Corus Entertainment Inc.
On August 27th 1987, after many years of successful operation of its various cable systems, Shaw Cablesystems (which was later to become Corus Entertainment) made its first venture into over-the-air broadcast ownership with the acquisition of two Red Deer radio stations, CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM. Further acquisitions by Shaw during this period included CISN-FM Edmonton (1988), CHAY-FM Barrie (1990), CKCK-FM Woodstock (1991), and CFOX-FM and CKLG-AM Vancouver (1992).
Shaw Cablesystems Ltd changed its name to Shaw Communications Inc., to more properly reflect its diversification into over-the-air broadcasting. Over the next four years, Shaw would acquire several more radio stations, including CHQT-AM Edmonton (1993), CFNY Brampton/Toronto (1994), CKRY-FM Calgary (1996) and CING-FM Burlington (1997).
On September 2nd, former CTV President John Cassaday joined Shaw Communications Inc. as Executive Vice-President of the corporation, as well as President and CEO of Shaw Media. JR. Shaw, Chairman and CEO of Shaw, said that Cassaday's role would be to help the company "...to position Shaw as a true communications company with significant interests in both content and distribution."
On November 6th, the CRTC approved an application by Shaw Communications Inc for permission to transfer all its shares in various broadcasting undertakings, to a new wholly-owned subsidiary titled Mediaco, and subsequently to a holding company, Holdco.
On September 1st, Shaw Communications Inc announced that the company would be separated into two distinct publicly-traded corporations, Shaw Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. Shaw Communications Inc. would continue to carry on Shaw's cable television, internet access, telecommunications and satellite business, while Corus, with Cassaday as President, would assume ownership of the Holdco properties and carry on Shaw's radio broadcasting, specialty television, digital music services and cable advertising service business. Corus thus became owners of the eleven radio stations previously purchased by Shaw, and later the same month the company made a deal with Blackburn Radio to buy CFPL-FM and CFPL-AM London, plus CFHK-FM St. Thomas/London.
Effective March 31, Corus acquired the Canadian broadcasting assets of Power Broadcasting Inc. consisting of 17 radio stations and four television stations for $114 million. The broadcasting assets acquired include 11 radio stations in Ontario, including properties in Guelph (CJOY-AM and CIMJ-FM), Kingston (CFFX-FM and CFMK-FM) and Oshawa (CKDO-AM and CKGE-FM), and six radio stations in Quebec between Montreal and Rimouski. The television stations in Ontario (CKWS-TV - Kingston and CHEX-TV in Peterborough and CHEX-TV in Oshawa) and Quebec (CHAU-TV) were affiliates of the CBC and TVA, respectively.
On July 6th, following almost two years of negotiations, Corus received CRTC approval to acquire control of WIC Premium Corporation. This added twelve more radio stations to the Corus line-up, and a number of pay, pay-per-view and other discretionary television services. As a condition of the approval, Corus was required to sell off the 50% interest in The Family Channel that had been held by WIC Premium.
The radio stations involved were CHED-FM and CKNG-FM Edmonton, CKNW-AM and CFMI-FM Vancouver, CHQR-AM and CKIK-FM Calgary, CJOB-AM and CJKR-FM Winnipeg, CHML-AM and CJXY-FM Hamilton, and CFYI-AM and CILQ-FM Toronto.
The specialty services Corus acquired included Western Canada pay television services SuperChannel Ltd and MovieMax Ltd, and WIC-VC Ltd.'s pay-per-view service, plus a 40% ownership position in the Teletoon English and French specialty services.
On November 14th, in a move that would further diversify Corus's activities, the company completed the acquisition of Nelvana Ltd, a Canadian producer and distributor of children's programming and products. On November 24th, Corus was awarded licences for a number of new category 2 (discretionary) specialty channels, including Edge TV, RAI Canada, Parent TV, Pet TV. The Classical Channel and The Jazz Channel. Not all of them would get launched.
Some of the top posts at Corus: John M. Cassaday was President, C.E.O.; Heather A. Shaw was Executive Chair; Thomas C. Peddie was Senior VP & C.F.O.; Paul W. Robertson was President of Television; and James T. Strain was President of Radio.
On January 1st, the CRTC announced that it had approved the sale by Corus of the Quebec television station CHAU-TV to Tele Inter-Rèves Ltd.
On February 8th, the CRTC approved a deal which gave Corus ownership of Belcand Mount Royal Holdings Inc., the parent company of Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., which owned directly or indirectly six radio stations, five in Montréal, CKOO-FM (formerly CIEL-FM), CKOI-FM, CINF, CFQR-FM and CINW, and one in St-Jérôme, CIME-FM, as well as the French-language Category 2 (digital) specialty television service "Canal Habitat". The deal brought Corus's radio holdings to 49 stations in five provinces.
