Tag Archives: Media News Digest

Media News Digest: Ottawa won’t help journalists, layoffs at Maclean’s, Postmedia CEO interviewed

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The broadcasting side is pretty quiet while the commission focuses on the review of its Wireless Code this week.
  • The commission has approved a new FM transmitter for ICI Radio-Canada Première in Sarnia, Ont.
  • The commission has approved the transfer of ownership of Serdy Média (owner of the Évasion and Zeste specialty channels) from Serge Arsenault to his son Sébastien Arsenault.
  • Community radio station CHGA-FM Maniwaki has applied to increase its power as the antenna tower undergoes major maintenance. The new signal would be 16.9kW, up from 2.877kW. It says the increase is necessary to compensate for hilly terrain in the area.

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Media News Digest: Shattered Mirror critics, La Presse+ readership numbers, RIP Benoît Aubin

Wilder Weir was up to his old tricks again last night.

News about news

  • The Public Policy Forum report on the future of journalism in Canada (called Shattered Mirror) has some critics in journalism. Andrew Potter, former editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Citizen, tackles ideas that would have the government deciding what is journalism, and goes on a rant about journalism schools. Paul Wells also is against government meddling in journalism, in a more general sense. Michael Geist unsurprisingly raises an alarm about talk of tightening the fair dealing exception to copyright law.
  • The Union des artistes has reached a deal with Radio-Canada to compensate artists who appear on talk shows or other similar programs. It used to be they’d get to plug themselves (a series or movie they’re in, an upcoming album, a stage tour) but get no money. Now they’ll get $110 for appearing on RDI.
  • The Globe and Mail’s public editor explains how the paper reported on the Quebec City mosque shooting in the hours that followed it, and why it was the second most prominent story on the front page Monday instead of the most prominent one. Sylvia Stead says journalists were working hard to confirm facts, but little was known about the shooting in the first couple of hours, and the Globe wanted to be cautious about reporting details. Her column also notes that the Globe doesn’t have a journalist in Quebec City.

At the CRTC

  • The commission’s biggest story is happening in a courtroom in Toronto, where Raj Shoan, the former commissioner who was fired by the government after a harassment complaint and falling out with chair Jean-Pierre Blais, is challenging his dismissal in court.

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Media News Digest: CRTC hiring, Chronicle-Herald strike hits 1 year, layoffs at Postmedia

News about news

At the CRTC

  • With the commission’s seats slowly emptying out, the federal government has finally started the process of filling them, posting notices for several jobs: chair, vice-chair broadcasting, and members for Ontario and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. Deadlines to apply are Feb. 20. The non-chair positions say that “With the exception of decision-making responsibilities, Members report to the Chairperson,” which is actually a point under some contention at the moment in a legal appeal by the former Ontario member, Raj Shoan. Chair Jean-Pierre Blais’s term ends this year, but the posting of his position doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be re-appointed.
  • The commission has approved the purchase, for $1.5 million, of a majority stake (80.1% of voting shares, 50% of non-voting shares) of World Fishing Network to Keywest Marketing, owned by Canadians Mark Yelic and Hugh McKinnon.

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Media News Digest: Rock 100.9 goes retro pop, New York Times’s future, new city columnist at Montreal Gazette

News about news

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  • Clare Hollingworth, war correspondent who broke the news about the start of the Second World War.

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Media News Digest: 2017 predictions, new native radio stations, Norway drops FM

News about news

At the CRTC

TV

Radio

  • Norway has begun the process of shutting down FM radio, which though it was announced two years ago has gained attention across the world in the past week. (I gave a series of interviews with CBC Radio stations today.) Journalists in other countries are wondering if they could be next. In Canada, at least, that’s just not happening. Digital radio here is still in its infancy.
  • There was no announcement of this, but CHLX-FM, the RNC Media radio station in Gatineau that became a Rythme FM affiliate, has dropped that affiliation and adopted the brand of WOW FM. On Facebook, the station has been telling listeners the change was made to become “100% local”
  • La Voix de St-Lo, the community radio station based in the Centre communautaire Bon Courage de Place Benoit in Saint-Laurent, is moving toward getting the station’s low-power FM transmitter, which was approved last summer, operational. A consultation was held in December about installing the antenna tower, a website has been set up, and the Industry Canada database lists a callsign for it: CJPB-FM. When it’s operational, it will broadcast at 90.7 FM, but its coverage won’t extend much beyond the eastern part of the Saint-Laurent borough.
  • An elementary school has set up a web radio station as an education aid for students.

