RNC Media is vastly decreasing its role as a major radio broadcaster, and has agreed to sell 10 of its 15 radio stations to competitor Cogeco for $18.5 million.
Affected stations are:
- Planète 104.5 in Alma
- Planète 93.5 in Chibougamau
- Planète 99.5 in Roberval
- Planète 100.3 in Dolbeau-Mistassini
- Radio X 95.7 in Saguenay (repeater at 96.3 Alma)
- Capitale Rock 104.3 in Val-d’Or
- Capitale Rock 102.1 in La Sarre (repeater at 95.7 Rouyn-Noranda)
- WOW 96.5 in Rouyn-Noranda (repeaters at 103.5 Val d’Or and 103.9 La Sarre)
- Pop 104.9 in Lachute
- Pop 102.1 in Hawkesbury
The sale leaves RNC Media with five stations in its three largest markets:
- CKLX-FM (91,9 Sports) in Montreal
- CHOI-FM (Radio X) in Quebec City
- CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9) in Donnacona (serving Quebec City, repeater at 105.5 Lotbinière)
- CFTX-FM (Pop 96.5) In Gatineau (repeater at 107.5 Buckingham)
- CHLX-FM (Wow 97.1) in Gatineau
Cogeco already has two French-language FM stations in Montreal and Quebec City, which means there was no point in Cogeco acquiring them. It has one station (CKOF-FM 104,7) in Gatineau. The acquired stations will be its first in the Saguenay and Abitibi regions.
RNC Media also owns TVA and V affiliates in Gatineau and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It recently announced it was shutting down its Radio-Canada affiliate in Abitibi, CKRN. RNC said the Montreal, Quebec and Gatineau stations were “not on the market.”
The sale requires approval by the CRTC before it can proceed. Because of the CRTC’s 6% tangible benefits tax on radio station sales, we can expect a package of $1.11 million in contributions to Canadian content development funds, community radio funds or other independent broadcasting initiatives. We should also expect some of these stations to join Cogeco’s network brands, particularly Rythme FM.
A map of Quebec’s major commercial radio networks: Cogeco Media (purple), RNC Media (red, with pending sales in reddish purple), Bell Media (blue), Attraction Radio (black) and Groupe Radio Simard (gold).
If the acquisition goes through, Cogeco’s radio network will cover the vast majority of the province’s population. Of population centres over 15,000, the only ones that wouldn’t be within 100 kilometres of a transmitter would be Rimouski and Sept-Îles.