Let’s cut to the chase.
The Juno’s real power broker is CTV. Not the Canadian Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
That CTV makes many of the decisions with the annual Junos is again evidenced
Firstly, on Jan. 29 just after 7 P.M EST—about 10 minutes after CTV’s “Eh Talk” began airing with the news (and too late for the days news cycle for most media), CTV and the CARAS announced via email to national media that Feist, Finger Eleven and Michael Buble are slated to perform on the 2008 Juno Awards being held April 6 from Calgary’s Pengrowth Saddledome.
It has since been announced that Avril Lavigne, Measha Brueggergosman and
Anne Murray will also perform. Murray, in particular, insures a strong viewing audience for the Juno broadcast.
Secondly, the Juno nominees were announced at a press conference held in
Toronto on February 5th, at the media witching hour of 8:30 A.M. EST
Why the early announcement time which is unprecedented for a Juno media
Well, a portion of the Juno nominee media conference was broadcast live on
“Canada AM” on CTV and CTV Newsnet, on the CTV Broadband Network at CTV.ca and for a 30-minute special on “Star!” starting at 8:30 EST.
Couldn’t everyone in Toronto’s music and media communities, you ask, stay home, sip a morning coffee, and watch the press conference live on CTV’s program platforms?
Certainly, few artists, booking agents, or managers were on hand for the 8:30 A.M. roll-out but there was an impressive turnout of media, a handful still muttering about being scooped by CTV’s morning programs.
Few major label personnel turned up….other than label publicists. Most label executives have been skipping the Juno nominee press conference in recent years. It isn’t exactly a hot ticket being that its entertainment value is on par with karaoke night in Wawa, Ontario.
Thirdly, the juxtaposition of credits on the Juno press releases is revealing.
CTV gets top bill in all of the releases….with credits in the body of releases’ text and with all quotes.
To its credit, CTV has greatly refreshed the Juno franchise since taking it over in 2000. It had suffered almost a decade of neglect with public broadcaster CBC-TV which rarely seemed to boost the show.
However, there is growing concern with many that CTV uses the Junos to overly
benefit its entertainment properties.
CARAS should be more vigilant of the media optics surrounding the Junos. It is not only a CTV program; it is the Canadian music industry’s major event of the year. CARAS is the guardian of the awards; CTV is the hired help.
How many people can name CBS as the broadcaster of “The Grammy Awards
Television Show?” That’s because The Grammy Awards are well-branded; its broadcast partner secondary.
CTV seems to have also been behind a string of nutty Juno calls in recent years.
These include having “Corner Gas” star Brent Butt as well as Canadian pin-up
Pamela Anderson host the show (Anderson’s grotesque performance was an
all-time Juno low); as well as last year’s beach-ball-styled screw-up of Juno air
time to fit CTV program scheduling which was later reversed.
Of course, CTV’s “Canadian Idol” tie-ins with the Junos have long been criticized by Canada’s media though such criticism may be more of a knee-jerk reaction.
Comedian Russell Peters will host this year’s Juno televised broadcast. The
Brampton, Ontario native—surely a trivial question for most Canadians—appeared
in a “CTV Comedy Now!" special in 2003 that gained him international popularity after being posted on the internet With Celine Dion, receiving 6 nominations, and Feist, Avril Lavigne and Michael Bublé each receiving 5 nominations, Juno surprises aren’t likely to come in the major categories.
Scattered through the Juno’s nominees list are dozens of emerging artists
including jazz singer Emile-Claire Barlow; country singers Shane Yellowbird and
Donny Parenteau; and Saskatchewan blues songbird, Little Miss Higgins.
There’s also a healthy number of Quebec-based French-speaking artists nominated this year, including Dion, Claude Dubois, Pascale Picard, and Corneille.
Also look to the top new artist category with the nominees being Belly, Jeremy Fisher, Justin Nozuka, Serena Ryder, and Suzie McNeil; to the top new group category in which Dragonette, Faber Drive, illScarlett, State of Shock, and Wintersleep will compete; and the top alternative album category with releases
by Arcade Fire, Holy Fuck, Patrick Watson, Tegan and Sara, and Wintersleep
In the “It-Helps-To-Be-From-Toronto” category: Former arena rockers Triumph—Rick Emmett, Mike Levine and Gil Moore will be indicted this year into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
While Toronto-based Triumph, which is reforming for gigs this summer, certainly deserves the Hall of Fame nod, why have such veteran acts as Trooper, Prism, and Chilliwack from Vancouver; April Wine (Montreal), Five Man Electrical Band (Ottawa) arguably all more popular in their heydays, been overlooked by CARAS over the years?
Bachman-Turner Overdrive has yet to be inducted as well, but the reason is wrangles between members of the band’s best-known line-up. The band was offered the honour a few years back but things got messy behind the scene and the offer was withdrawn.
Reprinted with permission from The LeBlanc Newsletter. The LeBlanc Newsletter is exclusively carried and archived by Canadian Music Week in Canada at www.cmw.net/cmw2008. It is available In the U.S. at Encore Celebrity Access: encore.celebrityaccess.com
Journalist/broadcaster/researcher Larry LeBlanc has been a leading figure in
Canadian music for four decades. He has been a regular music commentator on CTV’s “Canada A.M” for 35 years, and has been featured on numerous CBC-TV, CTV, YTV, Bravo! MuchMusic, MusiMax, and Newsworld programs in Canada; VH-1, and EEntertainment in the U.S.; and BBC in the U.K. Larry was a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record; and, most recently, the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard for 16 years.
Let’s cut to the chase.