Media Beat: March 06, 2019

TSN, Just For Laughs, Cogeco, Michael Jackson, Sportsnet, TSN, the Globe and Mail, Fox News, CNN, and Donald Trump make headlines in today's column.

Media Beat: March 06, 2019

By David Farrell

Cogeco tags Michael Jackson ‘bad’ for airplay

Accusations about Michael Jackson’s alleged predilections for young boys made in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland have resulted in some record shops pulling his catalogue, and the influential Quebec-based Cogeco chain has elected to drop his music from all 25 radio stations it operates in the province. Included in Cogeco brands are French-language stations CKOI and Rhythm and the English-language station, The Beat in Montreal.

Daily streaming subs now offered by TSN and RDS

The all-sports channel TSN has announced plans for a ‘Day Pass’ subscription, the first of its kind in Canada. Sports fans will soon be able to stream TSN and RDS for under $5 for 24 hours.


The move comes seven months after Bell Media launched TSN Direct, the network’s first direct-to-consumer platform, which costs $24.99 per month. TSN Direct features access to all five English-language channels, three French-language channels, and exclusive bonus streams.

TSN Direct features access to TSN’s five feeds, on-demand content, and exclusive bonus streams, while RDS Direct delivers French-language content from RDS, RDS2, and RDS INFO.

Through a Month Pass or Day Pass subscription, viewers can watch on a multitude of platforms including computers, tablets, mobile devices, and Apple TV, with TSN Direct also available on Samsung SmartTV and Xbox One.  More platforms are to be announced.

Current TSN and RDS television subscribers of participating television service providers can continue to access the TSN and RDS live feeds at no extra cost through both networks’ websites and apps by providing their service provider account details when logging in.

Former Cirque COO joins Just For Laughs

Charles Décarie, who has worked for Cirque du Soleil and with interactive entertainment company Triotech, will assume his post on March 25, according to a communiqué from the Groupe CH, Bell Média and ICM Partners.

Groupe Juste pour rire chairman Geoff Molson praised Décarie’s “vast experience” in the entertainment industry, adding that he will be called upon to ensure the festival’s growth as well as its expansion locally and internationally.


“Charles joins a powerhouse leadership team, including President of Just for Laughs Bruce Hills and Vice-President of French Content, Patrick Rozon,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media. He added that with its management and ownership now established, Just for Laughs is “ well positioned for increased growth and success.”

The company was acquired by Canadian comedian Howie Mandel and LA-based talent agency ICM Partners in March 2018.

The 36th annual Just For Laughs Festival will run from July 14 to July 28 in Montreal.

Bart Yabsley named the new president of Sportsnet

Rick Brace, President of Rogers Media, has named Bart Yabsley as President of Sportsnet, effective immediately.

Yabsley will oversee Sportsnet’s multiplatform production, programming, rights acquisitions, sponsorships, distribution channels, and product innovation.

Yabsley joined Rogers Media in 2014 and most recently was Sr. VP of Sports and Entertainment Partnerships & Content Distribution.  He continues to serve on the Rogers Media senior leadership team.

 “Bart is a forward-thinking media executive with deep operational excellence, whose strategic vision, key relationships, and experience in all facets of the business will be a driving force in Sportsnet’s continued unparalleled delivery of sports content to fans,” Brace said in a news release Tuesday.


The blue-chip OTT and cable brand has broadcast rights to most all of the top franchises in sports that span the NBA, CFL, NHL, tennis, soccer, golf and curling.

Yabsley joined Rogers Media in 2014. He replaces Scott Moore who stepped down from the position in Oct. 2018.

The things the Globe and Mail would probably rather forget

This past Tuesday (4th), The Globe and Mail marks its 175th birthday. As the newspaper would be glad to tell you, its story is intertwined with that of Canada, reflecting the changes in the country as it developed from British colony to modern nation — a steady presence in an ever-evolving mediascape. Since its beginning as The Globe in 1844, the paper has printed much it can be proud of, from founder George Brown’s promotion of abolitionism to its contemporary investigative reporting.


But, as with any institution that has been around so long, there are pieces of its past that the paper may be less eager to commemorate.

These are among the rougher, and sometimes darker, moments from its history, from the owner who turned the paper into an instrument for his quasi-fascist political movement, to a wide and changing variety of responses to plagiarism allegations. – Jamie Bradburn, CanadaLand

Non-Profit GDP

Economic activity in the non-profit sector totalled $169.2 billion in 2017, representing 8.5% of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP). Community non-profit institutions accounted for 16.4% of the overall sector, while non-profit business institutions accounted for 10.4%. The most significant portion of non-profit activity (73.2%) came from government non-profit institutions, such as hospitals and universities.

If included, volunteer activities—which are important for the non-profit sector but not included in standard macroeconomic measures—would have added a further $41.8 billion to the economy in 2013 (the most recent year of available data), representing 22.3% of non-profit GDP that year. – StatsCan

The making of the Fox News White House

Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda? – Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

Trump abused his authority to hurt CNN and help Fox

A stunning new report in The New Yorker magazine on the incestuous ties between Fox News Channel and the Trump White House reveals that the president personally attempted to block the merger of Time-Warner and AT&T — presumably at the behest of Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch — by misusing his power over the Justice Department. – Joe Conason, TheNational Memo

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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