Saturday, January 30, 2016

N. Y. Times on "the newly relevant Daily News"

"A designer set the phrase over a pair of photographs of Mr. Trump and Ms. Palin, pointing at each other. The image was soon rolling off the presses in New Jersey and going viral on Facebook and Twitter.
"It was the latest in a series of attention-grabbing covers that have shifted the conversation around the struggling paper. Just a few months ago, after an aborted sale and sweeping layoffs, The News seemed to have completed its devolution from the model of a big-city tabloid to a battered symbol of the diminished state of America’s newspapers. But the recent string of covers, which were all widely shared on social media, have sent a very different message — if not about the paper’s long-term financial prospects, then at least about its continuing cultural relevance."
The whole story

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thunder Bay Could Lose Both Its TV Stations, 'Blackening Northern Ontario'

  Thunder Bay’s two local TV stations are in such financial trouble that they are running on life insurance money from a recently deceased station owner, station management told Canada’s broadcast regulator this week.
The CRTC is holding public hearings into the future of local TV in Canada, and local broadcasters are taking the opportunity to bring attention to their growing financial problems.
Thunder Bay’s two local stations — CTV affiliate CKPR and Global affiliate CHFD — are both owned by Thunder Bay Electronics, also known as Dougall Media. The company’s vice-president and general manager, Don Caron, says the stations may have to shut down by Sept. 1, Global News reports.

Canada’s national fabric is paying price for depletion of journalistic resources: Chantal Hébert

"But there must be a point when the steady disintegration of the country’s fifth estate’s news-gathering and news-getting functions becomes a public policy issue.
"There will be some to actually rejoice in the notion that a shrunk news media will have less potential for digging out embarrassing stories. The corruption inquiry in Quebec and the sponsorship scandal on Parliament Hill both had their source in persistent journalism."
Full column

Print Is dying, digital Is no savior -- WGBH story

Twenty years ago this month, The New York Times entered the Internet age with a sense of optimism so naive that looking back might break your heart. “With its entry on the Web,” wrote Times reporter Peter H. Lewis, “The Times is hoping to become a primary information provider in the computer age and to cut costs for newsprint, delivery and labor.”
The Times wasn’t the first major daily newspaper to launch a website. The Boston Globe, then owned by the New York Times Co., had unveiled its service—featuring free content from the Globe and other local news organizations—just a few months earlier.
But the debut of sent a clear signal that newspapers were ready to enlist in the digital revolution.
Fast-forward to 2016, and the newspaper business is a shell of its former self. Far from cutting newsprint and delivery costs, newspapers remain utterly reliant on their shrunken print editions for most of their revenues—as we have all been reminded by the Globe’s home-delivery fiasco.
The whole story

Cabinet won't overturn CRTC ruling allowing Oprah Winfrey network to broadcast in Canada

The federal cabinet has sided with the country's broadcast regulator to allow the Oprah Winfrey Network to continue broadcasting in Canada, a decision that could have far-reaching implications for television stations and content producers struggling to survive an ever-changing media landscape, the Canadian Press reports.
The order in council, issued Tuesday, comes as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds hearings on the future of local TV.
The ruling upheld a 2015 CRTC decision that allowed Corus Entertainment Inc. to amend its broadcasting licence so it could keep airing programming from U.S.-based OWN Inc.
In the wake of that decision, a group representing Canadian TV producers petitioned the government, accusing the CRTC of abandoning critical safeguards designed to protect independent producers in their dealings with the country's largest private broadcasters.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Manitoba Crown attorneys fight cameras in court

From the CBC web page:
The Manitoba Association of Crown Attorneys says cameras and other recording devices in the courtroom could put their members in danger.
Three Winnipeg media organizations — CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV Winnipeg — recently applied to have video cameras in provincial court to cover an inquest into the deaths of Manitoba inmates Sheldon Anthony McKay and Durval David Tavares. The material would be broadcast by the organizations on radio, television and online.
Broadcasting the voice and image of Crown attorneys on these platforms "creates more opportunities for Crown attorneys to be recognized, targeted and susceptible to harm," the Manitoba Association of Crown Attorneys said in its motion brief. "Like all people, Crown attorneys have a right to expect that their privacy will be maintained. They have a right to expect that they will not become recognizable to the general public in their private lives."

