Category Archives: Media

Dispatch from PAB09 #1

Podcasters Across Borders promised that PAB09 would bring it to the next level. “Sure, podcasting is about creating compelling audio or video, but media creation is so much more. It’s about building and engaging communities, using social media dynamics, and honing the skills we use in all aspects of our online presence.” Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, speakers and participants, the event last weekend did not disappoint.

Six String Nation ay PAB09 by LexnGer

Six String Nation at PAB09 by LexnGer

Due to a prior commitment last Friday night, I wasn’t able to make it to Kingston until Saturday morning. By all accounts, I missed an incredible time with Jowli Taylor of Six String Nation. “The goals of the Six String Nation project are simple: to invite the many voices and perspectives that together define the spectrum of Canadian identity and experience to speak to one another – each in their own voice; to celebrate the people and stories that make each part of Canada distinct; to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music – the language that Canada speaks just about better than anyone else in the world.” Alexa Clark, who documented PAB09 in photos,  writes: “Jowi Taylor of the Six String Nation project was the keynote at Podcasting Across Borders. WOW! He has lead the creation of a guitar which contains 64 pieces of Canadian History. It has inspired both the newest 50cent piece and a book. But the project still needs help to finish. Check”

I met Mark Blevis in the hotel lobby bright and early on the Saturday morning of PAB09. Mark is co-founder and co-organizer of Podcasters Across Borders. He was up first on Saturday and spoke about a Curiosity Manifesto and how so much of out thinking is goal and results-oriented. Mark spoke about how curiosity is not about the end, or finding an answer. At the end of his talk he presented his Curiosity Manifesto:

1. Asking one question is only the beginning

2. Seek a greater understanding, not a solution to problems

3. A curious attitude will set me free

Tod Maffin delivered a Jolt called JUICE: Getting Your Creative On. Here are my free-form notes:

Most people confuse inspiration with creativity. People don’t spend time talking and sourcing inspiration. You have to go out and do things. In your own space that’s not going happen. Go to art exhibit, an AA meeting, a meetup, go sit in an emergency room. Just be. Don’t do anything there.  You start to notice things. Look at things twice – a flower? Examine the soil. Boat horn?  Listen actively what comes next. Inspiration occurs in the absence. We need to take time for our brains to process things. We need to find a way to capture all this stuff. Like an idea book. You got to be able to pull it out and write it down. You need a creativity bank. Prime your brain – let your brain do things with processed images. Sit in a room by yourself for 3 minutes. Remember scenes and start your synapses firing. Eliminate things from the room if you can. Do it a second time 48-hours later, you’ll retain memory/learning for life. To be creative you have to find the best place to work. Pull something out of inspiration. Sing. Don’t block it.

Next up, Valerie Hunter who presented While You Weren’t Looking … From the visible to the audible

Valerie does video description. Here’s an example of her work.

Valerie described her creative process and workflow. The balance of providing context to a visual narrative and being inclusive in undertaking her work.

Links to learn more:

A new one: The Skagit Valley Herald

I got a media inquiry today from a reporter at the Skagit Valley Herald in Mt. Vernon, WA. One thing I love about working in communications is talking to reporters from all kinds of publications. Since my Loyalist j-school days, I’ve got a real soft-spot for local community journalism.

Today, the Herald reports in its top story that Bald Eagles have returned to the Mt. Vernon area in record numbers. "The snowy headed raptor with white tails have returned in
dramatically higher numbers this year to the Skagit River, where they
feast annually on the rotting carcasses of spawned out chum salmon."

For all my PR buddies: Have you heard from a reporter at an unusual or far-flung media outlet lately?

CBC Launches Podcasting Trial

is a process that puts audio files (or “podcasts”) online, and allows
software to find and download the files to a computer or personal media

The benefit – you get to listen to radio shows on your schedule, as opposed to trying to remember to tune in at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 in Newfoundland.

The CBC is conducting a 3-month trial podcasting Quirks and Quarks and /Nerd, Tod Maffin’s technology column. Armchair is into it.

