Category Archives: Radio

Posted in Radio

TTP Media gets extension for 850 AM, plans to move transmission site

Nine months after it said it was six to nine months from launching, there’s still radio silence from TTP Media (7954689 Canada Inc.) about its news-talk AM radio stations in Montreal at 600 and 940 kHz.

But we do have some news from the company about its third radio station, a French-language sports-talk station at 850 AM. The CRTC approved that station two years ago and so the deadline to launch it passed on June 19. The company has applied for and the CRTC has approved a one-year extension to that deadline, giving them until June 19, 2016 to launch.

In a letter dated just four days before the deadline (normally the commission asks for 60 to ensure it’s processed on time), managing partner Nicolas Tétrault explains the problems 850 has had in securing a transmission site.

While the 600 and 940 stations were to use a four-tower site in Kahnawake leased from Cogeco that used to broadcast CFCF/CIQC 600, 940 News and Info 690, the site was deemed unusable for 850 and so TTP Media proposed a new site in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot where new towers would be built, beaming a signal straight toward Montreal while meeting technical limits to protect other stations.

Tétrault explains that they got permission from the land owner, and government authorizations, but could not get the city on board because of concerns from “part of the population.” NDIP refused to grant them a permit to construct the towers.

So TTP Media went back to the drawing board, and tried again to find some way for it to work from Kahnawake. Finally, after hiring a Canadian engineering company working with “an American engineering firm ultra-specialized in broadcasting telecommunications”, they recently found a way to make it work, with modifications to the site. (This study happened a few weeks ago, which likely explains the presence of vehicles at the site reported by some observers.)

Tétrault says these modifications to allow the transmission site to broadcast on 600, 850 and 940 kHz will take “a few months” to plan and put in place.

It will also require a separate application to the CRTC to approve a technical amendment to the station’s licence.

Since the delay affects the transmission site of all three stations, it could also prevent the 940 and 600 stations from launching this summer. But the French-language news talk station at 940 must launch by Nov. 21. The last extension from the CRTC is the final one.

We’ll know by that date whether the TTP Media project has been a success or failure at even getting off the ground.

I’ve asked Tétrault for additional comment. I’ll update this if I hear back.

Posted in Radio

Ange-Aimée Woods died from delayed allergic reaction to insect bite, coroner finds

Ange-Aimée Woods on the day before she died, in a photo posted by her mother on the anniversary of her death.

Ange-Aimée Woods on the day before she died, in a photo posted by her mother on the anniversary of her death.

Former CBC Montreal reporter Ange-Aimée Woods, who died one year ago today, didn’t die from heart failure, but because of an anaphylactic reaction to an insect bite the day before, a coroner determined in a report filed recently.

According to the report by Dr. Jean Brochu, Woods, 41, had been swimming on Canada Day 2014 at a summer home in the Laurentians. She was bitten by an insect above the ankle in the late morning, and later complained of dizziness and noticed the area of the bite had become swollen and reddish.

It was the next morning that the situation deteriorated into an emergency. She was found the next morning in her room having difficulty breathing, apparently from a blocked throat. An ambulance arrived at 11:12am, and Woods was soon thereafter in cardiorespiratory arrest, prompting attempts to reanimate her. Intubation (putting a tube through her throat to allow air to get to her lungs) was impossible because her jaw muscles were contracted, and the report notes difficulty bringing her out of the basement, requiring assistance of police officers to get the stretcher out of the building.

She was rushed to Mont-Laurier hospital, arriving at 12:31pm and attempts to resuscitate her continued until 3:19pm, when she was declared dead.

The coroner noted three litres of blood in her abdomen, which likely happened during the reanimation process because it is not explained by any bleeding out or trauma. Septic shock was discounted because she never complained of a fever or shivering, though the dizziness could have been caused by hypotension.

Toxicology tests showed no alcohol in her system and only a small amount of ibuprofen (painkiller Advil or its generic equivalent).

Brochu’s conclusion is that Woods was killed by what’s called biphasic anaphylaxis, in which symptoms of an allergic reaction can happen as much as 72 hours after exposure. Normally the immediate reaction is the more serious one, and it’s recommended people be observed in a hospital after treatment for serious allergic reactions in case of a biphasic reaction. But in Woods’s case, the initial reaction was little more than swelling around the site of an insect bite (the report doesn’t identify which insect), and the secondary reaction proved fatal.

