Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

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

Editor's note: This has been updated on Dec. 9: Yesterday's opinion piece failed to fill my in-box with a deluge of bellicose mail or thoughfully worded arguments for or against from "passionate" broadcasters across the country, but then again perhaps the reason is because most are scared for their jobs, consider me an outsider with no skin in the game or simply have given up the fight against the corporate raiders that have skinned the meat off the bone and left once mighty radio stations scrambling to meet financial targets.

   As Chuck McCoy rightly points out, superstar outlets can still earn a fistful of cash for their owners, but isn't it also true that a goodly amount of the profits are now being redirected to offset losses at other holdings across the country?

   Maybe radio today is still a vibrant medium bristling with innovation and better connected to its respective communities than ever before.

   Maybe I have it all wrong, and maybe the kids I speak with are exceptions to the rule.

   Maybe! But I don't think so.

   My in-box remains open for comments and if I don't hear from you, then be prepared for more from me in sharing thoughts about how automation, repetition and insular thinking are not going to win the day.



From Chuck McCoy


I caught your piece on "Radio's Clouded Future."  David. Many similar articles predicting Radio's demise have been written, some as early as the '40s and the 50s.  

   Even I can remember that the viability of Radio was in question back when I first embarked on my radio broadcasting career, and that was 52 years ago. Yet during that time the size of Radio's audience, the number of radio stations and the growth in radio profitability has increased dramatically.

   Try and be passionate about the "Print Business," if you can, with two of the country's biggest newspapers on their "last legs," according to their own numbers.

   And who is writing about the status of regular "Over-the-air Television" as a profitable medium.  Not Specialty TV like HBO/Netflix, but the profit earned on your local Over-the-air TV station in Canada.

   Here's a telling fact: did you know that the profit from all the "Over-the -air Television" stations in Canada, all added together, still can't  match the profit of a single radio station in a market like Toronto. It might be a "fun" medium but local over-the-air TV simply doesn't make any money anymore?

   I enclose a very recent US study from Nielsen comparing all media platforms. It reveals the overwhelming reach that is achieved by Radio.  

   Certainly all the new platforms that have developed over the past 20 years have reduced Radio's "share of ear" or "Time Spent Listening".  And yet, year-to-year, Radio's "share of minutes listened" has grown from 772 minutes per week to 784 minutes per week.

   With Millennials, even this demographic group's average minutes per week have grown: from 653 minutes per week to 656 minutes per week.  I hear parents tell me all the time that their Millennial children, "Never listen to the radio."  I'm sorry but the data just doesn't back that up.  Reading the "facts" as shown in this recent Nielsen media platform study, it's very difficult to suggest that the state of Radio is in any form of real decline.

Nielsen report

Radio’s reach among adults remains solidly out in front of all media platforms, according to Nielsen’s Q2 2016 Comparable Metrics Report. Radio’s weekly reach clocks in at 93%, followed by TV (87%), smartphone (80%), PC (50%), TV connected devices (43%) and tablet (37%).

   The quarterly report looks at the reach various devices have, how often consumers are using them and how long they’re doing so. It finds that radio’s reach is highest among 35-49 year-olds at 95%, followed closely by the smartphone at 93% with TV in third place at 89%.

   Radio reaches 92% of 18-34 year-olds, the study shows, more than the smartphone (89%), TV (77%) and all other platforms.

   The latest numbers once again show radio’s reach is consistent across demographics, with an audience composition equally divided among persons 18-34, persons 35-49 and persons 50+.

    The average adult listens to radio just over five days a week. But TV is the most heavily consumed platform among adults of all ages. Adults spend 32 hours, 32 minutes with TV per week, followed by radio at 13:04 and the smartphone at 12:01.


From: Ross Davies, Numeris:


A quick comment on today’s opinion piece “Radio’s Clouded Future”. The tuning statistics you reported do not represent total radio listening in Canada.  It appears that the numbers you referenced are from PPM markets, which only represent five markets in Canada. 

In order to collect Canada-wide listening behaviour, Numeris utilizes diary methodology, which covers over 90 radio markets across the country, including Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. For Millennials, the actual number of hours listened per week is 14.4.  For Generation X the number is 17.9 hours and for Boomers the number of hours per week is 20.4  (This is based on Fall 2015 data.)

