Category Archives: Media

Media News Digest: Pottergate, more awards, Bernie St-Laurent is back, RIP Denis McGrath

(Late this week because I survived the Great Steve Faguy Man Cold of 2017)

News about news

There was a Class A shitstorm in Quebec media this week about a piece by Andrew Potter (former Ottawa Citizen editor and current McGill professor) tying the clustertruck on Highway 13 during last week’s snowstorm to some greater social malaise in Quebec. It includes statistics suggesting Quebecers are more socially distant than the rest of Canada, but also had some head-scratching generalizations about restaurants offering two bills and bank machines dispensing $50 bills.

Reaction was swift, with columnists (almost all from francophone Quebec-based media) piling on to condemn it: Jérémie Bédard-Wien, Denise BombardierBernard DrainvilleSophie Durocher, Sophie Durocher againJoseph Facal, Patrick LagacéJosée Legault, Mylène MoisanMichèle OuimetNathalie Petrowski and Lise Ravary.

Le Soleil even did a fact-check, as did La Presse’s science blog, both finding that Potter’s statistics about Quebec society were accurate, though his conclusion of a “pathological” problem was exaggerated (they say nothing about the anecdotal stuff like restaurant bills).

Potter finally apologized and distanced himself from his own story (earning at least some praise for that rare move). That wasn’t enough, though. McGill, after publicly throwing him under the bus, “accepted his resignation” from his job as head of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (a Maclean’s story says the resignation was not voluntary, citing anonymous sources who also say “numerous high-profile figures have contacted McGill since Monday to express their personal displeasure with the column”, which prompted figures as high as the prime minister’s office to deny involvement). McGill says academic freedom is not at stake, which convinced precisely no one.

The response prompted another wave of hot takes, this time mainly from anglo media (Frédéric BérardAnn BrocklehurstMichael Byers, Colby CoshAndrew Coyne, Michael FriscolantiAllison Hanes, Trevor Hanna, Michael HarrisJoseph HeathChantal Hébert, Jonathan KayJosée Legault againPeter LoewenEmmett Macfarlane, Don Macpherson, Candice Malcolm, Aaron RandChris Selley, Michel Seymour, Daniel WeinstockIra WellsMargaret Wente, Suzanne WexlerPeter WheelandBarry Wilson, a discussion on CBC’s The Current and editorials from the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Winnipeg Free Press). The hot takes get even hotter, comparing this scandal to everything from a corrupt third-world government to the Rwandan genocide. And there was this awful episode of Canadaland rightfully blasted by its own supporters on Facebook.

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Lori Graham on the CTV float

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Media News Digest: RTDNA Canada regional nominees, Canucks change radio station, more layoffs at Postmedia

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Newcap has asked the CRTC to drop its 15% special-interest music requirement for CHLG-FM 104.3 in Vancouver (one of the stations Bell got rid of after it bought Astral). It says the station lost $10 million in seven years.
  • CBC has applied to replace low-power AM transmitters with low-power FM transmitters in Lebel-sur-Quévillon and Senneterre.

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Tributes flood in to former CHOM/CKOI announcer Denis Grondin

Denis Grondin, a former announcer at CHOM, CKOI and 98,5fm (or, as some media described him, he’s the father of actor Marc-André Grondin), died suddenly of an apparent heart attack the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. He was 66.

So sudden was his death that it came mere hours after he recorded his weekly show Samedi soir sur la terre for Radio Ville-Marie. The show aired Saturday night as planned, complete with the promise to return next week. You can listen to the final show here: Hour 1, Hour 2.

There weren’t much in the way of formal obituaries in the media, but the French-language news outlets generally offered briefs with tributes that were made on social media:

I’ll do the same below. I’ll also link to this interview in Urbania from last year, where Grondin looks with a critical eye at the state of the industry today.

On Friday, Grondin’s family responded with this:

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Montreal radio ratings: Another win for The Beat

Numeris, the company that measures radio and TV ratings, came out with their quarterly report this week, and once again it was Cogeco’s 92.5 The Beat that had the most good news to announce on the anglo side.

