Media Beat: November 30, 2020

Media Beat: November 30, 2020

By David Farrell

What Was Said

“We expect that 90% of households across the country will have access to fixed broadband Internet services that meet our universal service objective by the end of next year. As a country, we are on the right path to achieve this target. The percentage of homes and businesses with such connectivity had risen to 87.4% by the end of 2019…” – CRTC Chair Ian Scott (full text of address to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology last week)

Elon Musk's satellites now streaming to some rural N.B. homes

Billionaire Elon Musk's satellite internet service is now streaming to some homes in New Brunswick.

Starlink has enlisted some households in rural areas of Canada and the northern U.S. to test the service before a full launch, possibly in mid-2021. The cost of delivery is significant, however. – Connell Smith, CBC News


ZoomerMedia announces sunny Y/E financials

For the twelve months ended August 31, 2020 the Company generated revenues of $50.6M, operating expenses of $40.2M and Adjusted EBITDA of $10.4M from its continuing operations. Net income for the same period was $4.6M.

For the comparative twelve months ended August 31, 2019 the Company had revenues of $52.5M, operating expenses of $46.2M and Adjusted EBITDA of $6.3M from its continuing operations. Net income for the year was $2.9M. – Press release

StatsCan data on tourism industries during covid

The experimental series on monthly openings and closures now include monthly estimates of the number of business openings and closures, continuing businesses, and active businesses in the tourism industries at the national level from January 2015 to August 2020. These industries are based on Statistics Canada's Canadian Tourism Satellite Account industry aggregations and include air transportation; water transportation; rail, scenic and sightseeing transportation; bus transportation, taxi and limousine services, and vehicle rental; accommodation; food and beverage services; recreation and entertainment; and travel services.

The new series show that the tourism industries are among those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While business closures doubled in the business sector from February to April 2020, the tourism sector as a whole had 11,020 closures in April, more than triple the number of closures in February. The most affected industries in the tourism sector were food and beverage services (+316.2%; +6,009), travel services (+314.6%; +310) and bus transportation, taxi and limousine services, and vehicle rental (+166.8%; +296). While business closures also increased in air transportation from February to April, the increase was smaller than in all other tourism industries. Since the peak in business closures in April, closures have declined across the tourism industries. As of August, business closures were below the pre-COVID level posted in February in all tourism industries.


The number of business openings in the tourism sector exceeded that of business closures in each of the last three months. Despite the openings, the number of active businesses in the tourism sector in August was 84.7% the level recorded in February. By comparison, the number of active businesses in the business sector in August was 91.0% the level reported in February.

Sale of 103.9 FM approved

Kelowna’s 103.9 CKOO-FM could be back on the air by the spring.


The CRTC has approved the purchase of the radio station's broadcast license and assets by Paul Larsen for $500K.

His company, Radius Holdings, is purchasing the license from trustee Grant Thornton, which took possession of it when Soft 103.9 went bankrupt on March 31. – Colin Dacre, Kelowna News

Proposed privacy law backgrounder

Among the criteria set out in the proposed Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, a firm must consider are the sensitivity of the personal information; whether the purposes represent legitimate business needs of the organization; the effectiveness of the collection, use or disclosure in meeting the organization’s legitimate business needs; whether there are less intrusive means of achieving those purposes at a comparable cost and with comparable benefits; and whether the individual’s loss of privacy is proportionate to the benefits in light of any measures, technical or otherwise, implemented by the organization to mitigate the impacts of the loss of privacy on the individual.


It also says firms must determine at or before the time of the collection of any personal information each of the purposes for which the information is to be collected, used or disclosed — and must record those purposes.

Section 13 says a firm can only collect the personal information that is necessary for those purposes. – IT World Canada

The Ongoing History of New Music hits 10M downloads

Having hit its 900th episode, the Alan Cross hosted podcast started in Jan. 2017 has now crossed the 10M download threshold–a phenomenal accomplishment by any standard. The podcasts originate from the radio show of the same name that first aired in 1993 on CFNY-FM in Toronto.

A few stats’n’facts provided by Cross:

  • When the program began, Kurt was still alive and Pearl Jam had just one album.

  • Except for hardcore computer nerds, no one knew about the internet or email.

  • The first hundred episodes were composed on a long-forgotten DOS word processor.

  • When Windows 3.1 came along, I switched to WordPerfect. The next 600 or so shows were written that way. I didn’t make the switch to Word until 2014.

  • For nearly a decade, the show only ran on 102.1 The Edge/Toronto. CFOX/Vancouver picked it up near the end of the 90s.

  • The show is now syndicated across the country.In addition to the hour-long shows are the 60-second daily features.

  • I’ve written over 7,000 of those.Craig Venn was the original technical producer working with old-school reel-to-reel tape. Rob Johnston took over at show 110 and has been with me ever since.


  • We transition to all-digital production in 1996.

  • Shows were first archived on reel-to-reel tape, then DAT, then CD-Rs. Now everything is archived digitally.