On November 16th, Corus added a controlling interest in the Telelatino Network, and ownership of the Women's Television Network (WTN) to its broadcast holdings.
Three days later, the CRTC approved Corus's application to acquire three radio stations in Cornwall, Ontario, through the purchase of Tri-Co Radio Ltd., owners of CJUL-AM, CFLG-FM and CJSS-FM.
On April 15th, Corus relaunched the WTN specialty channel as simply W, with a new program schedule and a separate feed for Western viewers.
On October 16th, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications Ltd. announced the introduction of Canada's first subscription-based Video-on-Demand service, Movie Central Express.
On April 23rd, Corus received CRTC approval for the company to sell its Oshawa radio stations CKDO-AM and CKGE-FM to Durham Radio Inc.
In June the company announced its intention to discontinue operating its rock and alternative music video specialty service Edge TV
In March, Corus and Astral Media Inc announced that they were working on a deal whereby the two companies would exchange groups of radio stations in the province of Quebec. This would involve Corus acquiring the stations of the Radiomedia network.
In November, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters awarded Corus President and CEO John Cassaday the CAB Gold Ribbon, in recognition of his services to Canadian broadcasting.
On January 21st, Corus and Astral received CRTC approval of their application to exchange groups of radio stations. The deal provided for Corus to receive radio stations CKAC-FM Montréal, CHRC Québec, CJRC-FM Gatineau, CKRS-FM Saguenay, CHLN-FM Trois-Rivières, CHLT-FM Sherbrooke and CFOM-FM Lévis, while Astral would receive from Corus the following stations: CFVM-FM Amqui, CJDM-FM Drummondville, CJOI-FM Rimouski, CIKI-FM Rimouski and its transmitter CIKI-FM-2 Sainte-Marguerite-Marie, and CFZZ-FM Saint-Jean-Iberville.
On June 28th, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) announced that their Gold Medal Award for 2004 would go to Corus President and CEO John Cassaday.
On August 10th, the CRTC gave its consent to Corus selling their two stations in Red Deer, Alberta, CIZZ-FM and CKGY-FM, to Newcap Inc. (Newfoundland Capital Corporation Ltd).
With the closing down of CKTS-AM Sherbrooke, the number of radio stations operated by Corus was reduced to 50.
On May 14th, Corus announced that they had joined forces with Cogeco Inc to form a new company to be called Groupe Force Radio. The new company would act as a national sales agent for 5 Cogeco, 13 Corus and 12 Radio Nord radio stations.
Approval by the CRTC was received on July 6th for Corus to conclude a deal with CanWest MediaWorks whereby Corus would buy two radio stations, CJZZ-FM Winnipeg and CKBT-FM Kitchener.
On August 7th, Corus received approval from the CRTC to launch Cosmopolitan Television, a life-style specialty channel targeted at women 18-34.
As the year ended, the CRTC gave Corus permission on December 24th to acquire radio station CIGR-FM Sherbrooke from Groupe Génération Rock.
On August 22nd, Corus received CRTC approval to acquire effective control of a numbered company, 1708484 Ontario Inc., whose shares had previously been held by CTVglobemedia. With the purchase, Corus acquired ownership of specialty channel Canadian Learning Television (CLT). On November 3rd, the channel was relaunched as VIVA, a speciality channel offering "....programming targeted to Canadian women in the dynamic boomer demographic".
On September 1st, Corus reduced its radio station ownerships to 52 with the sale of CHRC-AM radio to a Quebec City corporation that owned the Hockey Club Les Remparts de Québec.
On September 18th, the CRTC approved two more specialty channel applications from Corus. These were for (a) YTV POW! which would "...offer programming from international markets featuring the latest trends in non-violent action, adventure, superheroes, comedy adventure and interactivity..", and (b) YTV OneWorld "....that would offer programming from around the world targeting children aged 6 to 17 and their families. The schedule would include programs devoted to entertainment, humour, travel, games and science and technology."
On January 8th 2009, the CRTC announced a public hearing to be held in Gatineau, Quebec on March 31st. Corus Entertainment was listed as one of eleven applicants for a new FM radio licence to serve Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. Corus's application, and those of eight of the other ten applicants, had been denied on August 26th 2008, but an Order in Council had required the Commission to reconsider its decision.
On August 11th, the CRTC reaffirmed its original decision to award licences to Astral and to Frank Torres. However, the published decision included a dissenting opinion by Commissioner Michel Morin, who believed that Corus should have been awarded the licence that went to Torres.
