Media News Digest: Disappointing budget, Radio-Canada affiliate shuts down, Bad Blood gets Season 2

News about news

At the CRTC

Ethics reviews

At the CBC

  • RNC Media has decided to pull the plug on CKRN-DT, its Radio-Canada affiliate in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Local news will continue on its sister stations, which are affiliates of the TVA and V networks, but the station’s seven transmitters will be shut down, meaning no over-the-air reception for Radio-Canada in the region. The shutdown will leave CKRT-DT in Rivière-du-Loup, owned by Télé Inter-Rives, as the only privately owned Radio-Canada TV affiliate in the country.
  • The Paralympic Winter Games begin Friday. CBC Television will have coverage, though not nearly as much as for the Olympics. There will be live broadcasts weekend mornings, and daily recap shows from 4-6pm on weekdays. Events will be streamed live as they were during the Olympics.
  • Speaking of the Olympics, CBC did a pretty good job with it, and put in a lot of work, but one thing that irked me was that it didn’t close its final broadcast with credits. Instead, it invited people to visit its website to find out the names of people who worked on its broadcasts. This is inconsiderate. It’s not like the broadcast wasn’t long enough to include all the names. And they had plenty of montages they could run with those credits.
  • CBC and Radio-Canada also released ratings highlights from the games. Among them:
    • 5.7 million viewers in English, and 719,000 in French, to watch Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s free dance that won them the gold in ice dance
    • 4.8 million viewers at 2:11am to watch the Canada-U.S. women’s hockey final shootout
    • 3.7 million viewers in English and 1.08 million in French to watch Sebastien Toutant’s gold-medal snowboard big air performance
    • 3.7 million viewers in English and 932,000 in French to watch Max Parrot and Marc McMorris win silver and bronze in snowboard slopestyle

TV & video




News about people

Good reads




These roundups take a lot of my time. This one, which covers two weeks of news, easily consumed a couple of long days just to put together, including 10 straight hours leading to this publication. I’m curious what you all think about it. Is it worth the time (or would that be better spent finding new stories and doing original reporting), are there things that should be improved, or things you don’t need included here? Should I change the categories that split the links up in different sections? Is “print” still a category that makes sense with just about every print publication focusing on digital distribution (and some, like La Presse, abandoning print entirely)? Or should the entire concept be rethought? Perhaps posting each link as an individual brief story instead of one long 3,000-word post?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

40 thoughts on “Media News Digest: Disappointing budget, Radio-Canada affiliate shuts down, Bad Blood gets Season 2

  1. Ryan

    Thank you Steve for all the great work that you do. I always enjoy reading these roundups which are informative and appreciated. Keep as is :)

  2. dilbert

    The Marci Ien story I think is a big one – but not for the reasons you might expect.

    I think it’s way too easy for her to pull out the old “driving while black” card without considering all of the facts. Her responses (such as texting friends and family, which serves mostly to crank them up as well) seem to be like someone hoping for something to happen. Yet, when the police check everything, they had her driving through a stop sign in this case. Does she think that “driving while black” excuses her breaking the law?

    As a reporter, you are trained to be at least somewhat impartial. Her actions (and her self-reporting of the story) show someone who isn’t impartial, but instead is expecting and planning for racist attacks. It’s pretty bad actually.

    While I wouldn’t want her to suffer for this (lest she call that racist too), I think that the CTV needs to have a good sit down with her and let her know that, even if she believes it in her own mind, making stuff up is just not acceptable. The police have the video. She can’t wiggle out of it.

    We have enough problems with racism without making things up.

    1. DS

      The police have video evidence of her driving through a stop sign. Ontario privacy laws are not like the USA. Ms. Ien will not sigh off on the release. She is an admitted bad driver. She also launched a shoe line, a public speaking career in the same week The Globe and Mail article came out. Her credibility is lost. If she was a man she would be fired by now.

