Media Monday Edmonton: Update #173

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • CBC Edmonton hosted an event last week to share information on its latest programming changes. Starting today, you can watch Edmonton AM on TV from 6-7am every weekday. The radio studio has been outfitted with video cameras and has been “spruced up” a bit for TV.

CBC Edmonton Radio

  • The reason for this new radio-on-TV approach is that they’re cutting an hour from the news in the evening (but they are mandated to have a certain number of hours of original local content…so this seems like a clever skirting of the intent of that requirement, but I digress). Starting October 5, CBC News Edmonton will run for just 30 minutes starting at 6pm (it currently runs 5-6:30pm), and will “focus more on context” while also pushing social media so viewers can “see themselves and be a part of the newscast.” The late night newscast will run from 11-11:30pm and will be anchored by Sandra Batson. The TV set is getting an update too.

Gary Cunliffe

And here are some less-local notes I wanted to share:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Twitter lovers: watch out for baseball bats!

I was in the mainstream media here in Edmonton twice today for Twitter-related stories. Basically, the local media’s love affair with Twitter continues! First up, Metro Edmonton (@metroedmonton). They asked me about politicians on Twitter, and specifically about Councillor Don Iveson, who I encouraged to join the service. Here’s my quote:

“It shows that governments are in the know, connected and paying attention to what people are passionate about,” said Edmonton tech guru Mack Male (@mastermaq). “Right now, young people seem to be big on Twitter.”

I was responding to the possibility that Councillor Iveson and others may use Twitter as a way to connect with a younger demographic. I think that’s totally possible, and I expect we’ll hear more about that at ChangeCamp. I think it’s great that Don has joined, and that it’s actually him tweeting.

Secondly today, I was a guest on CBC’s Wildrose Country phone-in program (@WRoseCBC). They were interested in my recent live tweeting of an Edmonton Symphony Orchestra event. One of the people who called in was ‘Bob’. He thought my tweeting was entirely disrespectful and said:

“mastermaq should be hit in the head with a baseball bat!”

I’m not sure why he felt the need to be so violent, but his reaction isn’t entirely surprising. Many people are afraid of social media because they don’t understand it, and they react accordingly. On air, I advised Bob and others like him not to focus on the individual, potentially meaningless tweets in isolation, but to recognize that once aggregated together, there’s incredible value in the noise that Twitter facilitates. It’s going to happen (helping you make sense of the clutter), whether Bob likes it or not. In the meantime, tweet away!

I also feel that the “disrespectful” feeling about tweeting is largely a generational thing that will change over time. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t think so. If everyone is used to others texting in a variety of situations, it’s no longer odd or abnormal. Perceptions will then fall in line.

I’m guessing that CBC will post the segment online, but I’m not sure – check the website for details. I’ll update this post with a link if they do.

Thanks to everyone who listened and sent me encouraging comments this afternoon during the CBC segment. I have to admit that having Bob on the show made the discussion a bit more interesting, and if that’s what it takes to get Twitter more accepted and into the mainstream, I say bring it on.

Just watch out for crazy people with baseball bats!

The CBC Olympic iPhone site rocks

We’re almost a week into the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and Canada still doesn’t have a medal. About a half an hour ago, swimmer Mike Brown finished fourth in what was probably our best shot at making the podium. Much to my surprise, the iPhone site at CBC was updated with the news almost immediately!

Swimming in Lane 5 at the National Aquatics Centre, the 24-year-old Brown touched the wall in a time of two minutes 9.03 seconds, missing the podium by just 9-100ths of a second.

Sad news, yes, but I’m really impressed with CBC. They have by far the best mobile site I’ve seen for following the Olympics.

Visit on your iPhone or iPod touch, and you’re presented with the screen to the right. Along the top is the menu bar which enables you to drill down into news related to your favorite sport. Underneath that are the overall medal standings with the three leaders and Canada. And underneath that are the latest Olympic headlines.

For me, the site is perfect. All I want to know at a glance are the medal standings and the headlines. I can quickly scan both, and if I want to, I can tap on a headline to read the entire story.

When I started looking for a good way to follow Olympic news on my iPod touch, I definitely didn’t think of CBC. The first thing I did was check the App Store, but there was nothing there that looked useful. So I started searching, and eventually came across the CBC site. I’m glad I did!

The only bad part about the site, of course, is that it’s getting tiring seeing the four red zeros beside Canada!

I haven’t watched too much of the Olympics on TV, pretty much just some of the major swimming finals. From what I’ve seen though, CBC has been doing a good job there too. I’ve read nothing but complaints about NBC online.

CBC's Great Canadian Wish List – pathetic, just pathetic

Post ImageI just read on Mashable about the CBC’s Great Canadian Wish List project. I hadn’t heard about it until now, but apparently the CBC created a Facebook group asking users to vote on their top 30 wishes. Mashable explains:

More than 16,000 people responded to the questions posed on this Facebook group, says the TV network, thus confirming that Canadian college kids are largely Christian right wingers. The results, of course, have no basis in fact: the Facebook voting has been hijacked by a group of conservatives involved in mass voting.

