Monday, January 31, 2011

Guiardian says investors restless over Murdoch woes

Interesting story from the Guardian paints a panoramic picture of trouble at the many Murdoch media interests. Could be. These properties court controversy. But the opening gambit featuring Prince al-Waleed bin Talal is weak. The writers frankly are guessing what he thinks. And while the Prince may be furious with Murdoch, there's nothing in the story to support that conclusion. Of course, the Guardian doesn't like Murdoch, and no doubt the reverse is true.

Internet download limits slashed for many

Weekend memo from Bell gives some users the bad news.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's the Internet -- do you write to it?

It was very amusing. But the 1994 clip in which Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric discuss the Internet has been pulled from You Tube by "the user". It appears the laughing was heard a little too close some important person.

SCOC upholds restrictions on media in court

Most by now will be familiar with the decision of the Supreme Court to deny wide-open access to the courts by the media and particularly videographers. Media reaction has not been favorable and focuses typically on occasions when judges appear to have lost their reason by closing courts and banning reporting. On the other hand, the media must be wise enough to understand that unfettered video in court raises enormous questions about the integrity of evidence. Like it or not, it is the judge who must decide whether every single thing said in court is to be made public.

Bookseller Borders to default on rent

A release from Borders Group says the bookseller will delay payments to vendors, landlords and others that are payable at the end of January. Borders says the delay is intended to help the company maintain liquidity while it seeks to complete a refinancing or restructuring of its existing credit facilities and other obligations. Borders has received a conditional commitment from GE Capital, Restructuring Finance for a $550 million senior secured credit facility.

Without Internet, Egyptians find new ways to get online

"When countries block, we evolve," an activist with the group We Rebuild wrote in a Twitter message Friday. That's just what many Egyptians have been doing this week, as groups like We Rebuild scramble to keep the country connected to the outside world, turning to landline telephones, fax machines and even ham radio to keep information flowing in and out of the country. Computer World

Radio: Where politicians go to die

Ted Woloshyn with some thoughts on how 1010 is not unlike a retirement lodge. Toronto Sun. TPG post on just this subject

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Toronto man buys Marylin Monroe name

From Bloomberg: Dealmaker Jamie Salter, who already markets Bob Marley-themed merchandise, has agreed to acquire the rights to another dead celebrity: Marilyn Monroe. Salter is a Toronto resident. His New York-based firm Authentic Brands Group LLC and media company Neca Inc. are buying Marilyn Monroe LLC from the late star’s estate, Salter said. Anna Strasberg, who is the administrator of the estate, will be a minority partner in the venture, which will control, among other things, the actress’s name and images of her lips and eyes, he said. Story linked off headline.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Egypt pulled its Internet plug

Interesting explanation of the simple actions by which Egypt cut itself off from the Internet world. From Computerworld

CRTC yanks licence of Ryerson’s CKLN radio

Rather curious story of how student station had, among other problems, "limited involvement from Ryerson’s student body" according to the attached Globe and Mail story. Otherwise, a news person's cynical view will find the shenanigans at CKLN to have a distinctly comical quality. The phrase "Will anyone notice" comes to mind.

BCE dodging benefits payments

Hey, business is business. BCE thinks so. So it's balking at paying the usual portion (1o percent) of the sale price of a company -- in this case CTV -- into national fund for program production. Toronto Sun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More use, more pay worries Netflix

Resistance grows to practice of making heavy Internet users pay more. National Post

Rogers on Demand dropped CTV temporarily

Rogers Communications Inc. temporarily dropped CTVglobemedia Inc. content from its on-demand cable service due to issues related to carriage negotiations, CTV and Rogers say.CTV content became unavailable on Rogers last fall, about the same time that BCE Inc. announced its intention to acquire CTV, but the two developments were unrelated, the companies say. The Wire Report.

CRTC petitioned to stop usage-based billing as Netflix doubts Canadian future

Canada’s national telecom regulator was formally asked to stop imposing a controversial usage-based Internet pricing regime, on the same day that Silicon Valley powerhouse Netflix Inc. expressed serious concerns about its future in Canada. “[usage-based billing] is something we’re definitely worried about,” Reed Hastings, chief executive of the web-based video streaming provider, was quoted by the Canadian Press as saying in a conference call on Wednesday; during which his company announced more than 20-million people now subscribe to Netflix. “It is potentially a significant negative for Netflix,” Mr. Hastings said.
Also on Wednesday, Vaxination Informatique, a consulting firm based in Montreal, Quebec, filed a petition requesting the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to repeal the first UBB decision, 2010-802. That ruling, passed last October, mandated the usage-based billing (UBB) model which requires Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge customers extra for exceeding monthly download “caps,” referring to arbitrarily established monthly download limits.
“At this time, [gateway access] service is still required to ensure there is competition in the retail ISP business and prevent formation of a duopoly,” reads an excerpt of the petition. “However, with the UBB tariffs, the Commission has moved in the opposite direction by granting incumbents full power to impose unified UBB rates on the market.”

