CHOI Radio X launches in Montreal

CHOI Radio X has arrived in Montreal.

On Monday morning, at 5:30 a.m., CKLX-FM 91.9 officially rebranded from Planète Jazz to CHOI Radio X Montréal with sounds of jazz music getting interrupted and its heartbeat flatlined. The station has gone from smooth easy-listening music to opinionated talk during the week and rock music on the weekend.

Actually, Planète Jazz isn’t completely dead. The station’s license is still as a specialty station carrying jazz music, and 70% of its musical selections must be in the category of jazz and blues, according to its latest license renewal.

Owner RNC Media applied to the CRTC months ago for the station to change its license, saying a jazz-only station simply can’t survive in Montreal. The application received a lot of opposition from Montrealers who didn’t want the formula used by CHOI-FM in Quebec City imported to this city. (UPDATE March 14, 2013: The application has been denied by the CRTC.)

Whether deserved or not, CHOI-FM has a reputation as “radio poubelle”, a right-wing shock-jock station that appeals to the lowest common denominator. Much of that reputation is based on second-hand accounts of what airs on the station, and in many cases stuff that is years old, about former personality Jeff Fillion, for example. Though it has been investigated by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council many times since then for comments by its radio hosts.

The opposition caused the CRTC to call a public hearing into the license amendment changing the station from a specialty jazz music station into a mainly spoken word station. The license amendment application will be dealt with at a hearing in Montreal on Sept. 10, the same hearing the commission considers the proposed Bell purchase of Astral Media, the conversion of TSN 990 from English to French, and the application for a new English news-talk station at 600 AM.

Until a decision is reached, CKLX will continue to air jazz music, weeknights from 7pm to 5:30am, and on weekends, except from 11am to 4pm when it airs rock music. Provided 70% of its music continues to be jazz, the station will still be respecting the letter (if perhaps not the spirit) of its license.

Though the switch was announced for 5:30am on Monday, it actually happened on Sunday at 11am, when the afternoon rock music show took over the airwaves. Planète Jazz listeners who still hadn’t heard about the change expressed shock and outrage on the station’s Facebook page. After 4pm, the station returned to jazz music until 5:30am Monday.

The new brand’s schedule is as follows:

  • Le show du matin (5:30am to 9:30am): Carl Monette, Martin Pelletier, Gabriel Grégoire, Évelyne Audet
  • Maurais Live (9:30am to 12pm): Dominic Maurais (syndicated from CHOI-FM in Quebec City)
  • Le midi (12pm to 2pm): Éric Duhaime
  • 2 à 4 (2pm to 4pm): Sophie Bérubé, Vincent Rabault
  • Le Retour (4pm to 7pm): Jean-Charles Lajoie, Marie-Claude Savard et Vincent Dessureault
  • Légendes du Rock (weekends 11am to 4pm): Jeff Paquet

Everything not in the shows above will continue to be jazz music.

UPDATE: Some coverage:

UPDATE (Aug. 26): A petition has been started to convince the CRTC to keep Planète Jazz. It already has 1,500 signatures. Radio X has responded with its own petition.

21 thoughts on “CHOI Radio X launches in Montreal

  1. Alex H

    I find it interesting that the station owners think that the CRTC is so toothless and so docile that they will just roll over and eat this one.

    I would love to see these guys lose their license effective the hearing date, and for them to made to re-apply for the frequency with every other interested party who wants to start a station in Montreal. The change here is too dramatic, like CJAD turning into death metal station overnight.

  2. ATSC

    I don’t really care if CKLX-FM goes the way of trash talk radio. What I don’t understand is this need associating another stations call letters as part of their branding. Should it not be CKLX-FM Radio X. CHOI are the call letters of the Quebec City station. Shouldn’t they be marketing Radio X as the brand. While still keeping some sort of local ID.

    The same thing occurred with CKOI.

  3. Anne Allard

    Quelle honte!!! La seule radio jazz de ce genre à Montréal, la métropole de la musique, et vous la tuez! Vous me faites vraiment “!”//$**!!!” … je devrais peut-être écrire ce que je pense afin que vous puissiez me comprendre, car après tout, c’est le vocabulaire que vous utilisez non? Je suis tellement déçue et choquée de voir à quel point VOUS, les médias prenez notre société en otage – c’est déplorable. Je vous souhaite vraiment à vous et votre équipe d’animateurs – amateurs… courte vie. Je ne comprend pas comment cette Marie-Claude Savard peut s’associer à une bande de “cheap” de radio poubelle. J’imagine que le dicton est vrai: “Chasse le naturel et il revient au galop”.

