CHOM changes logo, pretends it’s more than that

CHOM's new logo

That’s CHOM’s new logo.

No, seriously.

No, seriously.

They launched it this morning, to great fanfare:

With PJ Stock joining the morning show this week (it will be “Chantal, PJ and Bad Pete”), it made sense to do it now. CHOM had risked being the only Montreal music station not undergoing a bullshit renaissance over the past year (see Mix 96, Q92, Énergie).

They made a big deal of it on the morning show, though I can’t figure out what other than the logo is changing. The tagline is still “The Spirit of Rock”, and it sounds like the music is still going to be the same (Pete Marier made a vague reference to “nicely tempoed rock and roll”). The press release makes mention of “more music” (sound familiar?), but gives little details. It lists three bands: 30 Seconds to MarsCavo and Shinedown (three bands I’ve never heard of) as examples of music that will “now strengthen the core of music that CHOM listeners love”, whatever that means. Listening to their music just now, I can’t say that makes me terribly optimistic.

But, it also reassures loyal CHOM listeners that Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Metallica aren’t going anywhere.

You can listen to their new audio branding here, which sounds pretty indistinguishable from their old branding if you ask me.

The logo

CHOM’s old logos are everywhere, they’re familiar, and they feel like the kinds of logos you’d find on a classic rock station:

CHOM's old bumper-sticker logo

With a 2002 redesign, it kept the red and black motif, even if it lost some of its charm. Still, it was clean and simple. Professional, even if a bit too corporate:

CHOM's most recent logo

This new monstrosity of a logo looks like it was cooked up by a 14-year-old in his basement using Adobe Illustrator. The black and orange seem to evoke a Harley Davidson-esque feel* (without being so similar that they’d get sued over it), but other than that there doesn’t seem to be any reason behind it. Why orange? Why something that looks like an American highway sign? (Is it because Tom Cochrane’s Life Is A Highway is going to be even more overplayed?) Why go overboard on the simulated gradients?

*UPDATE (Feb. 2): Apparently it’s no coincidence. Their contest of the week involves giving out a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Why is there nothing about this logo that makes me think of Montreal or rock music?

It’s been compared to a U.S. hockey team’s logo. I can’t think of a worse insult.

If this is CHOM’s “new baby”, I’m just going to have to be brutally honest: It’s a really ugly baby.

UPDATE (Feb. 11): Hour’s Craig Silverman explains the new logo with comments from program director Daniel Tremblay (and quotes this blog post). Rue Frontenac also has a piece on CHOM’s attempts to attract a younger audience.

28 thoughts on “CHOM changes logo, pretends it’s more than that

  1. Marc

    HORRIBLE new logo. The rumor I heard was they were going back to the familiar logo they had for over 20 years until 2002. Oh well.

    Reply
  2. Jim J.

    An unimpressive logo from an unimpressive radio station – unless you like music that is, perennially, about 20 years old.

    When I lived in Montreal in the early- to mid-90’s, it was all Supertramp and late 70’s/early 80’s Rush and a little bit o’ Zeppelin thrown in for good measure. I recall the first few weeks when 99.9 The Buzz opened for business in ’96(?), it was the most amazing breath of fresh air.

    Last time I listened to CHOM – about 3 years ago – it was music from the early- to mid-90’s. So, they’re always about 15-20 years behind the curve.

    I’m sure it fills a market niche so, you know, good for them. I’m just wondering who out there really loves CHOM. I’ve often wondered (mostly) early 40’s anglophones listen to it because they have nowhere else to go on the radio dial and it’s music from when they were in their late teens/early 20’s.

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  3. Mike Berthold

    Quote: “It lists three bands: 30 Seconds to Mars, Cavo and Shinedown (three bands I’ve never heard of) as examples of music that will “now strengthen the core of music that CHOM listeners love”

    Well, that’s trying to get back people like me that have been listening to the Buzz for a decade now. I don’t think they’ll play enough to get me to switch back in any case.

    And you’ve never heard of 30 Seconds to Mars? Really? I thought they had become mainstream considering their mediocre attempt at anthem music (i.e. “Kings and Queens”)

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  4. jay

    I have to say, while not the worst logo, i have seen better. It looks like somthing for a highschool “radio” station that broadcasts to all corners of the cafeteria. Call me old school but red, white and black, and bring back the licence plates!

