CFQR 600 AM launches with hours to go before deadline

For the first time in decades, Montreal has a new full-power commercial English radio station on the air that isn’t replacing an existing one.

CFQR 600 AM, the English-language station owned by TTP Media, officially went on the air on Friday evening, the deadline the CRTC set in its final extension given to the station last fall.

Whether the station made the CRTC’s deadline hasn’t been confirmed. The station has not completed its testing phase, and is broadcasting a message asking people with reception issues to call them in. The authorization first granted in 2012 says the station must be “operational” to meet the deadline, and a licence will be issued “once the applicant has informed the Commission in writing that it is prepared to commence operations.”

But the commission probably won’t nitpick over a few days or weeks when we’ve been waiting almost five years for this station to launch on a frequency no one else has had any interest in for almost 20 years.

Like CFNV 940, CFQR is broadcasting an automated music playlist, with recorded messages promising regular programming “soon”.

Jim Connell.

The messages feature the voice of Jim Connell, the former 940 News host who appeared in front of the CRTC during TTP Media’s initial licence application in 2011 but took a job with Global Montreal while the group was getting its act together. This is a strong indication that he will be involved with the station when it launches regular programming.

The two messages, being broadcast at regular intervals, are below:

This is CFQR 600, a new English voice in Montreal. Soon, we will be offering the communities on and surrounding the island of Montreal a better blend of information and conversation on this heritage frequency. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates, and enjoy some of your favourite music as we continue building this new voice on Montreal’s airwaves.

You are listening to CFQR, a new English-language radio station serving the greater Montreal area, broadcasting at 600 kilohertz on the AM band. We are currently testing our signal and invite you to contact us toll-free at 1-833-600-1006 if you are experiencing interference because of our signal or if the signal is causing any other reception problems. Our regular programming will be starting soon. Stay tuned.

TTP Media partner Nicolas Tétrault tweeted some pictures from inside the transmission facility on Route 138 in Kahnawake, that houses the two stations.

At 10,000 watts daytime and 5,000 watts nighttime, CFQR’s signal isn’t as powerful as CFNV’s 50,000-watt clear-channel signal, but it should be good enough for Montreal and surrounding areas. The power and transmitting antennas are identical to the old CIQC, so the reception should be similar.

With the station on the air, the new focus should be programming. As I wrote previously, there are some deals in place with talent, and the group remains committed to talk programming.

9 thoughts on “CFQR 600 AM launches with hours to go before deadline

  1. Media Man

    This is exciting news..And I wonder if Chris Bury will start to make other changes or be complacent and do the wait and see dance..

    But noticeably absent in the group pic is Paul Teitolman. He still active in the group..?

    You mentioned about deals in place with people but does that mean former Montreal on air types with a combination of poaches that haven’t their current employers yet but want out of where they are now..?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I wonder if Chris Bury will start to make other changes or be complacent and do the wait and see dance..

      Bury has followed the news of this new station with interest, but if there were changes he could make to make CJAD and TSN 690 better, he wouldn’t be waiting to make them. How he reacts to the new station depends entirely on what the new station does.

      But noticeably absent in the group pic is Paul Teitolman. He still active in the group..?

      Yes. I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that he wasn’t present for the flipping of the switch.

      You mentioned about deals in place with people but does that mean former Montreal on air types with a combination of poaches that haven’t their current employers yet but want out of where they are now..?

      The partners won’t say. But if there are poachings, we’ll be hearing about people leaving their jobs. Contracts with the big broadcasters generally have a 90-day non-compete clause, which means if they leave now they have to wait until October to be on the air at a competing station. I would expect some part-timers and otherwise underemployed people to consider the jump, but I don’t think any of the major personalities will jump ship, unless TTP decides they need to make a big splash by offering a lot of money.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        There is talent that have been let go from several anglophone stations that could make the roster : Peter Marier, Murray Sherriff, Brian Wilde to name just three.

        Reply
  2. Brett

    Glad to hear them on air. Just hope the stick with the plan on getting talk radio on soon rather then a few months of just music.

    I don’t mind the stunting of music for a while but just not so long when Montreal needs a talk alternative.

    Reply
    1. Keith Rowe

      Actually Brett, I’d like to see a mix of Talk, Entertainment, Sports & Music to what CJAD used to be before Astral & Bell Media destroyed it…

      Reply
  3. dilbert

    It’s great to see that they pulled it off. They do seem to work like college students with a term paper due, always working like mad the night before the deadline to make it. Even as it is, this is making it in the technical sense required by the CRTC, it’s sort of not a station launching at this point, which is okay I guess.

    As for the longer on air thing, they are spoiled with choice. CJAD alone has turfed enough known people in the last little while as to fill and over fill a roster. Bell has shed enough people in Montreal and other markets that there is plenty of potential to pick up experienced people who can handle the news / talk format without a blink.

    They may however not want to do that, in order to avoid being “CJAD left overs”. So you may see some cherry picking (such as Barry Morgan or even Peter Anthony Holder) matched up with new faces and new points of view.

    I also think there have potential to try to replicate a little more that is done on 98.5 in French. While it is still talk radio, it is a much less about listener phone calls (a dead end, mostly) and much more about feature contributors, longer format discussions, and so on.

    There are plenty of radio and TV people out of work right now, so TTP should have no problem finding more than enough bodies to fill the void. Going with known names may help them initially get traction in the market, but differentiating themselves is the only way they can grow past a certain point.

    Reply
  4. Bram Eisenthal

    I am so happy that we have an alternative to the drivel that Bell Media is heading. Good luck to this new entity and if I can be of any help please let me know. Good luck!

    Reply
  5. ANNONYMOUS

    GOOD TO HAVE A RADIO STATION BACK ON 600 AM BUT WOULD RATHER HEAR MUSIC OF THE 60’S 70’S AND 80’S THAN JUST TALK. WE ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH OF THAT FORMAT FROM CJAD 800. IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A LOCAL STATION THAT WILL PLAY OLD FAVORITES AND KEEP THAT SPECIAL GENERATION OF MUSIC ALIVE.

    Reply

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