Quebecor told to end exclusive access

Regulators have ordered Quebecor Media Inc. to abolish a pact between its broadcast network, Groupe TVA Inc., and cable division Vidéotron Ltee. that gives the latter exclusive access to on-demand programming. The precedent-setting decision is a loud and clear warning shot to the country’s large integrated telecom carriers, such as BCE Inc., that walling off broadcast content for use only on their own television and Internet systems will not be tolerated. Stemming from complaints made last June by BCE’s Bell Canada and Telus Corp., the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has found that an “exclusivity agreement” has existed between TVA and Videotron’s Illico service, which provides shows and programs on demand to its mainly French-speaking cable and Internet customers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BBC World Service makes deep cuts

The BBC has plans to close five of its 32 World Service language services including its English-language service in the Caribbean. Britain's public broadcaster announced the cuts, which could eliminate up to 650 jobs, about a quarter of all jobs at the World Service, on Wednesday. It has been ordered to save £46 million ($72.2 million Cdn) in annual costs as the Foreign Office begins the process of offloading the World Service onto the BBC.The World Service costs $430 million to run annually and the BBC is not taking over the full budget until 2014. But BBC's operating grant for the radio, TV and online service is to fall by 16 per cent in March.

Men absorb less information from sexy newscasters

Men are less likely to retain the information relayed to them by sexually attractive news anchors than those deemed less sexually attractive, new research says. Writing in the journal Communication Research, Indiana University telecommunications professor Maria Elizabeth Grabe and doctoral candidate Lelia Samson explored how the appearance of a female news anchor affects the audience of a news program. Grabe, a former journalist herself, recalls how in the 1980s female anchors weren’t sexualized the way they are today. Instead it was all about being “as androgynous as possible.” For their study, the researchers recruited 386 participants: 193 men and women. They used one news anchor (a 24-year-old brunette of “average” weight) and dressed her up in two different ways: as a sexualized anchor, giving her a fitted jacket and skirt to wear, and putting bright red lipstick on her and a necklace; and as an unsexualized anchor, wearing a shapeless, loose-fitting jacket, and no lipstick or necklace. The rest of the anchor’s appearance (hair, makeup, etc.) remained the same for both. She read the same five stories as the sexualized anchor and as the unsexualized anchor. Men were so affected by the physical characteristics of the sexualized anchor, they were unable to retain much of the information she relayed. Grabe and Samson were not surprised.

Major U.S. papers launch online paid news service

A personalized news service funded by New York Times Co., Washington Post Co ., and Gannett Co launched Tuesday in an attempt to get readers to pay for online news. Ongo, which received $12-million in funding from the three newspaper publishers, delivers news from a variety of sources starting at $7 a month. The basic subscription plan includes articles from the Associated Press, the Washington Post, USA Today and select stories from the New York Times and Pearson PLC’s Financial Times. Users can add titles, such as the Guardian and the Detroit Free Press, for 99 cents a month for each additional source. Ongo’s layout hews closely to print with stories presented in several columns, although it is accessed through web browsers, smart phones and tablets.

Usage-based Internet CRTC ruling draws fire

The CRTC is being accused of using harsh regulations to clamp down on unlimited Internet use in Canada, just as popular yet bandwidth-heavy services such as Netflix are starting to take off. By reaffirming its decision to allow “usage-based billing” on Tuesday, the federal telecom regulator has fuelled another round of criticism from citizens’ groups and small telecom providers, which say the federal regulator is killing innovation and allowing large Internet service providers, such as BCE Inc., to raise rates and reduce download limits without any competitive threat – all at the expense of the consumer. “Unlimited Internet service died today,” John Lawford of the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre said on Tuesday, as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued its much-anticipated ruling on how much large telecom providers can charge smaller providers to ride on their networks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For funerals too far, mourners gather on the web

