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FYI

Media Beat: January 25, 2019

Media Beat: January 25, 2019

By David Farrell

Stingray’s new syndicated morning show costs small town jobs

Stingray has moved to syndicate the morning shows across its Real Country and boom-branded radio stations in rural Alberta, leading to the elimination of 14 on-air positions, according to a report carried by Broadcast Dialogue.


The Real Wake Up with Vinnie & Randi, which originates from Real Country 95.5 (CKGY-FM) Red Deer, launched on 15 stations Monday.

Jennifer Dalen, program director for the Real Country and boom network, told Broadcast Dialogue that 14 positions were eliminated as a result in St. Paul, Lac La Biche, Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Wainwright, Edson, Slave Lake, Athabasca, Westlock, Brooks, Stettler, Blairmore, and Drumheller.

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Dalen said the local news, as well as local breaks, are still being done by an announcer in each market, who will then host from 9 am. – 3 pm.

NMC offers tribute to playback devices

The oldest piece in the iHeartRadio-sponsored exhibit at Calgary’s National Music Centre is a 1937 Canadian Marconi Company console that included a radio receiver and record player. Tabletop radios, boomboxes and iPods also feature in the visual time capsule that walks back through 80 years of listening devices. – Source: Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

The Huawei deal that the Trudeau government missed

There is a deal to be put on the table. A Canada-China exchange of hostages—a three for one trade. And, in lieu of giving Trump his Meng bargaining chip, Canada gives into U.S. and Canadian Conservative demands to ban Huawei. Sure, Canada takes a double-ended loss—relations with China burned while submitted to U.S. dictates. But Trudeau gets pictured with three returned Canadians. And it’s the song’s flourishes that are remembered, not the song. – Tom Parkin, Maclean’s

iHeart restructuring hands ownership to bondholders

The plan reduces its debt from $16.1B to $5.75B and hands over proprietorship of the company to a group of bondholders led by Franklin Advisers Inc. after about a decade of control by private-equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

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The company said chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler, president, COO and CFO, have extended their contracts by four years. The execs will remain in their respective roles following the completion of the restructuring process. – Variety, MarketWatch

The Mouse is streaming red ink

Disney is losing big money on streaming — and it hasn’t even launched Disney+, its new, trademark streaming service, yet.

The Mouse House lost more than $1B in 2018 combined between Hulu and BAMTech, the technology that powers its ESPN+ streaming service, according to an SEC filing on Friday. Hulu drove a $580M equity investment loss during Disney’s fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, while BAMTech was the primary reason for a $469M loss in its direct-to-consumer segment. – The Wrap

Wall Street’s take on TV’s future

In a few years, television will revolve around four global mega-companies — Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple, Steve Cahall of RBC Capital boldly predicted during a NATPE panel of Wall Street media analysts Tuesday. – TVNewsCheck

Stations have growing options for local OTT

Sinclair Broadcast Group has launched a free, ad-supported streaming service comprising a mix of national networks and local channels with news and other programming produced by Sinclair’s stations.

It is one of the most ambitious OTT undertakings by a broadcaster yet and underscores the growing interest in the digital medium among others seeking new viewers and revenue opportunities.

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Such broadcasters have options in setting up their channels or channels. They can go to turnkey providers like ATV, Ooyala, Syncbak, TownNews, ATV Broadcast and Verizon Digital Media Services or piece together their own OTT infrastructure from the likes of Akamai.

Here’s a look at some of those options: – TVNewsCheck

What’s next for media in 2019

  • 2019 is set to be a transformational year for media as more companies jump into the streaming content business.

  • Expect to see the results from last year’s big media and tech mergers towards the end of the year.

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  • Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Netflix, Disney and more are expected to boost content spending and offer new streaming services as more viewers ditch traditional satellite and cable services. – J Boorstin, CNBC

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. launches direct-to-consumer streaming platform

The rollout of the free ad-supported service begins with 20 networks, including Cheddar and the Dove Channel, with plans to grow to more than 50 channels by year-end. Users can also access national and local news channels where Sinclair has existing stations. The introduction of Stirr underscores the growing necessity to catch up to changing viewer habits as digital and mobile media emerge as go-to options. – AdAge

Walmart abandons plans for video streaming service

Here’s a plot twist — one company is deciding not to launch a new streaming video service.

