Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

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

What Was Said

"...As someone who spent more than 10 years in sales, I believe that you never lose business by doing what’s right for your customers. The same holds true for your listeners.

The ongoing success of the radio sector demonstrates the importance of building and maintaining strong connections with audiences, and you have not lost sight of that.

Over the years, critics repeatedly predicted the demise of radio due to a string of emerging technologies. Decades ago, these technologies included LP records and 8-track tapes, then, more recently, cassettes and CDs. Today, these technologies include Internet radio, streaming services and podcasts. Nevertheless, radio continues to fend off these challenges, and it does so by creating powerful bonds with listeners. Revenues for Canadian radio stations have remained relatively stable for the last five years, although they did decrease slightly between 2014 and 2015. Last year, advertising revenues exceeded $1.5 B.

As you well know, the growing popularity of streaming services and satellite radio among Canadians continues to erode listenership. And cars with Internet-connected systems – what some are calling the connected car – are here to stay. 60.1% of new vehicles around the world are expected to be equipped with Internet-connected systems by 2017, an increase from just 11.4% four years ago. And penetration in the US and Western Europe is projected to exceed 80% by next year. Among other things these remarkable changes tell me that it may be time to update my ageing Grand Cherokee.

To meet these and other emerging challenges, I believe that radio stations must build on their strengths. They must leverage the competitive advantages provided by the intimacy they foster with listeners and the connections they forge with the local community. Radio stations remain trusted curators of local content. Listeners tune in not only for music, but also for local news, weather, traffic, sports and community information...."

CRTC Atlantic Region and Nunavut Commissioner Chris MacDonald, speaking at the OAB Connection 2016 Conference and Awards on Nov. 10

More OAB convention news

The one issue that seemed to stick with a lot of radio folks at the OAB Connection 2016 conference in Toronto last Thursday at Jeff Vidler's Millennials panel centred around the complaints over song repetition and how to deal with it.

"There aren't any easy answers for this," he told us after the discussion. "There’s a long body of evidence to show that high-repeat CHRs are often successful by the very fact that listeners can tune into the current hits quickly and easily. It’s the hit music equivalent of All News radio --- you press that button, you get what you came for with little waiting.

"It affects time spent listening, but that’s the price you pay for being good at what you do."

Looking forward, Vidler, media strategist and president of  Audience Insights, posits: "Here’s the challenge I see facing CHR radio as time goes on: when you can get your hits even more quickly and easily via on demand streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, will you still need high-repeat CHR radio?"

Seen and heard at the OAB convention

Seen at the convention for the first time in a long time, Zoomer Media boss Moses Znaimer. Subbing for fired Ontario commissioner Raj Shoan was CRTC Atlantic and Nunavut rep Christopher MacDonald who previously had been an executive with Rogers Communications in eastern Canada, and perhaps making their last go-round at the annual were Howard and Ingrid Christensen who have sold the plane and sold Broadcast Dialogue. She is taking fashion design courses at George Brown College and he tells me he is just taking it easy and enjoying his newfound retirement.

We would also be remiss in not making mention of Leah Daniels' persuasive and  winning performance during the FACTOR sponsored luncheon. This year's CMAO and 2016 breakthrough artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards, Daniels struck a bond with her audience with "Go Back" and current hit "Salt Water" -- co-written with Emma-Lee & Karen Kosowski -- taken from her Foundation-assisted What It Feels Like debut album, and struck a genuine round of applause with a playful new addition to her repertoire, entitled "To Get Her."


What do audiences really want?

It is a topic fellow programming consultant and researcher Liz Janik intends to plumb tomorrow (Nov. 15) at the Allan Slaight Institute that is part of Ryerson's RTA School of Media. The panel discussion, What Do Radio Audiences Really Want?, gets underway at 5:30pm with Radio Trailblazers' Janik moderating. Vidler joins her on stage with Strategic Inc president Debra McLaughlin who is also GM of ethnic broadcast FM, Markham Radio. Both come with strong credentials, a fistful of data to provide answers and even possible solutions for broadcasters trying to build their brands to appeal to today's millennials.  


The CRTC has announced that it had received an application by Dufferin Communications Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial radio station to serve Grimsby and Beamsville,ON. A joint intervention opposing a call for applications by Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. has been dismissed, hence the regulator has issued a call for applications for new radio stations in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2016-451.

Global talents join BC Liberals: The BC Liberal Party has announced former Global BC morning news anchor Steve Darling will be its new candidate in the riding of Burnaby-Lougheed. Darling was released by Global in Oct.  after having worked there for over 18 years. He follows former Global senior reporter Jas Johal, who also recently joined the BC Liberals.

-- Vancouver's CHMJ AM 730 continues to operate at reduced power of 10,000 watts non-directional after much of its transmitter site was destroyed by the Burns Bog fire in early July.  The all-traffic station's air signal was quickly restored, first with temporary facilities in downtown Vancouver and then with reduced power at the main Delta site.  Station owner Corus Radio is committed to returning AM 730 to its full 50 kW service. 


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