Media Beat: July 12, 2021


Massive film and TV studio to be built in Toronto

Hackman Capital Partners is planning to build a major film and TV production studio complex at the Downsview Airport Lands in northwest Toronto. The site spans 370 acres and will include stages ranging from 20K to 80K square feet. – Chris Evans, KFTV

Cathy Jones’ 22 Minutes at the CBC are up

Though Jones is not at liberty to discuss the details of her departure, she denies rumours that she was fired because of political differences or a refusal to comply with Covid-19 protocols. While the comedian is vocally against both masks and vaccines, she states that her relationship with 22 Minutes and its production company remains positive. – Gabrielle Drolet, The Coast

Oscar Peterson doc among Bell Media’s super-sized 2021-22 season lineup

Bell Media recently confirmed a robust Canadian content lineup of more than 75 titles for its 2021-22 season, featuring orders of new original series, documentaries, and specials. Among them, a Crave original doc about jazz legend Oscar Peterson featuring exclusive interviews with Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis. – The Suburban

New AFN chief commits to whistleblower policy

Just days after a report on allegations of bullying and harassment against Chief RoseAnne Archibald was leaked — and hours after she was elected the new national chief of the Assembly of First Nations — Archibald said today she would support the implementation of a whistleblower policy at the AFM. – Rhiannon Johnson, CBC News

Dialing in for radio funeral announcements

I remember hearing these announcements as a kid during family car trips to Sydney River. I don’t recall hearing these on city radio stations, notably CHNS or CJCH, which were often on in our house. I do remember hearing some of these announcements a couple of summers ago while travelling along the South Shore.

I was curious how common these announcements still are, so I called a few stations and learned that many stations do have these announcements. – Jailhouse Parker, Halifax Examiner

Netflix hires first podcast director

Netflix has hired N’Jeri Eaton, previously head of content for Apple Podcasts, to lead podcasting for the streaming giant’s marketing division.

Prior to joining Apple, Eaton worked at NPR for four years, most recently as senior manager of program acquisitions. At NPR, she sourced new talent, partnerships and content including “Believed” (a Peabody Award winner), “White Lies” (a Pulitzer Prize finalist) and “No Compromise,” an investigative podcast about gun rights activists (which won the 2021 Pulitzer for audio reporting). – Todd Spangler, Variety

Chameleon ownership and toilet maintenance: the best obscure podcasts

Podcasting is frequently hailed as a democratic medium, meaning anyone with an internet connection and a recording device can cobble one together. For listeners, this is both a blessing and a curse: just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Nonetheless, this brave new world of audio has yielded a host of unexpected themes and formats which, in ye olden days of radio, would have been laughed off the airwaves. All are testament to podcasting’s indulgence of niche and, frankly, weird pursuits. Behold the crème de la crème of obscure stuff to stick in your ears. – Fiona Sturges, The Guardian

Newspaper gunman killed 5 in revenge for article

The man who murdered five people at a Maryland newspaper acted out of revenge for an article about his prior harassment case that he believed would hurt his ability to get dates with women, a prosecutor said Thursday during a trial to determine whether the shooter is criminally responsible due to insanity. – Brian Witte, AP

Amazon’s Pay-to-Play racket

In the best traditions of Tony Soprano and other strong-arm artists, Amazon uses threats and coercion to gain ownership positions in companies it does business with.

In a front page story this week, The Wall Street Journal exposed how “Amazon Demands One More Thing from Some Vendors: A Piece of Their Company.”

According to the Journal, if companies want to do business with Amazon they might find that there’s a little catch: “the right for Amazon to buy big stakes in their companies at potentially steep discounts to market value.”

An offer they can’t refuse: The Journal reported…”executives at several of the companies said they felt they couldn’t refuse Amazon’s push for the right to buy the stock…”

Other highlights:
   – Amazon has gained ownership in 75 private companies this way
   – They’ve also coerced publicly traded companies to issue them “warrants” which allow them to buy future stock at current prices
   – The value of these deals “amount(s) to billions of dollars across companies that provide everything from call-center