Posted in Radio

Radio Shalom is no more — what happens to CJRS 1650 AM?

Radio Shalom has been shut down.

Kind of.

CJRS 1650 AM is still on the air (you can catch the live stream here), but since last Friday at 6pm it has been broadcasting non-stop evangelical Christian programming supplied to it from CKZW (not an official callsign), a Christian audio service operated by André Joly. CKZW had supplied programming for CJRS during the Sabbath, when Jewish rules prevent practicing members from operating a radio station. Owner Robert Lévy has decided, at least for now, to have them provide programming 24/7.

I explain what happened in this story for the Montreal Gazette. Basically Radio Shalom was not breaking even, and Lévy was no longer willing to fund the station by himself. Despite a public plea in December, it seems no one (or not enough people) stepped up, and despite giving extensions, he’s decided it’s the end of the road.

Though there were some goodbye messages on Facebook, the end on the air was anti-climactic. The last Jewish program was actually a syndicated broadcast from France, and made no mention of Radio Shalom going off the air. It was cut off mid-sentence during an interview, switching awkwardly to CKZW programming with some dead air.

So what happens now? I couldn’t get an interview with Lévy — I was promised a press release that never came — but others provided more detail. Joly will provide CKZW programming 24/7 (including some bilingual programming, he said) and Lévy will remain the owner to satisfy CRTC ownership requirements.

Joly said there are discussions about him buying the station (which would require CRTC approval), but that’s not a given. He suggested there still might be hope of a benefactor coming forward and bringing Radio Shalom back.

But that doesn’t look likely at this point. Despite Montreal’s strong Jewish population, the community hasn’t rallied behind this station. There are various reasons I was given for this. Among them, the French/English split was also a cultural one, between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews. There was a religious versus secular split, with the former following hard-line (and sexist) rules. And the station’s insistence on its independence, refusing to become a mouthpiece for any Jewish community organization.

Plus the running joke that Montreal already has a Jewish radio station in CJAD.

And there were the kinds of problems that any small radio station faces. The AM signal was poor and hard to hear in many parts of the city, the programming was all produced by volunteers and didn’t attract many listeners, and some people at least felt it was poorly managed. (Though no one is stepping up and promising to turn things around if they’re put in charge.)

What happens now is still up in the air. Joly would like to keep CJRS and turn it into a Christian station, but that would require him and Lévy agreeing on a sale price for the station. If an agreement isn’t reached, Lévy’s options are limited, but he could shut down the station, return the licence and sell off whatever assets are still there.

The likelihood of a Jewish radio station returning to Montreal, though, seems slim at this point. There might be better hope of having Jewish-themed shows on ethnic stations — right now I know of only Radio Centre-Ville that has a regular show on Judaism, but others have had shows for that community in the past.

Posted in Uncategorized

24 Heures changes format, to be distributed as anarchist zine

Reeling from the recent loss of exclusive distribution rights in Montreal’s metro system, free daily 24 Heures announced today it will undergo a radical transformation, and as of Monday will be distributed as an anarchist zine.

The zine format, which will see the newspaper photocopied on 8.5×11″ letter-sized sheets folded in half, will give it a more edgy look, its publisher explains. The entire paper will be in black and white only, and editors will abandon the sleek digital layout tools they have been using for 15 years and instead lay articles out by hand.

“We hope these changes, combined with a new editorial focus, will help us better reach the youth market,” a note to readers explained. In an interview, the publisher (who did not want his name published) said the idea was to “be more like Vice News and other things the youth like.”

24 Heures will continue to be distributed by people on the street, particularly outside metro stations, but those distributors will change their looks. Gone will be the orange vests, replaced with black ones that have anti-government and anti-corporate stickers and pins all over them.

Distributor Marc Quenneville says he looks forward to adopting the new fight-the-man attitude. “Finally there will be a newspaper that stands up for the working man,” he said.

Monday’s first issue of the new 24 Heures will be sponsored by Subway.

Posted in Uncategorized

CBC admits it already spent $675 million in new federal money on coke-fuelled orgy

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is in hot water with federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly after admitting it already spent the promised $675-million in additional federal funding on a coke-filled orgy for top executives last month.

“We will be conducting an investigation into this incident, but I want to remind everyone that the CBC is an arms-length organization and the federal government will not dictate how it is to spend its money,” Joly explained today at a press conference in Montreal.

