News about news
- This week was the Quebec National Assembly’s hearings into the future of news media. I previewed them in an article for the Montreal Gazette (in which I, for the first time, interviewed my own boss in an on-the-record capacity). Quebec City bureau chief Philip Authier has been covering the hearings themselves (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), in which just about every person appearing whose name isn’t Pierre Karl Péladeau argued the business model for news is declining and they need help of some sort. Transcripts and video are available here. Among the highlights:
- Québec solidaire MNA Catherine Dorion used her time with Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau to ask him about the Journal de Québec’s treatment of her, repeatedly telling her she couldn’t criticize Péladeau and pulling her column when she repeatedly did anyway. Péladeau refused to give a meaningful answer, accusing her of making a spectacle. But he told one of his media outlets, reported in another of his media outlets, that he has no knowledge of what happened with her column, but his media outlets offer diverse opinions and it’s perfectly normal to forbid employees from publicly criticizing “colleagues.” Patrick Lagacé explains the issue well.
- Radio-Canada says it is prepared to help regional media, including through training and collaborations, though it is not offering any specific details in its submission.
- Le Devoir presented 17 recommendations, including tax credits, abolishing the recycling tax on newspaper publishers, and limiting government spending on advertising on foreign-owned media to 5% of the total. It also wants any measures to be equitable and not be contingent on any editorial standards or press council membership.
- Another proposal: a 5% tax on internet services to benefit news media. For the average household that spends $54.17 a month on internet service (not including mobile data), that would cost $32.50 a year.
- University of Ottawa professor Marc-François Bernier has a suggestion of turning Télé-Québec into some online regional news hub, funded by the government. I find this suggestion confusing, since Télé-Québec has no news department and no significant regional presence. (It has transmitters throughout Quebec but none carry programming different from the Montreal mother station.)
- Journalism professor Dominique Payette brought back her idea of licensing professional journalists (though she refers to it as conferring a “status”). I discuss my issues with this idea in this post from 2010.
- One of the big issues related to the Groupe Capitales Médias financial crisis is its pension plan. Unless some miracle happens, retirees will probably see their benefits cut by a quarter. The CSN has proposed a workers’ cooperative model, and unionized employees also endorsed it, but it’s far from certain how such a model would be sustainable financially. Meanwhile, La Presse reports Quebecor wanted to cut 2/3 of staff if they took over the chain.
- Quebec’s labour ministry says an error led to a press release being mostly redacted in an access-to-information response.
- James Sears, editor of Your Ward News in Toronto, has been sentenced to a year in prison for hate speech against women and Jews. The publisher of the publication, who expressed regret over its contents, has been sentenced to a year of house arrest.
- A Montreal-based journalist for a military news website is trying to use new protections for journalists to have child pornography possession charges against him dropped.
- The Washington Post admits it erred in allowing a source to have his quotes removed from a story.
- A survey shows a minority but still significant number of Americans believe news from satirical websites like The Onion to be true.
News and the federal election
- Moderators have been announced for the leaders’ debates (though Justin Trudeau may not participate in all of them):
- Maclean’s debate, Sept. 12
- Paul Wells, columnist, Maclean’s
- Munk debate, Oct. 1
- English debate, Oct. 7
- Althia Raj, Ottawa bureau chief, HuffPost Canada
- Susan Delacourt, Ottawa bureau chief, Toronto Star
- Rosemary Barton, national news anchor, CBC News
- Dawna Friesen, national news anchor, Global News
- Lisa LaFlamme, national news anchor, CTV News
- French debate, Oct. 10
- Patrice Roy, news anchor, Radio-Canada
- Hélène Buzzetti, Ottawa correspondent, Le Devoir
- Patricia Cloutier, National Assembly correspondent, Le Soleil
- François Cardinal, editorialist, La Presse
- Alec Castonguay, political bureau chief, L’Actualité
- Unifor’s very anti-Conservative stance in the federal election campaign has made journalists represented by Unifor’s locals uncomfortable.
At the CRTC
- Radio Humsafar’s desperate attempts to secure a transmitter site for its new Brampton AM radio station before its deadline to launch is coming together. After getting its previous choice rejected twice because it was too far into Mississauga, the new proposal is well within Brampton and seems technically sound. But the deadline is Oct. 21, and the CRTC has already given the group extensions on that deadline, so the latest request is being put to a (shortened) public consultation.
- The commission has begun a formal proceeding to review new 36-month cellphone financing plans being offered by the major telecom companies, to see if they are consistent with Wireless Code provisions that would normally cap such plans at 24 months.
- The federal cabinet has declined to order the CRTC to review the decision granting OMNI a licence extension and giving it millions of dollars of free funding. A petition demanding it be overturned was filed by other applicants looking to offer an alternative.