    D’une auditrice du tout début qui ne s’intonisera jamais plus le 91,9.

  4. Vaudreuil Bob

    I find it sad that the home of one of the largest Jazz Festivals in the world (2004 Guinness World Record as the world’s largest jazz festival) somehow does not have enough listeners to support a local Jazz radio station.

  5. Helena

    I cannot believe that a city like Montreal full of culture and city vibe lost its only jazz station. I have been a loyal listener for quite some time. This station was a breath of fresh air in a world of politics and pop music. Why why change the programming? Very disappointed but not surprised that politics took priority in such a corrupt province.

  6. Richard Patenaude

    Quel désolation de perdre la seul station Jazz que nous avions à Montréal 91.9 FM vous venez de me perdre comme client et vous me verrez dans l’obligantion de trouver ma musique Jazz sur une autre station accessible par internet.

    Je suis déçu que cette décision est été rendu sans consultation de son public.

  7. Coldart

    I was aghast when I tuned into Planète Jazz Monday morning on my drive to work. I was sure I had the wrong station! We have lost something unique and classy that added to Montréal’s “cachet”. I agree with Vaudreuil Bob, very sad indeed.

  8. Marc (in Laval)

    Well that sucks big time, Planète Jazz was basically the only listenable radio station in Montreal (IMO).
    I owe that station a lot for making me discover new or unknown artists that are full of talent.
    Even Montreal-based bands that otherwise will get no air time… Elsiane is one.

    I feel that over the years, the owners of radio stations are losing touch with the listener base, especially anything that’s not ”commercial” or ”mainstream”.
    CHOM is now a joke or a shell of what it used to be. It was a Rock station, it was a Classic Rock station and now what… Nickelback? Gimme a break!

    Montreal’s radio industry is sick, cancer-ridden and the last place to hear something really new and offbeat are Student Radios (some of the time…).

    Rest In Peace Planète Jazz
    There’s no reason to turn on the radio no more

  9. Sandi Arie

    I was so dissapointed when I turned on the radio on my way to work.There was talk radio on my favourite Plane Jazz station!What have they done?It was the best music in the world.It was the best radio station in Montreal.Everything else is crap!!! Excuse the language.I’m so upset,Please do what you can to bring it back,Jazz is the heart of montrealer’s.
    Thank You,
    Sandi Arie.

  10. Gaëtan

    Le grand Montréal ne possède t-il pas assez de stations de radio de troisième ordre…
    Avec ce changement CHOI se dirige surement vers un suicide sociétaire
    J’ai espoir que le changement ne sera pas accepté par la CRTC

  11. Carole Girouard

    La meilleur station, Planète Jazz… une vrai perte! What a waste… Crap talk radio instead of gorgeous music! Omi-san says we can listen to our ipods and such things, you do not get it! The entire station from the music, the hosts and even the advertisements were all about the culture of Jazz! I actually frequented clubs and concerts that I heard on that station! Huge loss! 91.9 was programed on my number 1 spot on my car radio, that is no longer the case!

  12. Claude Jollet

    Les espèces animales en voie de disparition ont plus de protection que les amateurs de jazz du Grand-Montréal. Signe des temps?

    Mais voilà peut-être l’occasion rêvée pour un amateur de jazz et promoteur de devenir instantannément populaire en faisant renaître la programmation de notre défunte Planète Jazz sur une autre fréquence!

    The endangered species have more protection than the greater Montréal jazz fans. Sign of the times? This may be the opportunity of a life-time for a ture jazz fan and promoter to breathe life again – on another frequency – to our now defunct Planete Jazz!

  13. Dave Rouleau

    Montreal has done it again and changed one of the best radio concepts we have heard in years. I listened to Choi’s new concept and you have to be brain dead to listen to this sh–. Planet Jazz was an education in music I would be driving my car and hear this fantastic song and I would rush home to my computer to find out who it was. It would open the doors to such beautiful music that you would never hear on regular AM FM. I am at a total lost for words but you can rest assure this audiophile will not be listening to the new Planet-x

  14. Pingback: CRTC says no to Planète Jazz/Radio X licence change – Fagstein

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