  • I used to record everything in the studios of 102.1 the Edge. Now I have my home studio. I just record my bits and upload them to Dropbox. Rob takes it from there, producing the programs and then distributing them to affiliates. He also takes care of the podcasts.

  • The podcasts have been downloaded in almost every country in the world with Canada in the lead, followed by the US, the UK, Australia, and Germany.

  • Among the countries immune to the shows’ charms are North Korea, Niger, Chad, and the Republic of the Congo. But we’re working on that.

  • Of the 900 Ongoing History radio programs aired since the program debuted in February 1993, approximately 250 have been repurposed as podcasts. We’ll eventually get more up there, but not all will make it because they’re just too dated.

  • Canada leads the way in downloads (no surprise there) with 8.3 million downloads. The US is in second spot with 1.12 million. Then comes the UK, Australia, Germany, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Ireland, and The Netherlands rounding out the top 10.Within Canada,


  • Ontario is the number one market, followed by BC and Alberta.

  • Toronto is in first place for downloads, followed by Hamilton and Vancouver.

  • In the US, the podcast is most popular in Buffalo followed by New York, Chicago, and bizarrely, Hutchison, Kansas, a city of 40,000 northwest of Wichita. The good citizens of Hutchison have downloaded more episodes than Los Angeles. We can’t explain that.

  • Moving to the UK, the leading city is London. Manchester comes second and Edinburgh is a close third.

  • The most-downloaded podcast of all time is “The Rise and Fall of Blink-182, Part 1,” which was published on January 31, 2017. In second spot is “Rock and Roll Myths” (March 15, 2017), and “60 Mind-Blowing Facts in 60 Minutes: The Fifth Edition” (December 18, 2019).

  • Most people get their OH fix through Spotify (16.9%) followed by Apple Podcasts (13%).When it comes to platforms for listening, iOS leads the way with 56.3%. Android is second with 26%.87.2% of listening is done on a mobile device while 9.1% listen on a desktop and 2.4% use a tablet.

Newspapers urge Ottawa to speed up plans to regulate tech giants

The head of News Media Canada told a parliamentary committee Friday afternoon that despite the highest demand ever for news amid the pandemic, there is still little revenue in part because Google and Facebook are sucking up 80 per cent of digital ad revenues at the expense of Canada’s news outlets. – Jeremy Nuttall, The Star

GG Award recipients

Denham Jolly, Jackie Flanagan, Brian McFarlane, and Sarah Milroy are among the 114 names as new appointments by the Governor General.

Remember Gary Dunford?

After 25 years of writing Page Six, a must-read daily compendium for the Toronto Sun about the arts, media and politics, Dunford made his exit in July of 2005 after penning 7,127 columns for the paper. He was funny, sometimes abrasive, and always on top of what was going on in the city, the CBC and media in general. There’s a great synopsis about his career at the tabloid here, and Dunf in space is a blog where he regularly posts today.

US Gov’t unintentionally funding Russian propaganda website

You'd think by now "sophisticated" advertisers would have learned that the programmatic ad ecosystem is nothing but trash and trouble. But in the ad world, nobody learns anything.

A website called Adalytics ran a piece last week on how a Russian state-controlled news agency's propaganda website called "Sputnik News" is being unwittingly supported by programmatic ad dollars from the likes of Harvard Business School, Adidas, American Express and, you can't make this shit up, the US government. Read about it here. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

Brothers create SuperPAC to counter influence of Fox News

Ben, Brett and Jordan Meiselas have big plans to expand their media reach to counter Fox News. Since the Spring, Since the Spring, they have raised more than US$3 million in donations; grown from web-only videos to national television ads; turned a limited series on SiriusXM's progressive politics station into a podcast deal with the digital giant, and are launching a student-run initiative called MeidasUniversity to encourage progressive advocacy on campuses across the country. – Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter

Amnesty asks EU to block Google-Fitbit deal over human rights risks

In a strongly-worded letter, the human rights NGO said that Google is "incentivised to merge and aggregate data across its different platforms" as a consequence of its surveillance-based business model. – ET Telecom

Australia has designs on reigning in Murdochs

Australia’s parliament will launch an inquiry into media ownership, a prominent senator said, after more than half a million people signed a petition demanding a probe into Rupert Murdoch’s dominance of the news industry.

The online petition attracted a record number of signatories after being launched on October 12 by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a frequent target of newspapers controlled by Murdoch’s News Corp.

 Separately, Al Jazeera focusses on Murdoch media’s climate-change disinformation advocacy.

Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest on "Let Them All Talk"

Three remarkable actress – Academy Award-winners Meryl Streep and Dianne Wiest, and Emmy Award-winner Candice Bergen – share the screen in a new film by director Steven Soderbergh, "Let Them All Talk," an exercise in improvisation, in which its actors were required to create much of the dialogue themselves. Correspondent Rita Braver talks with the trio about the rarity of starring in a major Hollywood film about three women in their 70s.

Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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