Virgin Radio 96 is looking for a new weekend personality. That’s because Nikki Balch is leaving the station, having accepted a job doing evenings at Hot 89.9 FM in Ottawa, a radio station owned by Newcap. There, she replaces David Cruise, who left to join the morning team at the relaunched Z95.3 in Vancouver (formerly Virgin Radio, but rebranded after Bell sold it to Newcap).
Balch’s first shift is Monday in Ottawa. Her last shift at Virgin was last Sunday. Until a replacement is found, Virgin’s schedule doesn’t list a host for the weekend morning show and Kelly Alexander is doing weekend afternoons.
“It’s just time for my next adventure,” Balch tells me. “I’ve had an amazing time in Montreal and at Virgin Radio and I love the station and the people! I’m going to be doing evenings on Hot 89.9 which I’m super excited about, I’ve always been a huge fan of the station! Plus I’m close enough to come back and enjoy the night life here. What more can a girl ask for?”
Balch has been at Virgin Radio in Montreal since 2011. Before that she was at what was then called Z103.5 in Halifax, where she grew up. She also worked briefly at K94.5 in Moncton.
At Virgin, she was a daytime host, doing early afternoons, then late mornings. But she got shuffled into a weekend job when Mark Bergman decided to put himself back on the air. Bergman tried to put a spin on the change, saying she remained full-time and would be doing interviews and web videos and stuff for the station, but it was hard to see it as an upward career move.
The move to Ottawa is definitely a step up, not only moving to a higher-profile position but to a top-rated radio station in a very competitive market about the same size as this one (about 800,000 anglos in each, though far fewer francophones). Hot 89.9 is beaten only by CBC Radio One in total anglo market share in Ottawa/Gatineau. She’ll have her work cut out for her keeping it that way.
I will miss her on the radio as she was my favorite. Wonder who will replace her.
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