Category Archives: Media

CFNV 940 AM begins simulcasting programming from online radio station

Robert Arcand in the CNV studio, via one of its webstreaming cameras

Several radio watchers have noticed that they’ve been hearing live voices on CFNV 940 AM the past few days, talking between the songs and giving weather and news updates.

Though the programming is still mostly music, far from the news-talk-debate format that owner TTP Media promised the CRTC when they first applied for a licence in 2011, or even the wellness-talk format that they seemed to move to when they renewed that licence in 2018, there’s at least something. (The hosts they have are veterans of the low-budget radio scene, where wellness programs have flourished, with shows on stations like CJMS 1040, CJLV 1570.)

But the voices are not original to the station. Instead, the shows are being simulcast from Mirabel-based digital radio station CNV (it appears to be a mix of programming from its main feed and its Succès absolus second channel, but there’s also some music that’s coming from neither of those sources).

Hosts being simulcasted include Robert Arcand (weekday mornings) and Diane Lafrance (weekdays at 11am). On their shows and on social media, they’re noting the simulcast.

No word on anything yet from the English sister station CFQR 600. I’ll update this if I hear more.

Media News Digest: Public editor roundups, Brunette is Breakaway’s new host, Chesterman retires Gazette column

Okay everybody, back to work. Here’s what you missed over the holidays.

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Nat Lauzon on her ears, her job, her love of dogs and random other stuff

Nat Lauzon in The Beat’s studio

In the decade or so I’ve been writing about local media, I’ve met most of the people in local TV and radio, at least in passing. But until December, Nat Lauzon wasn’t one of those people. She has worked weekends since 2011, so that has a lot to do with it. In fact, the only photo I had of her was this one taken of her while she was on the Virgin float at the St. Patrick’s Parade in 2011.

Nat Lauzon in 2011.

Nevertheless, I’ve wanted to write about her for a bit, because of the ironic situation she faces, being a person who deals with audio for a living but is losing her hearing.

It didn’t take long to convince my newspaper that this was a good story, and the result is this article that appears in Thursday’s paper. It focuses almost exclusively on an area in Lauzon’s head that’s smaller than a grape (or, well, two grapes since there’s one on each side), but since I had the chance to sit down with her, we talked about a bunch of other stuff, too.

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Journalists of Tomorrow … or not: Safia Ahmad

Every year, I speak to winners of Concordia’s journalism school awards as they’re presented at the Montreal Gazette offices. Today, one of the 2016 winners of the Philip Fisher bursary, Safia Ahmad.

Not everyone who graduates from journalism school goes into what you would normally think of as journalism. In fact, I would guess that a majority don’t. Some decide that journalism isn’t for them and pursue something entirely different, others struggle to find jobs (not everyone from my graduating class could be a national journalist at the CBC, not that I’m jealous or anything Catherine), but a lot of people find that their skills and passion are more suited to a job that is like journalism, but not quite.

There are a lot of what I would call journalism-adjacent jobs out there. Arguably, as a copy editor, I’m in one myself. And just because you’re not hounding prime ministers with questions doesn’t mean you’re not doing something valuable in the media ecosystem.

Safia Ahmad, after being honoured with a journalism award in 2016, became a summer reporting intern at the Montreal Gazette the next year, writing many stories that I and my colleagues edited.

But she’s since decided that it’s not for her, as she lays out below. Now, the 25-year-old born-and-bred Montrealer works in communications, notably as media relations manager for Les Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, where I’ve run into her at games.

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Elias Makos to replace Leslie Roberts on CJAD 800

Elias Makos in 2013, before entering television puberty.

Elias Makos, who announced last week he was suddenly leaving Citytv’s Breakfast Television Montreal, has been hired at CJAD to host the 9am to noon show, replacing Leslie Roberts, who leaves at the end of this week.

The news was announced on CJAD’s newscast on Monday, via Bell Media press release, and with a post on CJAD’s website.

The not-very-creatively-named Elias Makos Show will feature “breaking news, debate, interviews, and discussion with listeners,” with a goal to not reinvent the wheel, Makos tells the Gazette’s Bill Brownstein.

In addition to CJAD hosting duties, Makos will be an online media analyst for CTV Montreal, returning to a role he had previously held on a freelance basis before joining BT.

Makos starts in his new roles on Dec. 31.

