Montreal radio ratings: “a solid book” for The Beat, but …

Station Winter 2011 Winter 2012 Fall 2012 Winter 2013
CJAD 25.9 24.8 25.2 25.0
CJFM (Virgin) 18.2 17.3 18.6 15.9
CKBE (Beat) 17.2 14.9 16.6 18.6
CHOM 10.3 11.9 13.7 13.5
CKGM (TSN) 2.6 4.4 2.3 2.6
CBME (CBC1) 7.5 8.2 7.2 7.0
CBM (CBC2) 2.9 2.7 2.4 2.5

BBM ratings, anglo 2+ audience

I don’t normally pay that much attention to the quarterly BBM ratings of Montreal radio stations. Not because I don’t care, but just because there’s rarely anything in them that’s newsworthy. A share point up here, a share point down there. Some stations do better in some time periods, others do better in others. There isn’t usually much movement.

Lately, CJAD has been first overall among all audiences, while the three music stations have been fighting for audience in key demographics: men for CHOM, young women for Virgin and somewhat older women for The Beat. CBC falls significantly behind, and TSN Radio even further. Other stations don’t even register. Things have been a bit more interesting on the French side with the rise of CHMP 98.5, which is now Quebec’s most-listened-to radio station.

But today’s numbers (PDF) showed a significant change for once: In overall audience (ages 2+), The Beat has leaped ahead of Virgin Radio for the first time, getting an 18.6% share versus 15.9%. That prompted The Beat to send out a press release calling itself “Montreal’s #1 Music Station”.

That was enough for a Gazette story on the matter.

But as the story shows, The Beat’s claim to be ahead of Virgin comes with a caveat: Virgin still outperforms in key demographics (among them, adults 25-54, adults 18-34 and women 25-54) and in key time periods.

In Astral’s press release, in which Virgin also calls itself “Montreal’s number one music station”, it focuses on the key advertising demographic of adults 25-54, in which Virgin still leads.

We could play with demographics all day, but if we stick to adults 25-54, the results show a three-way tie among the music stations: Virgin 21.9%, The Beat 20.1% and CHOM 20.0%, with CJAD behind at 13.1%. This represents an upward trend for The Beat and CHOM, but is down from last year for Virgin.

See some analysis here from Astral, and here from La Presse.

Needless to say everyone’s happy and everyone is number one. Here’s how the numbers break down for each station:

CKBE (The Beat) 92.5 FM

Overall, The Beat has climbed from No. 3 to No. 2, behind only CJAD among anglophones. In key demographics, it’s slightly behind Virgin. For Virgin’s targetted demographics, which skew toward young women, Virgin’s lead is even higher. The Beat does better among older women, with the 35-44 bracket being their main target.

For times of day, Donna Saker is still the station’s biggest draw with the business-hours shift. The morning show sits fourth, behind Virgin, CHOM and CJAD (though the difference between top-rated Virgin and fourth-rated Beat among adults 25-54 from 6 to 10am is only about 1,000 average-minute listeners).

For station manager Mark Dickie, it’s the culmination of 18 months of hard work launching the station and waiting for listeners to settle in and get used to the music and on-air talent. The hiring of Vinny Barrucco is the only major change at the station in the past year (assuming you don’t include Murray Sherriffs), so things have been pretty stable there. Cousin Vinny has brought the afternoon drive show back ahead of CHOM for second place among adults 25-54, but it’s still not at the level it was last spring.

For what it’s worth, The Beat’s overall success doesn’t translate for francophone listeners. The Beat’s share in French is only 2.1, versus 5.4 for Virgin and 5.3 for CHOM.

CJFM (Virgin Radio) 95.9 FM

Besides being tops in the important demos, Virgin gives props to its morning show with Freeway Frank and Natasha Gargiulo, which has a 29% share among women 25-54. It also highlights its high weekend ratings, which is interesting because other than Kelly Alexander in the mornings and MC Mario at night, Virgin doesn’t have much of a weekend staff compared to CHOM or The Beat.

