Radio ratings: Best book ever for TSN Radio 690

We're number one! ... Well, number five, but who's counting?

We’re number one! … Well, number five, but who’s counting?

The ratings for March, April and May in Montreal were released by BBM Canada last week. And in general they show no real difference from the previous report that came out in March. On the English side, CJAD remains the most popular station by share of listening hours, followed by The Beat, Virgin, CHOM, CBC Radio One, TSN Radio 690 and everyone else.

But while TSN 690 remains in last place among the five commercial stations, its ratings are the best it’s ever seen with 364,000 listeners a week, a 5.2% market share overall (up from 3.6% in the spring) and a 7.7% market share among adults 25-54, up 36% from last winter.

The Canadiens’ deep playoff run, which ended four days after the ratings period did, obviously had a lot to do with that, not only because of people tuning in for the games, but listening to shows throughout the day for news, analysis and more.

Chris Bury, program director for TSN 690 and CJAD, agreed that the Canadiens were a big factor, but said the effort the station made around that also made a big impact, things like being present at fan events outside the Bell Centre, or sending Mitch Melnick to broadcast live from Boston and New York. He also said the station may be profiting from the fact that it’s the only all-sports radio station in either language in the city, though BBM shows only a 0.1% share of the station among francophones overall.

It was suggested that cross-promotion with CJAD might also be boosting TSN’s ratings, but Bury said he didn’t think that had much of an impact, since the numbers didn’t show TSN gaining at the expense of CJAD.

Breaking it down, TSN is about the same in the mornings, but showed big gains among adults 25-54 in late mornings (Tony Marinaro), at noon (Marinaro and Chris Nilan), early afternoons (Nilan), and afternoon drive (Melnick). Weekend ratings were pretty well unchanged.

So does this mean TSN’s going back in the toilet now that the Canadiens’ season is over? Well, fortunately for the station, another big event is just starting up: the World Cup of soccer. TSN Radio 690 is an official broadcaster, and apparently the only one in Montreal, so they’re hoping to get a ratings boost from that.

The Beat still ahead of Virgin among anglophones, but …

Once again, The Beat can lay claim to being the No. 1 English music station in Montreal. But then again, so can Virgin. And both of them are.

Among all anglophones, The Beat has a 17.6% share and Virgin has a 15.4% share. That’s the basis for The Beat’s claim. But when you add in francophones, which is a much larger market, Virgin beats The Beat. More importantly for advertisers, Virgin is still well ahead among adults 25-54 where the real money is. In fact, among adults 25-54, The Beat is third behind both Virgin and CHOM. Among women 25-54, it’s second, at 28% to Virgin’s 36%.

The Beat is gaining slightly among young listeners 18-34 but is still well behind Virgin in that category, 39% to 28%. It can also claim a moral victory by surpassing Andrew Carter’s CJAD morning show among adults 25-54 to climb into third place. (Carter’s show remains the most popular overall.)

On the other hand, The Beat has fallen from first to third in late mornings. CHOM’s Tootall actually is No. 1 in that hour among adults 25-54, followed by Virgin’s Andrea Collins and The Beat’s Donna Saker. The Beat also fell slightly behind Virgin at noon, and slightly behind CHOM in third place in the afternoon drive.

CHMP still king

On the French side, not much has changed. CHMP 98.5 is still the most popular station overall and among adults 25-54. Rythme FM, Rouge FM, NRJ and CKOI follow in that order in both categories, same as last time.

