How the Rogers-Shaw deal would affect Global News

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission today begins a five-day hearing into the proposed purchase of Shaw Communications by Rogers. You can follow a live stream online and see the agenda here.

While there are a lot of competition-related concerns about this purchase, and particularly how it will remove a fourth wireless provider in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, the CRTC’s concern in all this is somewhat narrow. Its permission isn’t needed for a wireless, internet or telephone provider to buy another. (The Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will undertake their own proceedings to evaluate those concerns, and their approval is also needed before the transaction can proceed.)

Instead, the CRTC’s permission is only required for the transfer of broadcasting assets. Shaw sold its television and radio assets to Corus in 2016, leaving the following:

  • Its licences for television distribution, including Shaw Cable the Shaw Direct satellite TV service
  • Its licences for community television channels tied to those cable distributors
  • Its licences for video on demand and pay-per-view services tied to those cable distributors (Rogers is not acquiring these as it has its own licences)
  • Its licence for a satellite broadcasting distribution relay service, which provides TV signals to other providers
  • Its stake in CPAC

Competition issues will be brought up in discussion of those points. For example, under this deal Rogers would get two thirds ownership of CPAC, giving it effective control (Videotron, Cogeco and Eastlink are also minority owners).

But an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention (besides from the Globe and Mail and a few others) is what this means for Global News.

You see, back in 2017 when the CRTC decided to screw over community television, it put in place a new subsidy system whereby large TV providers can redirect some of the money they would have spent on community television and instead send it to affiliated local TV stations to use for local news. Rogers could give some money to Citytv, Bell could give some money to CTV, Videotron could give some money to TVA, and Shaw could give some money to Corus. Though Shaw and Corus are separate companies, they are both ultimately controlled by the Shaw family, so for the CRTC’s purposes they’re related.

Once Rogers acquires Shaw, it will take the money that went to Corus for Global News and instead redirect it to Citytv stations.

According to CRTC filings, $8.8 million from Shaw Cable and $4.2 million from Shaw Direct were sent to Global for “locally reflective news programming” in 2019-20, for a total of about $12.9 million. That represents about 12 per cent of the $106 million Corus spent on local news in 2019-20.

That would mean significant cuts to Global News, unless Corus just decides to swallow the loss. Since Global as a whole is unprofitable, that seems unlikely.

It’s worth noting that while Corus has pointed this out in a submission, Corus is not on the agenda to appear at the CRTC hearing. Its owner is more interested in the profits from the sale than Corus’s concerns about local news.

The other fund

Now, because there are some private commercial television stations out there that aren’t owned by large cable companies, the CRTC set up a special fund to help them. The Independent Local News Fund is financed by a 0.3% tax on all licensed TV distributors, and is divided among independent TV stations based on the amount of local news they produce.

Because the Rogers-Shaw deal would orphan Global, it could then apply to the ILNF for funding for local news.

But the ILNF’s total budget is $21 million a year ($3 million of which comes from Shaw), so unless it would be willing to part with half its funding, either Global or the other independent stations (or most likely both) would have to lose a lot of money.

When the CRTC approved the purchase of V by Bell Media, V became ineligible for funding from the ILNF, and so its funding was redistributed among the remaining stations. But V only got about $3.2 million from the fund, so there’s a $10 million gap.

The CRTC set the 0.3% tax based on how television stations were owned at the time. A logical solution would be to increase that tax, but that would require a separate hearing, and either a cut to some other contribution line or an increase in costs to television providers that would then be passed on to customers.

Or Canadians could just accept that independent television gets stuck with a big budget cut because Canada’s second-largest communications company wanted to get bigger.

Virgin 95.9 drops MC Mario after 30 years

Virgin Radio Montreal doesn’t have a lot of veterans, but while the weekday shows have gone through several shuffles over the years, one constant was the MC Mario show on Friday and Saturday nights.

Until now, that is. Mario posted on Instagram on Friday that, effective immediately, his show “will not air any longer on Virgin Radio Montreal” after an impressive 30 years.

