The Weekly Briefing


Castanet Media, which operates Kelowna news website, has struck a deal with Vista Radio to buy Juice FM 103.9 (CJUI-FM) Kelowna. Pending CRTC approval, Castanet FM will start broadcasting from the company’s Lawrence Avenue studios in late fall. Castanet says it plans to share and combine content across its online and broadcast platforms. Castanet president Nick Frost is no stranger to broadcasting. He established Silk FM (CILK-FM) Kelowna in 1986, which was subsequently purchased by Standard Radio in 2007 for $9.25M and is now owned by Bell Media.

Bell Media Radio launched the first HD radio signals broadcast from the CN Tower on June 30, providing all four of its Toronto radio stations in digital audio alongside their regular analog broadcasts. The new digital HD signal of 99.9 Virgin Radio (CKFM-FM) carries Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) on its second HD channel, while 104.5 CHUM FM carries TSN 1050 (CHUM-AM) on its secondary HD channel. The Toronto stations join Bell Media stations Rouge FM (CITE-FM), TSN Radio 690 (CKGM-AM), CJAD 800 Montreal; Majic 100 (CJMJ-FM), 580 CFRA and TSN Radio 1200 (CFGO-AM) Ottawa; and 103.5 QMFM (CHQM-FM) and TSN Radio 1040/1410 (CKST-AM/CFTE-AM) Vancouver, which are already broadcasting in HD.

Stingray Digital Group Inc. has applied to the CRTC for new broadcasting licences to operate discretionary services devoted to music video and related programming focusing on pre-teens (Stingray Juicebox), rock and related genres (Stingray Loud), the 1980s to the early 2000s (Stingray Retro), and urban music (Stingray Vibe).

CFQR 600 AM Montreal, the new TTP Media-owned English-language station, made it to air last Friday evening, just ahead of a CRTC deadline. The 10,000 watt station is still in testing phase and is broadcasting an automated music playlist with recorded messages voiced by former 940 News (CINW-AM) host Jim Connell. Connell was part of TTP’s original license application in 2011.

The CRTC has found that Ottawa-Gatineau cannot support another commercial radio station. Antoine Karam had applied for a license to operate a commercial ethnic AM station to serve the market. The commission concluded that despite positive economic factors and a growing ethnic community, radio revenues continue to decrease with many stations operating at a loss in recent years.

The CRTC has denied an application to operate a new English-language commercial FM Christian music station in Saint John, NB. The station would have been the third Christian music entry into the small market.

The CRTC has renewed the broadcasting licences for a number of Bell Media Radio stations through 2024. They include Windsor stations CKWW-AM, CKLW-AM, CIDR-FM; CKST-AM Vancouver; CKCR-FM Revelstoke, BC; CHTK-FM Prince Rupert; CKQM-FM Peterborough; CKLY-FM Lindsay, ON; CFCA-FM Kitchener.


Mike Reid

Mike Reid, 57, on June 28 after battling cancer. Reid was an imaging and commercial producer at 680 CFTR-AM Toronto during the 1980s, followed by 23 years as an audio/video producer at Toronto’s Echo Advertising. From there, he formed independent production house Mr. Flyer Productions, working on radio and television commercials for clients including President’s Choice Financial, Hitachi, and the Toronto Raptors, among others.



Peter Mansbridge

After 50 years with CBC and 29 years behind the desk at The National, Peter Mansbridge signed off for the last time on Canada Day. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned the mic on Mansbridge at the Canada 150 party in Ottawa. You can watch the veteran anchor’s final sign off from The National and his send-off speech to colleagues at the renaming of the CBC Toronto Broadcast Centre atrium to “Mansbridge Hall.”

Dave Hodge

TSN is reviving The Reporters, which will relaunch with a new half-hour format beginning Sept. 10 on TSN2. The series will broadcast live from the TSN 1050 (CHUM-AM) studio in Toronto, and will be available on TSN Radio stations across the country. Dave Hodge will host the roundtable debate with panelists Steve Simmons and Bruce Arthur. The previous iteration of the show, premiered on TSN in Oct. 2002 on Sunday mornings, before moving to a Monday timeslot in January 2016.

A second petition has been launched challenging the CRTC’s reduction to the PNI (programs of national interest) funding requirement for Bell Media and Corus Entertainment. The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), ACTRA and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) filed their appeal to cabinet last Thursday, while the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) filed its own petition earlier last week. The CRTC ruling streamlines all broadcaster contributions to five per cent, which creative groups say will result in a decrease of as much as $141-million in spending on independently-produced programming over a five-year period.


Videotron will shut down its Unlimited Music service on Aug. 4, meeting a CRTC deadline. The company has sent a letter to subscribers informing them that to make up for the loss of the feature, it will up customer data caps to those subscribed to the streaming service. The data add-on will be calculated according to the month in which the customer’s usage of Unlimited Music was at its highest.


Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Jean-Marc Vallee, and Peter A. Herrndorf

Among the appointments to the Order of Canada on June 30, were several arts, entertainment and broadcast media veterans. Actors Mike Myers and Catherine O’Hara and filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee were named Officers of the Order of Canada, while former TVO chairman Peter A. Herrndorf was promoted to Companion. Also named members were actors Rod Beattie, Rick Green, writer and actress Susan Coyne, producer and musician Daniel Lanois, CAB Hall of Famer and French-language radio pioneer François Labbé, musicologist and broadcaster Sylvia L’Écuyer, radio and television host Pierre Maisonneuve, producer, engineer and performer Paul Mills, and recording industry veteran André Perry.

Freedom Mobile has gained ground in the wireless market, with Shaw Communications’ Q3 financial results revealing that Freedom now has 1,106,159 subscribers – an increase of 20,085 for the quarter ending May 31. Shaw reported Q3 revenue of $1.31 billion, with wireless revenue accounting for $154 million, up $22 million or 16.7 per cent year over year.



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