Tag Archives: Media News Digest

Media News Digest: English on Télé-Québec, Le Soleil stops printing Sundays, CBC poaches Vassy Kapelos

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At the CRTC

  • Télé-Québec’s CRTC licence is up for renewal, and among the interventions was one from the English Language Arts Network, which Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot found, writing a story about its demand that English be more represented in TQ’s programming, and even a 10% English quota imposed. Specifically, ELAN is asking the CRTC to:
    • Require TQ to develop and publish a policy to reflect the full diversity of Quebec society,
    • Require TQ to develop and publish an action plan for creation of content that fulfils its diversity policy and a promotion policy to encourage viewership from members of Quebec society who have not traditionally felt reflected, 
    • Require TQ to track the language of its viewers so that it knows which language groups are watching which programs,
    • Create a consultative committee that includes the diversity of Quebec society, which will advise the board of directors on issues concerning the broadcasters diversity of programming throughout the license period.
    • Place ads in English-language media when pertinent programming for the English- speaking minority is scheduled and when new programs are being developed,
    • Create an on-line playlist of Anglo-Que?be?cois reflective content (following the NFB’s example),
    • Require TQ to increase the production and programming of content reflecting the Quebec minorities, especially English-language, indigenous, and visible minority communities to at least 20% of the schedule, and at least 20% of the production budget; and
    • Require TQ to establish English-language programming for 10% of its schedule, and 10% of its production budget, to reflect the English-language community in Quebec.
  • The commission has approved the acquisition of four Ontario radio stations by Bell Media, which will pay $15.64 million to Larche Communications for CICZ-FM Midland, CICX-FM Orillia, CJOS-FM Owen Sound and CICS-FM Sudbury. Bell will pay $1,022,004 to various funds and development initiatives as a CRTC-mandated tax on the acquisition.
  • The CRTC has dismissed a complaint by Electronic Box (aka EBOX) against Bell Media, which accused the company of refusing to make Bell’s specialty channels available for a TV distribution service EBOX plans to launch in Ontario and Quebec. Bell says it is willing to negotiate, and the CRTC agreed Bell was willing to act in good faith. If they can’t come to an agreement, they can come back to the commission for mediation or arbitration.
  • TVA is appealing a CRTC arbitration decision to the federal court of appeal, arguing that the commission was wrong to accept a Bell deal that would set Bell TV per-subscriber rates for TVA Sports lower than Bell’s RDS.

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Media News Digest: La Presse Olympics editions, new Gazette columnists, L.A. Times sold

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Media News Digest: Coalition wants to block piracy sites, André Arthur fired again, Le Devoir’s new website

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Yet more Weinstein/#MeToo fallout

At the CRTC

  • A coalition including Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, Corus, CBC, Cogeco, and lots of artist and distribution groups is asking the CRTC to start allowing internet providers to block piracy websites. You can imagine how Michael Geist felt about that idea. But the coalition is not impressed by his arguments.
  • The commission has approved the acquisition of independent TV distributor Zazeen by Distributel. The purchase price, which the companies tried hard to prevent from becoming public, is $3, or $1 to each of Zazeen’s three founders. Distributel is a major creditor, according to the application, so it looks like the purchase price is equivalent to whatever the cost of that debt is. Distributel already offered Zazeen TV with its telecom services, and says other companies that offer Zazeen can still do so.
  • Victoria’s CHEK TV has gotten approval for a share buyback plan that would technically result in the local Sampson family moving from a minority shareholder to having more than 50% control when the family’s shares are combined. CHEK made it clear in its application that the Sampsons have no interest in having effective control of the company, which is run by the union, the employees and management, and a special shareholders’ agreement will limit their power. CHEK was bought out by its employees and local investors in 2009 when previous owner Canwest Global decided to shut its secondary E! network down. Several of those employees have since retired or otherwise left and are interested in selling their shares because they provide no income and have actually decreased in value since they were bought.
  • You might remember some anonymous person complaining to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council that The Weather Network’s 30-day forecast had only 27 or 28 days in it (and other minor errors). When the CBSC ruled such minor errors do not amount to breaches of its code, the complainant took the matter to the CRTC, which found no reason to intervene. We still don’t know the identity of the complainant.