On January 29th, Corus announced that they were closing two Montreal radio stations, CINF-AM and CINW-AM, as of 7pm that evening. "After years of effort," said Corus Quebec Vice-President Mario Cecchini, "it is clear these AM stations are not viable." The decision left Corus with one of only three AM stations in Montreal, CKAC Sports. While some staffers were relocated to other Corus radio properties, ten employees lost their jobs.
On April 30th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that they had reached an agreement with Cogeco Inc. for Cogeco to purchase the Corus Quebec radio stations: CKOI-FM, CKAC-AM, CHMP-FM and CFQR-FM Montreal, CFOM-FM102.9 and CFEL-FM Quebec City, CJRC-FM Gatineau , CIME-FM St-Jérôme, CHLT-FM and CKOY-FM Sherbrooke, and CHLN-FM Trois Rivieres. The deal would be subject to CRTC approval.
Following public hearings on September 28 and 29 in Montreal, on December 17 the CRTC approved the transfer of these radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco inc.
On July 27th, the CRTC announced the renewal of the broadcasting licences for the various television services affiliated with the Corus Entertainment Inc. broadcasting ownership group from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2016.
In announcing this decision, the Commission said that it was implementing its new group-based licensing policy for large private English-language ownership groups. This policy was developed to prepare both the broadcasting industry and the Commission for the new reality of large, integrated broadcasting ownership groups. Under this policy, the Commission would reduce its focus on Canadian exhibition and concentrate to a greater extent on ensuring stable funding to Canadian production through programming expenditure requirements, particularly in regard to programming that continued to be under-represented in the Canadian broadcasting system. In addition, the Commission said it had also introduced a much greater level of flexibility in the manner in which television services would make and account for Canadian programming expenditures.
On November 9th, the CRTC announced a hearing in Calgary on February 7th 2012, at which it would hear an application by Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of its wholly owned subsidiary CKIK-FM Limited, to amend the broadcasting licence for the AM radio programming undertaking CHQR Calgary.
The licensee proposed to add an FM transmitter in Calgary to broadcast the programming of CHQR, "in order to adequately serve the population of Calgary".
The transmitter would operate on frequency 106.9 MHz (channel 295A) with an effective radiated power of 1,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 243.6 metres).
The applicant stated that the proposed FM transmitter would provide a reliable high-quality signal on the FM band to listeners in downtown Calgary who were no longer able to obtain satisfactory reception of CHQR on the AM band.
n January 1st Corus Entertainment announced that its new television service, ABC Spark, would launch across Canada on Monday, March 26. ABC Spark would be based on the successful U.S. brand ABC Family, and would be a multiplatform offering featuring original series and movies, as well as general entertainment programming.
On February 14th Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, filed an application for a broadcasting licence to operate Harmony, a national, English-language specialty Category B service that would be devoted to romance, love and relationships. The programming would include series based on relationships, feature films, mini-series, made-for-television movies and occasional magazine-style shows focusing on this genre and its stars.
On May 24, the CRTC found that the additional FM presence that would result from approval of the application heard on November 9th 2011 to amend the licence for CHQR-AM by adding an FM transmitter in Calgary would undermine the Common Ownership Policy by adversely affecting competitive balance and diversity in this market. The Commission also found that the applicant had not provided sufficient justification to warrant the granting of its application on its own merits. Accordingly, the Commission denied the application.
On December 11th in Gatineau PQ, the CRTC called Corus to a public hearing to discuss concerns that the Corus-owned specialty channel OWN - The Opra Winfrey Network was not complying with the nature of service as defined by its condition of licence. Following a licence renewal hearing in 2011, OWN had been directed to either file a report detailing the measures it had taken to come into compliance or submit another proposal.
Corus had subsequently filed two applications on behalf of OWN, neither of which the Commission felt had been consistent with its directions. As a result, the Commission had not procesed the applications.
Consequently, the Commission had called Corus to a public hearing to discuss its apparent ongoing non-compliance in further detail. Corus was expected to show cause as to why:
- a mandatory order should not be issued requiring the licensee to comply with its conditions of licence, and
- its licence should not be suspended or revoked.
On January 9th 2013, Corus rebranded their station CKNG-FM in Edmonton as The New 92.5 Fresh FM.
On January 15th, Canadian Press reported that Corus chief executive John Cassaday had told analysts in the broadcaster's quarterly earnings call that, after the meeting with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission the previous month, Corus would create two more hours of educational programming for its OWN channel schedule.
The CRTC had still not announced its decision on the matter, and declined to comment.
On March 4th, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it had entered into a number of agreements with Bell and separately with Shaw Media, which "...extended Corus' portfolio of Radio assets into Ottawa, consolidated Corus' ownership of ABC Spark and TELETOON, and enabled Corus to become a significant media contributor in the Québec and the French-language specialty television market".