Details are sketchy, but it appears that some time around St. Patrick’s Day, senior executives including the board of directors and everyone at the vice-president level and above checked into an expensive hotel in Toronto and went to town on drugs and prostitutes. Cocaine was specifically referenced, but it’s believed heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs were also used, as well as “a considerable quantity” of marijuana.

Board member A. Prelfoulle is still in critical condition at a Toronto hospital being treated for an overdose.

Joly said it’s unfortunate more of the drugs and prostitutes were not shared with more front-line employees, who have also had it rough over the past few years. “I’m sure some of them would have liked this extra money,” she said, once again stressing that the government will not dictate how the corporation is to spend its money.

Posted in Uncategorized

Normand Brathwaite announces retirement as counterexample to criticisms of racism in Quebec media

Normand Brathwaite as François Bugingo parodying Uptown Funk

Normand Brathwaite in one of his last but-we-have-a-black-guy roles in Bye-Bye 2015

Normand Brathwaite, who for 35 years has proudly been Quebec’s go-to counterexample when confronted with criticisms of racism in the media, says he’s ready to hang up his token hat.

In an announcement posted to Facebook this morning, just after his latest contract with the Union des artistes expired, Brathwaite wrote that it’s time to pass the hat to a new generation of token black guys.

“In my 35 years in showbusiness, I’ve seen a lot of changes,” he wrote. “I went from being the only black guy in a room full of white people to being the only black guy in a room full of white people with a few arabs around.”

Brathwaite pointed to young black actors whose names I couldn’t recognize and said the future of making white people feel less guilty about profiting from a system that discriminates in their favour was in their hands.

But it’s expected that musician and TV and radio host Gregory Charles will take up much of the slack of being referenced by hard-line Quebec sovereignists and media executives alike in smug defiant response to people who say we’re not seeing enough diversity on television screens.

The Parti Québécois issued a statement congratulating Brathwaite for his service. “As an experienced counterexample myself, I know the amount of commitment it takes to be a perfect token, and the toll it takes on you to be constantly used in Twitter discussions between partisan trolls,” said Maka Kotto, on behalf of the entire PQ black caucus. “You should be proud, as I am, of how comfortable you’ve made white people feel for decades now.”

The sudden departure of Brathwaite has led to some scrambling from some quarters, with one Télé-Québec executive asking around if he could consider Adib Alkhalidey a black guy “or just a general ethnic.”

Posted in Uncategorized

CRTC proposes “hottie basic” rules that would offer all Canadians free TV porn

As Canadians look to new “skinny basic” packages by cable companies with a sense of disappointment, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has decided to try again to win consumers over with a new set of packaging rules.

The new proposal, to be released today, calls for all providers to offer a new “hottie basic” package that would include mandatory channels and at least two pornographic channels, at least one of which would have to be Canadian. The porn channels would have to be offered at a price of $0.69 each, CRTC commissioner Jean-Michel Rousseau said with a nudge.

Rumours of the proposal led to immediate questions about quality, and whether there would be a regulatory way to distinguish, say, Playboy TV from the kind of bland, poorly produced crap you can find anywhere on the Internet these days.

Rousseau said the commission has similar concerns, and has proposed a working group of himself and “mon chum Yannick” to personally monitor the channels offered to see if they meet the commission’s standards. “But we won’t do that together, because eww.”

If all goes according to plan, consumers could see their hottie basic packages as early as Valentine’s Day 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized

Bell makes $1.2-trillion offer for federal government

Bell parent company BCE Inc., in its most ambitious takeover move yet, has put together a hostile, $1.2-trillion offer for a majority stake in the Government of Canada.

The offer, which was just announced, would make BCE the largest company in the country, and make Canada the largest privately-owned country in the world.

“We were reaching the limits of what we could do under the current federal framework,” Bell says in a note to investors explaining the proposal. “Our board of directors concluded that the only way to continue our growth was to seek to acquire the federal government itself.”

Once the acquisition is complete, Bell would control Canada’s military, its banks, and transportation and telecommunications companies. “The increased flexibility that will come from having a controlling stake in regulatory bodies will give us the power to expand just about every aspect of our business,” the note said.