  3. Bruce Wenham

    Please continue to round up the media news, appreciate your effort, twice a month roundups works

  4. Mike

    I love your Media News Digest. The only suggested improvement would be opening a separate window when you click link to a story.

  5. Dorothy

    I don’t know about others who come to this site but I make a beeline for the ‘people’ stuff (including obits and career moves), and potential ‘good reads.’ I’d especially like to see the ‘good reads’ expanded, to alert this audience to smart, well-written and thoughtful pieces from media (not necessarily Cdn) on a range of subjects.

    The irrelevant to me.

  6. Brenda Epstein

    Steve, please don’t stop! And don’t change your format! I don’t have much time or patience to search out most of these stories on my own, but I look forward to and read your blogs and many of the linked stories in detail, and I count on you to tell me everything I might want to know about what’s going on in the media, as well as things that don’t really matter to me but I find interesting anyway. One of the features I like best is the way you’ve organized it, and the fact that it’s all here. If you wrote several shorter blogs to cover the same material, chances are pretty good that I’d rarely find the time to read them. I appreciate and respect that you may think there are better ways to spend your time, but you asked, so for me, please keep on doing exactly what you’re doing!

    1. Jane Jackel

      I completely agree with you, Brenda. Steve, I apologize for never letting you know how much I appreciate this media digest.

  7. Zeke


    I really like and appreciate the work you do to compile this.

    Some suggestions on how to make it less time consuming. (in no particular order). Copy/Paste the headlines a link anchors, instead of adding commentary (although I appreciate and like your commentary).

    More frequent posting (ie, anytime you have 5 links, 10 links) instead of waiting until each section is hefty.

    Yes, print is still important.

  8. Sheldon Harvey

    Personally I really appreciate this summary of news as often there are things of interest that didn’t get covered widely. I look forward to going through this summary report each time it is issued. Trust me, I appreciate the work that goes into it, having put together just a half-hour of radio related news for my CKUT show each week for the last 30 years. Your efforts to keep everyone informed are greatly appreciated.

  9. Stéphane L.

    I’ll chime in, even though I don’t usually comment around here.

    Personally, I enjoy the (mostly) weekly reports and look forward to them. There’s a lot of stuff that I brush aside since I’m not involved in the media world, but since I don’t watch or listen to much English media, it gives me a nice perspective on what’s going on.

    Just looking at this week’s post, I like the “News about news” that feels like a recap of the past several days of interesting stories. Likewise, “Good reads” has some nice gems that usually fly under the radar. On the other end, I skipped over “CRTC updates” because it’s usually all about license renewals and policy updates, and “News about people” is mostly made up of personalities I’ve never even heard about.

    I feel like many of these individual tidbits aren’t worth separate posts, but I don’t really have suggestions to offer beyond that. I’ll trust you to do what you think is best!

  10. Robert Schnaiberg

    I look forward to the roundup. I keep checking back on your website to see when a new article is up. I would leave the roundup as is. I am for innovation but the structure of the roundup works for the moment. Just keep tweaking.

    Obviously News happens when it happens, so there can not be a standardized posting day/days of the week but it would be nice.


  11. Christopher Lowery

    I read each one of them with keen interest and would not change a thing and thanks for all the hard work

  12. Anonymous

    A few comments…

    1 – TQC (Tele-Quebec)

    Honestly, I never really expected to see English language programming on TQC. But, since a request came up at the CRTC, I think the network needs to accept some sort of English language programming on its schedule. The service depends on tax payer funds. If you want tax payer funding, you need to accept your responsibility to represents your linguistic minority. We are not talking about foreign languages. English and French are legit in Canada. And, further more, placing a English language movie with French sub-titles once or twice a week would be a very much appreciated gesture. Now, if TQC wants to be a full french language network, then the government should sell it off, and let the company run its business the way it wishes. But, relying on tax payer funding, and then blowing off the English community of Quebec which is helping fund it is just a little to much. I prefer the option they sell TQC, and problem solved.