CHOM 97.7 FM

CHOM’s target demo is men, and it’s the only music station really targetting men, so it kind of has the demo all to itself. Among men 25-54, it has a 35.2% share, and it claims “historic results with men age 35-49” with an increase of seven points over a year.

Surprisingly, CHOM is Montreal’s top-rated radio station (among adults 25-54) on weekends, beating out Virgin by a few hundred average listeners.

CJAD 800

CJAD remains the most popular anglo station among 2+ listeners, mainly because of loyalty among listeners too old to for advertisers’ interests. But the morning show with Andrew Carter is the highest-rated among the 25-54 demographic, with a 23% share. And brand director Chris Bury points out that even though it’s behind the music stations, CJAD does pretty well among the 25-54 demo.

CKGM (TSN Radio) 690

Not a great ratings period for CKGM, whose future is still kind of murky. But this can mainly be dismissed because of the NHL lockout, which ended in mid-January. The ratings period covers Nov. 26 to Feb. 24, so more than half of it had no hockey games being broadcast, and no one for armchair general managers to demand the firing or trading of.

CBME (CBC Radio One) 88.5/104.7 FM

CBC’s overall number is slightly lower than it’s been recently. That’s about all I can tell you. No demos here because it doesn’t carry any ads.

CBM (CBC Radio Two) 93.5 FM

Not much change here either.

CHMP 98.5 FM

As its press release proudly states, CHMP’s 20.4% overall market share makes it Quebec’s most listened-to station. Paul Arcand remains the biggest morning man in French with a 30.3% share, though the station’s average audience in mornings has slipped 25% since last spring. Other big names have shares around 20%, and their overnight hosts (including Jacques Fabi) are at 38%.

That said, its lead is slipping. Among adults 25-54, it went from 30% last spring to only 25% now, only two points ahead of Rythme FM and four ahead of Rouge. Besides Arcand, CHMP is losing significant ground throughout the day on weekdays, but holding its own on weekends. Early afternoons with Benoit Dutrizac have lost 35% of their audience and the station has dropped from No. 1 during lunch hour to No. 3.

CFGL (Rythme FM) 105.7 FM

Montreal’s highest-rated music station remains so, with a 16.2% share overall and a 16.4% share among adults 25-54, according to its press release. The station also claims the top spot among women 25-54 in all time periods, 2.254 million listeners overall and Canada’s biggest Facebook page for a radio station with 184,000 fans.

CITE (Rouge) 107.3 FM

The highest-rated Astral station in French continues to lag behind its main competitor Rythme FM. Without much good news, it simply thanks its listeners with an overall audience number (which is lower than Rythme FM’s). Nevertheless, it claims its best numbers since the PPM measurement system arrived in 2008, and finds some ways to say it’s better than Rythme, notably claiming Joël Legendre has more listeners than Rythme star Véronique Cloutier among 25-54-year-olds. Rythme claims the opposite, basing its numbers on women 25-54, so I assume Rouge is taking all adults in that age bracket.

Rouge also says it’s gaining on Rythme.

CBF (Radio-Canada Première Chaîne) 95.1 FM

The fourth-highest rated station overall, CBF is up two and a half share points from a year ago, and reaches about 140,000 more listeners a week than it did in 2012.

CKMF (NRJ) 94.3 FM

NRJ’s self-congratulations are pretty short, with the headline being that they’re the fastest-growing station. Their big show Les Grandes Gueules claims top spot among adults 18-34 (NRJ is also tops among adults 25-54 from 4 to 7pm), and it can say it’s better than its main competitor CKOI, but both stations have single-digit shares overall.

NRJ has jumped from fourth to first among adults 18-34, and has jumped considerably among women.

CKOI 96.9 FM

Montreal’s only radio station with an Oscar nominee on the air made a mention of its overall audience reach on its website, but no talk of ratings on social media. It’s easy to understand why: with an overall share of only 5.2, the station falls behind even Virgin and CHOM among francophones, and barely beats out classical music station CJPX (4.6 share). CKOI’s share overall was 6.1 a year ago, and 8.3 in 2011.

