Virgin Radio 96, a station that has been losing some of its top talent to rival The Beat over the past year but insists its team is bigger than one individual superstar, has just added a pretty big star to its lineup.
Isabelle Racicot, host of TVA's talk show Ça finit bien la semaine, has been added to Virgin Radio's lineup, where she will host the Virgin Hit 20 weekend show, Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 10am, starting Aug. 25, Astral Media announced on Wednesday.
Racicot replaces Tony Stark, who was set to leave Virgin for a job in Halifax but has changed his mind. Stark also hosts Monday to Thursday evenings (including the Virgin Radio Takeover listener-driven show), as well as Sunday afternoons.
Putting TV personalities on the radio is common at French-language music stations in Montreal, but not so much on the English side (Todd van der Heyden is one of the exceptions). The lack of non-news local TV programming in anglo Montreal certainly has some part in this.
Comparisons will naturally be drawn (by me, at least) between Racicot and Anne-Marie Withenshaw, who hosts All Access Weekend at The Beat, Saturdays at 10am. Both are weekend shows hosted by bilingual personalities known more for French television than anything else. (The two shows will not be competing with each other directly - though it's interesting that one airs 10am to noon on Saturdays and the other 10am to noon on Sundays.)
I couldn't help noticing that Racicot's Astral photo is oddly similar to the one done for Withenshaw when The Beat launched last year (plus some silly lens flares). Or are shiny grey shirts in style these days?
UPDATE (Aug. 26): Brendan Kelly profiles Racicot in Saturday's Gazette.