Update: A confidential source close to Elias Makos, whom I’ll name Malias Ekos, informs me that Mr. Makos doesn’t look like the picture above anymore. My source managed to acquire this image of Makos as he appears currently.

Elias Makos in 2018.

Journalists of Tomorrow: Josie Fomé

Every year, I speak to winners of Concordia’s journalism school awards as they’re presented at the Montreal Gazette offices. Today, the 2017 winner of the Susan Carson award, Josephine (Josie) Fomé.

Josie Fomé

I could write this long introduction about Josie Fomé and her history, but fortunately she’s already done that for a first-person photo essay on Concordia’s website.

In short, Fomé, 24, was born in Cameroon and grew up in Columbia, S.C. She studied at Dawson College and then did an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Human Relations.

“My very first job was as a cashier at my neighbourhood’s mom and pop grocery store, where I got paid waayy below minimum wage but also learned skills that still benefit me to this day,” she says. “After that, various work experiences have included camp counsellor, helpline phone operator, set up and take down of gyms at school, events assistant with Concordia’s Alumni department, receptionist, mail clerk, internship coordinator, etc. I’ve done so many temp jobs, some of my friends like to call me ‘Josie the temp.'”

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Media News Digest: Vice loses in Supreme Court, DeMelt replaces Schwartz at CTV, Makos leaves City

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Journalists of Tomorrow: Stéphane Grasso

Every year, I speak to winners of Concordia’s journalism school awards as they’re presented at the Montreal Gazette offices. Today, one of the 2016 winners of the Philip Fisher bursary, Stéphane Grasso.

Stéphane Grasso in 2016.

Stéphane Grasso is an artist. His specialty is in film production, thanks to his education at Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema that started 15 years ago.

As he explains below, he produced documentaries for non-profits like World Vision, and that work led to a desire to focus on underrepresented people, so he decided to study journalism.

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Quebec City still isn’t ready for its first English-language commercial radio station, CRTC finds

Evanov Radio’s controversial plan to launch Quebec City’s first English-language commercial radio station will have to wait some more after being denied again by the CRTC.

In a decision released Thursday, the commission said the Quebec City radio market “cannot sustain an additional radio station at this time” and that the two applications for new stations — the other by Gilles Lapointe and Nelson Sergerie is for a French station — would be returned.

Evanov had previously tried a decade ago to convince the CRTC to move forward with an English music station in the provincial capital, but the commission denied its application in 2010, in a controversial decision that included a dissenting opinion.

The application is controversial because the other stations in the market argue that Quebec City’s English-language population is far too small to sustain a commercial radio station, so Evanov would instead target the francophone population. By being an English station, it would not be subject to the 65% French-language music rule, which would give it an unfair competitive advantage by allowing it to play more American and U.K. hit songs that are very popular among francophone audiences.

Evanov, who wants to launch a Jewel brand station in Quebec City, argues it wants to serve the anglophone community as well as the anglophone tourist market (though Quebec City already has an English tourist information station), and that it has experience in running radio stations in small markets.

The 2010 decision includes a detailed analysis of the anglophone market in Quebec City. But today’s decision only analyzes the market conditions overall, without commenting specifically on the appropriateness of an English radio station in Quebec.

The current applications for Quebec City actually date from 2016, but were put on hold when the CRTC ran low on French-speaking commissioners.

Under CRTC rules, it won’t consider new applications for Quebec City for the next two years. In December 2020, they can try again.

The news was better in neighbouring communities. In Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, an application by Attraction Radio for a second music station there will go ahead. And in Portneuf, which is technically still the home of CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9), the commission will proceed with an application by Michel Lambert. Both raised concerns from the commercial broadcasters in Quebec City for fear that they might eventually target the Quebec City market. The Beauce application was also opposed by Groupe Radio Simard, which owns stations in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce.

The applications themselves haven’t yet been published, but should be soon. a public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20 (to hear an application for Leclerc Communication to buy CHOI Radio X and 91,9 Sports from RNC Media), but these items will not require any oral presentations.

How The Beat beat Virgin (and other trends of Montreal radio ratings)

Numeris released its quarterly metered radio ratings today. There aren’t a lot of surprises, because it’s mostly the same numbers as the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that.

So instead of just excitedly reposting the top-line numbers or fetching the various spins by the broadcasters that make everyone look like they had the best quarter, I thought I’d take a look at some historical data and see how the stations are trending over time.

