News about news
— Lauren Strapagiel (@laurenstrapa) June 9, 2017
- Robyn Doolittle, the Globe and Mail reporter who spent a year and a half researching how police departments across the country investigate reports of sexual assault, followed up her big reveal by filing freedom of information requests to police departments to find out how they communicated to each other about their communications with her. The resulting story shows that police were annoyed by her inquiries and worked together to try to resist answering her questions because they were unflattering.
- Antiquated ideas of how female journalists do their job have surfaced again. For the second time, the Chamberland inquiry into police spying on journalists has revealed that a department suspected an officer of sleeping with a female journalist and leaking her information. Last time, it was a Laval police officer with 98.5 FM’s Monic Néron. This time, it’s an SQ officer and Radio-Canada’s Marie-Maude Denis. Funny how it’s never a female officer accused of sleeping with Félix Séguin or Stéphane Giroux, huh?
- Megyn Kelly continues to make a big splash on her new show on NBC, and this week is interviewing conspiracy theorist and grunter Alex Jones of InfoWars. News of the interview prompted a lot of discussion, some defending the interview as a way to shine light on a man with a large following, others arguing that he shouldn’t be given a platform to spew insane and hurtful things like that the Sandy Hook shooting was faked.
- A U.S. Senate move to block reporters from filming interviews in hallways has apparently been rolled back after criticism.
At the CRTC
- It’s Jean-Pierre Blais’s last week as chair of the CRTC, his five-year term ending on Saturday. No announcement has been made about his replacement, even on an interim basis, and he has made clear that he did not re-apply to his position. His imminent departure not only means a lot of retrospectives are being written about him (professor Michael Geist, former commissioner Timothy Denton), but it also means he is a bit more outspoken than before, and he raised a lot of eyebrows at a speech in Banff this week. Among his statements:
- The CRTC must act to improve wireless competition, possibly going as far as to regulate retail rates (though this would be undesirable)
- It’s “just bad governance” for the federal government to leave so many commissioner seats vacant for so long
- “Music quotas on the radio will no longer serve their purpose,” and “maybe the better way to support Canadian music is to require radio broadcasters to invest in showcase events”
- Things like tax credits are “anachronisms”
- Two thirds of the work CRTC does now is on the telecommunications side rather than the broadcasting side
- The commission has 417 people working for it, of whom 16 are indigenous and 59 visible minorities (and this is seen as a positive thing)
- “The French-language radio market—Quebec City’s infamous shock jocks—builds and reinforces its own echo chambers that deepen societal rifts.”
- “Some people in the creative groups in this country are all too deeply entrenched in their own echo chambers.”
- The CBC “should focus on news rather than commentary. It must stop chasing clicks, and it must always publish verified stories from credible sources.”
- The commission’s critics are “conspicuously silent on matters that cast the CRTC in a more favourable light”
- “I hope to see CRTC Commissioners appointed with greater independence—at arm’s length from government so that each is assessed solely on his or her exceptional qualifications” — a hilarious statement from the man responsible for getting Raj Shoan fired.
- In one of Blais’s last decisions, the CRTC has approved five new indigenous radio stations serving the urban markets of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa to replace the failed Aboriginal Voices Radio. The licences are split among three groups: First Peoples Radio, which is basically APTN, gets Ottawa and Toronto; Northern Native Broadcasting, which runs CFNR-FM Terrace, gets Vancouver; and Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta, which runs a station with retransmitters throughout Alberta, gets Edmonton and Calgary. FPR/APTN had applied for all five markets and argued that its applications were not severable, but the CRTC called that bluff, arguing they should still be able to function with fewer stations. The commission was not impressed by applications by two other groups, one because they proposed a hybrid indigenous/South Asian programming, and the other because its business plan was “speculative”. Each station has two years to launch (though extensions can be given) and their licences expire in 2023. Here are their conditions of licence, beyond the standard ones:
- Vancouver: 106.3 MHz, 9,000W, 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 120 hours a week of local programming
- Edmonton: 89.3 MHz, 100,000W, 7 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 20% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 120 hours a week of local programming
- Calgary: 88.1 MHz, 100,000W, 7 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming, 20% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 5% of all music in indigenous languages, 117.5 hours a week of local programming
- Ottawa: 95.7 MHz, 9,100W, 9 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming (of which 5 must be local as of Year 3), 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 60% local programming
- Toronto: 106.5 MHz, 2,600W, 9 hours a week of indigenous spoken-word programming (of which 5 must be local as of Year 3), 25% of music as indigenous-Canadian music, 60% local programming
- The commission has approved a new radio station in Simcoe, Ont., which is near Brantford. The station, owned by My Broadcasting Corporation, plans a classic hits format.
