Monthly Archives: June 2018

Media News Digest: More repeats on CBC News Network, QCNA Awards, new editors at Toronto Star and Le Devoir

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The commission held a hearing this week where four radio stations begged for their lives, err, I mean explained their chronic issues with licence compliance — CKMN-FM Rimouski, CHOC-FM Saint-Rémi, CKWR-FM Kitchener and CKUN-FM Christian Island. The transcript is here.
  • A commission letter to the Bell Fund, an independent production fund set up by Bell to dole out some of its mandatory contributions to Canadian content, says that its board makeup appears to be insufficiently independent of Bell. This is part of a complaint by several broadcasting groups that a new program set up by the fund unfairly discriminates against smaller broadcasters.
  • RNC Media has asked the CRTC to maintain its Independent Local News Fund allocation despite having shut down TV station CKRN-DT in Abitibi. RNC says it has moved all CKRN’s news resources to CFVS (its V affiliate) and produces the same amount of local news in the market as before.
  • Colba.Net has thrown in the towel on a TV distribution service in Ontario, and handed its licence back to the commission.
  • Native radio station CKOK-FM Nain, N.L., has been told it can’t be exempt from the national public alerting system, despite the argument that such a regulation is at odds with UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
  • Licence renewals for Pattison-owned radio stations CKWD-FM (Wild 95.3) Calgary and CKNO-FM (102.3 NOW!) Edmonton

Ethical reviews




  • The Quebec Community Newspaper Association awards winners list has been posted. In the overall newspaper category, first place goes to Kahnawake’s Eastern Door, and second and third place to two editions of The Suburban.



News about people


Good reads


Adieu MR-63: A bit of Montreal history goes off the rails

That’s it, it’s done. After almost 52 years, the last train of the model that launched the Montreal métro system — including the first cars ever built and delivered — were pulled out of service at 6:51pm on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Saint-Michel station on the blue line, to applause from chairperson Philippe Schnobb and a few dozen transit enthusiasts. The video above shows its last in-service stop.

The MR-63, the model number reflecting the year in which they were designed and ordered from Canadian Vickers in advance of the 1966 opening of the system, wasn’t the world’s best-designed vehicle. It had a lot of faults that were quickly rectified after the opening, most famously a problem with temperature control. Engineers greatly underestimated how hot the cars would get, and built a heating system that was never used. The driver’s cabin got so hot that a driver fainted, so the motor cars were retrofitted with an air conditioning unit replacing one of the seats in the passenger cabin. New fans were also installed in the ceiling, and one door in each car had its glass window replaced with a grill.

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Media News Digest: Influence questioned, Rogers cuts 75, Fazioli out at City

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Media News Digest: U.S. spies on NYT, TVA people can’t work on the radio, Le Devoir redesigns

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Télé Inter-Rives proposes bringing over-the-air TV back to Îles-de-la-Madeleine

There’s not much clearer evidence of the declining industry of over-the-air television than the lack of demand for new TV stations in the country. With some exceptions (ICI in Montreal, for example), there haven’t been applications for new over-the-air stations in about 20 years. Instead, major networks like CBC, TVO and CTV have been shutting down transmitters en masse to save money.

So it’s a bit surprising that someone has submitted an application for a new transmitter, in one of the most remote places in the country: the Magdalen Islands (Îles-de-la-Madeleine), the archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that belongs to Quebec but is actually closer to all four Atlantic provinces than it is to the Quebec mainland.

The application comes from CHAU, the TVA affiliate in Carleton on the Gaspé peninsula. It’s owned by Télé Inter-Rives, which also operates affiliates of the three major French-language networks (Radio-Canada, TVA and V) in Rivière-du-Loup. In addition to its main transmitter in Carleton, CHAU operates 11 digital retransmitters in the Gaspé peninsula and northern New Brunswick. This would be the 12th transmitter, CHAU-DT-12.

(CHAU, like other independent broadcasters, made the investment to convert their over-the-air transmitters to digital even though they were not required to do so by the government’s digital transition plan because they served small communities.)

Proposed transmission pattern of CHAU-DT-12 in Îles-de-la-Madeleine

CHAU-DT-12 would be a 100-watt station, with a transmitter on Channel 12 in Cap-aux-Meules on the local transmission tower operated by GAD E?lectronique. CHAU puts the cost of the new transmission facility at $37,572. That’s about $3 for each of the region’s 12,000 or so residents.

Because it’s a retransmitter, CHAU-DT-12 wouldn’t be a local station for the islands, but CHAU says it wants to provide local programming, working with independent producers on the islands and doing reporting using technologies like Skype and FaceTime. CHAU says in its application that the residents of the islands have a lot in common with those of the Gaspé peninsula and Acadian communities in New Brunswick, including an interest in fishing.

It promises to devote at least 20 minutes a week to local news relevant to the islands.

The islands haven’t had an over-the-air television transmitter since CBC/Radio-Canada shut down its extensive network of analog TV rebroadcasters in 2012. Before they were shut down, they had two retransmitters of the Radio-Canada station in Montreal (CBIMT and CBIMT-1) and one retransmitter of CBC Montreal (CBMYT).

“In today’s difficult environment for over-the-air television in Canada, the project to extend CHAU’s signal to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine represents an investment that is unexpected but achievable thanks to technical possibilities that reduce installation and operational costs,” the application reads.

The CRTC is accepting comments about CHAU’s application until July 5. Comments can be filed here. Note that all information submitted, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.

Media News Digest: RTDNA national awards, some fall TV plans, Global News Radio adds seventh station

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