Among anglophone listeners, CKBE-FM had a 17.2% audience share, second only to CJAD’s 28.2% among all listeners. Virgin Radio was well back at 13.5%.

The shares were mostly stable among the anglophone audience, but the exception was Virgin, which was down for the second straight quarter and by almost three points compared to the same time last year. (I’ll compare year-over-year because two years ago when The Beat had a surge in the winter book Virgin claimed it was because of Christmas music that aired on The Beat during the holidays.)

CHOM recovered a bit after hitting a new low in the last quarter. It’s still fourth among anglophone stations, but it regained its position as first among men 25-54.

Despite this being a good report, The Beat couldn’t resist getting cute with spin, saying it’s the “number one radio station”, which only works if you (a) exclude the francophone market and (b) exclude people outside the 25-54 demographic. It also called its morning show the “fastest growing” one in the market with new hosts Vinny and Nikki. Which is kind of like saying your kid is “most improved.” The Beat’s morning show has been historically weak while its daytime has been strong.

Bell’s press release stressed its combined market share (which is, of course, because it owns most of the stations). CJAD still has the highest share by far, and 8 of the 10 most listened-to shows among anglophones. TSN 690 is stable at a 4% share, and CBC Radio One climbed more than one and a half points, its total audience up about 25% among anglophones.

Here are the top-line numbers (average minute audience and listening share) among anglophone listeners:

Station Average minute audience Share Daily reach
CJAD 800 16,600 28.2% 191,400
The Beat 92.5 10,100 17.2% 216,100
Virgin Radio 96 7,900 13.5% 196,200
CHOM 97.7 6,400 11.0% 135,000
CBC Radio One 88.5 4,700 8.1% 51,200
TSN Radio 690 2,400 4.0% 65,100
Rythme FM 105,7 1,200 2.1% 50,700
Radio Classique 1,100 1.9% 26,000
CBC Radio Two 93.5 900 1.6% 21,800
98.5fm 800 1.4% 26,600
Rouge FM 107,3 700 1.1% 29,100
Énergie 94,3 700 1.2% 22,400
CKOI 96,9 500 0.9% 33,600
ICI Radio-Canada Première 95,1 400 0.6% 10,400
ICI Musique 100,7 200 0.3% 5,500
AM 980 100 0.2% 2,500
Radio circulation 730 100 0.1% 5,600
91.9 Sports 100 0.1% 4,900
CIBL 101,5 0 0.0% 900

Among Montreal francophone listeners:

Station Average minute audience Share Daily reach
98.5fm 36,500 21.0% 584,000
Rythme FM 105,7 28,400 16.3% 620,200
ICI Radio-Canada Première 95,1 23,400 13.4% 309,900
Rouge FM 107,3 14,600 8.4% 389,900
CKOI 96,9 14,200 8.2% 436,200
Énergie 94,3 10,300 5.9% 348,100
Virgin Radio 96 9,400 5.4% 350,400
The Beat 92.5 8,000 4.6% 336,100
CHOM 97.7 7,400 4.2% 255,800
ICI Musique 100,7 4,300 2.5% 107,100
91.9 Sports 3,700 2.1% 68,100
Radio Classique 3,600 2.1% 91,800
CJAD 800 2,100 1.2% 40,800
AM 980 1,300 0.7% 18,200
CBC Radio One 88.5 1,000 0.6% 23,800
CBC Radio Two 93.5 700 0.4% 32,700
Radio circulation 730 400 0.2% 36,200
CIBL 101,5 200 0.1% 14,600
TSN Radio 690 100 0.1% 5,300

Combined:

Station Average minute audience Daily reach
98.5fm 37,300 610,600
Rythme FM 105,7 29,600 670,900
ICI Radio-Canada Première 95,1 23,800 320,300
CJAD 800 18,700 232,200
The Beat 92.5 18,100 552,200
Virgin Radio 96 17,300 546,600
Rouge FM 107,3 15,300 419,000
CKOI 96,9 14,700 469,800
CHOM 97.7 13,800 390,800
Énergie 94,3 11,000 370,500
CBC Radio One 88.5 5,700 75,000
Radio Classique 4,700 117,800
ICI Musique 100,7 4,500 112,600
91.9 Sports 3,800 73,000
TSN Radio 690 2,500 70,400
CBC Radio Two 93.5 1,600 54,500
AM 980 1,400 20,700
Radio circulation 730 500 41,800
CIBL 101,5 200 15,500