The Dutch tech whiz who could save journalism

By and  in Politico:
Alexander Klöpping turned up to his first meeting at the New York Times late, alone, and not entirely sure why he had been summoned to a conference room with a dozen newspaper executives.
It was March 2014, still weeks before he and his co-founder Marten Blankesteijn would launch Blendle, a Dutch technology platform that aspires to do for newspapers and magazines what Apple’s iTunes did for music: encourage a generation of young Internet users to pay for journalism online.
The backpack-wearing Dutch entrepreneur may have been awestruck and unprepared, but he made a strong impression. The Times offered to invest in his fledgling company, which gives users a mechanism to buy individual newspaper and magazine articles online for a small, one-off fee.
“I wasn’t even sure if people in Holland were going to like it,” Klöpping said. “Thinking about the United States was very far away.”
Less than two years later, after debuting in the Netherlands and Germany, Blendle is on the verge of importing its iTunes-style micropayment model to the U.S.. If it works, it will add a new and potentially rich seam for a publishing industry that is desperately searching for more ways to generate revenue online as their traditional print income collapses.
More in "Politico"

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

John Honderich to Paul Godfrey: "Get your facts straight!"

John Honderich writes:
"There you go again, Paul.
"Trifling with the truth about the newspaper industry.
Paul, of course, is Paul Godfrey, CEO of Postmedia, the newspaper chain that just announced the merger of newsrooms in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa and the laying-off of 90 more staff.
"The move has sparked a firestorm of criticism and Godfrey seems to be out on a speaking blitz arguing his case.
"One of the major bones of contention has been the virtual control of the company by New York hedge funds, Golden Tree in particular. Godfrey spoke Monday to the C.D. Howe Institute and has given separate interviews.
"There is one major point he has been emphasizing, to what end is not clear. Here’s how he put it."
The whole coumn

Paul Godfrey on the newspaper turmoil (CP interview)

CP's David Friend interviews Paul Godfrey. Excerpt:
“'There’s no doubt the business models for newspapers, magazines and conventional television are all being disrupted,' said the 77-year-old executive, stating what’s become painfully obvious for Canadian news outlets.
"Godfrey points to technology giants like Google and Facebook as behemoth competitors who are luring away long-time advertisers by selling audience reach and metrics that traditional media companies simply cannot offer.
"Canada’s media industry is indeed facing widespread turmoil – hundreds of pink slips have been handed out already this year, and two daily newspapers are closing down permanently – but Postmedia is sitting with its own unique time-bomb of financial constraints."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Guelph Mercury quits print editions

Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press writes:
"One of the country's oldest dailies, the Guelph Mercury, will cease publishing its print editions this week, the latest casualty of the deep malaise in Canada's newspaper industry, its publisher announced Monday.   
"The closure will throw 23 full-time and three part-time employees out of work, including eight in the newsroom. The southwestern Ontario newspaper, which dates to 1867, will print its last edition on Friday.
"Publisher Donna Luelo expressed regret at the decision, but said shuttering the print edition was the only viable option. A regional digital team would continue to put out a web version.
"'The steep decline in classified and national advertising revenues has made it difficult for the printed copy of the daily newspaper to remain profitable,' Luelo said in a statement.
"'There is nothing the talented team at the Guelph Mercury could have done differently to affect the outcome.'"
Full story -- in the Guelph Mercury.                   

Rogers Media to cut 200 jobs across TV, radio, publishing divisions

The Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby reports:
"Rogers Media announced Monday it plans to cut 200 jobs across its television, radio and publishing divisions.
"The company said the layoffs, which represent 4 per cent of its work force, will begin in February and “conclude as soon as possible.”
“'The media industry continues to experience significant pressures from a softening advertising market, fierce competition from global players, and shifting audience consumption habits,' spokeswoman Andrea Goldstein said in an e-mailed statement.
"She said the Toronto-based company identified cost savings in production, operations and procurement and 'made the difficult decision to reduce head count.'
"The cuts will primarily affect Rogers’ conventional television, radio and publishing operations as well as back-office roles, Ms. Goldstein said. She added in a separate e-mail that “today’s announcement impacts all areas of Rogers Media, except for the Toronto Blue Jays.”