You can read the Ange-Aimée Woods coroner’s report here, in French.

A bursary in Woods’s name, to be given out to undergraduate journalism students, was set up at Concordia University. You can donate to it here.

Posted in Radio

Radio 9 plans all-sports format, third format change in three years

RNC Média is still trying to figure out a winning formula for its FM station in Montreal, and after failing at jazz, right-wing talk and serious news-talk, it’s moving to sports talk.

The news was first reported by La Presse after the company dismissed its star hosts Louis Lemieux, Josélito Michaud and Caroline Proulx. The news was confirmed on air and online by the station, but with only a promise of details soon.

Radio-Canada reports 15 of 28 jobs have been cut at the station.

CKLX-FM 91.9 began in 2004 as Planète Jazz, under the assumption that the city with one of the world’s biggest jazz festivals would be interested in a station devoted to that music. That didn’t work, and in 2012 the company asked the CRTC to adopt a spoken-word format. It switched the station’s brand to Radio X and adopted a format similar to the Quebec City station that has found ratings success with right-wingers complaining about things, decried by critics as “radio poubelle”.

But Radio X didn’t work here, so last fall it rebranded as Radio 9, hired former RDI host Louis Lemieux and tried to get more serious.

But that didn’t work either, and the station couldn’t climb out of the ratings basement while its direct competitor CHMP-FM 98.5 dominated.

This format change, which doesn’t require CRTC approval because it remains a spoken word station, brings a full-time sports radio station in French back to Montreal for the first time since CKAC went from all-sports to traffic information in 2011, moving some of its sports talk to 98.5.

The road will be difficult for this station in a sports format, because 98.5 has popular sports shows in the evenings and has exclusive rights to Canadiens and Alouettes games. It also recently acquired rights to some Impact games. CKLX-FM might pick up the remaining Impact games, and rights to other sports, but those won’t have nearly the same ratings draw.

There’s also another factor in play here: Two years ago the CRTC authorized the launch of a French-language all-sports station at 850 AM owned by 7954689 Canada Inc. (Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy Media). The deadline to launch that station passed 11 days ago, but the CRTC says it has received a request for an extension and is studying it. Normally stations can get a one-year extension to launch a radio station if they ask for it before the deadline.

This change for RNC Média might force TTP Media to rethink its plans for 850 AM, or even abandon the project entirely.

TTP Media has been dormant (comatose, really) since it acquired its three licences, except for its requests for extensions to launch. The last of those, nine months ago, said its stations were six to nine months to launch. The uncertainty about this company will likely end in November, when the final extension for its first licence (a French news-talk station at 940 AM) expires, and it’s either on the air or it loses its authorization for good.

Posted in Radio

Why the CRTC decided it was fed up with Aboriginal Voices Radio

Updated with news of court injunction. See below.

In a decision that shocks only the people who haven’t been paying attention, the CRTC today decided to revoke all the licences of Aboriginal Voices Radio, a network of FM stations in major markets that were designed to provide programming to aboriginal Canadians living off-reserve. In a press release, it said it was doing so “to help improve radio service for urban Aboriginal listeners”, which sounds a bit like Orwellian doublespeak but is actually more true than false.

The decision requires AVR to cease broadcasting within a month (July 25), and will open up FM frequencies in the very competitive markets of Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. (AVR also had stations in Montreal and Kitchener that they later dropped, and authorizations for stations in Regina and Saskatoon that never went on the air.) The commission says it will call for new applications for those cities, but “will give priority to proposals for services that will serve Aboriginal communities.”

To understand the decision, I could point to licence renewal decisions in which the CRTC got promises from AVR that it would come into compliance with its obligations, and then fail to do so. I could point to the programming on the air, of which none is local and little seems specifically targeted at aboriginals.

But instead, I’ll just point you to the transcript of the CRTC hearing of May 13 that AVR was asked to attend to explain itself.

AVR brought in external consultants from Bray & Partners who promised to bring the stations into compliance with their licenses. (It included a news team led by Steve Kowch, former CJAD and CFRB program director.) Bray representatives and AVR president Jamie Hill made the usual we’re-so-sorry and we-take-this-very-seriously statements as everyone does when they’re called to a CRTC hearing for non-compliance.