- A hearing has been called for Allarco’s Super Channel and four McBride Communications radio stations (CFPV-FM Pemberton, B.C., CKPM-FM Port Moody, B.C., CIMM-FM Ucluelet, B.C. & CHMZ-FM Tofino, B.C.) to explain serious licence compliance issues.
- New mandatory closed captioning quality standards came into effect on Sept. 1, though they will only be enforced as of March 1. The new standards limit how many errors can be found in live programming.
- Bell has been ordered to maintain wholesale roaming service for Videotron clients as the commission studies whether some Videotron clients are engaged in permanent roaming on Bell’s network and whether Bell can terminate its contract with Videotron for that reason.
- Stingray is applying for a licence for the Stingray Hits TV channel, since it has passed the 200,000 subscriber mark and no longer qualifies for an exemption from licensing.
- CBC is proposing licence changes to its radio stations in northern Quebec:
- Creating a CBC Radio One station in Kuujjuaq, transferring its transmitters in Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuaq, Salluit and Puvirnituq from the Iqaluit licence. The purpose is to create a network of stations that blends programming from CBC North (including Kuujjuaq-based Tuttavik) and CBC Quebec (an hour a day of Quebec AM). The station’s schedule would also replay Tuttavik at 9pm weekdays.
- Creating a CBC Radio One station in Chisasibi, transferring its transmitters in Chisasibi, Wemindji, Waskaganish, Waswanipi and Mistissini from CBC Quebec. The purpose is to transfer Cree-language programming — Winschgaoug (8-9am/4-5pm) and Eyou Dipajimoun (12-1pm) — from the French stations to the English ones. The ICI Première licence would be dropped and the transmitters transferred to the licence of ICI Première in Montreal.
- English Christian music station CJTK-FM Sudbury (KFM Radio) has received approval for a rebroadcasting transmitter in Kapuskasing (88.5 FM, 510W).
- Community radio station CIHO-FM (Radio Charlevoix) has gotten a renewal for four years. Its new licence requires it to broadcast that it failed to meet licence requirements in the previous term. The station says its former general manager left and forgot to tell anyone that they have to report annually to the CRTC.
- Bell Media has applied to shut down CILC-FM Celista, B.C., which retransmits CILK-FM Kelowna (EZ Rock). The 50-watt transmitter “was originally installed by the previous owner of CILK-FM who spent time in the Celista area allowing him to monitor CILK-FM Kelowna from his recreational property.” The application says Celista residents will be served by EZ Rock Salmon Arm, 27km away.
- The commission has approved an application for a second transmitter of CKBF-FM at Canadian Forces Base Suffield in southeast Alberta. The new transmitter (101.7 FM, 920 watts) will be on the base itself rather than almost 20km southeast.
- Zazeen’s TV distribution licence in Quebec and Ontario has been revoked, as it is no longer necessary. Zazeen continues to broadcast as an exempt service with fewer than 20,000 subscribers.
- The CRTC is giving CKFG-FM (G98.7) Toronto a six-month extension to fulfill its financial obligations for Canadian content development. The station said it needed the extension because it needs to sort out issues related to the estate of founder Fitzroy Gordon, who died in April.
- New foreign TV channels approved for distribution in Canada:
- Wow Unlimited Media finally took over Comedy Gold, the specialty channel it acquired from Bell Media in a $6.8-million deal approved by the CRTC more than a year ago. It then immediately shut down all operations, though it says it is “exploring strategic partnerships to structure a financially attractive business plan for a potential WOW!-branded linear channel.”
- Corus is shutting down specialty channels CosmoTV and IFC on Sept. 30.
- Disney+ is launching in Canada on Nov. 12. The streaming service will cost $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year.
- MusiquePlus quietly died, the rotting carcass that was once Quebec’s specialty channel devoted to music has been rebranded as Elle Fictions and now broadcasts mostly imported content that appeals to women. The final nail brought up some nostalgia among former staff and a look back in Le Devoir.
- Star Académie is returning to TVA in 2021, though without Julie Snyder.
- The creators of Radio-Canada legal drama Ruptures are working on an English adaptation. No broadcaster has picked it up yet.
- RDI has a new weekly show this fall about misinformation online. Alexis de Lancer hosts, with Bouchra Ouatik and Jeff Yates.
