Media News Digest: English on Télé-Québec, Le Soleil stops printing Sundays, CBC poaches Vassy Kapelos

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Télé-Québec’s CRTC licence is up for renewal, and among the interventions was one from the English Language Arts Network, which Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot found, writing a story about its demand that English be more represented in TQ’s programming, and even a 10% English quota imposed. Specifically, ELAN is asking the CRTC to:
    • Require TQ to develop and publish a policy to reflect the full diversity of Quebec society,
    • Require TQ to develop and publish an action plan for creation of content that fulfils its diversity policy and a promotion policy to encourage viewership from members of Quebec society who have not traditionally felt reflected, 
    • Require TQ to track the language of its viewers so that it knows which language groups are watching which programs,
    • Create a consultative committee that includes the diversity of Quebec society, which will advise the board of directors on issues concerning the broadcasters diversity of programming throughout the license period.
    • Place ads in English-language media when pertinent programming for the English- speaking minority is scheduled and when new programs are being developed,
    • Create an on-line playlist of Anglo-Que?be?cois reflective content (following the NFB’s example),
    • Require TQ to increase the production and programming of content reflecting the Quebec minorities, especially English-language, indigenous, and visible minority communities to at least 20% of the schedule, and at least 20% of the production budget; and
    • Require TQ to establish English-language programming for 10% of its schedule, and 10% of its production budget, to reflect the English-language community in Quebec.
  • The commission has approved the acquisition of four Ontario radio stations by Bell Media, which will pay $15.64 million to Larche Communications for CICZ-FM Midland, CICX-FM Orillia, CJOS-FM Owen Sound and CICS-FM Sudbury. Bell will pay $1,022,004 to various funds and development initiatives as a CRTC-mandated tax on the acquisition.
  • The CRTC has dismissed a complaint by Electronic Box (aka EBOX) against Bell Media, which accused the company of refusing to make Bell’s specialty channels available for a TV distribution service EBOX plans to launch in Ontario and Quebec. Bell says it is willing to negotiate, and the CRTC agreed Bell was willing to act in good faith. If they can’t come to an agreement, they can come back to the commission for mediation or arbitration.
  • TVA is appealing a CRTC arbitration decision to the federal court of appeal, arguing that the commission was wrong to accept a Bell deal that would set Bell TV per-subscriber rates for TVA Sports lower than Bell’s RDS.

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4 thoughts on “Media News Digest: English on Télé-Québec, Le Soleil stops printing Sundays, CBC poaches Vassy Kapelos

  1. dilbert

    The Toronto Star’s announcement isn’t surprising at all. Basically, it’s a question of when and not if. The only question is “can they get into a digital format that makes enough money” before they run out of money.

    The CHOM playlist story is interesting for a bunch of reasons. Marketing / positioning means that a station like CHOM tends to stay with a fairly tight playlist of material. You want to stay on your product point. In that way, CHOM faces a couple of problems:

    1 – there isn’t enough new real rock music out there getting released. The big classic artists are either surfing on their past product, or release slowly. A big band like U2 only has 1 album every 3 years. Many of the other artists are not producing new albums at all.

    2 – The numbers of new bands are considered “rock” and tolerable for an aging baby boomer CHOM audience is pretty limited.

    3 – Generally the music director will only have a certain number of approved cuts per artist in their systems to work with. That can lead to certain songs from certain artists (like the example Heart song) coming up more often, especially if it happens to be a size that just nicely fills out a time block.

    4 – The desire to hit a mix of old, new, hard, soft, and the like means that in some cases, there are less option in “hard classic” and in say “new soft”. In those categories, you may have more replays.

    CHOM got really stuck on this a number of years ago before Picard came in and did a bang up job to add many of the alternative and grunge artists that were doing well on 99.9 but were not at all on CHOM. Today they are sort of at the same point, and the corporate masters aren’t likely to make a change any time soon. CHOM’s market share, while not anywhere near best, isn’t terrible, certainly not at the point of needing a format change. Give it another 10 years for the audience to die off a bit, and maybe some things will happen.

    1. Brett Morris

      I actully gave up on CHOM because the same bands kept popping up. There are many bands I wish they would play that are popular in other markets. Many are alternative bands. Not saying Montreal needs alternative rock radio. Just saying maybe include a few more alternative rock bands that are doing well on the Canadian rock charts.

      Sure they play a good mix of new and classic rock, but I feel the younger rock audience is being left out. Therefore having them listen to 99.9 The Buzz. For bands I love and can’t get on Montreal radio I will often switch to The Buzz. Maybe its time to do a little more rock music younger listeners want to hear while still playing the musix older audience still loves.

      1. dilbert

        I agree.

        CHOM however is in an odd place. Being part of the Bell group means they can only compete with “non-bell” stations for listenership. Since there is only perhaps one competitor in the ratings book that they can really go against (The Beat), and because the music formats have no overlap, it’s pretty difficult. CHOM is in third place in the ratings not because of anything they have done, rather than The Beat has taken a big chunk out of Virgin (another shriveled up husk of a format at this point)

        Competing against the Buzz sounds good in theory, but since the Buzz isn’t “in market” for ratings, it’s not meaningful or measurable. Without competition, CHOM’s listenership basically has gone sideways for the last decade or so.

        In a normal market, CHOM would be spicing up their morning show with maybe better sports coverage (attract the guys) or what have you, trying to get listeners from other stations. They can’t really do that, as they are tied to corporate everything, news, weather, sports, traffic… it all comes from the same bucket that does every other Bell station in the market. So there is little to differentiate, little to make people move.

        It’s unlikely to change. The market is “full”, no new stations are coming along, and there is nothing that suggests any change to that.

        Radio is a bit like newspapers. They are tied to an older delivery format that isn’t particularly compatible with younger people. With competition from streaming, media players, satellite, and other delivery options, new listeners are not coming in at the same speed they were. Radio is, more than every, dependent on listeners trapped in their cars. I don’t even have a functional radio receiver in my home anymore, just a little MP3 player with FM on it.

        CHOM? They won’t change formats until they change owners and become independent of Bell. That’s not going to happen until the CRTC grows some, and that’s really unlikely!

        1. Brett Morris

          True. If Canada had unlimited data I’d make the switch to The Buffalo Radio which is a local web radio station that plays new/classic country and rock. A much better rock presentation then CHOM. Love the mix with country because I’d always switch between CHOM and CKKI


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