- The commission found that two other southern Ontario markets — Aurora and Brampton — are not healthy enough to sustain more radio stations (especially because they’re so close to Toronto)
Just FYI: APTN has more journos accredited to the Parl Press Gallery than PostMedia, Torstar, Bloomberg, Reuters, TVA, or La Presse. #media
— David Akin (@davidakin) June 12, 2017
- Rogers is hiring videojournalists for its CityNews newscast in Montreal.
- Sportsnet and TVA Sports are getting over the high of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The final game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and P.K. Subban’s Nashville Predators attracted an audience of 4.29 million viewers on Sportsnet and 962,000 on TVA Sports.
- RDS is broadcasting the second preseason game and all 18 regular-season games of the Alouettes this year, and 13 of the Ottawa Redblacks’ 18 games, plus all CFL playoff games.
- Richard Therrien explores the programming changes at V.
- Radio-Canada is keeping the same team for its annual Bye-Bye this year, including director Simon-Olivier Fecteau.
- CBC finally launched its London, Ont., station this Monday. The station has a local morning show for the first time, and is home to a regional afternoon show that covers southwestern Ontario including Windsor. The first few minutes on air were captured on video.
- As the June 30 deadline to launch approaches, people have been asking me more frequently about TTP Media and their promised English-language talk station at 600 AM. There is movement on that front — the station has chosen a callsign: CFQR, the same call letters used by the former Q92. But there hasn’t been a peep on that frequency yet. Managing Partner Nicolas Tétrault, who remains active on Twitter (but purged its history recently for some reason and no longer references radio in his bio) has not responded to my requests for information. The French station, CFNV 940, is on the air officially but only playing automated music. So your guess is as good as mine.
- As if Postmedia doesn’t have enough problems to deal with, there’s also tuberculosis going around at its Toronto offices.
- Time is cutting 300 jobs.
- Quebecor has sold the wireless spectrum licenses it bought outside Quebec, ending speculation that it might consider some day going national with Videotron Mobile. The AWS-1 licence in Toronto has been sold to Rogers for $184 million (for which it paid $96.4 million in 2013) and 700 and 2500 MHz licences in southern Ontario, Alberta and B.C. to Shaw for $430 million. Quebecor spent $233 million on 700 MHz licences and $187 million on 2500 MHz licences, which also includes its licences in Quebec. Which means not only did it make a profit off those licences, but it made enough profit to pay for all its Quebec spectrum in the 700 and 2500 MHz blocks. (The AWS-1 licences in Quebec and eastern Ontario cost much more, about $450 million.)
- Shaw has money to buy Quebecor’s licences because it just announced the sale of IT company ViaWest for $2.3 billion
News about people
- Beryl Wajsman, editor of The Suburban, is running for mayor of Westmount. Except when you say that, he protests that he’s just formed an exploratory committee, as if running for mayor of Westmount is comparable to running for president of the United States. In any case, he’s got supporters and a logo that says “Wajsman for mayor” so he seems to be taking this seriously. There’s been no discussion of what happens to his role at The Suburban if he officially becomes a politician.
- Shirlee Engel, who left Global News for an undisclosed new job, has disclosed that new job, and unsurprisingly it’s doing PR. But it’s Oxfam, so she’s not completely on the dark side.
- La Presse columnist Nathalie Petrowski has been added to the cast of C’est juste de la TV. She replaces Serge Denoncourt, who left after one season.
- Radio host Tara Jean Stevens has been added as co-host of Breakfast Television Vancouver.
- Global Calgary has promoted Scott Fee to anchor on the evening news, replacing Gord Gillies, who’s moving to radio.
- CNN’s Jake Tapper gave a speech to the Canadian Journalism Foundation