Analysts were mixed on the proposed deal. Ceci Etonpuassohn of RBC Capital Markets said BCE would be in a highly leveraged position if this deal were to go through, and he wasn’t convinced that the increased ability to levy taxes on 35 million customers would be enough to pay off the massive debt that would be undertaken. “I might have preferred a different option, like a joint deal with Shaw communications and Rogers, or maybe if they’d just started with buying a small province first, as a test run.”

If accepted by Canada’s current owner, Tim Horton, the deal would also require approval from the CRTC, since it changes its own effective ownership. This means approval would likely take another year.

Posted in Uncategorized

AM980 to adopt all-Star-Trek-talk format

Star Trek Radio

AM980, the radio station once known as Radio Fierté before the French-language LGBT format was abandoned last fall, will be reborn as NCC-980, an innovative new format devoted entirely to discussing Star Trek.

“We’re going to be the first of our kind in this part of the world,” explained Q’lolohk Nagh (born Benjamin Stankowski), who owner Evanov Radio has hired as program director for the station. “This format has cross-generational appeal, attracting a millennial male audience while also going after nostalgic baby boomers and Gen-Xers.”

Nagh said he’s already lined up a few on-air personalities, though he wouldn’t name any names. He’s also promised “bulkhead-to-bulkhead coverage” of the upcoming Montreal Comiccon in July, which has William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols and Kate Mulgrew lined up as guests. “I’m working hard to get them in studio, but nothing’s confirmed yet,” Nagh said.

While there will be the usual Kirk-vs-Picard debates, Nagh said that to fill a full 24/7 schedule, the discussions need to be more interesting than that. He plans to bring on philosophers to debate metaphysical issues (when you transport somewhere, is that really you that materializes?), have creators of fan art discuss their creations, follow the latest news about new series and movies, and of course discuss favourite episodes and movies. One show being planned will also discuss alternate-reality scenarios, a sort of what-if for various storylines.

And capitalizing on the popularity of the “rewatch podcast” format, there will be shows devoted to accompanying fans in the rewatching of classic episodes and movies.

“There’s going to be everything here for old fans, new fans and people who want to be fans,” Nagh said. “We want to be very inclusive. Not assimilated-by-the-Borg inclusive, but welcoming,” he said with a snort.

Nagh, 15, said details of the lineup and programming should be available this summer with the station launch planned this fall. And unlike the previous formats of AM980, which have included Christmas music and easy-listening music, “we intend Star Trek Radio to live long and prosper.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Jian Ghomeshi starts new podcast chronicling his search for the real assaulters

ghomeshi-pi

Having been vindicated in a court of law in his sexual assault case, Jian Ghomeshi spoke out for the first time since the ordeal began and announced he is starting a new podcast in which he will investigate what really happened to these women and who was truly responsible.

Called “Ghomeshi p.i.”, the independently produced podcast will come out once a week, and mainly feature Ghomeshi interviewing witnesses and experts as he investigates who really choked, slapped, punched and yanked the hair of those women over the years.

It’s kind of like Serial, but with a more personal touch, he said.

“Everyone thinks it was me,” he said. “So there’s no one who can do this but me.”

Ghomeshi said he’s trying to keep an open mind and is leaving all possibilities on the table. Early episodes will explore possibilities such as whether he has an evil twin brother, whether someone might have had their face surgically altered to resemble his, or whether it really was him, under some sort of mind control by the government or other outside forces.

“We’ll go wherever the evidence takes us,” he said. “Unlike people, the facts never lie.”

Ghomeshi said he hasn’t yet interviewed Lucy DeCoutere or the other complainants in the recent case, whose names are protected by a publication ban, but that his podcast wouldn’t be complete without giving them a chance to have their say. He suggested he may have a third party conduct those interviews because of the sensitive nature of the situation. “I don’t want to cause them any undue pain,” he said.

An episode will also go into detail about how this has affected him. “But I don’t want to dwell too much on that. This is also about the women who were abused and tricked into blaming it on an innocent man. We’re all victims here.”

The list of other staff involved in the show hasn’t been released, but Ghomeshi said he has a “cute little intern” producing for him.

Posted in Uncategorized

Toronto Star announces StarTouchTone, a new news-by-telephone service

Hot off the stellar success of Star Touch, the innovators at the Toronto Star announced today they will soon be launching a news-by-telephone service for subscribers.

