Tag Archives: Media News Digest

Media News Digest: Salvail in trouble, CRTC to review must-carry orders, Mohawk Girls prepares final season

News about news

Harvey Weinstein fallout

I won’t begin to try to compile all the news reports, opinion pieces, hot takes and takedowns that came out of the Harvey Weinstein case (except the head of Amazon Studios being sacked for similar reasons), but I will point out a couple of things locally:

At the CRTC

  • The commission has begun its public hearing on the renewal of cable companies’ licences. The oral portion of the hearing focuses on three topics: how they’re dealing with new channel packaging rules, how they’re working toward a system to use set-top box data for ratings purposes, and how they’re supporting their community TV services. The latter part is getting a lot of attention as groups complain about community TV channels owned by cable companies. Transcripts of the hearing, which concludes Thursday, can be found here.
  • The CRTC has announced a hearing April 30, 2018, to discuss the renewals of most mandatory distribution orders, which require all TV subscribers to have certain channels in their basic service. Most services are requesting the status quo, but three are seeking increases to their per-subscriber wholesale rate: CPAC, from $0.12 to $0.13 a month, APTN from $0.31 to $0.36 a month, and audio service Canal M from $0.02 to $0.04 a month. APTN is also requesting a reduction in its CanCon quota from 75% to 70%. Other services requesting renewal are AMI, The Weather Network/MétéoMédia, TV5/Unis, and the Nunavut and NWT legislatures (whose distribution comes with no wholesale fee). Others, such as CBC NN, RDI, TVA and OMNI, will have theirs reviewed at a later date. In all, mandatory services would represent $1.63 in French-language markets (slightly less in English-language ones) if all the increases are approved, which in a world of $25 a month basic cable makes a big difference to distributors’ bottom lines.
  • The CRTC has published two complaints against OMNI over its decision to outsource the production of its Cantonese and Mandarin daily newscasts to Fairchild, which owns Canada’s Chinese-language TV channels. The main complaint by the Unifor union says that OMNI’s licence clearly says OMNI must “produce” the newscasts in question. Comments on the complaints are due Nov. 16.
  • The commission is suspending a proceeding involving a dispute between EBox and Bell Media while it determines how much of the information provided by Bell should be part of the public record.

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Media News Digest: Journalists shielded, CRTC launches consultation, TVA president retires

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Media News Digest: Global Montreal hosts municipal debates, Groupe Capitales Médias cuts ties with La Presse

News about news

  • Tom Petty died, then undied, then died again within 24 hours. The confusion began when CBS News reported Petty’s death, citing the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD later apologized for “inadvertently” presenting false information to journalists. Petty had suffered a heart attack, but was technically still alive. The error prompted the usual holier-than-thou handwringing scolding journalists to get it right (without of course setting any standard for when you consider something “right”). The lesson to take out of this, once again, is that even official sources can be wrong.
  • The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has come out with decisions against Global News BC and CTV News Vancouver over their decisions to air video of a stabbing at a school in Abbotsford, B.C. Though both broadcasters were aware of the sensitivity of the video, issued warnings about their broadcast (though Global failed to do so in one instance) and even blurred parts of it, the CBSC found that “the video, even in its edited form, did not contribute to the story and therefore showed inappropriate editorial judgment on the part of the broadcaster” on top of being disrespectful to a young victim. Both were required to issue on-air apologies.
  • In a decision that is for some reason undated, the National Newsmedia Council has dismissed a complaint against the National Post that accused it of stealing a Blacklock’s Reporter story without credit. The council found that both organizations reported the same story independently, with the Post publishing a day after Blacklock’s.
  • TVA has suspended Luc Lavoie after he made a joke on LCN about hunting separatists with guns.
  • The Assemblée francophone de l’Ontario has made propositions to protect francophone media in the province, among them requiring the provincial government to devote 5% of ad spending to francophone media.
  • The heads of francophone media outlets in Quebec gathered for a panel discussion about the future of media. Le Devoir summarizes how it went.

