Tag Archives: Media News Digest

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

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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

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

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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.

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  • 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

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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

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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

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  • 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

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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.