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Media Beat: June 22, 2023

By David Farrell

Artificial intelligence makes Bill C-18, Canada’s Online News Act, already outdated

… Generative AI might transform both search and news, but the not-so-secret reality of the Online News Act is that it is written for a different era entirely. In fact, the bill acts as if AI does not exist at all.


Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez recently confirmed that Bill C-18 in its current form only applies to two companies: Google and Meta. The current definition of “digital news intermediary” not only excludes notable internet platforms such as Twitter, Apple and TikTok, but also leading AI providers such as OpenAI (which operates ChatGPT) and Microsoft (which has incorporated AI into its Bing search engine).

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That means there is no obligation arising out of the bill for any of those companies to negotiate agreements with Canadian news outlets. – Michael Geist, The Globe and Mail

Now magazine’s bittersweet history, from its glory days to …now

Freelance journalist Anthony Milton, currently working towards his Masters of Journalism at X University (formerly Ryerson), spells out the clash and eventual crash of Now magazine, Toronto’s once super-successful alt-tabloid. His span is five years, starting in 2016 when the golden hue slid to a darker shade of pink.

At one point he writes: “For a while, the profit line went straight up. In his book Smoking Typewriters, historian John McMillian notes that by the late eighties, some alt-weeklies’ profits were in the hundreds of thousands. By the nineties, readership skyrocketed even as dailies’ readers plummeted. But all good things end. Craigslist came for the classifieds. Dating went online. Google wooed the advertisers. All alt-weeklies suffered, and many died.”

Milton rolls out the saga of a slow decline in a well-researched, eminently readable 5K word feature that can be read online at the U’s highly cited Review of Journalism.

Cliff Dumas signs off…on Facebook

As per his post: “Today is one of those bittersweet moments we encounter in life, a moment that's part celebration, part reflection, and for me, very much, a moment of profound gratitude. I am officially retiring from hosting morning radio. It feels surreal to even utter those words, as this job has been more than just a career to me—it has been a way of life.

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“For over four decades, I've had the tremendous honour of waking up communities in both Canada and the United States.

“To listeners in Hamilton, Toronto, Calgary, San Diego and Bakersfield, you have been so gracious to invite me into your homes, cars, and lives every morning; it’s been an honour to be a small part of your daily ritual. Your loyalty, your kindness, and your shared joy and sorrows have made this a life-changing journey for me. It's this connection and these shared memories I will always cherish.

“To the incredibly talented humans I’ve been lucky enough to share the microphone with over the past four decades, thank you for your trust, guidance, and comradery.

“To the artists, I am always available to help connect you and support your career in any way I can. Now, with my new position, I will make it even more of a personal priority and have more resources to help elevate your career in music.

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“To borrow the words of T.S. Eliot, "To make an end is to make a beginning." And so, as this chapter ends, I look forward to beginning my new journey as the co-owner-operator of the Local First Media Group portfolio of radio stations.

“This Friday will be my last day behind the mic; thanks for being part of the journey!”

Lilley ends grey hair story, points to Lisa LaFlamme's resistance to Bell Media's digital strategy

"… LaFlamme objected to changes in how the news would be reported and delivered, including Michael Melling’s digital-first strategy. She wanted stories held for the national newscast at 11 p.m., not broken and posted on a website in the middle of the afternoon." – Brian Lilley, Toronto Sun

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CCMA strikes new deal with Bell Media

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and Bell Media have announced a new broadcast and content partnership beginning this summer and continuing through to Country Music Week 2023 which runs from September 14-16 in Hamilton, ON. As part of the partnership, CTV becomes the exclusive broadcaster of the 41ST annual, airing live Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and CTV.ca. Global TV was the show’s previous broadcast partner.

With the announcement, the CCMA announced its first round of performers, including multi-platinum entertainer Dean Brody, Grammy, CMA and ACM-Award winning singer/songwriter Carly Pearce, 7x CCMA Award winners The Reklaws and emerging artist Josh Ross The big hat awards event takes place at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre. Tickets go on sale today (June 22) at 10 am ET here

Canada’s courts offer new hope for Canadians who are defamed online

Emphasizing Google’s duty to take active measures to prevent the dissemination of defamatory content, the court further issued a mandatory delisting injunction to ensure that search results do not continue to feature the offending material. – Karen Eltis, The Globe and Mail

Notable

Politics & Punchlines with Samantha Bee: Canadian-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actress, and television host comes face to face with The Agenda’s Steve Paikin.

Howard tells it as he sees it on the passing of Pat Robertson (via Bill King): ‘He was a horrible human being. He lied to everyone to steal from the mindless. He’d tell them these Canadian fires were started by gay Canadian farmers rubbing their penises together in the woods as they do. And do you know the smoke cloud over Manhattan was in the shape of a giant penis…?"

Portland, Oregon’s Live 95.5 is getting flack online after announcing it had “made history as the world's first radio station with an AI DJ! "Our midday host Ashley has become AI Ashley!” TechCrunch reports the FM is using a script-generator for trending news that is then read using a synthetic voice.

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Sign of the times: Mohawk College has suspended its first-year journalism program, citing “ongoing low enrolment and graduation numbers.” –Christl Dabu, The Hammer

Google vs Gannett: Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, on Tuesday sued Google, accusing the social media company of violating federal antitrust law by trying to monopolize the market for online advertising. – The Globe and Mail

Could AI replace job recruiters? Many job seekers already use AI to build resumes and cover letters, but employers are also using it on their side, with more to come. –Maria Diaz,  ZDNet

Casablanca | An unlikely classic: Behind the scenes

 

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KALEO
Courtesy of Vertigo Live

KALEO

Radio

Iceland Rock Band KALEO's 'Rock N Roller' is This Week's Hot New Radio Track in Canada

Toronto band jackie's "Perfume" and Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Maggie Andrew's "About Us" are also making their way onto radio playlists.

The following are tracks delivered to radio by digital distributor Yangaroo in Canada and broken down into three categories. Top Downloads and Top Canadian Downloads represent the most copied tracks in the week ending June 7. Most Active Indies blends downloads and streams, with the affiliated label and radio promotions company in parentheses.

Top Downloads

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