Wayne Bews hired as general manager at The Beat

Wayne Bews, the long-time general manager at Team 990 (then TSN Radio 690), until he was moved into a sales job at CTV Montreal, has been hired to become the new general manager and general sales manager at 92.5 The Beat.

The news was announced on Wednesday to the staff at CTV Montreal and The Beat. Bews replaces Mark Dickie, who left the station a month ago to work for Corus as general manager of its Cornwall and newly-acquired Ottawa stations.

Bews, who by all accounts was well-liked by the staff at CKGM, guided the struggling station as it finally made one format stick. By the time he left last fall, it was still struggling, but had a loyal audience and solid footing, and secured a guaranteed lifeline thanks to parent company Bell’s acquisition of Astral Media.

But it was that same acquisition that pushed Bews out of that job. Last August, Chris Bury was made program director for both CJAD and TSN Radio, and within weeks Bews had found another job within the company as the retail sales manager at CTV Montreal.

Bews started his career as a sales representative for CHOM and CKGM, back when both were owned by CHUM. He’s spent 20 years in this market selling radio advertising and managing radio stations.

He’ll start in his new job in early March. The exact date hasn’t been set yet. CTV Montreal staff were told that he would be helping general manager Louis Douville transition to a replacement, which is interesting since he’s moving to one of Bell’s chief competitors.

32 thoughts on “Wayne Bews hired as general manager at The Beat

  1. Media Man

    Congrats to a fine guy, one would hope, along with COGECO, that this means some serious changes at THE BEAT, in other words, significant programming changes or tweaking, and realizing that there isn’t room in this market for two stations chasing each other for the same market and music..and not factoring in 94.7 HITS FM and Star 92.9, who are American based but steal away listeners and ad dollars…

    maybe a hybrid of what they play now and what they did before and room for some oldies, hate to use that word though, let’s call them classics..

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      one would hope, along with COGECO, that this means some serious changes at THE BEAT, in other words, significant programming changes or tweaking, and realizing that there isn’t room in this market for two stations chasing each other for the same market and music

      Bews won’t be the program director, so programming won’t really be his thing, though he’ll probably be involved.

      As for changing programming to be less like Virgin, what format would you choose that would result in a higher audience and/or higher market share for The Beat?

      Reply
      1. Media Man

        Copying from my original comment…” maybe a hybrid of what they play now and what they did before and room for some oldies, hate to use that word though, let’s call them classics.”

        Clearly, we need choice in a smaller anglo market…CHOM has the rock market. Virgin has that hit market, but some of their choices are questionable, so somewhere with more choice, less focused in playlists like the other two. So my solution is a little bit of everything..

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Going back to Q92 isn’t a winning strategy. Airing classic hits might make them popular, but the station is limited to having half its schedule be hit music, which means that for every classic hit it airs, it can’t air a modern hit. I suspect that’s a big reason why it’s not doing so.

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          1. Media Man

            I’m confused above here.. you say it can’t air a modern hit if it plays a classic hit or oldie…..but limited to half its schedule is hit music, so why can’t the other half be big hits from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s.. there is a market for the older stuff stuff, but should be programmed by someone who knows that market from the past, not some kid..

            Is the BEAT licensed to a certain format..?

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            1. Fagstein Post author

              limited to half its schedule is hit music, so why can’t the other half be big hits from the 60?s, 70?s, 80?s

              Because those are also hits. The restriction applies to any song that has at any point been a top 40 song. So half the music broadcast has to be songs that have never been in the top 40.

              Is the BEAT licensed to a certain format..?

              No. It has a standard commercial licence, with the exception of conditions allowing it to use a subchannel for broadcasting Portuguese programming.

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              1. Media Man

                So it could be a hit station mixing in ” oldie hits” from those past years. Most so called oldies anyways were all Top 40 anyways in those years.

              2. Fagstein Post author

                So it could be a hit station mixing in ” oldie hits” from those past years.

                Well it could be a 50% hit station with some of that 50% being older songs.

              3. Marc

                If they’re limited in what kinds of music they can play,then, yes, they are licensed to a specific format. Just like CHOM has to air rock songs as the CRTC views rock music. They decide which songs are rock and which aren’t.

                The FCC doesn’t engage in any of this, and that is why the CRTC is more of a problem than a solution.

              4. Fagstein Post author

                If they’re limited in what kinds of music they can play,then, yes, they are licensed to a specific format.

                They have a standard limitation that applies to all English-language FM stations in Montreal and Ottawa/Gatineau. If you want to interpret that as being “licensed to a specific format” then I can’t stop you, but nothing prevents The Beat from becoming an all-country station.

                Just like CHOM has to air rock songs as the CRTC views rock music.

