Chris Bury appointed program director at TSN 690, remains PD at CJAD

Chris Bury

Chris Bury

Everyone’s wondering about what kind of changes we’re going to see at Montreal’s two English-language AM talk stations now that they’re owned by the same company. The first step in the transformation happened on Tuesday when Martin Spalding, now vice-president of operations and local sales for Quebec radio for Bell Media, appointed Chris Bury as program director for TSN 690.

Bury is the program director at CJAD, and will retain this role, meaning he’ll be programming both stations.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon to staff at both stations, and Spalding confirmed it to me.

“His nomination came out today so it is a little early to start talking change but knowing him, without a doubt, he will work hard to make the best of TSN and CJAD,” Spalding told me. “It’s great that the station will have a dedicated program director, it will only pay dividends.”

Wayne Bews

Wayne Bews

TSN 690’s station manager, Wayne Bews, who was performing the duties of program director before the merger, remains in his role. “For the time being, it’s business as usual and Wayne continues to assume his current role,” Spalding said, which certainly doesn’t sound like anyone should bet on Bews’s job staying the same for long. CJAD, CHOM and Virgin Radio have their own program directors but not individual station managers, which would make it odd for TSN 690 to retain one after the merger is complete.

Bury also said it was “too early” to talk about programming changes.

UPDATE (Sept. 4): Bews has been named retail sales manager for CTV Montreal.

41 thoughts on “Chris Bury appointed program director at TSN 690, remains PD at CJAD

  1. Steve W

    So with Astral Media no more, Chris Bury is back being called a Program Director, not Brand Director(same with Mark Bergman at Virgin Radio 96 & so on)?

    Reply
    1. Neil K.

      Actually, on the Bell “Careers” page there’s an opening for an Assistant Brand Director in London, so the term is being used inconsistently across the company’s properties, it would seem.

      Reply
  2. Lorne

    I think it would be better to have 2 different people to do these 2 jobs. It sort of creates a conflict of interest to have 1 person making programming decisions for 2 stations that are competing against each other like these 2 are.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It sort of creates a conflict of interest to have 1 person making programming decisions for 2 stations that are competing against each other like these 2 are.

      The point is that these two stations won’t be competing against each other anymore.

      Reply
  3. Media Man

    Well the big loser here is Wayne Bews, the poor guy was the one who held the fort and took all the crap from the public during the TSN/RDS flipflop..when Bell couldn’t cared less about the anglo sports listeners….

    And unless Martin Tremblay, I assume he’s staying as operations manager, so station manager/operations manager, almost the same thing….I hope Martin Spalding has had the decency to to have a private chat with Mr. Bews..

    And as for Chris Bury….most knowledgeable radio people could be PD of ‘AD…Carter does, Schnurmacher, Peterson, Rand, Morgan, it’s a well oiled machine that doesn’t need much supervision..I don’t know if Ric Peterson is still assistant PD, he would be perfect to run the show..So I suspect Chris Bury will concentrate his time on TSN 690, he will have to establish to Ted Bird and especially Mitch Melnick that he’s the PD. The general perception was that Melnick was the de facto PD..

    He will have to institute some local programming, weekends somewhere, and when I mean local, I don’t mean the Habs, Als, Impact. I mean high school, collegiate, maybe something on the many local leagues, a weekly highlights package,etc…

    He might be able to run both stations now, but Chris Bury look over your shoulder, Steve Kowch and AM600 is on the way. this is competition that he hasn’t faced yet. Again Steve F, any news on TTP. should one concern themselves with this beacon of hope to soon add to local radio and some much needed competition..

    Reply
  4. Steve W

    How soon is TSN 690 Radio expected to move into the Bell Media radio building on Papineau Ave. & Rene Levesque Blvd.? Within 6 months?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      How soon is TSN 690 Radio expected to move into the Bell Media radio building on Papineau Ave. & Rene Levesque Blvd.? Within 6 months?

      Soon. Apparently they wanted to do it by Labour Day but that’s not going to happen. I don’t believe a new date has been set. They’re going to have to build or repurpose at least one studio somewhere.

      Reply
  5. Dilbert

    Let the fun begin.

    Step 1, “add” a PD to TSN radio… and as you say (without saying directly) the writing is on the wall for the only station manager out of the four common properties.