Victory for 98,5fm, Radio-Canada and 91,9 Sports, loss for Rythme and Rouge

On the franco side, unsurprisingly it was another win for 98,5fm, which once again declared itself the most listened-to radio station in all of Canada. Though its average minute audience of 37,300 (in its central market) is beat by Toronto’s CHFI-FM with 42,400.

Bell Media’s press release couldn’t dig up much to say about Rouge FM, so it led with Énergie instead, noting its improvement. Rouge FM dropped 2.5 percentage points in market share from a year ago.

Not that Rythme FM was much better. Though it’s still ahead of Rouge FM in the ratings, its share dropped to 16.3% from a high of 20.5% in the summer.

Great news for Radio-Canada’s Première station, which after hitting a low of 6.6% this summer has hit a high of 13.4%, putting it third in the market. Radio-Canada’s press release notes that morning show Gravel le matin is second in the market, behind 98,5fm’s Paul Arcand.

There were some winners on the low end of the ratings board as well.

RNC Media’s 91.9 Sports, which went through a series of format changes — from jazz to right-wing talk to news talk and finally to sports — in an attempt to find an audience, seems to be happy with the sports talk format. It had a 2.1% share, which is 50% higher than the last ratings book, and an average-minute audience of 3,700 which just slightly edges Radio Classique. The boost was enough to warrant an article in the Journal de Montréal.

Good news as well for CHRF AM 980, which more than doubled its share to 0.7%. Still dead last among music stations, but it’s an improvement.

Community station CIBL, which started reporting for the first time last quarter, is still the lowest-rated station overall, with an average of 200 listeners in French and an English number within the margin of error of zero. The station looks like it’s going to stay here for the time being. Its new manager explained during a recent general assembly that they discovered Numeris offers lower prices for community stations.

Other reporting

  • InfoPresse (25-54 numbers)
  • La Presse (highlights of francophone stations, plus top 10 shows)

Media News Digest: Another extension on CRTC jobs, Canadian Screen Awards for non-fiction, Kelly Greig hired by CTV

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At the CRTC

  • The four open CRTC commissioner positions, including chairperson, were supposed to have application deadlines on Monday, but they’ve been extended, again, until March 15.
  • The commission has split the difference in resolving a carriage dispute between Bell TV and MusiquePlus/Musimax. MP/MM complained because Bell was taking the channels out of the first-tier “Good” package in Quebec and leaving them only in the highest-tier “Best” package. And for older subscribers still on theme packs, it would be removed from popular packages there too. The commission rejected Bell’s argument that a channel is considered available in a package even if to take that package a user has to switch packaging systems (and ditch their grandfathered rights). But for the three-tier system, is only requires that Musimax (now just Max) be in the middle-tier “Better” package, and Bell can go ahead and limit MusiquePlus to just the “Best” package.
  • CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais wrote a letter in which he bizarrely says there’s no proof that a 40% drop in viewership of the Super Bowl in English Canada is because Canadians watched it on Fox. I get that you can’t know exactly how much of that drop is due to the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution decision, but to say there’s no direct link between the two is ludicrous.

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NHL trade deadline coverage: TSN still edges Sportsnet on breaking news

The National Hockey League trade deadline. That magical moment when NHL fans stay glued to their TV screens with the hope that their team’s general manager will pull off the deal of the century that will get their team to the Stanley Cup.

For TSN, it’s an annual event, filled with analysts, insiders constantly on their phones, and gimmicks to fill time. For Sportsnet, which only really started treating this like TSN does after it got the NHL national rights, it’s a chance to compete with the traditional leader at this game. Both networks began their coverage at 8am, going through past the 3pm deadline.

