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SOWNY » Bell's Hail Mary Pass: Ask Supreme Court For Super Bowl Simsub Relief » Today 11:59 am

RadioActive
Replies: 5

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Since I hate both simsub and Bell, it's hard to feel bad for them. But the one thing that drove me crazy when this was a big story last year is that many of the reports I read always made it seem like the game wasn't available on CTV at all. Like somehow only the U.S. feed was there.  

That simply wasn't the case and won't be again this year. If you want to watch it on CTV and see all the boring spots for Canadian Tire and Tim Horton's, you're certainly welcome to. While there is a legitimate question about what rights are worth, the fact is you can watch it on either network (in fact if memory serves, didn't Bell also simulcast it on TSN to try to catch people unaware the U.S. feed was being offered?) 

All the CRTC did was give viewers a choice. Something that simsub has taken away from them for years. According to Bell's own loss estimates, the Canadian audience made that choice in droves. Which certainly tells you something. 

It's the main reason I have a TV antenna. So far, there's nothing Bell, the CRTC or anyone else can do to stop me from watching what I choose on what channel I choose over the air. It works for me, and best of all, Rogers and Bell never get a dime of my money. Whoever is victorious in the Super Bowl, that, to me, is the ultimate victory! 

SOWNY » Bell's Hail Mary Pass: Ask Supreme Court For Super Bowl Simsub Relief » Today 11:43 am

RadioActive
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There are just days to go before the Super Bowl airs for 2018, and Bell and the NFL haven't given up trying to reinstate simsub for their once prized possession. This time they're hoping no less a deity than the Supreme Court of Canada will hear their prayers for a stay on the CRTC-ordered cable non-substitution of the big game. 

So far, there's no sign the Supremes are listening or will take the case. If not, it means another year when Canadian cable/sat subscribers will get to choose which station they want to watch the game on, including those infamous and expensive U.S. spots that started the entire debacle in the first place.

This year's Super Bowl will come to an end when time runs out on the clock. But it appears this Bell fight will just go on and on and on. If the court decides to intervene, they'll have to do it soon - the game airs Feb. 4th on CTV - and NBC.

Bell seeks Supreme Court appeal over CRTC's Super Bowl ad decision  

SOWNY » A "Starz" Is Born: Bell Acquires Starz Content For Canada » Today 11:29 am

RadioActive
Replies: 3

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Most everyone here knows about HBO and Showtime, the two biggest pay cable networks in the U.S. Starz may be less well known in Canada, but it's about to make a bigger splash, after Bell gobbled up the rights to the American channel's programming. 
 
It will mean one of the Movie Network stations, Encore, will be renamed Starz. 

Bell Media signs deal with premium paid TV platform Starz to bring content to Canada   

When I read stuff like this, I can't help but wonder if Rogers ever regrets its move to shut down shomi, it's one-time counterpart to Bell's CraveTV. This is becoming an increasingly crowded - and lucrative - field for a lot of entertainment companies, most especially Netflix

Rogers was there and fled early, losing money, but possibly unaware of how big it would become. They surrendered the entire genre to Bell, which gobbled up all the rights to the big American shows from all the pay networks here for years to come. Even if they were to decide to jump back into the market, what in the world would they have to show on it?

Starz, for those who don't know, started out like all the other U.S. paycablers, showing almost all movies. When that became old hat and everybody had seen everything, they moved in to producing series and that's what Bell is counting on to make the deal worthwhile. 

SOWNY » 'LIke Frankenstein's lab': Massive 78-year-old transmitter for sale » Yesterday 9:51 pm

RadioActive
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It doesn't work anymore, but it used to - it was the workhorse of the old CBC shortwave service, Radio Canada International,  out of Sackville, N.B. The price for the museum piece: $5,000. How you get it out of there is another question entirely. 

'It's like Frankenstein's lab': Massive 78-year-old transmitter for sale

SOWNY » Tom Bauerle back from heart surgery » Yesterday 7:18 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 4

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His physical health is better. But you have to wonder if he's mentally well, after this infamous incident from just two years ago. 

