Media Beat: August 24, 2018

Today's column includes Jj Johnston's profile of Greg Simpson that offers fascinating, humorous and personal insights into a man who has become a friend to everyone in our business.

Media Beat: August 24, 2018

By David Farrell

Mike Bullard launches defamation suit against Chatelaine

On Wednesday, comedian and former TV and radio host Mike Bullard served Rogers Media and Chatelaine senior writer Sarah Boesveld a statement of claim for defamation. The suit asks for $6 million from each defendant: $1 million in general damages and $5 million in punitive and/or aggravated damages.

“The position of Mike Bullard is his [defamation] case is one of the most egregious, he’s suffered harm. He’s lost his job, he’s having a difficult time finding alternative employment,” Bullard’s lawyer, Joseph Villeneuve, says. – Graeme Gordon, CanadaLand

Postmedia’s connection to Donald Trump

David Pecker has been accused of wielding the National Enquirer to protect friends including Trump and Harvey Weinstein. He also helps decide how much Postmedia execs should get paid. – Robert Hiltz, CanadaLand


Lefsetz to host SiriusXM live talk show

The satellite broadcaster has announced that Bob Lefsetz, outspoken music and culture writer, will host Lefsetz Live!, a new weekly talk show on the Volume channel starting Sept. 11.  

"Bob is one of the most influential writers about pop culture, tech, media and the music industry, and how it all is intertwined in today's world," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer SiriusXM. "With Lefsetz Live!, Bob will share his outspoken, unpredictable and contrarian point of view on the culture of popular music with our passionate SiriusXM listeners who want to hear the inside story of the music."  – Media release

Jim Jj Johnston salutes  (everyone’s friend): Greg Simpson

He was just 20, and his first full-time job in radio was reality. He was being paid $62.50 a week, and though it was tough paying his rent on time, his dream had come true. The first month he was on the job he got a call from reception saying there was a Bill Bannon of Capitol Records in the lobby to see him. He knew so little, he didn’t say “send him back” but went to the lobby to meet him. After a little chit chat, Bill handed him a bag containing the album Abbey Road. There were two copies, and he mentioned that to him. Bill said that one was for the station and the other was for him. The concept of free records had never entered his mind before that moment, and he spent the next few evenings visiting every friend that he knew who might have some doobies, to play it and to feel like he was now someone special (even though he was still working for $62.50 a week). – Read JJ’s full profile on Facebook here


How Netflix outsmarted everyone else in TV

On Recode Media, Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn calls it “the greatest land grab in the history of media ever.” The old guard’s first mistake: Thinking (Netflix CEO) Reed Hastings and co. were “suckers” for paying a lot of money to license old content in the early days. – Eric Johnson, Recode

Netflix joins Spotify in bypassing Apple in-app subscriptions

Netflix is one of the highest-grossing apps on the iOS App Store, but it looks like the video streaming giant is contemplating how it might make an even bigger margin on its iPhone and iPad users.

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Netflix, in its own words, is “testing the iTunes payment method” in 33 countries. More specifically, Netflix is testing how to bypass iTunes.


Nielsen US Q1 total audience report findings

Nielsen as released more data from its US Q1 2018 Total Audience report. Among the findings:

Nine out of 10 U.S. adults (18+) use linear platforms in the average week. Live + time-shifted TV viewing reached 88% of persons in the first quarter of 2018, while radio had the largest reach across platforms at 92%. Radio also reaches 96% of all Hispanic adults each week.

Over a third of persons use their internet-connected devices (including apps on their smart TVs) during the average week, with a higher reach of 43% for Asian Americans. Computer reach is highest with Asian Americans as well, with 71% using the device weekly. Regardless of race or ethnicity, smartphones remain universally popular, reaching four out of five adults while tablets are used by less than half of all adults weekly.


– The report can be downloaded from the Nielsen website.

Fox continues as top viewed cable news channel in the US

Fox News Channel continues to dominate the basic cable landscape, and finished No. 1 in total day viewers for the week of August 6, per Nielsen data. That’s now 31 consecutive weeks FNC has finished No. 1 across the 24-hour day. Despite the win, Fox News’ 1.28 million viewer average across the 24-hour-day is actually -4 percent vs. the comparable week in 2017, and its 245,000 A25-54 viewer average across the 24-hour day is -18 percent year-over-year.