In an age of commemorating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries on Facebook and Twitter, it was perhaps inevitable that live Web-streaming funerals for friends and loved ones would be next.
It is no surprise that the deaths of celebrities, like Michael Jackson are promoted as international Web events. So, too, was the memorial service for the six people killed Jan. 8 in Tucson, which had thousands of viewers on the Web. But now the once-private funerals and memorials of less-noted citizens are also going online.
Several software companies have created easy-to-use programs to help funeral homes cater to bereaved families. FuneralOne a one-stop shop for online memorials that is based in St. Clair, Mich., has seen the number of funeral homes offering Webcasts increase to 1,053 in 2010, from 126 in 2008 (it also sells digital tribute DVDs).
During that same period, Event by Wire, a competitor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., watched the number of funeral homes live-streaming services jump to 300 from 80. And this month, the Service Corporation International in Houston, which owns 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, including the venerable Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said it was conducting a pilot Webcasting program at 16 of its funeral homes.
Traveling to funerals was once an important family rite, but with greater secularity and a mobile population increasingly disconnected from original hometowns, watching a funeral online can seem better than not going to a funeral at all. Social media, too, have redrawn the communal barriers of what is acceptable when relating to parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances.
“We are in a YouTube society now,” said H. Joseph Joachim IV, founder of FuneralOne. “People are living more than ever online, and this reflects that.”

Click on the title to read the full New York Times story.

New York hires a 'chief digital officer'

After a high-profile search that began over six months ago, New York City has hired new media entrepreneur Rachel Sterne as its first "chief digital officer." It's the latest major move made by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to shove the establishment-heavy Gotham into the 21st century. Sterne's job won't involve wrangling the scores of small tech start-ups that have popped up like mushrooms in the city over the past few years. Rather, her focus will be to help the city government use digital technology to better communicate with residents, work to bring social media and other new tools into municipal agencies, negotiate partnerships, and serve as a representative of the technology community to the government. One early task will be making the city's official Web site,, more user-friendly and resource intensive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

BBC shrinks online unit to cut costs and refocus

The BBC said Monday it would close 200 websites over the next two years in a drive to slash costs and reshape online content. The move, which includes the loss of 360 jobs, is part of a raft of cost-cutting measures following a reduction in its negotiated license fee funding which was chopped by a fifth last October. The corporation said the cuts were needed to meet a planned reduction of 25 percent, or 34 million pounds ($54 million), in online content. The group has been criticised in the past by competitors and legislators for expanding aggressively using taxpayer monies, while commercial firms struggle in the downturn. Sites to go include more obscure domains like skills website "RAW," teen sites "Switch" and "Blast," documentary website "Video Nation" and community sites like "h2g2" and "606." The BBC iPlayer message board will also close. BBC Director General Mark Thompson said its online service remained at the heart of organization's digital future, but said it was in need of an overhaul to improve quality.

Russell Williams’ defence team objects to "lurid" courtroom tweets

In an interview with Chris Cobb of the Ottawa Citizen defence lawyers Michael Edelson and Vince Clifford said journalists inside the courtroom were being traumatized by lurid images displayed on big screens while simultaneously racing to send comments on Twitter and other instant messaging services. Williams was sentenced for rape and murder in October.
“Law societies across the country have to come to grips with whether we need a new series of professional conduct rules to deal with this,” said Edelson, “and whether judges need some direction in when and how to deal with it.
“These are new media and they’re very popular and we have to address those issues in a very straightforward and transparent way so everyone knows what the ground rules are. It’s become a huge issue and I think it would be a fantastic thing for Canada to discuss it in a serious and comprehensive way.”

Click on the title to read the full story.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

CCTV is newsman''s best friend

Take a look at snow plow go through the roof of a parking garage. Posted at Trish's Store blog and linked on headline

Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC; questions persist

Controversial Countdown hos Keith Olbermann parted ways with MSNBC on Friday night. Although neither the network nor Olbermann publicly cited a reason for his abrupt departure, the relationship ran into trouble in November when MSNBC suspended Olbermann for two days for making campaign contributions to three political candidates, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely wounded in a Jan. 8 shooting. His departure fit a pattern that has marked his 32-year career. He has had frequent run-ins with his bosses, most of which resulted in Olbermann leaving a job, including an earlier flameout with MSNBC in 1998. His nearly eight years hosting "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was by far the longest he's lasted in a job during his career as a broadcaster.

Rupert Murdoch's iPad digital newspaper raises many questions – but who has the answers?