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Desmond Smith dead at 88

Desmond Smith
Veteran TV news producer Desmond Smith has died, according to an e-mail from his daughter. He was 88. While working for ABC, Smith covered the Vietnam war. He later joined CBC in Montreal before being transferred to Toronto, where he became the senior producer of the business program Venture. He continued to produce documentaries after his retirement from CBC. A memorial gathering is being planned for February 7.

Half of local TV could go off air by 2020 without funding, CRTC warned

Terry Pedwell of The Canaidna Press writes:
 "Nearly half of the country’s local TV stations could be off the air by 2020 without a boost in revenues to pay for local programming, the national broadcast regulator has been told as it prepares to open public hearings into the viability of local TV.
"The warning comes in a study submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in advance of hearings that begin Monday.
"Conventional, private TV stations have seen revenues decline by about 25 per cent since 2010, said the report, jointly prepared by the consulting firm Nordicity and communications lawyer Peter Miller. But many stations that are holding their own for now could close over the next four years, potentially costing nearly 1,000 jobs, said the report submitted by the advocacy group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting."
Full story

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Does democracy need newspapers? Maybe not so much says J-school head

Interesting piece by Kelly Toughill, former writer and editor at The Toronto Star who is currently director of the School of Journalism at University of King's College in Nova Scotia:
"It felt like a tipping point this week when Postmedia merged newsrooms in Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary and the Toronto Star confirmed the imminent closing of its printing plant in Vaughan.
"Ninety jobs gone at Postmedia and 13 at the Star – with more to come. 'Journalists are vital to our democracy,' tweeted Justin Trudeau. 'I’m saddened to hear of the cuts at #postmedia today and my thoughts are with the affected.'
" Yes, another lousy week for journalists, but why is the prime minister sharing our pain? After all, 250 potash workers in New Brunswick lost their jobs the same day and there was little official mourning.
" Well, newspapers are essential to democracy, right?
"Not really."
The whole story

Friday, January 22, 2016

Val Sears has died

Janice Dickson writes in iPolitics:
"Val Sears, the legendary Toronto Star political reporter and columnist who graced the back of many a campaign plane with his trenchant wit and encyclopedic knowledge of Canadian politics and history, has died.
Sears died Thursday evening at 88. The ringleader of National Press Gallery correspondents in the heyday of print journalism whose coverage continued to set the Ottawa agenda despite the supremacy of television and the advent of the Internet, Sears is being remembered as a class-act with an acid tongue that belied a warm heart."
Full story
Star obit by Jim Coyle
Ron Base obit

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Canada’s national fabric is paying price for depletion of journalistic resources: Chantal Hébert

Chantal Hebert writes:
"Under the guise of a migration to the digital world, Canada’s news media is undergoing the biggest journalistic fire sale of its history. It is taking place on such a scale that it might be more appropriate to call it a liquidation of information-gathering resources and it is happening under the nose of a political class that is, for the most part, content to look the other way."
The full column

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Postmedia Cuts Confirm Newspapers' Days Are Numbered--The Tyee

Paul Wilcocks writes:
"There are no easy answers for newspapers' woes. Readers have been drifting away for at least 25 years, the Internet has become a great source of free news and advertisers have better, cheaper options. But Postmedia has shown a remarkable inability to respond with anything other than cuts."
Tyee piece spells out the problems but has no answers

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Postmedia cuts 90 jobs, merges newsrooms in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa

Postmedia today announced sweeping changes to its operations, cutting 90 jobs across the country and merging newsrooms from multiple newspapers into one each in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa, the CBC reports.
"We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets," Postmedia CEO and president Paul Godfrey said in a memo to staff Tuesday afternoon. "What is changing is how we produce these products."
The chain says two papers in those markets — the Sun and Province in Vancouver, the Herald and Sun in Calgary, the Journal and Sun in Edmonton, and the Citizen and Sun in Ottawa — will share newsroom resources, but continue to operate.
At least 90 editorial jobs are being cut as a result of the process.
They partially break down as follows:
35 in Edmonton, 25 in Calgary, 12 in Ottawa. five at the National Post.
.The chain's two Toronto-based newspapers — the Toronto Sun and National Post — will remain separate.
But the chain is centralizing its entire sports coverage through one desk based in Toronto, which will lead to some sports-related layoffs at the Toronto-based National Post.

