Tag Archives: Media News Digest

Media News Digest: Bell/Vice deal, John Bartlett jumps back to Sportsnet, Rogers wants to sell magazines

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Media News Digest: Supreme Court takes sources case, Attraction Radio sold, Saroja Coelho leaves CBC Quebec

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At the CRTC

  • There was no public process, but the CRTC has approved the acquisition of Attraction Radio and its 14 radio stations for $21 million. The new owner is Sylvain Chamberland, who already leads the group and co-founded it with Attraction Media owner Richard Speer. He has 50.25% of the stake in the new group, with the rest going to the CSN’s Fondaction fund. The deal was announced in March, and means Speer’s Attraction Media will no longer have radio assets. (It also means Attraction Radio will need a new name and identity.) The CRTC had some issues with the agreement between Chamberland and Fondaction, and they agreed to changes in wording to ensure that Chamberland remains the person in effective control of the radio licenses.

Ethical reviews

Another dump of Quebec press council decisions:

  • A 2016 decision about a series of 2015 columns by La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé was appealed and then sent back to be reconsidered after the appeals committee found that they should be analyzed as factual journalism rather than opinion journalism. The review nevertheless maintained that as a columnist Lagacé is not bound by the same rules about balance and has leeway in his writing. This is a problem that I think needs further study. As newsrooms and particularly newspapers cut back on staff, we often see columnists doing original reporting, and newspapers doing away with companion factual news stories because they’re seen as redundant. In other words, they’re trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Columnists are considered journalists and their reporting treated as front-page scoops, but when they’re called out for any bias in their stories, they hide behind their columnist logo. (I’m not speaking about Lagacé here — I haven’t read the stories and have no opinion on their potential bias.) We need new rules to reflect this new reality.
  • Stéphane Thibodeau vs. Le Soleil: A complaint about a story on the ridiculous pseudoscience of “electromagnetic hygiene” was dismissed because the story was found not to be a de facto advertisement for the company mentioned in the story, and the complaints about impartiality were not specific enough. The story is single-source and presents absolutely no skepticism about the idea that electromagnetism is dangerous to your health, that fluorescent light bulbs pose a risk of mercury poisoning or that LED light bulbs create “dirty electricity”, whatever that is.
  • Union des producteurs agricoles vs. La terre de chez nous: A complaint about a story critical of the UPA was judged to be outside the press council’s jurisdiction because it was in the form of an opinion piece submitted by the public.
  • Jimmy Girard vs. La Presse: A story about an investigation into a man who allegedly encouraged people to not pay taxes based its reporting on information submitted to court to obtain a warrant, and made that clear in a story that accurately reflected its contents, and so Girard’s complaints as to accuracy were dismissed.
  • Autobus Dufresne vs. Le Soleil de Châteauguay: The bus company subcontracted by the Conseil intermunicipal de transport du Haut-Saint-Laurent (CITHSL) complained about the Soleil story about a lawsuit because it believed the word “transporteur” could have been construed to refer to it rather than the transit agency. The council found that was not the case, because, among other things, Autobus Dufresne is never mentioned in the article. Dufresne also complained about the photo used, because it shows a bus with the word “Dufresne” clearly visible. The council was split on this, with 4/5 finding no fault in presenting a story about a transit agency with a photo of a bus being used on one of that agency’s routes.
  • Josée Couture vs. Le Soleil: A François Bourque column about Frédérick Tétu, who resigned from his teaching job after a radio appearance as a CHOI-FM contributor sounded like he was drunk on-air (he said he was just extremely tired) found no fault, and the complaint that bringing up his teaching job was an invasion of privacy was dismissed because it’s relevant, he’s a public figure, and he himself had brought that up publicly in the past.
  • Marc Plamondon vs. 24/60: A TV interview with far-right French party leader Marine Le Pen was not unfair or unduly hostile to her.
  • Julie Lévesque vs. La Presse: A François Cardinal editorial that mentioned an attack on Khan Shaykhun in Syria was based on reliable sources and, while it could have been less firm about assigning responsibility for the attack, did not violate the ethics code.
  • Huguette Poitras vs. La Presse and Le Soleil: A story about disputes between neighbours was criticized by Poitras for not getting her side of the story after speaking with the neighbour she was in conflict with. The story did not name Poitras, but she said people close to her recognized her from the description in the story. La Presse had already apologized for not getting the neighbour’s side of the story. The council said it’s not enough that people close to you recognize you, but strangers must be able to easily identify you based on what’s in the story for it to violate your privacy. As for the lack of balance, 4/6 panel members dismissed that complaint because that particular conflict was not the focus of the article.