But every time a CRTC commissioner would ask about their coming into compliance, the answer wasn’t “we’ve fixed it” but “we’ll fix it”. And this clearly annoyed the commissioners, because AVR had been making promises to fix it for years.

A few excerpts from the transcript, with key points highlighted by me, are below. It’s long, but in short, AVR has spent a decade failing to meet its licence obligations, it came to the hearing with a half-baked, improvised and incomplete business plan, almost none of which had yet been implemented. The stations were providing no local programming and had no on-air staff, and as a last resort AVR tried to claim CRTC policies are discriminatory.

This wasn’t just about being delayed in filing a form, or being a few percentage points under on Canadian content. The stations were zombies — the Ottawa one had even been off the air since last fall — and there was no real plan to bring them back.

In short, it was all far too little, and far too late. The Canadian Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters also came to the hearing asking the CRTC to call for new applications to serve the communities, and that’s what the commission will do.

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New ratings book shows The Beat’s surprise gains disappear

In March, when Numeris last released its quarterly ratings, the numbers showed an unusual spike in listenership for The Beat 92.5 (CKBE-FM). It was several points above competitor Virgin Radio 96 and won in key demographics for the first time. For the station, it was a trend, a sign that changes including a new program director had brought more listening hours to them, and it was something that was likely to continue. For Virgin (CJFM-FM) and owner Bell Media, it was a fluke, a figure explained mainly by the fact that the rating period covered Christmas and The Beat tends to do better with Christmas music.

I said we’d know in the next ratings book which side was right. And in the numbers that came out from Numeris this month, it looks like it’s Bell.

What was a 5.7-point lead in overall (ages 2+) listening share has been cut by more than half to 2.1 points. The new numbers are more consistent with what The Beat has been showing over the past couple of years.

Not that this is such a horrible position to be in. It still leads overall (though both stations fall well behind CJAD among all anglophone listeners), and it has a larger reach than it did before. The station’s press release also points out that for the key advertiser-friendly demographic of adults 25-54, which has been mostly won by Virgin recently, The Beat is now better during the work day (9am to 5pm).

Bell Media’s press release, also republished below, notes that Virgin is top among anglos 25-54, and its morning and afternoon drive shows are “dominating” in those demos. And since Bell also owns all the other English-language commercial stations in Montreal, it notes that Bell Media overall has a 72.4% share among anglo listeners.

Among the other stations, there isn’t that much new. CJAD still dominates overall with a quarter of all anglo listening hours. TSN 690 had a good book, matching its spring 2014 share among all listeners thanks to a strong Canadiens playoff run. CBC Radio One is well within that range of 7-8.5% that it usually sits in. Radio Two had its worst rating in at least the past four years with a 1.5% share, though that could just as easily be statistical error as anything else.

Among francophone audiences, CHMP 98.5 still dominates, and The Beat barely edges Virgin in listening hours, though Virgin has the larger reach.

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CBC’s Bernard St-Laurent announces his retirement

Bernard St-Laurent

Bernard St-Laurent

CBC doesn’t usually send press releases about the retirement of its journalists. But Bernard St-Laurent isn’t a simple journalist. The senior political analyst announced today he’s finally hanging up the microphone after 40 years in the business. His last day is June 26.

St-Laurent has a long career as a broadcaster, not only hosting local radio shows like Radio Noon and Homerun and the national program C’est la vie, but guest hosting on just about every national radio show and contributing in various ways to CBC.

Though in his later years his standing as a broadcaster seemed to wane a bit, and he always sounded on air as if he was out of breath, his colleagues are remembering him today as a mentor, a friend, and a wealth of institutional knowledge about Quebec.

Bernard St-Laurent in a class photo at the press gallery in Quebec City

Bernard St-Laurent in a 1978 class photo at the parliamentary press gallery in Quebec City.

Enjoy your retirement, Bernie.

UPDATE: Montreal Gazette story on St-Laurent’s retirement. It notes that C’est la vie, the CBC radio show about francophone Quebec culture, will continue with a new host.

St-Laurent was also on CBC News, doing his job talking about provincial by-elections and then commiserated briefly about missing his colleagues and listeners.