" . . .On the one hand, Rupert Murdoch, spending more millions, is due to launch the Daily – his new digital newspaper for iPad users – standing side by side with the legendary Steve Jobs, the real big Apple. On the other hand, he can't: Steve, as the world now knows, is off sick again. On the one hand, Apple sold more than 17m iPads last year, and analysts forecast 44.6m sales in 2011. On the other hand, hopes that this will prove a launching pad for newspaper fortunes look a little on the wan side. The latest research from Knowledge Networks shows that a mere 13% of iPad users are likely to download an app for a magazine or paper they already pay for – and that out of a current average of 24 apps per user, only six involve payment.. . ." thus muses the London Observer's columnist Peter Preston.

Click on the title to read the whole column.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paul Berton muses: What will replace the newspaper?

"One day soon, maybe in five years, or 10 years, or 25 years (don’t let anyone tell you they know) the world will publish its last newspaper. Will that be lamentable? No more than the last rotary dial phone or typewriter, as long as the replacement (a tablet, a phone, something else) is actually better." -- Paul Berton, editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator and (and son of Pierre Berton)

Click on the title to read the full story.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ontario Press Council partially dismisses complaints by ombudsman

The Ontario Press Council has partially dismissed a complaint by Ontario’s Ombudsman, Andre Marin, (pictured) concerning a series of investigative stories by the Toronto Star dealing with allegations of mistreatment by members of his staff. It said a series of stories in The Star met journalistic principles overall but it allowed the complaint by Marin and a separate complaint by lawyer David Paciocco concerning references to the Ottawa lawyer’s retention by the Ombudsman for legal services.

To read more, including the full ruling, please click on the title.

UK prime minister's top media aide quits as tabloid phone hacking scandal hits

The British prime minister's powerful spin doctor resigned Friday amid claims he sanctioned widespread illegal phone hacking against politicians, celebrities and royalty when he was editor of a top-selling tabloid newspaper. Andy Coulson (pictured) denies any knowledge of the hacking, but admitted he'd committed a cardinal sin for a back room operator — he became the story. Coulson said "continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110 per cent needed" in his role as Downing Street communications chief.
A reporter and a private investigator working for the News of the World were caught illegally eavesdropping on the phones of the British royal family's entourage in 2007. Coulson quit the paper when the pair were convicted, but says he knew nothing of the hacking. His resignation is a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who has resisted calls to fire Coulson despite the scandal.

CRTC seeks review of 'Money for Nothing' ban

In the wake of "strong public reaction," Canada's broadcast regulator is asking for a review of the recent ban on Dire Straits' mid-80s hit song "Money for Nothing." In a letter sent to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) on Friday, the CRTC said it has received more than 250 letters since the ban was announced on Jan. 12.
"Given the exceptional nature of this situation, the Commission has asked the CBSC to appoint a panel with a national composition to review the complaints," CRTC Secretary General Robert Morin wrote in the letter sent to the Standards Council Chair Ronald Cohen and published online. In his request, Morin suggests the CBSC consider the age and origin of the 1985 Grammy-award winning pop hit, as well as its intended message.
In its decision, the panel said the unedited version of the song contravenes the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code and should be banned from the airwaves.

Terrence Belford dead at 65

Terrence Belford, one of Canada's busiest freelance writers, has died. He was 65.. His 42-year career has included stints in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business and the Globe's Parliamentary Bureau during the Trudeau years. He was part of the team that launched the weekly edition of Maclean's newsmagazine and helped launch the Sunday Star. During the 1980s he held a management role as senior news editor at the Toronto Star. He is also the author of the best-selling book Trust: The Greymac Affair. Belford had been battling cancer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google visionary Page back in the CEO saddle

Google co-founder Larry Page will take over as Google CEO in April from Eric Schmidt, who will remain with the company as executive chairman.

Smitherman goes to old pols home

If you can't last in politics, try radio. Or so it seems as George Smitherman follows John Tory into talk-show hostel 1010. He will fill-in at least once a week for Tory but Smitherman sources indicate there may be more. Toronto Star

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More old media to amuse and amaze

These are television commercials from the 60s and 70s in the U.K. Youtube has many in a series. More old media page.

UK plans network of local TV services

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced plans for a network of local television services to be launched across the UK. Speaking at the Oxford Television Convention, he said the stations would need to be supported by a national digital channel - and he invited media organisations to suggest how it could be run. BBC

CBC demands removal of file footage from ads

Conservatives are rejecting a demand by the CBC to withdraw file footage from attack ads.

Hu can solve this mystery of Hu

It's just irresistible. The old appeal of a foreign name that sounds just like an English word that means something else. Thus, "Hu's coming to dinner" is sweeping the media today. If you don't believe us, search Google. But what about other imaginative possible headlines. Hu are you really or Hu's that knocking at my door or He's a veritable Hu's Hu or Hu can solve this mystery of love and best of all, Hu's on First. Let's get busy gang. Have some fun. It's only a state visit.

