Media Beat: January 14, 2021

By David Farrell

Danielle Smith, one of the most popular talk show hosts in Alberta, quits

Danielle Smith has had it with the cancel-culture online mob.

“Unfortunately, over the last few years far too many topics have become unchallengeable and the mob of political correctness thinks nothing of destroying a person’s career and reputation over some perceived slight, real or imagined. I’ve found that as a result there are many topics I simply choose not to cover anymore,” admitted Smith, who announced her retirement, not surprisingly, on her radio program. – Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald

Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith explains the reason for her departure from Corus radio

… “It will be no surprise to you that I am gravely troubled by how easily most in our society have chosen to give up on freedom. Free enterprise, freedom of religion and conscience, free assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of the press. Freedom of speech, in particular, is in a dire state. My entire adult life and career has been spent questioning authority and institutions and conventional wisdom. I’ve been all too aware that in many nations of the world it is against the law to speak truth to power. It can be dangerous. Sadly, in the last year I’ve noticed there are times where it has become perilous here too.” – Danielle Smith, Global News/770 CHQR


And here’s a sizzle roll of Smith from Jan. 2019

CBC: By the numbers

To fulfill its public broadcasting function, the CBC offers 69 local radio stations, cable television across the country, and a variety of online and subscription-based programming. Yet, the media landscape in Canada is rapidly changing. Nearly half of Canadians under 30 do not have cable or satellite TV. Meanwhile, since its introduction to Canada in 2010, Netflix has attracted over 7.2 million subscribers offering an entertainment experience that is more customized and ad-free than traditional cable TV. Even within traditional television, CBC TV only captures five per cent of prime-time viewership. CBC’s premier news programme, The National, has seen its ratings sink by ten per cent since 2013, now reaching an audience of 460,000. For online news, the CBC remains the preferred source for Canadians. However, the high number of online competitors means the CBC only reaches eight per cent of the online Canadian news market. 


These data suggest that Canada’s public broadcaster is declining in relevance to the Canadian cultural conversation. Importantly, much of CBC’s content exists in media forms that are falling out of fashion with younger Canadians. – Adin Chan, The McGill International Review

Competition Bureau ends investigation into Postmedia, Torstar closures

Canada's competition watchdog said it will not take further action on conspiracy allegations surrounding a deal between Postmedia and Torstar. The Competition Bureau has announced that it has closed its investigation into Postmedia Inc. – The Canadian Press

Destiny Media announces Q1 fiscal 2021 results and updates

Destiny Media Technologies, the makers of Play MPE, has announced financial results for its fiscal 2021 first quarter ended November 30, 2020. 

Highlights for Q1 2021 (all figures are USD, and comparisons are to Q1 2020):

  • Play MPE® revenue grew by 8.8% (5.4% currency adjusted);

  • Independent label revenue up 38.5% (37.7% currency adjusted);

  • Cash reserves as at November 30, 2020 of $3.077M ($0.29/share).

  • Sends activity up 25.5%;


  • Upgraded release creator for the Play MPE® platform. 

Canadian TV is in a mess. So what else is new?

From my perspective, dealing with Canadian television is endlessly trying. The attitude of many players, as organizations, varies from cordiality and professionalism to outright hostility. Sometimes I wonder if the shareholders of some companies – l’m looking at you Corus – understand that getting media attention for TV programming seems to be the last thing some broadcasters are interested in. I once sent a query to Corus media relations, asking a straightforward question about coming coverage plans. The reply came back a month later. A full month. – John Doyle, The Globe and Mail


Online shopping data from StatsCan

With pandemic-related measures leading various store types to shutter their physical locations, consumers were forced to find alternative methods to shop. Over the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020, sales at the electronic shopping and mail-order houses within the non-store retailer's subsector accounted for 3.9% of retail trade, up from 2.5% in the same two quarters the previous year. Sales totalled $6B in the third quarter of 2020, up 45.7% compared with the same quarter in the previous year. As restrictions began to lift in certain regions in the third quarter of 2020, sales fell 7.0% compared with the second quarter. – Statistics Canada

Covid cuts ramp up in Canada

Air Canada says it is reducing its first-quarter capacity by 25 per cent, a move that will mean the loss of about 1,700 jobs at the airline.

This follows West Jet’s announcement that it is cutting jobs and slashing its flight capacity by a third because of what the airline calls "instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions."

The Calgary-based airline said in a release Friday that up to 1,000 of its employees will be impacted by "furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours."

Canada’s economy lost nearly 80,000 jobs from September to October and a further 40,000 between October and November, according to an ADP Canada National Employment Report; meantime, StatsCan reported a further 63,000 in December.

