Here’s a head-scratcher. Bell Media has announced that Éric Salvail, Dominic Arpin, Mélanie Maynard and Patrick Langlois are moving from Énergie 94.3 to Rouge FM 107.3 starting Aug. 14.
Moving an entire show (Salvail is taking his contributors with him) from one station to another is very unusual. Moving an entire lineup, which also includes the morning show, is downright bizarre.
Rouge is keeping mid-day hosts Julie Boulanger and Eric Nolin, and Pierre-Marc Babin will host the evening show, but the rest of its weekday lineup is being replaced. Patricia Paquin and Benoît Gagnon will also remain with the station, on weekends.
Rouge FM has been struggling in the ratings recently, losing ground to adult contemporary competitor Rythme FM, owned by Cogeco. Moving more popular (and more well-known) hosts to Rouge makes sense for that station, especially if those hosts appeal more to women than men.
But the bigger question is what happens to Énergie.
UPDATE (June 14): We have a bit of an idea what’s happening to Énergie now. Though there was a rumour of Les Grandes Gueules being reunited on the station, it’s actually only half that: José Gaudet will co-host the afternoon show with Richard Turcotte and Marie-Christine Proulx, in a show that will be broadcast on all Énergie stations except Quebec City. Jonathan Roberge, who co-hosted the morning show with Arpin and Maynard, will remain on Énergie in the mornings, with more details to be announced later.
It’s definitely going to be big changes for both stations, and the mix of talk and music might still change, but the idea that 94.3 FM in Montreal will go news-talk like 98.5 is pretty dead, at least for now.
Bell has Énergie and Rouge FM stations in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Drummondville and Rimouski. It has Énergie stations Rouyn and Val-d’Or in western Quebec, and a Rouge FM station in Amqui, in the Gaspé peninsula.