The Weekly Briefing


The CRTC has approved an application from the Potlotek Communications Society to operate a low-power Type B Native FM radio station in Chapel Island/Potlotek First Nation, located east of St. Peter’s, NS. The station will operate at 93.7 MHz (channel 229LP) with an effective radiated power of 45 watts. The station’s broadcast week will include 126 hours of local programming, with 15 per cent of the music performed or composed by Aboriginal talent. Twenty hours per broadcast week will be devoted to Mi’kmaq-language programming and 10 hours to news programming.

The CRTC has approved a new CBC FM transmitter in Nakusp, BC to rebroadcast CBC Radio One (CBTK-FM) Kelowna. The new FM transmitter will replace the low-power AM transmitter CBUM Nakusp and will operate at 91.3 MHz (channel 217LP) with an effective radiated power of 50 watts.

A View From Space, the long-running Saturday night conspiracy show that airs on Talk Radio AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) Toronto, was pulled on Nov. 18 with Corus Entertainment releasing a statement saying the previous week’s broadcast included remarks and viewpoints from host “Spaceman” Gary Bell that ran counter to Corus discrimination policies and “included references and material that could only be viewed as anti-Semitic.” The statement says the network is taking steps “to ensure such an episode is never repeated.” The incident in itself sparked a flurry of online conspiracy theories about the “Illuminati-controlled mainstream media.”

CJTT-FM New Liskeard, ON raised $68,482 during its three-day Christmas Wish on-air blitz Nov. 15-17. The 31st annual event not only raises funds, but with the help of volunteers, coordinates a program that brings families in need into a giant one-day, pop-up shop to pick out a new wardrobe for each if their children.  

92.5 Fresh Radio (CKNG-FM) Edmonton has once again temporarily flipped its format to become the city’s official Christmas station. The station began playing a mix of traditional, classic and contemporary holiday favorites on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. MT and will return to playing the Best Mix of 80’s & Today on Dec. 26.

Rawlco Radio and Gordon and Jill Rawlinson have made a $1M donation to the new PotashCorp Children’s Discovery Museum in Saskatoon. The donation will help the museum create C95 Toon Town. The exhibit will feature movable carts, props and building facades representing Saskatoon throughout its history.

The St. Boniface Hospital Radiothon of Hope and Healing event, broadcast on 680 CJOB Winnipeg, raised $136,800, surpassing its goal. The funds will go towards patient care, specialized equipment, and hospital research.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a satirical critique on Énergie 94.3 (CKMF-FM) Montreal on attitudes that contribute to sexual harassment did not breach any codes regarding stereotyping. The monologue, by contributor Rosalie Bonenfant, broadcast on Nov. 26, 2016, sarcastically “thanked” men for certain attitudes and behaviours, such as [translation] “Thanks, boys, for always immediately assuming that anytime we’re angry or emotional, it’s pre-menstrual syndrome.” A listener complained the monologue generalized all men. The CBSC’s French-language panel examined the complaint under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Equitable Portrayal Code and Code of Ethics, concluding since the piece was introduced with the warning that it was intended to be sarcastic and ironic, there was no breach of either code.


Peter Weissbach

Peter Weissbach, Nov. 11, of cancer. Weissbach’s broadcasting career started at CJOR-AM Vancouver in the 1980s. In the late 80s, he made the move to CJCA-AM Edmonton where he stayed until 1993 when he moved into a talk show role at KBNP-AM Portland, OR. Over the years, he was also a host on KOGO San Diego, KVI AM 570 Seattle, and KIRO Seattle. From 2000-02, Weissbach hosted a nationally syndicated program from Broadcast Programming called The Quest which explored fundamental questions, such as who are we, why we are here, and where we go when we die. The show aired on a number of stations including KOMO Seattle, WHMP Springfield, KXL Portland, KXLY Spokane, KTVA Ventura, among others. Weissbach was also a favourite go-to fill-in host for a number of nationally syndicated programs. In later years, Weissbach was president of Seattle Building Maintenance, based out of Bellevue, WA.

George Vipond

George Vipond, 90, on Nov. 2. Vipond’s early career began in the Vancouver Sun photography department where he became a staff photographer, covering events around the Lower Mainland. He eventually found his way into television, a new medium at the time, and spent 30 years at CBC Vancouver as a supervising technician, colour coordinator and TV/quality control officer.

Roman Bittman, 76, on Nov. 7. Bittman, a trapper’s son who was born just south of the border between the Northwest Territories and Alberta, started his broadcasting career in high school as part of amateur efforts to relieve listeners in Hay River, NWT from the only radio their dial offered – Radio Moscow. Winning a scholarship, he headed to Toronto and studied at Ryerson, graduating in the mid-1960s. Bittman went on to work at CBC news and became producer of The Nature of Things. He later served as president of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation and designed and implemented the Nova Scotia Film Labour Tax Credit. Over the years he also worked with NFB and was an advisor in the early days of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Bittman had over 100 production credits to his name, including producing and directing the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

Norma Browne

Norma E. Browne, on Nov. 21. Norma and her husband Billy Browne Jr. relocated to Vancouver Island In 1959 and founded CFCP radio Ltd., which included CFPA Port Alice, CFNI Port Hardy, CFWB Campbell River, CHQB Powell River, and CFCP Comox Valley. Norma was an integral part of the business for 46 years, handling accounts and administration while her husband managed the station. Following his unexpected death in 1990, Norma took over as CEO and continued to run the business, alongside her family. In 2005, she made the decision to retire and sold the company.


