Category Archives: Radio

Posted in Radio

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.

Posted in Radio

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.

Posted in Radio

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.

 

Posted in Radio

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Radio

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.

Posted in Radio

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.

Posted in Radio

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.

Posted in Media, Radio, TV

Another wave of cuts at CBC will mean 9 jobs lost in English services in Quebec

The cuts just keep coming at the CBC. The latest wave, announced today, affects local services across the country in both English and French, with 144 and 100 jobs cut, respectively.

J-Source has a copy of the memo outlining the regional breakdown for English services, which says nine jobs will be cut in Quebec.

We don’t know which jobs those will be yet. “Affected people will be informed in the coming weeks,” says communications manager Debbie Hynes.

The cuts relate to changes in the way local programming is managed, including the reduction of evening TV newscasts from 90 to 30 minutes this fall. Local radio programming is not being cut.

On the French side, Louis Lalande give some details about the cuts, including shows on ICI Musique that will be cancelled.

Posted in My articles, Radio

The Beat beats Virgin: a fluke, or a turning point?

The quarterly radio ratings haven’t interested me much in a while, mainly because there’s few stations owned by even fewer owners, and the ranking never changes. People talk about a few extra listeners here and some demographic shift there, but overall it’s always the same: CJAD has the highest market share*, Virgin is No. 1 with adults 25-54, CHOM does best with men, and we ignore the fact that all three of those stations are owned by the same company.

This time though, there was a noticeable change. And it made a big difference. The Beat 92.5, which had been slightly ahead of Virgin Radio 96 in most reports the past two years but behind in the key demographics, shot ahead under both measures. Instead of them fighting it out at around 16% or 17% of the audience, The Beat had 20% and Virgin was under 15%.

That was enough to write a story for the Gazette and get the program directors on the record.

That wasn’t easy, mind you. Sam Zniber, who was hired last August at The Beat, flat-out refused to tell me what he thought contributed to the ratings increase, fearing his competitor would find out and copy him. He would only say it’s a team effort.

Mark Bergman at Virgin, meanwhile, did his best to put a positive spin on the ratings, pointing out that the station has a larger reach, and saying that because the measured period included December, the numbers biased in favour of The Beat.

That’s half true. Virgin’s market share does go down in the winter ratings period, but The Beat’s doesn’t spike during that period. And it wasn’t nearly this bad last winter, so it must be something else.

I listened to The Beat, trying to figure out what changed. Was it the announcers? No, because their lineup has been stable for the past year. Was it the amount of music? Anne-Marie Withenshaw’s lawsuit suggests a shift toward less time on air for announcers, and I’ve noticed that many breaks are very brief — like seven seconds brief. But studying the “recently played” lists of Virgin and The Beat, they play about the same number of songs per hour (about eight during peak hours when they have contests, traffic and other stuff, and about 13 an hour during off-peak hours).

The type of music played seems to have changed. Instead of just Katy Perry pop, it’s got more R&B, more dance. Its slogan “Montreal’s perfect mix” and describing itself as airing a “variety” of music make it seem more and more like The Beat of today is the Mix 96 of a decade ago.

Or maybe it’s a combination of factors — a new program director bringing in some new ideas, an experienced on-air staff (many of whom used to work at Virgin) keeping the audience loyal, a more popular mix of music, lots of contests and stunts to keep people engaged, a better-than-expected boost from Christmas music season, and a bit of luck.

We’ll know in three months (or maybe six) how sustainable this lead is. I suspect it won’t last long, but the trend (at least among 2+ audience) has clearly been in The Beat’s favour since it relaunched in 2011.

radioratings

* An earlier version of this post said CJAD had the “most listeners”. As a reader points out, if you count everyone who listens for at least a minute during a day or a measuring period, Virgin has more listeners. I’m more interested in the average, but for clarity I’ve referred instead to market share.

Wayne Bews let go from The Beat

Wayne Bews, hired only a year ago as general manager of The Beat, filling the role vacated by Mark Dickie, has once again fallen victim to corporate management deciding that a station doesn’t need its own general manager. Cogeco tells me that the position has been eliminated and his functions taken over by other people within the company.