CNN's fumblng "crosshairs" apology

"We were just having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race," King told viewers. "My friend Andy Shaw…used the term 'in the crosshairs' in talking about the candidates out there. We're trying, we're trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he's covered politics for a long time, but we're trying to get away from using that kind of language. We won't always be perfect, so hold us accountable when we don't meet your standards."

Bell telemarketers aggressive, abusive: CRTC papers

Toronto Star fleshes out the circumstances of the recent $1.3 million fine against Bell.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CRTC proposes easing ban on false,misleading news

False news -- what a great business. Sorry, just kidding. But the CRTC seems to feel it couldn't really hurt if you don't endanger someones life. But what about wrecking his marriage, destroying his business or making him a laughing stock at the golf club? False news. Is that the same as a mistake? Will anyone be able to tell after it's broadcast? Do you trust these guys?

Mirror wins 'success fee' ruling in Naomi case

The Daily Mirror’s right to freedom of expression was violated by a “success fee” it was forced to pay after losing a privacy case brought by Naomi Campbell after it published stories about her drug addiction, the European Court ruled today.
The European Court of Human Rights said the “success fee” Mirror Group Newspapers – publisher of the Mirror – was forced to pay after it lost the case was disproportionate

Comcast wins approval to take over NBC Universal

Regis Philbin calls it quits.

See the video.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keith Davey dead at 84

From an obit by Susan Delacourt linked off the headline: Keith Davey, the former senator and legendary Liberal organizer, died peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by his family in Toronto. He was 84. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said Davey “will be remembered as a man who loved his party, loved his politics, loved his family and loved his country. His legacy inspires all those who serve Canada in politics and in Parliament.” Known as the “Rainmaker” for his formidable, winning political strategies, Davey came to national prominence in the early 1960s, when he arrived in Ottawa to help bring the Liberal party out of the opposition wilderness and back into government.

Jobs takes leave of absence for health reasons

"I have great confidence that (COO) Tim (Cook) and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011. I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can," Jobs wrote Monday. Apple shares dropped 6 percent in trading in Frankfurt following the announcement. Jobs' health has come into question before, creating large fluctuations in Apple shares. Cook has already managed the company on a day-to-day basis in Jobs' absence previously. Jobs had surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and also underwent a liver transplant in June 2009. Further details in story linked off the headline

App this! Globe "unmasks" social media

The MSM paper of all Canadian publications strikes back. Link off the headline.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Astral billboards a are big moneymaker

Those scary big billboards are making money for Astral. Revenue and profit were both on the rise as the Montreal-based media goliath reported its results for the first quarter of its fiscal year. The company took in $267.1 million in revenue, an increase of seven per cent from the same period a year ago. That resulted in a profit of $53.3 million, or 94 cents per share. And so much less overhead than those silly radio stations. Story linked at headline above from Montreal Gazette.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Golden Globe awards hit by allegations of corruption

A nasty scandal begun by a former employee that the Hollywood Foreign Press Asociation peddles influence and sell votes for cash.

China vows crackdown on movie bootleggers

The rampant illegal exhibiting of movies on the Internet, originating in China, has brought another promise to "stamp out" the practice. Newly-released work is seen and heard all over the world from playback originating in China.

Did CBSC go too far in gay slur case

Globe and Mail opinion poll reveals fairly divided response.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CBC reports background of snow plow accused

In what certainly appears to be some breakthrough reporting in the killing of a Toronto police officer, the CBC has established much of the background of the accused. Among the facts produced in the linked story is that the accused, Richard Kachkar, 44, was educated in St Catharines and "owns a building on Geneva Street." The story here.

Fringe church trades funeral protest for Toronto radio airtime

Members of a fringe U.S. church agreed Thursday not to picket the funeral of a nine-year-old girl killed in the mass shooting last weekend in Arizona in exchange for some airtime with a Toronto radio station. Shirley Phelps-Roper also told controversial morning radio host Dean Blundell of 102.1 The Edge, that the Westboro Baptist Church will also not be protesting any locations in Arizona as originally planned. Mr. Blundell said the church was preparing to go to Arizona Thursday to picket the funeral, along with a number of other sites including the scene of the shooting and the hospital where the injured congresswoman is recovering. They believe the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was sent by God to punish sinners. The church is widely known for organizing protests at the funerals for fallen soldiers, blaming their deaths on the U.S. government’s stance on homosexuals in the military.

