Category Archives: Uncategorized

Review: A mostly flawless election night for 2/4 English TV networks

Election nights are always fun. All hands on deck, at night on the tightest of deadlines, working together to report on the story of the year.

Each medium has its own challenges, but TV has the highest stakes. Everyone’s watching — including the politicians — and seconds count. Make an early call that turns out to be right, and you get supreme bragging rights. Get it wrong, and you’re a laughingstock. And you have to fill hours of programming, usually without even the benefit of a commercial break.

Four TV networks broadcast live election specials during primetime on Monday night on their local TV stations and all-news networks — Radio-Canada, TVA, CBC and CTV. Two others had live wrap-ups at 11pm: Citytv and Global.

I checked in with all of them on election night (though I was busy with helping put out a newspaper), and reviewed recordings of the four English networks after the fact. (I’ll leave it to my francophone colleagues to review how RadCan and TVA did.) Here’s how they did:

Continue reading

Radio station program director admits son’s all-fart-sounds show probably wasn’t the best idea

Radio station 107.5 Le Poisson in Ste-Anne-de-la-Pérade is ending its Saturday evening show made up entirely of fart sounds after its program director admitted that it wasn’t the kind of success he was hoping for.

“My son’s proposal sounded so innovative,” said Paul Natrillé, who has been at the helm of the station’s programming for seven years. “When we launched it last fall, he was really excited about the possibilities. But since then his interest has waned a bit, and we don’t think it’s the best fit for the station anymore.”

Natrillé’s son Thomas said he had fond memories of the show, but it was time to move on anyway. He has several interviews with morning shows in Quebec City.

107.5 will fill the discontinued hour’s time slot with its usual music programming of classical and easy listening music.

CRTC staffer can’t understand why colleagues aren’t also freaking out about how lit the next notice of consultation will be

Saying she’s hyperventilating at even the thought of it, CRTC junior legal affairs staffer Janet Phehknaim just can’t bring herself to comprehend why her colleagues aren’t jumping over themselves about how exciting the notice of consultation to be issued next Tuesday is going to be.

The notice, related to an application received for a new low-power radio station in Dryden, Ontario, and a corporate reorganization at Vista Radio, will be posted to the commission’s website at 11am on Tuesday. Phehknaim said she assumed the announcement would be pushed back to 4pm to avoid any market impact, and that media advisories would be issued on Monday to invite journalists to a press conference.

“The CRTC is an exciting place to work and there are announcements almost every day that affect people’s lives, so you can imagine what this will mean to the people at Dryden and the accountants at Vista,” Phehknaim said.

“Personally, I’m planning a viewing party at work for when the application goes live. It’ll be a potluck, but my colleagues are being slow in getting back to me with what they’re going to bring.”

Quebec talk show guest sues after learning that “merci infiniment” did not mean infinite thanks

Saying he felt humiliated and distraught, Quebec talk show guest Fanny Nonspavré has filed a lawsuit in Quebec superior court against the producers of Tout le monde en parle saying she is owed the infinite thanks she was promised by host Guy A. Lepage at the end of her recent interview, and not the very finite thanks she says she was actually given.

“This is a show that is watched by a million people every week, and the host has a reputation as an honourable man, so when he says ‘merci infiniment d’être parmi nous ce soir’ I take him at his word that his thanks will be infinite,” the statement of claim says. “To later discover, when the cameras were turned off, that Lepage’s thanks were severely limited seems to be a blatant contract breach to me.”

Nonspavré said she didn’t expect Lepage to follow her until the end of days repeating the word “merci” over and over again until one of them dies, but the least he could do if he was serious about offering unlimited thanks is to do her a favour once in a while on demand.

“I don’t want to be greedy about this,” she said. “I’m not doing this for me, but for the next person who will be told one thing on the air and another when the cameras aren’t looking. Mr. Lepage needs to stay true to his word when he says something, and if he doesn’t want to be locked into limitless commitments, he should choose his words more carefully.”

