Pierre Bruneau begins post-retirement career as TikTok influencer

Pierre Bruneau, who anchored newscasts on TVA for decades before recently announcing his retirement, has announced what his next project will be: TikTok content creator.

“I loved my time at TVA, but I’ve been wanting for a long time to explore my more creative side,” Bruneau said in an interview. “Now I’ll have the time to really focus on my new TikTok career.”

Among the content he’s toying around with these days, there’s morning chats, random trivia, story times from his career as a journalist, cycling time lapses, stitches with fellow creators and fans, and live Q&As.

“I really want to get into fun transitions,” Bruneau said, mimicking the moves of some of his favourite fashion creators. “But, to be honest, I suspect most of my videos will just me of me dancing to my favourite songs. As they say in the industry: sueur, sueur, sueur.”

New report proposes “mobile water surface travel conveyances” to establish “troisième lien” in Quebec City

A new report just released by a consulting firm may have an innovative new solution to the political deadlock over a proposed third link between Quebec City and Lévis.

Published earlier this week on an obscure part of the Quebec government website, the report calls for the establishment of a “mobile water surface travel conveyance” (“moyen de transport mobile à la surface de l’eau”) that could connect a fixed point in the national capital (a spot in Basse-Ville has been suggested) with a point near downtown Lévis.

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Quebecor offers to help Ukraine with $5,000 worth of free advertising on AddikTV

Quebecor is doing its part to help the Ukrainian people by offering $5,000 worth of free advertising space for Ukrainian advertisements on its AddikTV specialty channel.

“Our hearts are broken for the people of Ukraine, and we hope this gesture will help,” the company said in a statement.

Den Smikhu of Ukraine’s tourism office said while he doesn’t know exactly what they will do with all that free advertising time, he’s grateful for Quebecor’s offer.

“We’re not in a position to shoot new ads right now promoting Ukrainian tourism, but hopefully when things get better we’ll have all sorts of ads promoting this beautiful country to all the Quebecers watching old dubbed episodes of The Rookie at 7pm.”

CityNews to change newscast to portrait mode, asks viewers to rotate TVs

Calling it an industry first, CityNews announced today it will begin producing its local and national newscasts in portrait mode — 9×16 instead of 16×9.

The switch to portrait mode will allow the news segments to more easily be ported to platforms of the future — Facebook video and TikTok in particular, the company said in a statement.

But what about those of us who still like to watch the news on our big-screen HDTV?

Citytv recommends those people rotate their television screens 90 degrees for the duration of the local newscast.

“We considered doing a pillarbox format for broadcast, but you lose more than two thirds of the screen real estate that way,” said Citytv spokesperson Ngay Cathangtu.

Mathematically, a vertical HD image on a horizontal 16×9 screen would use up 607×1080 pixels, or a third of the 1920×1080 screen, so City’s suggestion makes sense. Unlike cellphones and tablets, televisions and cable boxes don’t come with automatic orientation detection that allows it to adjust video accordingly.

With a newscast that does pretty poorly in the ratings here, there’s not much for City to lose by trying this.

Music station announcer says seven-second break was “a real driveway moment”

They call them “driveway moments”, the segments so compelling that drivers will stay in their cars after they’ve parked because they have to hear the end of them.

For Ziua Pacalelii, who goes by “Zoo” on The Beat 92.5, one of those moments came earlier this week.

During a seven-second break between songs from 3:43:06 to 3:43:10 pm on Tuesday, Zoo gave the station ID, made a pun about Will Smith at the Oscars, asked people for their thoughts on Smith’s apology and teased music coming up from Doja Cat and Shawn Mendes when he felt an almost out-of-body experience. “It just felt like poetry pouring out of my mouth,” he said. “I could tell this segment was something special.”

Some of the text messages that came across after a particularly touching seven-second on-air segment this week.

“The part where I asked people what they thought really resonated with a lot of listeners,” Zoo told me the next day. “People were like ‘wow, no one has ever cared this much about what I thought before.’ That’s the best thing to hear.”