Bauerle cites 'invisibility cloaking' technology in surveillance of his home  

SOWNY » 50 Yrs. Today Since A Ground Breaking Pioneer Debuted On TV » Yesterday 6:27 pm

RadioActive
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If you were watching NBC on January 22nd 1968, you saw something no one had ever seen before, a TV show so unusual it became a sensation. As a kid, it was, perhaps, my all time favourite and I never missed an episode. It was "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and in an era of short attention spans, it would likely fit right in today. 

What an amazing show. And what a legacy. It introduced us to Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Arte Johnson and more. It affected the English language, from "Sock It To Me" and "Very Interesting" to "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's!" I'm not sure, but I think it's the show that created the most catch phrases, some of which are still around today. ("Get Smart" might be a close second.)  It was also the very first TV program where the show continued as the credits were rolling - and even went beyond them, sometimes as long as 5 minutes. 

This sensational article with creator/producer George Schlatter looks back at the origins of the show, how they chose the cast, why Rowan and Martin almost weren't involved, what they got past the censors, those amazing characters, and how that infamous Richard Nixon guest appearance may have won him the presidency. 

What a show. If you were a fan and remember it as fondly as I do, this is a must read. You bet your sweet bippy.

'Laugh-In' at 50: How the Comedy Helped Elect Nixon and Set the Stage for 'SNL' 

SOWNY » Rescan Plan: New Buffalo Subcarrier On Channel 2.4 » Yesterday 3:53 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 7

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It's sometimes so site specific. WGRZ is one of the strongest signals into northern North York, but I have trouble with WIVB a lot of times. I can't wait for the repack switch, when they go on the WNLO tower, which, according to a Channel 4 engineer I spoke to, should vastly improve OTA reception in the GTA. 

Have you tried an amplifier? It's amazing what a difference it can make.  

SOWNY » DON IMUS...NO He's not Dead. » Yesterday 2:22 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 5

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Actually, John, it did, a few threads ago. You must have missed it. 

No worries. Happens to all of us at one time or another! 

Don Imus to end radio show on March 29/2018

SOWNY » Rogers terminates Vice partnership after just three years » Yesterday 1:56 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 4

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The Toronto Star story on this is a bit more detailed - including the startling fact that its ratings are so bad, the U.S. version of Vice - partly funded by HBO and comedian Bill Maher - reportedly only attracts an audience estimated at 55,000 viewers a day. Yikes! That's less than pathetic and is certainly unsustainable.

Despite that, Vice Canada insists it's still going to operate here. On what size budget remains unknown. 

The lure of attracting millennials was too much for everyone who jumped into this with both feet and open cash registers, but clearly that age cohort just isn't interested in this tightening Vice. 

Toronto Star: Viceland channel’s future uncertain as Rogers pulls plug 

SOWNY » Bell Wants Power Hike For Kitchener FM Due To ‘Super’ Buffalo Stn. » Yesterday 11:33 am

RadioActive
Replies: 7

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When Bell Media applied to take the old CKKW-AM off of 1090 for an FM swap at 99.5, the powers-that-be must have thought it was a no-brainer. Exchange a less than glistening mono signal for a full throated FM stereo outlet.
 
But be careful what you wish for. They’re now complaining to the CRTC that they need to boost their power from 4,300 watts to a much larger 37,500 watts. Why? It’s all because of WDCX-FM, the religious outlet in Buffalo, that’s known as a “super-parameter FM Class B station", broadcasting at an amazing 110,000 watts.
 
Apparently, WDCX just turned on an HD feed, and it’s so strong it’s locking in on radios in Kitchener instead of the local signal. Bell’s solution? Up the power to block it out.
 
“The existing frequency is well known to be subject to severe thermal ducting interference from co-channel station WDCX Buffalo,” its application states. “This is now exacerbated by the HD signal of WDCX overriding receivers tuned to CKKW-FM. The only solution is to increase the effective radiated power so as to override the extremely strong WDCX signals.”
 
But that’s not the only issue. Thanks to a very crowded dial, especially around that frequency, there are about a zillion other stations that could be affected by the move – including CKFM aka Virgin 99.9. Bell’s answer to that? Screw the people who live on the fringes. As Bell Media Radio owns CKFM-FM, it explicitly accepts the overlap,” its report states.
 
