Rob Farina, Rogers Media’s vice president of programming and content who sent out an “urgent” letter to all Canadian broadcasters Nov. 6 asking for a boycott of Republic Records artists and suggesting further sanctions, has resigned, a source at the company has told Billboard. A number of music industry sources alerted Billboard to the resignation on Tuesday evening.
Farina wrote the detailed letter (which you can read in full here), which was emailed to other Canadian broadcasters such as Corus, Newcap and Cojeco, after he perceived favoritism towards Rogers competitor Bell Media, following the appointment of longtime Universal Music Canada president Randy Lennox to the position of president of entertainment production and broadcasting at Bell.
Farina cited two exclusive promotion opportunities with Republic acts The Weeknd and Ariana Grande. Among his demands to Republic Records chairman and CEO Monte Lipman was “that business will return to the way it was before Randy Lennox became head of Bell Media.”
But Bell Media Radio’s vp of programming David Corey told Billboard that “everything Rob said in his email [letter] is completely incorrect and not the way that things have gone down. I’m the one that booked The Weeknd show for Virgin Radio, way before Randy Lennox came over from Universal. I booked that through Abel [Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd] and through [manager Tony] Sal because I have relationships with them.
“The Ariana Grande special … that was booked through Premiere, a company out of the U.S. that is owned by iHeartMedia,” Corey added. “We own Orbyt, which does shows with Premiere all the time, so that came to us through the proper channels,” Corey says. “It was not Randy Lennox; it was not Charlie Walk; it was not Universal Republic.”
Farina’s letter called for removal of all Republic artists from radio playlists by Monday, Nov. 9, by 5 p.m. and called out Lipman as well as executive vice president Charlie Walk by name. But by Saturday, the matter was resolved.
“It never went there,” Farina told Billboard. “The issue was resolved swiftly. We have no further comment.”