FAN gets a new name

Rogers Media has announced that the all-sports radio station FAN 590 will be renamed Sportsnet Radio FAN 590. Rogers’ other sports station, Calgary’s FAN 960, will also now carry the Rogers Sportsnet tag. “We’re basically knocking down the walls between the media lines,” said Scott Moore, president of Rogers Broadcasting. Moore also said the television version of Bob McCown’s Prime Time Sports will soon be available again to Sportsnet Ontario viewers. It has been carried on Sportsnet’s other channels the past two years.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cogeco to 'vigorously' oppose Astral court challenge in radio sale

Cogeco Inc. says it will "vigorously oppose" a court challenge by Astral Media Inc. aimed at overturning a CRTC decision that allows it to own three radio stations in the Montreal market. The challenge, announced by Astral on Tuesday, arises out of a decision by the CRTC to approve the sale of 11 Corus Entertainment Inc. stations in Quebec to Cogeco in a deal worth $80 million. Cogeco picked up two Montreal radio stations in the deal, expected to close Feb. 1, bringing its total in the market to three. In its approval, the CRTC relaxed a policy that restricts the number of similar broadcast outlets owned by the same company within a single market, saying Montreal's francophone market was unique from the rest of Canada. However, Astral Media says the CRTC decision penalizes other broadcasters who may have avoided buying certain radio stations in order to respect the existing policy and has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn the decision. Meanwhile, it is seeking an injunction against the CRTC decision pending the case being heard.

Battle over the accuracy of JFK series

Producers of a miniseries on JFK are insisting that their portrayal of the former president as a philanderer is accurate. The production, made in Canada, has been pressured off the air at the History Channel in the U.S. by Caroline Kennedy. But late word is that vetting of the script may yet permit it to play in the U.S. The series has the full okay to run in Canada. More from those great purveyors of gossip in the U.K. Mailonline. And an idea of the opposition mounted.

Apple, News Corp. to unveil iPad newspaper

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs will appear next week with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch to introduce The Daily, a digital newspaper for Apple's iPad tablet computer that Murdoch has called his company's "most exciting project." The event is tentatively planned for Jan. 19 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. The plan amounts to a coup for News Corp., allowing the media giant to share in some of Apple's cachet as it launches a new product that many hope will offer a template for publishers in an industry starved for new online business models. While details about The Daily have been sparse, news of high-profile journalist hires have trickled out as News Corp. has amassed an editorial staff for the venture. The company reportedly is willing to invest $30 million in the project. Meanwhile, News Corp.'s new foray into digital media comes at a time when a previous attempt at monetizing the Internet is struggling. Myspace, the social networking site it acquired in 2005, just laid off nearly half its workforce in an attempt to revive itself after being eclipsed by the rapid rise of Facebook Inc.

Corus buys Oprah network, expects premium reaction

Corus Entertainment Canadian believes that advertisers will pay a premium for the star power of the Oprah Winfrey Network. The Toronto-based media company is preparing for the launch of the the network in March, and revealed that it is pricing advertising on the new specialty channel at the same rates it charges for its wildly successful, women-focused W Network. W Network was the most profitable specialty channel in Canada last year, bringing in $41.3-million in profits before interest and taxes for Corus.
“We’re finding a reaction unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, because of the strength of the brand,” Corus chief executive officer John Cassaday told the Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BBC guilty of age discrimination

The BBC has apologized to nature presenter Miriam O'Reilly (pictured) after it was found guilty of age discrimination at a high profile employment tribunal. O'Reilly was axed by BBC1 controller Jay Hunt early last year when BBC1 moved the Sunday morning rural affairs show "Countryfile" into to a weekday primetime slot. Although the show's older male anchors made the transition to primetime, O'Reilly and two other female presenters were replaced by younger presenters. She took the BBC to court claiming that she had been dropped because managers thought she was "too old" for prime time television, and during the course of her evidence said she had been offered hair dye and been warned about getting wrinkles by production staff on the show. O'Reilly could be in line for a significant payout after the tribunal found that the BBC had been guilty of discriminating against her on grounds of age. The tribunal also held that her subsequent treatment by BBC bosses had amounted to victimization.

Toronto-filmed JFK miniseries to air in Canada

A miniseries based on John F. Kennedy’s life and family and starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear will be broadcast in Canada despite being nixed from the U.S.-based History Channel. The miniseries was filmed in Toronto. Shaw Media will show the eight-part miniseries in March, the company’s senior content vice-president, Barbara Williams, announced.
“Shaw Media is committed to the production of The Kennedys and will broadcast the production in Canada as planned, in spring 2011,” she said. Shaw operates Global TV and various specialty channels, such as HGTV, History Television and Food Network Canada. The U.S.-based History Channel axed the miniseries last week. The series "is not fit for the History brand,” a History representative told The Hollywood Reporter.