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Gregory Charles looks to add classic jazz to Radio Classique, simulcast more, host his own show

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

Almost half a year after the announcement that a company owned by musician Gregory Charles has agreed to buy Radio Classique stations CJPX-FM 99.5 Montreal and CJSQ-FM 92.7 Quebec City, the CRTC has published the application for a transfer of ownership, and we have some details about the sale and his plans for the stations.

The application confirms a purchase price of $10.5 million for the two stations — $6.78 million for CJPX and $3.72 million for CJSQ. The purchase is $7 million in cash and $3.5 million in shares in the new company that must be repurchased by the buyer within four years. There’s also a consulting contract of $8,750 a month ($420,000 total over four years) for existing ownership so long as they still have those shares. The purchase is an acquisition of assets rather than a purchase of the companies that own the stations. There’s also a non-competition clause that lasts three years preventing the current owners from owning or managing a broadcasting or online radio station, or soliciting clients.

The new owner will be Média ClassiQ inc., controlled 100% by Gregory Charles. The stations are currently owned 90% by Jean-Pierre Coallier and 10% by Pierre Barbeau.

If CRTC approval is not acquired by Dec. 31, either party can terminate the agreement, with the buyer paying a $100,000 penalty to the seller.

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CHOI plummets from first to fourth in Quebec City radio ratings

Numeris released its spring radio ratings report for diary markets today, and it’s really bad news for Quebec City’s controversial talk station CHOI-FM. It goes from having a 17.7% market share last fall to only a 9.5% share this spring, dropping from first to fourth in the market.

The top three stations are tight, with CJMF-FM (FM93) having a 15.5 share, followed by CBV-FM (Première Chaîne) at 14.5, and CITF-FM (Rouge) at 14.1.

Looking deeper into the numbers suggests it’s not that Quebec City radio listeners are tuning away from CHOI-type programming, but rather that other stations are using that very style of talk to lure away listeners. In particular, NRJ’s decision to hire away CHOI star Stephan Dupont made a big difference, more than doubling NRJ’s morning show audience and cutting CHOI’s noon-hour show’s audience by half.

The FM93 show with Eric Duhaime and Nathalie Normandeau also managed to create a boost and more than double its audience for the noon hour.

Most of the music stations have about the same share as they did before. Bringing up the rear is CBC Radio One, which registers a 0.7% share, much higher than the 0.2% share of last fall, but the margin of error is too big to draw conclusions from that.

More details from Le Soleil and the Journal de Québec.

Sherbrooke: Bell Media still dominates

Not much change in Sherbrooke, though CITE-FM-1 (Rouge) has edged CIMO-FM (NRJ) in market share, with 21.9 to 19.9, respectively, and CKOY-FM (fm 107.7) has climbed well above CFGE-FM (Rythme) for fourth place behind Première Chaîne. Rouge and NRJ are both owned by Bell, and Rythme and 107.7 are owned by Cogeco.

More details in La Tribune

Trois-Rivières: Status quo

Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) is still the top station here, now up more than five points on its nearest rivals, CIGB-FM (NRJ) at 15.6, and CHEY-FM (Rouge) at 14.7. Première Chaîne follows the at 9.6, then Cogeco talk station 106.9 fm (CKOB-FM) at 6.2 and the Bécancour independent station CKBN-FM at 5.2.

Saguenay: Rythme format is working

In Saguenay, there’s little change for the top stations: Rouge (CFIX-FM) at 25.3, NRJ (CJAB-FM) at 20.6, KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) at 13.2, and Première Chaîne (CBJ-FM) at 9.8. But the transformation of Attraction Radio’s CKRS-FM from a talk station to a Rythme FM affiliate (and change of callsign to CILM-FM) brought its share up from 6.8 to 8.9. It still has a way to go, but it’s headed in the right direction.

Ottawa-Gatineau: Both country stations lose audience

On the English side, the numbers worth analyzing are for the country music stations. Bell Media’s CKKL-FM went from Bob to New Country 94 last November. But its market share nevertheless dipped from 3.3 to 2.7, about the same as it was last spring. Its direct competitor, Rogers’s CKBY-FM (Country 101) in Smiths Falls, saw a greater ratings drop, from 6.7 to 4.2.