The news was good for FNC in prime time. Its 2.2 million total-viewer average in the daypart last week ranks No. 1 across all of basic cable and is +2 percent vs. last year. Fox News has now been the most-watched basic cable network in prime time for 11 consecutive weeks.

The NBC cable network placed 2nd, CNBC 3rd and CNN placed 6th across cable networks on a 24-hour day with an average of 674,000 viewers. View the rankings scoreboard here. – Ad Week

In Texas a local public radio show defies the ‘Google it’ age

Anything You Ever Wanted to Know is both cutting edge and anachronistic. Listeners supply their questions as well as answers to other inquiries—a sort of analogue version of social media. In some ways, the show, broadcast on Dallas NPR affiliate KERA, is a precursor to media start-ups like Hearken and Pulse, which solicit reader questions to make coverage more relevant and strengthen the relationship between journalists and their audience. At a time when countless queries prompt the same immediate answer— “Google it”—it surprises that Anything listeners wait until Fridays at noon to pose their questions and hope for replies. – Tamar Wilner, Columbia Journalism Review


'Instagram playgrounds' for hashtag obsessed are taking over U.S. cities

A sunflower garden, a caviar pool and a psychedelic laundromat are among the many Instagram-ready experiences that have taken over vacant studio spaces and abandoned buildings across the country, luring in the hashtagged obsessed.

These interactive pop-up exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities charge people $18 to $45 to capture their experiences in immersive “Instagram playgrounds,” many of which lead to thousands of posts on the social media platform. – Mona Nair, NBC News

Online radio station attempts to soothe the feline soul

Virginia musician David Teie spent eight years developing a theory on how music affects emotion in humans before realizing his findings could be tailored for other species. The fruits of his labour involving nearly 30 purr instruments have been made available to the public with the release of Whiskas’ sponsored Cat Calm Radio, feline-friendly music that debuted on national ‘Take your cat to the vet day’ and a there’s a Kickstarter campaign to create a 4-album set entitled Music for Cats.– Eleanor Stanford, The New York Times


Sean Ross: The summer song of 2018 is…

Call it the turbo backlash. During the early ‘80s morass, none of disco’s distractors was willing to reconsider the music they sent away either, even if it meant “Theme from ‘The Greatest American Hero’” filling the void. (This is a good time to point out that there were at least a few reader votes for the Weezer remake of “Africa” as well.) We can’t go back to the age of “Dynamite.” But nothing else is currently moving radio forward. Pinning the summer’s hopes on each year’s Max Martin-produced holdover may be, well, Stockholm Syndrome. But boy, do those records sound great when they come on because others don’t. – Continue reading Sean Ross’s column here

Is Donald Trump above the law?

The authors of the constitution wanted to allow the president to get on with his job without unnecessary distractions. But, fresh from a war against King George III, they were very clear that the presidency should not be an elected monarchy. If a president does it, that does not make it legal. The constitutional problem that America is heading towards is that the Justice Department’s protocol not to prosecute sitting presidents’ dates from another age when a president could be expected to resign with a modicum of honour before any charges were drawn up, as Nixon did. That norm no longer applies. The unwritten convention now says in effect that, if his skin is thick enough, a president is indeed above the law. – The Economist


Influential publisher John Calder, who championed avant-garde authors and battled censorship, has died, a colleague said Wednesday. He was 91.

Alessandro Gallenzi of Alma Books said Calder died on Monday at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital after several weeks of declining health.

Born in Montreal in 1927 to a Canadian mother and a Scottish father, Calder worked in the family timber business before founding the London-based Calder Publications in 1949. It published European writers including Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy and Emile Zola, as well as modern authors - notably Samuel Beckett, whom Calder considered "the greatest of 20th-century writers." – AP

Billboard Japan


Music News

Japan’s MILLENNIUM PARADE Coming to Toronto on 2024 Global Tour: See the Schedule

The band, led by Daiki Tsuneta of King Gnu, will kick off the trek on Nov. 2 in Mexico City.

MILLENNIUM PARADE is set to launch its first-ever global tour called the WHO AND HOW TOUR 2024 in November, traveling to nine cities around the world for 10 shows.

The band, led by Daiki Tsuneta of King Gnu, will kick off the trek in Mexico City, then hit Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Berlin, Paris, London, Utrecht, and Tokyo. The Tokyo shows will take place at Tokyo Garden Theater on Dec. 19 and 20. The tour will mark the first time in three years that the band performs live.

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