I recorded both networks from 8am to 5pm so I could compare their coverage. It’s one of the few events you can do that, because unlike game broadcasts or events like the NHL draft, there are no exclusive rights here. The two had a lot of similarities — multiple desks of analysts inside a big studio, an insider guru (Bob McKenzie vs. Elliotte Friedman), on-screen graphics listing recent trades and players who could be up for grabs, and reporters in all seven Canadian NHL markets following their teams’ actions and getting comment from their general managers. They also had several differences. TSN tried to be funny, even getting actors Jay Baruchel and Jared Keeso to do sketches for them. Sportsnet had some fun but it was mostly talking heads.

But, really, who cares about that stuff? I wanted to compare them based on the thing that really mattered: Who breaks the news first.

I compared when the two networks announced trades during their broadcasts to see which one came out first. I also compared when they interviewed players who had just been traded. (There were other journalistic scoops, such as confirming that a player wouldn’t be traded, or a team was done trading, but I left those out of this assessment.)

Here’s how it went. All times are Eastern, and are based on my PVR. There’s an inherent imprecision when it comes to digital television, so the times could be off by 30 seconds or so. For the purposes of determining a winner, I’ve considered any announcement within 30 seconds apart on the two networks as a tie. (Only what’s broadcast on TV counts here. I’ve ignored Twitter, app or other non-TV alerts.)

Player trades

Player Teams TSN time Sportsnet time Winner
Thomas Vanek DET to FLA 11:54:30 11:47:54 Sportsnet
Joseph Cramarossa (claimed off waivers) VAN to ANA 12:07:25 12:08:07 TSN
Dwight King LAK to MTL 12:21:16 12:20:38 Sportsnet
Jarome Iginla COL to LAK 13:09:56 13:00:35 Sportsnet
Kyle Quincey NJ to CBJ 14:07:16 14:09:07 TSN
Andreas Martinsen/ Sven Andrighetto COL-MTL 14:07:56 14:07:46 Tie
Mark Streit PHI to TB 14:28:43 14:30:17 TSN
Valtteri Filppula (as part of Streit deal) TB to PHI 14:35:18 14:35:44 Tie
P.A. Parenteau NJ to NSH 14:51:57 14:51:31 Tie
Curtis Lazar OTT to CGY 14:53:16 14:56:10 TSN
Eric Fehr PIT to TOR 15:10:00 15:12:47 TSN
Frank Corrado and Steve Oleksy (as part of Fehr deal) TOR-PIT 15:21:29 15:29:02 TSN
Mark Streit TB to PIT 15:21:40 15:18:52 Sportsnet
Drew Stafford WPG to BOS 15:30:03 15:31:34 TSN
Lauri Korpikoski/ Dillon Heatherington CBJ-DAL 15:32:13 15:31:52 Tie

Most of these were very close to each other, and the difference is often as simple as how fast you can get the panel to stop talking so it can be announced on air. Sportsnet got a clear win on the Vanek trade, and TSN was first by quite a bit to peg that Frank Corrado was being returned as part of the Eric Fehr deal. For Iginla, TSN was first with the rumour of his trade to L.A., but Sportsnet was the first to confirm it (or at least be confident enough to go with it — some of these trades were hard to judge because they were reported with varying degrees of confidence.)

The other announcements were all within a couple of minutes of each other.

But by my judging criteria, TSN wins seven, Sportsnet wins four, and four are ties.

Player interviews

After a trade breaks, there’s a rush to get the players involved on the phone to discuss what happened. Here’s how that broke down.

Player TSN time Sportsnet time Winner
Thomas Vanek 12:08 12:18 TSN
Dwight King 12:24 None TSN
Jarome Iginla 13:20 14:07 TSN
Kyle Quincey 14:21 None TSN
Curtis Lazar 14:56 15:14 TSN

No real contest here. All three players who spoke to Sportsnet did so after talking to TSN. (There were also interviews with players who had been traded before 8am on trade deadline day, but those were not breaking trades so I did not include them here.)

Both networks carried GM press conferences from Canadian teams and did good jobs of analysis. Though TSN still takes the edge here, Sportsnet has made up a lot of ground in terms of what really counts — breaking news.

