Media Beat: December 18, 2017

A column about media and the regulatory environment within and beyond Canada's borders.

Media Beat: December 18, 2017

By David Farrell

Tech the halls: How NORAD keeps tabs on Santa

For 62 years, NORAD's tracked Santa Claus as he makes his Christmas Eve deliveries.

When the big guy finally enters Canadian airspace, CF-18 fighter jets from Bagotville, Quebec, are waiting to escort him around the country. After he's finished in the Great White North, the Canadians handoff Santa to American pilots.

Marco Chouinard, a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy and spokesman for NORAD Tracks Santa, said Santa has to slow down so the jets can keep up. So if Santa's running behind schedule, you know who to blame.

Up in space, satellites keep a lookout for the infrared signature off Rudolph's nose. NORAD's also got cameras strategically positioned in big cities and at key landmarks like the Statue of Liberty to catch the Christmas Eve crew as they zip around delivering gifts – CNET


Marsden's ongoing Spirit of Christmas Eve special returns

It all started at CHUM-FM on a cold wintery night … it was Christmas Eve a long time ago.

Being alone with very few places to go, David Marsden decided to be on the air that Christmas Eve. A night when most families gather together, close friends celebrate the year past, and young children stay up past their bedtimes eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa.

For Marsden, it was a night to be alone on the radio - a place where he belonged. But what to do for Christmas Eve became a challenge. At the time, CHUM-FM was a Free Form Progressive Rock station, and it seemed there was little Christmas music fitting that sound.

What records did Marsden play that Christmas Eve?

It seems no one remembers. Least of all the show’s host. However, 97 years later - some of the Special Program features produced especially for that night are still a big part of Marsden’s Christmas Eve Show. It has become a tradition.


But traditional?

Definitely not!

It was well past midnight when Marsden walked out of the radio station and stepped into the cold, dark night following his show. Streets were silent, and the city seemed asleep. Crystalline flakes of snow drifted gently toward the ground shimmering under the dim streetlights of the city, as they softly rested on the undisturbed sidewalk.

He started to walk, with each step making an impression in the snowy canvass shrouding the street. He wasn’t sure where he was heading - but he knew with absolute certainty that it was not home.  There was no one waiting there for him.  Spending the rest of this Christmas Eve home alone - seemed empty.  He travelled slowly down Yonge Street, huge damp snowflakes caked upon his long hippie hair, finding his thoughts were filled with memories of Christmas past.  It seemed as if only a few minutes had passed when he found himself at the corner of Bloor and Yonge.

The intersection was abandoned. The endless queues of shoppers who had filled the stores, now all gone home. Home to be with their families and friends to enjoy the spirit that is Christmas. Stollerys’ storefront windows, which only a few hours earlier reflected the frantic joy of finding that perfect gift, now seemed to mock anyone who would find themselves alone on Christmas Eve.


Not homeless - but not wanting to return to the emptiness that was home - he wandered the streets that night. Yes, there were a few others out - but he felt alone.  As strangers passed each other - there was no eye contact, no merry wishes for happy holidays. The air wasn’t filled with joy and shouts of Merry Christmas. There was only an inescapable feeling of sadness. Ashamed to be alone on this special night, fearing that each may be judged as one without friends.


The wet snow was beginning to melt on his hair and beard. To others, it may have appeared as tears, as it dripped down his face. But to Marsden, it was a moment of resolution. His resolution that night? To never again spend the holidays alone.

On that lonely night so long ago, David Marsden made a personal commitment to always be on the radio on Christmas Eve.  To be there for others who may be confronting the same loneliness he felt that night. Especially the night before Christmas.

The tradition continues this December 24, starting at 8:00 pm EST - exclusively at  Join him for the 97th Annual Christmas Eve Special with Happy Pants reporting exclusively from Santa's sleigh.

Traditional Christmas? Definitely not!!!

TVA eats crow over mosque story

Less than 24 hours after defending a report on a mosque banning women from a construction site in Montreal, TVA issued a brief apology that stated management at the Quebecor Media-owned TV network “continues to conduct its internal investigation to validate the steps of the journalistic process carried out as part of this report.”

Fagstein digs deeper into the mosque mess here and you can read the latest Fagstein Media News Digest at the same time.