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Media News Digest: Super Bowl simsub wars, L’actualité sold, Dave Maynard retires from CFCF

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Media News Digest: Facebook’s fake news strategy, Rogers scraps IPTV project, and a Terry and Ted podcast

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The CRTC has approved the acquisition of Manitoba’s MTS by Bell. The CRTC decision concerns only the MTS television provider licence, and an associated licence for its video-on-demand programming, so this approval was expected. The bigger part of the acquisition is MTS’s wireless network and other telecom services. Those don’t require approval by the CRTC, but they do need to be approved by the government, which is now the last step in the approval process for this $3.9-billion deal.
  • Various forces are trying last-ditch political efforts to get the CRTC to reverse its decision on simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl, which is just over a month away. They include an anonymous website being promoted by unions (possibly connected to ACTRA?) urging Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to take action.
  • As NBC prepares to switch its Boston programming from an affiliate to a new owned-and-operated station on Jan. 1, the CRTC has approved the latter for distribution in Canada, so Canadian providers using Boston as their source of U.S. over-the-air networks can make the switch as well. The soon-to-be-former NBC affiliate, WHDH, will fill its schedule with lots of local news, game shows (Family Feud in particular) and filler programming.
  • The commission’s final decisions of 2016 come out today at 4pm (the big one is its decision on basic telecommunications services).

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  • Terry DiMonte and Ted Bird did a Christmas podcast together, during which they talk about things like DiMonte’s decision to leave CHOM for a job in Calgary. Nostalgic radio listeners are already clamouring for them to be permanently reunited again. Don’t hold your breath. (UPDATE: It’s been taken down because Bell Media wasn’t happy with it, according to Bird.)
  • Still no news out of TTP Media, but the on-air message on CFNV 940 AM has changed. And Industry Canada’s database no longer lists the station as on-air testing.

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Happy holidays, folks. I’m assuming little news will break over the holidays, so I might take a break from this as well until January. If something crazy happens, though, I won’t be away from my Twitter for long.

Media News Digest: Spy agency is secretive, newspaper moving day, and loads of free preview channels

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The commission has reiterated a preliminary view that Internet providers can’t block websites without its approval (and such approval would not be given lightly) regardless of a new Quebec law that would make that mandatory for a Loto-Québec-provided list of illegal gambling websites. There’s a court case pending over this, so that view could be overturned by a higher authority.
  • During hearings over the renewal of its licences recently, the CRTC asked Corus (which runs The Disney Channel, Teletoon, YTV and other youth channels in Canada) how long its contract with Disney lasts. Corus wrote in a letter that Disney won’t give it permission to tell the commission (even confidentially) that information. I imagine the commission won’t like that.
  • Yet another transmitter being converted from AM to FM, in Channel-Port-aux-Basques, N.L.