                No it doesn’t. CHOM has a standard licence. Its format is unrestricted. If it wanted to switch to country, or blues, or reggae, there’s nothing in the licence or CRTC regulations to prevent that.

              5. Brett Morris

                If they want to become popular The Beat needs to decide on a format that isn’t in Montreal but the music is popular in the city. Why not try classic hits, adult hits or even hip hop. I’m sure any of those formats would do well.

              6. Fagstein Post author

                If they want to become popular The Beat needs to decide on a format that isn’t in Montreal but the music is popular in the city. Why not try classic hits, adult hits or even hip hop. I’m sure any of those formats would do well.

                Maybe. But are either of those formats going to get an 18% market share? If not, it doesn’t make sense for The Beat to switch.

            2. Media Man

              Well it would seem to make sense to switch if according to last BBM book, they’re starting to slip..I like the 50/50 so-called current hits with classic hits, going to,let’s say the 70’s…

              I remember when Nat Lauzon’s first weekend, they were dipping into the great dance type songs of mid to late 70’s and into the 80’s..

              They could pay more attention to Montreal indie artists,, they do that at 94.7 Hits FM..They really gotta do something and better promotions as well.. or a hybrid of what they play now and what they played Q92…a smart PD could handle that..

              Reply
  2. Sean Coleman

    Very happy to see Wayne back in the radio business. He’s a great guy and was a tremendous boss at Team 990/TSN 690. I wish him the best at Q92.

    Reply
  3. Graham

    Same GM that never earned a profit with TSN690 and threaten termination if his employees mentioned Bell shutting down the station? The Beat is in big trouble

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Same GM that never earned a profit with TSN690

      Since there’s no GM that ever earned a profit with TSN 690, or Team 990, or even CKGM before that, that statement doesn’t really tell us much. For what it’s worth, Bews was well-liked by his employees, and many people worked at the station for little or no pay.

      threaten termination if his employees mentioned Bell shutting down the station?

      Bews’s order to not talk about Bell’s plans for the station was certainly controversial. But it’s not like he had much of a choice there. Letting on-air talent loose on a campaign against their own station’s owner wouldn’t be tolerated by Bell, and would probably only lead to scaring advertisers away. Blame Bell for the mess caused by the RDS Radio idea, not the middle managers who had to deal with it the best they could.

      Reply
      1. Graham

        -Bews was well-liked by his employees, and many people worked at the station for little or no pay.

        What is said on and off record are usually 2 different things.

        -Since there’s no GM that ever earned a profit with TSN 690, or Team 990, or even CKGM before that, that statement doesn’t really tell us much.

        Yet with employees making little or no pay, the station lost millions during his time. Plus the 990 frequency switch to the 690 clear channel, along from the brand switch from The Team to TSN and broadcasting Habs games was supposed to boost ratings and attract more advertisers in order to make a profit. It didn’t

        -Letting on-air talent loose on a campaign against their own station’s owner wouldn’t be tolerated by Bell, and would probably only lead to scaring advertisers away.

        And that would have hurt profits? They wanted to shut down the station, I don’t think they were all too concerned about scaring advertisers away. Fair enough about not saying anything on-air, but there was a Save 690 gathering at McLeans, which some little paid/unpaid employees were to attend, that was expected to get signatures from listeners in support of saving the station. Everyone was a no-show including the one organizing it. You don’t think there was another note telling employees not to go? Pretty heavy handed for a boss to tell little paid/unpaid employees what they can do off company time.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          What is said on and off record are usually 2 different things.

          Sure. But I’ve heard it in both contexts. I’m not his biggest fan because he’s never once returned my calls, but everyone I’ve talked to has said he’s a good boss (who’s sometimes caught in a difficult position).

          Yet with employees making little or no pay, the station lost millions during his time.

          It was still more successful than it had been as Oldies 990 or whatever other formats they’d tried over the years. If the money losses were all his fault, he would have been replaced long ago.

          Plus the 990 frequency switch to the 690 clear channel, along from the brand switch from The Team to TSN and broadcasting Habs games was supposed to boost ratings and attract more advertisers in order to make a profit. It didn’t

          Broadcasting Canadiens games has unquestionably boosted ratings. Perhaps not as much as they’d hoped, but the numbers have gone up, particularly when the games are on. Whether the rights acquisition and frequency change bring the station to profitability probably won’t be answered for a while. It takes some time for those kinds of changes to make an impact.

          They wanted to shut down the station, I don’t think they were all too concerned about scaring advertisers away.

          If they wanted to shut down the station, they would have. They thought they wouldn’t be allowed to keep it, and thought they could come up with a win-win solution and make a French station out of it. It’s an example of higher ups with little idea of what goes on at the local level playing a chess game without considering the personal impact. They certainly wanted to keep advertisers while the station was still running and the Astral deal unresolved, which is why the gag order came down.

          there was a Save 690 gathering at McLeans, which some little paid/unpaid employees were to attend, that was expected to get signatures from listeners in support of saving the station. Everyone was a no-show including the one organizing it.