Detention of Rezaian’s family nearly unravelled Iran prisoner swap

Peter Baker of the New York Times reports:
"The Iranian authorities held the wife and mother of the journalist Jason Rezaian without telephones for hours in a separate room at a Tehran airport Sunday before finally agreeing under U.S. pressure to let them leave along with prisoners released in an exchange with the United States.
"The last-minute conflict came close to unravelling a prisoner swap that was negotiated during 14 months of secret talks and that had already been announced to the world. In the end, Mr. Rezaian’s wife and mother were permitted to fly with him to Europe later Sunday, but the episode underscored that parts of Iran’s factionalized system still strongly resist any rapprochement with the United States."

Monday, January 18, 2016

No sanction for BBC’s Carol Kirkwood over ‘cold as f*ck’ weather forecast

The BBC has announced that there will be no punishment for popular weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s use of the phrase ‘cold as fuck.’
She used the phrase during an outside broadcast on a hill in the North York Moors on Friday morning in response to a question from colleague Bill Turnbill.
“And now to Carol for the weather,” said the avuncular bee-keeper.
“Carol, it looks a bit chilly where you are?”
“That’s right Billy,” she responded chirpily.
“It’s cold as fuck.”
“I’m sorry?” replied a visibly shocked Turnbill.
“Cold. As. Fuck.” She repeated, forcefully.
“Bastard cold. Shitting cold. Cold as an eskimo’s arse. Cold as a witch’s tit. Cold enough to worry any brass monkeys. It is abso-fucking-lutely fucking cold as fucking fuck.”
“I see,” stammered Mr Turnbill.
“Um, so is there any detail on the forecast for-”
“No. Cold as fuck. Probably some rain in Scotland and the North, I mean, I haven’t checked but it’s a fair assumption. Now, sod this, I’m going to get off this God-forsaken blasted bastard heath and try and find somewhere in this hellish backwater with the ability to make a decent cup of coffee.”
She then dropped the mic and stalked off muttering about being a proper scientist, not a performing penguin.
The BBC has issued a statement saying there would be no sanction for Miss Kirkwood because “after investigation we have discovered that on the North York Moors on Friday morning, it was indeed cold as fuck.”
Link to BBC -- for non believers :))

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Interesting Star public editor piece on what Trdeau said about Nixon

Kathy English writes:
"What did former prime minister Pierre Trudeau actually say about Richard Nixon upon learning that the president had called him an 'asshole' in his private tapes?
" The media, historians, and certainly the Internet, have reported the PM’s retort as one of the all-time best comeback lines, telling us that Trudeau said: 'I’ve been called worse things by better people.' Is that a fact, or rather, now, some four decades after the event, a widely accepted, best-available version of the truth?"
Click on the whole story to find out!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

More details on the Star layoffs

In a memo to staff, editor Michael Cooke, writes:
"Thirteen people will be departing: 10 from the tablet team, three from digital. Twelve of the people losing their jobs are on temporary contracts that are being ended earlier than originally scheduled. The other person will (along with Unifor) receive formal notice under layoff provisions of the collective agreement."
The whole memo published on J-Source

Iran frees journalist Jason Rezaian and four other Americans

Iran has released four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States, U.S. and Iranian officials said Saturday in a major diplomatic breakthrough announced as implementation of a landmark nuclear deal appeared imminent.
Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi, whose name had not been previously made public, were to be flown from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft and then transported to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment, U.S. officials said.
Rezaian's wife and mother were expected to be on the plane.
A fifth American detained in Iran, a student, was released in a move unrelated to the swap, U.S. officials said.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Big layoffs coming to the Star

J-Source published a letter to employees from Star publisher John Cruikshank. Here is the part affecting editorial:
"The Toronto Star is launching a Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) for Star employees represented by Unifor.  Details will be provided on Monday in a separate communication to eligible employees. Employees represented by Unifor in the Star’s editorial, finance and syndication functions are eligible to apply if they meet the program terms and conditions.
"In addition, a number of other staff, both union and management, have been advised that their roles are being eliminated due to changes in business conditions. These include roles in the newsroom and other areas of the company.
"These decisions are being made because of the very challenging market conditions that are affecting the Star and other media organizations. They represent our continued commitment to the Star in print while we also continue to expand our digital footprint through and Toronto Star Touch.     
"On behalf of the executive team I want to thank all members of the Star’s staff for their continued commitment and dedication in these challenging times."
Link to more details on J-Source