Mary Walsh, Lorne Cardinal, Tantoo Cardinal, and Rick Mercer

CBC is rolling out a slate of new original movies and specials to celebrate the holiday season. Offerings include the return of Newfoundland’s most dysfunctional family as the Hatching, Matching and Dispatching saga continues in new holiday movie A Christmas Fury (Dec. 3), starring Mary Walsh; animated special The Great Northern Candy Drop (Dec. 17), starring Lorne Cardinal and Tantoo Cardinal in the true story of Inuk bush pilot Johnny May; and two-hour Murdoch Mysteries special Home For The Holidays (Dec. 18). CBC will ring in the new year with a fresh lineup of comedy specials including Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2017 and Ron James: The High Road, followed by a cross-Canada musical celebration hosted by Rick Mercer, Canada’s New Year’s Eve. On Jan. 3, CBC exclusively broadcasts the star-studded Leonard Cohen tribute concert that took place at Montreal’s Bell Centre this fall.

Michael Buble will host the 2018 Juno Awards on Mar. 25. The awards show will be broadcast live on CBC TV and radio, as well as

Bell Media Studios and Exploration Production Inc. (EPI) have begun production on new original Canadian series Disasters at Sea (working title). Commissioned by Discovery Canada, the docudrama is made possible iby international broadcast partners Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Seven Network (Australia). The six-episode series recreates some of the bigger marine disasters in recent history.

World TV Day was celebrated on Nov. 21. Media Technology Monitor says 95 per cent of Canadians are still watching the tube each month, but the numbers show the way they are watching has changed. 59 per cent are now watching some of their content online, 49 per cent have their television connected to the internet and 57 per cent are binge-watching or consuming three or more episodes of a single show in one sitting.

CHCH-TV Hamilton, which in a North American first had acquired multiple seasons of House of Cards from Netflix for rebroadcast, has removed the series from its line-up. The move comes in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against one of the show’s leads, Kevin Spacey.

Nelvana is set to start production on new original, animated adventure series D.N.Ace. Targeting kids age six to nine, the show follows 12-year-old Ace Ripley as he learns he has the ability to manipulate DNA by fusing the genes of living things to create ridiculous creatures. Created by Matt Wexler, who also executive produces, D.N.Ace will air on Teletoon in Canada.

CP24 and 104.5 CHUM FM Toronto have launched the 51st annual CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish campaign. Kicked off with a $25,000 donation from the RBC Foundation, the drive will collect financial donations and new, unwrapped toys until Dec. 23. Donations are channeled toward providing a holiday experience for children and families in need.

Attiya Khan

TVO original documentary A Better Man will make its world broadcast premiere on Nov. 25, the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. A Better Man is the story of how filmmaker Attiya Khan, a survivor of domestic abuse, confronts her past by inviting her abuser to discuss the violence. Produced in association with the National Film Board and Intervention Productions, the doc will be available to stream on, starting Nov. 26.

Numeris data shows Sunday’s CFL Playoffs doubleheader were watched by 1.4 million Canadians on TSN and RDS. The CFL’s Eastern and Western Finals audience grew 19 per cent with total viewers on the two networks over last year, with almost six million Canadians watching some or all of the finals.

A Victoria judge has found a man accused of assaulting CTV Vancouver Island cameraman Kirk Duncan, guilty. The veteran cameraman was at a homeless camp on the grounds of the Victoria courthouse on May 27, 2016 when one of the tent-city residents grabbed his camera and according to Duncan’s testimony, punched and kicked him. The 55-year-old has yet to be sentenced.

Stingray has added Stingray Now 4K to its portfolio of 4K UHD specialty channels. Rogers is the first provider to introduce the all-4K UHD music video channel, available to customers with a 4K subscription and NextBox 4K set-top box.


Esther Enkin

CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin has concluded there was a violation of policy in both tone and context when a CBC online writer expressed personal opinion using the @CBCToronto Twitter account. The exchange involving CBC News employee Lucas Powers was over an article concerning Toronto schools’ guidelines for Halloween costumes. Read the full decision here.

Marapharm Ventures Inc., the publicly-traded, B.C.-based medical and recreational cannabis operation, has launched an online TV channel featuring daily news and market reports about cannabis and the cannabis industry. The company says is operating independently from its cannabis operations.

Neil Young and Facebook, in partnership with Shakey Pictures, will livestream a 90-minute Neil Young concert from a yet-to-be-disclosed Canadian location. Bell Media is said to have several locations on hold for the show, with speculation it will be held in Omemee, ON, the small Kawartha Lakes village where Young spent his early years. The concert will stream Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET in support of the launch of NYA – The Neil Young Archives, a chronological collection of Young’s entire recorded music, films, videos, books and audio streaming via Young’s Xstream by NYA.  Dec. 1 also marks the release of new studio album The Visitor, with Young backed by band Promise of the Real.

