Category Archives: Radio

Posted in Radio, Sports, TV

Impact 2016 broadcast schedule announced

We now know where the 2016 Impact games — at least those played in the MLS regular season — will be broadcast, on TV and radio, in French and English.

Like with the NHL’s national/regional split, the Impact’s MLS games are split between those whose broadcast rights are sold by the league (which partners with TSN and RDS) and those whose rights are sold by the club (which partners with TVA Sports).

RDS: 13 games plus playoffs

RDS announced it will broadcast 13 Impact games, including all MLS games against Canadian opponents (Toronto or Vancouver), plus all playoff games. Its schedule also includes 10 Toronto FC games (three of which are against Montreal) and 10 Vancouver Whitecaps games (one of which is against Toronto and one of which is against Montreal), for a total of 28 games. Games not involving Montreal will generally be put on RDS2.

The RDS broadcast team is Claudine Douville on play-by-play, with Jean Gounelle doing analysis, plus Olivier Brett and Patrick Leduc during pregame and halftime.

TVA Sports: 21 games

TVA Sports, meanwhile, has the remaining 21 Impact MLS games, including the two games at Olympic Stadium, and the season finale on Oct. 23. Most games will be on the main channel, with Saturday night games moved to TVA Sports 2.

The TVA broadcast team is Frédéric Lord on play-by-play, with Vincent Destouches doing analysis.

TSN: 10 games plus playoffs

Ten games will be carried in English on TSN channels, including the season opener in Vancouver, the Saputo Stadium home opener April 23 against Toronto, and the last home game of the season, also against Toronto.

The TSN TV broadcast teams are Like Wileman/Jason deVos and Vic Rauter/Greg Sutton.

TSN Radio 690/CJAD: all regular-season and playoff games

On radio, all games are set for broadcast on TSN Radio 690, though that will likely change when scheduling conflicts arise with Alouettes games, Canadiens playoff games (don’t laugh) and next season’s Canadiens games in October. (That goes for RDS as well.)

98.5FM: minimum 21 games

Only 21 games are set for radio in French, on 98.5 FM, though that’s more than last year, and the press release describes it as a “minimum”. That station doesn’t have a backup in case of conflict, so can’t really broadcast games when the Canadiens or Alouettes are playing.

Jeremy Filosa is the voice of the Impact for 98.5. Each match will have a 30-minute pregame show and a postgame show.

You’d think this would open up an opportunity for Montreal’s all-sports-talk station 91.9 Sport to pick up those games. But it hasn’t chosen to do so. Even if the rights are dirt cheap, it’s expensive to produce such matches. That said, the thing 91.9 needs most right now is marketing and recognition, and broadcasting games would be a big step in that direction.

The full schedule, with broadcast partners for each game, is posted on the Impact’s website.

Posted in Radio

Montreal’s Mike FM failed to meet licence conditions again: CRTC

CKDG-FM 105.1*, a 12-year-old commercial ethnic radio station in Montreal, is up for licence renewal, and for the third straight time the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission believes it has failed to meet the requirements of its licence, by not serving a sufficient number of ethnic groups and not airing enough Canadian music.

In 2010, when the station’s licence was first renewed, the commission found that it had failed to pay $42,022 in required contributions to Canadian content development. As a result, the commission renewed the licence for just over three years instead of a full term of seven years, and added a condition of licence requiring it to repay the shortfall by August 2011.

In 2013, the second renewal noted that the station failed to meet that repayment deadline. Owner Marie Griffiths blamed the economic recession for putting financial pressure on the station, and said it would be repaid by August 2013, even trying to offer post-dated cheques as proof of this. There were also paperwork issues, getting annual returns to the commission on time. The CRTC again renewed the licence for a shorter term, until August 2016.

This time, the compliance issues aren’t about Canadian content contributions (a new policy exempts stations with revenues under $1.25 million from having to make them) or filing annual returns, but related to programming.