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Conservative news-talk TV channel The News Forum seeks must-offer licence from CRTC

You may recall a year ago I wrote about The News Forum, a low-budget Canadian TV channel offered to Bell TV subscribers that broadcast news headlines and a lot of political talk with a clear conservative bent, even being hosted by former conservative politicians like Tony Clement, Danielle Smith and Tanya Granic Allen.

This month, the CRTC published an application by The News Forum for a national news broadcasting licence, similar to that held by CBC News Network and CTV News Channel.

Previously, The News Forum operated as a licence-exempt service, which allowed it to be on TV distribution systems without a licence provided it remain below 200,000 subscribers. With the application, it confirms it has passed that threshold, even though it is only distributed through Bell TV, Telus, SaskTel and Access Communications.

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Métro Média’s president explains its redesign and 100% local strategy

The first issue of the redesigned Métro, its first without the distinctive globe.

“Removing the globe was natural,” Métro Média President Andrew Mulé told me in a recent interview. “We’re no longer bringing the globe to Montreal, we’re bringing Montreal to Montrealers.”

It’s been several years that the newspaper has had no official link to Metro International, the Swedish publisher whose brand has been used on free commuter newspapers in large cities across the world since 1995. (Transcontinental took full ownership of it in 2012, before selling it to businessman Michael Raffoul in 2018.) So it was overdue for a design change.

But Métro went further than just changing its logo. Its entire raison d’être has changed. Mulé explains the changes himself in Métro, and shares some more insight with me below.

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Cogeco Media/Arsenal Media radio station swap runs into CRTC policy issue

A proposed mutual sale of radio stations between Cogeco Media and Arsenal Media will have to get over a hurdle to get approved by the CRTC, and it depends a lot on how many people live in a small region between Saguenay and Alma.

First announced in May, the agreement sees Arsenal sell CILM-FM (O 98.3) in Saguenay to Cogeco, while Arsenal in turn buys all of Cogeco’s radio stations in the Abitibi region, namely Capitale Rock (CJGO-FM 102.1 La Sarre, CJGO-FM-1 95.7 Rouyn-Noranda and CHGO-FM 95.7 Val-d’Or) and WOW FM (CHOA-FM 95.7 Rouyn-Noranda, CHOA-FM-1 103.5 Amos and CHOA-FM-2 103.9 La Sarre). Arsenal will keep its other Saguenay station, CKGS-FM Hit Country 105.5.

On Tuesday, the CRTC published the applications related to the transfers of ownerships of these stations, and we have more details on the sales:

  • Arsenal pays $1.5 million to acquire CHOA-FM , CJGO-FM and CHGO-FM in Abitibi
  • Cogeco pays $600,000 to acquire CILM-FM in Saguenay
  • The Wow station will be rebranded Plaisir and Capitale Rock rebranded O to join Arsenal’s branded networks (Cogeco keeps the Wow brand)
  • Cogeco will rebrand the Saguenay station to Rythme FM and have it join that network as an owned-and-operated station (it used to be an affiliate), putting it back in the largest market that network was missing in Quebec
  • The transactions are separable — if the CRTC approves one but not the other, that transaction will still go through
  • RNC Media, which provided local news services for the Abitibi stations as part of the agreement when it sold them to Cogeco in 2018, will continue to provide them for Arsenal
  • Cogeco will add CILM-FM to its Cogeco Nouvelles network and add another journalist in the Saguenay region
  • Both organizations are proposing standard tangible benefits, with 3% of the value going to Fonds Radiostar, 1.5% to Musicaction, 1% to discretionary initiatives and 0.5% to the Community Radio Fund of Canada

For Arsenal, the deal should not pose much of an issue since it doesn’t have any assets in the Abitibi region.

But in Saguenay, it’s a different story. Cogeco owns one radio station in Saguenay, CKYK-FM (Kyk 95,7), but it also owns CFGT-FM (Planète 104,5) in Alma, 45 kilometres away near Lac-Saint-Jean.