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Media News Digest: Press council reverses Homolka blame, the Roast of Tony Marinaro, Celine Cooper ends Gazette column

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At the CRTC

  • The commission has published the applications for the acquisition of Évasion and Zeste by Quebecor and Newcap by Stingray. The deadline for comments is Sept. 4.
  • Looks like no public comments were filed with the CRTC about the proposed licence renewal of CFNV 940.
  • The proposed acquisition of RNC Media radio stations by Cogeco prompted only two comments, one by ADISQ questioning Cogeco’s plans for expanding the Rythme FM network and suggesting closer monitoring of licence compliance, and one by District Média seeking assurances that Cogeco won’t abandon its affiliation agreement for Rythme FM in Saguenay now that it will own stations in that market.
  • The commission has denied an application by Bell Media to boost the power of CKKW-FM (KFUN 99.5) in Kitchener. Bell argued that thermal ducting was causing interference to the signal and that people in Kitchener were getting the HD Radio signal of WDCX-FM Buffalo. The CRTC said CKKW adding HD Radio to its own signal would probably solve the HD Radio interference, and analog interference problems it reported were not from people in its primary service area.

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Media News Digest: White House bars CNN reporter, layoffs at NY Daily News

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At the CRTC

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TV

  • Roku has launched a free ad-supported streaming channel in Canada. The selection is pretty weak — highlights include the 1995 Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movie Bad Boys, 12 seasons of Unsolved Mysteries, some John Wayne movies and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • Bell signed a content deal at Just For Laughs with Jae and Trey Richards of 4YE, to produce an eight-part comedy web series called Judge Tyco for Much Studios.
  • Speaking of Just For Laughs, there was a lot of TV taping going on there. I don’t have an exhaustive list, but the ones I’m aware of:
    • The galas, as usual, recorded in both languages for various uses
    • France’s Canal+ at the Quebec/France show at Cinquième Salle, for broadcast this fall
    • An Amazon Prime Video documentary series following some of the New Faces at their Monument National and Katacombes performances
    • Netflix taping solo shows in French and English at Club Soda and Monument National
    • Comedy (soon to be CTV Comedy) recording the Katherine Ryan standup shows and Homegrown Comics show at L’Astral
    • Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud recording LOL Live at Théâtre Berri
  • HBO will broadcast a recording of a live Flight of the Conchords special this fall.
  • OMNI begins the second season of scripted comedy series Second Jen on Aug. 4.
  • A plan is in place to bring back Buffy The Vampire Slayer to TV. But don’t worry, they’re not replacing the characters.
  • Hearst Television in the U.S. has shut down the transmitter for WNNE, its 40-year-old station in Hartford, Vt., which has sold its spectrum for $50 million for wireless companies to expand. WNNE, a sister station (and de facto retransmitter) of WPTZ in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has moved its city of licence to Montpelier and is sharing a channel with WPTZ. The net effect is virtually unnoticeable for viewers in the north of the state and in Canada, as digital channel 5.2 will still carry CW programming, with CW now the primary network of WNNE.