TV

  • Verne Lundquist called his last college football game for CBS after 17 years there, and more than 40 in broadcasting.
  • CTV Montreal now has a new segment on the 11:30pm newscast called The Last Word, in which the anchor reads viewer tweets and Facebook comments about some issue of the day. (It’s not actually the last word, it comes just after sports and before the last commercial break before the wrap-up.)
  • Videotron finally added some long-awaited HD channels, including CTV News Channel and The Comedy Network. But they’re only available in areas that have modernized networks and on next-generation receivers capable of decoding MPEG-4.
  • A bunch of TV channels are on free preview over the holidays on most major providers. The below are available on Videotron, Bell, Cogeco and Shaw until Jan. 16 unless otherwise indicated.
    • Animal Planet (to Jan. 10)
    • Bloomberg TV Canada (to Feb. 28 on Videotron)
    • Canal D
    • Canal Vie
    • CASA
    • CHRGD (to Jan. 31 on Videotron)
    • Cooking Channel (formerly W Movies, to Jan. 31)
    • Euronews (Videotron)
    • Évasion
    • Fight Network (to Jan. 2 on Bell, Shaw and Cogeco)
    • Food Network (to Jan. 4)
    • HIFI (to Jan. 1 on Bell and Shaw)
    • History (to Jan. 4)
    • Hollywood Suite (to Jan. 7 on Bell and Shaw)
    • Gusto (to Jan. 10)
    • ICI Artv
    • ICI Explora
    • Investigation (fr)
    • Love Nature (to Jan. 1)
    • MAX (formerly Musimax)
    • Mezzo Live HD (to Dec. 31 on Bell)
    • MusiquePlus
    • Planète+ (Videotron)
    • RDS
    • RDS2
    • RDS Info
    • Rewind (Videotron)
    • Seasons (to Jan. 27 on Bell, Jan. 3 on Cogeco)
    • Silver Screen Classics (Videotron)
    • Smithsonian Channel (to Jan. 1 on Bell and Shaw)
    • TSN (to Jan. 7 on Shaw)
    • Vrak
    • Z
    • Zeste
  • The MLS Cup final attracted 1.5 million viewers to TSN/RDS on Saturday, setting yet another new record for viewership to an MLS game. Since Toronto was in the final and Montreal wasn’t, less than 100,000 of that viewership was on RDS.
  • Global launched its Durham region local news operation. Global News was there.
  • The Bell Media drama Cardinal has a debut date: Jan. 24 on Crave TV, Jan. 25 on CTV and Jan. 26 on Super Écran. CTV thinks it’s significant that this show is taking over the Designated Survivor timeslot for the winter.

Our radio staff party. @k103_radio. A fun time had by all. That's all I'm allowed to say #Vegas

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Media News Digest: Shaw shuts Kenora TV station, Le Devoir’s new smartphone app, Barry Morgan speaks

News about news

At the CRTC

  • I tried to get some clarification from the CRTC about the status of CFNV 940 AM, whose deadline to launch passed on Nov. 21. A spokesperson tells me: “As per staff information and on the Commission’s record, 7954689 Canada Inc. has informed the Commission that it was ready to commence operations. A licence will be issued once the Commission will have received a copy of all the documents from the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Ministry.” Further clarification later: “The applicant has advised the Commission before its deadline and the deadline was met.” So the station can launch legally without requesting a further extension. We’re still waiting on a decision from the commission on an extension request for the English-language station at 600 AM, whose deadline passed Nov. 9.
  • The commission is cutting staff at its regional offices as it restructures to work more virtually. The offices will remain open, but will have reduced services for the public. It used to be to read applications at the CRTC you had to go to a regional office and look through files. Now, everything is available online, and about the only time you hear about regional offices are when talking about individual commissioners or when someone appears at a hearing via teleconference.
  • Now that a new francophone commissioner has been named (albeit temporarily), the CRTC has restarted the process of reviewing the French-language music quota for French-language commercial radio stations. A hearing date has not been set.
  • The commission has approved (with no public process) transfers of ownership of two independent TV specialty channels:
    • GameTV, from Kilmer Enterprises (owned mainly by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman and minority owner Lawrence Tanenbaum) to Leonard Asper’s Anthem Sports & Entertainment (which also owns Fight Network and FNTSY Sports Network) for $4 million. GameTV is one of the few specialty services to not charge a wholesale fee to TV providers. It’s unclear if this will continue under its new owner. The acquisition was announced in August. Asper tells the commission the channel is unprofitable, but synergies might help the group turn toward profitability.
    • OUTtv, from James Shavick to Ronald N. Stern (via several holding companies), for $850,000. Stern is a major entrepreneur, and owns FP Newspapers, which owns the Winnipeg Free Press.

