Tag Archives: Media News Digest

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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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

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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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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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  • 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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