Carlos Leitão asking journalists what they think of chapter of his novel he included in budget

Quebec finance minister Carlos Leitão says he is ready to begin receiving feedback from the province’s political and economic journalists who have by now had plenty of time to read the draft of the first chapter of his new novel, which he included at the back of the 800-page budget plan.

Titled “Prosperity of the heart,” Leitão’s novel, about an economist by day who spends his nights fighting crime and making the world a better place while finding love in an unexpected way, is not quite ready for mass publication, the finance minister said, and he’s still looking for a publisher for it, but he thinks the story is very original and he has an outline for a dozen chapters, each one better than the last.

“There definitely will be an accumulated surplus of warm feelings after finishing this novel,” Leitão joked on Saturday. “And though I plan to keep my day job for now, I can’t discount the possibility that I’ll turn full-time to fiction writing if this takes off as well as I hope it does.”

Global News saves costs by covering only prescheduled breaking news events

Saying it will keep looking for ways to innovate in the production and presentation of local news, Global announced in a message to its staff this week that it will further streamline its operations by only covering local breaking news events that are scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.

“Our efficiency experts found that in newsrooms across the country we have reporters and videojournalists who are just sitting in the office waiting for things to happen, and that’s incredibly inefficient,” explained Global News vice-president May Didupp. “So starting April 1, we’ll only cover fires, car crashes, natural disasters and surprise announcements where the newsroom has been informed at least 24 hours in advance of the event to take place.”

Didupp said she expected that competitors’ newsrooms would follow in that policy, and that once everyone else is on board breaking news will have no choice but to play ball. She reminded police departments that information can be provided under embargo.

RDS documentary chronicles Canadiens’ 25th Stanley Cup they would have won if they just put Alex Galchenyuk at centre

Route vers la victoire, the RDS documentary showing how the Canadiens would have won their 25th Stanley Cup this season if they’d only moved Alex Galchenyuk from the wing to centre last year like you told them to, is set to air just before the first game of the NHL playoffs later this month.

The hour-long documentary, which includes player interviews and simulated game footage showing the projected run to the sacred chalice, presents “as accurate a projection as our best experts could create of the path taken if only Michel Therrien and Claude Julien had listened to common sense and moved Chucky to centre where he belongs,” RDS said in a statement.

RDS expects the documentary to have higher ratings in Quebec than the Maple Leafs or Jets or whichever other English Canada team makes it to the playoffs.

Man yelling obscenity behind TV reporter during standup disappointed after being cut in editing

A man who yelled an obscenity behind a TV reporter while she was filming a standup shot for a report on gun violence in schools says he is profoundly disappointed after seeing the finished report on the 6pm newscast and finding he was cut during the editing process.

“I waited five minutes to get the perfect timing for it,” said Todd Aldushbaig. “And her delivery during that shot was perfect. I feel like she chose another more mediocre version just so she could cut me out of the story.”

The reporter apologized for having to cut the man out of the story. “Unfortunately, as journalists we must often make tough decisions on what to keep in our reports to meet the time constraints of a television newscast,” she said. “But I will keep Mr. Aldushbaig in mind for the next time I need a source about women’s reproductive health.”

Rogers denies engaging in high-pressure sales tactics and you should really sign up for Rogers NHL Live and a family plan right now

Two months after whistleblowers came forward to complain about the environment in its customer sales department, Rogers is again denying it is pushing its agents into getting clients to sign up for services they don’t want, and also you should sign up for Rogers NHL Live before the playoffs start because for only $75 you can watch all of the NHL playoffs wherever you want, and they can totally put that order in for you right now if you’d like.

“We take our customer trust seriously and would never compromise that by selling our valued customers something they didn’t want,” Rogers VP of customer care Doan Gevakrapp. “And did you know that with a Share Everything plan with Rogers you get NHL Live for free? That’s a $75 savings! How about I make that change for you right now, you can cancel at any time, ok?”