TSN considers starting own radio network to challenge The FAN

Cable sports channel TSN is seriously considering starting its own sports radio network to challenge the FAN 590 in Toronto and the rest of the country, The Globe and Mail reports. The challenge would ratchet up the corporate rivalry between Rogers Communications Inc. and CTV Inc. for the sports audience in Canada. The FAN is owned by Rogers, and TSN by CTV Inc. The framework is in place for a national network. TSN’s sister company, CHUM, has the 1050 radio band in Toronto, which relays the CP24 signal. As well, CHUM has sports-radio outlets already in Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and two in Vancouver. In those markets, the changeover could be as simple as a new name. Industry sources say that any TSN radio operation could begin shortly after Bell Canada’s acquisition of CTV Inc. is finalized this spring. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kirstine Stewart named CBC vice-president

Kirstine Stewart has been named executive vice-president of the CBC's English services, after doing the job on an interim basis since August 2010. She replaced Richard Stursberg and was named to the job effective immediately. She was general manager of CBC Television beginning in April 2006 and brought shows such as Republic of Doyle, The Tudors and Dragon's Den to the public broadcaster. Prior to joining CBC, Stewart was senior vice-president of programming for Alliance Atlantis.

Did media hype destroy Canada’s Juniors?

Many feel there is too much pressure on Canada’s world junior hockey team. Some blame TSN for hyping the event, thereby causing undue expectations of teenagers. But TSN president Stewart Johnson plays down the charge. “Do we do too much?” he asked. “That’s a tough question. We just try to take a great international tournament with excellent hockey and a huge public interest and be a part of it.” -- Bruce Dowbiggin in the Globe and Mail.

Story links from the title.

Lysianne Gagnon on embedding journalists

Globe columnist Lysianna Gagnon questions the policy of embedding journalists with the military. Her column refers to the story by CP's Colin Perkel.

See below. Click on the title to read her full column.

CP's Colin Perkel on the convoy in which Michelle Lang died

"The two women are clearly civilians, making them high-value targets in the eyes of any enemy informants who may be lurking in the crowd. It would be easy to note which vehicle they are in and relay the information to their waiting attackers."-- Colin Perkel.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Now here's a story you can believe in

Strong push from Weekly World News propels rumour that Facebook is closing. Here.

Canada's newspaper associations join forces

Canada's two leading newspaper lobby groups are joining forces under a new banner: Newspapers Canada. The Canadian Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspaper Association have worked together under shared management for more than two years. The new name, logo and tagline — "Trusted, Connected, Targeted" — are designed to give the association a united front for more marketing power. "The new branding reflects the current industry and its future," Newspapers Canada president and CEO John Hinds said in a release.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Old media as outrageous as the new

Okay, so maybhe it doesn't bother you that every commericals these days stars a thoroughly stupid man. Maybe they deserve it. Maybe. Take a look at a few old media advertisements in which women are the simpled minded serfs. More are linked off the headline.

U.S. History Channel says it won’t air Kennedy miniseries

A controversial miniseries on the Kennedy family will not air on the (U.S.) History Channel because the completed multimillion dollar project does not fit the “History brand,” the network said. The eight-part series, shot in Toronto, drew criticism during its production from figures such as former Kennedy administration aide Theodore Sorenson, who attacked the scripts as inaccurate. The role of producer Joel Surnow, a political conservative, also drew suspicion from fans of the Kennedy family.
“We have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand,” the network said in a statement late Friday. The decision was first reported Friday by the Hollywood Reporter.
History said the decision was made after viewing the entire series, which stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie.

CSIS officers don't wear tuxedos to disarm missiles, The Toronto Star discovers

"We, too, think our work is pretty interesting,” Isabelle Scott, spokesperson for CSIS, said in an e-mail to The Toronto Star. “That said, screenwriters don’t always get it right. CSIS officers don’t routinely disarm missiles while wearing tuxedos."
The Star wanted to know what CSIS thought of the new CBC comedy, InSecurity.
"It’s not CSIS’ place to review this new CBC comedy, though we will say that we take our role seriously in keeping Canadians safe,” Ms Scott added.