According to the CRTC’s common ownership policy, one owner normally can’t have more than two stations in the same language on the same band in the same market. Cogeco argues that according to CRTC policy CILM-FM and CFGT-FM are not in the same market (Kyk has a more powerful transmitter and a retransmitter in Alma, so covers both).

The CRTC actually has a policy for cases like this, and it depends on how much overlap there is between stations, measured both by their markets and their signals.

Map of primary coverage areas of CKYK-FM (blue), CFGT-FM (green) and CILM-FM (red)

Under CRTC policy, if there’s more than a 15% overlap, then they are considered part of the same market, and if there’s less than a 5% overlap they aren’t. In between, it depends on where advertisers are from and what news the station broadcasts.

Cogeco’s coverage maps show that CILM-FM Chicoutimi does not cover Alma and CFGT-FM Alma does not cover Chicoutimi, bolstering its claim that they should not be considered to overlap.

Map shows overlap of coverage areas of CFGT-FM (green) and CILM-FM (red)

The two signals do overlap between the two cities, but it’s in a mostly rural area of St-Nazaire and St-Ambroise, with a population under 8,000.

In its application, Cogeco argues the overlap is less than 5% of the population of the primary contour of CILM-FM and about 13.6% of the population of the primary contour of CFGT-FM, and that less than 1% of ad sales from the Alma station come from this area.

The commission counters that Cogeco should have based the percentage on the size of the market (Alma) and not the size of the station’s signal. Using that calculation, the overlap is within that 5-15% grey zone. Cogeco notes in a response that less than 1% of CILM-FM’s ad sales are from Alma.

Setting aside the CRTC’s specific rules, common sense can make both cases in such an argument. On one hand, CFGT-FM clearly markets itself as an Alma station, while CILM-FM clearly targets Saguenay. On the other hand, the overlap in signals is not insignificant, CKYK-FM targets both markets, and plenty of people outside a station’s primary signal contour will still listen to it, especially in an area like Saguenay where there aren’t a plethora of neighbouring markets.

Viability at stake

There’s also the matter of the station’s future. CILM-FM is not a very profitable station (except just barely last year thanks to government pandemic subsidies), and never really has been. In fact, it was the one station owned by Corus in 2010 that wasn’t sold to Cogeco because Cogeco didn’t want it at the time. Corus was considering shutting the station down before a local group of investors stepped in. They eventually resold the station to Arsenal.

Arsenal makes it clear in the application that it would be “difficult” for CILM-FM to reach profitability under its control. The two say that Cogeco, with its bigger pockets and its synergies with other stations in the region, would have a better chance at making the station work.

Similar arguments were not made about the Abitibi stations being sold to Arsenal.

The CRTC will hold a pro forma hearing Dec. 6 to consider the applications. No presentations are planned, unless the commission is convinced of the need for them by the interventions submitted. The commission is accepting comments from the public until Nov. 4, which can be submitted here. Note that all information submitted, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.

94.7 Hits FM goes dark

Following the sale of WYUL and its sister station WVNV to the Educational Media Foundation, 94.7 Hits FM went off the air at midnight last night.

The last day featured hit music interspersed with recorded messages from staff and the station’s program director thanking listeners and making it clear that it was the last day. The last hour featured a bunch of goodbye songs, culminating in Linkin Park’s In the End just before midnight.

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Terry and Ted start a podcast

About as predictable as … something really predictable … Terry DiMonte and Ted Bird are back together again. At least in the short term.

After a summer vacation following his departure from his position as CHOM’s morning man, Terry DiMonte launched a new podcast this month with his old friend Ted Bird, called Standing By. Its episodes, available on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts, feature the two radio veterans reminiscing about the old days, their health, how they met, random anecdotes. Episode 2 focuses on the Canadiens, and Episode 3 on their time at Mix 96 (mainly going up against Howard Stern).

The podcast already has sponsors, namely those with long-standing relationships to Terry and Ted, including Matelas Bonheur, Jaguar Land Rover Laval and Merson Automotive.

