Tag Archives: Media News Digest

Media News Digest: Charlottesville aftermath, CRTC reconsideration, Tina Tenneriello hired by City

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At the CRTC

  • The federal government has decided to ask the CRTC to review its licence renewal decisions for major commercial TV broadcasters — Bell Media, Corus, Rogers, Quebecor and V. At issue are two elements of those decisions that have become controversial: standardizing a special quota called “programs of national interest” (defined as long-form documentary, drama, scripted comedy and specific Canadian award shows that celebrate Canadian creative talent) at the lowest minimum the English groups had, and eliminating a special requirement for Corus’s Séries+ and Historia that required expenditures on original first-run French-language content. The actual order hasn’t been posted yet, so Joly’s tweet is actually the most detailed thing we have to go on right now.
  • The CRTC is seeking comment on whether to consider a new commercial radio station in the Lloydminster (Alta./Sask.) market. It received an application from mid-size player Vista Radio, which already owns CKLM-FM (106.1 The Goat) in the market. The only other commercial station is CKSA-FM (Real Country 95.9), owned by Newcap Radio.
  • Full seven-year licence renewals for three Bell Media stations: Rouge FM in Sherbrooke and Quebec City, and Énergie in Saguenay. ADISQ, Quebec’s music industry association, had complained that Bell wasn’t running enough French music because of the number of music montages being aired.

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Media News Digest: Rouge FM gets a new logo, Cult MTL turns 5, Sue Montgomery runs for office again

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At the CRTC

  • Besides formalizing previously approved changes to regulations about discretionary channels and television and television distribution (the latter including allowing vertically integrated companies to divert money from community channels to local TV stations), and asking for comments about adding dispute resolution measures to video-on-demand services, the commission has been pretty quiet this week.
  • The other group that was left empty-handed in the urban Indigenous radio station proceeding is also appealing the result. VMS Media argues that CRTC commissioner Linda Vennard, who sat on the panel for the proceeding, was in a conflict of interest because she accepted gifts from an ethnic broadcaster that the commission argued would be negatively affected by VMS’s proposal for a hybrid ethnic-Indigenous format. Vennard had already been found in a conflict for those gifts in an unrelated proceeding.

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Rouge FM’s new logo

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  • Cult MTL is celebrating its fifth birthday this week. And it’s holding a party on Saturday for people interested in celebrating.
  • Employees at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, who have been on strike for 18 months, look like they could be heading back to work finally, with news of a deal in principle with the union. The deal must be ratified by employees before the strike ends.

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Media News Digest: Four anchors for The National, Bell tries again for Super Bowl ads, Brooksy moves to Toronto

After a week off that we’ll pretend was planned all along, here’s what the media has been up to since the last time.

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  • Some Bell Media Radio stations have been made available again on the TuneIn app, including CJAD, TSN 690 and CHOM. My random selection of various Bell Media stations suggests that the only ones that are still unavailable are the Virgin Radio stations. It’s still unclear what the issue it. Bell had earlier said that it didn’t ask TuneIn to pull the stations from its app.
  • Sportsnet 650 Vancouver has announced more hirings: Scott Rintoul and Andrew Walker host the drive show. The station, which has acquired Vancouver Canucks broadcast rights, launches Sept. 4.

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Media News Digest: New CRTC chair, Bell dropped from TuneIn, no love for francophone music

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Media News Digest: Licence renewals for CKIN and CJRS, Joanne Vrakas is pregnant again

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  • Be careful about your questions, journalists.
  • A high school newspaper spotted a cellphone number for the U.S. secretary of defence on a piece of paper photographed by the Washington Post and used it to conduct an interview with the guy.