While the hours per week for millennials do show a slight year-over-year decline, the facts are that millennials still do listen to radio.

I have attached a link to the Numeris public site that provides more detail on Canadian radio consumption.  I hope this helps.

Discovering Numeris audiences: How Canada Listens 



The following first appeared on the I Am What I Play Facebook page Sunday night and was re-published in Warren Cosford's e-newsletter Warren's List yesterday.

Hi Warren:

Perfect timing on this, as I just posted this on the I Am What I Play Facebook page Sunday night. Lots of responses and shares. Please feel free to forward to David Farrell, in addition to sharing with the list:

Some thoughts about radio in 2016 from the Director of I Am What I Play...

   It has been five years since we started shooting this film. On the one hand, it has definitely been a labour of love, but on the other hand, we do have distribution in several countries so we must've done something right beyond just loving the subject matter.

   One of the things I bet on was simply that the subject matter would interest a good number of people. I've been thrilled to be at some of the screenings in Boston and Toronto and New York and even in Paris, France as well as smaller places like a screening for radio students in Belleville, Ontario... and the enthusiasm for the stories in the film - not just about famous musicians or dramatic clashes with radio management types, but the inspiring stories from the DJs about the spirit of radio - that enthusiasm is palpable.

   One of the most frequent questions I have been asked at the various screenings and events surrounding the movie is...


   The fact that so many younger people have been interested in the film and are responding to it has been one of the great things about this project. And I think that a lot of people under 40 don't think of radio as turning on the radio dial, but think of it in a broader definition of audio or broadcasting. Terrestrial radio may not have the same hold on the audiences of today, but there are lots of exciting things going on in Internet radio, satellite radio and, of course, the exploding world of podcasting.

   The people producing this kind of radio are often talented broadcasters finding an audience who are interested in new voices, personalities, viewpoints, stories and, of course, new music.  In fact, when it comes to music, with so many genres and sub-genres and so much musical content being produced, we need the music curators more than ever. We need credible and knowledgeable radio voices to direct us to new and interesting music.

   In doing this film, I have to say that part of me expected it sort of to be a wake for radio and that maybe it would be nothing but "old timers" taking this nostalgic trip down memory lane about the free form days of radio. Instead, what I've seen and heard from people is an excitement about the creative and artistic spirit of radio exemplified by the four disc jockeys in the movie and applied to today's broadcasting and technology landscape.  

    That was one of the reasons we made sure to take the film right up to the present, in terms of what was happening in the radio business. I'm glad we did, because in the last two years of showing the film and getting the feedback, it's interesting to see the baton being passed to a younger generation of people who see the potential in radio - if defined in a much broader way.

    The four disc jockeys in this film - Meg Griffin, Charles Laquidara , David Marsden and Pat O'Day - were chosen because they led interesting lives that had some up and downs (arcs to their lives) like you would find with any movie characters - and because they maintained careers in radio that were consistent with the true spirit of the medium.  We could have chosen others - and maybe there is another movie to be made down the road about trailblazers in the new forms of radio exploding all over the web and satellite.  

    Hoping I Am What I Play finds new fans in 2017 and inspires new and old broadcasters to keep doing creative broadcasting on whatever platform they choose.

 -Roger King-




The CRTC is eliminating positions at its seven regional offices and consolidating some services at its National Capital Region headquarters in a push towards “digital first.”

   The regulator informed staff Tuesday that it will centralize client services at its Gatineau office and create a virtual regional administrative support hub to help commissioners, according to an email obtained by the Financial Post.

--- After 31 years with the CBC, Jonathan Crowe is moving on to a new job as a teacher.

   The Here & Now host made his announcement on set during Tuesday's live broadcast with co-hosts Debbie Cooper and Ryan Snoddon. Crowe, 56, is leaving Dec. 23 to be a journalism instructor at the St. John's College of the North Atlantic, starting Jan. 4.

-- Colin Perkel has announced his retirement after 32 years with The Canadian Press. The senior reporter has covered the news from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Grenada, Germany, the US, and South Africa. Prior to, he was with CBC The National, CTV Canada AM and London Free Press.