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Montreal radio ratings: A boost for CKOI, but not much new otherwise

Numeris released its quarterly PPM ratings last week, and I’m not completely sure how to headline this because there hasn’t been much change.

Here’s how it works out for English-language stations:

We see long-term declines continuing for CJAD and The Beat, the latter of which seems to have been hit hardest by the pandemic (probably because it’s long been a 9-to-5 at-work station), and we see that Virgin Radio remains not only behind CHOM among anglophones, but once again behind CBC Radio One as well.

TSN 690 had its best summer book in years, which may have something to do with the Canadiens playing in the Stanley Cup Final in July.

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Nikki Balch out at The Beat 92.5

Just as Montrealers are enjoying their Labour Day weekend and local media are preparing for the fall season, The Beat rebranded its morning show, erasing host Nikki Balch out of existence.

Nikki, who has been with the station since 2016, and had been at Virgin Radio a few years before that, hasn’t posted anything publicly, nor have her now-former colleagues that I could find.

The station has replaced her with Claudia Marques on the renamed “The Morning Show”. She moves to mornings after co-hosting the afternoon drive show. Mark Bergman and Stuntman Sam remain on the morning team, and Kim Kieran gets officially added to the brand.

The move comes just days after the on-air staff, including Balch, posed for a new set of photos.

Martz Communications sells 94.7 Hits FM, Wild Country 96.5 to religious educational broadcaster

If you’re a Montrealer who likes to listen to 94.7 Hits FM to get music unencumbered by CRTC regulations, I have some bad news for you.

And if you’re a Quebecer who tunes in to the weak 96.5 FM because there aren’t better country music options on the radio here, I also have some bad news for you.

Both WYUL 94.7 in Chateaugay, N.Y., and WVNV 96.5 in Malone, N.Y., have been sold to the Educational Media Foundation, which owns hundreds of stations in all 50 states under the K-Love and Air1 brands, both of which broadcast Christian music.

The purchase price is $2.5 million. The deal includes the licenses and transmitter facilities but not much else. Martz Communications retains the logos, branding, studio equipment and everything having to do with employees.

“EMF approached me over a year ago and ultimately made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Martz owner Tim Martz tells me. “Given COVID-19’s impact on the economy and advertising revenues, and the current difficult business climate, it became clear that their offer made sense considering the alternatives, even more so since I recently turned 70 years of age.”

The stations remain operational for now and at least the next three months, Martz says.

An application for transfer of ownership was published Monday by the Federal Communications Commission. It was first reported by All Access and Radio Insight. The deal would close within 10 days of FCC approval, according to the agreement filed with the commission.

EMF intends to convert both stations to non-profit educational stations. It writes to the FCC:

EMF’s educational goal is to educate its audience with respect to both teachings of the Bible, as well as broader topics of contemporary significance ranging from family issues, money management, philosophical problems and opportunities facing children and young adults, and information concerning the scope and availability of other non-profit services in the community.

EMF will offer a wide variety of education programming designed to meet the needs and interests of resident within the local community of license, including education programs on current events, and programs examining economic, social and religious issues. EMF will also feature inspirational music, news and other cultural programming. In furtherance of EMF’s educational purpose, EMF’s educational programming will include features that explore family issues, values and understanding and other programming that is designed to assist families and individuals manage their personal finances.

“As you can imagine, the decision to sell was very difficult on a number of levels,” Martz says. “Since I grew up in Montreal, the stations have a special meaning for me. Both Hits and Wild Country have been serving listeners in Quebec and Ontario for some 20 years and there are just a lot of fond memories of employees, listeners and even competitors from over the years.”

As a result of the sale, Martz’s office in Pointe-Claire, which does Montreal ad sales for Hits FM, “will likely close at the end of September,” Martz says, resulting in six full-time employees losing their jobs, including on-air host Marty Lamarre and Montreal sales boss Tim Thompson.