Bews left his job at TSN 690 for similar reasons in the fall of 2013, though at least that time Bell got him a job at CTV Montreal.

Charli Paige is Virgin’s new evening announcer

Meanwhile, a new face at Virgin. Tony Stark’s old evening show has been given to Charli Paige, who comes from 101.3 The Bounce in Halifax, where she was Jillian Blinkhorn. Her show airs 6-11pm Mondays to Thursdays.

Stark, meanwhile, is in the middle of a contest at The Jump in Ottawa to find a morning co-host.

Posted in Radio

The Jewel 106.7 Hudson launches Monday … live from Hawkesbury

The Jewel 106.7

Five years after the initial CRTC application for a new radio station serving Montreal’s western off-island community, two and a half years after it was given a licence, and four months after it started testing, CHSV-FM The Jewel 106.7 finally comes to life Monday morning with regular programming.

The lineup

As previously announced, Ted Bird is the big star being brought on to host the morning show, 5:30-10am weekdays. Joining him is Tanya Armstrong, a Montrealer who’s not as well known but who has been around Montreal radio many years. Her CV on LinkedIn lists experience with WebSports Media, the people behind the Montreal Hockey Talk show. Previously she worked as an intern on CHOM and did production on what was then Team 990. She’ll be handling news and traffic on the show.

Producing their show is Kris Leblanc, who will also be hosting on weekends. He’s worked previously at Mix 96, CJAD, 940 News and K103.

The afternoon drive show, from 3 to 7pm, will be hosted by Bob Coley, a voice-over artist who lives in Hudson and previously worked at CHOM and CKTS 900 AM in Sherbrooke. He’ll be joined by Sylvia Asche Bullard doing news and traffic. Bullard worked at CJMQ in Sherbrooke, the English-language Townships community station, as well as for the Canadian Traffic Network and The Jewel in Ottawa.

Leblanc, Coley and “another announcer still to be determined” will host weekend shows. The rest of the schedule will be syndicated, including middays (10am-3pm is John Tesh) and evenings (The Jewel’s The Lounge, 7-11pm).

Ted Silver, program director for The Jewel stations in Hudson and eastern Ontario, says there may still be “some surprise announcements” concerning programming.

The location

Even though they’ve been working on this station for half a decade, owner Evanov Radio hasn’t found it a home in Hudson yet, so for the time being it’ll be broadcasting out of the office of its sister station The Jewel 107.7 in Hawkesbury, Ont., 40 kilometres away. (Which I note is less than the distance between Hudson and downtown Montreal.)

I’ll be tagging along on Day 1, and will have more details in the coming days here and in the Montreal Gazette’s off-island section.

Posted in Media, My articles, Radio, TV

CBC holding its first public consultation for English-language minority in Quebec

The CBC wants to hear from you, not just because it wants to, but because it’s required to by a condition of licence.

In fact, it’s the very first condition of licence for CBC’s English and French-language services in a new CRTC licence approved in May 2013: The public broadcaster has to consult with minority-language communities: Francophones in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Western Canada and the North, and anglophones in Quebec. It has to happen once every two years and it has to be reported to the CRTC.

As CBC Quebec Managing Director Shelagh Kinch explains in this story I wrote for the Montreal Gazette, this is merely a formalizing of regular consultations the CBC did with anglophone community groups in Quebec and collection of audience feedback.

The consultation takes place Tuesday (Feb. 24) from 6:30pm to 8pm at Salle Raymond David of the Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal. You can also tune in via live webcast and participate on Twitter using the hashtag #CBCconsults.

In addition to Kinch and a panel of local journalists (All in a Weekend/Our Montreal host Sonali Karnick, C’est la vie host and political columnist Bernard St-Laurent, Shari Okeke and Raffy Boudjikanian, plus travelling journalist Marika Wheeler), there will also be two bigwigs from CBC who can make a real difference: Jennifer McGuire, editor-in-chief of CBC News (who is also responsible for local radio across the country) and Sally Catto, general manager of programming for CBC Television. (Sadly, there isn’t anyone from national CBC radio, nor is CEO Hubert Lacroix on the panel.)

