Rob Farina Named Head of iHeartRadio, Syndication, and Strategic Initiatives, Bell Media Radio
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TORONTO (December 15, 2016) – Randy Lennox, President, Broadcasting and Content, Bell Media announced the appointment today of Rob Farina to the role of Head of iHeartRadio, Syndication, and Strategic Initiatives, Bell Media Radio.

After joining Bell Media seven months ago as Senior Advisor for the launch of iHeartRadio Canada, Farina’s role now expands to include responsibility for growing Orbyt Media, Canada’s premier radio content syndication group, and implementing new strategic radio initiatives in coordination with David Corey, Vice-President of Radio Programming. Farina will continue to lead iHeartRadio Canada, with the responsibility of increasing iHeartRadio subscriptions and planning and executing all iHeartRadio events.

“Rob has played a vital role in the successful launch of iHeartRadio in Canada, a truly game-changing digital listening and experiential service,” said Randy Lennox. “We look forward to continuing to elevate this brand across Canada with Rob’s experience and strategic insight.”

“With the iHeartRadio Canada brand successfully launched, I am thrilled to continue working in this newly expanded capacity with Randy and the entire Bell Media Radio division,” said Farina. “With the success of the sold-out, inaugural iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball concert in November, momentum for the brand keeps building as we prepare to launch additional events and initiatives. I’m excited to be part of what’s to come.”

Farina was Program Director for Toronto’s 104.5 CHUM FM, then Vice-President of Programming for CHUM Radio, before joining Astral as Executive Vice-President, Content and Platforms. He moved to Los Angeles to launch Black Box, a music company that provides strategy, artist development, and digital marketing services. Farina was also Vice-President, Programming and Innovation for Rogers Media’s radio division, and served on the Senior Content Council at Rogers.

CiTR 101.9 FM Vancouver
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Kim Pemberton (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver — A huge stash of archived radio clips that was in danger of disappearing forever has found a new audience online.

The University of B.C.’s radio station, which began as a student club in 1938 and continues to flourish today as CiTR 101.9 FM, has been amassing audio clips since the 1940s.

Students and community members who used the station to hone their skills could see multiple boxes containing dusty tapes looming above them as they created new broadcasts. And as time passed, many of the reel-to-reel recordings, which spanned five decades, were in danger of deteriorating completely.

“We had moved some boxes of these old tapes to UBC’s archive but it seemed sad to have it all sitting there and no one could listen to it,” said CiTR’s programming director Sarah Cordingley, whose station no longer had the machines to play the old reel-to-reel recordings.

Now, after a three-year effort, more than 500 of these old recordings — including music programs, documentaries, public service announcements and live music broadcasts — have been digitized and made available to the public free of charge via UBC’s Library Open Collections website.

Cordingley said the station had already begun digitizing its music library of more than 35,000 CDs to make it easier for DJs to manage, so they decided the same process needed to be done with the old reel-to-reel tapes.

Fundraising began at the station in 2010, and in 2013 UBC’s Library Digitization Centre and the UBC University Archives partnered with CiTR to begin the process of recording and uploading the reel-to-reel collection.

The first order of business was getting machines that could actually play the tapes. Reel-to-reel is a type of magnetic tape recording that precedes the cassette. Large machines would spin the spools of tape that differ in speed and width.

Back in the day, reel-to-reel edits were made manually by cutting and splicing together pieces of tape. Today, everything is done on a computer.

Cordingley said listening to some of the recordings gives a voice to the past. Listeners can get a sense of what campus was like in the early days by listening to everything from “adorable old ads” to obscure Vancouver bands, she said.

One of the highlights for Cordingley was hearing a clip of her former professor interviewing legendary rock musician Lou Reed in 1977. The 14-minute recording, created by Bruce Baugh, was titled “special part #1” — but unfortunately the second part couldn’t be found.