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Media News Digest: KIC Country licence renewed, Mulcair in and Farber out at CJAD, Tenneriello leaves City

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Media News Digest: La Presse officially nonprofit, Comedy Gold sale approved, Globe hiring pot reporters

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Media News Digest: Cuts at Le Soleil, Jeff Fillion again, Rolling Stone redesign

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Media News Digest: Postmedia cuts again, journalists allowed to block on Twitter, StarMetro lays off 21

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Media News Digest: More repeats on CBC News Network, QCNA Awards, new editors at Toronto Star and Le Devoir

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At the CRTC

  • The commission held a hearing this week where four radio stations begged for their lives, err, I mean explained their chronic issues with licence compliance — CKMN-FM Rimouski, CHOC-FM Saint-Rémi, CKWR-FM Kitchener and CKUN-FM Christian Island. The transcript is here.
  • A commission letter to the Bell Fund, an independent production fund set up by Bell to dole out some of its mandatory contributions to Canadian content, says that its board makeup appears to be insufficiently independent of Bell. This is part of a complaint by several broadcasting groups that a new program set up by the fund unfairly discriminates against smaller broadcasters.
  • RNC Media has asked the CRTC to maintain its Independent Local News Fund allocation despite having shut down TV station CKRN-DT in Abitibi. RNC says it has moved all CKRN’s news resources to CFVS (its V affiliate) and produces the same amount of local news in the market as before.
  • Colba.Net has thrown in the towel on a TV distribution service in Ontario, and handed its licence back to the commission.
  • Native radio station CKOK-FM Nain, N.L., has been told it can’t be exempt from the national public alerting system, despite the argument that such a regulation is at odds with UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
  • Licence renewals for Pattison-owned radio stations CKWD-FM (Wild 95.3) Calgary and CKNO-FM (102.3 NOW!) Edmonton

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  • The Quebec Community Newspaper Association awards winners list has been posted. In the overall newspaper category, first place goes to Kahnawake’s Eastern Door, and second and third place to two editions of The Suburban.

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Media News Digest: Influence questioned, Rogers cuts 75, Fazioli out at City

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Media News Digest: U.S. spies on NYT, TVA people can’t work on the radio, Le Devoir redesigns

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Media News Digest: RTDNA national awards, some fall TV plans, Global News Radio adds seventh station

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Media News Digest: English Quebec leaders’ debate, new Gazette columnists, Cogeco CEO retiring

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Media News Digest: NNA & CAJ awards, Star bringing back paywall, NBC saves Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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At the CRTC

  • Evanov Radio is trying again with its plan to reconfigure its two Toronto-area radio stations to turn at least one into a bona fide Toronto station. Like its last attempt, this new one involves converting CIDC-FM (Z103.5) into a station serving Orangeville (as it was licensed to do) and clearing the way for CIRR-FM (Proud FM 103.9) to increase power to cover all of downtown Toronto. But after the last attempt was deemed technically unacceptable by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (which regulates radio spectrum) because of interference it would cause to other stations, this one tries another option: move CIDC to 103.7, with a signal pointed entirely northwest away from Toronto, and move CIRR to 103.5, allowing it to increase power 100-fold. Evanov also proposed to add an HD transmitter for CIRR, with up to four channels. The first will simulcast the analog signal, but it hasn’t decided what the other three will carry yet.
  • The Supreme Court of Canada will be hearing an appeal by Bell over the CRTC’s Super Bowl ad substitution policy. The court’s focus isn’t on the CRTC’s rules per se, but on the issue of how the courts can overrule decisions by administrative bodies like the CRTC. It’s unclear if we’d get a decision on this by the next Super Bowl in February, but the court has declined a request to expedite the process.
  • Kanesatake’s community radio station CKHQ-FM 101.7 is fighting against a proposed new Christian radio station in Lachute on the same frequency. Under Canadian broadcasting regulations, CKHQ is a low-power station and is unprotected, so if another station gets a licence to operate that would cause interference, CKHQ would have to move to another frequency. The problem is that Kanesatake is close enough to Montreal that there aren’t many frequencies available, even for a tiny 11-watt station. Legally it doesn’t have much to go on, but it’s hoping political pressure will push the CRTC to act in its favour. The station, which can’t be heard outside the immediate area of Kanesatake, has been off the air since last July.

At the CBC

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Media News Digest: Stingray buys Newcap, TC sells Métro, National Magazine Awards noms

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