Corus said it had reached an agreement with Bell to acquire the 50% remaining ownership interest in TELETOON and two Ottawa-based radio stations, CKQB-FM (The Bear 106.9) and CJOT-FM (boom 99.7), that Bell would acquire as part of the acquisition of Astral Media Inc (for which a new proposal was awaiting the approval of the CRTC, the original having been denied) . With these acquisitions, TELETOON, Télétoon (French), TELETOON Retro, Télétoon Rétro (French), Cartoon Network (Canada) and radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, would be wholly owned by Corus. In addition, Corus had reached an agreement with Bell and Shaw Media to acquire each of their respective 50% interests in the French-language specialty channels Historia and Séries+. Certain transactions were subject to approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Competitions Bureau approved the deal on March 18th.
In a separate transaction, Corus announced that it had entered into an agreement with Shaw Media that would result in Corus acquiring the remaining 49% interest in the successful specialty television service ABC Spark from Shaw Media. As part of the agreement, Corus would sell its 20% interest in Food Network Canada to Shaw Media.
On March 15th the CRTC announced that it was denying Corus' applications to amend its broadcasting licence for the Oprah Winfrey network OWN, by amending the definition of the term "broadcast day" as it applied to its licence so as to mean the 24-hour period beginning each day at 6 a.m., as well as the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
In denying the application to amend the broadcast day definition, the Commission said it "... does not consider it appropriate to approve an application for a licence amendment for which the objective appears to be to remedy a licensee's non-compliance."
Regarding the application for a Category B service, the Comission noted that, when questioned on its application at the hearing, Corus clarified that if the Commission determined that the two services would be competitive, it only sought a Category B licence for the OWN service if its Category A licence were revoked. The Commission considered that the specialty Category B service that OWN Inc. described in its application would likely be directly competitive with the Category A service that it currently operated.
In light of this, and given OWN's statement at the hearing that it only sought a Category B licence if its Category A licence were revoked, which was not the case, the Commission denied the application by OWN Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a national, English-language specialty Category B service to be known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
In summary, the Commission reiterated the importance it placed on a licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence and other regulatory requirements. The Commission viewed any non-compliance as a very serious matter. The Commission noted that it might consider recourse to additional measures, including suspension, non-renewal or revocation of the licence under sections 9 and 24 of the Act, should OWN Inc. again breach its nature of service definition or any of its other regulatory requirements.
Further, to ensure that the licensee would comply with its conditions of licence relating to its nature of service and with the Regulations, the Commission directed OWN Inc. to adhere to the monitoring and reporting framework set out elsewhere in the decision.
On July 17th 2013, Corus Entertainment announced a number of changes to its executive team "to more closely align the company's television and business divisions".
Current EVP and president of Corus Television Doug Murphy would become EVP and COO of Corus Entertainment on September 1, reporting directly to president and CEO John Cassaday.
Other executive leadership changes included:
- Scott Dyer as EVP of strategic planning and chief technology officer, which would include overseeing strategic planning ongoing business transformations and new media strategy, as well as responsibility for Kids Can Press and Toon Boom.
- Gary Maavara, EVP and general counsel, corporate secretary, with oversight of all legal matters, regulatory affairs and government relations.
- Kathleen McNair, EVP human resources, corporate communications and chief integration officer; with the latter, McNair would lead the integration of the new services to be acquired from Bell Media, pending regulatory approval, as well as streamlining internal processes
- Tom Peddie, EVP and CFO
Corus had earlier announced the appointment of Mario Cecchini as head of Eastern Ontario and president of Corus Media. Other appointments were also announced relating to the leadership of the companyâ€™s various business units, including:
- Chris Pandoff, president of radio
- Colin Bohm, VP Television, head of Corus Kids
- John MacDonald, VP, head of Corus Women and Family
- Maria Hale, VP Television, head of Corus content distribution and pay TV
- Susan Schaefer, VP head of brands, television and radio
- Gerry Mackrell, VP Television, head of airtime sales
- Bill Knight, VP Television, head of business development and planning
- Helen Lebeau, VP Television, production and broadcast operations
On August 28th the CRTC announced that it would hold a hearing on November 5th 2013, at which the applications that Corus had announced on March 4th, to acquire various properties from Shaw Media and Bell Media, would be heard. It would be three months before the Commission issued its decisions.
On December 20th 2013 the CRTC approved, subject to certain modifications and conditions, the application by 8324441 Canada Inc. (8324441 Canada), on behalf of TELETOON Canada Inc. (TELETOON Canada), for authority to effect a change of TELETOON Canada's ownership to 8324441 Canada so that control of the undertakings would be exercised by Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus).