At the CRTC

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Media News Digest: CP makes it Indigenous, Sportsnet 650 morning team, Order of Canada appointments

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Media News Digest: Another departure at CRTC, cuts at Bell TV1, CBC debuts Seat at the Table

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Peter Menzies, vice-chair telecommunications, is stepping down on July 15, a year before the end of his mandate. This departure leaves only four permanent commissioners when there can be up to 13. Five positions — and all three senior positions — are listed as vacant (one of which, the chairperson, is being temporarily filled by Judith LaRocque, and another is in dispute as Raj Shoan continues his legal battles). The federal government needs to get moving on replacements.
  • A notice of hearing for Sept. 7. Besides the radio compliance issues are other applications:
    • An application by CIHW-FM Wendake to upgrade from a 50-watt low-power station to a 400-watt regular-power station. The increase in power would allow the station to be received in nearby Quebec City, to serve the indigenous population living closer to the provincial capital.
    • An application by Stingray for new licences for Stingray Juicebox, Stingray Loud, Stingray Retro and Stingray Vibe. These music video channels that Stingray bought from Bell Media had their licences revoked because they had fewer than 200,000 subscribers and so qualified for an exemption from licensing. Stingray says all four now have had more than 210,000 subscribers for three consecutive months, being distributed by Rogers, Shaw Cable, Eastlink, Telus, Sasktel, Cogeco, Zazeen and others.
    • An application by Vintage TV Canada for a discretionary service licence. Similar to Stingray, this is an existing channel that no longer qualifies for an exemption because of the growth in subscriber numbers.
    • An application for the sale of CJUI-FM Kelowna, B.C. (103.9 Juice FM), from Vista Radio to Avenue Radio, for $650,000.
    • An application by CKRW in Whitehorse to replace its main AM transmitter with an FM one. (It currently has temporary authority to use its FM transmitter as its main.) The new transmitter in Whitehorse would have a power of 4,400 watts.
  • The commission has agreed with a request from RNC Media’s CHLX-FM Gatineau (WOW 97,1) to remove a licence requirement that 20% of its music be jazz. The CRTC found that the station met the requirement, continued to lose money, and that deleting the requirement would not unduly impact other stations in the market, and so approved the request. The station was first licensed in 2001 as a classical music station, and in 2008 it got the CRTC to remove most of its specialty music obligations, leaving only the 20% jazz requirement, as it shifted to an adult contemporary format.
  • CKLX-FM Montreal (91.9 Sports) as well as CKXO-FM in Chibougamau have had their licences renewed for a full seven years until 2024.
  • AM-to-FM conversions approved in Norman Wells, NWT (CBC Radio One) and Mount Pearl, N.L. (VOAR)

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City Montreal softball team

  • Members of City Montreal and Breakfast Television, including Elias Makos and Derick Fage, took part in a charity softball game on Tuesday against (but in support of) the McGill Memory Clinic and Jewish General Hospital. The TV team lost 11-2, which they consider better than CBC’s 25-10 loss a week earlier.
  • Like Shaw and Rogers before it, Bell has made cuts at its community channels in large markets to redirect that money to local commercial television stations, per the new CRTC policy. This includes about 20 staff at TV1 in Montreal. I asked Bell to confirm the cuts, and their response was this: “Our ability to now redistribute funds in support of local news presents the opportunity to ensure that our communities continue to receive coverage of the issues that matter most to them. We don’t discuss actual staffing numbers, but there has been some restructuring within Bell TV 1.”
  • Forgot to mention this last week: The nominations for the Prix Gémeaux, Quebec’s television awards, were announced. One of the biggest hits of the year, the daily drama District 31, hasn’t been nominated, because it is the only eligible series in its category, and the rules therefore exclude it. This goes back to the feud between the Gémeaux and producers (Fabienne Larouche and Julie Snyder in particular) that was settled when the Gémeaux split its drama categories into “daily”, “annual” and “seasonal” categories based on the number of episodes a year.
  • The Netflix series Sense8 has been uncancelled long enough for a two-hour finale after overwhelming pressure from the audience.
  • Rupert Murdoch’s proposed $20 billion takeover of Sky has become a political issue in the U.K.