    2 – CKRN-DT

    I think something more is going on here that isn’t being reported. In the Rouyn-Noranda, Val D’or market, there are basically 4 stations. CKRN-DT (SRC), CHEM-DT (TVA), CFVS-DT (V), CIVA-DT (TQC). The first three on the list are all owned by RNC Media. And those stations affiliate with the networks. Now CKRN-DT (SRC) is being shut down. My question is why? That market is basically all francophone. There really is no completion on the local level as RNC Media owns all those stations. If they wanted to save transmitter costs, they could shut down CKRN-DT, and place SRC on a sub-channel on any of their other stations. So, is this really RNC Media, or SRC doing this. Is this the same thing as what the CBC did with privately owned affiliates. Examples, Thunder Bay, Peterborough, Kingston, Lloydminster. Does the SRC only want (O&O) Owned and Operated stations. Is this an underhanded way of getting the public to complain that they are losing their CBC, and SRC service to that the public demands more federal public funding? I think this story needs to be further flushed out.

    3 – FEEDBACK.

    Keep doing what you’re doing with this blog. Very much appreciated. If the people at the Montreal Gazette had any brains, they would give you a weekly column which you would do this, and get paid for it. I usually drop by your blog site twice a week to see of any updates, or articles. Keep up the great work.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Now CKRN-DT (SRC) is being shut down. My question is why?

      Economics. Radio-Canada’s affiliation agreement with RNC Media likely doesn’t make it profitable to operate the station, so they’re pulling the plug. If RadCan had any interest in operating a transmitter there, they would have already bought it and likely made it into a retransmitter of the Ottawa/Gatineau station. But they’re only keeping originating transmitters running.

  13. Anonymous

    Forget one more thing to comment on.

    4 – Sinclair Broadcasting Group

    Just some background info. Sinclair is a huge station group. Owns lots of local stations in the US. And all those stations affiliate with various networks. I believe, but not certain, that the Sinclair group is in the process of some sort of merger with another broadcast station group. The word is that since the Sinclair group is mainly of Conservative POV ownership, the Left media in the US is starting to target this. So when I clicked the link in your bullet point about Sinclair in your post, and it took me to a CNN page, I felt I had to comment on this. I would say be very careful what is being pimped out as news these days. I know its tough work. None of use can accept was is being pushed as news these days. We all need to do our own homework.

    Here is one of the Sinclair Groups weekly news programs running across some of their stations.
    It’s also available on the web. It’s available every Sunday. So you can stream it if you don’t have access to it over the air. It’s very much a 60 minutes style show. I’ve been watching it the past three weeks.

    Here is the link.

  14. dilbert

    As for the style of the post, I like it. The only other option would be to break out the individual sections and post them seperately, maybe as a Monday to Friday thing (one piece each day). The current format communicates a ton of information, but tends to kill off discussion on individual points.

    It’s worth the effort, I think. it’s a better informational resource for Canadian media than any other I have seen.

  15. EA

    Thanks very much for these excellent roundups. I look out for them, and always find lots of excellent material. Print still makes sense as a category, in my opinion. The only part I generally skip is the CRTC.

  16. Mathieu Plante

    These wrapup posts are my favourite on this site, I read all of them every time you post them. They are a bit long, though, maybe you could split them and into two posts twice a week? Otherwise I have to Instapaper them to read later. Thanks for the awesome work that you do!

  17. Dear Editor:

    The Gazette’s new “millennial” column is laughable. “Hey, check this out: I’m a person born between 1980 and, oh, 1995. My generation is different than the generations that came before it. But, true to my cohort, I’m totally indecisive—I studied one thing but work in something completely different! I’ve also visited such world-class cities as New York, London, and Paris, so get ready for me to compare those places to Montreal, which—don’t worry!—I still think is awesome.”

    I respect the Gaz for trying to inject some life into its pages, but maybe the paper should look for a writer with something to say.