I did this exercise for Canada’s five metered markets for Cartt.ca after the last ratings book. If you’re a subscriber you can read them there: VancouverEdmonton and Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

In this post, I’ll go into some more detail about the Montreal numbers, with charts!

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CRTC decision clears way for Kanesatake station to launch rebuild plan

CKHQ-FM Kanesatake in 2014.

There was a sigh of relief in Kanesatake on Monday that relations between the federal government and the Mohawk reserve wouldn’t be strained over a radio frequency coordination issue.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released a decision denying a licence application for a new Christian music radio station in Lachute. The application by LS Telecom proposed a 300-watt station at 101.7 MHz.

That same frequency is used by CKHQ-FM (Kanesatake United Voices Radio), a low-power (27W) community station serving the reserve about 25 kilometres away. And though the applicant’s engineers said (and the CRTC agreed) that the new station could co-exist with this existing one, because CKHQ is low-power it does not have a right to its frequency and could be forced to find a new one if a licensed station would receive interference. Because of Kanesatake’s proximity to Montreal, there aren’t other frequencies available that would be nearly as good, even for such a low-power station.

The Lachute station would also have limited CKHQ’s ability to seek an increase in power (though the CRTC says it “would not affect the ability of CKHQ-FM to serve its principal market” and “would not prevent CKHQ-FM from expanding to a regular power station”).

The Lachute application was denied, not because of concerns about CKHQ, but because of issues with the application itself. The commission seemed to think it was a bad application in general, that LS Telecom “did not provide a quality application and did not demonstrate an understanding of the regulations and policies for commercial radio and religious broadcasting.” But it particularly showed concern with the complete lack of news programming proposed, even after the CRTC reminded them that such a thing is expected of commercial FM radio stations, religious or not.

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Leslie Roberts leaving CJAD after two years

Leslie Roberts, who has been hosting the 9-to-noon show on CJAD 800 for two years, announced on Tuesday morning he will be stepping down from the job at the end of the month. His last show is Dec. 21.

Roberts told Andrew Carter he plans to do some travelling, and has accepted a position with travel website TravelToWellness.com, where he says he’s also been asked to launch a video channel, which he jokingly described as “Travel Travel 2.0” in reference to the former CFCF-12 show he contributed to back in the day.

He said his CJAD contract was expiring but he was asked to stay on a bit longer, and he is in talks with station management to continue to contribute in some capacity, perhaps as a regular panelist or analyst.

Roberts, whose father worked at CJAD, began his career in Montreal, mainly at CFCF, until he was hired first by Global Quebec then by Global Toronto, where he anchored its newscast for 14 years. Roberts resigned from the anchor chair at Global Toronto in 2015 after a Toronto Star investigation found that he owned a PR firm and his clients were appearing on his show without any disclosure.

He was brought in to CJAD in November 2016 to fill the hole left by Tommy Schnurmacher. At the same time, the station fired afternoon host Barry Morgan and upgraded Natasha Hall to his former slot.

UPDATE (Dec. 17): His replacement will be Elias Makos, hired away from Citytv’s Breakfast Television.

CRTC says no to demanding English programming from Télé-Québec

It was a nice try from the English Language Arts Network, but the CRTC didn’t bite. In renewing Télé-Québec’s broadcasting licence for a five-year term on Tuesday, the commission turned down ELAN’s request that Quebec’s public broadcaster devote 10% of its programming budget to English-language programming (proportional to the number of anglophones in the province).

The request made headlines when it was published earlier this year, and an angry motion from independent MNA Martine Ouellet.

ELAN pointed to Ontario’s creation of TFO, a francophone equivalent of TVO, as precedent for having bilingual public broadcasters. But the commission was unconvinced.

“The creation and operation of TFO in Ontario is a decision of the Government of Ontario,” the commission wrote. “Provinces have the opportunity to put in place educational television stations in both official languages for their citizens if they wish.”

Télé-Québec argued its programming was reflective of all Quebecers, including anglophone Quebecers, in the topics discussed if not the language it is discussed in.

ELAN also asked for “a policy and an action plan relating to Quebec’s diversity”, a 20% quota on programming reflecting minorities, and an advisory committee. The CRTC said the demands were “beyond the scope of this licence renewal process” and should be dealt with at a policy hearing.

