Woody's blog

Toronto – January 13, 2008 – Canada’s First and Only Dance Channel – bpm:tv honours the 30th annual Black History Month, in February, by spotlighting “artists of colour” from showbiz superstars to industry up-and-comers.

“These artists already have presence on bpm:tv, but February provides a theme that lends itself to bringing some of their work to the forefront,” according to Head of Programming Rosemary Fusca, “One of our other networks, ichannel, will be airing presentations of political and social relevance during Black History Month. On bpm:tv, the emphasis is all about amazing music and dance performances by some of the world’s most talented black artists.”

Starting February 2nd, “bpm spotlight” will feature a different performer, each weeknight at 9:30pm ET. Among the selected musicians, DJs and dancers:

· Green Velvet
· Carl Cox
· Luther Brown
· Ponytails and jaeblaze
· Jennifer Archibald
· Deko-ze and Donald Glaude
· Crystal Waters
· K-OS
· Jhevon Paris
· Sandy
· African Footprint

Tuesday, February 17th at 10:00pm ET, “Carl Cox and Friends” captures the venerable British DJ in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Cox’s guest stars include Kevin Saunderson, Richard Grey, Vladimere, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, Roni Size, and Saffron.

Toronto’s Caribana Festival is featured on a “bpm:tv Presents” on Monday, February 23rd, with coverage of the colourful festivities, along with comments from Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader John Tory.

On Tuesday, February 24th, a presentation of the South African music and dance theatre production “UMOJA” provides both live performances and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

bpm:tv is Canada’s first and only dance channel, the digital specialty network is available through most Canadian satellite and cable providers.

For more information, contact:
Rosemary Fusca, Head of Programming, (416) 756-5523, rfusca@stornoway.com

Television content suppliers: broadcast networks, specialty channels, and TV program producers are warily awaiting a statement by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission, the CRTC. Cable and satellite service providers are equally as anticipatory about the decision, which will be announced on Thursday, October 30th.

On that day, the CRTC will reveal the results of months of deliberation, on what the Canadian viewing public will watch on television and where they’ll be able to watch it. Among the many conditions being defined will be “What is basic cable?”, meaning what channels are included as “basic” and what broadcast properties are not. Which broadcasters and producers will receive public funding? How much Canadian content will each channel be required to carry? Currently, specialty channels must meet percentage requirements, while basic channels buy mostly American programming.

There is also an issue of cable and satellite service providers, or BDU’s, exercising control over how much subscribers must pay for each channel. Basic cable is…well, basic. Channels included under the “basic” category are available to everyone under one flat rate, while channels that are “specialty” cost extra, may not be available from some BDU’s, and certainly don’t get promoted in the same manner as their “basic” counterparts.

Summarily, the CRTC will determine the extent that Canadian television will truly represent diversity in our national media. Indirectly, they could possibly relegate a number of broadcast companies to relative exile, some production companies to imminent closure, and many broadcast technical and creative professionals to inevitable job loss.

The discussions and debates surrounding the CRTC’s decision process are covered in “TV WARS: Media, Money and the Battle for Canada’s Airwaves”, a Stornoway Productions documentary, airing on Stornoway Communications’ three digital channels:

· ichannel will air the program on Monday, October 27th at 7:00pm ET and on Wednesday, October 29th at 10pm ET.
· bpm:tv will feature the special on Wednesday, October 29th, at 9:00pm ET.
· The Pet Network will present the documentary on Wednesday, October 29th at 8:00pm ET.

As Ted Rogers stated in his autobiography, ‘Relentless – The True Story of the Man Behind Rogers Communications’, “We need companies that can tell Canadian stories and paint Canadian dreams.” Now, many await October 30th to find out if the CRTC will impose upon the cable / satellite industry the mandate to portray those words.

For further information, contact:
Rosemary Fusca, Head of Programming, (416) 756-5523, rfusca@stornoway.com

Toronto – September 30, 2008 – ichannel producer and host Kevin O’Keefe determined that the exponential increase in gay parental households or “The Gay-by Boom”, was a movement that warranted more examination and better understanding by the masses. He pitched the topic as a story idea to ichannel’s Head of Programming for the social issues show @issue. O’Keefe was delighted to receive support for not just one show, but a series.

“I attended a gay parenting class and met a number of gay couples who intended to have children. I thought ‘we have reached a time in our society when this is a subject that is suited for more media coverage’.” He adds that the show’s timing for broadcast on October 13th, 14th and 15th, was decided because of “National Coming Out Day” on October 11th.

The three part series, airing at 8:00pm each night, begins with O’Keefe’s own disclosure about being a gay man, who is considering fatherhood, “I figured it’s a series on gay parents, and it’s for National Coming Out Day. I can’t pretend I don’t have a vested interest in this topic, so I felt I had to say ‘I am gay’.”

In episode one, “Adoption”, we meet Mario and Stephen Howard a married couple who adopted a little girl. However, their new family has not come without a cost. The Howards say that they have lost about 90 percent of their gay friends, who are unsupportive of their decision to be parents.

In episode two, “Surrogacy”, we’re introduced to a family that took two women and two men to create. Drew Gyorke and Sam Wong fertilized eggs donated by one of the women; then, the eggs were implanted into a surrogate. Eight months later, she gave birth to twin girls. The cost of the surrogate / donor recruitment processes, medical procedures, and legal services is generally between fifty and one hundred thousand dollars, and according to one reproductive lawyer, surrogacy is a “legal minefield”.

The final installment is called “Co-Parenting”, and it looks at lesbians and gay men who have children together, although they are not married or romantically involved. The program features Heather Carlson, Mike Hall and their three-year-old son Shaw, whose lifestyle is similar to any other traditional nuclear family unit, except Heather has a girlfriend and Mike is a gay man.

The three-part “Gay-by Boom” series is one of ichannel’s new fall @issue shows; @issue airs weeknights at 8 and 11 Eastern and Pacific times. ichannel is available by subscription from cable and satellite providers across Canada; for more information on ichannel programming, visit www.ichannel.ca.

For further information, contact:
Rosemary Fusca, Head of Programming, (416) 756-5523, rfusca@stornoway.com
Kevin O’Keefe, Show Producer and Host, (416) 756-5505, kokeefe@ichannel.ca

TV WARS: Media, Money and the Battle for Canada’s Airwaves

Tonight, while Canadians settle down in front of their TVs, few will realize that a fierce battle is being waged over who will control what they get to see in their living-rooms in the future.

It is a battle that pits big cable, satellite and telephone companies against the broadcasters, producers and Canadian talent. Oligopolies against small independent broadcasters…Canada against the US…and private interests versus the public good.

It is a war over Canada’s airwaves. Who really owns them? Who should be policing the types of channels we can access? And just how independent, diverse and Canadian should our television universe be?

TV WARS: Media, Money and the Battle for Canada’s Airwaves is an investigative documentary special that delves into Canada’s most important cultural industry, and how that industry will fare in the future. Will Canadian values, opinions, ideas and stories survive if the Canadian broadcasting system is controlled by the cable, satellite and telephone companies, who not only own the means for television distribution, but also many of the channels available to Canadians? In an era of media ownership concentration, will there be any room for an independent voice in the brave new TV world?

Find out Wednesday, April 2 at 8pm and 11pm, and Sunday, April 6 at 9pm (ET).

Only on ichannel.

For more information, contact:
Rosemary Fusca, ichannel Head of Programming
(416) 756-5523, rfusca@stornoway.com