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  5. ATSC

    I caught some of their ads last night during the late CFCF-TV 12 local news. At first it caught my interest. But after two or three times shown with the 20 minute local newscast, I kinda thought much like you, so what. What are they telling me. Who cares. I’m sure it’ll be the same old CHOM-FM with a new logo. Which doesn’t say much. Either go for new Alt Rock, or stick with Classic Rock. But trying to be both is not going to work. Select one of the two formats, and then do it very well. No half assed work.

    I have Sirius and I can tell you they do an amazing job on their Classic Rock channels, as well as their Alt Nation channel. Stuff you’ll never hear on CHOM.

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  6. TGHQ

    Is the left-hand side of the crest an unintended tip of the hat to Maurice Richard and the Habs’ past days of glory?… ‘CH’ ‘9’.
    But then, what would the right-hand side represent? ’77’ would surely refer to either The Clash’s breakout year or the year of Bill 101’s imposition, both of which CHOM would never properly acknowledge on air. Surely such a disturbing crest ought to adorn the opening to the hatch on ‘Lost’.

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  7. Nancy

    That is truly a horrible logo. How does this evoke a radio station at all? You’re right, the former CHOM logo (pre-2002) had a classic rock radio station feel to it. This is just… meh!

    Reply
  8. Shawn

    You have to be, like, REALLY old, like me, to remember how cutting edge and progressive Chom really was in the 70s. But it failed to renew. I can still remember their deejays sneering at New Wave when it first broke. And from then on, it’s always been behind the curve, seems to me. It’s a shame, in a way. If they’d been more daring, more ready to reinvent each time rock music did, we could be home to a station that would make us proud….

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  9. Sheldon

    As someone else said the three bands you’ve never heard of indicate that they will try to include some music being heard on 99.9 the Buzz, hoping to draw some listeners back to CHOM. But as I said in a Radio in Montreal posting, they can’t be all things to all rock fans. Most cities have different rock formats on different stations, but not Montreal.

    As for the big fanfare for the arrival of P.J. Stock, well he didn’t even show up in studio today, on his first official day! He did two very short telephone hits from some sort of fundraising event he is at in the Laurentians (not apparently a CHOM sponsored event either).

    All of the stations will be on a big blitz over the next few weeks as they are into one of the major ratings periods of the year. You’ll be seeing lots of ads in newspapers, TV, etc. and lots of contests and giveaways. It’s the typical “don’t impress them with your programming but draw them in by giving stuff away” approach.

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  10. Edna

    I’m sorry, dude, but that logo is the hot.

    Of course, I’m CHOM’s demographic – you know, 15-20 years behind the curve and flipping between CHOM and CBC Radio One. They play the same six songs, which means I always know the words and can always sing in the car. With the windows closed, because I’m not cruel.

    Reply
  11. changeling

    SO CHOM’S LOGO bothers people…! Im happy for the changes.. My satelite radio is great on long trips…the loop however is so short.. 8 hours of driving and i miss CHOM.

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  12. lr

    ok, the logo’s not great but who cares..

    the music has gotten way better – way more variety…sorry guys, I was getting a little tired of hearing the guess who play for the last couple of years! It’s about time they’ve changed the morning crew too! Phew!

    I wish them well. So far, I’m liking what they’re playing..

    Reply
  13. Tim

    What drives me nuts is how I got sucked into the hype with the whole “new baby” thing. Based on the way things have been going, I was expecting another format change. Terry is back from Calgary, or Rob Braide woke up to find Ted Bird in the shower and it was all a bad dream (shark-jumping Dallas TV reference, not latent homosexuality reference). Something cool and worthy of the hype.

    But it was just an effing logo.

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  14. Montreal Guy

    I don’t understand a station that plays The Beatles and their related ilk, CSNY, Heart, BTO or The Guess Who and crappy Simple Minds along with Cavo, Theory of a Deadman and other current rock.

    For one the gap in styles is too wide to please 4 generations. For another it just busts up the flow: you get pumped on AC/DC, Metallica and Cage the Elephant and then CHOM will toss dogs like Buffalo Springfield, Manfred Mann or Steely Dan. It doesn’t work. Like the poster further up wrote: do one or the other and do it well.

    But yeah I wish CHOM would throw out all the pre 1976 crap out the door (would love a Power 97/Winnipeg like station). I’m 43, grew up on CHOM and still prefer The Buzz. Let’s not forget this is a station that refused to play Nirvana in the early 90s until The Buzz arrived around 1995….

    Reply
  15. Jubakala

    It sounds really weird to me that someone working on a radio station have never heard of 30 Seconds to Mars! :O Even we here in the distant Finland know them! ;) But, if you haven’t already done so, I very warmly recommend to get familiar with their music. You won’t regret it! (:

    Reply
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