Other interest groups also sought quotas or commitments from Télé-Québec. Producers wanted more spending on scripted programming, children’s programming and original French-language programming, a Quebec City group wanted a 10% quota on programming from Quebec City, and ADISQ wanted an expectation related to music.

The commission turned those down, but did add a purposely vague expectation related to regional programming: “The Commission expects the licensee to make use of independent producers from all of Quebec’s regions in such a way that producers from the regions outside the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area, as well as producers from the Montréal CMA, are proportionally contributing to the production of programs broadcast on CIVM-DT Montréal.”

It also allowed Télé-Québec to extend its target audience for youth programming to include teenagers ages 12-17.

Télé-Québec has 17 over-the-air transmitters across the province, but even though they mostly carry different callsigns, they are all formally licensed as retransmitters of the Montreal station, and the programming carried on all of them is identical.

Its new licence expires Aug. 31, 2024.

Journalists of Tomorrow: Emilee Gilpin

Every year, I speak to winners of Concordia’s journalism school awards as they’re presented at the Montreal Gazette offices. Today, the 2016 winner of the Susan Carson bursary, Emilee Gilpin.

Emilee Gilpin, shortly after receiving her award in 2016.

Emilee Gilpin’s face has been hidden inside one of my browser tabs for almost two years now, as a reminder that I should write these bloody interviews up. Concordia’s website did a brief article about the 2016 award winners, and she was one of the winners quoted.

So, one browser tab closed, 25 more to go. Anyway, how can I make this blog post more about me?

OK, fine, let’s talk about Emilee. She’s 27 (or 25 when she won the award), she’s from London, Ontario, and she has an undergrad degree in philosophy and Spanish from McMaster University. She mentions off the bat her love of travelling, including teaching English as a second language in China before doing Concordia’s journalism diploma program.

As you can see from her answers below, she’s one of those activist journalists that white guys get so riled up about, focusing particularly on Indigenous issues. Susan Carson, the Gazette journalist after whom the award she received was named, was similar in her own way, seeking out stories of injustice and shining a light on them in the hope that doing so would spark change.

Here’s what Gilpin had to say when I caught up with her by email.

Why did you decide to study journalism?

I saw a few documentaries featuring some badass investigative journalists and I saw myself in them. I have a passion for justice and a strong intolerance for injustice and I believe in doing what we can during our cycle on earth to nurture positive change. One of the important roles of a journalist is holding truth to power and I liked that. I also noticed a gap in coverage of Indigenous communities in Canada, and wanted to see what I could do to help fill it in a good way.

What does journalism mean to you?

There have always been forms of journalism — news sharing, story-telling — they are ancient practices. When settlers first arrived, communities had scouts to inform them on information, there were runners between communities and nations, stories shared in potlatches and law lodges. Western journalism was built to protect democracy, so it involves holding truth to power, but it is also an institution and a corporation, created by white men, so it is also full of space for adaptation and diversification. Journalism for me means sharing stories in a good way — fleshing out the black and white, including all voices, being accountable to those whose stories we share, building relationships to ensure trust and accountability, being on the front lives of important events, documenting history and more.

What kind of journalism would you like to do?

I work now for National Observer, leading a series ‘First Nations Forward,’ emphasizing stories of success and sovereignty of First Nations in B.C. I’d like to continue to write about stories that have been historically made invisible or misrepresented, to diversify out media coverage and tell a more wholesome and accurate picture.

I give workshops on decolonizing or indigenizing journalism, but it really involves basic anti-oppressive techniques to ensure a level of ethical behaviour and accountability in our relationships and professional duties. It involves learning about and including historical and cultural contextualization of events, fact-checking and culture-checking, being accountable and objective, addressing assumptions, stereotypes and internalized racism, and some.

What have you been up to since receiving your award?

After graduating from Concordia, I received Journalists for Human Rights’ ‘Emerging Indigenous Journalist’ internship, with the Tyee in Vancouver. After that internship, I was hired by National Observer to lead their ‘First Nations Forward’ series. I have been working full-time with National Observer since.

How can people follow your work?

You can see my work with National Observer here, work with the Tyee here, and my personal website here.

Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram: emileeguevara

Media News Digest: Tax breaks for journalism, Roundhouse Radio sold, more cuts at Bell Media

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