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Together, two of us in media 132 years –



This is the tale of two kids born in New Glasgow in 1938 who began school during the last days of the Second World War. They weren’t in the same neighbourhood but they were linked in many ways.

Their lives — later their careers — parallelled one another, move by move, like combatants in a serious game of chess.

When they were 12, one loved to stand up in class and read loudly and distinctly, sounding like a news reader on radio, and dreaming of being an announcer. The other owned a typewriter and was publishing a weekly family newspaper while fantasizing a life as a reporter.

By the time they reached New Glasgow High — Grade 9 was part of high school then — they were classmates, ready to tackle life in their desired occupations.

New Glasgow had a brand new radio station — CKEC in the old Eastern Chronicle building by the railway crossing near the bridge.

In the evenings, one of the young guys sneaked into the radio facilities on the second floor to chat with real announcers. The other guy pussyfooted up the stairs to the noisy teletype to check the night’s sports scores.

More than once, station owner Jim Cameron caught them and chased them out of the building. They wouldn’t return until the next evening.

Another year passed — it was 1954 — and both became connected to CKEC. One began getting air time, alongside the regular announcers. The other started writing sports for sports director John (Brother) MacDonald.

That confirmed to them both what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. They had reached the door to the media world.

So let’s jump ahead 66 years — to the summer of 2020 — and see what has happened to these two 82-year-olds.

Neither has bid the media goodbye.

The first, semi-retired, is working three days a week at a private radio station — Seaside FM — in Eastern Passage, still turning out the most enjoyable music in Nova Scotia. The other, semi-retired, is writing weekly sports columns for the Pictou Advocate.

Yes, for Frank and myself, we’re still doing what we love doing more than anything else. It’s never work. It’s always fun.

The result?

Frank, whose career took him from CKEC to CKCL in Truro, to CHNS in Halifax and, primarily to the CBC in the provincial capital, was a star whether on Frank’s Bandstand or reading the late night news. He’s been on Seaside since the station opened.

As for myself, my career included 48 years with The Chronicle Herald, retiring from the provincial daily in 2007. But, with some overlap years, I’ve been writing columns for The Advocate for over 16 years. Including news review columns I did at the start, this is my 965th submission to the Pictou weekly. Just 35 shy of 1,000.

Now, for a shocking achievement — Frank and I together have been in the media for 132 years.

We’re getting up there.

We had something else in common. We both had opportunities to take jobs outside our beloved province. Was it time to sing Farewell to Nova Scotia? No way. Neither of us ever wanted to depart Canada’s ocean playground.

In the last few years, we both did something else. We wrote our memoirs. That talented radio and television voice called his book “I Owe It All to Rock & Roll.” I countered with “I’ve Lived My Dream” and “Remembering Pictou County.”

The two of us have lived on the Dartmouth side of the harbour since the late 1960s, yet both of us still proudly tell people we’re Pictonians. We knew we would always share that one.

Looking back once again, we were both inspired to pursue our media dreams by our high school athletic director, John (Brother) MacDonald. Neither of us has forgotten that.

Brother got both of us involved in minor hockey at the Stadium that would later be named in his honour. He got me to cover school and minor sports for CKEC, and he convinced Frank to referee hockey.

Frank admits to being proud that he officiated games in which Lowell MacDonald played on his way to the pros. And me? I was Lowell’s first “coach” — when Brother assigned me to Lowell’s novice team’s bench to open and close the gate.

Nowadays the two old New Glasgow natives meet up occasionally as we steer our grocery carts through the aisles at the same Sobeys. And there have been pleasant chats at Tim Hortons a stone’s throw from Seaside.

But I confess — and Frank doesn’t know this — a couple times a week I take my two Shih Tzu pals to the boardwalk at the Passage, directly across the street from Seaside, and listen to Frank while the dogs bark at other dogs. That’s when I still learn from my favourite voice.

The other afternoon – hot as blazes with high humidity — Frank was giving the weather. “It’s sure hot out there,” he was saying, “but tonight there will be snow.” Huh? His explanation flowed just as easily. “I did that just to make sure you’re listening.”

People are listening alright. You learn important facts — like his wish that the government would legislate humidity out of town; how his mother taught him if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute; and, oh yes, his definite dislike of eggplant.

When he signed off one day last week, he cracked, “I’ll be back tomorrow, same time, same station, same jokes.”

With the magic of social media, his voice is heard anywhere. He’s heard from listeners in just about any town near or far.

So let’s check the arithmetic. From 1954 to 2020, that’s 66 years of radio for Frank, 66 years of newspapers for me.

The final thought?

We’re two old Pictonians who wouldn’t have traded our professions for anything else.

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French media: Raspy-voiced singer Juliette Greco dead at 93 – Preeceville Progress



PARIS — Juliette Greco, a French singer, actress, cultural icon and muse to existentialist philosophers of the country’s post-War period, has died aged 93, French media said Wednesday.