Among noteworthy changes:

  • Rythme FM is again the most popular station among young listeners 18-34, apparently at the expense of sister station CKOI and its competitor NRJ, which have continued to drop in that category. 98.5 has also climbed significantly among young listeners and is now in third place.
  • Rythme is gaining slightly and Rouge falling slightly among women 25-54, according to a Bell Media Radio analysis.
  • CHMP’s morning show has regained most of the audience it lost in a dip over the winter. Paul Arcand remains No. 1 by far. The four big music stations all gained slightly from the winter period in the mornings.
  • Rythme FM saw a healthy boost to its ratings in mid-mornings. Julie Bélanger’s AM shift went up by 25% over winter, and increases its lead over Rouge FM.
  • Rythme FM also remains No. 1 at noon with Mitsou Gélinas and Sébastien Benoit, after losing to Joël Legendre last fall and regaining it in the winter. This book also confirms a drastic 10,000-listener fall at this hour for 98.5, which features the first part of Benoit Dutrizac.
  • Rythme FM continues to gain in early afternoons (notice a pattern here?) and 98.5 continues a disappointing showing with the rest of Dutrizac.

If NRJ was hoping to make a splash by changing its music to a more pop-rock format, it hasn’t yet. It could try doing what its sister station in Quebec City did, hiring a well-known star of the “radio poubelle” who boosted ratings by more than 400%. In fact, there’s a rumour that a shift to an all-talk format could be in that station’s future.

10 thoughts on “Radio ratings: Best book ever for TSN Radio 690

  1. Media Man

    Yes, outside of World Cup soccer, it does mean, regrettably back to the tanks. Don’t think for a moment that TSN Radio wouldn’t love to have baseball back.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Yes, outside of World Cup soccer, it does mean, regrettably back to the tanks.

      If by “tanks” you mean the Alouettes and Impact, and offseason NHL stuff like the draft and free agency, yes.

      Don’t think for a moment that TSN Radio wouldn’t love to have baseball back.

      Who wouldn’t?

      Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Will these ratings help make 690 profitable?

      It doesn’t hurt, certainly. Combined with the cost savings from sharing resources with CJAD and the other former Astral stations, it might be enough. But we won’t know unless they tell us, because the station is under no obligation to divulge its finances.

      Reply
  2. Dilbert

    What Bury seems to want to downplay is that TSN’s rise is almost certainly related to competition disappearing, and rather than an adversarial market place, Montreal is now almost fully cooperative. That means outside of the Beat, the top stations don’t overlap each other, giving TSN a unique space to operate in. I suspect that the exposure on Virgin and especially CHOM are making the difference for TSN radio.

    With CHOM, Virgin, and CJAD all pumping the games on TSN, it really can’t hurt!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      What Bury seems to want to downplay is that TSN’s rise is almost certainly related to competition disappearing, and rather than an adversarial market place, Montreal is now almost fully cooperative.

      While it’s certainly true that there are fewer voices than before, it’s not like TSN had any direct competition before, except in the race to secure rights to Canadiens games.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        Competition isn’t the issue this time, it’s cooperation and filtering of listeners from one station to another. Want sports? CJAD, CHOM, and Virgin will send you to TSN now, which they would not have done before. CJAD in particular has dropped almost all of it’s sport related programming, and what is left is pretty much “from TSN Radio 690″…

        Is there any real growth in hours listened TOTAL over the stations, or just rearranging the deck chairs on the good ship Bell?

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Is there any real growth in hours listened TOTAL over the stations, or just rearranging the deck chairs on the good ship Bell?

          Overall the ratings are about the same. They each reach about the same audience as they did before, and for about the same amount of time. TSN’s gain did not come at the expense of a loss to another Bell station.

          Reply
  3. Brett Morris

    If TSN 690 got English rights to Ligue de Baseball Junior Élite du Québec I would listen to most games. Also if they became a broadcast partner of a Major Leauge Lacrosse I would listen to all games. They need to look at getting broadcast rights in summer for local and provincial jounior or senior level sports such as Quebec sr B lacrosse which is a 5 Leauge team with 2 teams within Montreal.

    Reply
    1. George

      I beliveve Chris Nilan has influenced 690’s #’s.

      He comes across as open, honest and without the arrogance of alot of others on local radio.

      Too bad they force him to take off the summer.

      Reply

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