Rogers says it has spoken with some rogue customer care agents who claim they were encouraged to sign people up for things they knew they’d never use, but you’re definitely going to use Rogers NHL Live to watch your favourite team in the upcoming playoffs, and it includes the rest of the regular season as well, so how about we just go ahead and add that to your account.

“You put your trust in Rogers, and we want to be worthy of that trust,” Gevakrapp said. “And did you know you can get a free no obligation subscription to Maclean’s and Chatelaine for three months? What do you have to lose? Let’s get that signed up as well, I’ll just need your credit card please.”

Federal aid package for print media to include requirement to have free donuts at all press conferences

Struggling print journalists won another concession from the federal government this week when it agreed to change Canada’s criminal code making it illegal to hold press conferences without offering free coffee and donuts.

“Journalism is a serious business and our time is valuable,” explained Guelph Sun editor A.P. Reelfuel. “We can’t have our journalists going to press conferences, especially early in the morning, and showing up to find there are no donuts, croissants or even crackers on a table for them to chew on.”

Reelfuel said he expects the move to be the first in a series of measures to regulate how journalists are treated during press conferences, eventually expanding into a full journalist’s bill of rights. Other rights that would be enshrined through changes to the criminal code or less severe regulatory changes would include free parking, a minimum amount of high-resolution (HD or better) B-roll, and always having little placards in front of people showing the proper spelling of their name and title.

“We expect to see most of these new rules in place within the next year,” Reelfuel said. “In the meantime we’re counting on voluntary early compliance among all the companies and institutions we do business with.”

Man files complaint after Canadian celebrity fails to like complimentary tweet

Ronald Nuttriel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., says he regrets having to take the extreme step of reporting Canadian TV actor Erica Bryk’s Twitter account, but that he had no choice after noticing that she failed to like a complimentary tweet he sent her three days ago, even though she was clearly active on the social media platform since then and liked several other tweets from fans.

“I thought I was doing something nice,” Nuttriel said about sending a tweet on Thursday congratulating Bryk on her new Canadian cop drama and noting she “looked great today” in a TV interview. “But no retweets or likes, nothing. Meanwhile she likes seventeen tweets sent after mine, including four that are just links to news stories and one that’s just a thumbs up. What kind of message does that send?”

Nuttriel said the non-liking is affecting how he is viewing the award-winning actor as a person, and added that she may be overrated anyway. He said he is thinking of calling her a bitch.

Bryk did not respond to a tweet seeking comment. Which is so typical of her.

Quebec to require Netflix content be 50% louder in French

Besides imposing a sales tax on the streaming giant, Quebec is also making a demand of Netflix related to its content: It wants French-language movies, films and other videos to be at least 50% louder than their English counterparts.

Under new rules announced this week, Netflix content distributed in Quebec will be monitored by inspectors of the Office québécois de la langue française to ensure that, where content is available in both languages, the French version is predominantly louder.

“It’s an extension of our French-language charter and we expect the population will be in favour of it,” said Premier Philippe Couillard. “The preponderance of French is ingrained in who we are and we expect Netflix will recognize that and happily comply.”

Netflix has not said whether it would comply with the new order.

Bell launches “be more grateful for Bell” ad campaign

BCE Inc., a $55-billion company that provides telecommunication services to more than 10 million Canadians and owns Canada’s most popular television networks and radio stations and employs more than 52,000 people nationwide, says it’s tired of being saddled with its reputation as a necessary evil, and wants more Canadians to appreciate all its hard work.

“We’ve heard all the jokes, all the complaints, all the stereotypes, but why aren’t more people talking about the billions — yes, billions with a B — of dollars we’re investing in our fibre-optic network to give Canadians higher Internet speeds?” asked CEO George Cope. “Why aren’t more people in Toronto and Montreal dropping to their knees to thank us for giving them competition in the cable TV space for the first time? We didn’t have to do all that.”

