News about news
— Tonda MacCharles (@TondaMacC) January 7, 2019
- The Canadian Press is eliminating its French-language radio headlines service, as well as its newsroom video editing service. The latter will instead be outsourced to Pagemasters North America, which may hire (at less favourable working conditions) some but not all of the talented people losing their jobs.
- Vice is not giving up in its legal battle with the RCMP over an order for journalist Ben Makuch to hand over data related to communications with an Islamic State fighter. Vice’s lawyers are now arguing the order should be quashed because the fighter in question is dead.
- The union representing workers at La Presse has reached a deal in principle with the employer on a new contract. It will be presented to members on Jan. 22.
- A recently released study looked at how much of a presence public relations has in news articles from Quebec newspapers, repeating (with some improvements) a similar 1988 study. Although the headline is that more stories have some PR elements in them, a key finding is that the percentage of stories that come from a single PR source has dropped by more than half. It’s also worth noting that a lot of things count as PR here, from attending a press conference to stuff posted on Twitter to getting a quote from a spokesperson. I might argue that as organizations have gotten bigger over the pas 30 years, the use of more formalized PR has become a necessity, and is not necessarily indicative of some sort of problem. (Another finding is that, based on a sample size of two editions, La Presse tends to have more sources per article than the Journal de Montréal.)
- The Globe and Mail is opening a bureau in Thunder Bay, and will even have its editorial board move there briefly.
- The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec has backtracked on a decision to eliminate the “local and regional” news category from its annual awards, after an outcry from members.
- New legislation proposed by the Ford government in Ontario could cause major problems for student media at Ontario universities. The legislation would make it mandatory for students to be able to opt out of fees for student activities, like student newspapers and radio stations.
- Canadian University Press held its annual national conference this month, and handed out its John H. McDonald Awards for student journalism. Next year’s conference will be in Montreal.
- Concordia University journalism students have voted to strike for a week to protest against unpaid internships. The date of the strike is unclear, meant to coincide with a larger student strike. Note that the strike means not going to classes. It’s unclear how it would affect the internships themselves. The journalism department is reviewing rules that require that for-credit internships be unpaid only.
- It’s Canadian Women’s Hockey League All-Star weekend, which means we have the annual why-doesn’t-women’s-hockey-get-enough-attention story. Meanwhile the CWHL is making covering the game itself difficult for journalists. The game will be broadcast Sunday at 1:30pm on Sportsnet.
- A fake Washington Post newspaper showed up at protests in D.C. claiming Donald Trump had resigned. Obviously the Post was unamused.
At the CRTC
Love that a memo was needed to start this. And that it's bring your own beverage. pic.twitter.com/7n5A90ILgs
— Kyle Duggan (@Kyle_Duggan) January 16, 2019
- The CRTC has filed its submission to an expert panel proposing broadcasting and telecommunications regulation changes. Among the requests for new powers are to be able to order telecom access to “non-traditional structures” like light poles and bridges, to apply telecom rules to service resellers, to regulate Netflix and similar online content services, to fine broadcasters directly, to offer funding to encourage independent public participation in the CRTC process, and to set up advisory committees. Lots of other groups have also made submissions to the panel.
- A complaint against the Bell Fund, an “independent” production fund that receives its funding from Bell’s required contributions to Canadian programming, that it was not sufficiently independent and that its new criteria for TV funding unfairly discriminated against small broadcasters, has been dismissed in part. The commission found that the structure of the fund’s funding envelopes was not against policy and did not need to be changed, but it ordered the fund to change its bylaws to ensure that independent board members make up 2/3 of the voting board members at all times and that vacancies of independent members be filled within 90 days.
- New applications for radio stations in Atlantic Canada:
- Marystown, N.L.: Commercial FM station (88.3 MHz, 59.3kW), owned by Stingray, to replace AM station CHCM (rebroadcaster of VOCM)
- Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.: Low-power community FM station (94.5 MHz, 50W), owned by Exploits Valley Community Radio Inc.
- Sydney, N.S.: Low-power campus FM station (107.3 MHz, 50W), owned by Caper Radio Inc. (Cape Breton University)
- Saint John, N.B.: Christian music FM station (96.1 MHz, 2.5kW), owned by New Song Communications Ministries Ltd., to replace low-power station on same frequency.
