News about news
- The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has issued its report into the funding of Canadian media. The report includes some common-sense things like fairness in tax treatment for online publications and tighter controls on competition, but also a bunch of we-should-study-this-more kicking of the can.
- The London Free Press won the Michener Award for public service journalism.
- The Wall Street Journal fired chief foreign affairs correspondent Jay Solomon after learning he was using his position to engage in business dealings with sources. It’s a story that sounds similar to one in Canada that also involved a guy named Solomon.
- The L.A. Times got burned when a bot it set up to tweet (and even write short stories about) seismic activities posted a story about an earthquake that happened in 1925.
- The department of Canadian Heritage has appointed a committee to oversee appointments to the CBC board of directors. The committee includes Tom Clark, former host of The West Block on Global, and actor Colm Feore.
Highlights from CBC Montreal's charity softball game at Benny Park vs Jewish General Memory Clinic. CBC scored 10 runs (but conceded 25) pic.twitter.com/XFchO7kZkn
— CBC Montreal (@CBCMontreal) June 21, 2017
Quebec Press Council
The Press Council has released a batch of decisions made in the past few months. Here are the ones that were decided in favour of the complainants:
- The Journal de Montréal was strongly blamed for not moderating website comments from readers that were disrespectful and offensive to Dany Villanueva, calling him “garbage” and worse.
- Journal columnist Denise Bombardier was blamed for a column about the artist Dieudonné, in which she said his fans were antisemites. The council stopped just short (by majority vote) of saying her comments were also discriminatory against Maghreb people.
- La Frontière/Le Citoyen in Abitibi were blamed for publishing the identities of minors who were runaways but later found. Though the identities were published by the police when the teens went missing, they were no longer needed for publication after the kids were found.
- A journalist for Le Journal de l’Est/Le Gaspésien was blamed for burning a confidential source after coming to believe that the source had misled him about a municipal scandal.
- The head of the newspaper La Relève in Boucherville was blamed severely for apparent conflicts of interest, by sitting on city council consultative committees. It came to a head when a letter critical of the city sent to the newspaper was forwarded to the mayor and other politicians.
- Le Journal de Québec was blamed for a story about a paramedic’s suicide because incorrect information was provided by a single source and wasn’t verified. The council also felt (by majority vote) that naming the person wasn’t necessary.
- Le Devoir made a gun mistake, using a photo of a handgun to illustrate a story about a long-gun registry. The council accepted the complaint but absolved the newspaper of blame because it changed the photo as soon as it was made aware of the error.
- Similar situation for Huffington Post Quebec, which used a photo of a prohibited firearm. It also quickly corrected it.
- La Gatineau was blamed for being sloppy on a story about a municipal controversy, getting some figures wrong and saying a majority of elected officials opposed something when they could not confirm that numerically.
- La Voix de l’Est was blamed for some incorrect information in a story about a lawsuit, and for refusing to correct those errors when informed about them.
- The same complainant also took on TVA in Sherbrooke, and got a majority decision saying journalists’ decision to film inside a woman’s apartment without her consent was unnecessary.
- The Suburban was blamed for an article about Angell Woods that contained incorrect information and was deemed to have misleading, incorrect or exaggerated information, headline and photos.
At the CRTC
- Jean-Pierre Blais stepped down as chairman of the CRTC on Saturday after completing his five-year term and a few final decisions including the elimination of phone unlocking fees. He gave one final speech to staff on Friday, in which he said he saw the CRTC as an institution trusted by Canadians (which really depends on who you ask). No permanent replacement has been announced, so the government has appointed Judith LaRocque to a four-month term as interim chairperson. LaRocque had previously been appointed to a six-month term as vice-chair broadcasting so the commission could deal with French-language TV licence renewals.
- Speaking of Blais, Paul Journet in La Presse argues with the chairperson’s criticism of French music quotas,
- Wawatay, the group behind one of the denied applications in the urban indigenous radio station proceeding, has asked the government to overturn that decision and award them the stations in Ottawa and Toronto that they asked for but were given to APTN instead. The group’s application had a higher quota for indigenous languages and more local indigenous content, plus the support of local indigenous leaders, but was rejected because the CRTC found their business plan speculative. The group also argues Blais was in a conflict of interest because earlier last week he took credit for helping APTN get the funding from mandatory distribution necessary to launch and grow.