Abolish abortion? Restore the traditional definition of marriage? Bring about a spiritual revival? Are you kidding me? Do those “wishes” sound like something you’d expect from the largely secular, technology-savvy youth of our nation? I don’t think so. And sure, I’m painting with a broad brush here, but I don’t think I’m wrong.

I am kind of insulted that CBC acknowledges these “results” as news. I hardly think it is representative of Canadians in general. Their blog post makes no attempt to suggest that the results are highly unscientific. Did anyone at CBC think this through before going ahead? I applaud the use of Facebook, but seriously, do it right.

Very pathetic, CBC. Way to completely ignore your mandate.

Read: Mashable

Audio: Review of Dragon's Den Episode 1

Post ImageWednesday night was the first episode of CBC Television’s new business reality series, Dragon’s Den. I found out about the show a long time ago through VenturePrize when the show’s producers were looking for contestants. Dickson and I considered throwing our names in the hat, but we decided we didn’t necessarily want the exposure (at the time we still hadn’t launched Podcast Spot). After watching the first episode, two things were confirmed for me (barring any changes in future episodes):

  • Had we participated, we’d have been the youngest ones, which is pretty normal for us.
  • I think our idea would have fared really well compared with the other contestants.

What I didn’t expect, was that I wouldn’t really like the show! As a result, I decided to do a review. I have always thought that podcasting is a great way to do reviews, because they are usually somewhat boring to type and somewhat boring to read. It’s much more interesting to listen to or to watch a review I think. So with that in mind, here’s my audio review of the first episode of Dragon’s Den!

I’ll probably watch again next week, just to see if my opinions change at all. And to see if any of the contestants have really interesting ideas.

Read: Audio Review

Great Canadian Inventions

Post ImageAs usual (well when he decides to post anyway), Dickson has an interesting post up on his blog, this time about the CBC’s poll of the greatest Canadian inventions. There are 50 different inventions on the list, and CBC wants you to cast your vote. A special two-hour show featuring the inventions and a bunch of famous Canadians will air on January 3rd, 2007.

Here are my top ten picks (in no particular order):

  • Bloody Ceasar – Seriously, where would we be without this fine drink?
  • Canadarm – Showing them how it’s done in Space, since 1975.
  • Zipper – It’s the one thing I can properly operate after all those Caesars!
  • Poutine – When made right, super yummy.
  • Electron Microscope – Don’t forget about the small stuff!
  • Snowblower – Nothing says Canadian like a huge machine to move the fluffy white stuff around.
  • Insulin – A very worthy invention. Until the next major breakthrough renders it obsolete.
  • Wonderbra – I feel very proud to be Canadian right now.
  • Instant Replay – Though less important now thanks to TiVo and other PVRs, this is still a pretty cool invention.
  • Java Programming Language – Java is important to me for two reasons: it’s initial success partially led to the creation of .NET, and it’s continued bloat/politics/other problems clearly demonstrate why .NET is so much better now 😉

There’s some really interesting inventions on the list, some really old, and some more modern. It will be interesting to see how they are compared on the show.

What are your favorites?

Read: CBC

Commercial Free CBC?

Post ImageVia, I came across a post on the Canadian Journalist blog which explains that a recent senate report on Canadian media is recommending an ad-free CBC:

A Senate report on Canadian media recommends that CBC-TV become a commercial-free broadcaster. The report also recommends measures to prevent private media conglomerates from dominating newspaper, radio and television audiences in a single market.

The CBC proposal would mean the federal government would have to boost the corporation’s almost $1-billion annual budget to make up for the loss of advertising revenue.

First of all, have these people not heard of the Internet? There’s your solution to one media conglomerate dominating a single market. And then more importantly – more money for the CBC?! I don’t think so.

The post also mentions that the senate committee spent more than three years travelling the country, hearing from witnesses. I find it hard to believe these people gave them the idea that CBC needs more money. Maybe more money to produce something worth watching, but certainly not to have more of the crap we currently find on CBC. Seriously, there’s sports, crappy CBC shows, and decent BBC shows.

Here’s my recommendation: keep the radio and Internet properties, and get rid of CBC television. I’ve been thinking about this for a while actually, especially since CBC lost the contract for curling (there, even a link!). Here is my reasoning:

  • I don’t think a publicly-funded organization should be allowed to compete with private companies for contracts such as curling or the NHL broadcast rights.
  • I don’t agree with a publicly-funded organization running a for-profit entity, like Country Canada.
  • There is no compelling reason for CBC Television to exist. CTV, Global, City, and the other stations are all quite capable, and often cover news and events far better than CBC does anyway.
  • We could probably do far more with the budget currently spent on CBC.
  • We could get rid of Don Cherry and those other idiots, and Ron MacLean could move to TSN!

Okay that last one isn’t really a serious reason, but it would be awesome! The only time I ever watch CBC is for the hockey, and I don’t think I’m alone.

My only other suggestion would be to make CBC Television an entirely, 100%, Canadian-content channel that is not allowed to bid on sporting broadcast rights, play Hollywood movies, etc. No budget increases either. Then we could relax the requirement that Canadian broadcasters make sure at least 30% of their content is Canadian-created, and we might actually have some competition for American networks.