- Some results on the fight against video piracy:
- Regional TV broadcast schedules for Canadian NHL teams are being released (we’re still waiting for TSN):
- Vancouver Canucks: 36* national games (15 on Hockey Night/Day in Canada, 15 on Sportsnet, 5 on Sportsnet One, 3 on Sportsnet 360 (all of which are on another channel as well, including one on Citytv Vancouver)), and all 46* regional games on Sportsnet Pacific (nothing scheduled so far on the SN Vancouver Hockey overflow channel), plus 5 preseason games on Sportsnet One (2 of them also on Sportsnet Pacific)
- Edmonton Oilers: 40 national games (10 on Hockey Night in Canada, 1 on Hockey Day in Canada, 16 on Sportsnet, 9 on Sportsnet One, 2 on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, 2 on Sportsnet 360) and 42 regional games (38 on Sportsnet West, 3 on Sportsnet Oilers, 1 on both), plus 2 preseason games
- Calgary Flames: 39 national games (14 on Hockey Night in Canada, 1 on Hockey Day in Canada, 10 on Sportsnet, 6 on Sportsnet 360, 7 on Sportsnet One, 1 on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One) and 43 regional games (38 on Sportsnet West, 5 on Sportsnet Flames), plus 1 preseason game
- Ottawa Senators (French): 30 national games on TVA Sports, 52 regional games (25 on RDS, 26 on RDS2, 1 on RDS Info), plus 3 preseason games on RDS,
- Montreal Canadiens (French): 22 national games on TVA Sports, 60 regular-season games and six preseason regional games on RDS.
- Fall previews:
News about people
- Several people are departing Sportsnet, including Nick Kypreos, Doug Maclean, John Shannon.
- Sports analyst Derek Aucoin has glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer.
- Marie-Ève Bédard has been named Radio-Canada’s new correspondent in Paris.
- The Montreal Gazette writes about Suzanne Desautels’s new job doing podcasts for the English Montreal School Board.
- Jim Connell has been named the new afternoon news anchor at K103 in Kahnawake.
- Dany Dubé will be a hockey analyst for RDS this season, which means he won’t be for TVA Sports. (He remains the colour analyst for Canadiens games on 98.5 FM)
- Scott Dyer has retired as president of Corus production company Nelvana. Pam Westman has been named his successor.
- Sunny Freeman is the new managing editor at The Canadian Press, being promoted from business editor.
- TSN 690 has dropped François Gagnon as an analyst.
- Natasha Gargiulo, recently dropped from Virgin 95.9, has done some fill-in work at Breakfast Television.
- Patrick Jutras has been named head of advertising sales at Quebecor Media. He was previously at its subsidiary Videotron.
- Reporter Kristy Kirkup has begun her new job at the Globe and Mail.
- Alyson Lozoff has lost her job on the Vegas Golden Knights broadcast team … and gotten a new job with the Anaheim Ducks broadcast team. Her replacements in Vegas include Daren Millard, formerly of Sportsnet.
- Laura Lynch has been named the interim host of The Current on CBC Radio One.
- Daryl McIntyre is leaving his job as anchor of CTV News in Edmonton on Sept. 13. Erin Isfeld will anchor solo after that.
- Mark Pupo is the new editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest.
- Elliott Price, formerly of TSN 690 in Montreal and The Fan 590 in Toronto, is now on the Niagara IceDogs broadcast team at 610 CKTB.
- Hailey Salvian is the new Senators beat writer at The Athletic.
- Joel Senick is the new anchor of Global News at 11 in Calgary.
- Billy Shields, formerly of Global Montreal, has joined CTV Montreal as a videojournalist. He also got his Canadian citizenship.
- Marie-Danielle Smith is leaving the National Post, moving from Ottawa to B.C.
- Jordan Timm, former head of news at the National Post, has left to join The Logic.
- Alex Trebek is back at work at Jeopardy! after finishing chemotherapy.
- Sherri van der Veen is the new station and news director at Global Regina. A new station manager will be hired to replace her previous role at Global Saskatoon.
- The Athletic, and in particular Sean Fitz-Gerald, has been doing a lot of profiles of Canadian sports media personalities.
- A good breakdown of how the G7 leaders released photos that, for the most part, distorted reality to make it seem as if they were leading the other leaders.
- Editorial intern, Reader’s Digest in Montreal (deadline: Sept. 5)
- Political reporter, National Post in Ottawa (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Senior news editor, Edmonton Journal/Sun (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Staff reporters, The Logic in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 6)
- Production assistant, Vocal Fry Studios in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 10)
- Managing editor, Montreal Gazette (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Reporter, APTN in Ottawa (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Reporter-editor (one-year contract), The Canadian Press in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 11)
- Host, CBC’s As it Happens in Toronto (deadline: Sept. 13)
- Photo journalist, Global News Montreal
- Canadian government reporter, Bloomberg News in Ottawa
- Online video journalist, Global News in Toronto
- YouTube creator, Postmedia News in Vancouver
- R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship (deadline: Oct. 28)
*Correction: I was off by one on the Canucks games’ regional/national split because of a typo on Sportsnet’s website.