Every day I come across lots of news stories about the media, and tidbits of information that don’t justify their own separate blog post here. Most of these I’ve been sharing on Twitter (which can be seen on the sidebar), but not everyone will catch stuff there, and sometimes it helps to have just a bit more than 140 characters to give context.
So I’m going to try something new: Once a week (I’m trying Wednesdays at noon for now), I’ll round up all the stuff I’ve seen in one post. That way you can be relatively sure you didn’t miss anything unless I did too.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of every media story out there, but it’s most of what I’ve seen and found interesting. Let me know what you think, and of course if you see anything, let me know by email or on Twitter.
At the CRTC
- The Globe and Mail has a good feature story on Jean-Pierre Blais, the chair of the CRTC (for subscribers only). It interviews him and discusses his controversial leadership style, which has rubbed many the wrong way (and resulted in one fellow commissioner being fired and filing lawsuits) but also earned him praise as someone willing to stand up for consumers and ensure the commission’s integrity and relevance.
- Meanwhile, the Raj Shoan saga continues. The dismissed CRTC commissioner, who won a legal case challenging a biased report that accuses him of harassing a member of the CRTC staff, has lost a bid at an injunction to force him back to work. (The judge said there is not enough evidence of irreparable harm if Shoan has to wait until the case is decided.) Meanwhile, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Community Media Advocacy Centre have written an open letter to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to demand she rescind her decision to unappoint Shoan.
- In other suing-the-CRTC news, Bell has lost a case appealing the commission’s decision over ad substitution during the Super Bowl. But only because the policy had not been official yet and so the court ruled the case was premature. The official policy change is now official, so Bell will file another case.
- And CRTC commissioner Linda Vennard got her knuckles rapped for accepting flowers and chocolate from a group that’s part of a competitive process for a new radio station licence in Edmonton.
- MuchRetro, the only channel that needed CRTC approval for its sale to Stingray because it had enough subscribers to require a licence, now no longer needs that approval. It dropped below 200,000 subscribers (mainly, I believe, because it was dropped by Videotron) and can now be exempt from licensing and sold at will. The CRTC has consequently revoked its licence. Stingray has already acquired MuchLoud, MuchVibe and Juicebox, which it has rebranded. M3, formerly MuchMoreMusic, has been shut down and its place on TV systems replaced with Gusto, the food channel brand that Bell Media recently acquired. (See below.)
- The CRTC has officially changed its policy to say that CTV Two Atlantic, which is a satellite-to-cable station and not a conventional television station, can be carried on basic cable under its new “skinny basic” regime.
News about news
- Le Devoir has some announcements for the fall, including some new responsibilities for managers and several new columnists: Pierre Trudel, Denis Ferland and Cathy Wong and Fabrice Vil.
- The Toronto Star is getting into the coffee delivery business, charging $20 a month for “Headline Coffee” — about a cup a day. There’s an FAQ page if you’re interested, but they only deliver to Ontario.
- The RCMP is trying to get recordings of interviews conducted by Enquête as part of a corruption case involving the Canada Revenue Agency. Radio-Canada has appealed an order to turn over the recordings.
- The Toronto Star is auctioning off its abandoned presses, now that it has outsourced printing to Transcontinental.
- The Associated Press has published a policy on how it deals with erroneous tweets: It deletes them but posts a statement on why.
- The Journal de Montréal tried to get the journaldemourreal.com domain taken away from a parody site it’s trying to get shut down. It lost in its complaint to the WIPO committee responsible for resolving domain name disputes. Droit Inc. has an interview with an intellectual property lawyer to explain the context and results of this decision.
- La Presse has changed its official address from St-Jacques St. to St-Laurent Blvd. It’s still the same building, though.
- Postmedia’s shareholders and debtholders have approved a debt restructuring plan that will keep the print media chain in business past 2017. It also has court approval, which is the last hurdle it needed to clear.
- The Montreal Gazette had an editorial cartoon on its front page this morning, which is pretty rare for that paper.
News about people
- François Cardinal has been named the new editorialiste-en-chef at La Presse. He replaces André Pratte, who has been named a Canadian senator. La Presse doesn’t have unsigned editorials, so this job is as close as it comes to being the voice of the newspaper. Meanwhile, Jean-François Bégin will head sports, Frederic Murphy arts, and Pascale Breton the weekly sections.
- Peter Coade, CBC meteorologist for the Maritimes based in Halifax, is retiring after 50 years of telling the weather.
- Camille Ross, who left Global Montreal this summer to move back to southern Ontario, has launched a media coaching business.
- The Star let go of Sean Fitz-Gerald. Someone should pick him up.
TV and radio
- VRAK TV, which can best be described to anglos as a French version of YTV, is skewing older, targeting older teens and kids in their 20s. This opens up the younger demographic for a channel targetting them. Yoopa is a bit young, so we’re left with channels like Télétoon and Chaîne Disney. And Télétoon is about to launch a daily show featuring Mike Ward.
- RDS has published its NHL broadcast schedule for 2016-17. Unsurprisingly, it will broadcast all Canadiens preseason games and 60 regular-season games (all the ones TVA Sports doesn’t have rights to). It will also broadcast all 52 Senators regular-season regional games, but no preseason games except the two against the Habs. Sportsnet’s Canadiens schedule is here — all regional games are now on Sportsnet East (no more City as backup) and there are more national games on Sportsnet 360. Saturday night channel assignments are still picked week by week.
- Rogers has released the Hometown Hockey schedule for this year. The only stop in Quebec is right here in Montreal on Nov. 12-13, where it will be at the Place des Festivals. The Habs play the Blackhawks on Nov. 13.
- CHCH TV in Hamilton is bringing back weekend newscasts at 6 and 11 after drastic cuts to local programming last December.
- Bell has announced a slew of new productions for Gusto, the brand it acquired and used to replace M3. It’s clearly taking direct aim at Corus’s Food Network Canada.
- It’s premiere week in Quebec/French Canadian television with a bunch of new drama and comedy series. Le Soleil’s Richard Therrien explains it’ll be tough choosing between them.
- The Beaverton, a new show on Comedy that is a TV extension of the Onion-like news parody website, has a trailer out. The quality of the humour and acting is not that great, but hopefully they can improve on it.
- Jonathan Goldstein has a new podcast.
- Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay will be a regular contributor to a Quebec City radio station. And he can’t talk about anything to do with Saguenay.
- Sportsnet NOW is now available on Xbox One.
- Ken Doctor has a series on the business of podcasting at NiemanLab. I’m so far unconvinced that this isn’t yet another fad that’s collecting a lot of speculation money but whose business model success is exaggerated.
- CBC is hosting an event Sept. 21 in Kahnawake during which indigenous people read from books by and about indigenous Canadians.
- CBC’s Andie Bennett wants to get you exercising.
- Former CBC Montreal sportscaster Bob McDevitt, 85, who went on to teach journalism at Concordia University. The Gazette’s Pat Hickey has a column in appreciation of McDevitt’s life.
- La Presse news reporter Marie-Claude Girard has died of cancer. She was 44.
Finally, I was on Canadaland Short Cuts last week. You can listen to me talk about Peter Mansbridge, CanCon and the CRTC here. And the edited-out clip where I make fun of his sponsor’s ad here. During that show, I note this Huffington Post story about Sophie Grégoire Trudeau “recycling” an outfit.