Western Manitoba loses local TV news as CKX closes

CKX Radio and TV studios

I was sad to read of the closure of CKX TV in Brandon, Manitoba last Friday.

In the late 1970s I was the afternoon drive announcer on CKX Radio, a 50,000 watt station covering Brandon and dozens of rural communities across southwestern Manitoba. I occasionally wandered into the TV studios to appear in car dealer ads or do a bit of voice-tracking for station breaks. I was amazed that – back then at least – the competing CTV and CBC television transmissions were run side-by-side from the same control room, apparently a sensible efficiency in such a small market.

Read More

Iran coverage boosts CNN’s iReport traffic

Andy Plesser of Beet.TV quotes a statement by CNN that page views for its user-generated iReport site reached one million on Monday, driven by coverage of post-election protests in Iran.

To put this in perspective, iReport (which was launched in February 2008) averaged 316,000 page views per day in 2008 (9.6 million per month) according to Nielsen Online data reported by CNN. The main news site,, averaged about 35 million page views per day, according to comScore numbers quoted by TechCrunch in November.

Plesser says that over the past week, “some 5,000 Iran-related videos and photos have been uploaded to iReport” and that “about 150 of these citizen contributions have been used on the air or on after being vetted and verified by the network.”

In a video interview Wednesday with Plesser, iReport senior producer Lila King talks about how the network uses multiple iReports to corroborate information, and how iReport has become part of its world news coverage.

Read More

CBC program explores the future of news

News 2.0 on CBC Radio

CBC Radio launches a two-part series tomorrow on News 2.0: The Future of News in an Age of Social Media

What is now called the “mainstream media” has lost its control over the tools of its trade, and its importance as a centre of social and political influence. The business and philosophical model both appear to be broken, perhaps irrevocably.

There is much to celebrate about this democratization of the media, but there are also reasons to be concerned about the loss of an independent, professional journalistic filter at a time when everyone can be their own media. Can online communities of “citizen journalists” be counted on to help us make informed choices as citizens and consumers? What’s lost, and what’s gained when “News 1.0” gives way to “News 2.0?”

Hosted by Ira Basen the series includes interviews with Clay Shirky, Chris Anderson and Andrew Keen. Partial transcripts are already available at the address above.

The program airs tomorrow at 11am and next Sunday at 10am as part of Sunday Edition on Radio One.

Read More

News websites outdraw newspapers – for some things

Graphic by Pew Research Center

In another sign of the times, the Pew Research Centre reported today that, in the United States at least, the internet has “surpassed all other media except television as a main source for national and international news.” (emphasis mine)

Currently, 40% say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%.

But TV execs shouldn’t be complacent. Among the under-30s polled by Pew, internet and television use for national and international news was just about equal. That’s a huge change from last year, when TV was almost twice as popular as the net in this age group.

Read More

CKPT AM shutdown renews radio memories

11 October 2013 update: Unfortunately the video previously embedded on this page from the Peterborough Examiner is no longer available online.

May 5th marked the end of an era in a small southern Ontario city, and brought back a few fond memories for me.

The radio station where I began my media career, CKPT in Peterborough, abandoned the AM dial in favour of a new home on FM.

The switch probably cuts the station’s power bill significantly (the AM transmitter ran at 10,000 watts day, 5000 watts at night) and delivers better-quality audio.

But it’s still a bit sad. AM radio is what drew me to broadcasting – staying up late as a youngster to tune in the super stations of the 1960s like WABC New York, WLS Chicago and KMOX St Louis – plus the dozens of lesser signals that filled the dial after sunset. As the signals faded in and out, I would strain to discern their callsigns and locations.

There was a sense of mystery and intrigue in those days that you just don’t find on Sirius or iTunes – or even on FM.

Read More

BlogTV adds news and comedy channels

Toronto-based community videocasting site is adding two channels: one for comedy and the other for news and politics.

The channels are scheduled to launch tomorrow [Friday].

Although is a platform for anyone who wants to videocast [including some who are a long way from being video professionals], it’s owned by a genuine television network, Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Alliance Atlantis is in the process of being acquired by CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs.

Read More

News chief Burman to leave CBC

The editor-in-chief of English-language news at the CBC, Tony Burman, has resigned and will leave the corporation July 13.

Burman has been with the the public broadcaster for almost 35 years, and for the past seven has overseen English news on radio, television and

He told staff he was leaving because he had done the job long enough:

…my own work pattern has been to seek change every three-to-five years. And I have — as many of you know — worked hard to ensure this approach is common in different parts of our operation. I have always felt that an openness to change and renewal is at the core of the best journalism. In the end, I have to listen to my own words.

At age 59 retirement isn’t unusual, but those inclined to read the tea leaves will be scrutinizing this passage from Burman’s farewell note in an attempt to work out whether his departure is entirely voluntary:

Since so much of my life has been connected with the CBC, I obviously have mixed emotions about this, but mostly I have feelings of elation. And – can I say it? – liberation.

Only three weeks ago, Burman announced on that he was expanding his weekly media “letter” into a blog.

Why do that, and trumpet the fact, three weeks before resigning and barely six weeks before walking out the CBC door for the last time? It’s odd, to say the least.

And is he leaving the media industry entirely?

I really look forward to directing my energy, my enthusiasm and my ideas to new projects.

Answer: who knows?

Burman was in the news recently over his decision not to show pictures of the gun-brandishing Virginia Tech killer on the CBC’s television and web services — a decision contrary to that taken by most major North American news organizations.

CBC says “a search for Burman’s replacement will begin immediately, while his current deputy, Esther Enkin, will serve as acting editor-in-chief.”

> Tony Burman’s announcement to CBC staff

> Official announcement on

> Recent departures from CBC: Sue Gardner and Yann Pacquet.

Read More

New CBC Radio front page a standout

CBC Radio front page has launched a new front page design, plus new section fronts for Radio [pictured above] and Sports.

All three front pages, like the CBC News front which was redesigned a while ago, are built to the now-common 1024-pixel width.

Story pages and the CBC TV front page remain at 800-pixels wide, however, so are looking old-fashioned in comparison.

My favourite redesigned page is the Radio front. It’s stylish, but functional too: the all-important “listen live” information is at the top of the page, and it includes the current programs for each time zone.

My only gripe about the Radio front is the use of reversed text. I’m surprised the CBC would use grey text on a black background. Readability sacrificed for style?

The “main” front page at is designed to promote the network’s shows, but you can easily skip it to go directly to the section you want.

> Executive Director of Digital Programming Steve Billinger explains the key changes.

> CBC blogger Tod Maffin likes the new look for his beloved CBC Radio

> The readers’ views are – as usual – mixed.

Read More