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Media News Digest: Aboriginal Voices Radio loses in court, CBC wants to go ad-free, Rogers shutting down LouLou

News about news

At the CRTC

The CBC

TV

  • Corus’s W Network has greenlit a new The Bachelor Canada, based on the success of The Bachelorette Canada. No mention is made of the previous The Bachelor Canada, which produced two unsuccessful relationships over two seasons on City TV.
  • The Cooking Channel, which launches Dec. 12 (as a rebrand of W Movies), has announced programming highlights. The channel will be available on most providers.
  • The first leg of the Montreal-Toronto MLS Eastern Conference final set a record as the most-watched MLS game in TSN history, almost doubling the previous record, which was the Montreal-Toronto playoff game last year.
  • Videotron looks to finally add The Comedy Network and CTV News Channel in high definition (though only for subscribers with next-generation Illico boxes), according to illicotech.com. Others are MTV Canada, E!, Gusto, Nickelodeon Canada, Treehouse and Haiti HD. There are still some more it could upgrade, like TVO, BNN and MSNBC, but Comedy and CTV News, both owned by Bell Media, were probably the most in demand.

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Media News Digest: FPJQ conference, fake news, plagiarism at La Presse, changes at Montreal Gazette

FPJQ

News about news

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has published a post explaining the measures his company will take to combat fake news. The task is a delicate one, both because fake news is hard to identify in a way everyone will agree with, and because Facebook doesn’t want to put itself in a position of having to censor the Internet.
  • La Presse has suspended columnist Suzanne Colpron after discovering her stories had repeatedly plagiarized quotes from other publications, including Le Devoir. The suspension is indefinite, and surprisingly not permanent. La Clique du Plateau notes that one of Colpron’s recent columns denounced Melania Trump for plagiarizing Michelle Obama in her speech at the Republican National Convention.
  • CBC remains a punching bag at Canadian Heritage committee hearings. Here’s the Globe and Mail. This week at the CRTC, TVA and V piled on, and today Maxime Bernier, candidate for the Conservative leadership, pledged to reduce the CBC’s budget. They all seem to agree on one point: The CBC should not have government subsidies to compete with private broadcasters and news outlets. CBC’s Hubert Lacroix finally had enough and wrote an open letter to the committee defending its existence.
  • Donald Trump met with the New York Times, after the meeting was originally called off over a difference about what was on and off the record. The transcript is here.
  • Access to information requests are often used by journalists to get things like emails between government officials that were never meant to be public. Some have even used the law to get access to emails that talk about how a government agency will respond to a journalist’s request. But Winnipeg police made use of the law for an inventive purpose: Looking into a journalist. The journalist had inquired about a police officer accused of drug trafficking, and the police queried the justice department for records about communications with the journalist. Needless to say, the media is very concerned about this.

At the CRTC

  • The commission is currently holding a hearing in Laval into TV licence renewals for French-language private broadcasting groups — TVA, V, Bell Media and Corus. I’m covering the hearing for Cartt.ca, and subscribers can find the recap of Tuesday’s session here. All four companies are calling for flexibility and resisting new rules related to local news and spending on Canadian content. But TVA and V are not seeking to reduce the amount of local programming they do outside Montreal. A transcript of the hearing is here, all 63,477 words of it. And La Presse’s Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot also gives his highlights.
  • The CRTC gave one-year licence renewals to major cable companies after reviewing how they’re handling their obligations to provide pick-and-pay channels (even though they only come into effect fully next week). The decision establishes “best practices” to not screw over customers, but doesn’t establish any new conditions of licence. It won’t regulate set-top box prices (which aren’t included in the $25/month skinny basic), or the price of individual channels (which are high enough to make it more expensive than buying packages) or prohibit IPTV providers from requiring Internet service be purchased first to get TV, but it suggests that providers who don’t follow these “best practices” might have conditions imposed on them next year. The one-year licence renewal isn’t punishment, but rather because many other issues related to their licences haven’t been explored yet, including community television programming, which has several outstanding complaints for major providers.