StarTouchTone, which is set to launch this fall, will be a service where, using a touch-tone telephone, readers can call in to a special phone number, select stories they wish to listen to by going through a menu system, and enjoy their favourite writers reading their stories to them. Reporters and columnists like Kevin Donovan, Rosie DiManno and Heather Mallick will record themselves reading each of their stories, which the Star says will give them a more realistic feel than having them be read by automated screen readers.

It’s unclear whether there will be an additional cost for this service, or if it will be available to non-subscribers. “For now we’re worried about getting hundreds of telephone lines installed in our office,” explained publisher John Cruickshank.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rogers cancels NHL playoffs

With not a single Canadian NHL team making the playoffs this year, Rogers Media has decided it will shut down its coverage of the National Hockey League after the season ends on April 10, and it has asked the league to cancel the playoffs completely and simply hand the Stanley Cup to the team with the best record in the regular season, the Washington Capitals.

“Canadians have already moved on to other things,” explained Sportsnet spokesperson Avril F. Day, “and we’ve decided we should do the same. There are a lot of other things on our network, like Blue Jays games, that will keep Canadians much more entertained than the NHL playoffs.”

In the unlikely event that the league decides to continue with the playoffs, Day said Rogers might air the cup final “on Sportsnet One or something” unless Connor McDavid is doing something that requires their undivided attention.

Rogers, which paid $5.2 billion for 12 years of NHL games, part of which it resold to TVA Sports, said it would cost more to produce the broadcasts than they’d get in ad revenue from the “12 people who care how the Minnesota-Dallas playoff series will go.”

Instead, Rogers will find more interesting programming to air. Though nothing is confirmed yet, the company is looking at inventing another Canadian curling tournament.

Posted in Radio, TV

With Jean Lapierre’s death, Quebec media loses its chief political analyst

There wasn’t anyone as omnipresent in Quebec news media over the past decade as Jean Lapierre.

The former federal MP, who died with his wife, three siblings and two pilots as their plane crashed on approach to an airport Tuesday in les Îles de la Madeleine, parlayed his political experience into various roles as a political analyst.

While people covering all sorts of beats misuse the term “insider” to describe themselves, Lapierre was about the closest thing Quebec media had to one who had the freedom to speak his mind on political issues. And he had the sense to never claim to be a journalist, even though most of the time he was engaging in journalism.

Lapierre had a busy schedule and many clients. Daily appearances on Montreal’s 98.5 FM, Quebec City’s FM93 and 106.9 FM in Trois-Rivières, columns on several shows on TVA and LCN (Mario Dumont had a segment with him that came to an end with a tribute), a twice daily segment on CJAD (Program Director Chris Bury explains how the station kept adding his segments because of demand) and a weekly appearance on CTV Montreal. Cogeco, Quebecor and Bell Media were all sending him regular paycheques for his insight.

So it’s unsurprising that many of his media colleagues were emotional as they relayed the news of his death, from Denis Lévesque to Paul Larocque to Pierre Bruneau to Paul Arcand to Aaron Rand and Andrew Carter. There are so many tributes from media people and politicians it would be impossible to compile them all. TVA/LCN and CJAD have put together entire dossiers on Lapierre, and there are enough obituaries and written tributes to keep you reading for days.

I didn’t know Lapierre personally, and I’m starting to think I’m one of the few people in Quebec media not to be in his ever-expanding circle of friends. I have no personal anecdotes to share, beyond that one time I stood outside the Quebecor office at the National Assembly press gallery and listened to him do a segment for LCN about a budget announcement.

But I know enough about him to know that there isn’t anyone quite like him. Sure, there are other former politicians giving analysis on TV. (RDI has an entire show devoted to it.) But how many of them will give you a colourful seven-minute description of how a politician should shake hands at a campaign event? How many of them will call out BS when he sees it, even if it’s from a politician he knows as a friend?

Lapierre wasn’t perfect, and we should resist the temptation to sugar-coat his life as we summarize it. But even if he wasn’t the most objective source of information about politics, he built this air of trustworthiness because he wasn’t afraid to tell it as he saw it. Perhaps because of that more than anything else, he had a unique ability to clearly explain the political process, and political thinking, to Quebecers in both languages. One that will be surely missed.

And he was someone who enjoyed what he did, who was very successful at it, and made a lot of friends doing it.

We should all be so lucky.