On the franco side, Rouge FM (CIMF-FM) is still king with a 24.4 rating, followed by Première Chaîne at 15.5. They’re followed by NRJ (CKTF-FM) at 9.4 and Cogeco’s talk station CKOF-FM at 8.2. All other stations are below 5, including CHLX-FM , whose affiliation to the Rythme FM network hasn’t had much of an impact on its share.

More details from Le Droit.

The next report for PPM markets, including Montreal, will come out on June 11.

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CKOD-FM Valleyfield being sold to Torres Media

CKOD-FM 103.1, the Valleyfield radio station whose history goes back to 1961, is being revived after being off the air for months thanks to a sale to Torres Media, or rather Torres Media Valleyfield, a company owned by Ed Torres, Frank Torres, Todd Bernard and Yves Trottier.

Torres Media also owns Dawg FM (CIDG) 101.9 in Ottawa, and has a licence for an unlaunched station in Uxbridge, Ont.

CKOD has been off the air since Jan. 29, and was evicted from its offices in February for non-payment of rent, according to the local newspaper. CKOD is licensed to Radio Express Inc., owned by Robert Brunet.

In order to get the station back on the air as soon as possible, the station has applied for — and the CRTC has granted — permission to temporarily transfer management of the station to Torres, which according to a brief management agreement signed on April 7 would assume all the expenses and collect all the revenue from broadcasting operations. This deal will be followed by a formal acquisition of assets, which will require a CRTC hearing.

The CRTC approved the application on May 8 but only posted it online today.

Details on sale price or Torres’s plans for the station are not included in the application. I’ll update this once I hear back from the parties involved.

UPDATE: Some information about the sale from InfoSuroit.com

Torres paying $150k+ for community station to swap frequencies

Speaking of Torres Media, the broadcaster is also waiting for a CRTC decision on an unrelated matter that would see Dawg FM swap frequencies with bilingual community station CHIP-FM 101.7 in Fort Coulonge, Quebec, 80 kilometres to the northwest.

The frequency swap would allow Dawg FM to increase power from 5.5 kW to 19.5 kW max ERP, and improve its coverage of the Ottawa region, because it would not have to offer as much protection to stations on 101.9 in Cornwall and Kingston. According to Torres, Dawg FM covers only 75% of the Ottawa region as defined by Numeris, and parts of Ottawa receive the Cornwall station better than the Ottawa one.

Existing (purple) and proposed (black) coverage map for CIDG-FM Ottawa.

Existing (purple) and proposed (black) coverage map for CIDG-FM Ottawa.

The improvement would be particularly noticeable toward the southwest, in areas like Nepean and Kanata.

For CHIP-FM, the change in frequency would make little difference to coverage area, but there’s a big financial boost. The amount is apparently confidential, but financial projections from CHIP-FM show $168,000 in additional revenue over three years coming from this agreement. It’s unclear if the deal involves further payments past these three years or if this includes payments related to the frequency change, which Torres has agreed to pay for, including engineering reports, legal services for the drafting of the agreement, and technical changes.

The public comment period for this application has closed, and a decision should be forthcoming in the coming weeks. The actual change would take a while after that because Dawg FM would be changing transmitter sites.

This kind of deal is not unprecedented. In 2013, the CRTC approved an application by Rock 95 Broadcasting, owner of Indie 88 Toronto, that proposed technical changes to three stations (all on 88.1 FM) so that Indie 88 could increase its power. Rock 95 agreed to compensate the other stations for the technical changes required.

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Groupe CHCR sells ethnic station CKIN-FM 106.3 to Neeti P. Ray for $500,000

There was no announcement of the transaction, so the CRTC application for a change in ownership is the first we hear of the sale of CKIN-FM 106.3 by Marie Griffiths to Mississauga-based businessman Neeti P. Ray, owner of Mississauga’s CINA 1650 AM and Windsor’s CINA-FM 102.3.

According to the application, the purchase price is $500,000. Add in an $18,000 consulting contract ($1,500 per month) and $22,500 over five years for the assumed lease for the transmitter, and the total cost for CRTC purposes is $540,500.

Griffiths and CHCR will keep ownership of CKIN’s sister station CKDG-FM (Mike FM 105.1) and use the proceeds of the sale to help the financial situation of CKDG.