TV

  • Videotron has launched its new TV packaging strategy online in advance of next week’s implementation of the new CRTC pick-and-pay regulations (though Videotron was already largely compliant and had been for years). The focus is still on custom packages, with sports channels being available at a higher tier. Most channels cost $5 à la carte, while TSN 1-5, Sportsnet regional channels, RDS 1/2 and TVA Sports 1/2 cost $15 each, the same as premium channels like TMN/HBO. In most cases it’s easier to take a pick-your-own package than build one à la carte, but there isn’t a very good option for people who want a lot of the cheaper channels.
  • The Montreal Gazette’s Brendan Kelly has a story about 21 Thunder, a soccer-themed drama series for CBC that was shot in Montreal.
  • Speaking of English TV series being shot in Montreal, Bill Brioux notes for Canadian Press that this seems to be an upward trend, despite 19-2 winding down and Quantico moving production to New York.
  • VMedia, a new TV distribution company based in Ontario, has lost a court case against Bell Media after it launched a new service that distributed television signals over the Internet to Roku devices. VMedia interpreted its system as being part of its licensed distribution service, while Bell argued successfully that it was actually an online over-the-top service that requires Bell’s permission to rebroadcast CTV and CTV Two. The judge said ultimately it should be the CRTC resolving this issue. Allowing licensed distributors to offer channels over-the-top would allow them to compete nationwide without setting up expensive wired networks or leasing space from cable and phone companies.
  • VRAK has cancelled its year-end sketch show Meilleur avant le 31, bon pareil le 1er, but it won’t get out of year-end specials entirely. It announced its new comedic news analysis show ALT will have a year-in-review special on New Year’s Eve.
  • TVA is working on a dance reality show and Julie Snyder is appearing more often on Radio-Canada shows these days.
  • Le clan, a Radio-Canada drama series about a man living in rural Quebec under a witness protection program, that the network buried on Saturday nights during its first season, has been picked up for a U.S. pilot in English. Maybe this, along with its popularity here, will convince the broadcaster that the show is more than just a way of fulfilling its obligations to have some dramatic television produced outside of Montreal.
  • 30 vies, the English version of 19-2 and CBC’s Interrupt This Program were all nominated for the International Emmy Awards. They all came back emptyhanded.
  • Sphère Média Plus, which developed 19-2 and Nouvelle adresse into English-language Canadian versions, wants to do the same with its latest hit, L’imposteur, which just wrapped up its first season on TVA. Bell Media is attached to the project.
  • Canadiens behind-the-scenes docu-infomercial 24CH is back for a fifth season on Canal D, RDS, CTV Montreal and TSN. The first episode aired in French last Saturday and will air in English tonight at midnight on TSN5 and Saturday at 1:30pm on CTV Montreal. French episodes air Saturdays 6pm on Canal D and 6:30pm on RDS.
  • Vice has launched Viceland in France. In Quebec, V told the CRTC on Tuesday that Vice shows will begin airing on V and MusiquePlus in February. A Quebec Viceland channel is also planned some time in 2017.

Radio

  • CFNV 940 AM had a deadline of Monday, Nov. 21, to launch. It’s broadcasting music with recorded messages asking people to report reception/interference issues, which suggests it’s still in the on-air testing phase. I’ve asked the CRTC for clarification on its status. In the meantime, it has a Twitter account, which notes in a reply that regular programming should begin at the beginning of 2017. Still no website, or even really a brand beyond its frequency. And a video posted last month and then deleted, in which partner Nicolas Tétrault shows off the transmitter site, has been reposted to YouTube.
  • A Winnipeg Free Press profile of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network notes that it plans a U.S. expansion, but also that it has made a proposal to re-establish a network of urban indigenous radio stations that was once Aboriginal Voices Radio. AVR lost its licences for stations in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver last year after the CRTC decided its repeated violations of licence conditions were too much. It has called for new applications for those frequencies, with indigenous stations given priority, but that process is on hold while AVR appeals the CRTC’s decision.
  • Bell Media has re-assembled a 24-station network that will broadcast the Grey Cup on Sunday. It includes TSN Radio stations, naturally, but also many others. It’s much heavier out west than east, with only two stations east of Ottawa: Montreal’s TSN 690 and Halifax’s News 95.7.