Zoo says he’s looking forward to a shift in a few weeks when the program director thinks he can allow up to 20 seconds of chat between songs. “I’m spending every waking moment preparing what I’m going to say. If I’m going to keep someone in their driveway for 20 whole seconds, I gotta make it worth it.”

Montreal police beat up white guy, detain him for a week to prove there’s no racial profiling

Montreal’s police department said on Friday it feels vindicated after officers savagely beat an affluent white man and kept him in jail for a week after mistaking him for a criminal suspect.

“I think this proves quite clearly that this department doesn’t engage in racial profiling,” said Capt. Manuel Di Adosbobos. “We treat everyone equally here.”

Richard Marc Lebanc was arrested on March 22nd while standing next to his car in an Outremont parking lot. Police said they were searching for a man fitting his description who was suspected of engaging in acts of fraud in the area.

“We didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt just because he was white,” Di Adosbobos said. “We said someone said it was him, we physically restrained him to protect ourselves, and we sent him to jail without a second thought.”

The actual suspect in the string of crimes, Mark R. White, was arrested a few days later and confessed to the crimes after a 37-hour interrogation. Two days after that, Leblanc was let go.

The police department said they were sorry that, for reasons beyond their control, Leblanc was the tragic victim of circumstance.

Corus launches new RACKTV softcore porn service

Introducing what it calls “new blood” into the online streaming space, Corus announced today the launch of RACKTV, a companion service to its existing STACKTV service, but with adult content.

“We’re combining the trusted quality behind STACKTV with Canadians’ insatiable thirst for the naughty stuff with our new RACKTV,” the announcement reads. “With thousands of hours of professional, tasteful, titillating and verified consensual content, we expect demand for this service to drive up … hard.”

RACKTV starts at $6.69/month, but with a free 30-day trial. Its content will be mostly exclusive to the service, not the kind of low-grade stuff you find on free websites. … Or so I’m guessing. I don’t watch porn, so I don’t know how it works.

Corus gave a long list of porn stars and services that are joining RACKTV on launch, none of which I recognize but I don’t watch porn, but at least three are misspelled.

I’ve been invited to review Corus’s new offering, which is available on Amazon Prime Video and Roku. I see it as a duty to try it out even though I don’t watch porn.

We’ll see how well it does, but then I’ll stop because I don’t watch porn.

Bell Media employee finally returns to office to discover she was laid off a year ago

Janet Possendevrille says she feels a little embarrassed that her post-pandemic return to the office didn’t go quite as planned. Instead of finding her desk with a layer of dust and maybe a rotting apple she forgot in a drawer, she found a notice on her desk telling her she was being laid off effective March 1, 2021.

The long-time Bell Media administrative assistant said she should probably have paid more attention a year ago when she lost access to her work email and didn’t have much work to do every day. “I just figured I’d get a notice when IT fixed the email problem, and without anyone working in the office I guess I thought there wasn’t much for me to do.”

After checking the voicemail on her office desk phone, she found several messages, including one reminding her of a mandatory virtual meeting on Feb. 28, and another from HR about her severance.

“I guess that’s why my bank account has less money than usual,” she quipped.

She said she holds no ill will toward her previous employer. “They wished me well in my future endeavours. How could I be mad at that? It’s so thoughtful.”

Man arrested after refusing to watch “must-see video”

A Montreal man was arrested on Thursday after repeatedly refusing to watch a video that he was told multiple times was “must see”.

Police have charged Mel Agi? Diena with two counts of failure to watch a mandatory video and one count of resisting arrest. She is expected to appear in court Friday.

In a Facebook post recounting his ordeal, Diena said she wasn’t interested in some video of a dog doing something cute and had better things to do with her time. “Who cares about some stupid dog?” she wrote.

That explanation didn’t do much to assuage Facebook users, even some close friends, who insisted that she had to watch the video even if she didn’t like it.

“They said it was must-see Mel! They don’t joke about that,” one comment read.

The Crown prosecutor’s office said it will be asking the judge to order Diena to watch the video because “it’s just so adorable, you have to see it.”