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Media News Digest: Bell deals with Starz, The Hockey News sold, CTV suspends reporter

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The Super Bowl will not be substituted. The Supreme Court has denied Bell’s request for an emergency stay of the CRTC’s Super Bowl ad substitution decision in advance of next week’s game. But the decision doesn’t dismiss the case entirely, and allows an expedited determination of whether the court will take the case, which means it might be heard in the fall and a decision reached before the 2019 Super Bowl. Barring some miracle, this year’s game will be the same as last one: CTV ads on CTV and U.S. ads on the U.S. network (in this case, NBC). CTV will once again run its watch-to-win contest during the game.
  • Juicebox, Loud, Vibe and Retro, four channels that used to be part of the Much family but were sold to Stingray, have been re-licensed after losing enough subscribers to qualify for licence-exempt status, and then gaining enough to lose that status (200,000 is the magic number). Stingray had asked for a below-normal Canadian content spending quota, and interest groups like ADISQ and the directors and writers guilds asked for higher quotas or special music-related conditions. The CRTC threw out all those requests, noting that the channels are not tied to their formats and deserve no special treatment either way. They are required to spend 10% of revenue on Canadian content.
  • Vintage TV, a 24-hour music network, has similarly applied for and received a licence after passing the 200,000 subscriber mark. Its licence conditions are standard, but the commission was worried about foreign control since 33% of voting shares are held by a U.K. parent company. The licensee must inform the commission of any changes related to its control bylaws.
  • TVA Sports got a minor licence amendment, allowing it to average out the 12-minutes-per-hour advertising limit over a day instead of having to meet it every hour. RDS got a similar condition. This will allow TVA more flexibility when airing content that has fewer chances for commercial interruption (for example, during soccer games).
  • The commission has approved acquisition of CHLW-FM Barriere, B.C., and a new ownership structure for CKOV-FM Strathmore, Alta.

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  • TC Media is shutting down its mobile news application on Jan. 31, directing users to its remaining newspapers’ websites. TC Media is in the process of divesting its newspaper holdings, which once measured in the hundreds, and now amount to a few dozen in Quebec.
  • CNN is shutting down Beme, and ending its relationship with Casey Neistat. If you know what those things are, you know more than me.

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Media News Digest: Debra Arbec gets CSA nomination, Spike becomes Paramount, Kim Sullivan wants to be a mom

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Media News Digest: BNN partners with Bloomberg, TSB releases Lapierre crash report, Métro buyer drops out

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At the CRTC

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Media News Digest: RIP 2017, La Presse’s paper edition, and Ralph Noseworthy

Here’s what you missed over the holidays.

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Media News Digest: The TVA mosque imbroglio, Tommy’s last day on CJAD, Pete Marier back on CHOM

The TVA mosque debacle

It took almost three days, but TVA Nouvelles has finally apologized and retracted a story it published Tuesday about a Côte-des-Neiges mosque demanding a city construction crew not have women working on Fridays — and getting that request enshrined “noir sur blanc” in their contract, and several women being reassigned as a result.

The Parti Québécois and influencers like Marie-France Bazzo and Bernard Drainville were quick to denounce the mosque, and right-wing anti-immigrant group La Meute announced a protest at the mosque (it has since cancelled).

The story started smelling fishy almost immediately. The Journal de Montréal posted the TVA story to its website on Tuesday and assigned a reporter to cover it, but pulled the story quickly after discovering facts that contradicted TVA’s report. (The paper has yet to publish a single story about the whole affair.) The mosque issued a statement denying everything and expressing anger that TVA didn’t try to contact them for comment. La Presse summarizes the denials here.

The Quebec Press Council has received at least two complaints about the story.

On Thursday evening, TVA Nouvelles issued a “mise au point” in which it said the facts have “evolved” (you know, from true to false). It was instantly criticized for not including an apology. On Friday morning, another mise-au-point which included an apology and promises of an internal investigation.

Still, many groups still believe the story is true, and many stories published by other media, like The Rebel (which used the term “no-go zone”, suggesting irresponsibly that the area is dangerous), haven’t been corrected. In some cases, wild and nonsensical conspiracy theories have been concocted to save face.

Among the things the investigation should look at:

  • Why did the journalist not attempt to contact the mosque before going with this story?
  • Were any attempts made to verify what the contractor told her?
  • Why did she insist on describing the demand as “noir-sur-blanc” despite never having seen it herself?
  • Was she lying when she told the mosque’s representatives that she had “filmed” their written demand that women be excluded? Was her confrontational attitude during this exchange justified?
  • Why did TVA broadcast and publish the story before seeking comment from the mosque?
  • Why did TVA Nouvelles take so long to retract the story and even longer to apologize?

I’m also not too optimistic that the results of this investigation will be made public.