- Unsurprisingly, Bell and Cogeco have written to the CRTC to say they
are opposed tohave issues with the request by Leclerc Communication for an exception to ownership limits to allow it to buy CHOI Radio X in Quebec City while already owning two other radio stations there. Bell and Cogeco, the other major private players in the market, who both received such exceptions in Montreal (Bell to keep TSN 690 after it bought Astral Media, and Cogeco to keep 98.5FM after it bought Corus’s Quebec radio stations), say Leclerc’s request is not exceptional, and would result in it having a commercial market share just short of 50% in the market. Bell opposes the exception, while Cogeco says if the exception is granted, it should be with exceptional conditions of licence. Several other interventions from individuals concerned the plan to turn Montreal’s 91.9 Sports into a music station. Leclerc has not replied to the interventions, butUpdate: Leclerc has replied to the interventions in a document posted Friday. It counters the argument about market share by pointing out that Bell has the top two stations in several Quebec markets, and a 75% share in anglo Montreal. All it says about the loss of a sports talk station is “we understand the disappointment” and “we will take advantage of our appearance to discuss these issues with the commission if it wants.” A hearing has been set for Feb. 20 in Quebec City to consider the proposed purchase.
- The commission is calling for comments on a new standard for measuring the accuracy of closed captioning for live English-language TV programming, after broadcasters found the previous standard was not practical.
- The CRTC has approved a transmitter site, channel and power change for CHNU-DT Fraser Valley, B.C. (Joytv). The ZoomerMedia religious TV station has to move because the transmitter site is being decommissioned.
- The licence for BBC Kids Canada has been officially revoked after the channel ceased operations on Dec. 31.
- The commission has approved a plan to add a third area code to the 450 area around Montreal: Code 354 will be overlaid on top of the 450/579 area as of Oct. 24,
- The Toronto Star has published the results of its You Be The Editor quiz. Public Editor Kathy English offers her take on each question, but without much explanation.
- The National Newsmedia Council says a Windsor Star column about a city council race should have included more information about an opinion poll used to determine the three front-runners in the race, instead of giving it de facto anonymity.
— Abigail Bimman (@AbigailBimman) January 18, 2019
- TSN and RDS have added a new option for people who want to subscribe without a cable TV service: A $5 day pass, for the benefit of anyone who just wants to watch a single event. The pass lasts 24 hours.
- Meanwhile, subscribers to Cogeco cable no longer have access to TSN Direct, TSN Go or its RDS equivalents as of Jan. 1. Cogeco has been telling subscribers on social media that there was “very low customer engagement” with the service, making it no longer worth the cost. TSN/RDS list Cogeco’s phone number when people try to sign in to the service.
- The issue of stock footage got a lot of attention in Quebec after it was discovered that an episode of the TV series Travelers (formerly Showcase now Netflix) used footage of the Lac-Mégantic train disaster to depict a different fictional disaster. Then people discovered that footage of Lac-Mégantic was also used in the popular movie Bird Box. Travelers apologized and promised to fix it, but it looks like Bird Box won’t be re-edited to remove the footage. Quebec’s culture minister has written to Netflix to demand that it be cut.
- Radio-Canada’s Bye-Bye 2018 has set the record as the most watched broadcast in Quebec history, with 4.41 million viewers when PVR viewers were taken into account. The previous record was for a 1995 episode of La petite vie.
- Ratings measurement company Numeris is now releasing data on on-demand viewing, allowing broadcasters to properly measure total audience across live, PVR and on demand.
- CTV has announced the 30 music artists participating in Season 2 of The Launch. The six-episode series will have five artists per episode — hopefully they don’t repeat the mistake of last year where they had to cut two artists from each episode completely. The series will be broadcast simultaneously in French on Vrak, which will take advantage of the presence of Quebec superstar Marie-Mai as well as four artists from Quebec competing.
- Two competing documentaries about the Fyre Festival debacle are accusing each other of ethical violations — one for paying the festival’s founder for an interview, and the other for partnering with companies that promoted the Fyre Festival.
- Radio-Canada is not renewing the hockey drama Demain des hommes, despite petitions to give it a second season.
- CBC’s Workin’ Moms has sold its international rights to Netflix.
- Global has started production on the third and final season of drama series Mary Kills People. It’s set to air this spring, which is a very quick turnaround.
- CNN has licensed its brand to a new operation in Brazil. CNN Brasil joins other CNN-branded international channels including CNN Chile, CNN Turk, CNN Indonesia, CNN Philippines, CNN-News18 (India) and regional channels in Asia.
- A major change at Montreal’s 98.5 FM will move afternoon drive host Paul Houde to weekends, replacing him with Patrick Lagacé, as of next fall.
- Two Halifax radio stations have switched to an easy listening music format: Evanov’s CKHY-FM 105.1 going from Rock 105 to The Jewel 105, and Stingray’s CKUL-FM 96.5 going from Mix 96.5 to The Breeze, following similar switches in Vancouver and Edmonton.
- Cogeco has rebranded its recently acquired Lachute and Hawkesbury stations as Wow. Cogeco acquired the Wow brand in the RNC Media deal, while RNC kept Pop, the brand previously used by the stations (and also used in Gatineau and Quebec City). Cogeco no longer has any Pop stations, but it also has to figure out what to do with the KYK Radio X brand in Saguenay. Cogeco Media president Michel Lorrain tells me no final decision has been made. What happens to Radio X will depend on what happens to CHOI in Quebec City, which RNC is trying to sell to Leclerc Communication. The Planète brand, used by four stations around Lac Saint Jean, will likely get a refresh at some point.