Allan Holender

Allan Holender has relaunched his online oldies/cool jazz web station It will stream on the expanding Boomer Public Radio Network,  featuring programming from radio veterans like Barry Bowman of Victoria, Winnipeg’s Roger Currie, Brant Zwicker and Shelley Gummeson of Kamloops, and Frank Allan from New York. Holender, whose 40-year broadcasting career includes founding C-ISL 650 AM Richmond, also hosts his own show called A Boomer Home Companion. Okanagan Valley Radio programs are archived on the BPR broadcast website at


George Cope

George Cope, president and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, is among the 2018 inductees into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. This year’s Class of Companions will be formally inducted on May 17.

RTDNA Canada has expanded its 2018 Regional and Network awards categories to include Best Podcast, Excellence in Innovation and Excellence in Social Media. It’s also renamed several other categories. Submissions open Dec. 4 and close Jan. 31. Read more here.

Telus has joined Rogers in asking for an extension to meet the deadline for certain requirements of the CRTC’s new Wireless Code. Telus is the latest telco to file a Part 1 application requesting an extension to meet aspects of the code by the Dec. 1 deadline. The new requirements require carriers to send data overage warnings not just to a particular device, but the account holder when users are roaming or going over the limit.  

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has announced another $290 million to improve high-speed coverage across Quebec. ISED says the funding will benefit 100,000 households in 360 rural and remote communities. Of the $290-million investment in Quebec: $87 million will come from the federal government; $105 million will from the Province of Quebec through its Québec Branché program (French web page); and $98 million from private companies and donors.

Catherine Cano, Prem Gill, Barbara Williams, and Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) is out with its list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. In the Arts and Communications category, those making the top 100 include Catherine Cano, president & GM of Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC); Prem Gill, CEO of Creative BC; Barbara Williams, executive VP & chief operating officer of Corus Entertainment and Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, president and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia.

The Media Technology Monitor has released its News Enthusiasts report. The report focuses on Anglophones, who are the heaviest news consumers, and where Canadians access their news. Among its findings: three in five Anglophones follow local, national or international news on a daily basis; while news is available from a variety of sources, television remains an important news source with two-thirds of Anglophones tuning into a news specialty channel; and despite increasing market pressures, one-sixth of Anglophones still subscribe to a newspaper with newspaper websites viewed as an important source of content, especially among the heaviest news consumers.

Freedom Mobile’s revelation that it will sell the latest iPhones, including the 8, 8 Plus and X for $0 upfront on two-year contracts, saw shares in the big three trade down Wednesday morning. The standard by big carriers Rogers, Bell and Telus has been to price the iPhone X, starting at $599 upfront plus $95/month on two-year plans, including 1 GB of data. Freedom’s iPhone plans, which include 10 GB of data, start at $65 per month for the iPhone 8 and run up to $110 per month for the iPhone X. A similar plan with the big three would run $155 per month, plus the upfront cost of the phone.

Prince Edward Island has issued a Request for Proposals for a Fibre Network BackBone Design. The province envisions constructing a provincially-owned fibre network to establish reliable high speed internet service in every corner of the province. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 5.

WABE Wrap-Up

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers 67th annual convention took place in Edmonton, Nov. 5-7 at the Delta Edmonton South Hotel.

WABE was honoured to present six awards this year: the Ambassador Award to Paul Stechly of Applied Electronics Ltd; Excellence in Engineering awards to Rob Brown of Corus Entertainment and James Belton of Jim Pattison Broadcast Group; the RW Lamb award to Owen Martin, and retirement awards to Larry Modney and Bill Lockett, formerly of Global Lethbridge.

The exhibit floor had 43 booths occupied by 36 companies showing off their latest products and services to over 180 visitors. There was a total of 28 sponsors for this year’s convention. Gold sponsors included Applied Electronics Limited, Dejero, GS Broadcast Technical Services, RVA Lighting & Masts Inc, Sony of Canada and Tieline. Sixteen great technical sessions for delegates featured a wide variety of relevant topics for Radio, TV and IT with speakers providing insight on both dealing with new workflows and how technology can assist in improving efficiencies, not only for the local engineer but for station operations. Invaluable tips and knowledge were shared during the sessions, not just by the speakers, but other technical staff, generating ideas for new topics for next year’s convention sessions.

This year’s dedicated local conference committee consisted of Darcie Harris, Rogers Radio, Richard Furgason, CTV Edmonton, Zac Schlinker, Global Edmonton, Mike Modney, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, and Marco Auriti, Shine FM.  Leadership was provided by WABE President Bill Stovold, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Past President  Mark Crichton, Golden West Radio; Treasurer/Secretary Clint Hollinger, Rogers and the glue that keeps us together, Kathy Watson, WABE Office Manager.

Special thanks to the Delta Edmonton South for providing a fantastic facility and staff that made the 2017 convention a great success. WABE looks forward to partnering with this property again when we return to Edmonton in 2020. See you all in Vancouver next year.


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