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Media Beat: April 21, 2022

By David Farrell

How did news media Canada get Bill C-18? The lobbying record tells the story

Bill C-18, the Online News Act, represents a massive win for News Media Canada, the lobbying arm for news organizations such as Postmedia and Torstar. After obtaining hundreds of millions in taxpayer support with programs such as the Local Journalism Initiative (made permanent in Budget 2022), the Journalism Labour Tax Credit, and the Digital Subscription Tax Credit, the organization set its sights on the Internet platforms. In fact, not content with obtaining payments for the reproduction of news content, it lobbied for a far broader approach that even includes payment for links or merely “facilitating access” to news content. The bill has already led to spiked op-eds critical of the government in the papers represented by News Media Canada, with critical commentary an outlier.


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So what convinced the government to introduce a bill that adopts such an extreme approach? A look at the registered lobbyist meetings just since the election last September provides a hint. – Michael Geist

Canada introduces bill requiring online giants to share revenues with publishers

“The news sector in Canada is in crisis,” Pablo Rodriguez, the minister of Canadian heritage, said at a news conference. “This contributes to the heightened public mistrust and the rise of harmful disinformation in our society.”

Mr. Rodriguez said that 450 media outlets in Canada closed between 2008 and last year.

Mr. Rodriguez said the proposed law was broadly similar to Australia’s measures, but would include public reporting requirements … – Ian Austen& Vjosa Isai, The New York Times

Karen Steele named 2022 recipient of the Rosalie Award

Canadian Music Week and Radio Trailblazers have announced Virgin Radio Toronto PD Karen Steele as the recipient of the 2022 Rosalie Award which recognizes Canadian women who have blazed new trails in radio.  The presentation is to be made on Tuesday, June 7 in the Ballroom at Intercontinental Toronto Centre Hotel as part of the Radio Active 2022 – The Future of Audio conference.
She has programmed three Toronto radio stations over the past 15 years including; MIX 99.9, KiSS 92.5, and 99.9 Virgin Radio and started her Toronto career at MIX 99.9 where she became the FM’s first female PD, in 2005. 

In 2009, she “jumped at the opportunity” to work at the newly relaunched CHR – KiSS 92.5 and 98.1 CHFI as Promotions Director. In less than a year, Steele became PD of KiSS, working with The Roz & Mocha Show and spearheading live events; WHAM BAM, The Haus Party, headlined by Bruno Mars in his first Canadian appearance, and the National Grammy’s team for radio.

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She also helped develop the Gen Now program with Seneca College providing college students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience on-air at KiSS. Under her leadership, the Toronto FM won CHR station of the year in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In 2004, Blair Bartrem walked into her life at MIX 99.9. Literally, he walked into her office as the new PD of the MIX. In 2007 they married and have been co-creators in their personal and professional lives (when not competing) ever since.

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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