Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

News about media and the regulatory environment both inside and beyond Canada's borders.

More Nightmares in Gatineau

The troubles in Gatineau over ousted Ontario commissioner Raj Shoan’s dismissal continue to ripple through the agency like a rockslide landing in a fish bowl.

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations has filed a damning report to Heritage minister Mélanie Joly, noting that since the creation of the Commission only two of the 103 first-time appointments have been visible minorities, and Shoan is only the second person of colour ever to be appointed in the agency’s 48-year history.

Shoan, meantime, cleared of workplace harassment, has published his own statement which must be sending alarm bells off in the ivory tower. In part, he says: “I am currently examining my additional legal options with my team in regard to harm that I have suffered as a result of the false allegations and flawed findings made against me.”

As for the diversity card, as of Jan. 2017, Manitoba/Saskatchewan commissioner Candice Molnar’s shift ends, leaving Albert/NWT commissioner Linda Vennard as the lone woman commissioner in the citadel of Blaise.

And that's not the only issue about the composition of Canada's broadcast czars; bizarrely, it’s lore and law that matters of state pertaining to Quebec requires three French Canadian voices be present, and as it stands the CRTC has only two—including the Chair.

Understandably, morale at the agency is flagging faster than the chief engineer aboard the Titanic watching the ship’s bow slide deep into the North Atlantic Ocean. One wonders how long the Harper appointee will captain this ship in distress. One wonders how much longer the Trudeau government can sit idle without making a new round of appointments, and handing the agency a fresh mandate.

A New News Org

-- UBC journalism professors have been awarded approximately $200K from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support the launch of a national version of the global non-profit academic journalism site,

Since its 2011 launch in Australia, The Conversation has expanded to an increasingly global knowledge network, with editions in the UK, the US, France and Africa. The Conversation has a monthly audience of 3.3M unique visitors, with a reach of 35M.

“Scholars at Canadian universities have a lot to contribute globally through The Conversation network,” said Alfred Hermida, director of the UBC School of Journalism and a former BBC journalist of 16 years. “News organizations around the country are under intense financial pressure and we believe Canadians, the university sector and the media can all benefit from a new national source of expert analysis.” – UBC News

-- CanadaLand has done it again. The unconventional news breaker has created a crowd-sourced map of Canada’s media that parses by changes in ownership, transitions, and media type. View here.  

-- There’s a fluffy bit of promotion masquerading as a Q&A with Tarzan Dan on the Zoomer Radio site. The celebrated Tarzan Dan Freeman, currently hosting weekday afternoon drive at Q107 Calgary, can be heard hosting Saturday Night Bandstand on the “Timeless Hits” station at AM 740 and 96.7 FM.

-- Congrats to Shawn Smith and team on the reinvented Broadcast Dialogue – both the newsletter and the website. Interviews with the proud parents of BD, Howard and Ingrid Christensen, can be found on the web portal.

-- Pandora Radio has sprung a suprise conference call for today, and the speculation is CEO Tim Westergren will announce the new streaming service that has been rumoured for some time. The rush to announce could be spurred by the fact that Westergren wants to be the first to offer five-dollar streaming for the non-interactive service. The NYT reported yesterday that both Amazon and Pandora could launch their discounted plans as early as next week. Neither service is available in any form in Canada other than by using VPN or anonymizer services. 

-- ACTRA has launched an awareness campaign called #SharetheScreen. #ShareTheScreen, a call to action and an industry-wide rally. The accompanying video addresses the realities and experiences of diverse performers in the entertainment industry, while also speaking to larger issues of diversity and gender inequities. The advocacy video features 35 performers, including the award-winning Art Hindle, Cara Gee (Strange Empire), Rick Howland (Lost Girl), Soma Bhatia (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Shailyn Pierre Dixon (Book of Negroes) and Kevin Hanchard (Orphan Black).



Worth Noting

How ‘the Blais show’ shook up Canadian telecomRoB subscription

The CRTC regs are what’s keeping prices high – Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Sun

Canadian talent controversy: Canadian artists vs the CRTC -- Samantha Gold, Forget the

Token effort: Newsroom managers say they can’t afford to do more about diversity. For journalists of colour, that argument holds no water – Ryerson Review of Journalism

Google’s DeepMind Achieves Speech-Generation BreakthroughIn blind tests for U.S. English and Mandarin Chinese, human listeners found WaveNet-generated speech sounded more natural than that created with any of Google’s existing text-to-speech programs  -- Bloomberg

JACK goes national by playing ONLY British music: The station claims it will have the most extensive playlist of music on national commercial radio in the UK, but won’t include any songs by artists who aren’t British -- Radio Today

DAB sales break 50M worldwide – RAIN News’

James Cridlan’s Future of Radio – RAIN News

Nielsen finds viewers are distracted by screens, may not comply with People meters – Media Daily News


-- With contributions from Pat Holiday, Andrew Forsythe and Warren Cosford.





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