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Toronto Star to close main printing plant according to the Globe

James Bradshaw, the Globe and Mail's media reporter, writes:
"The Toronto Star is expected to announce on Friday that it intends to close its main printing plant in the Greater Toronto Area, The Globe and Mail has learned.
"The 3.2-hectare printing centre in Vaughan, which sits near the junction of Highway 400 and Highway 7 north of Toronto, opened in 1992 at a cost of $400-million, and was considered state-of-the-art at the time.
But as print advertising revenue continues to decline steadily, and the Star invests heavily in its digital journalism, the newspaper’s parent company, Torstar Corp., is exploring an outsourcing arrangement that would allow it to close the facility. . .
"With print in decline, the Star has made a major investment in its new tablet edition, called Star Touch, which was built through a partnership with French-language daily La Presse, and launched last September"
The Star has maintained it has no similar plans to get out of print.
The full Globe and Mail story

Kevin O'Leary circling Tory leadership waters:CBC -- our own Donald Trump!

From the CBC web page:
"I thought at some point, someone is going to say to me, if you can be such a critic, why don't you do better? Why don't you try it?" O'Leary told CBC News. "I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe I should."
The former panelist on CBC's Dragons' Den (and the Lang O'Leary Report) describes himself as politically agnostic, but noted, "I'm never going to run for the NDP. They don't even like me."
Not surprisingly, O'Leary said his main motivation for considering a leadership run is the economy.
The whole story

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Al Jazeera America to shutter in April

Al Jazeera America announced it is to shut down in April, a little more than two years after it first launched. The shuttering was announced at a company-wide meeting Wednesday, the Digital Journal and other media report.
According to the New York Times, Al Anstey, Al Jazeera's chief executive, said in a memo that the "decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace."
Al Jazeera America will officially leave the airwaves on April 30. Following the closure, Anstey said, Al Jazeera will expand its digital presence in the U.S. Al Jazeera bought Current TV on Jan. 3, 2013 for $500 million. In Aug. 2013, Al Jazeera America went onto the air, promising it would examine American politics more seriously than other American media organizations. More
Al Jazeera story 

Ottawa Citizen editor-in-chief exiting for academia

Andrew Potter will depart after more than two years at the helm, having taken over as the paper’s top editor in December of 2013, to start a new role as director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. He will stay at the Citizen until the end of February, but the search for his replacement is on. (Globe and Mail)

Corporate shuffles at Shaw/Corus/Global TV

CP reports that Shaw Communications is selling its media division to Corus Entertainment for $2.65 billion — a deal that will help fund the telecom company’s purchase of Wind Mobile.
Shaw Media includes the Global Television network and 19 specialty channels including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada and Showcase — formerly part of the Canwest business group before it was split up.
Corus already owns a number of other specialty TV channels as well as a network of radio stations and the Nelvana animation studio.
Both companies are controlled by the Shaw family through its voting shares. Shaw Communications will become a large shareholder in Corus as a result of the deal, which involves both cash and shares.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

CBC opening three-month "pocket bureau" in Moscow

The CBC has announced that it is opening a new three-month “pocket  bureau” in Moscow. It will be staffed by Correspondent Susan Ormiston, Producer Corinne Seminoff and Shooter-editor Jean-Francois Bisson. The team will be based in Moscow and will travel extensively. 

Kevin O’Leary promises $1M to Canadian oil if Notley steps down; why is this clown on TV?