Another office in Cornwall, Ont., will remain to serve its other border-crossing stations, WSNN (B99.3) in Potsdam, N.Y., and WICY, which has a transmitter at 103.5 in Akwesasne.

“I’d like to thank our listeners, the many hundreds of thousands of them and our valued advertising clients for their support today and over the years,” Martz says. “Last week I met with the entire staff as a group and individually to share my thoughts. I want to thank our wonderful staff — Tim, Marty, Joel, Rene, Warren and Alexandra — for their many years of hard work, dedication and friendship.”

I’ve reached out to EMF and will update if I hear back.

CKHQ-FM Kanesatake gets power increase, protected frequency

The community radio station in the Mohawk community of Kanesatake north of Montreal can breathe a bit easier knowing that it can’t be de facto threatened off the air if someone sets up a new radio station.

On Monday, the CRTC approved an application from CKHQ-FM 101.7 to increase its power from 27 watts (max effective radiated power) to 51 watts.

The increase in power won’t do much for the station’s signal — it will still be almost impossible to catch outside Kanesatake and parts of Oka. But by increasing power to 51 watts, the station’s transmitter changes its class, from low power to Class A1.

Comparison map of CKHQ-FM’s previously approved signal (red and brown) and its new approved signal (blue and green)

The change is significant because low-power stations, by policy, do not operate on protected frequencies. So if someone gets a new licence to operate on a frequency that causes interference to or is caused interference from the low-power station, that station has to change frequency.

That scenario almost came to light in 2018 when an application was filed for a new station in Lachute at 101.7 FM. It would have forced CKHQ to find a new frequency, but with it being so close to Montreal, there aren’t other frequencies available.

In the end, the CRTC rejected the application on its own merits, giving CKHQ another chance.

CKHQ has two years from the date of the decision to apply the new technical parameters. It must also deal with outstanding compliance issues, notably the installation of an emergency alerting system.

Reviving Kanesatake Radio is on Facebook.

CBC cancels Daybreak’s Taste Test music column

Brendan Kelly (a colleague at the Montreal Gazette) will get to sleep in on Wednesdays. His weekly Taste Test column, in which he introduces Daybreak listeners to new music, has been cancelled after many years, effective immediately.

Neither Kelly nor CBC Montreal offered any comment on this news when I asked about it, and neither would confirm nor deny it explicitly.

UPDATE: After this post was published, Kelly confirmed the news on Twitter:

Kelly later offered a goodbye as well in a long Twitter thread:

And former Daybreak host Mike Finnerty had some kind words for his former colleague:

Montreal/Quebec radio ratings: Minor fluctuations in a long-term decline overall

Numeris released top-line data for its spring ratings period last week. There isn’t much new (CJAD still leads among all listeners, The Beat is still the top-rated music station), but a few things of note:

  • CJAD 800 saw a third straight gain, and remains top-rated in the Montreal English-language market, but the overall trend remains downward as fewer people listen to radio.
  • The Beat 92.5 tied for its worst performance in average minute audience in the past five years, and lost ground against Virgin, but still has almost twice the audience of Virgin among anglophones.
  • CHOM 97.7 has been remarkably consistent over the past few years, retaining its audience as other stations lost theirs. We’ll see in the coming months whether the loss of Terry DiMonte will have an impact overall.
  • Virgin 95.9 is still fighting it out with CBC Radio One for market share. You have to wonder how long Bell will let that go on before something dramatic happens. (Replacing its morning team clearly didn’t work.)
  • The Canadiens’ good fortunes once again had a positive impact on TSN 690. (Six of the seven playoff games against the Leafs are included here.) In total average minute audience (anglo and franco combined) it had its best book since 2018.

  • 98.5fm remains top-rated among francophones, and once again claims to be the most listened-to station in Canada. As the francophone rights holder for Canadiens games, the team’s performance had to help a bit.
  • ICI Radio-Canada Première remains mostly stable, though lost some ground against 98.5
  • 91.9 Sports continues to slowly build its audience but remains well below what it was in 2019. With the Canadiens playing late into the spring and maybe early summer, this station’s acquisition of rights to Montreal’s MLS team hasn’t captured peoples’ imagination.