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Media News Digest: CBC Montreal open house, EBOX complains about Bell Media, Mercer Report starts final season

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At the CRTC

  • The Globe’s Christine Dobby sits down with new CRTC chair Ian Scott.
  • Michael Geist points out an order in council issued last week that requires the CRTC produce a report about how programming is distributed and how that will change in the coming years. This sounds a lot like work the commission has already done in its Let’s Talk TV process and discoverability conferences.
  • EBOX, an independent Internet provider in Quebec and Ontario, has decided to enter the TV distribution industry in Quebec’s major cities, but has run into a wall negotiating a distribution deal with … oh, go ahead, guess … yup, Bell Media. According to EBOX’s complaint of undue preference at the CRTC, Bell cut off negotiations, citing something about EBOX’s behaviour, and said it was no longer interested in allowing any Bell Media channels (TSN, RDS, Discovery, Space, Bravo, D, Vie, Investigation, CTV News Channel, Comedy, Much, Z, TMN, HBO) to be distributed by EBOX. Bell’s initial response says it has done nothing against the rules and will explain its dealings with EBOX.
  • Michael Geist notes (and CBC picks up) that Bell argued at a committee hearing into NAFTA renegotiations that there should be criminal provisions to prevent piracy and a CRTC-managed list of websites that Canadian ISPs should block for piracy violations.

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Media News Digest: Bad Blood debuts, Randy Renaud replaces Tootall, The Bridge replaces Cinq à six

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At the CRTC

  • Evanov Radio has proposed a way out of its Toronto problem: A station licensed to the suburb of Orangeville (CIDC-FM Z103.5) that’s being prevented from formally expanding into Toronto, and another licensed in downtown Toronto (CIRR-FM Proud FM 103.9) that for technical reasons can’t expand its signal beyond 225W. Under the proposed changes, Z103 increases power but adopts a directional lemon-shaped signal that avoids Toronto, while Proud FM goes from 225W to 10,000W and changes frequency from 103.9 to 103.7 to greatly expand its reach in Canada’s largest city. The applications are posted here and accepting comments until Oct. 16. The CRTC has screwed over Z103 by on the one hand preventing it from offering a better signal in Toronto because it’s licensed to Orangeville, but on the other hand licensing another station in Orangeville because it determined that Z103 was too Toronto-focused.
  • Maclean’s has a story about how RT (Russia Today) is still available on Canadian TV providers, usually for free or at very low cost. (Videotron is not one of those providers.) The CRTC says its status is not under review. But as Greg O’Brien notes, someone could file a complaint.
  • The commission has denied a request from Canal Évasion to lower its Canadian programming expenditure quota from 46% to 32%. The commission found holes in its reasoning (comparing Évasion to Astral channels without taking into account changes since their purchase by Bell Media) and determined it would be better to ask for such changes when their licence is up for renewal.
  • The commission has denied a request from the CBC to offer an analog subchannel of CBL-FM (CBC Radio Two Toronto) to a Tamil-language service. The commission felt such a service would compete with a recently-licensed ethnic station and an existing Tamil subchannel service.

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Media News Digest: Complaints about OMNI, Global Quebec turns 20, L’Actualité changes format

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At the CRTC

  • New chairman Ian Scott has issued a statement as he begins his mandate. It’s brief, but seems to focus on the consumer-oriented mandate of his predecessor Jean-Pierre Blais. It also continues Blais’s tradition of referring to himself as “chief executive officer”, though not his tradition of beginning every statement by paying tribute to the elders of the closest indigenous people.
  • Unifor has announced it will file a CRTC complaint against Rogers’s OMNI over its decision to outsource the production of its Mandarin and Cantonese newscasts to Fairchild, which owns Canada’s biggest Chinese television channel and runs the main competitor in providing Canadians with news in these languages. Unifor argues this goes against the licence granted to OMNI and the accompanying must-carry order, which says “the licensee shall produce and broadcast” daily newscasts in the four languages (it produces the Punjabi and Italian newscasts in-house). The commission may have to split hairs on what the word “produce” means in this context.
  • Speaking of OMNI, Rogers filed a request to amend the licence for its new OMNI regional feeds to correct what it saw as a typo: It required ICI in Quebec to produce 14 hours of original local programming a week for the Quebec OMNI feed, when Rogers says it meant to say 14 hours a month. But intervenors including Quebecor, Cogeco and the Community Media Advocacy Centre strongly objected to this, saying it amounts to getting a licence under false pretences. Complicating matters is that the conditions of licence first imposed on ICI in 2012 contain an inconsistency between French and English versions. The French version says “le titulaire doit, au cours de chaque semaine de radiodiffusion, diffuser 14 heures d’émissions locales originales à caractère ethnique, calculées mensuellement”, while the English version says “in each broadcast month, the licensee shall broadcast 14 hours of original local ethnic programming, calculated monthly.” (Emphasis mine.) The preamble in both languages makes clear that ICI’s commitment was 14 hours a week of local ethnic programming, but didn’t specify that this commitment was for original programs. It’s also redundant to say “each broadcast month” and “calculated monthly.” Until this application is approved, ICI’s original condition of licence remains.
  • The commission has approved a request by CHOD-FM Cornwall, a francophone community station serving eastern Ontario, for another transmitter farther north in Dunvegan (I first reported on this in April). The new transmitter is on the same frequency, 92.1 MHz, so they’ll either need to synchronize the two (which is tricky) or there’s gonna be interference for people between the two transmitters.