My problem with this is that Bell knew that WDCX was there and that it was always going to be a problem. But now it thinks it should get an almost 10X power increase to fight it. Given the CRTC’s endless battles against all those evil American signals leaking into Canada, I’m guessing they’ll probably get it.

But should they?

SOWNY » Don Imus to end radio show on March 29/2018 » Yesterday 11:15 am

RadioActive
Replies: 1

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This doesn't really come as any surprise, given how Cumulus overreached in its aspirations by acquiring too many stations and inevitably is heading towards the bankruptcy cliff. And it's not just Imus and WABC. 

Their legendary Chicago station, WLS-AM, is desperately trying to get out of lucrative contracts with the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, insisting they're not making enough money off them. Only Cumulus could figure out how to lose money on two of the biggest franchises in modern day sports, especially in a city where the Bulls are practically a religion.  

I fear there is a lot of heartache coming for those who toil for one of the biggest and most bloated media companies in North America. 

Bankrupt radio giant Cumulus seeks to cut contracts with Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls

SOWNY » Rescan Plan: New Buffalo Subcarrier On Channel 2.4 » Sun Jan 21 5:22 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 7

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While on the subject of rescanning, I just noticed something very strange. There's been a feed of "Laff TV" on WKBW's subcarrier 7.2 for a while now. For some unfathomable reason, it's also popped up on a WIVB subcarrier - on channel 4.4! This despite the fact Channel 4 doesn't have any other subcarriers occupying 4.2 or 4.3. Pretty strange considering these outlets are supposed to be exclusive to one station per market.  

SOWNY » Rescan Plan: New Buffalo Subcarrier On Channel 2.4 » Sun Jan 21 4:49 pm

RadioActive
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If you have an over the air TV antenna, it’s time to rescan because there’s a new subcarrier in town. Actually, that town is Buffalo, since there are no such counterparts in Canada.
 
WGRZ-TV has added a new outlet, on channel 2.4. It’s “Quest” and right now there’s a barker announcement on there explaining what’s coming. On most TVs, you’ll need to either rescan or try to tune it in separately if you want to get it. It officially debuts January 29th at 6 PM. 
 
So what, exactly, is “Quest?” According to its website (Forgive the caps – I don’t have the time or patience to change it):
 
“QUEST IS A 24/7 BROADCAST TELEVISION NETWORK THAT ENTERTAINS AND INFORMS ITS VIEWERS WITH EXHILARATING ADVENTURE PROGRAMMING ABOUT NATURE’S GREATEST DANGERS, HISTORY’S GREATEST MYSTERIES AND MAN’S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS.”
 
For whatever that’s worth. It's partly run by Tegna, which also owns WGRZ-TV.
 
You can get a look at some of the programming here.

SOWNY » Classic Rock And Roll Stories Relived On Local Radio » Sat Jan 20 11:07 pm

RadioActive
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Interesting show on NT1010 that I never heard before. (Apparently, this was its second edition.) It's called "Famous Lost Words" and it's hosted by former MuchMusic VJ Christopher Ward and CHUM-FM producer Tom Jokic.

The show digs up old interviews of rock legends and plays short excepts of them telling the stories of how groups formed, what inspired certain classic hits, memories of other stars and more. On the last half hour I heard, Mick Jagger offered observations on his relationship with the late George Harrison, Mamas & Papas lead singer Denny Doherty recalled a crazy story about how Mama Cass joined the group and the still intact Bee Gees talked about their 'new' disco sound.

If you like facts and stories about oldies from the people who made them, this sounds like a worthwhile hour.

Unfortunately, it airs between 10 and 11 PM on Saturday nights , not the most convenient time. But if you're near a radio then, it's worth sampling. There's also a podcast if you missed it.

http://www.iheartradio.ca/newstalk-1010/shows/famous-lost-words-1.3565936

Podcast: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/962-Famous-Lost-Words-28822975/

SOWNY » BBC Under Fire For Posting "Non-Whites" Only Job Ad » Fri Jan 19 2:06 pm

RadioActive
Replies: 8

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Not meaning to stir the pot or anything, but I find this story fascinating. I guess things really have come full circle. 

