and Facebook feeds.

And there are still quite a few bugs. Some stations don’t load. That “local stations” list isn’t perfect — TSN Radio 690 isn’t listed for people in Montreal, even though it’s available in the app. And sometimes the app just quits for no reason.

And all this to use an app that’s based on skipping between stations but doesn’t include any stations not owned by Bell Media.

Just use TuneIn

Most of Canada’s other major radio broadcasters, including Rogers, Corus, Cogeco, Newcap, Pattison and RNC Media, have signed on to the UK-based RadioPlayer app. By working together, these companies will make it easier for Canadians to access radio streams and skip between them. But without Bell Media on board (or CBC, or non-profit broadcasters, or some smaller players like Evanov), it too will be incomplete.

The RadioPlayer app isn’t available yet. The announcement was made just to get ahead of iHeartRadio. They haven’t even set a launch date yet.

Which brings me to TuneIn.

The 15-year-old radio streaming website and app is the gold standard for this sort of thing. The “Local Radio” page lists 43 stations in and around Montreal, including stations from Bell Media, its competitors, campus radio stations, CBC, community stations, and cross-border stations. It also includes some online-only local stations. (The list isn’t perfect, and includes some far-away stations, but it’s much more comprehensive than any other.)

It also classifies stations by genre, lets you favourite stations, and uses schedule information to tell you what show you’re listening to.

Because it’s not run in partnership with the stations, there’s no current song information, nor a list of recently played songs or contact information.

But if your goal is an app that lets you stream your favourite radio stations in one app, then this is what you want.

If you want an app that lets you skip between radio stations from towns you didn’t know existed, and ensures that you never hear a radio station that isn’t owned by Bell Media, then by all means iHeartRadio is the app for you.

Other coverage

Natasha Hall, Jon Pole take over as evening hosts on CJAD

Two and a half months after Natasha Hall left 92.5 The Beat with a mysterious new gig lined up that she couldn’t talk about, we finally know what it is: She’s taking over, along with Jon Pole, as the hosts of the weeknight talk show on CJAD, which replaces The Exchange as of next week.

The Exchange’s current hosts, Dave Kaufman and Dan Delmar, are both leaving that job. Kaufman is moving to London to be with his girlfriend and Delmar is taking a step back to focus on his PR business.

The new show is called The Night Side, and begins Monday at 8pm, CJAD announced. Pole hosts Mondays and Tuesdays and Hall hosts the rest of the week.

Pole, who founded My Broadcasting Corporation and has experience as a radio host mainly in Ontario, filled in a couple of times on The Exchange. You can hear one of his shows here:


Rogers will shut down L’actualité if a buyer isn’t found by December

Rogers Media Unveils New Magazine Content Strategy” reads the press release, in typical vague fashion. The upshot is that Rogers is making severe cuts to its magazine portfolio, moving some online-only, reducing publication frequencies of others (including Maclean’s), and selling off the rest.

Except Hello! Canada, the celeb gossip mag. Nothing’s changing there.


Going out of print (but keeping websites “with new content posted daily”):

  • Flare (was 12 issues a year)
  • Sportsnet Magazine (was 15 issues a year)
  • MoneySense (was 8 issues a year)
  • Canadian Business (was 16 issues a year)

Reducing frequency:

  • Maclean’s (from weekly to monthly)
  • Chatelaine (from monthly to 6x a year)
  • Today’s Parent (from monthly to 6x a year)

For sale:

  • All business-to-business publications (including Canadian Grocer and Marketing)
  • L’actualité (18 issues a year)
  • Châtelaine (French, 12 issues a year)
  • LOULOU (French and English, 8 issues a year each)

The changes take effect in January. The notice to subscribers says the French magazines will “cease publication” in December, which means if a buyer isn’t found by then, they’re going to shut down.

The fact that Rogers is openly putting these magazines up for sale suggests that obvious potential buyers are not interested (i.e. TVA Publications). But maybe there’s some deep-pocketed person who would be willing to give L’actualité a second chance.

This news comes the same week Rogers announced the shutdown of shomi, its subscription video-on-demand service. You have to wonder what’s next, and in particular what this might mean for Texture, its bulk magazine subscription app. (Rogers tells the Financial Post that Texture makes a profit.)

No word on how many jobs will be lost as a result of these changes. How many magazines are sold versus shut down will have a big impact on that number.

And colour me pessimistic on the future of magazines that have been turned into digital-only publications. Just about every print publication that has gone online-only in the past has eventually been shut down all together.