Among adults 18-34, which was the key demo it led as recently as last fall, it has fallen to third place behind NRJ and Rythme FM.

CKLX Radio X 91.9 FM

So irrelevant I simply forgot to mention it in this post at first, the former jazz station (which will learn next week whether the CRTC accepts its request to dump its licence requirement for jazz music) has a 0.6% share overall among francophones. Even among adults 25-54 it falls behind Radio Classique.

Press releases

The Beat:

For immediate release

March 7, 2013

92.5 The Beat is Montreal’s #1 Music Station

Feel Good music station also the #1 choice at work

Montreal, March 7, 2013 – Following today’s publication of BBM survey results for Winter 2013, 92.5 The Beat is celebrating its new ranking as Montreal’s #1 music station.

The radio station is now the #1 English-language music station among radio listeners of all ages.

92.5 The Beat is also the #1 listening choice of all daytime listeners, with the majority of Montreal tuning in to on-air favorite Donna Saker from 9am to 4pm weekdays.

“We know our music is what sets us apart, and today we are enjoying the proof of that”, says Leo Da Estrela, The Beat’s Program Director. “We’ve worked hard at providing our listeners a perfect music blend with the least amount of repetition. And as for Donna, I’m happy that we can now officially refer to her as the queen of daytime radio.”


BBM Winter 2013 Surveys

Excellent results for CJAD 800 AM, Virgin Radio 96 and CHOM 97 7!

Montreal, March 7, 2013 – The Winter 2013 BBM/PPM Survey results released today confirm excellent results for Astral Radio, especially for the anglophone stations CJAD 800 AM, Virgin Radio 96 and CHOM 97 7 who altogether have 69.3% of the commercial market with adults age 25 to 54. In the francophone Montreal commercial market, NRJ Montreal 94.3 and 107,3 Rouge fm have seen a remarkable 23% increase. In total, the five stations of Astral Radio reach a grand total of 4,129,000 listeners each week. Astral Radio reaches no less than 87% of the Montreal population1.

Virgin Radio 96 is still Montreal’s number one music station overall!

Virgin Radio 96 has had excellent results this winter with a grand total of 1,891,000 listeners and a 27.6 share of market with adults 25-54, making it the number one station in Montreal’s anglophone market! And, once again, Freeway & Natasha in the morning has earned the title of most listened to radio show with women age 25-54, with a 29% share of listeners. These listeners are also extremely loyal to their favourite station on the weekend: Virgin Radio 96 is the number one station with women age 25-54 on the weekend, with a 25% share of listeners.

Historic results for CHOM 97 7!

CHOM 97 7 earned a total of 1,486,000 listeners and a 25.2 share in Montreal’s anglophone commercial market (age 25-54). On top of continuing to dominate the market with no less than a 35.2 share of market with men age 25-54, CHOM this winter got historic results with men age 35-49 (an increase of 7 shares of listeners over a year)! All the shows aired on CHOM 97 7, from Monday morning to Saturday night, are also number one with men age 25-54, notably Mornings Rock with Terry and Heather, Middays with TooTall and the Afternoon Rock Ride with Bilal4.

Strong performances for CJAD 800 AM!

Finally, CJAD 800 AM counts a total of 336,000 listeners, in addition to garnering a 16.5 share of commercial market. The Andrew Carter Morning Show is once again the most listened to Anglophone morning show with listeners age 25-54, with a 23 share of market.

NRJ Montreal 94.3 and the 107,3 Rouge fm continue to rise!

NRJ Montreal 94.3 garnered a total of 1,816,000 listeners this winter, on top of its 17.5 share of commercial market with adults age 25-54, an impressive increase of 31% since last fall. Meanwhile La radio de tous les hits, NRJ Montreal 94.3 also dominates more than ever with the 18-34 target group, with a 25.4% share of commercial market, an extraordinary 40% increase.