Maybe by the time their 12-year NHL deal is done, they’ll be the ones blanketing their late-February broadcasts with promo ads about this news-reporting event (which didn’t report a single thing for almost four hours).

Media News Digest: HBO Canada free previews, Jay and Dan among many with new jobs

At the CRTC

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  • Radioplayer Canada launched today. The app, similar to Bell’s iHeartRadio app, has almost every station that isn’t owned by Bell, including all Corus, Rogers and Cogeco radio stations. In Montreal, that includes Cogeco’s The Beat 92.5, 98.5fm, CKOI, Rythme FM and Radio Circulation, plus RNC Media’s 91,9 Sports. So far, at least, it looks like the player doesn’t have preroll ads, and it’s focused less on randomly switching between stations than iHeart. Already found a few bugs related to the location-based station search (it either doesn’t work, or it shows Saskatoon stations for Montreal, and it doesn’t show CBC stations), and neither the Google Play store nor the App Store list this app first when searching for “radioplayer”, which could lead to a lot of people downloading the wrong app.
  • Quebec City’s BLVD 102,1, which has become the home of André Arthur and Nathalie Normandeau, has added Journal de Montréal columnist Sophie Durocher to its lineup, which means it’s now a talk radio station during the morning, day and afternoon weekdays. Between this station, Énergie (Stéphan Dupont, Stéphane Gendron, Jérôme Landry), FM93 (Doc Mailloux, Éric Duhaime) and the original CHOI Radio X (Dominic Maurais, Richard Martineau, Jeff Fillion) it’s a lot of opinionative talk during the day on the radio in that town.
  • CKZU, a shortwave retransmitter of CBC Radio One in Vancouver, is being shut down by the public broadcaster, which argues it can’t justify buying a new transmitter considering the few people who listen on shortwave.

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N.D.G. Free Press newspaper shuts down

The Free Press newspaper, which launched as the N.D.G. Free Press in 2009 and later expanded to include neighbouring west-end communities, has published its final issue, its editor told Mike Cohen and the Montreal Gazette.

Its sister paper, the Westmount Independent, will continue to publish, David Price says.

As a free paper, distributed mainly through the mail, the twice-monthly Free Press required advertising revenue to survive, but despite a recent plea to readers, the paper couldn’t find enough advertisers to become profitable.

The Free Press wasn’t the kind of news machine that you’d find at the Montreal Gazette or CBC or La Presse, but it was independent, and it tried to fill the hole left after Transcontinental shut down what was left of the old N.D.G. Monitor. There’s still The Suburban, which has a west-end edition, and of course the daily Gazette, but residents of that part of town will be less connected to what happens in their community.

City councillor Marvin Rotrand tweeted something offering hope something could be done to save the paper, but that seems too little, too late at this point.

Media News Digest: PKP’s back at Quebecor, TVO backtracks on TV transmitter shutdown, RIP Stuart McLean

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At the CRTC

  • The federal government has extended until March 6 the deadline to apply for four CRTC commissioner positions, including chairman.
  • RIDE TV, a specialty channel all about horses, has been approved for distribution in Canada. Telus applied for the authorization.
  • The commission has formally revoked the licence of CJBN-TV Kenora, Ont., after Shaw decided not to renew the tiny-market station’s licence. The station, which wasn’t part of the Global TV network, shut down on Jan. 27. Its local programming continues on the local Shaw community TV channel.
  • Radio station CKRW (The Rush) in Whitehorse has applied to the CRTC to temporarily switch its main transmitter from a 50-year-old 1,000-watt AM transmitter to its FM retransmitter, after getting an engineering report that the AM antenna has degraded to the point where it is no longer safe. The temporary switch will be followed by another application to do the same thing on a permanent basis. CKRW also has seven other transmitters in Yukon and one in the Northwest Territories.
  • Former CRTC Quebec commissioner Suzanne Lamarre has joined law firm Therrien Couture, where she will work at its St-Hyacinthe office.

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Media News Digest: Fake news to promote a movie, MLS games on CTV, Véro.tv launches

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The Rebel’s reporting on the Quebec mosque shooting, annotated

The Rebel, the website started by former Sun News personality Ezra Levant after the all-news network was shut down, likes to ask a lot of questions.