Lisa Ford retires from Global Saskatoon

After 27 years as news director and five as station manager, the high-profile and decorated fundraiser and network executive cleared her desk Friday (Dec. 15) and bid farewell to a crew who she had stood with for a lot of years.

Gregg Zaun: Another one bites the dust

Sportsnet has fired Blue Jays broadcaster Gregg Zaun for "inappropriate behaviour." Rogers Media said "multiple female employees" complained about him.

Stephen Colbert delivers eulogy for the Internet

The Late Show host has a message for the FCC that also involves a phrase beginning with 'F.' The satirist began his monologue on Thursday denouncing the decision by explaining how Americans will be affected by the repeal. “It’s a sad day for us web-kateers, us internauts,” he said, “And that’s wrong. The only thing that should slow your internet speed is the number of people also sitting at Starbucks working on their screenplays.”


Disney’s purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets is a gamble on media’s future

What looks like a straightforward merger of two “legacy” media firms obscures another narrative: Disney’s daring bid under Bob Iger, its chief executive, to try and remake itself into a technology giant to challenge Netflix, a streaming upstart that has challenged Hollywood’s mighty studios. Mr Iger has agreed to stay on as Disney’s boss until the end of 2021 to oversee the shift, two years longer than his planned retirement date – The Economist (subscription)

How expensive is your show?

Radio isn’t free. There’s a price that comes with listening, and when the costs are too high, listeners leave. In a research project with Strategic Solutions Research, we explored what causes tune out. That’s another way of identifying what adds to the cost of listening – Airchecker

YouTube’s new streaming service not without obstacles to overcome

Google is getting ready to launch its new music subscription service under YouTube's brand, dubbed “Remix” in March, Bloomberg reports. The service will combine both traditional music streaming and music videos, according to the report.


With over 1B users watching a billion hours of video daily and local services in 88 countries and 76 languages, the streaming behemoth has a lot of potential conversions to the new fee-based service; nonetheless, the company’s planned music streaming service will have obstacles to overcome. First is differentiating Remix from its other services.

The company already runs Google Play Music, an audio-only streaming service available on Android, iOS, and desktop. It also operates YouTube Music, a stand-alone app that features audio and music videos and can be accessed without ads through a YouTube Red subscription – Business Insider

Amazon to start selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast

The e-commerce powerhouse adds five Apple TV and Chromecast devices to its online store, offering an olive branch to both Google and Apple.

Pride World mics Lady Portio

Britain’s Pride World Radio now features a weekly show by Northern Ireland’s most famous drag queen. Marcus Hunter-Neill, aka Lady Portia Di’Monte, will be taking to the airwaves for two hours every Thursday from 21 Dec. The LGBT station, based in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, currently has an audience in 125 countries, with a listenership fast approaching 1M.

The programme – Portia Presents A Gay Old Time – will be “an eclectic mix of musical styles and chat.”

“I’ve appeared around the world in places such as Toronto, New York and Sydney where I know Pride World Radio has listeners so it will be great to link up with people out there that may already know me,” she said.

Pride World Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available via the free app, online and through Apple TV.

Writer Shon Faye On the Experience of Queer Identity | Random Acts

Shon Faye reflects on her experiences on all sides of the LGBT spectrum and scrutinises the labels that mainstream society have forced upon her in her short film Catechism. In relation to her life as a trans woman, she explores the darker truths that many like her experience in their day to day lives.

Matt Barnes



New & Upcoming Canadian Album Releases: deadmau5 Returns with New EP, Hollerado's Menno Versteeg Goes Solo

Boy Golden and Begonia also have new releases this week, while Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson are reissuing their solo albums.

A mid-summer release week brings some notable new releases from Canadian artists, including Oleyada andRuss Brannon. Hot off the exclusive cover story in the new Rolling Stone Quebec, deadmau5 is also back with a new release, some ep, that combines his first solo music in two years with his alter-ego Testpilot.

For Eden, meanwhile, is the second full-length from indie folk/roots songsmith Boy Golden (Liam Duncan). His debut LP, Church of Better Days, hit #1 at Canadian Alternative radio, and he has quickly become a favourite on the touring circuit. Already a Juno winner, Winnipegger Begonia turns heads with her force of nature voice, and new album Open Swim will spread the word.

keep readingShow less