    The next step is integration. Get 690 into the same building, run a few wires around, and now you can start using the “sports station” people to give sports reports on the other stations – and in turn get rid of anyone left doing that at the other stations. Consolidate the sports to TSN (including the Als in the long run) and away you go.

    How long before Quack to Quack overnight becomes full time nighttime programming on TSN as well? ;)

    I suspect 12 months from now CJAD and TSN will effectively be run as the same large station, rather than two stand alone properties. Perhaps that explains the PD situation.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      How long before Quack to Quack overnight becomes full time nighttime programming on TSN as well? ;)

      Since CKGM’s licence requires it to maintain an all-sports format, adding non-sports programming is unlikely.

      I suspect 12 months from now CJAD and TSN will effectively be run as the same large station, rather than two stand alone properties.

      What do you mean by “the same large station”? CJAD isn’t going to change from its news-talk format, and TSN 690 is locked into its sports talk format for seven years. The two will certainly share resources, much like CJAD does with CHOM and Virgin, but the stations will keep separate programming.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        “Since CKGM’s licence requires it to maintain an all-sports format, adding non-sports programming is unlikely.”

        If I remember correctly, the programming mix situation is related to programming that the CRTC “counts”. I seem to remember that midnight to 6 am isn’t generally counted for things like percentage content mix and such….

        “What do you mean by “the same large station”? CJAD isn’t going to change from its news-talk format, and TSN 690 is locked into its sports talk format for seven years. ”

        I swear I must use a different language from you sometimes. Running it as one large station would mean, as an example, having staff appear on both stations – perhaps having a 10 – 15 minute sports related segment in the morning, or having one of the on air “talkers” from ‘AD on TSN doing “politics of sports” or something like that.

        My thought is that a common PD could treat the two stations on air staff as a single unit, and deploy them as needed. So you could have Melnick chatting sports with Aaron Rand (instead of their current sports staffer), or you could have a weekly “Carter’s sports faves” show on TSN… one outlet is more newsy, the other more sporty, but the people being about the same. Is there any reason as an example that you wouldn’t have the Canadiens pre-game show run on both stations at the same time, or perhaps have a late night sports related call in show that runs on both? Economically, it’s a lower cost way to do things, and at the same time would cross promote the stations to each others listenership.

        “The two will certainly share resources, much like CJAD does with CHOM and Virgin, but the stations will keep separate programming.”

        I think that you are ignoring that TSN and AD’s programming are very similar in concept, just slightly different in focus. The sharing that exists from AD to the FM stations is “services” such as news or sports. The more common natural of the two AM stations suggests a lot more synergies and sharing.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          If I remember correctly, the programming mix situation is related to programming that the CRTC “counts”. I seem to remember that midnight to 6 am isn’t generally counted for things like percentage content mix and such….

          You’re right. In most cases, the broadcast day is defined as 6am to midnight, so what happens overnight doesn’t count in most of these definitions. That said, I still think putting such non-sports programming on an all-sports station doesn’t make much sense. If it was infomercials, maybe, but Coast to Coast is on CJAD and I don’t think they’re really clamouring to replace it with something.

          Running it as one large station would mean, as an example, having staff appear on both stations – perhaps having a 10 – 15 minute sports related segment in the morning, or having one of the on air “talkers” from ‘AD on TSN doing “politics of sports” or something like that.

          I would guess that having TSN sports people on CJAD would make sense. It would also make sense to, say, have TSN share the traffic and news reports that air on the other stations. I imagine the TSN and CJAD sports departments would probably merge and the personalities no longer tied to one station or the other. I don’t see too many non-sports CJAD personalities going on TSN, except if they want to talk sports.

          So you could have Melnick chatting sports with Aaron Rand (instead of their current sports staffer), or you could have a weekly “Carter’s sports faves” show on TSN… one outlet is more newsy, the other more sporty, but the people being about the same.

          If Andrew Carter wants to do a weekly sports show, that could happen. I don’t see a Rand/Melnick chat for reasons of practicality since their shows run at the same time.

          Is there any reason as an example that you wouldn’t have the Canadiens pre-game show run on both stations at the same time

          Because what would be the point in this? Unless people have trouble hearing one station or the other, running duplicate programming is useless duplication. CJAD has the staff, the audience and the advertising revenue to run alternative programming before Canadiens games.

