Media Beat: May 22, 2020

By David Farrell

Canada Post celebrates a century of radio broadcasting in Canada

A pair of stamps issued May 20, celebrate the broadcast of the first Canadian radio program. On that evening in May 20, 1920, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada station XWA – for Experimental Wireless Apparatus – broadcast the first Canadian radio program to a Royal Society of Canada gathering at Ottawa’s Château Laurier. The closed broadcast included a live performance by soprano Dorothy Lutton, delivered from the Marconi factory studios in Montréal.  – Canada Post

Ghomeshi’s back

And this time, he has unnamed investors and the support of a prominent member of the Iranian-Canadian community. – Jonathan Goldsbie, Canadaland


It was the most explosive story of the past century. And the media got it wrong

The story of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia was a hoax. So, where are the acknowledgements of this calamitous fiasco?

... All the journalists who bought into this fable, and they were the majority, were wrong. They were dead wrong. The collusion story has proven to be a hoax. It has collapsed. It is not just Monty Python’s famed dead parrot — (E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!) — it is a whole flock of dead parrots. It is as dead, as Dickens declared of Marley, as a doornail. – Rex Murphy, National Post

Analyst predicts TV ad spend is to take a major hit

Major advertisers like Pepsi and GM are looking to pull out of upfront advertising contracts in Q3, according to the Wall Street Journal. That would leave the space even worse for wear after a rough H1: eMarketer's pre-pandemic forecast predicted TV ad spend would increase by 2% in 2020, but we now anticipate a drop of between 22% and 29% for H1 2020. – Nina Goetzen, Business Insider

US ad market tanks 35% in April

Sequentially, the total value of the U.S. Ad Market Tracker -- an index representing total volume of advertising buys made in the U.S. -- fell 30% from March, and 35% from February, which was the last "normal" month of U.S. ad demand prior to the effects of the pandemic on ad spending. – Joe Mandese, Media Daily News


Spotify’s $100M+ Joe Rogan deal redefines its podcast strategy

Spotify has spent approximately $600m on podcast-related acquisitions in the past 18 months, including its buys of Anchor FM ($154M), Gimlet Media ($195M) and Parcast ($55M) last year, plus Bill Simmons’ sports podcast The Ringer (up to $196M) in Q1 2020.

The $100m Joe Rogan deal, which isn’t an acquisition but a licensing deal, reportedly takes this podcast spend up towards the three-quarters-of-a-billion dollar mark. –– Tim Ingham, Music Business Worldwide

Dear Media Cofounder Michael Bosstick aims to amplify female voices with $8M Series A

With more than 40 podcasts by top female voices on its roster and over 150 million episode downloads to date, the funding will be used to grow Dear Media's talent slate, create original IP and build brands across social and digital platforms. – Karin Eldor, Forbes

What the US media’s most powerful execs were paid in 2019

The new light casts unflattering shadows on some of the chiefs in our group. Take Bob Iger. The Disney executive chairman’s $47.5 million package made him our highest-paid chief for 2019. It would take 911 years for average Disney employees — a group that includes low paid theme park workers — to make as much as he did last year. But his company ranked 858 among the 922 that JUST Capital analyzed in paying workers a living wage, 893 in charging fair prices for its products or services and 908 in paying the CEO fairly in relation to workers. Fox, which paid Rupert Murdoch $42.2 million in 2019, ranked 882 among all companies in the diversity and inclusiveness of its workplace. – David Lieberman & Brent Lang, Variety


Atlantic Media cuts nearly 20% of US staff

Atlantic Media, owner of The Atlantic magazine, is the latest media and news organization to suffer the brunt of the pandemic’s impact following job cuts at Vice Media Group, The Economist Group and Quartz Media Inc. last week. – Arriana McLymore, Reuters


Unarmed ‘black man’ doesn’t mean what you think it means

A search of the archive reveals that NPR has used the phrase 82 times in the past year. Five of those were headlines, 26 were in newscasts read at the top of the hour. And most of those references — 65 to be exact — occurred since Arbery was killed in February. In that same time period, "unarmed white man" does not appear anywhere in NPR's coverage. Most of the time, when a journalist writes or says, "unarmed black man," she is using the phrase as code … – Kelly McBride, NPR

Nearly half of the accounts tweeting about coronavirus are likely bots 

Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.

It is too early to say conclusively which individuals or groups are behind the bot accounts, but researchers said the tweets appeared aimed at sowing division in America. – Bobby Allyn, NPR

Aiming for novelty in coronavirus coverage, journalists end up sensationalizing the trivial and untrue

When a clear beginning, middle, and resolution are not discernible, the demand for any morsel of new information can confuse, rather than clarify, the story.

Journalists rushing to amplify any small update can mistakenly inflate its importance with sensational headlines or hyperbolic broadcast framing. – Michael J. Socolow, NiemanLab

Covid chuckles

India goes in to lockdown and suddenly the Canadian Revenue Agency is no longer calling with a warrant for my arrest.

- All of a sudden having a mask, rubber gloves, duct tape, plastic sheeting and rope in the trunk is OK.

- Since those beauty salons closed, selfies dropped like the stock market.

– Every few days it would be smart to put your jeans on to make sure they still fit. Pajamas and sweats will have you believe all is well.


Norman Wong



Happy Anniversary, Archie: Alvvays' Debut Record Gets a 10th Birthday Re-Issue

The Canadian jangle pop group's first album will be available on a new cerulean blue vinyl with an unearthed bonus track, as well as the ten original songs — including breakout single 'Archie, Marry Me' — that launched their career in 2014.

A major Canadian indie rock album turns 10 today (July 22), and the band is celebrating with a special re-issue.

Alvvays' self-titled debut helped the group break through on an international scale, propelled by jangly guitars, aloof vocals and an expertly catchy single. "Archie, Marry Me," with its soaring chorus and pleading lyrics, became a wedding song for a generation of ambivalent millennials, earnest and sardonic at the same time.

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