Another loss was not having the full recording of Vancouver punk-rock band the Modernettes‘ 1982 concert at the ballroom of UBC’s student union building. On the surviving footage, the Modernettes — which featured former Vancouver Sun reporter John Armstrong, a.k.a. Buck Cherry — play a cover of the Monkees’ You Just May Be The One, before they can be heard flogging Modernettes T-shirts for $7 each and warning students that the bar was closing.

Other highlights from the collection include some of the first Women’s Studies lectures at UBC and news segments about Expo ’86.

The audio collection can be found at

For Hockey Night In Canada Employees, The Party Is Over
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David Shoalts

The Globe and Mail

In September 2014, Rogers Media held a three-day seminar for the staff of its new NHL broadcasts at Toronto’s exclusive Shangri-La Hotel. It was followed by a lavish party at the equally posh Ritz-Carlton.

The emphasis for employees at the glitzy party was the dawn of a new era for staid old Hockey Night In Canada: They would be producing more games on more nights and in a more high-tech manner that would appeal to younger audiences. Ron MacLean, the veteran Hockey Night host, was pushed aside in favour of younger, hipper George Stroumboulopoulos in Rogers’ bid to recoup the record $5.2-billion it agreed to pay the NHL over 12 years for the Canadian national broadcast rights.

But two seasons into the contract, it appears the company overestimated fans’ and sponsors’ appetite for televised hockey. So after a year when postseason ratings were further hurt by the failure of Canada’s seven NHL teams to make the playoffs, Rogers is cutting costs and staff.

Rogers, which confirmed Monday that Stroumboulopoulos is out and MacLean is getting the Hockey Night host job back, cut deeply into its hockey broadcast personnel. Eight broadcasters, including Stroumboulopoulos, lost their jobs; seven were dismissed outright, with the biggest surprise being Glenn Healy, who was the between-the-benches analyst on Hockey Night’s No. 1 crew. Damien Cox was removed as a Hockey Night panelist but was given a radio job as Bob McCown’s co-host on Toronto station Sportsnet The Fan 590’s Prime Time Sports.

The party is over.

“We were at the Ritz-Carlton, it was a crazy party and there was so much hope and excitement,” said one Rogers employee who survived the purge. “Half the people at that party are unemployed today. It’s just brutal.”

P.J. Stock, Billy Jaffe, Chantal Desjardins, Corey Hirsch and Leah Hextall were the other on- air staff to be released. The 5 p.m. NHL Saturday pre-game show on Sportsnet 360 was cancelled. And Sportsnet president Scott Moore said five producers were laid off as well as other behind-the-scenes workers, bringing the total job losses over the last three months to “less than 14.”

However, given the number of job classifications on the hockey broadcasts, from full-time Rogers staff to employees on loan from the CBC to freelancers and contract workers, it is difficult to confirm exactly how many people were affected.

“Two years ago we made some changes to Hockey Night In Canada, we were enthusiastic about the changes, but at end of the day they did not resonate with hardcore hockey fans,” Moore said of Rogers’ about-face and the sacking of Stroumboulopoulos. “Ron [MacLean] is a tremendous host, and bringing him back to the program along with David Amber will resonate with those fans.”

Amber was promoted from reporter to host of the late Saturday games on Hockey Night to allow MacLean to continue as Don Cherry’s sidekick on Coach’s Corner as well as remain host of the Sunday night show, Hometown Hockey. That show requires MacLean to broadcast live from communities across Canada, which involves much travel between Saturday and Sunday.

MacLean said his return came with “mixed emotions” due to the departure of Stroumboulopoulos, who endured heavy criticism on social media and other online forums. “George, for two years, probably put up with a lot. He kept coming and being a great colleague,” MacLean said.

Stroumboulopoulos, who embarked on a motorcycle ride to his home in Los Angeles last week when news of the move slipped out, has not commented. But he made his feelings known yesterday when he changed his Twitter profile picture to one in which he and U.S. broadcaster Keith Olbermann are arm-in-arm. Olbermann lambasted Moore repeatedly on Twitter for dumping Stroumboulopoulos.