-- Adam Glynn has been appointed station manager of Community Station CJNU, 93.7 FM in Winnipeg, effective December 2. The announcement was made today by president Tom Dercola on behalf of the Board of directors of Nostalgia Broadcasting Cooperative.  The appointment coincides with CJNU’s 10th anniversary. Glynn replaces long time manager Bill Stewart, who officially retires on that same date.

-- Toronto-based Blue Ant Media Inc is partnering with BBC Worldwide North America to launch the British public broadcaster’s factual channel BBC Earth. BBC Earth will begin a free trial in 5M Canadian homes starting Jan. 24.  

-- Québec-based print and publishing giant TC Transcontinental has laid off more than 100 workers in the last year as it sold and closed newspapers in Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada, and reduced its advertising sales force. The company said it plans to continue cutting costs and accelerating its shift to digital publications next year to offset declining advertising and newspaper circulation.

   “We think that the assets that we own in publishing play an important role in society,” CEO François Olivier told analysts Tuesday during a Q4  and 2016 financial results conference call. But, he added, “it is less important than it used to be in terms of size and relevance of importance for Transcontinental’s profitability and longterm growth prospects” -- >>

-- The seventh annual Digital Radio Report from Ofcom has been released, and it shows that digital radio is inching closer to the 50% majority needed to initiate a FM switch-off.

   According to the report, 45.5% of total listening in Q3 2016 came from digital radio, a 3.6% point increase from 2015. In six areas throughout the UK, the digital share exceeded 50%. The findings also point out that DAB continues to be the most popular platform for digital listening, accounting for 70.3%, and BBC stations are the most listened to at 52.8% --  >>

-- After close to a decade with Bell Media in Winnipeg, the past three at 99.9 Bob FM, Sabrina Carnevale waves goodbye to her role as traffic reporter, on Dec. 16, to join the CBC, on the 19th.

-- Over $1.5M was raised to help BC kids living with special needs at the CKNW AM 980 Vancouver Orphans’ Fund 39th Annual Pledge Day.  The event, broadcast live on CKNW and aired on Global BC at the Terminal City Club, featured interviews with philanthropists, business leaders, media personalities and the children and families helped by the CKNW Orphans’ Fund.

-- This week, the ‘Sound Off’ Podcast with Matt Cundill talks with his guest Steve Kowch, radio consultant.



YouTube has paid $1B to the music biz for ads in 2016: Robert Kyncl, the video platform’s chief business officer, penned a blog post about the state of YouTube’s ad revenue >>

-- Grammy noms reflect streaming's growing clout: This year has had some big milestones in recognition of streaming as a valid and valuable distribution channel for music. And that shift is reflected in the music and musicians that have been selected as Grammy nominees >>

-- Podtrac released its podcast publisher rankings for November. The top 10 publishers all posted dips from their October numbers. Total global unique streams and downloads fell from 206 million in October to 203 million in November >>

Radio Ink

Marketron announced it has entered into a partnership with location intelligence company Cuebiq to use its real-time foot traffic attribution offering VisitQ Real Time  >>

-- Another year is coming to an end and Westwood One News has produced two long-form, year-in-review programs for stations. They are: The Year in Review – The Big Stories and The Year in Review – People, Sports and Entertainment. Westwood One News will also provide a series of Year in Review reports for unlimited use by affiliates from Dec. 22, through Jan. 2, 2017 >>


Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube collaborate to remove 'terrorist content' from their services: Terrorist images and videos will not be automatically removed when content is found to match something in the database. Instead, the individual companies will determine how and when content is removed -- TechCrunch

EU threatens massive Internet censorship if Big Tech won't come to heel: The Commission urged the biggest U.S. technology companies — like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, YouTube and Google — to crack down on online hate speech themselves Sunday, or it will enact legislation forcing them to do so -- The Daily Caller

Porsche named in copyright suit for creating "fake song" to avoid royalty payments: Car company alleged to have created a copied version of American indie rock band X Ambassadors' hit song "Jungle" for its a commercial for the 718 Cayman -- The Fashion Law



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