In that light, Bell has launched a new ad campaign starting today in which it encourages Canadians to “be more grateful for Bell” by doing things as simple as calling up customer service and saying thank you. “Or you could put another phone on a family plan, or subscribe to The Movie Network, because it’s really great content, and you love John Oliver, right?”

Bell says it expects its reputation boost to be equivalent to the one it got when it invested in improving its customer service department.

Leaked documents show Montreal road construction mess intentionally caused by radio stations seeking ratings boost

The Mercier Bridge down to one lane. The Jacques-Cartier Bridge closed for an event. The Ville-Marie Expressway closed for construction. Major city arteries clogged with orange cones.

It’s a fact of life, right? A necessary evil in a city that is trying its best to fix its circulatory system with the least disruption possible?

Not quite, it seems.

Documents obtained exclusively by Fagstein have revealed that a small group of radio traffic reporters, keen to boost their ratings, have been intentionally manipulating road construction plans in order to maximize disruption and confusion, potentially causing each commuter hours of unnecessary delays over the past year and a half.

Mayor Valérie Plante has promised an investigation, and the traffic reporters were pulled off the air on Friday evening after station owners were asked for comment about the situation.

“It started out as a joke,” admitted Joe Cunaime, morning traffic reporter for all-traffic station CKAC 730 AM, who along with unnamed co-conspirators at The Beat and CBC Montreal hatched the scheme in late 2015. All three had been included, possibly mistakenly, in an email list of government managers coordinating road closures and highway work between the municipal and provincial governments, private contractors and other groups. The idea behind this list was to make it easier to coordinate between departments so that, for example, two bridges to the south shore aren’t closed at the same time.

One day, bored at work, Cunaime received an email from someone at the Quebec transport department wanting advice on which of three options to take. “One of them sounded really complicated and I knew would confuse drivers,” he said. “So as a joke I replied and said I think option 3 is the best one, and included some BS logic to back that up.”

Cunaime forgot to include his usual work signature on the email, so to others in the thread it was apparently taken seriously. Within an hour, the transport department decided option 3 was the way to go.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Cunaime said. “But at the same time I thought it was probably just a coincidence and it wasn’t my email that made this happen.”

A month later, he tried again, suggesting a closure plan that was even more complicated, and with even more dubious but serious-sounding logic to justify it. And again, they took his suggestion.

“Before long, I think they just thought I was running the whole thing,” he said. “That was the problem with this committee, there was no leader.”

Soon, he got two colleagues involved. Cunaime refused to identify them, but said they all got a kick out of what they were doing. “And six months after we started, we noticed in the ratings book that numbers had gone up. Our bosses threw us a party and everything.”

The scheme began to unravel in January, when an external review of the transport department’s operations led to someone asking questions about the email list and why Cunaime was calling the shots.

“I was called into a meeting with someone from the transport department, and there was this other guy in a suit there and even an SQ officer,” Cunaime said. “I knew right then that it was over.”

Cunaime was threatened with criminal charges, but was released after agreeing not to do it anymore. He also took early retirement from his job. He said he doesn’t know yet what’s going to happen to the other traffic reporters involved in the scheme.

Asked if he feels guilty for complicating lives of Montreal drivers, Cunaime said “yeah, kinda. I mean, I was caught up in some of those messes myself. But those ratings bonuses helped pay the bills, and I’m not responsible for the government’s incompetence.”

Total CRTC n00b doesn’t even know about administrative approvals page

Some doofus who thinks he can cover the CRTC as well as I can totally owned himself this week by not even being aware of the list of administrative approvals that are done without a public process, thinking that a decision page has to be posted for every decision even if there are no policy implications.

The total luser failed to notice the link at the bottom of the Today’s Releases page because he must be so freaking blinded by his own stupidity. That led to the braindead ignorance of the approval of the technical changes to CBZD-FM in Doaktown, New Brunswick, which has been posted on the Broadcasting Administrative Applications page for three weeks now.

The n00b, probably too shamed to even look himself in the mirror, probably doesn’t even know what a Part 1 process means. So stupid.