Both Stroumboulopoulos and Healy, who each had multiple years left on their contracts, were targets on social media. Moore referenced that criticism in a conference call with reporters when he was asked for specifics on Stroumboulopoulos’s departure.

“That is a tough question but the answer lies with the audience,” Moore said. “He worked extremely hard, but at end of the day we are in the business of listening to our fans. And as much as he appealed to some different demographics, the hardcore hockey fan had trouble accepting that change.”

Healy was gracious about the loss of his job, declining to say much more than it was a great run beginning in 2001 when he was hired for Hockey Night by the CBC.

“I got a chance on Day 1 to work with [play-by-play broadcaster] Don Wittman, an absolute Hall of Famer, and in my last game, I worked with Jim Hughson,” Healy said, adding: “It’s a privilege to do it for how many years I’ve done it.”

Surviving the Hockey Night purge are panelists Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey and Nick Kypreos. Friedman will also be a regular on the Wednesday night panels with Doug MacLean, and Darren Millard stays as the host. Panelist John Shannon also survived.

The cuts were particularly deep among Rogers’s regional and freelance crews. Desjardins worked on Montreal Canadiens broadcasts, and Hextall appeared on Calgary Flames games. Hextall did manage to find work quickly as she was added to ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup of Hockey in September. Hirsch and Jaffe were freelancers.

Healy’s departure means that Hockey Night will use two-person broadcast crews next season – Hughson, on the No. 1 crew, will remain in the upstairs booth, while Craig Simpson will likely provide analysis from Healy’s old spot between the players’ benches.

Moore said the regional broadcasts for the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers will no longer have their own pre-game shows. There will be one national pre-game show for all regional games.

Humor: The Guy In The Radio
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By Jerry Nelson

Radio has always been an integral part of my life, much in the same way that having a steering wheel is an integral part of driving a car. In both cases, things simply wouldn’t be the same without it.

The radio that sat on our kitchen table when I was a kid was blue-green and about the size of a breadbox. An overheated tube had melted a hole in its plastic case, allowing an eerie glow and the aroma of hot electronics to escape.

I asked Dad how the radio worked, and he said that a miniature man lived inside. If I looked closely, Dad said, I could see the tiny guy in his tiny cowboy hat.

The fib was so detailed, it had to be true. I peered into the radio through its blowhole and imagined that I could see the Lilliputian announcer.

Radio became ever-more important in my teens. Radio kept me abreast of highbrow cultural developments, by which I mean the American Top 40. Without radio, I would never have heard “Chick-A-Boom” by Daddy Dewdrop.

I listened to the radio while milking cows, driving the tractor, and when I tried to create a romantic atmosphere in my car while “parking” with a date. I learned that “Chick-A-Boom” is not the best choice for the latter situation.

Radio is a powerful medium, which is why I was nervous as a goose in a featherbed factory when my book’s publisher signed me up for a national radio tour.

The words “national radio tour” might evoke a mental image of jetting around in a Gulfstream and visiting far-flung radio stations. This image would be erroneous.

A radio tour, I learned, is done from one’s home, using one’s landline phone. So much for sipping mimosas at 35,000 feet!

The tour was set to begin at 6:45 a.m. Getting up that early wasn’t a problem. Thanks to extreme apprehension, I was wide-eyed as an overcaffeinated lemur by 4:00 a.m.

“Who am I to be on the radio?” I asked myself as the digital alarm clock ticked down the minutes. “I often have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. Will I be able to talk and think at the same time?”

A fellow named Peter was to phone me shortly before air time. The appointed minute came . . . and went. Panic rising in my throat, I dialed his emergency number.