CHUM Takeover approved: CRTC

According to a Canadian Press report, Friday the CRTC endorsed CHUM’s takeover of Craig Media and approved CHUM’s sale of Craig Media’s Toronto 1 to Quebecor’s TVA Group and Sun Media.

CHUM paid $256-million earlier this year for Craig Media. The purchase gives CHUM television stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

The Toronto 1 transfer follows CHUM’s $265-million purchase last spring of Calgary-based Craig Media, which included TV stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, where CHUM previously had no presence.

In Toronto, CHUM, controlled by its founding Waters family, already owned Citytv and undertook to divest itself of Toronto 1. It agreed in August to sell the station for $46 million to TVA, the largest privately owned French-language TV network in Canada, and Sun Media, whose holdings include the the Toronto Sun and the Edmonton Sun.

TVA and Sun Media are subsidiaries of the Quebecor Media division of Quebecor Inc., a major media and commercial printing conglomerate controlled by the Peladeau family.

As for sharing content between print and TV, "It’s certainly something we’re examining very carefully, but it’s too early to get into the details – we just got the licence today," said Luc Lavoie of Quebecor.

Family owned Craig Media encountered a financial crisis provoked in part by heavier than expected losses at Toronto 1.

Let the bundle wars begin: Bell Canada wins approval to deliver TV over phone lines

Last week, the CRTC approved Bell Canada’s application to deliver television over phone lines. The carrier has received approval to broadcast in 11 urban centres in Ontario and Quebec including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

According to the Canadian Press:

   In making its decision, the CRTC dismissed concerns of the cable industry that Bell would be able to use its dominance in the local telephony market to gain unfair advantage in the broadcast distribution market.

    “The commission is not persuaded by the arguments of interveners that the approval of Bell’s applications would have anti-competitive effects in either the local telephony or the broadcasting distribution market,” the CRTC said.

    “Should the applicant behave in an anti-competitive fashion, the commission is satisfied that it has adequate tools to address that behaviour.”

    The CRTC ruled that satellite television services, including Bell’s ExpressVu Inc., do not provide a sufficient competitive alternative to cable company offerings and it concluded that granting Bell the licences actually will improve competition.

Bell Canada is Canada’s largest incumbent phone company. It operates Sympatico, Canada’s biggest Internet service provider. The approval of broadcast licenses will add increased competition for "bundled" services in the delivery of communication products to consumers.

CRTC hears applications for Digital Radio

According to a story by Simon Tuck in the Globe and Mail, Sirius Canada Inc. told the CRTC this week it would have “total control”
over its content despite its close tie with partners in the U.S.

Commissioner Stuart Langford expressed doubt that the Canadian arm of the
operation would be given complete authority.

With the mandate to guard Canadian
culture in broadcasting, the CRTC “is hoping to secure as much domestic content
as possible” from the three applicants appearing before the commission.

hearings will help determine “the future of the Canadian digital radio industry,
a niche that some analysts describe as the fastest-growing consumer technology
in the

United States.”


The applicants are:

Canadian Satellite Radio, a joint venture with
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. Proposed to offer more than 100
channels, four of them Canadian, for a monthly fee of $12.99.

Sirius Satellite Radio Canada, a consortium that includes the CBC,
Standard Radio Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio, proposes more than
100 channels, including 2 new existing CBC stations and 2 new CBC channels, and
one produced by Standard. The price is set at $12.95/month.

CHUM Ltd. and Astral Media Inc. would distribute signals
from land-based terminals and offer service only in large cities. They propose
50 channels produced in

CHUM has promised each channel will offer at least 35% Canadian content, the
same level required for conventional music radio stations.

Publicity Stunt of the Week

Heck, it might even be up there with the publicity stunts of the year (lest we forget Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction”). Oprah & GM gave a new Pontiac G6 to every member of her studio audience for her 19th season kick-off.

pontiacg601As a measure of the stunt’s effectiveness, let us turn to the Yahoo! Buzz Index. According to the Buzz Log which tracks search spikes and trends, searches on “Oprah” were up 5,070% (each point is equal to 0.001% of users searching on Yahoo! on a given day). Searches for the Pontiac G6 reached the number one spot up 6,709% thanks to product placement. I hope someone in the GM universe is getting a big juicy bonus.