It’s good to ask questions. Journalism is about questions. Unfortunately too many of The Rebel’s questions are directed at its audience, rather than the people who would actually know the answers to its questions. The result is that the audience is left to guess at answers, and that doesn’t always lead to the truth.

Within hours of the Quebec City mosque shooting that left six Muslim men dead and more than a dozen injured, The Rebel had registered the domain quebecterror.com (Levant loves to register domain names) and was asking questions. Many of them were directed at the so-called mainstream media.

Since I happen to work for a daily newspaper, the most mainstream of mainstream media, perhaps I can offer some insight. So here is The Rebel’s reporting on the “Quebec terror” attack, annotated with notes from myself.

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Elliott Price to host morning show on The Fan 590 in Toronto

Elliott Price

Well, now we know the real reason why Elliott Price canned his daily show on CFMB 1280: He’s moving to Toronto.

Sportsnet announced today that Price takes over as morning co-host at 590 The Fan starting Feb. 27, along with Greg Brady and Hugh Burrill. Their show will be called Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup with Brady & Price, weekdays from 5:30-9am.

I spoke with Price for a story in the Montreal Gazette that appears in Thursday’s paper.

The new show replaces Dean Blundell & Co., which was terminated effective immediately. Blundell said it was a mutual decision.

In Twitter posts (his account is now protected), Blundell gave thanks to Sportsnet:

Thanks to all at Rogers and Sportsnet. Owe a great deal of gratitude. Mutual and in both our best interest to not renew….Everyone at the Fan was super kind to me. Sports deserves people that live it and breathe it. I can’t wait to swim with both arms….and look forward to what’s next.

Because Blundell was such a controversial figure in the biggest market in the country, there’s a lot of coverage of this story from that angle in Toronto: Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Toronto Sports Media, Barrett Sports Media and The Canadian Press, each with different details and quotes.

Price developed a relationship with Sportsnet, and in particular 590 The Fan program director Dave Cadeau, with his CFMB show, even rebranding it as Sportsnet Tonight.

This change will mean leaving the market he’s worked in for decades, but entering the largest one in the country, and in a prestigious position on top of that. Toronto has both a Sportsnet and TSN radio station, with the Sportsnet station having a 4% overall market share and the TSN station a 0.5% share. But following the popular (though controversial) Blundell won’t be easy.

Price also hasn’t forgotten his former co-host, and sent a public note to his former home suggesting they hire him:

“This is good”

I spoke with Price on Wednesday. He confirmed the obvious, that he knew of his new job when he ended the CFMB show. “They made it clear that they were interested in my services for a couple of months,” he said. “They phoned and said we’re interested in bringing you down here.”

I asked him how long it took for him to say yes.

“Shorter than it took to answer this question,” he said.

Price has spent almost all his broadcasting career in Montreal, at CJAD, CFCF/CIQC, and CKGM (Team 990/TSN 690). Before that he spent three years in New Brunswick and three days in Regina. (“I was out covering a press conference and CJAD called me,” he said of the decision to leave that job so quickly.)

But moving to Toronto wasn’t a difficult decision. “The day the Expos left we were ready to go anywhere and we’ve been in that mood for 12 years,” he said.

Not only is the new job a big step up from CFMB and even a step up from his old one at CKGM — it’s in Canada’s largest sports market, and at a higher-rated sports station — but it gives him a chance to talk less about hockey.

“I’m a baseball fan. I love to talk baseball. I’m glad I get to talk about baseball again. (Montreal is) a one-horse town. There’s the Alouettes and Impact, but people want to hear you talk Habs. I have more interests. I love baseball, I love basketball.”

In Toronto, the Leafs are king, but there are also the Blue Jays and the Raptors.

“There’s no better job (in Montreal) than where I’m going. It would have been easier to just stay in my hometown, but this is good.”

So he’s looking for a place to stay in Toronto. Or, well, his family is looking. “I’m not the boss,” he said. “The boss is scouting.”

