Tag Archives: Media News Digest

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

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At the CRTC

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  • Branchez-Vous, the technology news website that was shut down but resurrected, is shutting down again, for lack of sufficient revenue to remain viable.

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Well hello from @thebeat925 🎤 #throwbackmonday #fillingintime

A post shared by Heather Backman (@heatherbackman) on

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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!

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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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Media News Digest: Canada less free, no more Montreal Billboard, Rogers buys Vancouver AM station

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Media News Digest: Canadian Film Day, Junos go back to CBC, saving jobs in Vancouver

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At the CRTC

  • CHOD-FM, a French-language community radio station serving eastern Ontario, needs to improve its signal, so it has applied to the CRTC for a second transmitter. The second transmitter would use the same frequency (92.1 MHz) and would be located in Dunvegan, along the 417 about halfway between Ottawa and Vaudreuil. Having a synchronized transmitter on the same frequency is hard, especially for a low-budget community station. People between the transmitters will hear a lot of interference if it’s not done perfectly. CHAI-FM 101.9 in Châteauguay tried it with a retransmitter in Candiac, but abandoned that plan and replaced its two-transmitter system with a single transmitter. In a few years we could see CHOD-FM do the same.
  • The CRTC has released its three-year plan. Not much new here, though it finally expects to do its review of French-language music quotas on radio in 2017-18.
  • The commission’s decision on differential pricing and zero-rating, a process prompted by a complain about Videotron making access to online music services exempt from data charges and data caps, will be delivered Thursday at 4pm.

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  • The union representing staff at Postmedia’s Vancouver papers has reached a tentative agreement with the company to save 21 of the 54 jobs cut recently. The deal would see most employees work only four days every other week. Union members will vote on the deal today.
  • The Boston Globe is reorganizing its staff as newspapers have tended to do these days. They’ll be broken down into teams, some covering breaking news, others on beats and investigations, and a dedicated print team.
  • The New York Times is changing the way it does placelines because readers don’t understand what they mean. (The fact that many news organizations use fake placelines when covering a story from a distance doesn’t help.) Instead of putting, say, “BEIRUT —” at the beginning of a story, the location of the journalist will go in the byline, as “by Steve Faguy in Beirut”. Purists might scoff at this change, but remember that the NYT refers to these as “datelines” because back in the day when stories would take more than a day to travel around the world, these lines also contained the date a story was written.

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  • One of the things I really like about how the CBC approaches digital video is its embrace of YouTube, not just for posting promos and extras, but full programs to ensure they get as wide an audience as possible. Here, a short 14-minute documentary on a Mohawk school in Kahnawake and the adults working hard to keep it going.
  • Montreal-based WatchMojo.com has started a new web video series called The Lineup, which is a kind of fantasy hockey game show, hosted by Adam Reid.
  • Alex Jones’s lawyer says he’s a “performance artist”. Which I’m sure comes as great comfort to Sandy Hook parents who have been harassed by his supporters because he says the murder of dozens of children was faked by the government.

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Media News Digest: Pulitzers, lawsuit settlements, NHL playoffs, Aislin’s 50th

Now that it looks like it’s finally dying down, here’s who’s written about that Andrew Potter Maclean’s piece and McGill’s reaction to it, in alphabetical order (not including letters to the editor or social media posts):

