Stingray Media's Steve Jones
Stingray Media's Steve Jones

Media Beat: April 10, 2019

Steve Jones, Stingray Media’s Sr. VP of Radio, and an in-demand professional speaker, author of two popular business books, was honoured for his professional role at the company’s broadcast radio arm at the recent 2019 Worldwide Radio Summit held in Burbank late last month. We caught up with Steve yesterday and posed a few questions to him about his winning two trophies for the company.

Congrats on the twin wins. How extensive was the universe you were competing against in each category?

There are usually nominees from all over the world. This year for “International Broadcast Group” all of the competitors were Canadian. But last year’s winner was Virgin Radio UK. It is a global affair.

Can you identify the winning attributes in the broadcast chain category?

I think people are looking for forward-looking companies with a strong radio focus, and that tends to be rare these days. Plenty of radio companies are part of forward-looking companies, but they are often a small part of a big company. I sense that Stingray is seen as a global digital company that has made a massive investment in Canadian radio. That story really resonates.

What were the top innovations that you could see?

In the industry overall, it is amazing to see the rise of smart speakers over the past few months. In conversations with other Canadian and US broadcasters, we are universally seeing that more than 30% of our overall streaming numbers are coming from smart speakers. That is exciting. I was sceptical that people would use smart speakers as a radio, but the evidence is strong that a large number of people are treating their Amazon Alexa like a radio.

Winning the international radio programme title once is remarkable. Twice, extraordinary! Any thoughts as to how the judges ranked you against the competition?

Honestly, I think having written a few books and worked in the US gives me some name recognition that a lot of international radio programmers don’t have. I’d love to think it is all me, but there is an element of name recognition. I believe that helped a great deal as most of the people voting for the winners were from the American radio industry.

And the reaction within the company?

The entire team at Stingray is really honoured to win this award, considering it is the first year of the company’s ownership. It is a vote of confidence and a nice compliment. I can sense the excitement within our team at receiving this recognition. After a year of transition and the natural uncertainty that goes along with that, this is perfect timing.

BC film & tv production brought in $3.5B in 2018

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has released its 2018 report on Canada’s Screen-Based Media Production Industry.

Findings were mostly positive and show that the sector continues to grow, pushing a new high of $8.92B in production across Canada, creating 179,000 full-time jobs and generating $12.8 billion in GDP. BC’s tally led the way with a 40% share of Canada’s total production. – Daily Hive

Bell Media’s mega-dollar investment in Canadian programming

Bell Media invested nearly $900M in Canadian programming in 2017, twice the amount spent by all foreign companies, and more than any other private broadcaster, company president Randy Lennox reports. The comment followed the release of the CMPA's Profile 2018 media production report.

Canadian gov’t considering regulating Facebook, other social media

Self-regulation is not “yielding the results” Canadians expect and we are talking with other countries about how to regulate, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says. – Various

Facebook facing scrutiny for possibly violating Canadian human rights laws

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu is calling on the Canadian Human Rights Commission to examine how employers use Facebook tools to micro-target job ads at particular age ranges, something experts say could violate Canadian human rights laws. – CBC News

Faith Goldy’s politics banned from Facebook

Facebook will ban Faith Goldy, Soldiers of Odin, the Canadian Nationalist Front, and other hate groups from across its platforms, the company said on Monday. – BuzzFeed

Facebook's AI helps block or remove 1M accounts each day

Facebook is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to block or remove one million accounts a day that violate its rules against misinformation, hate speech and voter suppression ahead of elections in India. – Queenie Wong, CNet

No-deal Brexit has BBC shifting some licenses to Netherlands

EU rules say broadcasters need to have their head office, a significant part of their workforce or a satellite uplink in the country to qualify for a license there. – Bloomberg News

YouTube expands Coachella streams

As the event’s exclusive live-streaming partner, the platform will expand its coverage to both weekends over three separate live channels. The first stream starts April 12 at 4 pm PT until April 14, and the second weekend from April 19 to 21.  Beyoncé’s headlining show at Coachella 2018 logged more than 41M live streams from the festival that were viewed from more than 232 countries and territories. – Various

If a porn company opened up a coffee chain…

xHamster, a popular porn company—with “more daily visitors than The New York Times or CNN”– created a viral April Fool’s joke by releasing fake plans for its own coffee-shop chain. Hundreds of emails from interested franchisees followed. “As it exploded, we’ve gotten more involved, [and] it’s definitely had our business guys thinking,” company VP Alex Hawkins tells Forbes’ Susannah Breslin.

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