Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today
News about media and the regulatory environment both inside and beyond Canada's borders.
Maureen Holloway headed for CHFI?
TORONTO: That's the way West Coast radio board Puget Sound sees it after noting Maureen Holloway’s Facebook page, where she posted "Goodbye to the Mighty Q after 17 years. Lots of love and laughter. I’ll see you down the dial." It makes sense that she resurface at the Rogers-owned CHFI where she would replace the retiring Erin Davis. On December 15, Erin and Darren will broadcast live from Casa Loma for Erin's final show. If this is the case, it is expected that Holloway will make her morning show debut with Darren (B. Lamb) at the top of the new year. The change leaves a big hole in the Corus-owned FM's late afternoon programming slot, so it is to be expected that a lot of jockeying is already going on to fill the void. In a classy move, Corus allowed Holloway to sign off, say goodbye to and thank her Q107 listeners at the conclusion of her November 25 shift.
CBC needs to be dismantled, PC leadership candidate argues
OTTAWA: Following Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier's press conference last week that outlined his mandate for the CBC, fellow party contender Kellie Leitch goes one step further, pledging to scrap the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation altogether, if elected prime minister.
Leitch made the announcement in a release Thursday, a day after Bernier outlined his plan to “refocus” the mandate of the public broadcaster.
“I strongly disagree with the stance taken by fellow leadership candidate Maxime Bernier and his call for CBC reform – the CBC doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be dismantled," she stated. "The measure of a Conservative is in their efforts to, as the great British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher described it, ‘roll back the frontiers of the state.’ Maxime’s plan doesn’t do that. Mine does."
Continuing on: “Taxpayers should not have to subsidize the CBC to keep it afloat. Just like in the private sector, if a company isn’t competitive and isn’t profitable, it shouldn’t be in business. Private media outlets like The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Le Journal du Montreal are struggling, and we must level the playing field. The days of a bloated, taxpayer-subsidized CBC are numbered.”
However, "that part of the CBC that provides emergency services to remote and rural parts of Canada will be maintained," she allowed.
Postmedia execs earn million-dollar 'retention' bonuses
TORONTO: Wallowing in debt, the media firm has cut hundreds of staffers and closed offices across the country in 2016, but Postmedia Network Canada Corp's five most senior executives have been awarded nearly $2.3M in retention bonuses.
Total amounts, to be paid out in three installments, include $900K to president and CEO Paul Godfrey, $450K to CFO Doug Lamb, $425K to COO Andrew MacLeod, $300K to executive VP and legal counsel Jeffrey Haar and $200K to Gordon Fisher, president of the National Post and the Pacific Newspaper Group.
Representing the journalists, The Communications Workers of America Canada President Martin O'Hanlon said, in a statement, that the executives are acting in an unconscionable manner by accepting the extra money while asking employees to volunteer for buyouts or risk another round of layoffs.
"This is an absolute disgrace," he said, calling on the five men to return the money.
Unifor Local 87-M, which represents Ontario's unionized newspaper workers, urged the executives to give the money to Postmedia's employees. "That money should be spent to retain workers," said union president Paul Morse in a statement.
Kevin O'Leary dismisses criticism of the payouts to senior executives, saying it is necessary to keep the organizational team stable in a time of crisis.
O’Leary, chairman at O’Leary Financial, said in an interview with BNN, where he is a paid commentator, that it is important to keep Postmedia’s leadership stable as the company goes through a restructuring, even at a high cost.
“Godfrey’s a legend in this country’s media,” said O’Leary. “He’s probably one of the best executives that has delivered growth during a period of trauma, trials and tribulations.”
He added that "If I had money invested, I would not want Godfrey going anywhere. I think he’s got his fingers in the soul and essence of this company."
CMPA pitches Ottawa on digital content blueprint
OTTAWA: On Friday, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) released its blueprint for a thriving screen-based production sector in Canada with its submission to the Canadian Content in a Digital World consultations in the capital. The submission highlights the central role that independent producers play in the success of the sector and outlines 12 recommendations to ensure "phenomenal made-in-Canada content" continues to "entertain audiences at home and abroad for decades to come," regardless of how that content is accessed.
Among its recommendations, the CMPA advocates for:
An updated policy framework that ensures all services and platforms which benefit from being part of the Canadian system also contribute to the success of that system; this includes Over-The-Top (OTT) services and Internet Services Providers (ISPs)
Relief from the heavy administrative burden faced by producers, through increased efficiencies and reduced duplication among Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Media Fund, and the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office
An expanded definition of Canadian content that includes new elements (e.g. points awarded for the adaptation of a bestselling Canadian novel) as well as additional tax credit incentives to maximize the use of Canadian creative talent.
iHeartMedia spokesperson told Radio Ink over the weekend that, "We are pleased with the Delaware Chancery Court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit." Delaware Court Judge Joseph Slights ruled in favor of iHeart dismissing the lawsuit filed by Gamco Asset Management, which claimed iHeartMedia improperly moved revenue from its Clear Channel Outdoor >>
-- iHeart in Madison Wisconsin is turning back time with its flip to the "New Rewind 92.1, Madison’s Greatest Hits" station. The station was a progressive talker before a short stunt with holiday music >>
-- (Bob McCurdy) "In the dark. It’s not a good place for any of us to be when it comes to understanding radio’s impact, role, and value it can bring to a media plan. With Nielsen’s Commspoint, we can avoid the dark and shed light on exactly how radio stacks up against 70 other media options available to advertisers" >>
Isn’t there a rule against outrageous bonuses? The decision by Postmedia to pay executives millions in retention bonuses even as it empties out its newsrooms has sparked outrage, but was it illegal? -- Aaron Hutchins, Maclean's
Unions demand Postmedia executives reject $2.3M in bonuses: Payouts come a month following firm saying it plans to cut salary costs by 20% -- CBC
O'Leary: Executives deserve their pricey retention bonuses -- BNN
Who’s really to blame for rigging the mainstream media:The mainstream media is amoral, irrevocably corrupt and, sadly, can never be fixed. The truth is now truthy, reality has transmogrified into wikiality, facts have become flexible, and the thin permeable membranes that used to separate journalism, opinion, commentary and entertainment have disintegrated. To help you understand why, I offer this accurate, albeit oversimplified, description of how the mainstream media is "rigged" and what you can do about it – Shelley Palmer, Advertising Age
Billionaires vs. the Press in the era of Trump:A small group of super-rich Americans — the president-elect among them — has laid the groundwork for an unprecedented legal assault on the media. Can they succeed? – Emily Bazelon, NYT
“No one ever corrected themselves on the basis of what we wrote”: A look at European fact-checking sites – Nieman Lab
Le Monde wants to build a B.S. detector: Having gained global acclaim for their debunking work in the wake of the Bataclan terrorist attacks, the Décodeurs team also wants the search engine to help spot hoaxes and flag fake news sites – Poynter
Facebook ad revenue tops media giants: For the first time, this year the company’s U.S. ad revenue will be larger than the biggest traditional media companies’. And this is likely to create more unease at the TV networks, which can no longer rely on the larger pool of TV ad dollars as a bulwark against digital upstarts – The Information
Major ad tech firm bans Breitbart News for hate speech: AppNexus takes a stand as bigger rivals, Google and Facebook, face scrutiny over their handling of 'fake news' – Bloomberg Technology