 

Posted in Radio

Radio Shalom shutting down on Friday

Radio Shalom 1650 AM, a small station serving Montreal’s Jewish community, is shutting down April 1 at 6pm, according to a post made Tuesday on the station’s Facebook page:

The station’s owner, Robert Levy, announced in December that he was unwilling to continue paying for its losses by himself, and warned that if no one else stepped up he would be forced to close it. Now it looks like he’s making good on that threat.

It’s unclear if the station will simply surrender its licence, opening up 1650 AM for another station, or if there’s still a chance someone might buy the station’s commercial religious licence and try something else with it.

The loss of Radio Shalom, which says it’s the only radio station in North America focused specifically on the Jewish community, will no doubt be felt by many others who appreciated the idea of it, even if they may not have been regular listeners.

Posted in In the news, Technology

Letting Loto-Quebec force ISPs to block websites may soon be a thing

It was the very last thing in last year’s Quebec budget. Literally, on pages 616-618 of the 620-page budget document (the last two pages are blank): The government was going to create a law that will require Internet service providers to block illegal gambling websites based on a list provided by Loto-Québec:

A legislative amendment will be proposed to introduce an illegal website
filtering measure. In accordance with this measure, Internet service providers
will not be allowed to provide access to an online gaming and gambling
website whose name is on a list of websites that are to be blocked, drawn up
by Loto-Québec. This measure will be applied by the Régie des alcools, des
courses et des jeux, which should have the necessary resources to fulfil its
new responsibilities.

That was all the budget said about this measure. There were no further details given (except for the fact that it was based on a recommendation from a working group on gambling) and there was no legislation drafted yet to criticize. But various players caught on quickly to the potential slippery slope of Internet censorship, as well as the inevitable jurisdictional battle between the provincial government’s legislation of gambling and the federal government’s responsibility over telecommunications.

Fast-forward a year later, and as Quebecers get ready to receive the 2016-17 budget, several aspects of the previous one still haven’t been put into law.

Introduced in November, and currently working its way through the finance committee, Bill 74, called “An Act respecting mainly the implementation of certain provisions of the Budget Speech of 26 March 2015” has various provisions, including the one about Internet website blocking.

What the bill says

The text of the bill modifies Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act to insert the following clauses:

“TITLE III.4

“ONLINE GAMBLING

“260.33. For the purposes of this Title, “online gambling site” means
a website on which a person may make wagers and bets through an interactive
mechanism.

“260.34. An Internet service provider may not give access to an online
gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law.

“260.35. The Société des loteries du Québec shall oversee the
accessibility of online gambling. It shall draw up a list of unauthorized online
gambling sites and provide the list to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des
jeux, which shall send it to Internet service providers by registered mail.
The receipt notice or, as the case may be, the delivery notice serves as proof
of notification.

“260.36. An Internet service provider that receives the list of unauthorized
online gambling sites in accordance with section 260.35 shall, within 30 days
after receiving the list, block access to those sites.

“260.37. If the Société des loteries du Québec becomes aware that an
Internet service provider is not complying with section 260.36, it shall report
the non-compliance to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux.
In such a case, the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux shall send a
notice to the non-compliant Internet service provider and send a copy of the
notice to the Société des loteries du Québec.

“260.38. For the purposes of this Title, the Régie des alcools, des courses
et des jeux and the Société des loteries du Québec may enter into an agreement
on the frequency at which the list of unauthorized online gambling sites is to
be updated and sent and on any other terms relating to the carrying out of this
Title.”

It also changes the Act Respecting the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, to give it authority over enforcing this law, and the Act Respecting the Société des loteries du Québec, to give Loto-Québec the responsibility to draw up the list of banned websites and investigate ISPs. The latter adds these provisions:

“17.1. The president and chief executive officer, or the person the
president and chief executive officer designates for that purpose, may investigate
any matter relating to the carrying out of Title III.4 of the Consumer Protection
Act (chapter P-40.1).

“17.2. The person who conducts an investigation under section 17.1 of
this Act cannot be prosecuted for acts performed in good faith in the exercise
of the functions of office.

An ISP failing to block a website within 30 days of getting a list from Loto-Québec (by registered mail) is added to the list of offences in the Consumer Protection Act, which makes that ISP liable for fines from $2,000 to $100,000, or twice that for a repeat conviction.