          I think that you are ignoring that TSN and AD’s programming are very similar in concept, just slightly different in focus.

          “Very similar in concept” in that they’re both talk stations? You could say the same about Virgin Radio and CHOM, in that they’re both music stations. And I think they give a good indication of what will happen here: sharing of overhead, office staff, news/traffic/weather information and even some personalities, but having separate programming and branding.

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            “Because what would be the point in this? Unless people have trouble hearing one station or the other, running duplicate programming is useless duplication. CJAD has the staff, the audience and the advertising revenue to run alternative programming before Canadiens games.”

            Yes, of course they do – but the net effect of getting wider coverage (CJAD is a bit better north and south, CKGM better east west), but also in building a fan base and leading listeners to the most significant (and highest income) programming on their collective schedules.

            ““Very similar in concept” in that they’re both talk stations? You could say the same about Virgin Radio and CHOM, in that they’re both music stations. ”

            They are much more similar than that. Think of CJAD as a talk station with some sports, and TSN as a sports station with a smattering of general talk. It is particularly plausible to see people from TSN appearing regularly on CJAD, as it’s likely that there will be no other sports department left at CJAD shortly. That means all the sports casts, all the “chatting” about sports that happens in a normal day would be done by TSN people.

            For TSN, getting access to an actual “news” department might be helpful in rounding out their broadcast information.

            When the stations are not competing anymore, there is no reason NOT to have cross over of personalities, because what you are really trying to do is build the overall “Bell radio” brand, to drive more listeners to all of your stations.

            “having separate programming and branding”

            Duh, few people suggest that they will be endless rebroadcasters of each other, although the idea of a “Bell Radio Network” brand seems plausible, especially for overnight programming and sports. Rather, my point is that without effective competition, there are few reasons not to allow crossovers and cross links between all four of the stations – and that might even be Ted Bird turning up on the DiMonte radio program. Astral radio generally tried hard to portray the 3 stations they ran as somewhat neutral competitors to each other with only certain shared services evident to the listeners. Bell? We only have to look at what they did in moving from CFCF-12 / Pulse news to “CTV Montreal evening news” to understand how they generally seem to look at things.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              It is particularly plausible to see people from TSN appearing regularly on CJAD

              Indeed. In fact, it’s already started. But there’s a difference between personalities appearing on each other’s stations and having both stations simulcast programming.

              Reply
              1. Steve W

                Who from TSN 690 is now appearing regularly on CJAD? I can’t think of any, except for Robyn Flynn(semi-regularly), but she pre-dated the Bell takeover of Astral. I call her Robyn Flynn ‘Ms Slow-Go’ listening her Traffic Reports.

              2. Fagstein Post author

                Who from TSN 690 is now appearing regularly on CJAD?

                Conor McKenna and Ted Bird have appeared on CJAD since the takeover was finalized, and others I believe as well. They aren’t “regulars” yet, but they’ve already started being heard.

              3. Dilbert

                Steve, I don’t get you. I didn’t suggest that the stations would be full simulcasts of each other, but for a major live sporting event like Hockey, perhaps the extended coverage pre-game would help to drive listenership to the game, and as such, drive up ad rates (and Bell loves money… ).

                A 30 minute pregame simulcast doesn’t mean that the stations have all of each others programming.

                My thought is only that with the two stations being so closely related (with a fair bit of overlap in potential listenership and such) that it’s pretty much a given that you can freely move people back and forth without issue. A single PD running both stations with a common staff would be a pretty logical way to operate such a situation (and we now have that single PD). With the different radiation patterns and coverage areas (especially at night) for these stations, some simulcast may be beneficial and certainly in keeping with both station’s goals and style.

              4. Fagstein Post author

                A 30 minute pregame simulcast doesn’t mean that the stations have all of each others programming.

                No, but it doesn’t make any sense for the same reason. There’s no practical advantage to simulcasting two AM stations covering the same area when you can offer two different channels of programming.

                My thought is only that with the two stations being so closely related (with a fair bit of overlap in potential listenership and such) that it’s pretty much a given that you can freely move people back and forth without issue.