  • Rythme FM remains top-rated among francophone music stations, and appears to have slowed a long-term decline and held up against Rouge, CKOI and others.
  • Rouge and CKOI had their lowest audience in at least five years, but continue to fight for second place with Énergie, which has remained pretty stable.
  • Virgin 95.9 continues to do slightly better than The Beat 92.5 among francophones
  • WKND 99.5 is still building its audience, but more slowly, and is still below what Radio Classique was in 2017 when it last subscribed to Numeris ratings.

  • The overall audience for all measured stations is still low compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Meanwhile, Numeris also released diary ratings recently, the first in a year after last fall’s report was cancelled due to pandemic complications.

Quebec City

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • ICI Radio-Canada Première 106,3: 22.8%
  • CHOI Radio X 98.1: 18.8%
  • FM93: 14.2%
  • WKND 91.9: 11.7%
  • M 102.9: 7.6%
  • Rouge 107,5: 5.7%
  • ICI Musique 95,3: 5.6%
  • blvd 102,1: 2.0%
  • Énergie 98,9: 1.7%
  • Vibe 100,9: 1.5%
  • CBC Radio One 104.7: 0.2%

Both Radio-Canada and CHOI saw a significant jump in share. Other stations went up or down a few points, but the biggest change was at Énergie, which dropped its talk format last summer and went back to rock to join the rest of the network. That decision was devastating to its ratings as it went from a 6.0% share to a 1.7% share in a year, losing that audience to CHOI and FM93.

Saguenay

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • KYK FM 95.7: 26.5%
  • Rouge 96.9: 22.2%
  • ICI Radio-Canada Première 93.7: 12.6%
  • Énergie 94.5: 11.8%
  • CKAJ-FM 92.5: 10.1%
  • ICI Musique 100.9: 5.2%

In Saguenay, KYK climbed above Rouge to take the #1 spot among all audiences 12+. Community station CKAJ signed up for Numeris ratings, and found itself with a 10% share. ICI Musique saw its share almost double from 2.8% last year.

Sherbrooke

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • ICI Radio-Canada Première: 19.1%
  • Énergie 106.1: 16.5%
  • Rouge FM 102.7: 16.4%
  • 107,7fm: 10.9%
  • Rythme: 7.1%
  • ICI Musique: 5.9%

In Sherbrooke, ICI Première took top spot over both Bell stations Énergie and Rouge, which are statistically tied. Meanwhile Rythme FM Estrie saw its share drop by almost half.

Trois-Rivières

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • Rythme 100,1: 14.2%
  • ICI Première: 13.5%
  • Rouge 94,7: 12.6%
  • Énergie 102,3: 12.3%
  • 106,9fm: 9.1%
  • ICI Musique: 8.2%
  • CKBN 90,5: 7.2%

In Trois-Rivières, less than two points separate the top four stations a year after Rouge led handily. Both Radio-Canada stations picked up a couple of points.

Ottawa-Gatineau franco

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • ICI Première: 21.7%
  • Rouge 94,9: 14.4%
  • 104,7fm: 9.7%
  • WOW 97,1: 7.1%
  • Énergie 104,1: 6.9%
  • ICI Musique: 5.5%
  • 106.1 CHEZ: 3.3%
  • Move 100.3: 3.0%
  • Hot 89.9: 2.5%
  • Pure Country 94: 2.5%
  • Lite 98.5: 2.0%
  • Boom 99.7: 1.7%
  • CBC Radio One: 1.7%
  • CBC Music: 1.6%
  • Kiss 105.3: 1.5%
  • Pop 96.5: 1.2%
  • Jump! 106.9: 1.2%

Among francophones in the national capital, the public broadcaster is back on top by a wide margin, followed by Bell’s Rouge, Cogeco’s talk station 104,7 and RNC Media’s Wow 97.1. RNC’s other station, Pop 96.5, remains in the chaff with the English-language music stations and below even CBC Radio One among francophones. Its 1,750-watt signal limits its upward mobility.