YES WE CANADA The Progressives Guide to Getting the Fuck Out

Not The 51st State, y'all – The Matt Zimbel podcast that will make you laugh.

Your founding fathers are “revolutionaries.” Our founding fathers are “anti–revolutionaries”. Your corporate motto is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Ours is “peace, order and good government”. And I ask who would you rather party with under a bridge with a bottle of Jack? Your founding fathers are “revolutionaries.” Our founding fathers are “anti–revolutionaries”. Your corporate motto is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Ours is “peace, order and good government”. And I ask who would you rather party with under a bridge with a bottle of Jack?


Report: Quarter of U.S. households intend to cut cable in 2021

According to a new study by The Trade Desk, 27% of U.S. cable TV subscribers plan to end their subscriptions by the end of 2021, which is nearly double from the 15% that did so in 2020 and a big jump from the 3% annual decline that eMarketer reported prior to 2020.

Multiple factors that lead back to the COVID-19 pandemic are contributing to this rise in cord-cutting, per The Trade Desk. With more people working from home, budget pressure for many and broader availability of streaming services, streaming consumption now accounts for 68% of TV viewing versus 28% for traditional TV viewing. – Michael Balderston, TVTechnology

Cumulus Media wants to quell the storm, iHeart notably silent

Last week, a radio executive at Atlanta-based Cumulus Media sent a memo telling its talk show hosts to stop spreading rhetoric about a stolen election or face termination.

The company “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved, and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths,” the memo said. “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.”


iHeartMedia which runs rival syndication group Premiere Networks and represents Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, has not commented about whether it has sent any guidance to its hosts. – Rodney Ho, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Parler sues Amazon as Trump seeks a post-Twitter megaphone

The American social networking company’s antitrust lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, seeks an order forcing Amazon Web Services to maintain its account. It says Amazon is required to provide 30 days’ notice before terminating its service.

Amazon Web Services, known as AWS, is by far the largest cloud-computing provider, and its on-demand software services are the backbone for many of the most popular internet services.

Shutting down service to Parler “is the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support,” Parler said. “It will kill Parler’s business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket.” – Los Angeles Times wire reports.

Federal court upholds $1B copyright infringement ruling against Cox

A federal court has ordered mega-ISP Cox Communications to pay the entire $1 billion copyright infringement penalty that a jury levied against it in December of 2019, as part of its years-long courtroom confrontation with the RIAA and the Big Three labels. – Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

Every deleted Parler post, many with users' location data, has been archived

The researcher, who asked to be referred to by her Twitter handle, @donk_enby, began with the goal of archiving every post from January 6, the day of the Capitol riot. Included in this data tranche, now more than 56 terabytes in size, @donk_enby confirmed that the raw video files include GPS metadata pointing to exact locations of where the videos were taken. – Dell Cameron, Gizmodo

NAB challenges FCC over regs regarding ownership rule

Broadcasters are telling the Supreme Court that a lower court’s rejection of the FCC’s broadcast deregulation decision was a recipe for “judicial intervention run riot” and that diversity alone cannot be invoked to block deregulation of rules that marketplace changes have rendered unsupportable and no longer necessary in the public interest. – John Eggerton, RadioWorld

Switzerland to pull plug on FM radio by 2023

The radio industry has reached an agreement on turning off its analogue FM transmitters, with the public broadcaster expected to make the definitive switch to digital in mid-2022. Private radio stations will follow suit by January 2023. In a recent survey, just 13% of the population said they still listened to radio on FM. –

Why is Mozart performed more than modern composers? (Is copyright the reason?)

The World Intellectual Property Organization, has suggested copyright might be the reason why more classical operas, which are in the public domain, are performed than are modern pieces that are still under copyright protection. – Hugh Stephens Blog

How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind

Experts and r/ChangeMyView subreddit moderators offer 10 tips to debunk conspiracy theories convincingly. – Tanya Basu, MIT Review

Global social media stats

Social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past year, taking the global total to 3.96B by the start of July 2020. 

Growth trends indicate that an average of more than 1M people started using social media for the first time every single day over the past 12 months, equating to almost 12 new users every second. – DataReportal


British billionaire Sir David Barclayhas died at age 86. He left school aged 14, and with his twin Sir Frederick—together known as the Barclay brothers—built an empire including London’s top hotels, a catalogue retail giant, and in 2004, bought the Telegraph Group which included the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a former columnist for the paper, paid tribute to Sir David.

"Farewell with respect and admiration to Sir David Barclay who rescued a great newspaper, created many thousands of jobs across the UK and who believed passionately in the independence of this country and what it could achieve," he tweeted.

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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