Mix 96 to become rebranded as Virgin Radio station

UPDATE (Jan. 12): Read the latest about the switch here.

Astral Media announced on Friday that Mix 96, the anglo FM station that tries so desperately to please everyone it ends up pleasing no one, will be rebranded as a Virgin Radio station, so it can start “challenging the norms of conventional stations and shaking up the radio landscape with a fresh sound and unique new programming formats; delivering a new voice with first class entertainment value to each market.”

In other words, The Mix sucks, and they’re hoping Virginization will help that. (Their ratings have remained relatively stable over the past few years: Third in the Montreal anglo market behind CJAD and Q92, reaching about 18% of the market, or 200,000 listeners).

Stations in Vancouver (95 The Crave) and Ottawa (106.9 The Bear) will also be rebranded.

The Mix’s format will still be “adult contemporary” music (and The Bear will keep its rock format (though it will be “re-energized”, whatever that means). I’m at a loss, in fact, to point out a single major programming difference that will result from this change.

Still, the rebranding alone (and the perceived de-localization of radio control) is enough to get a Facebook petition up already.

36 thoughts on “Mix 96 to become rebranded as Virgin Radio station

  1. Vincent Stephen-Ong

    Oh man, and I’m still peeved at their 95.9FM to MIX96 rebranding from X years ago. Back then the rebranding was accompanied by re-programming in the form of, among other things, dropping, suddenly and with little notice, Len Dobbin’s jazz show from their Sunday night lineup, which is when I promptly stopped listening to their station- not so much as protest but more a matter of them no longer having anything relevant to me to listen to.

  2. karine

    If they’d throw in more urban music that is not a BeyoncĂ© slow jam, I’d listen to more of The Mix. So, to avoid giving up on that station for months like I did 10 years ago to the point that I didn’t what music was currently playing, I wake up to The Mix and then switch to Rad-Can and the CBC after 9am. And I miss Ken Connors in the morning.

  3. Marc

    I remember Len’s show well plus Sunday Solid Gold morning with Dean Hagopian. I have a couple CJFM 96 “rainbow” bumper stickers from the mid-80s. After looking at the Toronto rebranding, seems the only thing changing here is the on-air ID. If that’s all they’re changing then why dump the local brand and go for the cookie cutter?

  4. Zoey Castelino

    Mix96 could call itself “Cats Peeing in a Bucket-FM” and English Montrealers would still listen because they have no other choice when it comes to “top 40” music.

    And enough with these Facebook groups that accomplish nothing. Do you really think a multi-million dollar company like Astral gives a damn what a bunch of people who “poke” each other think?

  5. Rommil Santiago

    If the programming remains the same, what’s the point. It’s not the station’s brand is more than just a name, or logo – it’s the type of music they play (which sucks).

  6. henry

    What happened with Cat Spencer. This new guy doesn’t have a radio voice.
    He’s Boring and his voice is sort of muffled.

  7. Carol

    There is no new guy on The Mix. They are in Jamaica. As for the new name…the only thing that has been driving me nuts are those commercials hinting at what is coming – enough already and just get on with it!

  8. Anonymous

    Time to get new staff. If you have the same people on the station, you’re only changing the branding and nothing else.

  9. Marc

    Changing the brand IS all they’re doing. Oh, and adding snippets of media whore Ryan Seacrest’s show. Beacuse it’s too expensive to pay local talent so they go for the syndicated crap.

  10. Tom Clarke

    According to the url below, that is why Murray’s gone. I’ve been following Murray’s news in Montreal for about 8 years. From Q92 to the Mix. I’ll miss him, he adds a little spunk to the news. Perhaps too much for Virgin to handle? Afraid of his comments?


    Anyway, If anyone can tell me where Murray went, please post.

  11. alex

    the mix keeps playing over and over the same crap for weeks at a time……it can drive u to hate songs and the singers that sing them……i cant stand nickelback, beyonce, and greenday……..the mix would have meant to mix up the millions of songs out there….while playing a little more the top ones…..neways that station is good for the birds thank god theres satelite radio

  12. Pingback: Fagstein » R.I.P. Mix 96

  13. nolan

    please please , make a deal with virgin radio to bring back rythems international. that was the best show ever on mix96

  14. Nadine

    I’m just sad to see Murray leave. I think he was a great asset to the station…the dynamics with Cat & Nat was awesome. I’ll be waiting to hear where he goes and I’ll check him out there.

