Media News Digest: Another departure at CRTC, cuts at Bell TV1, CBC debuts Seat at the Table

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Peter Menzies, vice-chair telecommunications, is stepping down on July 15, a year before the end of his mandate. This departure leaves only four permanent commissioners when there can be up to 13. Five positions — and all three senior positions — are listed as vacant (one of which, the chairperson, is being temporarily filled by Judith LaRocque, and another is in dispute as Raj Shoan continues his legal battles). The federal government needs to get moving on replacements.
  • A notice of hearing for Sept. 7. Besides the radio compliance issues are other applications:
    • An application by CIHW-FM Wendake to upgrade from a 50-watt low-power station to a 400-watt regular-power station. The increase in power would allow the station to be received in nearby Quebec City, to serve the indigenous population living closer to the provincial capital.
    • An application by Stingray for new licences for Stingray Juicebox, Stingray Loud, Stingray Retro and Stingray Vibe. These music video channels that Stingray bought from Bell Media had their licences revoked because they had fewer than 200,000 subscribers and so qualified for an exemption from licensing. Stingray says all four now have had more than 210,000 subscribers for three consecutive months, being distributed by Rogers, Shaw Cable, Eastlink, Telus, Sasktel, Cogeco, Zazeen and others.
    • An application by Vintage TV Canada for a discretionary service licence. Similar to Stingray, this is an existing channel that no longer qualifies for an exemption because of the growth in subscriber numbers.
    • An application for the sale of CJUI-FM Kelowna, B.C. (103.9 Juice FM), from Vista Radio to Avenue Radio, for $650,000.
    • An application by CKRW in Whitehorse to replace its main AM transmitter with an FM one. (It currently has temporary authority to use its FM transmitter as its main.) The new transmitter in Whitehorse would have a power of 4,400 watts.
  • The commission has agreed with a request from RNC Media’s CHLX-FM Gatineau (WOW 97,1) to remove a licence requirement that 20% of its music be jazz. The CRTC found that the station met the requirement, continued to lose money, and that deleting the requirement would not unduly impact other stations in the market, and so approved the request. The station was first licensed in 2001 as a classical music station, and in 2008 it got the CRTC to remove most of its specialty music obligations, leaving only the 20% jazz requirement, as it shifted to an adult contemporary format.
  • CKLX-FM Montreal (91.9 Sports) as well as CKXO-FM in Chibougamau have had their licences renewed for a full seven years until 2024.
  • AM-to-FM conversions approved in Norman Wells, NWT (CBC Radio One) and Mount Pearl, N.L. (VOAR)


City Montreal softball team

  • Members of City Montreal and Breakfast Television, including Elias Makos and Derick Fage, took part in a charity softball game on Tuesday against (but in support of) the McGill Memory Clinic and Jewish General Hospital. The TV team lost 11-2, which they consider better than CBC’s 25-10 loss a week earlier.
  • Like Shaw and Rogers before it, Bell has made cuts at its community channels in large markets to redirect that money to local commercial television stations, per the new CRTC policy. This includes about 20 staff at TV1 in Montreal. I asked Bell to confirm the cuts, and their response was this: “Our ability to now redistribute funds in support of local news presents the opportunity to ensure that our communities continue to receive coverage of the issues that matter most to them. We don’t discuss actual staffing numbers, but there has been some restructuring within Bell TV 1.”
  • Forgot to mention this last week: The nominations for the Prix Gémeaux, Quebec’s television awards, were announced. One of the biggest hits of the year, the daily drama District 31, hasn’t been nominated, because it is the only eligible series in its category, and the rules therefore exclude it. This goes back to the feud between the Gémeaux and producers (Fabienne Larouche and Julie Snyder in particular) that was settled when the Gémeaux split its drama categories into “daily”, “annual” and “seasonal” categories based on the number of episodes a year.
  • The Netflix series Sense8 has been uncancelled long enough for a two-hour finale after overwhelming pressure from the audience.
  • Rupert Murdoch’s proposed $20 billion takeover of Sky has become a political issue in the U.K.




News about people



9 thoughts on “Media News Digest: Another departure at CRTC, cuts at Bell TV1, CBC debuts Seat at the Table

  1. Media Man

    I’m intrigued by that CHOM on air job posting.. Is someone leaving that we don’t know yet or expanding or adding staff after cutting to the bone..

  2. Michael Black

    The Westmount Independent didn’t cover Beryl Wajsman’s bid, until it ran a story last week that the current temporary mayor of Westmount is running. Then Beryl Wajsman got a small sidebar.

    So far, no letters for or against him in the paper.

    One article said he’d lived in Westmount for “15 of the past 32 years” which sounds like he moves around, and doesn’t make clear if he lives there now.


    1. Fagstein Post author

      CNN, King of fake news.

      I disagree. Not only does this ignore the very definition of fake news as generally accepted, but CNN’s response to this is exactly what you would expect from a reputable news organization. It’s a black mark, sure, but they recognize it as such and are working to avoid it repeating.

      1. Marc

        If they were a reputable news organization, those people wouldn’t have been there in the first place. Whatever crumb of credibility they had is gone. All lies. All fake. All fabrications.

  3. Ian Howarth

    That app used by The Star: My brother, who has been a copy editor there for more than 10 years, also works on the Star Touch, which,as you mention, the newspaper put a lot of stock in. I
    just read this now and I’m wondering if he was effected by the job cuts. 30 is a lot of people. He tells me it’s already pretty lonely there on the evening shift. And I wonder why this app worked for La Presse but not The Star.

  4. Ian Howarth

    Speaking of lonely, I was interviewed on the CTV Noon News program with Mutsumi Takahashi and I was surprised to see her all alone in the studio when I was ushered in for my 4-minute bit about my book “Rock ‘n’ Radio.” There are two guys (I think) in a control room off in the corner of the big studio giving her cues into her earpiece. She operates the teleprompter with a foot pedal. The cameras are robotically operated by the control room. “Mutsumi”, I asked. “Where is everybody?” My live TV buzz drowned left me hankering for the days of Johnny Jellybean when you could hear the cameramen and floor director laughing at his jokes.

  5. dilbert

    I think PM Trudeau needs to step up on the CRTC is either nominate a whole new slate (where possible) or consider legislation to change the nature and process of this institution that seems no longer able or willing to meet the job of protecting the public interest.

    When you think where we were 20 years ago, and where we are today, it’s clear that in many areas, the CRTC has failed. Canada has expensive internet, cable, and phone services. It has insanely expensive mobile services. We have a communication industry in all of those fields which is generally owned by a small handful of players. We have vertical and horizontal integration to the point where in many cases, monopoly or near monopoly markets exist.

    Each step along the way, the CRTC has pretty much rubber stamped each move that cut competition and allowed for the consumer to be all but held hostage by large corporations.

    Perhaps it’s time to go back and review the entire broadcast act, to look at where we want to be as a people 20 years from now, and to create a replacement for the CRTC that will have the power (and the balls) to actually do something about it.


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