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Media News Digest: Conflicts in sports broadcasting, CBC livestreams, CHOM kills Montreal Rocks

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Media News Digest: Supreme Court to hear Vice case, changes at the Globe, Gregg Zaun and Matt Lauer fired

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Media News Digest: FPJQ winners, newspaper section shuffles, BNN hires Amanda Lang

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Media News Digest: Canal+ comes to Canada, Courrier Laval sold, Alexa and Google sign news deals

News about news

  • The Ottawa CItizen’s tradition of putting together a biography of a fallen soldier based on a name tweeted out at random at 11:11am on Remembrance Day continues. Here’s the latest edition.
  • CBC’s ombudsman put out a decision related to a CBC Halifax radio discussion about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ decision to visit the White House to celebrate their Stanley Cup win. A listener complained that more effort should have been made to find balance in their coverage of this, and find more pro-Trump sources. The ombudsman agreed, saying “the coverage was flawed.”
  • Various news organizations are reaching deals with these new smart speakers or assistants or whatever you call them: Google Home and Amazon Echo. Amazon’s Alexa service will carry content from CBC, Global News, CTV, TSN, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post and Montreal Gazette. Google Home has a deal with Postmedia.
  • Rebel Media’s Ezra Levant has pushed his defamation lawsuit against the man behind the @CanadianCynic Twitter account past a preliminary look at whether it’s an abusive suit against public comment. A judge found that Robert Day’s Twitter posts accusing Levant of fraud in a Fort MacMurray fundraiser were not public comment and not protected by the law.
  • Montreal city hall’s new administration is looking for an attaché(e) de presse. The previous media relations person for Montreal’s mayor, Catherine Maurice, previously worked for Projet Montréal before she jumped ship for Coderre’s team.

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Media News Digest: Classic CanCon on YouTube, Moose Jaw paper to close, Transcon sells 21 more papers

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At the CRTC

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  • You all know about Twitter expanding to 280 characters, right? OK, moving on…

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Media News Digest: Fantastiques sans Eric, magazine awards reunited, Aly Lozoff in Vegas

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  • The Suburban held its election “debates”, which consisted of candidates writing answers to the same question, including Beryl Wajsman, who is a candidate for mayor of Westmount and editor of the newspaper. The issue with the answers includes a note from the publisher explaining that “Mr. Wajsman did not know the questions and agreed to have his answers recorded before any of the other candidates arrived, and has had no hand in any Westmount stories since May.” Christine Smith, the interim mayor who’s running against Wajsman, declined to participate because of Wajsman’s conflict.
  • The Montreal Gazette and La Presse collaborated on an investigation into Montreal city contracts. The collaboration is interesting if only because it means the articles need to be translated between French and English.
  • For those looking for live TV coverage of Sunday’s municipal elections, the pickings will be a bit slim. RDI and LCN will have live coverage throughout the night, and most media will have online coverage, but the local stations will have mostly regular programming during the evening. Global Montreal will extend its 11pm newscast to an hour for an election night special, while CTV and CBC will incorporate election results into its regular broadcasts, according to their TV schedules. CBC News Network and CTV News Channel don’t appear to have any plans for special programming.
  • Le Devoir looks at the new charter created by the Association de presse francophone, representing French-language media in English Canada.

At the CRTC

  • Quebec City radio station CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9) has succeeded in getting its licence renewed by the CRTC despite coming short on its requirement for French-language music. Rather than issue a short-term renewal, it has de facto fined the station $920. And once again, the station has been shot down in its request to cut its conditions of licence requiring it to serve the Portneuf region. When it was first approved in 1995, the station was sold to the CRTC as being a local service to Portneuf. Its current owner RNC Media has repeatedly tried to eliminate the requirements to have a studio in Donnacona and 14 hours a week of programming for the region. The CRTC found there was insufficient evidence put forward that such a change was necessary to the station’s financial survival and that the change would be bad for people in the Portneuf region who have no other local station.
  • The commission has denied a request from Vancouver radio station CHLG-FM (LG 104.3) to amend its licence to eliminate the requirement that 15% of its music be special interest. The CRTC found there as no compelling economic reason to approve the change. CHLG-FM is owned by Newcap, purchased out of the Bell-Astral deal.

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Media News Digest: Inaccessible information, FPJQ finalists, and an interview with Bell’s Randy Lennox

News about news

Yet more Weinstein fallout

At the CRTC

  • The CRTC is holding a hearing Jan. 11 at which it will consider measures related to two radio stations with severe compliance issues: CFOR-FM Maniwaki and CKFG-FM Toronto. Both are accused of failing to meet a series of licence conditions and regulatory requirements, and could face sanctions as high as losing their licences.
  • The notice for the same hearing includes details on the Bell acquisition of four FM stations in Ontario from Larche Communications. The deal is worth $15.64 million.
  • Finally, three applications for new radio stations, all Christian music stations by different owners: Sydney, N.S., Regina, and Kelowna/Kamloops, B.C. Deadline for comments on all three of these is Nov. 24.
  • The coming review of mandatory distribution orders has all the applicants pushing for public support. AMI, APTN, Canal MTV5 and the Weather Network have put up websites asking for people to write letters of support to the CRTC. (TWN even has a video to guide people through the process.)
  • The commission is giving Cogeco an extension until March 31 to implement changes to its customer service contract required by the new TV service provider code that went into effect on Sept. 1. Cogeco said an “internal structuring project” was delayed, which meant it couldn’t meet the deadline.

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