Ottawa-Gatineau anglo

Market share, central market 12+, spring 2021:

  • CBC Radio One: 23.1%
  • Move 100.3: 7.6%
  • Hot 89.9: 7.5%
  • CFRA 580: 7.1%
  • CBC Music: 5.6%
  • Boom 99.7: 5.3%
  • 106.1 CHEZ: 5.2%
  • Live 88.5: 3.7%
  • Pure Country 94: 3.6%
  • TSN 1200: 3.5%
  • CityNews 1310/101.1: 3.2%*
  • Kiss 105.3: 3.1%
  • Lite 98.5: 3.1%
  • Jump! 106.9: 1.9%
  • Rebel 101.7: 1.6%
  • Country 92.3: 1.3%
  • ICI Musique: 1.0%

No surprise that CBC does best by a lot in Ottawa. CFRA slipped a couple of spots from last year, and Bell’s killing of the Majic 100 brand doesn’t seem to have hurt the station now called Move. Boom had a good book, going from 4.0% to 5.3% share, but otherwise most of the music stations stayed within a point of where they normally land in this very crowded market.

Meanwhile, Rogers’ shuffle is not a ratings winner so far. It went from a 9.1 share overall to a 7.6 share. CityNews gained one share point with its new FM simulcast, but the country station went from 3.5 points at 101.1 to 1.3 points on the much lower power 92.3, whose Smiths Falls signal doesn’t get into the city as well.

*The original version of this post had a typo in CityNews’s AM frequency.

The Terry DiMonte playlist

Unless you’ve been in a coma, you’re aware that Friday was Terry DiMonte’s last day at CHOM. There are several news stories about it, so instead of writing yet another summary I’ll just point you to the coverage:

It’s quite the tribute that all three French-language dailies wrote stories about DiMonte’s departure. You don’t normally see such news cross the language divide. But DiMonte also made it a point to acknowledge and honour the city’s bilingual nature, even choosing a song by Harmonium as his final song.

I compiled a playlist of songs that aired during his final show here:

If you didn’t listen, CHOM has compiled clips of the final show, which was filled with guests including Ted Bird, Patti Lorange and Justin Trudeau, plus his regular columnists. Here are the links to those segments:

It’s still unclear what the future is for both DiMonte and CHOM. DiMonte launched his new website on Friday, which talks about a “next chapter” in the fall. And though he plans to disappear from social media and take the summer off with his wife, it seems pretty clear he plans to remain active afterward. His website teases an interview video series, which is something he’s tried before.

As for CHOM, Pete Marier will be stepping into the big chair at least temporarily as of Monday. He would definitely be a leading candidate to take the job permanently, but there are various options available.

New Bounce brand continues Bell Media’s consolidation of music radio stations

Bell Media took another step toward putting its 109 radio stations into neat little brand packages this week with the announcement of a new brand: Bounce, which has been applied to 25 of those stations, including all the EZ Rock stations in B.C., the Bob FM stations in Winnipeg and elsewhere, and 102.9 K-Lite in Hamilton. (The full list of stations is below.)

The format bills itself as favourites from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with an apparent focus on more pop and rock songs, with artists like Aerosmith, The Tragically Hip, Bon Jovi, INXS, Elton John, Michael Jackson and Oasis. It seems to be a way to bring the adult contemporary focus of EZ Rock, the nostalgia of Bob and the harder rock formats of 100.9 Big Dog or 105.3 The Fox into the same family.

This move makes Bounce the largest of the Bell Media brands by number of stations, though most of them are in smaller markets. It also, along with previously announced Move and Pure Country brands, reduces to just a handful the number of Bell stations that haven’t been tied to a national brand.

I’ve written about brand consolidation recently, but this just further underscores how much cleaning up Bell in particular is doing with its brands, with 85 of its music stations now belonging to just 7 brands.

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