On the same day, the CRTC approved, subject to certain modifications and conditions, three applications by Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus), on its behalf and on behalf of 8504644 Canada Inc. and 8504652 Canada Inc., for authority to acquire from Shaw Media Inc. and 8504610 Canada Inc., partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Historia & Séries+ s.e.n.c., the assets of the French-language specialty Category A services Historia and Séries+ and to change the effective control so that it would be exercised by Corus.
On January 14, the CRTC denied CKCB Collingwood's application to increase the ERP from 350 to 9,700 watts (max. ERP from 350 to 25,000 watts), change the antenna’s radiation pattern from non-directional to directional and to increase the antenna height.
On January 24th 2014, the CRTC approved, subject to certain conditions, applications by 8324433 Canada Inc. (8324433 Canada), a Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) subsidiary, on behalf of 8504598 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CKQB-FM Ottawa, Ontario, and its transmitter CKQB-FM-1 Pembroke, and 8384851 Canada Inc., licensee of the English-language commercial radio station CJOT-FM Ottawa, for authority to effect a change in their ownership to 8324433 Canada so that control of the stations was exercised by Corus.
"These transactions represent a transformative opportunity for Corus," said John Cassaday, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corus Entertainment. "The consolidation of TELETOON and the addition of the popular services Historia and Series+ give Corus the scale to expand into the growing French-language specialty television market. As a well-capitalized company, Corus can contribute to the growth of this market and provide new opportunities for the production community, while adding greater diversity to the system and more choice to French-speaking audiences. The addition of the Ottawa radio stations, CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, has been a long-standing goal and allows us to bring our skills and passion for radio to another major Canadian market, while delivering exceptional programming and local information to the Ottawa community. Finally, full ownership of ABC Spark, based on the highly successful ABC Family channel in the U.S., and now widely distributed across Canada, represents an excellent growth opportunity for Corus."
CFMI Vancouver changed format from Classic Rock to Greatest Hits of the ‘70s, ‘80s & ‘90s.
On Friday September 4th, John Cassaday, President and Chief Executive Officer and Heather Shaw, Executive Chair of Corus Entertainment Inc. joined Loui Anastasopoulos, Vice President, TSX Company Services, Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange to open the market to mark Corus' 15 years as a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company.
On October 30th, Canada Music Week announced that Corus Entertainment President and CEO John Cassaday would be the 2015 inductee to the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. He would be so honoured at the Awards Gala on May 7th 2015.
On Monday January 12th John Cassaday announced that he would be retiring from Corus on the expiry of his contract at the end of March 2015. He retired from the firm on March 31st and was succeeded by his Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Doug Murphy.
CFGQ Calgary rebranded from Classic Rock to Classic Rock-Classic Hits, keeping the Q107 name.
CJKR Winnipeg rebranded from Active Rock POWER 97 to 97.5 BIG FM, where “big hits and real Classic Rock lives” (Classic Rock-Classic Hits).
Peterborough’s Hits 100.5 (CKRU) was rebranded as the new Fresh Radio. The station had only changed from 100.5 KRUZ FM to Hits 100.5 on September 4, 2014.
CKWS Hits 104.3 Kingston was rebranded as the new Fresh Radio.
2016 On March 23, the CRTC approved an application by Shaw Communications Inc. on behalf of Shaw Media Inc. and its licensed subsidiaries, for authority to effect a multi-step corporate reorganization by transferring all of Shaw Communications’ shares in Shaw Media to Corus Entertainment Inc. or one of its subsidiaries. Since the creation of Corus in 1999, the Commission had regarded the two companies to be effectively controlled by J.R. Shaw and this reorganization wouldn’t change that. On April 1. Corus Entertainment announced the completion of its $2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw Media. Corus now had 45 specialty TV services, 15 conventional TV channels, 39 radio stations, a global content business, and a portfolio of digital assets.
In making the announcement, President and CEO Doug Murphy, presented his senior leadership team:
Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President and COO
Greg McLelland, Executive Vice-President and Chief Revenue Officer
Colin Bohm, Executive Vice-President International Development and Corporate Strategy
Tom Peddie, Executive Vice-President and CFO,
Gary Maavara, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel
Cheryl Fullerton, Executive Vice-President People and Communications
Shawn Kelly, Executive Vice-President Technology
Kathleen McNair, Executive Vice-President, Special Advisor to the CEO and Chief Integration Officer
On June 8th, Corus announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Tom Peddie, would retire from Corus at the end of August 2016, after 17 years of service. Formerly VP and CEO at CTV, Tom was with Corus from its launch as a publicly traded company in September 1999 through a series of strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of Shaw Media Inc. in April 2016.
“Tom is a very talented finance executive and business leader,” said Doug Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Throughout his distinguished career at Corus, he has consistently delivered exceptional financial leadership and valued strategic input as we have grown the business. I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with him, and wish Tom and his family the very best in the years to come.”