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Media News Digest: CHCH picks up House of Cards, TTP is hiring, The Athletic expands again

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At the CRTC

  • Ian Scott is now the CRTC’s chairperson. The Globe and Mail and Financial Post look at the files on his table. They include wireless roaming, broadband access and the Bell Super Bowl ad appeal.
  • After determining that the two markets can sustain a new radio station, the CRTC has received three applications each for new stations in Georgina, Ont. (southeast of Barrie) and Grimsby/Beamsville, Ont. (between Hamilton and Niagara Falls). All six are for music stations and are from small or mid-size broadcasters like My Broadcasting Corp., Evanov Radio, Durham Radio, Byrnes, Frank Torres and Bhupinder Bola.

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Media News Digest: Sportsnet richer than TSN, Evan Solomon goes national, Gazette and Globe cut columns

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At the CRTC

  • It’s Sept. 1, which means a lot of new licences take effect today, including those of TV services owned by Bell, Rogers, Corus, Quebecor and V. Also starting today, OMNI starts charging a mandatory 12 cents a month to all TV subscribers in Canada.
  • The commission has finally released financial details of specialty (now referred to as discretionary) channels for the year ending Aug. 31, 2016. Among the highlights:
    • Sportsnet saw a huge nine-figure jump in ad revenue, and made $93.6 million in profit in 2015-16, making it the most profitable television channel in Canada. Add in Sportsnet One ($44.8 million), Sportsnet 360 ($1.2 million) and Sportsnet World ($2.7 million) and the Sportsnet channels had $142.3 million in profit in one year. This is the first year that Sportsnet (just the regional channels) surpasses TSN in total revenue, total expenses and total profit. But TSN still has slightly more subscribers and slightly more revenue from subscriber fees.
    • The acquisition of national NHL rights meant a huge change for TVA Sports, causing its subscriber revenue to quadruple in a year. But its programming expenses also quadrupled, and it went from losing $20 million in the year before the rights change to losing $40 million the year after. Reducing expenses has allowed it to recover slightly in 2016.
    • Early numbers for Viceland Canada don’t tell us much. The channel was rebranded from Bio halfway through the 2015-16 year, and was on free preview for a while.
    • FXX Canada, the little sister to FX Canada, has squeaked into the black in its third year.
    • Numbers for G4 Canada show a dramatic 87% drop in the number of subscribers in 2015-16, pushing it into the red despite spending $0 on Canadian programming. This explains why Rogers has decided to shut down the channel, which no longer exists as of today.
    • RDS Info is continuing to bleed money, with revenue covering only about half of expenses. Profits from RDS more than make up for that, though.
    • Zombie channel Book Television, which has zero staff, zero original programming and little worth watching, still has more than 2 million subscribers and made $1.28 million in profit that year.
  • The commission has renewed the licence of CIRA-FM (Radio Ville-Marie) in Montreal and its retransmitters. The five-year renewal reflects some compliance issues, including appeals for donations that said without money the station could cease to exist — CRTC policy prohibits such threats.
  • With licences set to expire, the CRTC has given itself an extension until Dec. 31 to process the renewals of several radio stations, including CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9) in Donnacona, Quebec, near Quebec City. It also gave itself another year for CIBL-FM 101.5 Montreal.

