Media Beat: June 11, 2018

By David Farrell

Rogers names Brent Johnston to be new wireless president

On Friday, Rogers Communications named a former Telus executive to be president for its wireless division starting today.

Brent Johnston was most recently Sr. MD at Apple Canada from early 2016 until this year and, before that, he worked for 11 years at the wireless division of Telus Corp., which competes with Rogers. – The Canadian Press

As Ottawa challenges online media giants, what power can Canadian cultural industries still wield in 2018?

As the federal government launched its review of the Broadcasting Act this week by naming an expert panel to the job and vowing that Netflix, YouTube and Spotify could no longer freeload on the Canadian system, it’s worth remembering what that system has achieved. In geopolitical terms, Tegan and Sara are what you call soft power: They tour Canadian values of creativity, diversity and tolerance around the world. But what fans love is the music (and onstage sibling banter) from an act that brings an indie sensibility to achingly personal lyrics, matched with what has become an increasingly mainstream electro-pop sound. – Kate Taylor, The Globe & Mail


No applause in Quebec as Mélanie Joly gives Netflix a free pass till after the next election

In much of Canada, the issue around Netflix and CanCon has to do with protecting creative industries. In Quebec, it’s seen as an urgent matter of cultural survival.

For a francophone minister from Montreal, Ms. Joly has been staggeringly deaf to that concern. Last fall, she was pilloried in her home province for claiming she had cut a lovely deal with Netflix, without being able to point to any commitment that the service would run Quebec francophone productions. – Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail

Fagstein’s latest ‘Media News Digest(with links includes):

  • A Google-funded project called NewsWise is aiming to teach young kids how to look critically at the news media and understand how news and politics interact. It has instructional videos featuring people like BuzzFeed’s Jane Lytvynenko and Craig Silverman (or people claiming to be them, who knows) on its YouTube channel.

  • A New York Times reporter’s phone and email records were secretly seized by the U.S. government during a leak investigation.


  • People saying the media aren’t talking enough about how 4,645 people died in Puerto Rico are probably unaware that the study that number comes from doesn’t actually say that.

  • La Presse is giving more detail about its restructuring plan, including that it has asked the Quebec bar for the names of three retired judges, from which it will choose its trustee to ensure the non-profit it establishes respects its mandate. It will also name the chair of its board without consulting Power Corp.

  • The disgraced shell of what was onceNewsweek is not above exploiting high-profile suicides for clickbait.

  • If you think the Canadian regulatory system is broken, consider this BuzzFeed story about a company that is exploiting a loophole in Britain’s local TV news subsidy program and producing low-quality stories that the BBC is paying for but never using.

  • Canadaland has a story about the failed attempted formation of a union at the National Post.

  • The Globe and Mail is willing to cancel subscriptions of people who harass journalists. – Read Steve Faguy’s column in full here.

Iain Grant steps down as Sowny board moderator

The Toronto radio icon made the surprise announcement on the yellow board Saturday without explanation after a three-year stint adding order to a site known for its freewheeling spirit and an ageing group of ever-opinionated media pundits.


“I have been…I have been so fortunate to get to know so many of you and to see what you do,” Grant wrote in his farewell post as alleviator.  “You are passionate about what you do, and that is the beauty of Ontario.   So, let me leave you with this: whoever you are, in whatever corner of Ontario you have made home, you are part of a beautiful, vibrant place. 

“The evil yellow board can make us feel that we’re divided, that, somehow, we’re not in this together. But, believe me, we are. We are dependent on one another. From Fort Severn across to Moosonee, through Kenora, Thunder Bay, Wawa, Red Lake, Cochrane, Timmins, Renfrew, Cornwall, Ottawa, Kingston, the GTA, Barrie, Bracebridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, London, Chatham, Windsor and all the places in between.

“I am resigning as moderator. 

“I have spoken to RadioActive and asked him to take over as moderator and he has agreed.  And it is the right thing to do. There is another generation and I am passing the torch to that generation.

“Thank you so much! Thank you so much! Merci! Merci!”


Robert De Niro Says "F*ck Trump" During Live TV Broadcast. Receives Standing Ovation

The Hollywood legend launched into an attack on US president Donald Trump during a live broadcast of the Tony Awards on Sunday.

"I'm gonna say one thing. Fuck Trump!” the Oscar-winning actor announced as he appeared on stage to introduce Bruce Springsteen, lifting his fists to the air as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

As the applause continued at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, De Niro continued: "It's no longer down with Trump. It's fuck Trump."

US TV network CBS managed to bleep over the expletive before it reached American screens – Esquire UK

Below, De Niro says he tries to give President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt but finds him narcissistic and self-centered. He spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek Editor-in-Chief Megan Murphy in April 2017.


Facebook takes on YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer with a game broadcast channel

Facebook is now experimenting with a new gaming video “destination” that combines all the live and pre-recorded gaming videos posted on the social network. Labeled as FB.GG despite the portal’s longer real-world address, Facebook splits its one-stop video showcase into five sections: Live Now, Streams by Game, Suggested Streamers, Recently Live, and Watched by Your Friends. – Digital Trends

Anthony Bourdain on food, travel and politics



John Ashbridge, who retired from CKNW in 2005 after a 40-year broadcasting career and was well known as being the voice of the Vancouver Canucks and Vancouver Giants, died June 5 from cancer. He was 71. – Vancouver Courier


Celine Dion

Celine Dion


Céline Dion Rumoured for Paris Olympics Comeback Performance

The Quebec superstar hasn't performed since before the announcement of her Stiff Person Syndrome diagnosis in 2022, but she could be singing at the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 26.

A Canadian icon may be making her return to the stage this week.

Céline Dion hasn't performed since before she publicly announced her diagnosis with Stiff Person Syndrome in December 2022, but the superstar reportedly planning a comeback performance at the Paris Olympics. Variety reports today (July 23) that Dion is rumoured to be singing during the Opening Ceremony this Friday, July 26.

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