Monthly Archives: April 2016

CRTC proposes “hottie basic” rules that would offer all Canadians free TV porn

As Canadians look to new “skinny basic” packages by cable companies with a sense of disappointment, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has decided to try again to win consumers over with a new set of packaging rules.

The new proposal, to be released today, calls for all providers to offer a new “hottie basic” package that would include mandatory channels and at least two pornographic channels, at least one of which would have to be Canadian. The porn channels would have to be offered at a price of $0.69 each, CRTC commissioner Jean-Michel Rousseau said with a nudge.

Rumours of the proposal led to immediate questions about quality, and whether there would be a regulatory way to distinguish, say, Playboy TV from the kind of bland, poorly produced crap you can find anywhere on the Internet these days.

Rousseau said the commission has similar concerns, and has proposed a working group of himself and “mon chum Yannick” to personally monitor the channels offered to see if they meet the commission’s standards. “But we won’t do that together, because eww.”

If all goes according to plan, consumers could see their hottie basic packages as early as Valentine’s Day 2017.

Bell makes $1.2-trillion offer for federal government

Bell parent company BCE Inc., in its most ambitious takeover move yet, has put together a hostile, $1.2-trillion offer for a majority stake in the Government of Canada.

The offer, which was just announced, would make BCE the largest company in the country, and make Canada the largest privately-owned country in the world.

“We were reaching the limits of what we could do under the current federal framework,” Bell says in a note to investors explaining the proposal. “Our board of directors concluded that the only way to continue our growth was to seek to acquire the federal government itself.”

Once the acquisition is complete, Bell would control Canada’s military, its banks, and transportation and telecommunications companies. “The increased flexibility that will come from having a controlling stake in regulatory bodies will give us the power to expand just about every aspect of our business,” the note said.

Analysts were mixed on the proposed deal. Ceci Etonpuassohn of RBC Capital Markets said BCE would be in a highly leveraged position if this deal were to go through, and he wasn’t convinced that the increased ability to levy taxes on 35 million customers would be enough to pay off the massive debt that would be undertaken. “I might have preferred a different option, like a joint deal with Shaw communications and Rogers, or maybe if they’d just started with buying a small province first, as a test run.”

If accepted by Canada’s current owner, Tim Horton, the deal would also require approval from the CRTC, since it changes its own effective ownership. This means approval would likely take another year.

AM980 to adopt all-Star-Trek-talk format

Star Trek Radio

AM980, the radio station once known as Radio Fierté before the French-language LGBT format was abandoned last fall, will be reborn as NCC-980, an innovative new format devoted entirely to discussing Star Trek.

“We’re going to be the first of our kind in this part of the world,” explained Q’lolohk Nagh (born Benjamin Stankowski), who owner Evanov Radio has hired as program director for the station. “This format has cross-generational appeal, attracting a millennial male audience while also going after nostalgic baby boomers and Gen-Xers.”

Nagh said he’s already lined up a few on-air personalities, though he wouldn’t name any names. He’s also promised “bulkhead-to-bulkhead coverage” of the upcoming Montreal Comiccon in July, which has William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols and Kate Mulgrew lined up as guests. “I’m working hard to get them in studio, but nothing’s confirmed yet,” Nagh said.

While there will be the usual Kirk-vs-Picard debates, Nagh said that to fill a full 24/7 schedule, the discussions need to be more interesting than that. He plans to bring on philosophers to debate metaphysical issues (when you transport somewhere, is that really you that materializes?), have creators of fan art discuss their creations, follow the latest news about new series and movies, and of course discuss favourite episodes and movies. One show being planned will also discuss alternate-reality scenarios, a sort of what-if for various storylines.

And capitalizing on the popularity of the “rewatch podcast” format, there will be shows devoted to accompanying fans in the rewatching of classic episodes and movies.