  1. Paul Adams, iPolitics
  2. Jérémie Bédard-Wien, Ricochet
  3. Frédéric Bérard, Métro
  4. Denise Bombardier, Journal de Montréal
  5. Ann Brocklehurst
  6. Michael Byers, Globe and Mail
  7. Lucinda Chodan, Montreal Gazette
  8. Colby Cosh, National Post
  9. Andrew Coyne, National Post
  10. Dan Delmar, Montreal Gazette
  11. Raymond J. de Souza, National Post
  12. Bernard Drainville, 98.5fm
  13. Sophie Durocher, Journal de Montréal
  14. Sophie Durocher again, Journal de Montréal
  15. Joseph Facal, Journal de Montréal
  16. Michael Friscolanti, Maclean’s
  17. Lysiane Gagnon, La Presse
  18. Jamie Gilcig, Cornwall Free News
  19. Scott Gilmore, Maclean’s
  20. Matt Gurney, The Walrus
  21. Graeme Hamilton, National Post
  22. Allison Hanes, Montreal Gazette
  23. Trevor Hanna, Ricochet
  24. Michael Harris, iPolitics
  25. Joseph Heath, In Due Course
  26. Chantal Hébert, Toronto Star
  27. Barbara Kay, National Post
  28. Jonathan Kay, The Walrus
  29. Philippe Labrecque, Huffington Post Québec
  30. Patrick Lagacé, La Presse
  31. Patrick Lagacé in English, Globe and Mail
  32. Josée Legault, Journal de Montréal
  33. Josée Legault again, Journal de Montréal
  34. Peter Loewen, National Post
  35. Emmett Macfarlane, Maclean’s
  36. Don Macpherson, Montreal Gazette
  37. Candice Malcolm, Toronto Sun
  38. Mylène Moisan, La Presse
  39. Éric Montpetit, Globe and Mail
  40. Brian Myles, Le Devoir
  41. Michèle Ouimet, La Presse
  42. Natalie Pendergast, Journal Pioneer
  43. Nathalie Petrowski, La Presse
  44. Joseph Quesnel, Local XPress
  45. Lise Ravary, Journal de Montréal
  46. Sandrine Ricci, Ricochet
  47. Chris Selley, National Post
  48. Michel Seymour, Huffington Post Québec
  49. Evan Solomon, Maclean’s
  50. Michael Taube, Troy Media
  51. William Watson, National Post
  52. Daniel Weinstock, In Due Course
  53. Ira Wells, Literary Review of Canada
  54. Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail
  55. Suzanne Wexler, Huffington Post
  56. Peter Wheeland, Cult MTL
  57. Barry Wilson, CTV Montreal

Plus:

News about news

At the CRTC

  • As mandated by the CRTC once every two years, CBC Quebec is holding a public consultation with the anglophone community on May 2 in Montreal. Attendance is free and open, but you’re asked to RSVP.
  • First notice of hearing in a while. The applications:
    1. A low-power Native FM station in Potlotek First Nation in St. Peter’s, N.S.
    2. Converting a 5W developmental community FM station in Val-des-Lacs (106.5 FM, near Mont Tremblant) to a low-power community station.
    3. A new French-language community radio station in Ottawa-Gatineau at 1350 AM. This station would use the same frequency, site and signal as the former Radio Centre-Ville Ville-Marie (CIRA-5) retransmitter there (1000W daytime, 180W nighttime).
    4. Dufferin Communications (Evanov Radio) acquiring Christian music station CFWC-FM Brantford, Ont., from Sound of Faith Broadcasting, for $440,000.
    5. Dufferin converting ethnic station CKJS Winnipeg (810 AM) from AM to FM (92.5 MHz, 35,000W). In its application, the company reveals sister station CFJL-FM (Hot 100.5) has lost $700,000 in four years.
    6. A corporate re-organization at Blackgold Broadcasting

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(Note that NBC staff here is for Game 1 of each series only.)

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Media News Digest: Bad week for CBC, Russell Peters, Pepsi and the Surrey Leader

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  • Ed The Sock helped announce some new network called FU Network, which is being billed as the spiritual successor to MuchMusic. It looks like it will be a streaming channel (maybe just a YouTube channel?) and Ed The Sock’s live show (see an example here) will be part of it, but other shows are also planned, depending how much money they can raise. (UPDATE: The YouTube video has been pulled, apparently because Bell Media is using its legal muscle to put a stop to this use of the MuchMusic brand.)
  • A video by Pepsi featuring Kendall Jenner was removed from YouTube and apologized for after people reacted very negatively to its message that a celebrity with a can of pepsi is all that’s needed to end police violence. This piece breaks down all the things wrong with it.