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  • The CBC podcast Someone Knows Something, aka Canadian Serial, is back for a second season.
  • Gilbert Rozon has apologized after an ad for Montreal’s 375th anniversary showed only white Quebec artists. Rozon is rightfully accepting the blame, but it’s as much an indication of the whiteness of the artistic community (particularly its biggest stars) as it is the cluelessness of the organizing committee.
  • Wind Mobile, now owned by Shaw, has been renamed as Freedom Mobile. The Globe and Mail suggests they didn’t just go with Shaw Mobile mainly because they need to improve the network before attaching that brand to it.

News about people

Good reads

  • The New York Times on how a single tweet based on an incorrect assumption led to partisan news coverage and eventually a tweet by Donald Trump.
  • A fake news writer speaks to the Washington Post about how right-wing people don’t fact-check his stories and he feels bad that Donald Trump, who he hates, has ended up in the White House because of people like him and conspiracy theories and false information like what he peddles that people eat up.

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Media News Digest: CRTC chair criticizes, on-air protest at Radio Centre-Ville, Radio-Canada aboriginal website

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Days before a hearing on TV licence renewals, a temporary fill-in CRTC commissioner has been named: civil servant Judith LaRocque. She has a six-month term, enough to serve as a francophone commissioner studying the renewals of TVA and V.
  • CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais gave a keynote speech to the Canadian chapter of the International Institute of Communications today. The speech goes over the past four years of the commission’s work (what a coincidence, that happens to be the amount of time he’s been there) and is mainly self-congratulatory. He also criticizes Canada’s television creative community for overstating the effect of a reduction in Canadian content requirements, he criticizes the “news media” for “spilled ink and exhaled air”, he criticizes online media for not having the training to replace traditional media reporters, he criticizes Shomi for pulling the plug too early and being lazy, and he criticizes “naysayers” in general for making “false and misleading statements.”

TV

Radio

  • Last week the deadline passed for the launch of the TTP Media station at 600 AM in Montreal. The commission confirmed to me that an application for an extension to that deadline has been filed, but no decision has been reached yet. The last extension said it would be the final one, but the CRTC said the same two years ago about 940 and gave another extension anyway. They have until Nov. 21 to inform the commission that they are ready to launch the 940 station, which has been doing some on-air testing.
  • There was an on-air occupation by staff of Radio Centre-Ville (CINQ-FM 102.3) on the weekend. Contributors to the community-run ethnic radio station are complaining about management decisions to rent out airtime to stem a financial crisis. They’ve called for a special general assembly so they can discuss and vote on what to do about the situation.
  • West Island Gazette columnist Victor Schukov writes that the West Island needs its own radio station. He dismissed The Jewel 106.7 in Hudson (with comments that pissed off staff at that station), and noted that CFOX, the former West Island AM radio station, shut down because it wouldn’t work financially. Setting aside the lack of available FM frequencies, there doesn’t seem to be much of a case that West Islanders are not properly served by CJAD or other stations that broadcast from downtown.

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Media News Digest: Stéphane Giroux to lead FPJQ, TVA cancels Le Banquier, 91.9 Sports gets Laval Rocket game rights

And a bunch of other stuff that has nothing to do with what happened in the midwest U.S. yesterday.

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The commission has released what it calls a policy about blocking of nuisance phone calls. It addresses the main points of the policy (What is a nuisance call? Do you block or just redirect? Do you implement network-wide or allow subscribers to choose?), but mainly kicks the can down the road hoping for more solutions from the industry. One thing it is concretely moving toward, however, is blocking of calls with blatantly illegitimate caller IDs (000-0000, your number, or a local number when it’s a long-distance call).
  • The CBC has filed an “as-built” application with the CRTC for CBMT-DT Montreal (CBC Television) so that the commission’s records match what is actually being used. The location, height and signal range are identical, but the transmitter power is actually 363,000 watts ERP instead of 436,340W.