Meanwhile, 107,3 Rouge fm showed a total of 2,163,000 listeners, in addition to capturing a 21.2 share of commercial market with adults 25-54, a strong 17% increase since fall 2012. 107,3 Rouge fm also had its best survey ever with adults 25-54, since the market has been measured by PPM.

For more detailed information on the BBM survey results from November 26, 2012 to February 24, 2013 please visit

Astral Radio would like to take this opportunity to offer its warmest thanks to its many listeners for their great loyalty, as well as the precious advertisers who enable it to maintain its leadership in the radio market.

13 thoughts on “Montreal radio ratings: “a solid book” for The Beat, but …

  1. Lorne

    I think too much is made about the ratings for adults 25-54 as opposed to adults older than that. It is always said that it is because of advertisers. I would like to say that adults older than 54 also buy products that are advertised on the radio.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think too much is made about the ratings for adults 25-54 as opposed to adults older than that. It is always said that it is because of advertisers. I would like to say that adults older than 54 also buy products that are advertised on the radio.

      Sure, and so do teenagers. But not as much, because they don’t have as much disposable income. Advertisers in other media are moving a bit away from the 25-54 thing as they start being able to focus their niches even further, but for the most part in radio you’re still going after the most lucrative audience, and that remains the 25-54 demographic.

  2. Jessica

    I recently switched from Virgin to The Beat! It’s not really because of the staff but because of the music. Virgin seems to play its songs on repeat! There is a variety on The Beat, a mix of old and new music!

  3. Ken

    Well considering I am in both CHOM and CFGM’s target market, I don’t get it. Mornings on CHOM are dismal to me. Cannot stand Terry. I listen to SiriusXM on the way to work now. I liked Pete. CFGM. What to say, gone from bad but trying to just horrible. Ted Bird is done. He needs to go back over the Mercier Bridge where he was funny. Or was it Java that was funny? Or Paul? And the Habs need to go back to CJAD. CFGM hasn’t figured out what to do with them. Every show from pre game to post game just sucks. Again Ted Bird meets the Peter Principle.

    Thanks for Internet and satellite radio. It would be unbearable without you:)

    1. AL

      Ken couldn’t agree with you more. I have not listened to Montreal radio for years. It’s either the border stations once in a while or the good old reliable MP3 player.

  4. gds

    The poor quality of real teen station in Montreal has really killed stations like CKOI and NRJ. When I was a teenager, those two stations were the top stations in the city. Now with streaming radio on phones and .mp3s, kids aren’t limited to a 50 years decision as to what popular music is. If you look at Billboards Hot 100 – there are easily 20 songs that have zero airtime here.

  5. Jordan

    Unfortunate to see CKOI-FM floundering, CKOI was once a rare diamond, today and after Corus’s and Cogeco’s destruction and “not give a fuck” mentality, it’s not even a cubic zirconia. Cogeco paid for $40,000,000 dollars for CKOI…..Quote me” Soon Corus Entertainment will buy back all the assets they sold to Cogeco”

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Cogeco paid for $40,000,000 dollars for CKOI…..Quote me” Soon Corus Entertainment will buy back all the assets they sold to Cogeco”

      You seem to suggest that Cogeco has been doing a bad job with the former Corus stations. The fact that they have the two highest-rated FM stations in Montreal (including a former Corus station that they’ve turned into No. 1) seems to contradict that.

  6. Steve

    I think the 25-54 demographic is to wide of a gap because there’s a big difference beetwen a 25-35 and a 45-54 demographic. I’m not sure they are the same kind of customer. And they are surely not the same kind of listeners at least musically speaking.

    On the other hand, when looking at the Montreal radio world, it’s a damn interesting variety of stations to choose from.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think the 25-54 demographic is to wide of a gap because there’s a big difference beetwen a 25-35 and a 45-54 demographic. I’m not sure they are the same kind of customer. And they are surely not the same kind of listeners at least musically speaking.

      True. Virgin’s target demo is women in their 20s, and The Beat took advantage of Virgin’s move toward a younger audience and is targetting women in their 30s and 40s. Of course, some people listen to the two stations and think they play the same thing.

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