Radio 1 becomes latest BBC station to BAN white job applicants

SOWNY » It’s Not Just Bell - Rogers Accused Of Outrageous Sales Tactics » Fri Jan 19 1:11 pm

RadioActive
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You may remember a few months ago when the CBC posted a huge story alleging Bell was forcing the workers at its call centres to use high pressure tactics to sell customers services they don’t need. Among the more egregious examples cited was the case of a 90-year-old blind woman who was talked into purchasing an Internet package, despite the fact she could never use it.
 
Well, now the Corp. is at it again and imagine your surprise - it’s not just Bell that appears to be making what could be termed less than honourable pitches to its subscribers. In an eye-opening article published this week, it’s Rogers turn in the spotlight. And it doesn’t make them look any better.
 
Sources who work at Ted’s Big Red Machine say there is so much pressure for call centre workers to sell customers anything and everything that many are having near nervous breakdowns.

From the article: “[One employee] admits when he is "desperate" to earn sales points, he signs up seniors for internet service, and then tells them a technician is going to come to their house "to install a modem for their TV" — modems are required for internet, not TV.
 
"We're giving internet service to customers who actually do not have a computer," he says…"It feels really bad," he says. "But you have all this pressure on you. All your managers are around you, telling you to sell, sell, sell."
 
Another worker, Jessica Robinson, recently quit in disgust. She outlines the kinds of things she was made to do. “When I had my interview ... they actually asked me 'If an elderly lady calls in to cancel her sports package on her TV because her husband just died, are you going to convince her to keep it and add more?'" says Robinson.”
 
For its part, Rogers denies all the c

SOWNY » Radio listeners happily back "Under The Influence" » Fri Jan 19 7:52 am

RadioActive
Replies: 4

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It's "Touchdowns And Fumbles," the 11:30 AM segment on RB that airs every Friday. I like stuff that deals with the media, and both shows do.

SOWNY » Radio listeners happily back "Under The Influence" » Thu Jan 18 9:39 pm

RadioActive
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Agreed. I only have one or two appointment radio shows in a week and this is one of them. And if you miss an episode, they're available online here.

SOWNY » One Of The Most Dreaded Words In TV News Returns » Thu Jan 18 8:43 pm

RadioActive
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When is a person officially deemed “elderly?” The question came back up again on Thursday, after reporter Janice Golding was doing a stand-up at the scene of a fatal accident on CTV’s Toronto noon news.
 
Twice during her piece, Golding referred to the 73-year-old victim as “elderly.” Now in case you think this is another example of modern day political correctness gone mad, you should know that this discussion has been going on for years, even in the pre-social media days. The phones in the TV newsroom where I worked used to ring off the hook if someone called a person of a certain age “elderly.” And the bar for that apparently dreaded word kept moving.
 
“I’m only 69,”I remember one caller ranting in my ear. “And I don’t consider myself ‘elderly!’ Yet that woman on TV called a 70-year-old man that and I think you should apologize!” There were more just like him who phoned in that day, and it was a gripe we would hear for years, especially when the reporter uttering the apparently taboo word was fairly young.
 
So what’s the age threshold for terming someone “elderly,” especially when so many believe that 70 is the new 50? Is it OK at 75? 80? Surely someone at age 90 wouldn’t object. But there are a lot of sensitive ears out there and in this day and age, it seems everybody is just waiting for a reason to be offended.
 
My advice has always been to avoid the word altogether. But it appears some reporters just can’t follow that rule. Even if they’re “senior” correspondents.

SOWNY » Alex Pierson, Lior Samfiru & An AM 640 Wednesday Nightmare » Thu Jan 18 5:50 pm

RadioActive
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John D wrote:

I still don't know how to make a quote; but your comments on Earl are so true.  One night he asked me to be a guest on his sports show.  That was weird; as I was not born with the sports gene.  He said he had a special guest who wanted to talk to me.  OK..The show begins and Earl sets it all up.  "Now let's go to Penetanguishene , Ontario and here's John's Mother."  Now there RA I did turn white!  He went on to interview my Mom about me.  He had a hell of a sense of humour and was a brilliant writer.  I was proud of my Mom; as she and Earl had some fun that night.  I guess I did too. 