The CRTC imposed this condition of licence among several changes in the last licence renewal to ensure CBC is fulfilling its mandate toward minority language communities that aren’t large enough to have commercial broadcasters catering to them. And while Montreal is big enough that we have four English TV stations and several commercial radio stations, the rest of Quebec is pretty underserved. The only major broadcaster catering to them directly is the CBC Radio One station in Quebec City.

So if you have some beef with CBC’s programming, or feel as though it needs to better reflect your reality, whether you live on the Plateau or in Gaspé, this is your chance to make yourself heard.

And yeah, the just-shut-down-the-CBC suggestion has already been made.

The Facebook event for the discussion is here.

I can’t make it because of a meeting I have to be at, so I won’t get a chance to ask why our public broadcaster took a pass on the only English-language Canadian scripted drama series that’s actually set in Montreal.

Posted in My articles, Radio

The Jewel in Hudson hires Ted Bird as morning show host

Ted Bird

Ted Bird

Three months after it began on-air testing, The Jewel 106.7 (CHSV-FM) in Hudson/St-Lazare is getting ready for a launch in early March and has hired its morning man: Ted Bird.

I have some details in this story in the Montreal Gazette’s Off-Island section.

With the hire, Bird gains his fifth employer and fifth station in five years. He left CHOM in 2010 over “creative differences” with management and months later landed at community station K103 in Kahnawake. In 2012, he left K103 and joined what was then TSN 990. In the fall of 2013, after the Bell/Astral merger put his old CHOM bosses in charge of TSN, he was let go, and joined KIC Country 89.9 in Kahnawake. His last shift at that station was on Friday.

Bird also freelances as a sports commentator. He had a regular segment on CTV Montreal, and recently started doing the same thing for City’s Sportsnet Central Montreal.

Evanov Radio, which owns The Jewel, confirms that it has hired Bird as the morning show host.

“We have also hired a sales team which consists of three representatives to start and are looking to add our sales manager shortly,” says Evanov vice-president Carmela Laurignano.

There’s no word yet on other talent, but we’ll know that in the coming weeks. I’ve heard of a few names familiar to Montreal radio listeners that have tried out.

The Jewel is licensed to serve Hudson and St-Lazare, and its signal also covers Vaudreuil, Rigaud, Oka, Île Perrot and the western part of the West Island. Its programming will be mainly easy-listening music, but will have news and information specific for the Hudson/St-Lazare community (its application promised four hours and 22 minutes a week of news, of which half would be local to that community). Evanov told the CRTC in applying for the licence to the station that this community of should be considered a separate market from Montreal. (According to the CRTC’s measure, Hudson and St-Lazare alone have about 22,000 anglophone residents.)

Posted in Montreal, Radio

Radio Fierté is now officially broadcasting

As of 6am today, a little over three months after it began on-air testing, CHRF Radio Fierté 980 is officially on the air, the first French-language LGBT radio station in North America according to their promo ads.

You can listen to the first four minutes of the first morning show here:

We now have a full idea of the programming schedule and on-air personalities. For a station that’s supposed to blend music and talk, it’s pretty light on the talk with only five hosts announced:

  • Michel Duchesne and Sylvain Verstricht host the morning show Les Barbus from 6am to 9am weekdays. Duchesne is an author and television writer who worked at Radio-Canada for 14 years (La Presse recently profiled him). Verstricht comes from CIBL 101.5 FM and writes the bilingual culture blog Local Gestures.
  • Marie-Noëlle (Marino) Gagnon hosts Marino et ses Diamants from 1 to 3pm and La Chansonnette avec Marino from 9 to 11am on Sundays, and serves as the station’s music director. She comes from RNC Media where she worked at Radio X 91.9 in Montreal.
  • Joe Bocan and Miguel Doucet host Les Pétards from 5 to 6pm weekdays (Bocan as of Feb. 9). Bocan is a singer who was very successful in the 1980s and early 90s, but withdrew from the public view to raise her children. La Presse profiled her desire to return to her career last year. Doucet is an aspiring actor. Doucet also hosts Ta Playlist from 6:30 to 7pm weekdays.

