Category Archives: Media

Media News Digest: KIC Country licence renewed, Mulcair in and Farber out at CJAD, Tenneriello leaves City

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TTP Media’s CFNV 940 plans to change format as it seeks licence renewal

CFNV 940 logo

The process to launch TTP Media’s talk radio stations in Montreal has taken so long that they’re now in the process of getting their licences renewed after the end of their initial seven-year term. And the publication of the application for the first of those stations suggests that the company may be moving away from its proposed news-talk format and toward health and wellness, which sounds like the kind of thing that has been tried on other AM stations in the market.

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Media News Digest: La Presse officially nonprofit, Comedy Gold sale approved, Globe hiring pot reporters

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Citytv to launch local evening newscasts in Montreal Sept. 3

More than a year after it was announced that Citytv is creating local evening newscasts in markets including Montreal, we finally have a launch date: Sept. 3.

On that date, CityNews launches newscasts at 6pm and 11pm in Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

Rogers has also announced staffing for those newscasts. In Montreal, the anchorless newscasts will be staffed by the following reporters (bios from the press release):

  • Akil Alleyne – Alleyne is a graduate of Princeton University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he studied constitutional and international law. His previous experience includes stops at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) as a Research and Program Associate; and CBC where he assisted with production, and writing.
  • Andrew Brennan – A newly-minted reporter with Breakfast Television Montreal, Brennan will continue to engage Montrealers with the local buzz on CityNews. For the last five years, Brennan has been a news anchor and reporter at CJAD 800. He graduated from Concordia University with a double-degree in Communication Studies and Journalism. (He announced his move last week.)
  • Emily Campbell – Campbell is an experienced video journalist, most recently having worked in reporting and as an anchor with CJAD 800 News and her work has appeared on CNN.
  • Giordano Cescutti – With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Concordia University, Cescutti is a recipient of the Sportsnet Scholarship in Sports Journalism for excellence in journalism and sports reporting. His previous experience includes MAtv, Montreal Gazette and CJLO 1690AM, where he was co-host and producer of award-winning sports talk show The Starting Rotation.

They will work under Supervising Producer Melanie Porco, who has been with Citytv Montreal since its launch in 2013. Two people have also been hired to work behind the scenes with the newscast in Montreal, which will be directed out of a centralized control room in Vancouver.

Last fall, Citytv hired two reporters in Montreal in preparation for the new newscasts: Tina Tenneriello and Cora MacDonald. MacDonald left Citytv recently to join Global Montreal. (UPDATE July 20: Tenneriello is also gone. She’s leaving to host a web series about “inspiring people transforming their communities through social initiatives”)

As previously announced, the newscasts will be an hour long, at 6pm and 11pm, seven days a week.

When the announcement was made, the plan was to have the newscasts running in the winter. Rogers wouldn’t say what caused the delay, beyond this: “The fall launch is reflective of our commitment to ensuring we are delivering a gold standard of local news in these markets.”

In Vancouver, the staff is:

  • Ashley Burr, formerly of CKPG in Prince George, Alta.
  • Kyle Donaldson, producer and on-air personality with Breakfast Television Vancouver
  • Travis Prasad, formerly a news writer at CTV Vancouver
  • Isabelle Raghem, formerly of CHEK News and CHCH
  • Tom Walsh, Breakfast Television reporter since 2017
  • David Zura, formerly of Roundhouse Radio in Vancouver
  • Mary Cranston, Thor Diakow and Greg Harper, existing Breakfast Television Vancouver reporters

In Calgary, the newly announced staff is:

  • Kristen Fong, formerly of Global News Radio
  • Kendra Fowler, formerly of 660 News
  • Crystal Laderas, formerly of 660 News.
  • Michael Lumsden, reporter for Breakfast Television Calgary since 2017
  • Jonathan Mumam, formerly of 660 News
  • Brittany Rosen, formerly of CTV Regina

CityNews launched in Edmonton and Winnipeg last fall (those stations had dropped their Breakfast Television programs, so launching newscasts became a requirement to meet new local news quotas). Once the new newscasts are running, City will be able to meet its local programming and local news conditions of licence with just the evening newscasts, meaning Breakfast Television will no longer be required.

“There will be no changes to BT as a result of the launch of CityNews Montreal,” Rogers spokesperson Michelle Lomack tells me, repeating what has been said previously. But that could always change as the decline of ad revenue puts more pressure to cut costs.

Four years later, from Toronto, it’s Parc Avenue Tonight Season 2

This post has been corrected.