John Gossling was announced as Tom Peddie's replacement as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. John had previously been Chief Financial Officer for TELUS Corporation. Prior career experiences include Chief Financial Officer of CTVglobemedia Inc., Vice President, Financial Operations at Rogers Communications Inc., Chief Financial Officer at Rogers Wireless Inc., and Partner at KPMG LLP.
In July, CIQB Barrie rebranded from CHR (B101) to Classic Rock (Big 101.1).
In August, CJKR Winnipeg rebranded from Classic Rock-Classic Hits (Big 97.5) to Active Rock (Power 97).
In September, CHEX Peterborough, Channel 12 Durham and CKWS Kingston added Global TV news to their schedules while keeping the program supply agreement with CTV. CHEX and CKWS would also start their own versions of Global’s The Morning Show.
On December 25, CJGV Winnipeg relaunched as Feel Good Winnipeg Peggy @ 99.1. The station had been known as 99.1 Fresh Radio.
On March 1, the Radioplayer streaming app launched in Canada and featured more than 400 Canadian radio stations, including Corus Entertainment stations.
On May 15th, by Decision 2017-150, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for the currently licensed television stations and discretionary services that would form part of the English-language Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) group in the ensuing licence term, from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.
In addition, the Commission approved the request by Corus for broadcasting licences to operate the currently exempt discretionary services Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD as licensed discretionary services. These licences would take effect 1 September 2017 and expire 31 August 2022.
The discretionary services ABC Spark, National Geographic Wild and BC News 1, as well as Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD, would be included in Corus’s group of services.
Further, Corus would maintain the bilingual licence for the discretionary service TELETOON/TÉLÉTOON, as well as the service’s current Canadian programming expenditure requirements in each linguistic market.
Finally, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licence for CKWS-TV-2 Prescott and approved Corus’s request to add that transmitter to the licence for CKWS-DT Kingston as a rebroadcasting transmitter.
On the same date, the Commission renewed the broadcasting licences for the television services Historia and Séries+ that would form Corus’s French-language Group for the ensuing licence term from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.
Further, the Commission renewed the broadcasting licence for the service La Chaîne Disney, which would not be included in the Group, from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.
In a surprise move, on August 14th, the Governor in Council, on the advice of the Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, with support of Cabinet, referred back for reconsideration and hearing the Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2017-143 to 2017-147 (renewing licenses for television services of major French-language ownership groups) and CRTC 2017-148 to 2017-151 (renewing licenses for television services of major English-language ownership groups) of May 15, 2017. The Minister made this statement: “Canadian broadcasters and creators are at the centre of the broadcasting system, and at a time when our competitive advantage rests on creativity, they must be positioned to succeed. The Government of Canada recognizes the significant investments Canadian broadcasters make in Canadian content. At the same time, the entire industry is in transition and the next few years will be critical to establishing the conditions for Canadians to be able to compete with the best in the world. During this period of transition across the industry, original Canadian content and a dynamic creative sector are vital to the sector’s competitiveness, and its contribution to the Canadian economy. We are asking the CRTC to reconsider these decisions in order to ensure that we achieve the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete.
In referring back these decisions, the Government wishes to affirm its support for great Canadian dramas, comedies, animation, films, documentaries — and other programs of national interest — that reflect our country and its diversity. It also recognizes the importance of original French-language content and support for the creators of music programming, short films and short-form documentaries. As we look to the future of Canadian content, we must be bold. That’s why, this fall, I will present a vision that supports our cultural industries through this transformation and will bring us in line with the changing digital environment.”
In an interview, Madame Joly said that the Government had received 89 petitions asking that the CRTC decision, which was felt by many of those petitioning to have the potential for a negative effect on the amount of money to be spent by the licensees on Canadian programming, be referred back for further consideration.
Employees at Corus television in Toronto, including Global, voted to join the Canadian Media Guild.
Through 2017 and 2018, most of the Corus talk radio stations across the country added “Global News Radio” to their brands to show a connection with the Global Television Network, now also owned by Corus. For example, CFMJ Toronto became Global News Radio 640.
In February, Global News announced the elimination of nearly 80 positions across the country, in a move away from producing television news content. The changes included a move to have the Global Halifax and New Brunswick 6:00 p.m. newscasts anchored out of Toronto. Fifty new digital news positions would be added, including multi-platform journalists who would file for new, local versions of Globalnews.ca in Ottawa, Kitchener, Guelph and Barrie.
In May, Shaw Communications announced its intent to divest itself of its 38.6% stake in Corus Entertainment. Shaw said it had entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities, who agreed to purchase an aggregate of 80,630,383 “Class B” Corus shares at $6.80 per share, amounting to more than $548 million. Shaw had been trying to sell its Corus stake for the past 10 months to fund the expansion of its Freedom Mobile.