- The commission has approved another AM-to-FM low-power conversion, this one a Radio-Canada transmitter in Parent, a village northwest of La Tuque.
- CJTK-FM in Sudbury, a Christian music station, has been given approval to set up retransmitters in Northern Ontario: Iroquois Falls (105.9 MHz, 540 watts), Sault Ste. Marie (106.5 MHz, 2,300 watts), Englehart (105.7 MHz, 5,100 watts), New Liskeard (100.9 MHz, 530 watts), Sundridge (98.3 MHz, 540 watts) and Spring Bay (104.9 MHz, 530 watts). Rogers, which operates stations in northern Ontario, wanted the CRTC to impose conditions limiting the station to its Christian music format and preventing any sale of the stations. The CRTC found those demands were unnecessary.
- CHRY-FM, one of many small Toronto-area radio stations with limited coverage, tried to get approval for a retransmitter in Scarborough to improve its signal. The CRTC countered that the request was to expand coverage beyond the original application, and denied the request.
- The commission has extended Videotron’s deadline to end its Unlimited Music offer to Aug. 4, but has denied Videotron’s request to allow them to grandfather existing users. The regulator said Videotron was well aware this offer would be challenged and could be shot down. (In fact, I asked them about it at the press conference when they first announced it.) Videotron will now have to deal with how they break contracts signed with users.
- A bunch of radio licence renewals this week, for a full seven years until 2024:
- CFPL London, Ontario
- CFNY-FM Brampton, Ontario
- CKDK-FM Woodstock, Ontario
- CFPL-FM London, Ontario
- CHQT Edmonton, Alberta
- CHAY-FM Barrie, Ontario
- CISN-FM Edmonton, Alberta
- CHED Edmonton, Alberta
- CJOB Winnipeg, Manitoba
- CKNG-FM Edmonton, Alberta
- Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.:
- CHRB High River, Alberta
- CHBO-FM Humboldt, Saskatchewan
- CKSE-FM Estevan, Saskatchewan
- CKFI-FM Swift Current, Saskatchewan
- CJYQ St. John’s, N.L.
- CILV-FM Ottawa, Ontario
- CIGM-FM Sudbury, Ontario
- CIZZ-FM Red Deer, Alberta
- CFXH-FM Hinton, Alberta
- CKDQ Drumheller, Alberta
- CFCW Camrose, Alberta
- CIXF-FM Brooks, Alberta
- On the telecom side, the commission has approved the recommendation of a steering committee on telephone numbers about the use of 555 numbers. They found that with the exception of 555-1212 for directory assistance, numbers in this special exchange had gone out of use. The FCC approved the same conclusion in the United States in September. No new use has been determined yet for the block of numbers, and it’s unclear if they might be released to the general public in the future or reserved again for some other use. Numbers starting with 555-01xx are reserved for use in fiction and will remain so.
- Sportsnet has released its national NHL broadcast schedule for 2017-18. Because TSN now has the regional rights to the team, the number of nationally broadcast games will drop, but it’s not as bad as the RDS/TVA split. Sportsnet gets 32 of the 82 regular-season games, including 22 Saturday games, 5 Sunday games and 5 Wednesday games. Sportsnet’s schedule includes all Canadiens games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators, the first Canadiens game in Las Vegas, and three of the four games against the Ottawa Senators, including the “NHL 100 Classic” game on Dec. 16. TSN will get the 50 remaining games (which include the season opener and home opener), plus any preseason games, and all of TSN’s broadcasts will be subject to regional blackouts. The regional broadcast schedules will be announced later.
- Because someone asked me on Twitter about it, I count 15 games where the Canadiens and Senators play simultaneously on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday night where TSN will need to move one of the games off TSN5, plus five more games where the teams play 2:30 or three hours apart that could risk overlapping as a doubleheader.
- David Shoalts at the Globe and Mail looks at Sportsnet’s ratings after this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, which had five Canadian teams. Sportsnet expects the prices for its ads to go up “40 to 50 per cent” next year.
- Bill Brioux notes that the U.S. television industry is using a threatened renegotiation of NAFTA to push for changes to Canadian laws and regulations about distribution of U.S. stations. Changes could include requiring permission before rebroadcasting CBS/ABC/NBC/Fox/PBS in Canada (which means payments, blackouts and other demands would need to be respected) or at the very least reversing the CRTC Super Bowl ad substitution decision.