Further reading

Media News Digest: JdeM searched, Shomi a lame duck, Marois blames CJAD

At the CRTC

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  • 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.

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MAtv launches fall season with new show on indigenous culture

Lachlan Madill, host of Urban Nations on MAtv

Lachlan Madill, host of Urban Nations on MAtv

It was more than a year and a half ago that the CRTC found Videotron’s MAtv community channel in Montreal was not meeting its mandate because of a lack of representation from various communities, including notably the indigenous community. The company promised to do better, and went out looking for a show that would be devoted to telling local stories about indigenous people. It wasn’t an easy task, but they got lucky when Lachlan Madill proposed a show.

Madill moved with his wife to Montreal from Saskatchewan, where he worked for seven years for CBC and then doing communications for the North American Indigenous Games in Regina.

In an interview last week, he told me that he approached MAtv about a year ago after hearing that they were looking for a show about the indigenous community, and after meetings, brainstorming and pre-production, the show finally began filming in May.

It’s called Urban Nations, and it debuts on Tuesday at 6:30pm (though the first airing is actually 10:30am). It’s 10 half-hour episodes featuring 10 people from 10 different nations.

“They all have different backgrounds and different ways of preserving and promoting their culture,” Madill said. “There’s also underlying themes we’re trying to get at as opposed to hard news stories. We’re trying to educate people about these big issues without hitting them over the head.”

Identity, he said, is a big theme. Language, history, culture. He wants to build awareness of these things, because us non-indigenous people aren’t very exposed to it.


“If you look at the city flag, there’s no acknowledgment of first peoples,” he notes. (The symbols represent four European nations that settled in the city — French, English, Scottish and Irish.)

Madill said one thing that struck him moving from Saskatchewan to Montreal (his wife is from here) was how much less visible the indigenous community is around here.

“There’s way more awareness, it’s a different demographic out there,” he said. “Here, people don’t seem to know much. People don’t really have that contact that they do out west.”

The reason is mainly statistical. There are about as many indigenous people in Montreal as in Regina, in a city more than five times as large.

That’s actually not quite right, but the demographics really do tell a story. In Regina, indigenous people represent by far the largest non-white ethnic group, at 8.7% of the population. In Montreal, it’s 2.5%, and well down the list past southeast Asian, Arab and Caribbean origins.


But don’t expect this show to be some sort of talking-down lecture. Instead, its goal is to offer a new perspective on the lives of local indigenous people that goes beyond what you see in the news.

“There’s been a lot of focus in negativity, and we want to … not brush it a way, but show the positive too,” Madill said. “They’re all positive stories that are about hope and looking to the future while preserving their identity.”

Each episode features some information about the subject’s community and where that person is from.

Madill noted that even the MAtv production crew he worked with to film the series seemed to come out of the experience enlightened. “The crew that we worked with knew nothing,” he said. “You’d see after they’re all excited. They had lots of questions, they were really engaged.”

He also had nothing but kind words for MAtv itself, which he said gave him creative freedom and assistance.

Talking to him, Madill seems like an optimistic person, in general but also about the future of indigenous peoples in Canada. “I think you have to be (optimistic),” he said. “It can’t get worse.

“We’re becoming more assertive, I think. I think more people are aware of the issues, I know the issues are not going to be solved any time soon, but the more we’re aware of it things can change. There’s 100 times more positive stories. I think we’re moving ahead as a people and getting a stronger voice.”

No word yet on whether Urban Nations will go beyond 10 episodes. Madill certainly isn’t lacking for stories, but “I’m not really thinking about the future,” he said. “I’d like to see more, but I’m kind of focused on now and making sure we do a good job.

“I want people to enjoy it, I want people to learn something from it. I think that’s the most important thing.”

For the full broadcast schedule of Urban Nations, visit its website.

Host shuffle in English shows

Urban Nations is the only new English-language show on MAtv this fall. But other changes are happening to other shows. The biggest is a shuffling of on-air talent:

  • Kim Sullivan takes over as host of Montreal Billboard, a show about community organizations and Montrealers making a difference
  • Richard Dagenais moves from Montreal Billboard to City Life, the weekly current affairs show
  • Tina Tenneriello moves behind the scenes, producing both shows, though she’ll also be contributing regularly to Montreal Billboard on the air

Meanwhile, The Street Speaks, a soapbox man-on-the-street interview show hosted by Paul Shore, comes back with new episodes.

MAtv’s press release about the new season is here.