On August 30 the CRTC announced that it had responded to the government’s Order-in-Council to reconsider its decisions regarding large television groups by imposing conditions of licence on them to ensure the continued support of the Canadian creative sector. The government asked the CRTC to re-examine original Canadian French-language programs, programs of national interest in the English-language market and short-form programming, including music. These changes were made to preserve the viability, stability and competitiveness of the creative sector and the Canadian television market.
For the French-language market, the CRTC now required each group to make significant investments in the creation of French-language programs, representing 75% of its Canadian programming expenditures for original French-language programs starting in 2019-2020. The percentage in 2018-2019 would be 50%, which would enable the groups to adjust to the new requirements and ensure sufficient support for the production of original French-language content for the French-language market.
The CRTC also increased expenditure requirements for programs of national interest in the English-language market. The percentage would now be based on historical expenditures, to ensure sufficient investment in the production of these programs and financial contributions according to each group’s financial resources. Therefore, the requirements were increased from 5% to 7.5% of previous years’ revenues for Bell, and from 5% to 8.5% for Corus, while requirements for Rogers remained at 5%. The CRTC believed that this approach would ensure that the Canadian production sector continued to play an essential role in the Canadian economy and offer high-quality content to viewers in Canada and abroad.
The CRTC determined that the groups in both language markets would be required to allocate an average of $5.5 million per year to support the production of musical programs (FACTOR and MUSICACTION). These expenditures would be imposed from 2019 to 2022, and would ensure regulatory uniformity among the groups.
Barb Williams, Corus executive vice-president and COO, retired October 31. Williams joined the company in April of 2016. Prior to joining Corus, Williams served as president of Shaw Media and was previously executive VP, Content at Canwest; vice-president and GM of Toronto 1; and senior VP of Lifestyle Programming at Alliance Atlantis.
In August, CKNG-FM switched from Hot Adult Contemporary Fresh Radio to The Chuck and a Variety Hits format.
On February 21, Corus Entertainment announced changes to its Executive Leadership Team. Troy Reeb was promoted to Executive Vice President Broadcast Networks; this new portfolio would bring all of Corus’ broadcast networks under one umbrella. In addition, regulatory and government relations would report jointly to Mr. Reeb and Corus’ EVP and General Counsel, Dale Hancocks.
Colin Bohm became Executive Vice President Content and Corporate Strategy, in addition to his current leadership of strategy and business development. Mr. Bohm’s role would now include oversight of Corus’ original content teams, including Nelvana, Corus Studios, Kids Can Press and Toon Boom.
Greg McLelland, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, would expand his role to include marketing and Corus’ Social Digital Agency, in addition to his current leadership of sales, content distribution, research and consumer insights, and data and advanced advertising. .
Other members of the Corus ELT and their accountabilities would remain unchanged:
John Gossling, EVP and Chief Financial Officer
Cheryl Fullerton, EVP People and Communications
Dale Hancocks, EVP and General Counsel
Shawn Kelly, EVP Technology
In March, CING-FM Hamilton changed from Hot Adult Contemporary Fresh Radio to Contemporary Hits/Hot AC Energy 95.3.
On June 13, the CRTC approved the request of Corus Entertainment Inc. to delete 44 rebroadcasting transmitters from its broadcasting licences for various over-the-air television stations across Canada. The commission also approved with changes Corus’s request to reallocate the $2,365,771 of tangible benefits that had not yet been expended on the digital conversion of its transmitters to a number of eligible initiatives. Of this amount, at least 80% would be allocated to the Canada Media Fund, with the remaining 20% being distributed to educational institutions, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters and the Western Association of Broadcasters. The following transmitters would be deleted: CHAN-DT-2 Bowen Island, CHAN-DT-3 Squamish, CHAN-DT-5 Brackendale, CHAN-DT-6 Wilson Creek, CHAN-DT-7 Whistler, CHBC-TV-3 Oliver, CHBC-TV-4 Salmon Arm, CHBC-TV-5 Enderby, CHBC-TV-7 Skaha Lake (Ni’kwalla)/Penticton, CHBC-TV-8 Canoe, CHBC-TV-9 Apex Mountain, CHKL-DT-3 Revelstoke, CHKM-DT-1 Pritchard, CHRP-DT-2 Revelstoke, CISR-DT Santa Rosa, CISR-DT-1 Grand Forks, CITM-DT 100 Mile House, CITM-DT-1 Williams Lake, CITM-DT-2 Quesnel, CKKM-TV Oliver, CKTN-DT-2 Taghum, CKTN-TV-1 Castlegar, CKTN-TV-3 Nelson, CKTN-TV-4 Creston, CICT-TV-1 Drumheller, CICT-TV-2 Banff, CISA-TV-1 Burmis, CISA-TV-2 Brooks, CISA-TV-3 Coleman, CISA-TV-4 Waterton Park, CISA-TV-5 Pincher Creek, CFRE-TV-2 Fort Qu’Appelle, CIHF-DT-11 Woodstock, CIHF-DT-12 St. Stephen, CIHF-DT-13 Miramichi, Nova Scotia CIHF-DT-4 Truro, CIHF-DT-6 Bridgewater, CIHF-DT-8 New Glasgow, CIHF-DT-9 Shelburne, CIHF-DT-10 Yarmouth, CIHF-DT-15 Antigonish, CIHF-DT-16 Mulgrave, CHEX-TV-1 Bancroft, and CKWS-TV-3 Smiths Falls.