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Media News Digest: CRTC hearing, settlement at CHCH, Quebec helps out newspapers

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With any luck this should return to its usual schedule starting next Wednesday.

Media News Digest: Pottergate, more awards, Bernie St-Laurent is back, RIP Denis McGrath

(Late this week because I survived the Great Steve Faguy Man Cold of 2017)

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There was a Class A shitstorm in Quebec media this week about a piece by Andrew Potter (former Ottawa Citizen editor and current McGill professor) tying the clustertruck on Highway 13 during last week’s snowstorm to some greater social malaise in Quebec. It includes statistics suggesting Quebecers are more socially distant than the rest of Canada, but also had some head-scratching generalizations about restaurants offering two bills and bank machines dispensing $50 bills.

Reaction was swift, with columnists (almost all from francophone Quebec-based media) piling on to condemn it: Jérémie Bédard-Wien, Denise Bombardier, Dan DelmarBernard DrainvilleSophie Durocher, Sophie Durocher againJoseph Facal, Patrick Lagacé, Patrick Lagacé in EnglishJosée Legault, Mylène MoisanMichèle OuimetNathalie Petrowski and Lise Ravary.

Le Soleil even did a fact-check, as did La Presse’s science blog, and even Maclean’s, all finding that Potter’s statistics about Quebec society were accurate, though his conclusion of a “pathological” problem was exaggerated (they say nothing about the anecdotal stuff like restaurant bills).

Potter finally apologized and distanced himself from his own story (earning at least some praise for that rare move). That wasn’t enough, though. McGill, after publicly throwing him under the bus, “accepted his resignation” from his job as head of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (a Maclean’s story says the resignation was not voluntary, citing anonymous sources who also say “numerous high-profile figures have contacted McGill since Monday to express their personal displeasure with the column”, which prompted figures as high as the prime minister’s office to deny involvement). McGill says academic freedom is not at stake, which convinced precisely no one.

The response prompted another wave of hot takes, this time mainly from anglo media (Paul AdamsFrédéric BérardAnn BrocklehurstMichael Byers, Lucinda ChodanColby CoshAndrew CoyneRaymond J. de SouzaMichael Friscolanti, Lysiane GagnonMatt GurneyAllison Hanes, Trevor Hanna, Michael HarrisJoseph HeathChantal Hébert, Barbara KayJonathan Kay, Philippe LabrecqueJosée Legault againPeter LoewenEmmett Macfarlane, Don Macpherson, Candice Malcolm, Éric Montpetit, Brian MylesJoseph QuesnelAaron RandChris Selley, Michel Seymour, Evan SolomonMichael Taube, William WatsonDaniel WeinstockIra WellsMargaret Wente, Suzanne WexlerPeter WheelandBarry Wilson, three professors in Maclean’sa discussion on CBC’s The Current, podcasts at Canadaland and Ricochet, and editorials from the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s and Winnipeg Free Press, plus an untold number of letters to the editor and discussions on social media). The hot takes get even hotter, comparing this scandal to everything from a corrupt third-world government to the Rwandan genocide. And that awful episode of Canadaland was rightfully blasted by its own supporters on Facebook.

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Lori Graham on the CTV float

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Media News Digest: RTDNA Canada regional nominees, Canucks change radio station, more layoffs at Postmedia

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At the CRTC

  • Newcap has asked the CRTC to drop its 15% special-interest music requirement for CHLG-FM 104.3 in Vancouver (one of the stations Bell got rid of after it bought Astral). It says the station lost $10 million in seven years.
  • CBC has applied to replace low-power AM transmitters with low-power FM transmitters in Lebel-sur-Quévillon and Senneterre.