That was one of the hallmarks of his shtick. He did the same thing to none other than Don Cherry. This was long, long before he became a staple on Hockey Night In Canada. He sat Cherry down, talked hockey for a bit and then started asking him questions about his childhood. I remember him saying, "Were you ever spanked as a child?"

Cherry instantly got suspicious. "What's this leading up to?" he asked.

McRae's answer was classic. "Well, if you won't answer then we'll just have to ask your mother. Mrs. Cherry, are you there?" McRae was great at tracking down obscure people and you could almost hear Cherry turn bright red as his mom suddenly came on the air and began saying, "No, he was a good boy." And it went on from there. 

It was the first and probably the only time I've ever heard Cherry rendered almost speechless.

McRae was one of a kind and I'm sorry he never got a chance to do more local non-sports radio. 

SOWNY » Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4 » Thu Jan 18 4:33 pm

RadioActive
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Channel 26 only comes in sporadically at the castle here in northern North York. But it's one of the oddest HD stations I've ever seen. It's the only one I've heard of that has its HD signal on subcarrier 26.2, instead of the main channel. Never been sure why they did that. If the repack means some of the main network Buffalo affiliates come in better OTA in Toronto as a result of the change, I'm all for it. 

Just wish there was a better timeline on this thing.    

SOWNY » Alex Pierson, Lior Samfiru & An AM 640 Wednesday Nightmare » Thu Jan 18 4:21 pm

RadioActive
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John D wrote:

RadioActive?  I actually don't remember the incident.  That's not to say it didn't happen.  I do seriously congratulate you on remembering this. 

However RA, since there was only Earl and myself in the studio; at that time of the evening, I don't believe there was anyone there who could say I turned white; except maybe the late Earl.  As Bob Hope would say, "Thanks for the memories." 

I actually heard it happen that day and I'll never forget it. But as for you turning white, that was a story told to me by someone that worked at the station at the time. I was taking their word for it, although perhaps they were exaggerating. But I know for a fact it happened. The day after he was suspended, a good part of Open Line Sports Tonight was dedicated to whether Earl should have been given such a punishment.

As far as CJCL goes, it was an experiment in talk radio way, way ahead of its time. Robert Holiday (or as Earl called him "Robert The Station Vacation") was always a few years too soon with a lot of his ideas. I'm not sure that a talk/music hybrid would work today, but it was one of the first major talkers before this market was ready to accept that format. Nowadays, it would have fit right in. 

And one last thing. Earl McRae was an amazing man, a radio natural, and though he made his bones in sports during a lot of his years in journalism, I would give a lot to have heard him deal with regular everyday issues. Given how wonderfully weird that show was (remember when his Talbot the Talking Computer "exploded" on air after supposedly malfunctioning all program long? The sound effects of pieces that were still "falling" extended right into the Blue Jays game intro) it had the makings of a cult classic. We'll never know, of course, but I wish I could have heard him try it. 

[Edit: By the way, in case you've never seen it, here's a piece from Leslie Sole on that version of CJCL called [url=http://www.dynamixp.com/pdf/Opinion%202004-05_Sole-_

SOWNY » Alex Pierson, Lior Samfiru & An AM 640 Wednesday Nightmare » Thu Jan 18 12:17 am

RadioActive
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mic'em wrote:

I also was tuned in , stuck in traffic on 403. Very painful to listen to  but yet I couldn't hit a preset. It was fascinating in a bizarre way to see how long it would go on for. When the show finally did kick in, it was obviously a repeat of a previous show. My guess is the technical glitch was not a quick fix or Lior and John just said ef it and went home. I didn't realize until tonight that Lior does the show off site. I also sympathize with the board op who must have been in full panic mode. The gal doing the 8 pm news really sounded rattled as well. But, it will not phase me from tuning in tomorrow.

It's interesting how these things are like a car wreck, especially to radio people. You want to look away, but somehow you just can't until it's over with. I once  'listened' to 7 minutes of static after a station went off the air in mid-sentence, just to see how long it would go on.

In my very first job in radio, I met the most unflappable engineer I've ever seen. He was fixing something in the control room, when the record that was playing on air (yes, we used records back then) suddenly slowed down and stopped, leaving dead air.

"Dave," I said in a panic. "What the hell just happened?"