                Indeed. And I believe that’s what’s going to happen.

                With the different radiation patterns and coverage areas (especially at night) for these stations, some simulcast may be beneficial and certainly in keeping with both station’s goals and style.

                How many Montrealers can hear one station and not the other? And does that really outnumber the number of CJAD listeners who might be interested in listening to something other than sports?

              5. Media Man

                @Dilbert..I still think there will be some creative changes or titles once the heat gets going from TTP..Chris Bury hasn’t faced any competition really yet..

                Steve Kowch is on the way..AT 940, when he was there Bury couldn’t compete against probably at the time it was probably Derek Conlon who was mentored from the best in Gord Sinclair..

                so this could be interesting when that happens.

              6. Fagstein Post author

                I still think there will be some creative changes or titles once the heat gets going from TTP

                That might be a while. The last I heard a fall launch is unlikely for TTP’s stations.

              7. Media Man

                In reference to your TTP remark about fall launch, I can understand about the English station having until next year sometime, but what about the French station, don’t they have to November to get their act together..

                What have they been doing these last two years ??

              8. Fagstein Post author

                In reference to your TTP remark about fall launch, I can understand about the English station having until next year sometime, but what about the French station, don’t they have to November to get their act together..

                Yes, although the latest information I have is that they’re probably going to ask for a one-year extension. They’re not giving me details yet.

              9. Steve W

                So it’s seems first to cross over from TSN 690 to CJAD to at least help out(not regular gig) was Conor McKenna last Friday morning replacing Rick Moffat on CJAD.

  6. MacGuffin

    Can we expect Bell to now erase any sign of individuality (bumpers, jingles ect…) from their new radio acquisitions the way they did with CTV? That will be very sad indeed.

    On a related note, I have been hearing CJAD reporters on CFRA lately filing reports from Quebec under the CFRA banner.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Can we expect Bell to now erase any sign of individuality (bumpers, jingles ect…) from their new radio acquisitions the way they did with CTV? That will be very sad indeed.

      They’d need to come up with a national brand first. They have one with Virgin Radio, but CJAD and CHOM don’t really have a national news or rock station brand to latch onto. At least not yet.

      Reply
      1. Marc

        Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. There’s going to be loads of integration, combining of resources and, as such, will be tons of layoffs.

        You’re listening to Bell Talk Radio (insert city name).
        Coming up next on Bell Rock Radio (insert city).

        Much the same as Galaxie Pop, Galaxie Rock, Galaxie 90s, etc.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          You’re listening to Bell Talk Radio (insert city name). Coming up next on Bell Rock Radio (insert city).

          I don’t think Bell’s that stupid to think “Bell Rock Radio” is a good brand for a rock station. They might come up with national brands, but there’s no need to have Bell in the name.

          Much the same as Galaxie Pop, Galaxie Rock, Galaxie 90s, etc.

          Galaxie is a single service with multiple channels, which is why it has a common branding. It’s not a radio broadcaster. The comparison really makes little sense here.

          Reply
          1. MacGuffin

            I can easily envision a national rebranding to Bell Radio “Insert city here” or something close to that for their news-talk entities. They had no respect for the history associated with local television call letters, so why think they would have any for radio?

            Reply
      2. Media Man

        Could the CRTC have said to George Cope and company that they must keep the local call letters in order to keep the local identity, unlike the bleeding of those beloved stations like CFCF, CFTO, CJOH, should I go on?

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Could the CRTC have said to George Cope and company that they must keep the local call letters in order to keep the local identity

          The CRTC can do whatever it wants. But it doesn’t regulate branding. Broadcasting stations have to have call letters, and are supposed to identify themselves that way on a regular basis, but if CTV wants to brand its Montreal local newscast as “CTV News”, that’s their business.

          Reply
  7. Mario

    Usually when a company takes over another company, the buyer brings in their people. But it appears for the Montreal radio scene, looks like it’s a reverse take over. With the former Astral people given the reigns to run the 4 stations.
    Let’s hope the new PD for TSN690 has done his homework and understands who the listeners are.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Usually when a company takes over another company, the buyer brings in their people. But it appears for the Montreal radio scene, looks like it’s a reverse take over. With the former Astral people given the reigns to run the 4 stations.