Click on the title to read the full story by Tonda MacCharles.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Porn TV station coming to Canada

Anne Marie Losique, (pictured) who has been producing popular sex shows in the Quebec for over a decade, is preparing to roll out her new adult entertainment channel — Vanessa TV — across Canada next fall. It will be a blend of light and sexy fare, hard-hitting documentaries and late-night pornography, she said.
“It’s not a porno channel — it’s not only that,” she said. “It’s all genres, like reality shows, cooking shows, lifestyle shows, but in a sexy way. It goes from soft-sexy to hard at night.”
The producer and TV personality launched the venture in Quebec last October and is promising to fill Vanessa TV with plenty of Canadian content. The company has already optioned a Toronto-based reality show about a pizza delivery boy who opens a porn studio in his parents' basement.

Teneycke to return to Sun TV News

Kory Teneycke, the prime minister's former director of communications, is returning to his posting at Sun TV News just months after he abruptly resigned. Teneyecke, who was the Quebecor Media vice-president and a main advocate behind the proposed Sun TV News Channel, announced his resignation in September. He is expected to resume working at the new cable news network in days, the Globe reported on its website Wednesday. When he announced his resignation, Teneycke said he decided to leave because it became clear his involvement in Sun TV would only "inflame" the controversy over the channel, dubbed "Fox News North" by its critics. His departure came one day after the RCMP and Ottawa police were asked to investigate tampering with an online petition against Sun TV News that was created by a U.S.-based online advocacy group,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Flash Mob casting stunt

It happened Belgium and may be viewed at the TPG page Do Re Mi.

Postmedia Q1 profit down, revenue steady

CP story on quarterly results.

Laurence Cooke reportedly leaving Shaw Mobile

It's been a short six-month term for the man chosen to lead Shaw Mobile's wireless enterprise. He's now said to be negotiating his package. Cooke has had much high-level responsibility in the wireless field, serving with BCE and others. Globe and Mail calls his departure the "latest sign of turmoil". Headline link National Post

What to make of Service Alley?

It's a new repair emergency classified service offered by the Washington Post. Is it any different from a million other classified ad sections? The Post says it is. Service Alley is said to be an online marketplace of local home service providers that permits readers to keep record of their favorite contractors and discover new ones through searches and viewing other peoples’ favorites. That might work. People can login with Facebook which lets them view trusted recommendations from their friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jury to ponder "N-word" double standard

Remarkable case in the U.S. where a job was lost because of the use of the N-word in the workplace in a staff discussion about the use of the word. It appears to have begun when a reporter said she had heard it hundreds of times at a meeting she was covering. The meeting dealt with the symbolic burial of the word by the Philadelphia Youth Council of the NAACP. She wanted to know if she could use it in the story. A white anchor apparently engaged in the discussion used the word and was subsequently fired. He's suing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Peter Kent is new Environment Minister

Former reporter and television anchor Peter Kent has been appointed to the position of Minister of the Environment.

Man catches his own killer on camera

Remarkable picture showing gunman pointing weapon (isolated at right) at victim who was taking a picture. CNEWS story linked.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Roberts jumps to Fox, Tony Harris out too

For reasons not all that clear, John Roberts has been removed as anchor of American Morning and mid-morning anchor Tony Roberts has been shown the door. It was thought that Roberts would move to Atlanta HQ to be with his pregnant wife, but today Fox News announced that the former Much Music boy will become a national reporter. Above, Roberts now and in his VJ days and Harris. Roberts nostalgia on special page

Elmer Harris dead at 71

Elmer Harris, a long-time radio broadcaster and humanitarian from Newfoundland and Labrador, has died at the age of 71. It was in September 1986 that Elmer Harris, a journalist with VOCM Radio Newfoundland, first learned about the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. The news release said that a new charity had just been established to grant wishes to children with high risk, life-threatening illnesses and Elmer knew he wanted to play a role in bringing the organization to Newfoundland and Labrador. The chapter he founded has raised $42000 every year since. The married father of two died in St. John's after a lengthy illness. Harris started out as a rookie reporter and eventually became senior vice-president of VOCM radio in St. John's, where he worked for more than 40 years.

Marie-Linda Lord head of TV5 board

Little discussed satellite firm TV5 is a French-language general-interest network and catering to 207 million homes in close to 200 countries and territories on five continents.

Postmedia Investors’ Teleconference January 6, 2011

After themarket closes, Paul Gpdfrey and others will discuss quarterly results.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Flaherty voted CP’s business newsmaker of 2010

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty gets the nod as The Canadian Press business newsmaker of the year for his steady management of Canada's economy during a year of international crises. Toronto Star

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