Quebec begins selling NFTs of all 243,837 named places in the province

One of the lesser-known items in the provincial budget announced in March is a new source of revenue for the province: Quebec plans to sell non-fungible tokens for all 243,837 named cities, lakes, roads, parks, rivers, bridges and other places tracked by the toponymy commission.

Details are still to be worked out. Quebec plans to sell the NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, and hold a public auction for the sales starting in a few months. But no estimate has been made on potential sale prices or the potential windfall for the government.

Quebec’s digital and cybersecurity department stresses that the NFTs are symbolic and that owning the NFT for say, the city of Laval does not confer ownership of that city.

Among the NFTs expected to fetch the highest prices are large cities like Montreal and Quebec City, geologic features like the St. Lawrence River and Île-d’Orléans, and for-the-lulz places like Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!

CRTC approves station swap between Cogeco Media and Arsenal Media

While the big news of the day was its approval of the Shaw-Rogers purchase, the CRTC also approved a pair of smaller transaction on Thursday, in which Quebec’s Cogeco Media and Arsenal Media agreed to sell stations to each other.

Under one deal, Arsenal acquires, for $1.5 million, three stations in the Abitibi region:

  • CJGO-FM 102.1 La Sarre (Capitale Rock), with transmitter CJGO-FM-1 Rouyn-Noranda
  • CHGO-FM 95.7 Val-d’Or (Capitale Rock)
  • CHOA-FM 95.7 Rouyn-Noranda (WOW), with transmitters CHOA-FM-1 103.5 Amos and CHOA-FM-2 103.9 La Sarre

In the other deal, Cogeco acquires, for $600,000, one station from Arsenal in Saguenay:

  • CILM-FM (O 98.3)

The Abitibi sale didn’t bring up major issues, except for the fact that they were formerly RNC Media stations, which Cogeco bought in 2018, which means there are still tangible benefits related to that transaction. Cogeco has agreed to continue to pay those benefits despite no longer owning the stations.

Arsenal plans to convert the stations to its brands, which include O, Plaisir and Hit Country. They will be Arsenal’s first stations in the Abitibi market, adding to its 16 stations in regions throughout Quebec.

For Saguenay, there was a bit of a thorny issue in terms of competition. Because Cogeco owns another station in Saguenay, and a third in nearby Alma, there was concern it might exceed its ownership limit. Analysis showed the Alma station didn’t cover enough of Saguenay to be an issue, but there was some overlap in the Alma market. Nevertheless, because no other broadcasters complained and Cogeco said it would not seek out advertising in Alma from its Saguenay stations, the CRTC allowed the acquisition to proceed.

Cogeco plans to convert CILM-FM to a Rythme FM station, giving the network a presence in all five of Quebec’s largest population centres and more than half the province’s population.

As a result of this issue being decided, the CRTC has reopened a proceeding into whether Rouyn-Noranda should get another radio station. Josyane Cossette has applied for a commercial radio station while CHOW-FM (Radio Boréale) in Amos applied for a retransmitter in Rouyn-Noranda. Other broadcasters can file applications to compete with these if they want to serve the market.

Radio ratings: CBC continues to climb as Virgin has worst book in a decade

Numeris released its quarterly metered ratings report on Wednesday, and while the order in Montreal hasn’t changed much, there are some trends that should be worrying some people, particularly at Bell Media.

Here’s the top-line data — Average minute audience, Montreal anglo 12+, Nov. 29, 2021 to Feb. 27, 2022:

  • CJAD 800: 11,100
  • The Beat 92.5: 6,500
  • CBC Radio One: 5,700
  • CHOM 977: 3,800
  • 95.9 Virgin Radio: 2,700
  • TSN 690: 2,200
  • CBC Music: 1,300

The good news goes mainly to CBC Radio One, which had a sudden spike in the last ratings book and has maintained it through this one. Its 14.9% market share overall is the highest it’s been in a decade at least and 69% higher than it was just a year ago.

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Ottawa Christian radio station applies for FM transmitter in Pointe-Claire

The West Island could get its first radio station since the days of CFOX.

Well, not exactly.