CKNW aired a 75th Anniversary broadcast on August 15, live on location from New Westminster where the station first went to air August 15, 1944. CKNW was Vancouver’s first country music station and was the first in the region to air hourly newscasts. It was also the first station in B.C. to broadcast 24 hours a day, starting in 1947.
In the fall, Global Lethbridge officially opened the doors to new studio space in the city’s downtown core on 7th Street South. The station moved from its original home on 28 Street North, where it had been broadcasting from since November 1955.
Corus asked the CRTC for flexibility to spend 10% less on Canadian programming expenditures in the upcoming fiscal year and then make up the difference before the end of its licence term in August of 2022. The amendments were requested as part of conditions of licence attached to Corus’ English-language television stations and discretionary services.
Corus Entertainment went to court to seek an injunction that would prohibit Harvard Broadcasting from using the Power 107 brand in Edmonton or any name that included the word Power. The case centred around Corus’ former Power 92 Top 40 station. While the station was rebranded in 2004, Corus alleged that Harvard’s CJNW-FM had not only adopted the name, but its distinctive black and white branding and ‘phrase that pays’ contest slogan. Harvard rebranded Hot 107 to Power 107 in August. Harvard’s statement of defence said Corus had no legal claim to the Power brand. Corus won the court case and Harvard announced it would rename Power 107. CKPW later changed its name to Play 107.
In February, Corus appointed three new independent members to its Board of Directors, bringing the total membership to 12. Alex Carloss was a principal at N3TWORK Inc. Stephanie Coyles was a corporate director (Sun Life Financial and Metro Inc.) Sameer Deen was Chief Digital Officer at Univision Communications Inc.
Global Montreal employees, represented by CUPE, who’d been without an agreement since August of 2019, rejected a final offer from Corus. The union said 91% voted against the collective agreement renewal offer. The more than 40 employees included journalists, video journalists, and technical and support staff.
In June, Corus confirmed that Jump! Ottawa was the company’s only remaining station carrying the syndicated American morning show, Brooke & Jeffrey. Formerly Brooke & Jubal, the show had previously aired on Energy 95.3 Hamilton and Chuck @ 92.5 Edmonton.
Corus struck an agreement with NBCUniversal that gave it exclusive rights to air Peacock Original programming in Canada. The deal included a selection of original scripted and unscripted content, along with movies and specials.
In late July, Corus initiated restructuring with layoffs hitting the Global News network digital desk as part of a move away from supporting lifestyle, entertainment, and social media teams. There were also layoffs at Corus Radio, including CFPL London mid-morning talk show host Craig Needles, and CHED Edmonton City Hall reporter Scott Johnston. Toronto-based TV positions impacted included Global News Morning Toronto co-host Jennifer Valentyne, and sports anchor/reporters Rob Leth and Anthony Bruno. The restructuring did result in the creation of a number of new positions, including a Director of Network News Programming overseeing network news specials and shows, including new weekly, long-form and investigative program, The New Reality.
Corus Radio announced that Willy in the Morning, the Rock 101 Vancouver-based morning show that expanded to Q107 Calgary last year, would now also be heard on Edmonton’s CHUCK @ 92.5 starting August 24.
In the late summer, Drex left the late night talk network show, The Shift. He was replaced in September by Jawn Jang. The Global News Radio network also introduced The Joel Matlin Entrepreneur Show to its lineup. Matlin was the former president and founder of AlarmForce.
Tracy Tong took over anchoring Global Montreal’s supper hour newscasts in September. Tong helmed the newscasts out of Toronto, following senior anchor Jamie Orchard’s release in August as part of ongoing layoffs at Corus.
Corus Entertainment Inc. Radio Stations
(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)
|London/St. Thomas, ON|
|North York, ON|
|Toronto (Brampton), ON|
|North York, ON|
|Red Deer, AB|
|Red Deer, AB|
Corus Entertainment Inc. Television Stations
(Click on the call letters to view individual station histories)
|Quebec City, QC|