          Yeah, that event was a complete screwup from the beginning. The organizer wasn’t a station employee, and no effort went into the actual organization. People showed up, saw nothing happening and just left. Later parties, organized by Mitch Melnick and station staff, were well attended (though not by Bews).

          Reply
          1. Graham

            -It was still more successful than it had been as Oldies 990 or whatever other formats they’d tried over the years.

            I don’t know the numbers for Oldies, The Hits, or any other version of CKGM. My argument is despite employees making little money, the losses were in the millions while he was GM. How can overhead be in the millions which includes revenue from advertising?

            -Broadcasting Canadiens games has unquestionably boosted ratings. Perhaps not as much as they’d hoped,

            Sure, in its time-slot but what about daytime shows? At the very best, they maintained ratings. There were shows that lost listeners

            -The organizer wasn’t a station employee, and no effort went into the actual organization.

            There is a connection with McLeans and TSN690. A manager at McLeans is one of those unpaid “employees”. Maybe there was no effort because there was another note from middle management

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              How can overhead be in the millions which includes revenue from advertising?

              Bell told the CRTC it projected losing $12.6 million over seven years, that works out to $1.8 million a year, which isn’t a huge amount of money when you’re staffing a radio station that produces local programming throughout the day. But hey, if you want to blame that entirely on Wayne Bews, go ahead. I guess he should have fired more people.

              A manager at McLeans is one of those unpaid “employees”.

              Jay Farrar isn’t an employee at TSN 690, though he does co-host a show on it. He also wasn’t the one organizing the event.

              Reply
              1. Graham

                -Bell told the CRTC it projected losing $12.6 million over seven years, that works out to $1.8 million a year, which isn’t a huge amount of money when you’re staffing a radio station

                1.8 million a year loss for 7 years as GM. Thats 150 000 a month in expenses including salaries (after revenue on top of that). How do other small market radio stations even compete if thats the overhead of running a station with underpaid employees.

                -But hey, if you want to blame that entirely on Wayne Bews, go ahead. I guess he should have fired more people.

                He was the GM, who else is to blame for bleeding 1.8 million a year? How can you save money by firing underpaid or non paid employees?

                -Jay Farrar isn’t an employee at TSN 690, though he does co-host a show on it. He also wasn’t the one organizing the event.

                Not an employee but co-hosts a show? Not that he gets paid for his work anyways. Plus I never said Jay organized it, just that he’s manager and there was a connection.

              2. Steve W

                For much of the run of Wayne Bews at TSN/TEAM 690, lots of their programming was bartered programming(have to bring their own sponsors). Much of daytime, overnights, weekends etc was not local programming. That’s not producing local programming throughout the day in my eyes.

              3. Steve W

                What I’m still not clear about. Was Wayne Bews strictly a GM at TSN 690, or GM & PD(your write-up still doesn’t make it clear)? After the Bell Media takeover of Astral Media, Chris Bury was made PD of TSN 690. Does that mean, Chris Bury replaced Mitch Melnick as TSN 690 PD(one person told me on this board, that Mitch Melnick was actually the TSN 690 PD all these years)? Martin Spalding is now TSN 690 GM?

              4. Fagstein Post author

                Was Wayne Bews strictly a GM at TSN 690, or GM & PD

                Bews was general manager at TSN 690, which included the talent hiring functions normally associated with a program director.

                Martin Spalding is now TSN 690 GM?

                Spalding is now the vice-president of radio operations and local sales for Bell Media’s Quebec radio stations. Martin Tremblay is director of operations for the Montreal stations, which is the closest thing it has to a general manager.

  4. Media Man

    Hey Steve, is The Beat still getting a new PD, or is Leo DaEstrela have a change of heart..or were there no takers in the applications? Haven’t heard any news, as he’s still listed as the PD on the website..

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Hey Steve, is The Beat still getting a new PD, or is Leo DaEstrela have a change of heart

      Leo’s still leaving. He’s there only part-time until he’s out of the building completely. That and the new PD should come by the end of the month.

      Reply
      1. Media Man

        I guess you haven’t heard who it might be, like a familiar name. any hints for us Fagstein-heads…lol

        Reply
  5. Media Man

    Your Tweet mentioned about economic reasons..but look on their site but seems he’s been replaced by two new names, so where’s the savings…?

    While on radio changes, and recent station launches..any TTP updated considering in October one of the owners telling you 6 to 9 months..so that’s April in a few weeks..And doesn’t their French all sports station have to launch in June..?

    Reply

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