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Media News Digest: Another extension on CRTC jobs, Canadian Screen Awards for non-fiction, Kelly Greig hired by CTV

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At the CRTC

  • The four open CRTC commissioner positions, including chairperson, were supposed to have application deadlines on Monday, but they’ve been extended, again, until March 15.
  • The commission has split the difference in resolving a carriage dispute between Bell TV and MusiquePlus/Musimax. MP/MM complained because Bell was taking the channels out of the first-tier “Good” package in Quebec and leaving them only in the highest-tier “Best” package. And for older subscribers still on theme packs, it would be removed from popular packages there too. The commission rejected Bell’s argument that a channel is considered available in a package even if to take that package a user has to switch packaging systems (and ditch their grandfathered rights). But for the three-tier system, is only requires that Musimax (now just Max) be in the middle-tier “Better” package, and Bell can go ahead and limit MusiquePlus to just the “Best” package.
  • CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais wrote a letter in which he bizarrely says there’s no proof that a 40% drop in viewership of the Super Bowl in English Canada is because Canadians watched it on Fox. I get that you can’t know exactly how much of that drop is due to the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution decision, but to say there’s no direct link between the two is ludicrous.

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Media News Digest: HBO Canada free previews, Jay and Dan among many with new jobs

At the CRTC

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  • Radioplayer Canada launched today. The app, similar to Bell’s iHeartRadio app, has almost every station that isn’t owned by Bell, including all Corus, Rogers and Cogeco radio stations. In Montreal, that includes Cogeco’s The Beat 92.5, 98.5fm, CKOI, Rythme FM and Radio Circulation, plus RNC Media’s 91,9 Sports. So far, at least, it looks like the player doesn’t have preroll ads, and it’s focused less on randomly switching between stations than iHeart. Already found a few bugs related to the location-based station search (it either doesn’t work, or it shows Saskatoon stations for Montreal, and it doesn’t show CBC stations), and neither the Google Play store nor the App Store list this app first when searching for “radioplayer”, which could lead to a lot of people downloading the wrong app.
  • Quebec City’s BLVD 102,1, which has become the home of André Arthur and Nathalie Normandeau, has added Journal de Montréal columnist Sophie Durocher to its lineup, which means it’s now a talk radio station during the morning, day and afternoon weekdays. Between this station, Énergie (Stéphan Dupont, Stéphane Gendron, Jérôme Landry), FM93 (Doc Mailloux, Éric Duhaime) and the original CHOI Radio X (Dominic Maurais, Richard Martineau, Jeff Fillion) it’s a lot of opinionative talk during the day on the radio in that town.
  • CKZU, a shortwave retransmitter of CBC Radio One in Vancouver, is being shut down by the public broadcaster, which argues it can’t justify buying a new transmitter considering the few people who listen on shortwave.

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Media News Digest: PKP’s back at Quebecor, TVO backtracks on TV transmitter shutdown, RIP Stuart McLean

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The federal government has extended until March 6 the deadline to apply for four CRTC commissioner positions, including chairman.
  • RIDE TV, a specialty channel all about horses, has been approved for distribution in Canada. Telus applied for the authorization.
  • The commission has formally revoked the licence of CJBN-TV Kenora, Ont., after Shaw decided not to renew the tiny-market station’s licence. The station, which wasn’t part of the Global TV network, shut down on Jan. 27. Its local programming continues on the local Shaw community TV channel.
  • Radio station CKRW (The Rush) in Whitehorse has applied to the CRTC to temporarily switch its main transmitter from a 50-year-old 1,000-watt AM transmitter to its FM retransmitter, after getting an engineering report that the AM antenna has degraded to the point where it is no longer safe. The temporary switch will be followed by another application to do the same thing on a permanent basis. CKRW also has seven other transmitters in Yukon and one in the Northwest Territories.
  • Former CRTC Quebec commissioner Suzanne Lamarre has joined law firm Therrien Couture, where she will work at its St-Hyacinthe office.

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Media News Digest: Fake news to promote a movie, MLS games on CTV, Véro.tv launches

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