What about leaving Montreal? Having to talk about the Leafs instead of the Habs? No problem for Price, since he’s kind of indifferent about either team.

“The Canadiens and the Leafs there’s no difference for me,” he said. “When things go bad, I like to see them go really bad. When they’re good I like to see them go good.”

But he hates the Bruins. And that won’t change in Toronto.

Even talking about the Jays gets him to talk about baseball. The Expos don’t exist anymore, so that rivalry isn’t an issue.

And if the Expos came back?

“We’ll worry about that when the time comes,” he said. “The Expos have been gone for 12 years now, that’s a long time.”

So what will he miss about Montreal?

“Smoked meat and bagels,” he said. He definitely won’t be the first Montreal ex-pat in Toronto who misses Schwartz’s and St-Viateur Bagel.

I also asked him about what he posted to Facebook when he ended the CFMB show, about the English radio market in Montreal and lack of advertisers.

“The problem with the market here is the dwindling language demographic,” he said. He asked me how big Montreal’s English-language market is, and I said it was about the size of Winnipeg. He didn’t really believe it. (Numeris, the company that measures radio ratings, gives Greater Montreal’s anglo market a size of 805,000, and WInnipeg 705,460 in its latest reports.)

But while he said he thought his show was viable, mainly because he didn’t have to worry about covering a lot of overhead in his show’s budget, he put a lot of the blame on himself.

“I did everything, but I’m not a salesman, and I really didn’t do a good job. I did well because I built up a cachet in this town,” he said, noting that a lot of advertisers came to him after he left TSN 690. “I didn’t get out there and sell, and I need to and I didn’t.”

Price is the second former Montreal radio personality to get a job in Toronto this month. Sarah Bartok announced last week she’s joining 93.5 The Move.

UPDATE (Feb. 9): Brady has a long, honest Facebook post today talking about his career, what it’s like to have gotten pushed aside for Blundell, and his new team including Price.

Media News Digest: Ottawa won’t help journalists, layoffs at Maclean’s, Postmedia CEO interviewed

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At the CRTC

  • The broadcasting side is pretty quiet while the commission focuses on the review of its Wireless Code this week.
  • The commission has approved a new FM transmitter for ICI Radio-Canada Première in Sarnia, Ont.
  • The commission has approved the transfer of ownership of Serdy Média (owner of the Évasion and Zeste specialty channels) from Serge Arsenault to his son Sébastien Arsenault.
  • Community radio station CHGA-FM Maniwaki has applied to increase its power as the antenna tower undergoes major maintenance. The new signal would be 16.9kW, up from 2.877kW. It says the increase is necessary to compensate for hilly terrain in the area.

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Analysis: Comparing Super Bowl ads on CTV and FOX

Well, it’s over. After weeks of arguing over whether letting Canadians watch U.S. Super Bowl ads was something we want as a society (often using dubious arguments on either side), Sunday saw the actual broadcast of the first Super Bowl in decades that wasn’t substituted on Canadian television.

The result was predictable. While the U.S. broadcast saw a slight decline in viewership and RDS saw a slight increase (to a new record), CTV saw its audience decline 39% from last year to 4.47 million. Since Nielsen doesn’t track Canadians, and nobody is compiling Fox numbers with Canada’s Numeris, we don’t know exactly how many were watching the U.S. feed, but 40% sounds about as predicted. (Another survey put the number around 33%)

CTV tried to think big to keep viewers on its broadcast, throwing $300,000 in prize money at the problem. That might have worked (it got more than a million entries), but the contest caused problems for many users early on who got errant notifications that their texts were rejected because they didn’t come in time. Bell tells the Globe and Mail it was a glitch, that the entries were valid, and that it was fixed by the second quarter.

But as much as Watch to Win hosts Kate Beirness and Tessa Bonhomme did their best through at least 10 live commercial breaks (most of which were 30 seconds long), their constant presence — taking up almost six minutes of the three-hour game — probably turned some people off.

The bigger problem remains, though: People want to watch the commercials. And Canada’s Super Bowl commercials just don’t have anywhere near the same impact as the U.S. ones, most of which didn’t air on CTV.