Weekends also include Le Top 10 Franco with Duchesne, Verstricht and Doucet at 11am Saturdays and Le Top Anglo at noon.

If you missed any of that, Joe Bocan can repeat it for you:

Radio Fierté can be streamed from its website or its mobile app. It’s also on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in My articles, Radio

CRTC denies CJLO transmitter at 107.9 FM

Vermont Public Radio fans in Montreal can exhale. At least for now.

On Monday, the CRTC denied an application from Concordia’s CJLO to add an FM retransmitter at 107.9 FM, which would block out VPR in downtown Montreal and an arguable radius around it.

But the commission makes it clear that objections from VPR and its fans had nothing to do with the decision: “because VPR operates a U.S. station, its station was not considered in the examination of this application.”

This is consistent with a previous decision allowing CHLT-FM in Sherbrooke to move to 107.7 FM despite interference problems it might cause VPR listeners in the townships.

Instead, the CRTC determined that CJLO had not presented a compelling technical need to get the new allocation, particularly since 107.9 would be one of the last frequencies available for a station in Montreal.

More about this decision below and in this story in the Montreal Gazette.

Continue reading

Posted in Radio

Rythme FM expands with third new affiliate in six months

The network of Véro, Mitsou and Sébastien Benoit is continuing to grow.

Owner Cogeco Diffusion announced on Tuesday that it has added an affiliate in the Abitibi region to the Rythme FM brand, expanding it to seven stations throughout Quebec.

CHOA-FM, which operates at 96.5 FM in Rouyn-Noranda, 103.5 FM in Val-d’Or and 103.9 FM in La Sarre, is owned by RNC Média and operates under the Planète brand. The changeover is expected to happen on March 9.

Like other Rythme FM affiliates, the Abitibi station will carry the noon-hour show hosted by Mitsou Gélinas and Sébastien Benoit, and the afternoon drive show hosted by Véronique Cloutier. Its morning show and daytime programming before and after lunch, will be local. The station promises no reduction in local programming, and that announcers Isabelle Harvey, Amélie Pomerleau and Véronique Aubin will remain with the station.

CHOA is the third station in six months to add itself to the Rythme FM family. CHLX-FM 97.1 in Gatineau, another Planète station, became Rythme FM Outaouais in August. CKRS-FM 98.3 in Saguenay and CKGS-FM 105.5 in La Baie, owned by Attraction Radio, are also adding themselves to the Rythme FM network on Feb. 9.

CKRS, a station formerly owned by Corus but which wasn’t sold to Cogeco, had until recently been a talk station, but last month got approval for a licence amendment allowing it to switch to music.

The expansion gives the Rythme FM network a presence in most major regions of Quebec: Montreal, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau, Abitibi and Saguenay, plus CIME-FM in the Laurentians, which is part of the Rythme FM brand but doesn’t carry its network programming.

The big missing link here is Quebec City. CJEC-FM 91.9 used to be a Rythme station, but when Cogeco bought Corus it was forced to sell the station. New owner Leclerc Communication eventually rebranded it WKND. Convincing it to return to the Rythme FM brand would be the most obvious choice, since it’s the only adult-contemporary music station there not owned by Bell Media. Cogeco could also rebrand M 102.9, its classic hits station in Lévis. But since that station just adopted that brand, it’s probably not in their plans.

It might also look to expand in the Bas-Saint-Laurent (Rivière-du-Loup, Rimouski), Centre-du-Québec (Drummondville, Victoriaville) and Gaspésie regions. Attraction has other stations that might fit the bill, but others are owned by smaller companies that might be less interested in replacing local shows with Véro.