The bill also states that while the Consumer Protection Act is supervised by the Minister of Justice and the consumer protection office, the provisions regarding websites and gambling are supervised by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux and Loto-Québec, under the Minister of Public Security. (Finance Minister Carlos Leitão explains that Loto-Québec informs the RACJ that a provider is noncompliant, and the latter does any legal action.)

The problems

As highlighted by Michael Geist and others, this legislation has serious issues, some of them legal and some practical. Among them:

  • Telecommunications are a federal responsibility, administered by the CRTC, not a provincial one. The legislation could be challenged on constitutional grounds.
  • Telecommunications regulations forbid ISPs from manipulating Internet traffic in this way.
  • The legislation forces ISPs to block people from doing something that is not illegal: viewing an online gambling website.
  • The slippery slope argument: Implementing this could lead to the government ordering the blocking of other websites it doesn’t like. (Major ISPs block sites that contain child pornography, but that’s an industry measure, and isn’t required by law.)
  • The motive for this legislation seems to be as much about protecting Loto-Québec’s revenue as it is about blocking an illegal and unwanted activity.
  • There seem to be few checks and balances to ensure that the websites listed by Loto-Québec deserve to be there. There’s no obvious appeals process.
  • Implementing a government blacklist of websites would cost a lot of money, particularly for small Internet providers. (Leitão dismissed those costs in December, saying “Je ne pense pas que ce soient des coûts énormes, là, c’est une question de mettre la «switch on and off»”. He then threw out a range of $100,000 to $500,000 for additional costs to ISPs, plus another $15-75,000 a year in maintenance costs, and said the government might be willing to subsidize the costs for smaller providers.)
  • There are technical means around such blocks. And someone interested in online gambling will probably make quick use of such measures.
  • Online gambling sites could get around the blocks by setting up new domains or new sites.
  • There could be issues when traffic crosses provincial borders. If I’m a Wind Mobile customer in Alberta and I walk into Quebec with my cellphone, is Wind suddenly obligated to abide by this Quebec law for data it sends to my phone, even though it doesn’t operate in Quebec? Or is that the responsibility of the network I’m roaming on?
  • Other measures might be just as effective without the censorship problem, such as making it illegal for credit card companies to process payments to illegal gambling sites (though there are ways around such problems as well).

The jurisdictional issue seems to be the most problematic, though a legal analysis of the bill points out that many issues cross jurisdictional lines, and a law that seems to involve the other government’s turf isn’t necessarily unconstitutional. Leitão told the committee he was confident the law would stand up to challenges, because of a “latitude” in enforcing provincial law against illegal gambling, but he said there was no formal legal opinion provided on it beyond the opinions of people in his department.

Opposition MNAs Nicolas Marceau (PQ), André Spénard (CAQ) and François Bonnardel (CAQ) grilled Leitão on these aspects of the bill during the committee hearings in December and February. And they’re not done yet. (Reading the transcripts of those hearings gives you a good appreciation for the value of opposition legislators, regardless of party, who give a critical eye to legislation even when they may be in agreement about the overall goal.)

Bonnardel, the MNA for Granby, was strongest in his opposition on legal and constitutional grounds:

Il y a un enjeu où on serait la première province, à ma connaissance au Canada, qui pourrait censurer la libre circulation sur Internet. Coudon, qui censure la libre circulation sur Internet? Cuba, la Corée, le Québec en 2016? M. le Président, mon collègue l’a mentionné, il y a 70 gros moyens, petits fournisseurs au Québec.

Mais au nom de quoi, aujourd’hui, on veut censurer la libre circulation? Tant qu’à faire, pourquoi ne pas bannir ou barrer les sites de pornographie juvénile, propagande islamique tant qu’à y être? On est rendus là.

There’s opposition outside the National Assembly as well. Even the Union des consommateurs, who would normally be all for increased consumer protections, has expressed reservations about this law.

In La Presse last month, columnist Stéphanie Grammond asked why the government was rushing this legislation through. Even though it’s been a year since the plan was announced, it seems clear the government hasn’t been doing a lot of reflecting about the unintended consequences of its proposal.

Maybe it would be a good time to start, once the finance department is done talking about this year’s budget.

UPDATE (April 3): The Canadian Press has a story about this proposed law. It includes a new justification from the Quebec government, that it has the authority to impose Internet censorship laws because problem gambling is a health issue and health is under provincial jurisdiction.

