Gregory Charles agrees to buy Radio Classique from JP Coallier

The studios and offices of CJPX 99.5 Montreal, at Jean-Drapeau Park

The studios and offices of CJPX 99.5 Montreal, at Jean-Drapeau Park

Radio Classique, which operates classical music stations in Montreal (CJPX-FM 99.5) and Quebec City (CJSQ-FM 92.7), is being sold to Groupe Musique Greg, the company owned by Quebec personality Gregory Charles.

The acquisition price is unknown (the Journal de Montréal says it’s more than $10 million), but should be made public when the CRTC publishes the application to change the ownership of the stations. (The sale can’t be final until the commission approves it.) Legally, the two stations are owned by separate companies, Radio Classique Montréal Inc. and Radio Classique Québec Inc., both of whom are controlled 90% by Jean-Pierre Coallier and 10% by Pierre Barbeau.

Radio Classique launched in Montreal in 1998, and the Quebec station in 2007. I’d been hearing rumours for a few years now that Coallier, who turned 77 last month, was looking to find a new owner for the stations. Charles heard those rumours too, and told Les Affaires that’s why he initiated talks for a purchase. This transaction would keep one of Montreal’s few independent commercial radio stations in independent (and artistic) hands.

It’s unclear what Charles and his company plan to do with the stations (he wouldn’t tell the Journal if he plans to become an on-air personality at the station), but they are unlikely to change formats, at least in the near term. Charles says he acquired the stations because of their niche format, which the major broadcasters won’t touch. Getting rid of classical music and replacing it with Katy Perry would be disastrous for its reputation, and it would likely lose more listeners than it gained.

The stations operate as specialty-format stations, and CRTC approval would be needed before they could convert to pop, rock, dance or country music formats. CJSQ has a specific condition of licence limiting 90% of its content to “concert” music, defined as classical music, opera, operetta and musical theatre.

The latest ratings information from Numeris shows CJPX-FM in Montreal had a 2.7% share among francophones and a 1.8% share among anglophones, while CJSQ-FM in Quebec City had a 4.6% share total.

13 thoughts on “Gregory Charles agrees to buy Radio Classique from JP Coallier

  1. Gil Larin

    I do hope the format stays the same. Radio-classique is my continuous background source of soothing music, so much better than Radio-Canada or Radio2 for which we pay! I’m getting to a point where I can’t differentiate Rad-Can from Rad-CRAP!

    Reply
    1. ATSC

      I have to agree that I use CJPX-FM 99.5 as my main classical music station, when I’m in need for some beautiful music, and WVPS-FM 107.9-HD2 as my secondary choice.

      I don’t even consider the CBC or SRC as even choices.

      Reply
  2. Dilbert

    This could be a perfect situation where they could apply to the CRTC to add Jazz music as a category, and allow them (particularly during Jazz Festival time) to become the semi-official radio source. That would also resolve the issue of what happened when Radio X came to town.

    Also, “CJPX-FM in Montreal had a 2.7% share among francophones and a 1.8% share among francophones” – which on is it? Or are there two groups of Francophones in Montreal?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Also, “CJPX-FM in Montreal had a 2.7% share among francophones and a 1.8% share among francophones” – which on is it?

      Woops. The latter is anglophones. The ratings are about the same as Espace Musique and Radio Two, respectively.

      Reply
  3. Brett Morris

    going bilingual would be something they can look at getting added to their license. I’m sure that would be a good thing.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      going bilingual would be something they can look at getting added to their license. I’m sure that would be a good thing.

      The CRTC doesn’t tend to license bilingual radio stations because of the different rules applying to the two languages. And I’m not sure that it would be useful to them. They’d have to hire anglophone staff. Since the music is mainly classical, the station already has a good anglophone audience.

      Reply
  4. M. Guy Leduc

    Music does not have any language or music is international.
    If you live in the province of Quebec, you should be able to understand the language of Moliere, therefore, no need to change anything.
    Don’t change something /anything, it’s perfect like it is now.
    I am a genuine Frenc Canadian and Quebecer llistening to CJPX from my Internet radio in Vietnam
    where I’ve been living for the last 20 years.

    Reply
  5. EmilyG

    Maybe Gregory Charles can get the station to play less accordion music and synthesizer crap and cheesy Andre Rieu music with birdsongs in the background. (Yes, I am a classical music snob.)

    Reply
  6. Rami

    Well as of today Tuesday the 27-10-2015 the format has changed and i think its going to be downhill from here, its so sad, i have been listening to this station for a very long time.

    Reply
  7. angèle bêty

    Je suis estomaquée par les changements apportés. J’écoute Radio-Classique Québec depuis ses débuts. C’était la seule radio de musique classique presque en continue et surtout sans “placotages” et “mémérages”. Depuis l’arrivée de Marc Hervieux il y a de plus en plus de paroles inutiles pour “faire du temps d’antenne”. Et ce matin, je prends vraiment conscience des nombreux changements qui, à mon humble avis, ne sont pas pour le mieux. Je vais donc garder mon appareil radio fermé et je vais recommencer à écouter mes cd.

    Reply
  8. Vviane Forcier

    Je suis très heureuse du développement de Radio Classique et un peu jalouse……comme je demeure à Gatineau, c’est vraiment ce genre de musique qui me manque.
    d
    Dites moi Monsieur Charles, y aurait-il possibilité de noua apporter votre poste de Radio Classique dans
    l’Outaouais?

    Je vous souhaite tout le succès que vous merité

    Reply

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