The sale doesn’t include the offices of CKIN, which are shared with CKDG. “The purchaser has an option to co-occupy Groupe CHCR Inc.’s existing premises for a period of up to one year to permit an orderly transition of ownership and operations for CKIN FM,” the application reads.

Ray says the transfer of ownership won’t result in a loss of local programming:

Centralized management will not detract from the essentially local nature of CKIN’s ethnic radio station. The station will continue to be operated from offices located in Montre?al and day-to-day responsibility for programming on the station will remain in Montre?al. The principal synergies relate to the centralization of management and ownership, not operations.

For CHCR, the transaction represents a much-needed cash infusion. The company is privately held, so this is a rare glimpse into its finances (emphasis mine):

At the same time, approval of the current application will enable Groupe CHCR Inc. to refocus its resources to maintain and build on the strength of its original FM radio station, CKDG-FM. Groupe CHCR Inc. has developed a particular expertise in creating multicultural programming with a mainstream appeal (the Radio Culture Fusion format) and in serving Montre?al’s Greek-language audiences.

The sale of CKIN-FM is taking place at a critical time for Groupe CHCR Inc. Despite years of effort and investment, it has become apparent that the company requires an injection of capital to reach its potential in the current financial climate. The programming, operating and capital requirements of both stations have proved to be quite challenging for Groupe CHCR Inc. to meet on its own.

It has become apparent that building on CKIN-FM’s success will require additional investment and a focused management effort to improve the station’s visibility and realize its potential. Regrettably, this investment is beyond Groupe CHCR Inc.’s means at this time. Without this investment, there is a real likelihood that the station will continue to be a strain on Group CHCR Inc. as a whole.

From the perspective of Groupe CHCR Inc., the proposed transaction will enable the company to revitalize CKDG-FM, its flagship station; to retire most of its third-party debt, which has accumulated with the launch of the two stations; and to focus its management effort on a single radio station, the Radio Fusion Format, and the linguistic and cultural groups served by that station.

 

CKIN-FM was first licensed in 2007 and launched in 2010. Like CKDG, it offers ethnic programming in several languages, and uses non-ethnic programming during peak hours to subsidize that. While CKDG’s rush-hour programs are in English, CKIN’s are in French. CKIN offers programming in Arabic, Creole, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu. Ray says he will continue serving those groups, which makes sense because South Asian is Ray’s specialty.

The contract comes with non-compete clauses for both sides. Ray agrees not to broadcast any Greek-language programming on CKIN, while Griffiths agrees not to broadcast any South Asian programming (Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati) for five years after the sale. This clause does specify that it doesn’t apply if the other station ceases programming in that language.

Ray has proposed a standard tangible benefits package of 6% of the cost of the transaction ($32,430), distributed to Canadian content funds, the Community Radio Fund of Canada and other approved initiatives.

Though he only owns two stations, Ray has applied unsuccessfully to start several others, including in Montreal. In fact, he competed with Griffiths for the 106.3 frequency in 2007. In 2011, the CRTC denied an application by Ray to start a new ethnic radio station in Montreal (250W at 600 AM) mainly because of the negative impact it would have on the then year-old CKIN-FM. And he complained when the commission went through with applications in 2013 for two new ethnic stations in Montreal, saying he missed the notice that the commission was accepting applications.

He has an application pending for an AM station in Brampton, Ont. He also applied for a station in Calgary in 2011, but missed the deadline.

The CRTC will hold a hearing on this proposed purchase (and others, including Radio Classique) on July 22 in Gatineau. The parties are not expected to attend. People wanting to comment on the application can do so here until June 19 at 8pm ET. Note that all information submitted becomes part of the public record.

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NRJ shuffles its lineup, brings in Dominic Arpin as morning man

The changes at NRJ this fall are going beyond the departure of Les Grandes Gueules.

Bell Media announced today the morning and noon show lineups are also changing as of Aug. 24. Here’s how it breaks down:

Mornings, 5:30-9am: The morning team of five (or six depending who you count) gets pared down to three. Dominic Arpin, the host of TVA’s Vlog and one of Quebec’s most followed people on Twitter, moves over from competitor 98.5, where he was a contributor. Arpin makes the announcement this morning on his blog. He’s joined by Anaïs Favron, who remains on the morning show, and Maxim Martin. Journalist Étienne Phénix and sports reporter Martin Lemay also remain with the morning show, although they don’t get a mention in the press release. François Morency and Philippe Bond move to other shows.