    1. Michael Black

      To be fair, about 20 years ago they tried to add a young “hip” columnist. I’m not sure what the criteria was, it wasn’t about defining a generation. Spoken word artist Alexis O’Hara had a few columns, but apparently that didn’t work out well. Elizabeth Bromstein had a “decent” run, but it was relatively short. I can’t remember if she moved away or the Gazette decided the column wasn’t right. The idea was to include content fir “younger” readers.

      Time will see about this new one. That first one wasn’t so great, needing to define a generation seems a stretch, either there are defining things, or they are average like most generations. It is amusing to see some of the clichés, since some are just a rehash of fifty years ago. The counterculture went big into entrepreneurship, not wanting to join big corporations, there was the back to the land movement, food was big, all that vegetarianism, and so were restaurant start ups. Ecology was big, and the kids didn’t cause bike paths, fifty years of campaigning did. I wanted a computer in 1969, and have had something continuously since 1979. “Technology” no longer means something you do, it’s gadgetry to consume. The kids may be a whiz at it, but it’s akin to using a telephone.


    2. Dorothy

      No, the Gazette does not need writers with something to say.
      What it needs is to hire more reporters. Who dig up news.
      Age has nothing to do with how well one can write. Proof: in the 1980s, The New York Times ran a weekly column called HERS, by a rotating group of top-notch writers. Some were in their 30s at the time and believe me, the writing was terrific. Witty, serious, intelligent, empathetic. They really knew how to relate to, and make friends with, their audience.
      I have yet to see the style, subject matter and writing of those columns replicated, anywhere.

  18. Jon b

    I honestly really like reading your site. It tells me what’s honestly going on in the Canadian media and it’s honest and add your two cents which I enjoy.

  19. Benzie Johnson

    Honestly I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the current format of the Digest; as an international reader I actually quite value your perspective on things and through you and this blog I find out about little things, sometimes even a bit nerdy things, that I probably would never have discovered otherwise (such as the closure of the SRC station or the 14-hour sports special or pretty much anything to do with the CRTC). Even if very little of it actually applies to me, it’s still very interesting to read about. Please don’t change what works!

  20. Barbara Ford

    I’m amazed at the scope of these reports and truly comprehend the time/effort investment. As a publicist, they are hugely helpful to me. The media landscape changes by the day; it’s difficult & time consuming to keep my media contacts current. Your reports are my best friend when it comes to keeping them up to date. If you like writing them, I’m all for it. And by the way … THANKS!

  21. Bruce Harris

    I too echo the others and like the format you’re using. I’ve lived in Vancouver, Whitehorse, Calgary and most recently Montreal so I’m keen on the people section as well as the news on the news. Thanks for all your hard work

  22. Taylor C. Noakes

    My favourite regular feature in my favourite local website. Please keep it up, I know how much it takes, but it’s most certainly appreciated.


  23. Adam Z

    Don’t change a thing. Your roundup is probably the most comprehensive and interesting media-related offering in Canada. Every time I get to the Print section and see The Gazette mentioned, I think: “Is THIS the time he finally announces its official demise?”
    Keep doing what you do.

  24. Mimo

    This is always a “must read” for me and I look forward to the posts. I like the current format and I believe it’s well worth the time it takes to write. Many thanks for doing this.

    I have a tidbit for the next one. Gatineau’s new AM 1350 CHFO has begun testing.

  25. A

    This is a fantastic digest, and if it were not for you, I would miss many of these stories. Thank you so much for doing this. I hope it continues. You are an important voice.

  26. Stéphane Dumas

    Sad to see CKRN going down…. I wonder how long CKRT will hang on? CKSH, CKRS and CKTM now SRC owned and operated. I remember the days when CKSH and CKTM aired movies at 5PM on a block titled “Cinéma de 5 heures”.

    As for English on Télé-Québec, I remember a block aired in the 1980s back when it was known as Radio-Quebec titled “Quebec School Telecast” who was mainly shows from TVOntario.


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