      It’s simple math: Astral had 24 radio stations in Quebec (21 of them French-language stations), and Bell had just one. There was a management restructuring, but since Bell didn’t have French-language radio people in Quebec, it kept most of the Astral management there.

      Reply
  8. philip

    I like listening to CJAD, however the constant changes are a tad confusing.

    On the weekends, has Abe Hefter left? I see that a new season of Here’s the Thing is on on the weekends and now you have Question Period is now on Sunday nights in The Locker Room’s place. There sure are a lot of Syndicated radio shows now. Is “The Locker Room Gone” I like Alec Baldwin’s show depending on the guests and I like the BBC but I miss the local content. Even Todd Van der Heyden though live is doing it remotely. Not to mention all the replay. I do miss Sol Boxenbaum. Even though I didn’t agree with his viewpoints a lot of the time at least it was something interesting to listen to. I am not a fan of Roswell or Ancient mysticisms that Coast to Coast discusses. There really isn’t much for me to listen to on overnight radio anymore.

    I also get the impression that Ann Shatilla isn’t as popular now. Sure she has her show on Sunday but that’s about it. She doesn’t hook up with Aaron Rand on a daily basis anymore. Now it’s Natasha Gargiulo. and What’s with Barry Morgan. He’s a nice enough guy, but he’s really getting a big push filling in for everybody. That’s surprising as he already has a nightly show Monday to Friday. Now that he’s filling in for everybody. He’s hardly on his nighttime show anymore. I thought that they would get someone else to fill in that’s not already busy during the week, like when James Mennie fills in for Tommy. Get Tracey McKee or Dan Laxer to fill in for Andrew when Dave can’t. (Not to say I don’t like Barry. It’s just surprising that he’s moving up so fast.)

    Reply
    1. mimo

      I wouldn’t exactly say Barry’s moving up. He was a news anchor and show fill over at CINW 940 during their talk days as AM 940. He was very good there and I like him on CJAD. He’s been in the biz for a very long time and has a good set of pipes. I know a few announcers who would kill to have his tone.

      Abe is still at CJAD as I still hear him from time to time.

      Reply
  9. Media Man

    Well Philip, lots of disagreement here..Dave Fisher is the closest they have to George Balcan in the morning.. Whether ‘AD and Bell likes it or not. the Shadow of George still looms large.. I don’t miss Sol Boxenbaum, all he talked about was the subject of gamling, ant–Loto uebec, no disrespect intended…

    But I just love Coast to coast, and if Steve will check it out for us..it has big ratings for the overnights, keeping in mind no real competition..but I would rather listen to George Noory than Best of shows from the daytime

    Dan Laxer please is not a morning man. who are you trying to kid.. Barry Morgan actually fits in well for some reason wherever he is…As for the weekend things, you’re right, it’s like a TV schedule on the radio..But then, weekend evenings tend to be a dead zone for radio….But I do know for a fact, that Bury has been offered excellent weekend segments which would have been different and lowered their demographics on the weekend, but they declined…so we await AM600 …

    Reply
  10. Neil K.

    Barry Morgan is hardly a newcomer moving his way up: he’s a seasoned veteran who has been in the business at least 25 years. He trained an ex-girlfriend of mine for weekend overnight news on CJAD way back in 1987 or 1988. Barry also did a stint on CBC TV doing sportscasts, and he’s pretty much worked everywhere and done everything. Hosting his own talk show is relatively new for him as up until now he’s concentrated on the news and sports side of broadcasting.

    Re ratings for Coast To Coast: There are no ratings taken overnight. The “ratings day” ends at 1:00 a.m. In the old days a lot of stations simply went off the air until the morning.

    Reply
  11. Neil K.

    Media Man:

    If you really like Coast To Coast, you might be interested to know that the originator of the UFO/conspiracy theory/quack medicine concept, Art Bell, is returning to the “airwaves” on Sirius/XM satellite soon. He decided to come out of returement as he felt the current version of Coast To Coast under Noory’s leadership isn’t “edgy” enough for his tastes. Expect a lot of alien abduction and Illuminati nuttiness when Bell comes back.

    No idea if the Canadian versions of Sirius or XM will be carrying the new Art Bell show. The programming is similar but not identical.

    Reply
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