However, with our media becoming increasingly global, I wonder if we need television stations like CBC. I’m of the opinion that private enterprise will do a far better job of providing local and national content in the long run anyway.

Read: Canadian Journalist

Oilers force game 6!

Post ImageI just got back from Whyte Ave where Tom and I were walking around high-fiving everyone and of course, filming it all. The Oilers won tonite 4-3, and will now come back to Edmonton for Game 6. I’ll post that video later (also got more footage of craziness in the cars on Jasper Ave) but for now, let’s take a look at the game:

  • The Oilers won in overtime, on a breakaway goal by Fernando Pisani (shorthanded no less). I am so glad he got the breakaway, because he can actually score!
  • We got off to a good start tonite too, scoring just 16 seconds in.
  • Carolina scored all three of their goals on the powerplay. And really, if it wasn’t for the referees, they wouldn’t have even come close to forcing OT. The officiating was absolutely horrendous tonight – the NHL should be ashamed. If the new NHL is calling non-existent penalties and not calling the blatant ones, I don’t want it.
  • I also don’t like that they called a penalty against us in overtime. At that point in a knock-out game in the Stanley Cup Finals, you swallow the whistles! Only extremely horrible penalties should be called, otherwise, there’s no way the refs should be deciding a game.
  • Boo hoo, the ‘Canes had to deal with a time change for once. Cry me a goddamn river.
  • They also appear to be hurting, with lots of guys in and out of the dressing room tonight. Keep up the good work Torres!
  • Stellar game tonight for Pronger, who finished a +3. Hemsky also played very well. And no, Greene did not play badly at all. The penalties he was called for (especially one of them) were not penalties. I’m so glad Charlie Huddy was there to pump him back up on the bench.
  • Thank goodness MacT finally came to his senses and replaced Laraque with Harvey. He didn’t contribute offensively tonight, but he only played nine shifts. I think he’ll have a bigger impact in game 6.
  • Once again, Markkanen was awesome, making the key saves we needed him to make to keep the score close.

The other thing I wanted to mention – CBC blows. Bob Cole and Harry Neil are clearly Toronto fans, who do nothing but make the Oilers seem crappy when calling the game. They can’t say enough nice things about Carolina. But it wasn’t just them tonite, it was the whole broadcast. They only spoke to Oilers after the third and after the win, though they spoke to the injured Eric Cole and a few other Hurricanes like Brind’a-whore. They usually show a “back in time” clip, and what did they choose to show this evening? That’s right, a clip of the New York Islanders defeating the old Oilers. No footage of Rexall. No footage of Whyte. I got the general feeling that they expected, or maybe even wanted, Carolina to win as the broadcast just wasn’t balanced. The only redeeming quality of CBC is Ron Maclean. No, not Cherry, who is a complete idiot most of the time – stick to hockey Don. Coach’s Corner is not the time or place to be making political statements. And who cares if the scoring leaders are all Canadian? And how many times did we have to see Staal’s goal!? Jeez.

So the next game will be here in Edmonton. I know the hometown crowd is going to be crazy, so let’s hope the boys give it all they’ve got again. I think they outplayed Carolina tonight, despite what the scoresheet says (thanks alot you idiot referees) or what the announcers said (Bob and Harry are morons anyway).

Go Oilers Go!

CBC Radio Podcasts

Post ImageCBC has launched their updated podcasting initiative, with a broader array of content, an updated website, and regional podcasts. Tod Maffin explains:

It’s taken many months of planning, training, software development, and consultation — but I’m finally pleased to announce that CBC Radio is now making an unprecedented number of programs available for free download or subscription, including “best of” editions from THE CURRENT, DISPATCHES, DEFINITELY NOT THE OPERA, IDEAS, OUTFRONT, AS IT HAPPENS plus comprehensive highlight packages of regionally-based radio programs.

This is really great news for Canada and for CBC – I’m really happy that our national broadcaster is now one of the world’s leaders with regards to podcasting. You can check out all of the shows at the new website, If you’re in Alberta, you can subscribe to the new “Alberta This Week” show here.

Read: Tod Maffin

CBC Radio One coming to Edmonton FM

Post ImageLooks like Edmonton will be getting another FM station, this one run by CBC, according to radio-guru Tod Maffin:

The CRTC CRTC this morning approved CBC Radio CBC Radio’s request to add FM transmitters to serve listeners in Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

The AM transmitters in those cities will remain on to continue to serve outlying areas, but the Commission agreed with the CBC CBC that “urban growth, the construction of high-rise concrete and steel buildings, increased electrical noise from overhead wires, large and small appliances and portable radio transmitters have impeded the ability of its radio stations to deliver reliable high quality AM signals to listeners.”

I wonder if this will really have an impact on the number of listeners? I mean, I tune into 630 CHED when there is a program I want to hear (usually hockey), and that wouldn’t change if it were an FM station, its not like I’d randomly keep it on or anything.

Read: Tod Maffin