They said Greco died in her Ramatuelle house in the south of France, near Saint Tropez.

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The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, tweeted that “a very grand lady, an immense artist has gone.”

With expressive eyes inherited from her Greek ancestors and an impossibly deep, raspy voice — acquired from years of cigarette-smoking — Greco immortalized some of France’s most recognizable songs in an enduring seven-decade career, including the classics “Soul le ciel de Paris” (Under the Parisian sky) and “Je hais les dimanches” (I hate Sundays).

Greco was born in Montpellier on February 7, 1927, and went on to become a French music and fashion icon whose bobbed hair, Cleopatra-style eye-lines and demure black clothes became synonymous with the rebellious 1960s.

In March, 2016, Greco suffered a stroke while she was stopping off in Lyon as part of her tour, and cancelled the rest of her concerts. It was the same year that her only daughter, Laurence-Marie, died, of cancer.

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Some social media stars chafe at COVID restrictions, angering authorities –



By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A handful of social media stars and influencers have publicly flouted rules aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic and even encouraged others to do so, and authorities from the Netherlands to the United States are not happy.

The online dissent comes as the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States passed 200,000 and many countries in Europe are grappling with a second wave of infections.

“I say ‘NO’ to all measures until the government can verifiably justify this policy,” a group of young Dutch entertainers wrote in a series of Instagram posts coordinated with organisers of protests against the restrictions.

The online celebrities have several million followers on Instagram between them.

They include 21-year-old singer and Instagram model Famke Louise, who took part in a Dutch government campaign promoting social distancing rules in the spring but has now switched sides.

“We can only get control of the government if we stick together,” she posted on Monday night. “I’m opting out.”

Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, who is battling new infections that jumped at a rate of more than 60% in the Netherlands this week to pass 100,000, criticised that attitude.

“We have to ask questions and being critical is certainly allowed, but just saying ‘I am opting out’ isn’t an option,” he said. “It’s irresponsible because they have huge influence on young people. We need our youth, we need everyone to keep the virus under control.”

The debate in the Netherlands is playing out the world over between people frustrated about restrictions on their lives and those who support governments’ attempts to stop the virus, which has infected more than 31 million people.

Popular TikTok “influencers” Bryce Hall and Blake Gray were charged in the United States for throwing parties in Los Angeles at which hundreds of revellers were pictured ignoring social distancing rules.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said that with a combined 19 million followers on TikTok, the stars should be “modelling good behaviour – not brazenly violating the law and posting videos about it.”

In Britain, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher has voiced doubts about the effectiveness of wearing masks, while Van Morrison is releasing three songs to protest against “the way the government has taken away personal freedoms,” his website said.

He is donating profits from the tracks to musicians who have suffered financial hardship because of the coronavirus, according to the BBC.

But flouting government rules faces a backlash of its own, and social media campaigns including the #WearADamnMask hashtag have attracted support from major stars.

U.S. actors Bryan Cranston and Tom Hanks, both of whom contracted the virus and recovered, have also made public appeals for people to wear masks as a courtesy to others.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam; Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo in Madrid; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Advertisers agree deal with social media on steps to curb harmful content –



By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have agreed with big advertisers on first steps to curb harmful content online, following boycotts of social media platforms that advertisers had accused of tolerating hate speech.

The agreement comes three months after Facebook was hit by a boycott from major advertisers in the wake of anti-racism demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody.

Advertisers have complained for years that big social media companies do too little to prevent ads from appearing alongside hate speech, fake news and other harmful content. Big tech companies, meanwhile, want to be seen as taking action on the issue to fend off calls for more regulation.

Under the deal, announced on Wednesday by the World Federation of Advertisers, common definitions would be adopted for forms of harmful content such as hate speech and bullying, and platforms would adopt harmonised reporting standards.

The platforms agreed to have some practices reviewed by external auditors, and to give advertisers more control of what content is displayed alongside their ads. The deal comes less than six weeks before a polarising U.S. presidential election.

“This is a significant milestone in the journey to rebuild trust online,” said Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media at Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers. “…Whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Carolyn Everson, Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, said the agreement “has aligned the industry on the brand safety floor and suitability framework, giving us all a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”


Campaigners who want more regulation of social media companies have been sceptical of voluntary measures such as those announced on Wednesday.

“Any progress in reducing harmful online content is to be welcomed. However, up to now voluntary action from social media companies has rarely lived up to its initial promises. So time will tell how much of a difference this latest industry-led initiative will make,” David Babbs of UK-based group Clean Up the Internet told Reuters by email.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign behind the Facebook boycott is backed by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP, two of the oldest and biggest anti-racism campaign groups in the United States. The campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In a statement last week, it said: “Facebook’s failures lead to real-life violence and sow division, and we’re calling on the company to improve its policies. We need to urge people to vote and demand Facebook stop undermining our democracy. Enough is enough.”

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Peter Graff)

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