“We couldn’t get past your telemarketer blocker,” said Peter, sounding a bit miffed. “We’re running late, so this first one’s going to be a cold start.”
I was about to ask what he meant by “cold start” when I heard an announcer guy on the other end say, “And we’re live on the air with Jerry Nelson, author of the new book, Dear County Agent Guy. Good morning, Jerry!”

Yikes! I felt like a landlubber who’d been heaved into the deep end and told, “There you go. Swim!”

I floundered about best as I could until the 10 minutes were over. There was a click, and I heard Peter say, “OK, good. The next interview will begin shortly. Stand by.”

I was about to ask what he meant by “cold start” when I heard an announcer guy on the other end say, “And we’re live on the air with Jerry Nelson, author of the new book, Dear County Agent Guy. Good morning, Jerry!”

Yikes! I felt like a landlubber who’d been heaved into the deep end and told, “There you go. Swim!”

I floundered about best as I could until the 10 minutes were over. There was a click, and I heard Peter say, “OK, good. The next interview will begin shortly. Stand by.”

And so it went all day. I spoke with folks from upstate New York to Florida, from the Shenandoah Valley to sunny California. I would like to say that it became less nerve-wracking as the day went on, but that would be a fib.

I constantly worried that I would belch or cough or sneeze on live radio. I was concerned that our cat, Sparkles, would come to the door and demand to be petted by meowing loudly. Or that our dog, Sandy, might decide that this would be an opportune time to yell at the barn swallows flitting around our farmstead.

I had just started chatting with a station in Kentucky when the line went dead. Instant terror! Do I hang up? Stay on the line? I opted to stay on the line and call Peter with my cell phone.

“I don’t know what happened just now,” he said. “But the problem isn’t on our end.”

This was probably true. I imagined that Peter was in a room that’s stuffed to the rafters with jillion-dollar, starship-like electronics. I glanced at my desktop phone, an el-cheapo model that we bought at Saver Sam’s for $19.95.

Sometimes I would hear background chatter as Peter and his crew orchestrated their behind-the-scenes magic. I felt as if I were eavesdropping on the radio traffic of an Apollo mission. It was all too mind-blowing to contemplate for more than a minute.

By the end of the day, my pipes were sore, and I was frazzled. But I also had a heightened appreciation for that tiny guy who lives inside my radio.

Canada’s National Campus and Community Radio Stations
Group logo for AnnouncingAnnouncing 10 months, 2 weeks ago 1 post

Canada’s National Campus and Community Radio Station (NCRA) has launched a campaign to petition that Bell, Telus and Rogers “unlock” the use of the FM radio receiver on all applicable Canadian mobile phones.

The NCRA states it has support from the CBC network, and has partnered with US mobile radio app NextRadio, which helped launch an identical campaign in the US several years ago. The ongoing American campaign, called Free Radio on My Phone, is also backed by radio organizations such as NPR and American Public Media.

In its letter to members, NCRA says its aim is to turn on an FM chip inside Canadian devices that would allow them to access the FM radio frequency without the use of cellular data. It states that FM chips are most often pre-installed in smartphones, and acknowledges that some devices (including certain Sony and Blackberry devices) already have the feature enabled. Its aim, however, is for all devices to have access regardless of carrier or OEM, and to achieve that goal the NCRA is asking the general public to write, call and petition the major telecoms and the CRTC.

“These organizations want to keep these chips disabled because they make money off of data use, whereas the FM chips don’t require data,” says the letter, “The sector is interested in turning them on because it opens up more listening opportunities for people to hear FM radio.”

The NCRA and Free Radio on My Phone both note that aside from the obvious benefit of listening to free radio for entertainment, FM radio can also be the most reliable form of mass communication in emergency situations, such as the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

In what could be an encouraging sign for the Canadian campaign, its American counterpart has succeeded in making progress over the last few years. Those on the Sprint network in the US can now get free FM radio on all Android devices, and AT&T and Blu are rolling out the addition as well. T-Mobile is reported to be following suit late this year or early 2017. Apple, which holds a large share of the overall smartphone market, is holding out on enabling the feature, however.

