Actors and actresses from When Calls the Heart have been among the most-listened to guests in the three years since the podcast was launched. Clearly, “Hearties” are everywhere, and in Canada they subscribe to Super Channel.

The service has a fascinating history. Think of how the media landscape has lurched from one disruption to another this century. Super Channel  nearly went under — twice — but CEO and president Donald McDonald can be credited with steering the Canadian-owned company to one of its best years ever in time to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

I’d like to think their recent success has to do with them being a sponsor. There are other factors however, and who better to point them out than my guests, McDonald and Chief Content Officer Jackie Pardy.

Super Channel execs Jackie Pardy and Don McDonald

Among the topics discussed are the return of When Calls the Heart for a 10th season. McDonald has traveled from his Edmonton office to the Langley, B.C. farmland location where the Super Channel Heart & Home series is shot. He’s watched as hundreds of “Hearties” descend on the set, and hopes another gathering can be accommodated in time for the launch of Season 10. The premiere date is still to be announced, says McDonald, but traditionally the series returns around February or March.

Pardy and McDonald also talk about their successful liaisons with the Canadian Film Festival and Blood in the Snow film festival. McDonald says he got a call from a Canadian film producer in March of 2020 which led to Super Channel getting into the virtual festival business. The COVID pandemic had just shut down the Canadian Film Festival in Toronto putting the fest in disarray. A plea to show one or two of the festival films on Super Channel got McDonald to thinking: why not import the entire festival, shorts and all? His quickly-hatched plan was to host the films and carry live after events featuring interviews with the filmmakers. These virtual sessions could also be designed to bring Canadian filmmakers and distributors together. All that was left to Super-size the entire event was for viewers at home to make their own popcorn. The idea was a hit and has been continued annually ever since.

As for other innovations on the horizon, listen as McDonald acknowledges that the service is considering plans to launch a new ad-supported video tier to the Super Channel suite of options. Netflix launched their lower-priced streaming tier earlier this month with Disney+ set to do likewise in December.


Listen right from the start when I call Don McDonald “Bob” several times. It’s never a good move to blow the name of a sponsor on a podcast. Fortunately, Don is as good a sport as he is Super CEO.

To link directly to the podcast episode, simply click on the blue and white arrow above.

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