At a time when NBC, Disney, AT&T, Viacom, Apple and others are considering subscription services for cord cutters, Walmart is abandoning its plans, according to people familiar with the matter. – CNBC

Worst job in showbiz: why will no one touch the world's glitziest gigs?

The Oscars have no host, Rihanna turned down the Super Bowl, and the White House dinner will be MC’d by a historian. What’s behind the sudden demise of entertainment’s biggest jobs? – Louis Wise, The Guardian

Does journalism have a future?

If journalism has been reinvented during the past two decades, it has, in the main, been reinvented not by reporters and editors but by tech companies… – Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

Welcome to the world of surveillance capitalism

It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination. As one data scientist explained to me, “We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way… We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.” – Shoshana Zuboff, The Guardian UK

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Karine Moses named Bell Media Quebec president

Based in Montréal, Moses' new role encompasses all programming, production, and scheduling operations for Bell Media's French-language TV properties including RDS. Reporting to Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media, Moses continues to lead Bell Media's Astral division and retains her current sales responsibilities in Québec. –  Bell Media

Ford’s U reforms may cripple campus radio stations

It sounds like mandatory student fees for campus radio stations are going to be opt-outable beginning this fall. Since the budget of every (or virtually every) campus station in Ontario is overwhelmingly made up by student fee revenue with much smaller shares coming from advertising and donations, it looks as if campus stations will either have to seriously ramp up their advertising and fundraising revenues or be financially crippled. – Sowny.net

Media News Digest: La Presse union deal, Cogeco drops TSN/RDS streaming, new CEOs at Postmedia and Videotron

  • The Canadian Press is eliminating its French-language radio headlines service, as well as its newsroom video editing service. The latter will instead be outsourced to Pagemasters North America, which may hire (at less favourable working conditions) some but not all of the talented people losing their jobs.

  • Vice is not giving up in its legal battle with the RCMP over an order for journalist Ben Makuch to hand over data related to communications with an Islamic State fighter. Vice’s lawyers are now arguing the order should be quashed because the fighter in question is dead.

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  • The union representing workers at La Presse has reached a deal in principle with the employer on a new contract. It will be presented to members on Jan. 22. Big telcos hike internet prices amid soaring demand, revenues

Alberta Election Commissioner considers fine for Rebel Media

Alberta's election commissioner is considering a $5,500 penalty against right-wing media outlet The Rebel Media for allegedly breaching election financing law with a billboard targeting Education Minister David Eggen. – CBC News

Halifax listeners have to adjust as two radio stations change their tunes

Two FMs in the market have softened the sound of their respective radio stations and that just leaves Q104 playing old time rock and roll. – StarMetro Halifax

Deezer launches limited rollout for mobile radio app

The streaming service has launched a new dedicated mobile app for radio listening. Radio By Deezer offers access to 30,000 stations covering music, live sports, news, and talk. The app is free to download, does not require a subscription, and plays no additional advertisements. – Anna Washenko, RAIN News

Songs that made a difference in 2018

Each year’s “Songs That Made A Difference” column has to take into account not just the year’s biggest hits at a given format, but also those that defied the format norms in getting there, and those hits that changed the tenor of what came after them. Many of the year’s biggest hits aren’t new ground — even at AC, Zedd, “Stay” was the surprise, not “The Middle.” Whether the truly different hits represent a sea change or just an anomaly won’t be known for a while.

There’s no denying, for instance, that Weezer’s cover of “Africa” was the left-field record of the year, mentioned by numerous readers. But did it change anything? Would you want another yacht-rock cover from an Alternative act if it did? – Sean Ross

RIP

Longtime broadcaster Peter Watts — whose work included sports as well as local and provincial news — has signed off for the last time. Watts died in a Calgary hospital Friday morning at the age of 68. – Global News

– Former Vancouver and Barriere, BC broadcaster Steve Shannon (Steven Castonguay) died of cancer December 26 in St-Jérôme, Québec at age 71.  He worked at a number of stations in Montréal, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary and Edmonton before joining CIMA AM 1040 (now CKST) Vancouver circa 1990.  He also ran a public speaking coaching business for executives in Vancouver.  In 2013, he became the owner of The BearCHLW-FM 93.1 Barriere, north of Kamloops, until 2017 when illness struck. – Northwest Broadcasters

Ian Douglas (Doug) Cameron, a more than 50-year veteran broadcaster who started at CFRS Simcoe and then moved to Sarnia, Hamilton, Brampton and Brantford, died Jan. 14 at age 74.

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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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