MobileSyrup has reached out for comment to Bell, Telus and Rogers.

Update: Rogers has replied with the following comment, stating that it is the OEMs that have the power to enable FM chips, not them.

“We’re always looking to offer our customers new features on their devices. Enabling FM chips in our smartphone lineup requires the support of the device manufacturers and we’re working with them on any plans they have for FM radio.”

Bell has also replied that the onus lies on OEMs.

“Bell offers a number of devices in our line-up that support FM radio, from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Blackberry and other manufacturers. No special activation is required, but most manufacturers note the service requires a tethered headset to act as an FM antenna for clear reception.”

Telus echoes the other members of the big three’s statements.

“Most chipsets are capable of receiving FM radio, but not all the manufacturers turn on the functionality. TELUS has always sought to enrich its clients’ mobile experience with new features and a number of devices we offer support the FM radio app such as such as HTC M8, M9, Moto E, Moto G, BlackBerry devices 10.2 and greater.

Radio Make It Local
Group logo for AnnouncingAnnouncing 10 months, 2 weeks ago 1 post

“Yes!” was the answer to the question ‘Is it a good thing that a local radio station is based in the area it broadcasts to?’.

Dave Coull, the Group’s Content Director, confirmed that respondents had agreed that it was important that a radio station was based in the area it broadcasts to. “Except one, all 1,753 surveyed agreed,” he said. “If you genuinely want to produce proper local radio our listeners believe it’s better to be based in the area you serve” said Coull.

William Rogers, the Group’s Chief Executive, who announced the launch of Local Radio Day just ten days ago, said that the presence of a local station within the area it broadcasts to is clearly something local listener’s value because “they’ve made it clear that’s what they think.”

“Listeners are telling us that they want their local radio station to attend community events and address local issues” said Rogers. “When you couple that with 92% of respondents confirming they’d even campaign to save their local radio station should it be under threat of closure, the results are even more conclusive.”

Whilst the FM frequency continues to be the most popular platform for local radio by some margin, the need for it to be available across multiple platforms was also clear. The research confirmed that many listeners now listen to their local radio station on a variety of digital platforms including DAB, mobile app and online.

The importance of local news was highlighted in the research with 88% of respondents describing it as either extremely important or important to them. Where listeners get their local news from was also clarified. Those surveyed confirmed they are twice as likely to get their local news from their local radio station, whether that be on-air or online, as they were from local newspapers (all platforms) and regional TV (all platforms) combined.

“Whether it is the local news or the weather, having that content produced in the area it broadcasts to increases the likelihood that it will be correct, locally relevant and truly reflective of the location it is meant for,” Coull said.

On the 27th May some 40 local radio stations will be celebrating Local Radio Day, an initiative that will see events, tours and community events all focused on representing “proper local radio” and the impact it has on the communities it serves. “If other local radio stations would like to get involved we’d be delighted to hear from them” said Rogers.

How Does A Personality Affect Radio Station Loyalty?
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By: Kabelo Mekoa

The personality question is a challenge to all radio stations and each manages it differently here I share my thoughts about the matter.
Many may wonder why I started writing about radio… Well, it's simply the passion I have for the most challenging yet rewarding broadcasting medium.

Today I'm talking about something that challenges a lot of program directors whether to place the radio personality before the radio station brand or place the brand before the radio personality, although it isn't as simple as this of course.

The best example of good radio broadcasting to a great extent with limited personality in put on air from presenters are Primedia's 94.5 Kfm and 94.7 Highveld Stereo. It's all about the vibe, the great jingles, the fast-paced hot clock, good radio voices who can link limited content in a short space of time, and emphasis on excellent music playlisting. Though I found these radio stations pleasant to listen to, I didn't feel like there's a relationship created between myself and the presenter, however.