- A technical nightmare at BBC News caused a newscast to broadcast four minutes of an anchor looking down at his notes, broken up by repeated playing of their breaking news graphic. Anchor Huw Edwards stayed cool and had some fun with it afterward.
- The Amazing Race Canada starts Season 5 on July 4, and has announced its teams. Two are from Montreal.
- The CBC hired an external investigator after a complaint that senior executives were involved in the decisions to give development contracts to companies owned by their spouses. The investigator found there were no conflict of interest policy breaches.
- Global News’s “multi-market content” system (replacing local anchors with a single team in Toronto) has won it an Edward R. Murrow innovation award from the RTDNA in the U.S.
- Canada Day programming announcements from CBC, The Movie Network and YTV.
- Star Trek: Discovery has a premiere date: Sept. 24, in both Canada and the U.S. In Canada, the first episode will air on Space and CTV, and further episodes on Space and digital Space platforms, and eventually Crave TV.
- Food Network Canada has cancelled You Gotta Eat Here!
- Formula One is starting to regret a new TV deal in the UK that sees more races be shown on pay TV, because it means fewer viewers and less popularity for the sport.
- Saudi Arabia’s demands to Qatar include shutting down Al Jazeera.
- 600 AM in Montreal has finally come to life, intermittently anyway, as the TTP Media station begins pre-launch on-air testing. It has until June 30 to inform the CRTC that it is ready to begin operation. The 940 AM station has had its transmitter shut down while workers on site in Kahnawake work on the transmitter. I’ll have much more on this in the coming days.
- Stingray, which runs those digital music channels on your TV but has operations around the world, plans to hire 400 people in Montreal, doubling its staff.
- An association of Canadian newspapers has asked the government to set up a $350-million fund to subsidize them as their industry collapses.
- As it continues to find ways to make and save money, Postmedia has decided to permanently end the Monday edition of the National Post, and announced the sale of digital archive service Infomart for $38.25 million.
- The New York Times is beefing up its coverage of Canada around the 150th anniversary of confederation.
- Radio-Canada has launched a site called Podium, where athletes tell personal stories in a way that seems very similar to The Players’ Tribune. Le Devoir has some details. Among the first-person stories is this one by journalist Isabelle Richer, about the bicycle accident that almost cost her her life, and her return to that sport.
News about people
- Lee Haberkorn is back at Virgin Radio 96 after spending some time at Virgin Radio in Kitchener. He’ll be working with Natasha Gargiulo and Freeway Frank on the morning show. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Tom Buddo, who formerly produced the show, has been let go. Buddo had been producing the morning show on the station for more than 30 years. “Absolutely loved my time doing the Virgin Radio Kitchener morning show. But nothin’ like Montreal,” Haberkorn told me.
- Changes at La Presse, as the publication undergoes changes and union negotiations:
- Vincent Marissal explains why his column hasn’t appeared for the past six months: It was taken away from him by management. He has decided to take a buyout and leave La Presse, a decision he describes as heartbreaking.
- Hugo de Grandpré returns to Montreal from Ottawa, where he will continue as a journalist and do data journalism as well.
- He will be replaced by Maxime Bergeron, who moves to Ottawa for a year.
- Business reporter Paul Durivage retires after 30 years with the newspaper.
- Business analyst Rudy Le Cours also retires, with a brief goodbye message at the end of his final column.
- Among the 21 departures reported by Le Devoir are arts reporters Alain de Repentigny and Sonia Sarfati and columnist Michèle Ouimet, who will stay on until next summer.
- Chantal Desjardins was back on the radio this week, filling in for Natasha Gargiulo on the Virgin Radio morning show on Monday.
- Vicky Mochama, a columnist with Metro news in English Canada, is now writing for the Toronto Star biweekly.
- La Presse’s Martin Croteau is the new president of the Quebec Press Gallery.
- Marie-Pier Frappier, journalist/editor at Le Devoir, is now at Les Affaires.
- Bell Canada’s chief legal counsel and regulatory guy Mirko Bibic has been awarded general counsel of the year by lawyer people.
- Concordia talks to Michel Boyer, former graduate who has climbed the ranks to CTV’s Ottawa bureau.
- The Financial Post’s Jesse Snyder is leaving Calgary for Ottawa, but will still report on energy.
- Julian Armstrong, food writer for the Montreal Gazette, is getting a meritorious service medal from the governor general.
— Breakfast Television (@BTMontreal) June 23, 2017