Lunch, 11:30am-1pm: Claudine Prévost gets replaced by Morency, who says the noon time will fit in better with his schedule with standup shows at night. He’s joined by Marie-Claude Savard, whose previous jobs have included TVA and Radio X.

Afternoon drive, 4-6pm: As previously leaked, Éric Salvail will take over the afternoon show, thanks to a special Véronique-Cloutier-like arrangement that sees a studio built in his office so he doesn’t have to commute back and forth to Papineau Ave. every day. Philippe Bond will be a contributor to his show, moving from mornings. The afternoon drive slot will face strong competition from TV stars including Cloutier at Rythme FM and Marina Orsini at Rouge. Salvail replaces Les Grandes Gueules, which just signed off after 20 years at the station.

Bell Media is no doubt hoping that the dramatic lineup change does something to boost the station’s ratings. The latest report showed it falling below direct competitor CKOI, and its 6.6% overall share among francophones wasn’t much higher than the anglo stations, Virgin and The Beat.

 

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Tributes for CJAD’s Tom Armour

Over the past few months I’ve gotten occasional queries about Tom Armour, the weekend morning news anchor at CJAD. He disappeared from the air, and no one outside the station seemed to know why.

Last week came official news that Armour has retired. The career retrospective by Shuyee Lee interviews people who worked with Armour, but notably doesn’t include any clips or quotes from the man himself.

I never met Armour, and have nothing personal to add, so I’ll just compile some comments posted on social media by people who do know him.

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The Jewel shuffles its lineup, moves Tasso to drivetime

Not even a month after he started, Tasso has gotten a promotion.

Starting Monday, Paul Zakaib and his alter-ego move to the afternoon drive slot (3-7pm) from mid-mornings.

That shift bumps Bob Coley to weekends. Kris Leblanc, who was doing weekends, will produce the Tasso show as well as doing weekend and fill-in work.

The move means that Tasso will for the second time be in the same time slot as former partner Aaron Rand. Though just as he did when he started doing afternoon drive at Mike FM, Tasso downplays the idea that his music show and Rand’s talk show are directly competing against teach other.

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The Jewel in Hudson hires Tasso for mid-morning show

Paul Zakaib, aka Tasso Patsikakis

Paul Zakaib, aka Tasso Patsikakis

The Jewel 106.7 FM in Hudson is running a listener contest to guess who their new on-air personality is. I hate to spoil the fun, but it’s Tasso.

Paul Zakaib, known on air as Tasso Patsikakis and Aaron Rand’s long-time morning show co-host on Q92, will be doing the 10am to noon shift on the easy-listening off-island station starting April 8, according to two independent sources who are in a position to know this but not in a position to publicly confirm it until the contest is over.

After being dumped from the Q’s morning show in 2009, he resurfaced in 2011 to do the afternoon show on ethnic station Mike FM with his friend and colleague Patrick Charles. Charles left the station, and in 2013 Tasso left too.

Zakaib and the station have been in talks for a while now. Some details are still unclear, such as how much of the old Aaron and Tasso morning show shtick Tasso will bring along with him.

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Marie-France Bazzo leaves Radio-Canada morning show after 19 months

Marie-France Bazzo, the host of ICI Radio-Canada Première’s Montreal radio morning show C’est pas trop tôt, surprised listeners this morning by announcing she was leaving the show because of a disagreement over the “orientation of the show.”

The news has been confirmed by Radio-Canada. It takes effect on April 3.

Bazzo, who was the first woman in the post, succeeding René Homier-Roy in 2013, also hosts Bazzo.tv on Télé-Québec. Before taking the job at Radio-Canada, she was a contributor to Paul Arcand’s morning show on 98.5 FM.

Richard Therrien of Le Soleil says the rumour is Radio-Canada wasn’t happy with the amount of time Bazzo was devoting to this show versus her other projects. That makes sense. We could have a long discussion about Quebec TV and radio hosts who have several regular jobs that you’d think would all be full-time gigs.

UPDATE: Rumours are already circulating about a possible replacement: Former TQS anchor and duo-tang nemesis Jean-Luc Mongrain.