  15. Todd

    I too am upset that Murray is not apart of the news casts anymore. I used to listen to Q92 for his news report and the Murray Moment and even followed him over to Mix96 when he made his transition. News reports were always interesting to listen to when he presented it…now, like most other radio stations…it’s just the news.

  16. Sandra

    I listenned to mix 96 till i was about 10, when i was sick of the staff, they were really annoying and they played the crappiest music. last night, i listened to the new station and preffered it no doubt, the music was a little better, i might actually have it set as my faves.

  17. Linda

    I am very disappointed that Murray Sherrif is not with Mix 96 or as the saying is “Virgin” –
    He was a news person who spoke “straight” – obviously not what “Virgin” is all about!
    The news was always interesting to listen to and WHO ever knows where he has gone to! please let anyone know – I have written to “Virgin” – no response! Obviously they make a big boo boo! People REALLY did enjoy Murray and his straight talk!

  18. Johhny

    Where`s the sherrif? He made the morning show and would make me laugh so hard by myself in the car that I would have people in cars next to me at traffic lights staring at me. I really think that was a really bad idea on Virgin`s part. Please post if anyone knows the whereabouts of the sherrif. Q92 hello!!!! what you waiting for???


    I hope Virgin wil bring a new breath of fresh air. For the last couple of year it was getting pretty boring that I had a hard time to stay tuned to the station. The morning show music was so predictable that they played the same songs everyday 5 days a week just at differnt times of the moring. As for the News , you do need a time for news at least oncea hour ,not on the fly like you are doing now with virgin ,people need to be informed what is going on around them..i hope this is for the better .

  20. Belinda

    Remember CKGM of the 1970’s? You listened to it until you were a tween and then you “graduated” to Chom!!! Well, Mix 96 was the same genre as the CKGM of the 70’s, except now, we don’t have a CHOM to graduate to!..(unless you want to listen to the same Rock of the the era!!)
    Hopefully Virgin will improve the morning show and the afternoon drive, which are probably the 2 time frames that most of us listen to. The only good thing about Mix 96 was Nat Lauzon’s dry humour!!! If they were smart, Virgin should give her the best spots and tell Cat to take a hike!

  21. pamela

    I like the new branding to Virgin Radio. Montreal being heavily european influenced, it just make sense that we lead the trend to something new. You can be sure that there will be significant investment that will drive this station to new heights but most importantly the musical content will have to be fresh. Problem with the old Mix is that they would play the same hits over and over that would force you to change the station. Let’s hope that “positive change” is on the way along with getting rid of some of the “old” boring radio jocks too.

  22. Tila

    omg Virgin 96 is so annoying. They play the same songs over and over again. Battle of the sexes is so boring.
    And that 3 o’clock road block, they say they’ll play songs they NEVER would play on the station, um yeah right.

  23. ERIC

    Thank god (the boring) Murray Sherrif with he’s stupid straight talk was finaly out of this Radio…..Now Virgin rocks !

  24. angie

    Honestly, Virgin, Mix whatever your name is…truthfully is SOOOOOO DULL!!!!!!! What has really changed!!?!?!?! When all this hoopla was first floating around about Mix…big changes, better music etc. I was looking forward to see what would come from it…and once again…I was truly disappointed…What is it with Quebec music stations!?!? There really is no flow…I could do a better job on air……I was in the Maritimes this past summer and I LOVED LOVED LOVED the radio stations…they mixed the old with the new made great comments in between and it was a plesure not a chore listening to them…we truly suck here in Quebec…I’m embarassed…

  25. dora

    Mix96 sucked but Virgin with its blantant technical errors (like mics not turned off during music play) has a “better” rotation of music, though the repitition of top 40s still drives me insane. Still canning Murray and Rythms International has sealed my negative opinion of this radio dial. CKUT 90.3FM ROCKS! long live college/community radio. Long live CBC Radio.

  26. Linda

    Where is Murray? The station is getting worse – the new guy – blends in with the wallpaper – can’t sing – can’t entertain – why was he brought in??? Eric is nuts to say Virgin is soooo much better – Hey, Eric – what closet did you come out of – Virgin is an embarrassment to all !

    Call Murray back – please – we need entertainment and laughter in the AM!!


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