He said, "This," and proceeded to plug the turntable he'd accidentally disconnected back in. It started with a huge 'wow' but we were back in business.

SOWNY » Alex Pierson, Lior Samfiru & An AM 640 Wednesday Nightmare » Wed Jan 17 8:07 pm

RadioActive
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I couldn’t quite believe what I heard on AM 640 Wednesday night. But I was squirming in sympathy with whoever was behind the board.
 
It started after Alex Pierson gave her opening commentary at 7 PM. Everything went fine until she had to introduce “The Employment Hour.” She welcomed her audience to “Lior Fiorino.” And then, about 30 seconds later, she said “Fiorino” again.
 
I say this with no intent to make fun of anyone but I seriously wonder if Alex has some sort of leaning disability. Because I’ve heard her mangle names – often the same names, despite being corrected just seconds earlier – over and over and over. Enough so that she makes Jim Richards, who suffers from dyslexia, look good.
 
When she was on CFRB, she simply could not pronounce Jerry Agar’s last name properly. She continually called him Ugh-ar, instead of the correct Ay-gar. And as far as I know, she never got it right in all the time she was there.
 
And it’s not just names. I’ve also heard her call a “bagel” a “bag-ell.” Every time that word comes up, it’s the same mispronunciation. And now Fiorino, which isn’t even close to Samfiru. And those are just three examples of dozens I’ve heard since her show began.
 
I’m not sure how you cure this kind of affliction, if indeed she suffers from it. But it’s certainly an unfortunate problem for a newsperson who interviews a lot of people to have. Despite all that, I actually like her show and I wish her success. Just maybe have the guest introduce themselves. 
 
Still, the “Fiorino” thing was just a prelude to what came next. After John Scholes began his intro to the Employment Hour, there was at least two minutes of dead air, in which you could hear someone typing on a computer – and nothing else.
 
After what seemed like an eternity, Samfiru’s voice came on saying, “I can’t hear anything.” There was more silence, followed by Lior sighing and in a disgusted way intoning something like,

SOWNY » Whatever Happened To Canadian TV Call Letters? » Wed Jan 17 7:56 pm

RadioActive
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Retaw wrote:

Re: bugs

Just be happy watermarking shows with hashtags was a very shortlived thing.

I don't know. I still see them on shows like "This Is Us." And they usually get put up at a key emotional point in the broadcast, as if someone in the publicity department decided this is the highlight. It always bugs (there's that word again!) me and I wish they'd stop it.

SOWNY » Whatever Happened To Canadian TV Call Letters? » Wed Jan 17 5:46 pm

RadioActive
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AMFM wrote:

This may not be a part of this thread; but it gives me an opportunity to gripe about the Channel logo in the lower right hand side of the screen.  The bigger the HD TV the bigger the logo.  It's not even all the way over to the right side.  It's a couple of inches above and to the left of the side of the screen.  Eventually you stop paying attention to it; but it sure is distracting at times.  Why can't it come on screen for a few seconds then just bloody disappear.  Annoying.  You notice the Channel LOGO is never on screen when there is a commercial.  Oh No.  Can't have that.

They're called "bugs" (how appropriate) and you will be hard pressed to find a single channel that doesn't use them (well, except maybe for Turner Classic Movies.) I first saw them go into widespread use a number of years ago, when they started during local newscasts, presumably to help those with the old ratings diaries have no trouble identifying who they were watching. (I remember my old news director calling "where's my bug?" at the top of his lungs in the control room when they first went into effect.)

From there, these insidious video insects spread to the entire daypart. And with an exploding channel universe, they're not likely to disappear anytime soon.

Far worse, though, are those increasingly common moving ad ribbons that appear during a show, extending advertising right into the middle of your favourite show. CTV is especially annoying, but a lot of the U.S. networks have started using them to promote upcoming shows. (If I see one more Olympics mountain or Jimmy Fallon visual at the bottom of my screen on NBC, I may throw something at the TV.)

Yesterday, I was watching a show on the CW and right after a four minute commercial break came a 15 sec. banner for "Cellino & Barnes," the lawyers whose two owners are actually suing each other. It aired during the show and I found it extremely irritating. But get used to it. As stations lose viewers (possib

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