To give you an idea of the difference, I recorded the Super Bowl on both channels on Sunday, and listed every advertisement during the actual game below. Where available, I’ve embedded YouTube videos of the ads (many advertisers put longer versions on YouTube than what was seen on TV, I’ve noted that below where it happens).

Note that these numbers are based on the CTV station being CFCF Montreal, with some local ads, and the Fox station being WFFF Burlington, also with some local Vermont ads. The substitution times are based on Videotron’s substitution of the standard-definition digital channel. (Since substitution is done by the TV provider, there could be some variance across providers.)

Not including movie trailers, there were only four or five (depending on your definition) of the classic type of “big game” ads that appeared on both CTV and Fox — big budget, new, and either funny or inspiring. Most of the most talked-about ones never made it to Canadian television.

Those ads that did air only in Canada were mostly the same type of hard-sell car ads, bank ads and network promos we’ve seen hundreds of times before. There were a few ads that came close — A Peoples jewellery ad, a 60-second ad from Wealthsimple, one from National Car Rental, and a cute Coca-Cola ad that would have had more of an impact had it not been almost a year old. But between mostly reheated leftovers and the real deal, it’s unsurprising many Canadians went with Fox.

If CTV is going to really get people to watch the Super Bowl on Canadian TV, it needs to give them a reason to. A contest is one way, but a better one would be to have some of those same big-game ads, preferably with a Canadian twist to them. The kind of ads that get people talking afterward. Like this one that Netflix did:

Or maybe they can cut some better network promos to promote they Canadian content.

Or, alternatively, they could provide other programming during commercial breaks or part of commercial breaks that people would want to watch. Bonus coverage from the Super Bowl itself, if such a thing is possible, for example.

I know it’s not easy. But as the traditional commercial break becomes less relevant in an era of PVRs and 30-second skip buttons, Canadian broadcasters are going to have to find a way to evolve anyway. And as much as this change hurts the Canadian broadcasting industry, it’s too popular for either the CRTC or the federal government to want to overturn.

By the numbers

  • Total length of non-substituted Super Bowl, including ads: 170 minutes
  • Total time of ads: 3,580 seconds (59 minutes, 40 seconds)
  • Percentage of total length made up of ads: 35%
  • CTV (CFCF):
    • Time spent on CTV’s Watch to Win contest (including promos): 355 seconds (5 minutes, 55 seconds)
    • Time spent on network promos (CTV, TSN, Discovery, Crave TV): 420 seconds (7 minutes)
    • Time spent on local ads: 90 seconds
    • Time spent on Bell Canada ads (excluding Bell Media): 205 seconds (3 minutes, 25 seconds)
  • Fox (WFFF):
    • Time spent on network promos (Fox, Fox Sports, FX): 380 seconds (6 minutes, 20 seconds)
    • Time spent on local ads: 375 seconds (6 minutes, 15 seconds)

Note: This post is broken up into several pages because of all the YouTube embeds. Continue to Page 2

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Sarah Bartok hired by Toronto’s 93.5 The Move

Sarah Bartok is back on the air (93.5 The Move)

Those hoping that Sarah Bartok would find another on-air job after being let go from The Beat 92.5 last spring (chiefly among them Bartok herself) had their wish granted this week, though those hoping it would be in Montreal will be left disappointed.

Instead, Bartok’s new job is as a swing announcer on Toronto’s CFXJ-FM (93.5 The Move), owned by Newcap Radio. Her first shift was Saturday, and she’ll be filling in on the schedule where needed, including on the morning show Monday to Wednesday this week.

Bartok made the announcement on her Facebook page on Friday.

The Move (formerly Flow 93.5) has a pop music format similar to the station she left (not to mention the purple colour on the website). The 16-year-old station, which was owned by CHUM, sold to Bell and then offloaded to Newcap when Bell bought Astral and hit ownership limits in Toronto, has a 3.7kW signal and a 2.2% market share in the latest Numeris ratings report, which is low even in a market so saturated that not a single station has a double-digit share. But Toronto’s a much bigger market than Montreal, so she’ll still have plenty of listeners.