“There’s going to be everything here for old fans, new fans and people who want to be fans,” Nagh said. “We want to be very inclusive. Not assimilated-by-the-Borg inclusive, but welcoming,” he said with a snort.

Nagh, 15, said details of the lineup and programming should be available this summer with the station launch planned this fall. And unlike the previous formats of AM980, which have included Christmas music and easy-listening music, “we intend Star Trek Radio to live long and prosper.”

Jian Ghomeshi starts new podcast chronicling his search for the real assaulters


Having been vindicated in a court of law in his sexual assault case, Jian Ghomeshi spoke out for the first time since the ordeal began and announced he is starting a new podcast in which he will investigate what really happened to these women and who was truly responsible.

Called “Ghomeshi p.i.”, the independently produced podcast will come out once a week, and mainly feature Ghomeshi interviewing witnesses and experts as he investigates who really choked, slapped, punched and yanked the hair of those women over the years.

It’s kind of like Serial, but with a more personal touch, he said.

“Everyone thinks it was me,” he said. “So there’s no one who can do this but me.”

Ghomeshi said he’s trying to keep an open mind and is leaving all possibilities on the table. Early episodes will explore possibilities such as whether he has an evil twin brother, whether someone might have had their face surgically altered to resemble his, or whether it really was him, under some sort of mind control by the government or other outside forces.

“We’ll go wherever the evidence takes us,” he said. “Unlike people, the facts never lie.”

Ghomeshi said he hasn’t yet interviewed Lucy DeCoutere or the other complainants in the recent case, whose names are protected by a publication ban, but that his podcast wouldn’t be complete without giving them a chance to have their say. He suggested he may have a third party conduct those interviews because of the sensitive nature of the situation. “I don’t want to cause them any undue pain,” he said.

An episode will also go into detail about how this has affected him. “But I don’t want to dwell too much on that. This is also about the women who were abused and tricked into blaming it on an innocent man. We’re all victims here.”

The list of other staff involved in the show hasn’t been released, but Ghomeshi said he has a “cute little intern” producing for him.

Toronto Star announces StarTouchTone, a new news-by-telephone service

Hot off the stellar success of Star Touch, the innovators at the Toronto Star announced today they will soon be launching a news-by-telephone service for subscribers.

StarTouchTone, which is set to launch this fall, will be a service where, using a touch-tone telephone, readers can call in to a special phone number, select stories they wish to listen to by going through a menu system, and enjoy their favourite writers reading their stories to them. Reporters and columnists like Kevin Donovan, Rosie DiManno and Heather Mallick will record themselves reading each of their stories, which the Star says will give them a more realistic feel than having them be read by automated screen readers.

It’s unclear whether there will be an additional cost for this service, or if it will be available to non-subscribers. “For now we’re worried about getting hundreds of telephone lines installed in our office,” explained publisher John Cruickshank.

Rogers cancels NHL playoffs

With not a single Canadian NHL team making the playoffs this year, Rogers Media has decided it will shut down its coverage of the National Hockey League after the season ends on April 10, and it has asked the league to cancel the playoffs completely and simply hand the Stanley Cup to the team with the best record in the regular season, the Washington Capitals.

“Canadians have already moved on to other things,” explained Sportsnet spokesperson Avril F. Day, “and we’ve decided we should do the same. There are a lot of other things on our network, like Blue Jays games, that will keep Canadians much more entertained than the NHL playoffs.”

In the unlikely event that the league decides to continue with the playoffs, Day said Rogers might air the cup final “on Sportsnet One or something” unless Connor McDavid is doing something that requires their undivided attention.

Rogers, which paid $5.2 billion for 12 years of NHL games, part of which it resold to TVA Sports, said it would cost more to produce the broadcasts than they’d get in ad revenue from the “12 people who care how the Minnesota-Dallas playoff series will go.”

Instead, Rogers will find more interesting programming to air. Though nothing is confirmed yet, the company is looking at inventing another Canadian curling tournament.