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Media News Digest: Job cuts at Quebecor, job cuts at Radio-Canada, job cuts at Les Affaires

Because apparently things happened in the media universe this week that didn’t involve Patrick Lagacé…

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Groupe V Média, which owns V, MusiquePlus and Max (formerly Musimax) has filed a complaint against Bell Canada over the latter’s decision to repackage those two specialty channels. Bell has three packages, Good, Better and Best (Bon, Mieux and Meilleur in Quebec) and is moving them from the Good/Bon ($35/month) to Best/Meilleur ($98/month) in addition to having them available à la carte as the CRTC requires. V looked at the numbers and concluded that this would cost them a lot of subscribers. The exact numbers are redacted, but apparently the vast majority of Bell subscribers who have one of these three packages (many others are on grandfathered packages) have the lowest level. And not like slightly more than half, more like about 95%. This could cost them hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The CRTC has ordered Bell to keep MP and Max in their lowest-tier package until this is resolved. (You can download the complaint letter here. The CRTC has expedited the process and the deadline to comment is tonight at 8pm ET.)
  • The commission is holding off on imposing accuracy rules for closed captioning after broadcasters formed a working group that will propose an alternative method. They have two years to do so.
  • The CRTC has set new standard conditions of licence for TV services. Among the changes, pay TV channels like The Movie Network, Super Channel and Family can now broadcast ads, there is no limit on the broadcast of music videos (since MuchMusic, MusiquePlus et al no longer have genre protection), and pay-per-view and video-on-demand services no longer have to give 100% of revenues from distribution of Canadian feature films to their creators. Other changes could come as a result of a hearing later this month looking at licence renewals for the major broadcasters and a review of local and community programming.
  • The commission has released a working document in advance of the hearing on big companies’ TV licence renewals, which outlines some key issues to be discussed. Besides the usual discussions of Canadian programming expenditure requirements, issues include:
  • Bell has won the right to appeal the CRTC decision on Super Bowl simultaneous substitution, but the court has turned down a request to suspend the decision until the outcome of the case. This means that Super Bowl LI will likely be available with American ads on Fox.

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Media News Digest: FPJQ award finalists, TVA launches app, Gannett cuts hundreds of U.S. newspaper jobs

News about news

  • Finalists for the FPJQ’s Judith Jasmin awards have been announced. The awards honour the best in Quebec journalism. Since you’re looking for the penis-measuring stuff, here’s how it breaks down by organization:
    • La Presse: 9 (including a sweep of the opinion category)
    • Radio-Canada: 5
    • Le Devoir: 2
    • Montreal Gazette (Postmedia): 2
    • Journal de Montréal (Quebecor): 2
    • Le Droit (Capitales Médias): 1
    • Le Guide de Montréal-Nord (TC Media): 1
    • Canal D (Bell Media): 1
  • Speaking of the FPJQ, the organization also does its elections during its annual conference. The candidate for president is a familiar name to anglo Montrealers: CTV’s Stéphane Giroux, who has been on the board for three years.
  • CBC executives appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Tuesday. We didn’t learn much that’s new (mainly politicians questioning their competition for ad dollars and dealing with pet gripes), but I wrote a story about it anyway for Cartt.ca.
  • Val d’Or police officers are suing Radio-Canada because of an Enquête program that broadcast allegations of abuse and assault of local aboriginal people.

At the CRTC

  • The commission has released its annual Communications Monitoring Report. Look at all the statistics! There’s enough of them to push whatever agenda you want. But generally, traditional broadcasting is in slow decline, TV subscriptions are flat (as the population grows), and specialty TV channels generally still make a lot of money. One concerning statistic though, young people (ages 12-24) listen to half the traditional radio that other age groups do (partly because of technological changes, but party I’m thinking because that group doesn’t have cars).
  • The commission issued a series of mandatory orders against broadcasters who were using licences for tourist information stations in Surrey, B.C., to broadcast general programming.

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