The Star and CP report that finance guru Kevin O’Leary says he’ll invest $1 million in Canadian oil industries — if NDP Premier Rachel Notley resigns.
The former Dragon’s Den host amd CBC News commentator and host was speaking on Newstalk 1010’s Live Drive radio program about the downturn in the Canadian dollar and economy, largely caused by sinking oil prices.
“I mean no disrespect when I say this but here’s my offer: I’ll invest $1 million in Canadian energy companies if out of grace and for the absolute good of Canada the premier of Alberta resigns,” O’Leary said.
“I wouldn’t touch them now because she doesn’t know what she’s doing.” “Please step down, please, do it for Canadians,” he begged. O’Leary attributed layoffs and the plummeting dollar on the inexperience of Notley’s government and poor policy choices, specifically, hikes in corporate tax rate and uncertainty about royalties. "
(Did anyone ask why this clown was on CBC Newsworld for many years?)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

George Jonas dead at 80

George Jonas
George Jonas, who built a career as a journalist, columnist, novelist and poet in Canada after fleeing his native Hungary in 1956, has died at age 80, the National Post reports. Jonas had been ill for the past several years with Parkinsons.
National Post obit (subscription required)

TVO's "Agenda" to be broken into chunks to target social media and mobiles

The Star's Martin Knelman writes about changes at "The Agenda." Excerpt:
" . . . times have changed since 1992, when Paikin was lured away from the CBC, and even since 2006, when The Agenda was launched. Now the objective is to expand the show’s reach by making it easy for people to experience it on multiple platforms.
“'We know a lot of people like what we do,' explains John Ferri, vice-president of current affairs and documentaries at TVO. 'We also know people like to share smart content on social media. We want them to find us on the platform of their choosing, including Facebook and Twitter. So we have come up with a new format featuring segments that work as well in shorter takes online as they do as part of an hour-long broadcast.'
"Here’s why. The Agenda is the provincial public broadcaster’s flagship current affairs show, looking at local and global issues from a distinctively Ontario perspective. It claims a weekly audience of 630,000 (or just over 125,000 a night). But that audience consists mostly of viewers 65 or older, and there’s little hope of increasing the number of people who watch it on their TV sets."
The full story

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Interesting iPolitics piece about the future of newspapers

Former Finance Department ADM  Alan Freeman, now at University of Ottawa, muses about the future of newspapers:
"Who feels a sense of nostalgia after watching a movie that recounts the horrific scandal of Roman Catholic priests sexually preying on young boys and girls, with the Church hierarchy acting as facilitator?
Me, apparently. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of longing for journalism’s lost era when I left the cinema showing Spotlight, the fantastic new film about the The Boston Globe investigation that unearthed the details of how the Catholic archdiocese in Boston condoned the predatory criminal practices of its priests, moving them around between parishes when they got caught.
"The brilliance of the film lies not in its depiction of the creepy actions of the priests themselves, who used the guise of religion to take advantage of vulnerable children. It’s in how it depicts the work of the investigative journalists who broke the story, ultimately forcing the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law."

Friday, January 8, 2016

CHFI radio host Mike Cooper hangs up his earphones

The Star's Peter Edwards reports:
"Longtime local radio personality Mike Cooper has hung up his earphones for the last time as co-host of 98.1 CHFI’s “Erin and Mike in the Morning show.”
“'I don’t take back a single joke, a single word, a single laugh or a single smile,' Cooper said in an emotional statement on Friday morning. 'I loved it all.'
"A veteran of 45 years on the radio, his notable stunts that include faking his own assassination on-air on April Fool’s Day 1976 (which got him fired) and setting a world record for riding a Ferris Wheel for more than the existing mark of 21 days, 3 hours and 58 minutes (which got him a new Austin Marina car and mugged)."
Full story

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What will the dial look like in a pick-and-pay world?

Good piece on the new pay TV regime by the Globe's James Bradshaw. Excerpt:
"A series of consumer-focused decisions announced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will substantially shake up the way channels are bought and sold. Most notably for viewers, the new dictates will shrink some basic cable and satellite packages from an average size of 50 or more channels to perhaps a dozen by May, 2016, and let subscribers choose the individual channels they want to add by the end of that year.
"Until now, Canadian TV has been built on a model that has bundled most networks together in groups, spreading costs and drawing revenue from millions of customers. But as viewers gain unprecedented control in picking what they pay for, many stations will have to adapt to stay afloat. Local and national networks aside, Canada has close to 300 specialty channels, and some that have masked low ratings by riding the coattails of their more popular neighbours could soon be exposed. To stand out in a more competitive field, they will have to invest in better content and sophisticated marketing."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

iHeartRadio expanding to Canada with help from Bell Media

Bell Media, the content and entertainment subsidiary of BCE Inc., has announced a long-term deal with iHeartRadio, which owns 850 terrestrial radio stations across the United States. As part of the deal, iHeartRadio’s digital assets — a popular suite of apps and web page — will begin showcasing Bell Media radio properties, over 100 stations spread across the country.
iHeartRadio’s popularity has risen over the past few years as it has consolidated dozens of radio stations under its brand, promoting them through various digital portals to expand listenership beyond the car or office.