Dimitrios Koussioulas interviews comedian DeAnne Smith during the CBC taping of Parc Avenue Tonight in 2013.

Remember Dimitrios Koussioulas? He was a flash in the pan around 2013. He had a web series called Parc Avenue Tonight, in which he interviewed locals late-night-talk-show style in his apartment, and CBC Montreal created a one-hour TV special out of that. That same summer, City TV aired a local lifestyle series called Only in Montreal in which he was one of three hosts.

And then, nothing. A second season of his show was filmed in 2014, but never got released. Only in Montreal was never renewed (though its timeless episodes spent a long time in reruns). And Koussioulas seemed to move on with his life.

And then, last Friday, this:

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Media News Digest: Cuts at Le Soleil, Jeff Fillion again, Rolling Stone redesign

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What black people think of SLAV

It’s a Jazz Festival show in which white people sing black slave songs. What could possibly go wrong?

That’s an oversimplification, but it’s what’s at the core of criticism about SLAV, a musical theatre production directed by Robert Lepage and performed by Betty Bonifassi, which was the subject of protests last week claiming it was cultural appropriation.

Whether white people can do things is a popular topic of discussion among white people in the media, so this controversy sparked quite a bit of commentary. Unfortunately, because there aren’t a lot of dark-skinned opinion leaders in this country or this province, we didn’t get to hear much in the mainstream press from people whose personal experiences might give them more nuanced views about this topic.

We’re getting better, though, both because there are more media sources out there and because existing ones are starting to acknowledge their lack of diversity. So here I’ve compiled links to local black commentators who offer their opinions on the subject. And those opinions aren’t all the same.

  • Aly Ndiaye, aka Webster: “Like it or not, the question of race is at the very heart of the American slave system. It was purged from the piece. We cannot talk about slavery in the Americas without addressing this issue.”
  • Fabrice Vil, Le Devoir: “Il n’est pas question de censurer la démarche artistique. Mais comme l’a suggéré Nathalie Bondil, les artistes devraient éviter de pécher par arrogance ou indifférence. La voie qu’elle propose est celle de la conversation, ce à quoi les créateurs, ici, ferment la porte.”
  • Vanessa Destiné, Tabloïd: “J’étais beaucoup sur mes gardes en arrivant dans la salle, mais j’en suis sortie agréablement surprise. Je n’ai pas été émue, ni renversée, mais sachez que la souffrance des esclaves n’est pas minimisée, le rôle des Blancs n’est pas excusé et je n’ai pas non plus senti qu’on cherchait à s’approprier quoi que ce soit. Il y a des passages qui m’ont fait tiquer parce que l’équipe n’a pas su éviter le piège des clichés, mais bon, je vais survivre et vous aussi.”
  • Marilou Craft, Urbania: “À mes yeux, toute œuvre forme un discours qui s’inscrit dans un dialogue plus large : une œuvre reflète la société où elle s’inscrit autant qu’elle l’éclaire. L’analyser, ce n’est donc pas seulement mieux la comprendre, mais aussi mieux se comprendre.” (This post, published in December, proceeds to interview Bonifassi.)
  • Craft, again: “Il se trouve que j’ai vu le spectacle. Et non seulement mes questions initiales quant au processus de création demeurent-elles entières, mais elles se superposent maintenant à davantage de réserves quant à certains choix artistiques.”
  • Émilie Nicolas, Québec inclusif (via a Radio-Canada interview): “Certaines personnes décident de reproduire cette culture, sans donner de crédit ou de récompense financière aux gens qui l’ont créée. Ça reproduit les dynamiques de vol et de pillage qui font partie de la colonisation. Quand on parle d’appropriation culturelle, fondamentalement, c’est ancré dans des rapports de pouvoir inégalitaires dans une histoire très précise. C’est profondément blessant pour les gens de voir encore une fois ce qu’ils créent être pris, sans que rien leur reste en retour.”
  • Frédéric Pierre, actor: “L’appropriation académique de l’histoire des « Noirs » ou des « Peuples des premières nations » me préoccupe et je serai toujours le premier à militer pour que les livres d’histoire soient ré-écrits avec l’accord et la collaboration de ces dites communautés. Mais laissons les artistes tranquilles. Laissons des artistes « Blancs » être touchés et émus par cette histoire et ses chants qu’elle a générés…même si c’est une compréhension différente. Le fond demeure le même.”

Media News Digest: Postmedia cuts again, journalists allowed to block on Twitter, StarMetro lays off 21

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

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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.



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Good reads


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.