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Media News Digest: Committee report, 32 Habs games on Sportsnet, Tom Buddo let go at Virgin

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Media News Digest: One last Blais blast, indigenous radio stations, CBC launches in London

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Media News Digest: Radio ratings, Dutrizac replaced, QCNA awards

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Media News Digest: RTDNA and magazine awards, Blais responds to CRTC criticism, Mutsumi Takahashi profiled

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  • Bell has renamed the MTS Centre, home of the Winnipeg Jets, as Bell MTS Place.

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Media News Digest: Anger at CRTC, new series at CBC, Heather B joins The Beat

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Media News Digest: CBC and Le Devoir archives digitized, Als stay on TSN 690, Journal de Chambly sold

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At the CRTC

  • The commission issued its licence renewal decisions on Monday for the big private TV broadcasters — TVA, V, Bell Media, Rogers Media and Corus. The headline is that OMNI will get what it wants: nationwide mandatory distribution at $0.12 per subscriber. But only for three years, as the CRTC offers the chance for others to offer something better. I’ll have more highlights from the decisions in another post.

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Media News Digest: National Newspaper Awards, Shoan fired again, Le Devoir archives online

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Media News Digest: Michener finalists, Shoan back at CRTC, mass resignations at K103

Happy World Press Freedom Day!

News about news

At the CRTC

  • He’s baaack! After he won a court challenge to the government’s decision to fire him as a CRTC commissioner (which was itself partly based on a report that was also overturned by a judge), Raj Shoan is once again listed on the CRTC website as the commissioner for Ontario. To say things will be awkward between him and chairperson Jean-Pierre Blais is an understatement, but presumably both will attempt to be professional about it. The judge’s decision wasn’t a complete victory for Shoan, and some of his actions (like meeting with groups that have business before the CRTC) are “troubling”, so another review could still find cause for his dismissal. Or maybe Blais just minimizes his involvement (the chairperson decides who sits on any panels, and Blais did not choose Shoan for anything important) until his term is up next year. (Assuming Blais is re-appointed — his own term ends sooner.)
  • CBC Quebec held its biannual public consultation on Tuesday. The video is here if you want to watch it.
  • The commission has approved the privatization of Sirius XM Canada. The biggest issue for the commission was determining whether the transaction, which would see the CBC sell its shares and three groups (including Sirius XM U.S.) have minority stakes in the company, is considered a change in effective control. The CRTC determined that yes, it is, which means a 6% tax on the value of the transaction to fund Canadian content development. That works out to $29 million, to be paid out over seven years.
  • CBC/Radio-Canada has asked the CRTC for permission to move its Radio One and ICI Première transmitters in Timmins, Ont., from a tower north of the city to its old TV tower much closer. It would be able to cover the same area better by using a higher antenna at lower power.
  • The commission said no to a proposal by Vista Radio to change the licence for CJLT-FM in Medicine Hat, Alta., so it could move from its Christian music programming to more mainstream indie/alternative music. The commission found that the change would have an undue financial impact on existing stations in the market.

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  • There’s more drama at K103 in Kahnawake. Four of the five board members resigned on the same day last week, leaving only Lance Delisle in charge. The people resigning gave various reasons, which they did not elaborate on, but it’s clear that at least some of them are fed up of whatever conflicts are going on at the station. Unfortunately we don’t have details because the people involved aren’t talking.
  • An entry in the Industry Canada broadcasting database has appeared for CFGL-HD, which means that Montreal’s Rythme FM station expects to begin using HD Radio soon. Station owner Cogeco Media also owns CKAC 730 AM, so an FM HD rebroadcast of Radio Circulation seems likely. Other possible uses include a niche music channel or a spillover channel for 98.5FM’s sports coverage. Cogeco also indicated to the CRTC that a move of CKOI-FM to the Mount Royal antenna could allow it to broadcast in HD.
  • CKLW 800 AM in Windsor was knocked off the air by a fire at its transmitter site. It quickly took over the transmitter of sister station AM 580 so people could get news-talk programming.

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