Cable unbundling will strip 15,000 jobs and $400 million a year from Canada’s TV production industry, report warns

The Financial Post's Chris Cobb writes:
"Changes to the way Canadians get their TV channels, including the limited unbundling of cable packages, will be financially devastating to the domestic programming industry and cost 15,000 jobs during the next five years, predicts a report to be released Tuesday.
"The changes, adopted last year by the Canadian-radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), are due to take effect in March.
"The new report was prepared for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the actors’ union ACTRA, the Directors Guild of Canada and the unions Unifor and the Canadian Media Guild."
Full story

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rosemary Barton named permanent host of CBC's Power & Politics

Rosemary Barton has been named the permanent host of Power and Politics. She has been hosting since the departure of Evan Solomon.
Link to CBC story

Monday, January 4, 2016

CFRA talk show host Lowell Green to retire

Lowell Green, CFRA’s sharp-tongued radio host who captivated and exasperated Ottawa audiences for more than 50 years, announced his retirement early Monday, Ottawa Magazine reports.
Starting out as a news and farm reporter in 1960, Green, 79, was best known for his cantankerous exchanges with listeners who called in to speak with him about current events on the popular Lowell Green Show, which began in 1993. While some may have felt Green’s style was too confrontational, his fans loved his no-nonsense style and considered him a champion of common sense. Loved or hated, Green’s on-air conversations were always water-cooler fodder across Ottawa.

The newspaper box makes its last stand in the age of digital media

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw writes:
Though the battle for news readers is being fought online, there is a lonely sentry that still stands watch for print: the newspaper box.
It is an anachronism in almost every way – no cheaper than home delivery, less efficient than digital distribution and reliant on coins just as cashless and mobile payments are taking over.
Yet through rain, sleet, snow and a digital revolution, thousands of paid newspaper boxes are still standing across the country, many stocked with only a handful of copies each day, and propped up by a devoted few readers comprising largely, it seems, commuters, cottagers and dog-walkers. The boxes are at once symbols of print’s rapid decline and also of its resilience.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

MP and former CTV personality Seamus O'Regan enters 'wellness program' for 'alcohol-free lifestyle,'

Seamus O'Regan, the newly elected Liberal MP and former Canada AM host, has entered a "wellness program" so he can adopt an "alcohol free lifestyle," according to message sent from his twitter account.
"I've decided after consultation with family that I can be most effective as a Member of Parliament by adopting an alcohol free lifestyle," the Tweet said.
"I will return to my duties as the Member of Parliament for St. John’s South - Mount Pearl prior to Parliament resuming in January."

When Journalism Catches Hollywood’s Eye- N.Y. Times

Joes Nocera writes in the New York Times:
It is not every year that Hollywood produces two movies about journalism that are Oscar contenders, but 2015 appears to have been that year. First came “Truth” in October. Based on the memoir of a former “60 Minutes” producer, Mary Mapes, it purports to tell the story of her gutsy 2004 investigation into George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard when he was a young man. When it turned out that her story, which was broadcast on “60 Minutes II” months before the president’s re-election, had unwittingly relied on falsified documents, the network suits turned against her and her famous correspondent, the CBS anchor Dan Rather, costing them their jobs.
“Truth” was followed in November by “Spotlight,” which goes inside The Boston Globe’s groundbreaking investigation into the pedophile priest scandal — and the shocking fact that child-molesting clerics were being protected by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. (And, as we now know, by dioceses all across America and much of the rest of the world.) Starring Michael Keaton as Walter V. Robinson, known as Robby, the head of The Globe’s Spotlight investigative unit, the film is the most straightforward journalism procedural since “All the President’s Men.”
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