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Media News Digest: The Rebel’s bad week, The Jewel moves, TC sells more papers

News about news

*UPDATE: Nora Loreto, who wrote the piece linked to above, objects to the way this was originally written and says she does not condone attacking journalists. You can judge for yourself whether she defends the Black Bloc in general in this piece.

At the CRTC

  • The government order requiring the CRTC to reconsider its TV licence renewal decisions has been posted. It asks the commission to consider, for the French-language decisions, “how it can be ensured that significant contributions are made to the creation and presentation of original French-language programming and music programming,” and for the English-language ones, “how it can be ensured that significant contributions are made to the creation and presentation of programs of national interest, music programming, short films and short-form documentaries,” and “take into consideration that creators of Canadian programming are key to the Canadian broadcasting system and that, while the industry is going through a transformation, Canadian programming and a dynamic creative sector are vital to the system’s competitiveness and contribute to Canada’s economy.” Nothing specific, but it does bring into question decisions related to quotas for programs of national interest, the elimination of special requirements for contributions to the BravoFACT and MuchFACT production funds by Bravo and Much, respectively, and to the Remstar Fund by MusiquePlus and MAX.
  • CJSO-FM 101,7 Sorel has had its licence renewed for two years. The station failed to install a public alerting system before the deadline and failed to provide proper program logs. In addition to the short-term renewal for repeated non-compliance, the station is being required to broadcast a message announcing its compliance failure to its audience.
  • Another station getting a licence renewal is CKBK-FM Thamesville, Ont. This despite failure to file annual reports and the fact that it failed to respond to the CRTC’s requests for information about that issue.
  • Shaw has gotten a temporary exception from the CRTC about how it distributes TV channels. Shaw had complained about a rule setting a quota on how many independent services to distribute related to the number of related (i.e. Shaw- or Corus-owned) channels. Because there’s a change in categories of specialty channels (which become “discretionary” channels because they no longer have to be specialized), Shaw would be technically in non-compliance as of Sept. 1 for one year. Shaw gets an exception to the rule, but can’t use it to drop independent channels it’s already carrying.
  • Bloomberg TV Canada has a broadcasting licence now after passing the threshold where it can no longer operate without a licence. The channel must broadcast at least 35% Canadian content as of Sept. 1, and spend at least 10% of revenues on CanCon. With the channel dropping all its original programming, it’s unclear how that will happen.
  • Some uber pedant demanded the CRTC review a decision by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council about a CTV News report that, in the complainant’s view, failed to properly distinguish between a service dog and a support dog. The CRTC found the CBSC was correct in finding that the CTV News story wasn’t wrong.

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  • The Jewel 106.7 has a new home, in Plaza Pointe-Claire near St-Jean Blvd. and Highway 20. It stresses that it remains committed to serving off-island communities despite moving away from them, but this reinforces the fact that it sees its big market as the West Island, even though it told the CRTC that Hudson/St-Lazare sees itself as separate from Montreal.
  • CBC News looks at the coming battle between TSN 1040 in Vancouver and its new competitor, Sportsnet 650. Both TSN 1040 and Sportsnet 650 have since announced their full lineups. Unmentioned in the story is TSN 1410, its second station. With no more Canucks games to broadcast, does TSN really still need a full-time overflow station? Or should Bell consider another vocation for CFTE, like an all-news station with maybe some sports overflow at night?
  • La Presse speaks to program directors at francophone music stations about how they’re dealing with competition from streaming services. Talk has a lot to do with it, and stations are impatient for the CRTC to finally review French-language music quotas.
  • Canadaland has a guest opinion piece by Nick Fillmore about the issues he has with CBC Radio. It’s a bit harsh, but it makes the point that personal “storytelling” shows of late are taking the place of big-issue shows. I think personal storytelling has its place, but there seems to have been a surge in the number of interview shows where first-person stories are taking the place of journalism and documentary of old, mainly because it’s cheaper to produce.

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  • Quebecor is bailing out the Cinéma Impérial, which otherwise likely would have been crushed by its own debt. In exchange for taking over its mortgage debt, Quebecor gets two seats on a six-seat board, with the Losique family having two and the two others to be independent. Meanwhile, the neverending trainwreck that is the Montreal World Film Festival continues with Serge Losique at the helm, and the Cinéma Impérial acting as the only theatre.

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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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At the CRTC

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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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At the CRTC

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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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At the CRTC

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