Christian Hit Radio, which owns Ottawa’s CHRI 99.1 FM, has applied to the CRTC for a small transmitter at Lakeside Heights Baptist Church in the heart of Pointe-Claire.

The 51-watt transmitter (the lowest power that can be used on a protected frequency) at 90.7 FM would rebroadcast CHRI’s programming entirely and have no original programming, operating similarly to existing retransmitters in Pembroke and Cornwall, Ont.

In its application, posted Tuesday by the commission, CHR mentions the recent sale of WYUL 94.7 to Christian broadcaster EMF, and says “although CHRI-FM welcomes the abundance and diversity of Christian content, in order to have this diversity we need to have at least more than one station broadcasting this content in a given region.”

Theoretical coverage area of a proposed retransmitter of CHRI-FM in Pointe-Claire

With an antenna on the cross above the church, the signal would cover much of Pointe-Claire, and parts of Dorval, Beaconsfield, Kirkland and Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Its coverage beyond that would be severely limited by two factors: having to protect second-adjacent channel CKUT-FM 90.3 (which has given its approval for this project provided any interference issues are dealt with) and another lowish-power transmitter, CJPB-FM, on the same frequency less than 15 kilometres away in St-Laurent. CJPB-FM, a community radio station, was approved in 2016.

CHR says it considered other possibilities for a transmitter, including on AM and at 88.1 MHz, the channel formerly used by a tourist information station at Trudeau airport in Dorval.

“We have also looked at the possibility of AM transmission but it is very difficult to install an AM operation in Pointe-Claire and considering an AM operation from the south shore to reach this area is prohibitive,” CHR writes in the application. “We have also considered HD Radio but we consider that the technology is not mature and promoted enough in Canada.”

The 88.1 plan was seriously considered, but eventually ditched because they could not get approval from CBC, which has a Radio One station at 88.5.

The CRTC application is accepting comments for the next month. You can file comments at crtc.gc.ca, under Open Part 1 Applications.

CHOM announces new morning show with Jay Michaels, Chantal Desjardins and Sharon Hyland

After four years of Terry DiMonte holding the fort on the CHOM morning show alone (with help from producer Esteban Vargas), CHOM has decided to go back to having a team host the morning show, announcing Friday three permanent hosts for Mornings Rock starting Feb. 28.

Jay Michaels was until last week the host of the afternoon drive show on Toronto’s Newstalk 1010. He announced he was leaving for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Chantal Desjardins comes back to the CHOM morning show, where she was part of the team in 2010 and 2011 with Ted Bird, Pete Marier and later Rob Kemp during that non-Terry period. When DiMonte came back, she was replaced with Heather Backman. Since leaving CHOM, she’s worked as a presenter at Sportsnet, done some standup comedy and based on her social media has been a nearly full-time vacationer.

Sharon Hyland is a very familiar name to CHOM listeners, having recently celebrated 25 years as an on-air host at the station, most of which were spent on daytime or weekend shifts.

Three hosts is something CHOM hasn’t done for more than a decade, and it’s a bit surprising that they would try this again. The station has been bleeding audience over the past few years and its fall book wasn’t great, but it still remains ahead of sister station Virgin 95.9, which is in much more need of some sort of change.

Marier noted during the announcement that he will be trading shows with Hyland, hosting weekend mornings.

Vargas will remain with the station, starting a new role as digital content producer for not just CHOM but Bell’s other English-language radio stations in Montreal as well. That means he won’t be producing the morning show any more, I’m told.

TSN 690 fires Chris Nilan for refusing to get vaccinated

Chris Nilan revealed on Thursday he has been fired by TSN 690 owner Bell Media after he refused to follow through with a company-wide requirement to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a post on Twitter, Nilan said he was asked to get the vaccine “late last year” and on Tuesday was informed that his contract was being terminated. His name and face have been removed from TSN 690’s website.

Nilan says “after consultation with my doctor and based upon my medical conditions,” he decided against the vaccine and asked for a medical exemption, which was denied. Nilan did not specify what medical conditions he has that would prevent him from safely taking a vaccine.