Posted in Radio

Radio ratings: Virgin and The Beat are tied (so both declare victory)

Quarterly radio ratings from Numeris were released on Thursday. There aren’t any big surprises for the anglophone market. Overall, among all listeners age 2+, these are the average minute audiences from anglophones across the 24/7 week for the top 10 stations:

  1. CJAD: 15500 (29.6%)
  2. Virgin Radio 96: 8500 (16.2%)
  3. The Beat: 8500 (16.1%)
  4. CHOM: 6100 (11.7%)
  5. CBC Radio One: 3400 (6.5%)
  6. TSN 690: 2300 (4.4%)
  7. Rythme FM: 1200 (2.2%)
  8. Radio Classique: 900 (1.7%)
  9. CKOI: 700 (1.4%)
  10. CBC Radio Two: 700 (1.4%)

Little has changed from previous reports, but Virgin and The Beat are in a statistical tie, which meant they had to be creative to proclaim themselves #1.

Virgin stuck to the key age 25-54 demographic, and its slightly higher reach. (And Bell points out that CHOM is tied with The Beat for second place among adults 25-54.) The Beat, meanwhile, points out that it’s higher during the work day (both overall and among women 25-54), which has always been its strong point.

AM 980 is dead last

New in this ratings report is the inclusion of CHRF, the former Radio Fierté that now just identifies itself as AM 980 and airs music. The station, which abandoned its LGBT-themed programming less than a year after launching, is in last place among measured stations in both languages.

Among francophones, it has an estimated 100 listeners on average, a market share of 0.1%, and reaches 3,000 listeners a day. More francophones listen to TSN 690 or CJAD.

Among anglophones, its average audience and market share both read as zero, and it reaches 1,100 listeners in an average day.

The station has a lot of work to do if it’s going to attract an audience. It could start by having programming and telling people about it.

Owner Evanov Radio hasn’t announced what its plans are for the station, which has a standard commercial licence and isn’t tied to any format (though it must remain a French-language station).

Good news/bad news

Looking into the more detailed reports compiled by Bell Media and Cogeco Force Radio (via Infopresse), you can see strengths and weaknesses among the various stations. Some things of note:

  • CHOM’s morning show does much better with women than the rest of its schedule
  • CJAD’s ratings spike at 11pm during Joey Elias’s comedy show. It’s the most popular station at that hour among anglophones 25-54.
  • Virgin spikes during the morning show, while the Beat’s morning show has fewer listeners than daytime programming.
  • Mitch Melnick is still the high point of TSN 690, around 5pm weekdays.
  • Demographically, among anglophone commercial stations:
    • Most male: TSN 690
    • Most female: The Beat
    • Youngest: Virgin
    • Oldest: Radio Two
    • Richest: TSN 690
    • Poorest: Radio Two
  • Paul Arcand’s morning show on 98.5 FM is still the most popular thing on radio, with an average audience peaking above 35,000 listeners among adults 25-54, though Rythme FM’s weekend shows have about the same audience in that demo and Arcand’s numbers aren’t as high as they used to be. 98.5 is also tops during the afternoon drive period and in late evenings. Rythme FM is strongest during the work day.
  • Rouge FM’s audience dips noticeably during Isabelle Racicot’s lunchtime show, particularly among men. It also underperforms during the morning show and drive-home show.
  • Énergie 94.3 does poorly during the work day. It’s the only one among the big French stations whose peak is in the afternoon, thanks to Éric Salvail’s drive-home show.
  • CKOI has the second-strongest morning show, with Debout les comiques.
  • CKOI is now number one among adults 18-34.
  • 91.9 Sport’s best audience comes just after 3pm when Jean-Charles Lajoie starts his show. The station flatlines after 7pm when it runs repeat programming.
  • Rythme FM’s morning show does poorly among men, especially when compared to the rest of the day, which is very strong.
  • On weekends, from 9am to 9pm, Rythme FM blows away the competition. It has twice the audience of any other station in the middle of the day.
  • Radio Classique saw a modest ratings increase, now that it has new programming. It’s too early to tell if it’s significant (and if it will stay).
  • Demographically, among francophone stations:
    • Most male: Radio Circulation (84%)
    • Most female: Rouge FM (60%)
    • Youngest: Énergie
    • Oldest: Radio Classique
    • Richest: Énergie
    • Poorest: 91.9 Sport