Breakfast shows the drivers

Both radio stations program line-ups are driven by the breakfast shows and those personalities are given more space than the rest of the presenters. With Ryan O'Connor, for example, you cannot think of Kfm without thinking about Ryan and the other way around. However, what would happen should Ryan leave unceremoniously – which is not uncommon in the radio industry? What then? You don't have to look too far for the answer… Look at what happened when Jeremy Mansfield left Highveld Stereo or when Chomane Chomane left Lesedi FM – the radio station goes through a tough period of trying to hold on to its previous success and move on, but at the unfortunate cost of reduced advertising revenue and listenership.

What am I saying? As program directors are you looking towards the future by growing strong personalities in the line-up with a strong relationship with their audience to provide radio station brand loyalty? 5fm, Kaya FM and Metro FM are the best examples of placing more emphasis on the personalities because in each case the radio station brand is strong enough because of good relationships built between listeners and presenters.

The Macintosh example

In 2002, a certain brand by the name of Macintosh demonstrated that customers having strong interpersonal relationships with a single employee show less interest in alternatives: they show more cooperation, have a greater sense of identification, and actively promote and defend the service provider.

Radio isn't any different from the latter. Research done in Italy at Bocconi University in Milan shows the effects that radio personality satisfaction by the audience has on radio loyalty via satisfaction and radio personality loyalty. From the results gathered it was found that the radio brand in fact grew stronger with radio personality satisfaction than without.

Playing safe might not be the best option in the long term

With high egos that generally go with radio presenters its understandable why limiting their influence on the station's audience would be the safest option – but playing it safe may not be the best business decision in the long run. With internet radio coming fast and furious and more commercial radio stations starting up, your listeners can hear the same music elsewhere. But part of what can differentiate you from the others are your presenters; they are your best asset. Therefore, look after your presenters well so that they may look after your brand and grow it with you.

It is indeed because of the powerful effects that radio personalities have in radio today that I feel a radio demo from a prospective presenter isn't sufficient. Yes it is necessary, but you can have a presenter with an unpleasant voice or unique voice like Just Ice or Anele but they will yield great rewards for the station provided they are well managed and cared for.

Most Influential Radio Announcers All Time
Group logo for AnnouncingAnnouncing 3 years, 6 months ago 7 posts

I'm working on a project and need your help. Who are the most influential RADIO announcers of all-time?

Group logo for AnnouncingAnnouncing 3 years, 6 months ago 1 post

by Dan O'Day

Here’s how most radio program directors critique a show:

“Sounds good, lots of energy. You stepped on the vocal here…. There was some dead air here and here…..You forgot to read the liner card after the :05 stopset, and you’re not saying the call letters enough. Other than that, keep up the good work.”

Anyone can give a radio aircheck critique like that; a high school kid can count the number of call letter mentions or take out a stopwatch to see how long the air talent talks in a given break.

None of that helps the jock improve as a performer.

Many PDs don’t give more detailed and more frequent feedback because they don’t want to criticize their jocks…because they don’t want to hurt their feelings.

The first radio seminar I ever conducted was for a large group owner.

Part of the weekend was set aside for group critiques of the jocks in attendance.

Because I was new at conducting seminars, I hadn’t yet learned how to coax a group of people into giving candid critiques…

…so everyone was very polite when critiquing, because they didn’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings.

But there was one morning jock — his name was Mike — about whose aircheck everyone decided to give honest feedback.

I don’t know why his was singled out for such treatment; it certainly wasn’t the worst we had heard.

But one person offered a criticism, and someone else threw in another, and someone else chimed in with yet another criticism.

It was brutal.

We tore that aircheck apart.

And everyone (including me) felt sorry for Mike.

At the end of the seminar, Mike came up to me and said, “Of all the people here, I think I got the most out of this weekend. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten honest feedback on my show.”

It was a big lesson for me.

Ever since then, when giving feedback I try to be diplomatic, to be kind. But even more importantly, to be honest — even if it hurts.