- In a filing to the CRTC, Cogeco disclosed that its talk radio stations in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Gatineau are not profitable, having lost $18.6 million from 2012 to 2018. The argument is that the exception to give them a third FM station in Montreal’s French market is justified because the success of 98.5 FM helps subsidize these money-losing stations.
- Stingray has agreed to acquire CHOO-FM (99.5 Drum FM) in Drumheller, Alta., for an undisclosed amount from Golden West Broadcasting. It already owns 910 CFCW, the only other commercial station in that market. CRTC approval is required before the deal can proceed.
- CBC News has another story about the plan to revive CKHQ in Kanesatake. It includes some supportive words from K103 program director Java Jacobs.
- Canadians are unsurprisingly streaming music more and more.
- The Montreal Gazette has a new biweekly column on medical issues by doctor Christopher Labos. Meanwhile, the paper plans to find someone to replace Lesley Chesterman, who stepped away from restaurant reviews. Chesterman’s final column is here.
- Canadian libraries are trying to drum up public support for a campaign to get book publishers to make more titles available to libraries at lower costs. This comes a month after going to the media with their concerns didn’t seem to get anywhere.
- Author Stephen King was disappointed that the Press Herald in Portland, Me., decided to no longer run local book reviews. The paper responded saying it would bring the section back if King got 100 more people to subscribe. He succeeded.
- Publishers are inserting “morality clauses” into their contracts with writers that allow them to cancel publishing deals if the writers get caught up in scandals related to their behaviour.
News about people
Hey friends! How I’m spending my weekends since leaving the anchor desk @CTVMontreal…here’s an example: 493 lego pieces, one badass blue dragon and a very happy six-year old boy. pic.twitter.com/PlVfc04Aa8
— Tarah Schwartz (@TarahSchwart514) January 14, 2019
- Paul Godfrey has officially stepped down as CEO of Postmedia (my employer). He remains executive chairman. Andrew MacLeod takes over as CEO of the newspaper company. The CWA union is pleased with this development.
- Quebecor has appointed Jean-François Pruneau as the new CEO of Videotron. He succeeds Manon Brouillette, who is stepping down. Pruneau has been with Videotron since 2001 and Quebecor’s chief financial officer since 2010. Quebecor also named Marc M. Tremblay as Chief Operating Officer, and Hugues Simard as its new Chief Financial Officer.
- Karine Moses, formerly head of Bell Media’s Astral outdoor advertising unit, has been promoted to
vice-president of Bell Media Quebec. She succeeds Gerry Frappier, who has been running RDS since 1999. Frappier retires on March 31.
- Former CJAD host Barry Morgan has been hired to do media relations for the west-central Montreal public health network.
- Virgin Radio host Natasha Gargiulo got interviewed on the Sound Off Podcast.
- Missed this before the holidays, but Aimée Lemieux is the new videojournalist at CityNews Montreal.
- Jeff Harrington has been brought in as a vacation replacement for Frank Cavallaro doing weather for CBC Montreal.
- Kim Rusk, who has worked at Rythme FM, CKOI and Rouge, will now join Énergie, which she had planned to do more than a year ago when she quit CKOI but instead went to Rouge. She will host the 9am to noon show.
- Former TV host Éric Salvail has been charged with sexual assault for alleged incidents dating back to 1993.
- Sun cartoonist Andy Donato has won a case against tax authorities over his attempt to claim the value of donations of his work to universities.
- Former Sun News and CFRA host Brian Lilley has returned to the Toronto Sun as a political columnist.
- Judith Pereira is the new books editor for the Globe and Mail
- CBC’s Olivia Stefanovich is moving from Toronto to Ottawa to cover Parliament Hill.
- Audrey James, former senior director of scheduling at CBC Television, is having her dirty laundry aired in public after trying to sue her former employer for wrongful dismissal. CBC’s defence has a … well, laundry list of alleged misbehaviours that led to her termination.
- Sportscaster Bob Costas is leaving NBC, where he has worked since 1979.
- Mark Elliot, CFRA/CFGO/CFRB host
- Brian “Henny” Henderson, CHUM announcer
- Zuhair Kashmeri, Globe and Mail journalist
- Beverley Mitchell, former Montreal Star/Gazette journalist
- Richard René, La Presse editor
- Guy Roy, Journal de Montréal journalist
- Norman Snider, author and journalist
- Ernest Tucker, CBC journalist and professor (more details on his life from this article from last June)
- Peter Watts, TSN host
- The New York Times interviews Ellen DeGeneres, about her new Netflix standup special, about being nice, and the future of her daytime talk show.