CKDG’s licence, amended in 2013, has the following conditions, in addition to the standard conditions of licence:

  • 3. The licensee shall devote a minimum of 60% of the programming broadcast during each broadcast week to ethnic programs, as defined in the Radio Regulations, 1986, as amended from time to time.
  • 4. The licensee shall devote a minimum of 50% of the programming broadcast during each broadcast week to third language programs, as defined in the Radio Regulations, 1986, as amended from time to time.
  • 5. The licensee shall broadcast, in each broadcast week, programming directed to a minimum of eight cultural groups in a minimum of six languages.
  • 6. The licensee shall ensure that at least 10% of the musical selections broadcast during ethnic programming periods during each broadcast week are Canadian selections.
  • 7. The licensee shall provide an appropriate proof of payment for the entire outstanding Canadian talent development shortfall of $42,022 identified in CKDG-FM Montréal – Licence renewal, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-428, 30 June 2010, by 31 January 2014.

The station is proposing to keep these conditions, except the last, which has been fulfilled and is no longer applicable.

Cultural groups

Asked about the eight cultural groups it serves, CKDG listed “Greeks, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Armenians, Italians, English and French Que?be?cois” in a letter to the CRTC. But English and French are not considered cultural groups according to the CRTC’s ethnic broadcasting policy, which means the station failed to meet that requirement.

The application says the error was because of “a misinterpretation of the Commission’s policy and was compounded by inadequate oversight of the weekly programming breakdowns. Although this error was unfortunate, it was honestly made, and has now been corrected. It will not reoccur.”

The station added programming last fall for Dominican, Guatemalan and Haitian communities to bring its number up to nine.

The new schedule for CKDG-FM (click for larger version)

The new schedule for CKDG-FM (click for larger version)

Canadian music

CKDG’s conditions of licence require it to ensure 10% of ethnic songs and 35% of non-ethnic popular music are Canadian. But the commission’s analysis, based on a week in May 2015, shows it offered only 0.76% Canadian ethnic music and 24.1% Canadian non-ethnic music.

CKDG blamed this on its “inability to keep adequate records” and on not sufficiently policing licence conditions for brokered programming.

Is $4,000 enough to fix this?

Unprompted by the commission, CKDG’s licensee Groupe CHCR (Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio), has offered its own penance for its wrongdoings: money.

“Groupe CHCR submits that it will voluntarily contribute the combined amount of $4,000 to FACTOR and Musicaction ($2,000 to each organization) over the next licence term,” the application reads, referring to the two major Canadian music development funds that larger stations are required to contribute to.

Requiring additional contributions is one of the options available to the CRTC. A short-term licence renewal is another. But it can also go further, imposing other conditions of licence, requiring the station to broadcast its failure to comply with its licence conditions, or in extreme cases suspending, refusing to renew or revoking its licence entirely.

Needless to say, CKDG isn’t in favour of most of these options.

New administrative staff

As part of its move to get its affairs in order, Mike FM has hired new senior staff:

  • William Hart, Director of Operations, charged with bringing “a greater level of organization and structure to the company.”
  • Geoffroy Bry-Marfaing, Assistant Director, charged with ensuring ethnic programs meet Canadian content requirements
  • Maud Mazaniello, Director of Communications, charged with improving communication with cultural communities, among other things

It has managed to do this thanks mainly to the half-million it received from selling sister station CKIN-FM. We’ll see if they can use that money to make this sustainable.

The CRTC is accepting comments on CKDG-FM’s licence renewal until March 15.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post gave the wrong frequency for CKDG-FM.

Posted in Radio

Gatineau’s Capitale Rock to simulcast shows from 91.9 Sport in Montreal

It’s still too early to determine if the new format of Montreal’s CKLX-FM 91.9 is a winner, but RNC Media has decided it’s good enough to start copying some of that programming on its Gatineau station Capitale Rock 96.5 (CFTX-FM).

Starting Monday, Capitale Rock adopts a hybrid format of rock music and sports talk, and will simulcast programming from 91.9, including its morning show, noon show and afternoon drive show. The rest of the schedule will be either local hosts or no host at all.

The announcement of the change did not go well with Capitale Rock listeners on Facebook, with many declaring they would stop listening to the station now that their favourite hosts have been replaced with Montreal-based programming. And though the station promises the programming will be “de-montrealized”, it’s hard to take that seriously.

The change does not appear to affect the three-transmitter station group in the Abitibi region, which also runs under the Capitale Rock brand.

The reason for the format change is obvious: Capitale Rock has atrocious ratings. The latest Numeris report shows it with a 0.5% market share among francophones in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, putting it well behind most anglophone music stations and even anglo talk stations. Even ICI Musique has more than twice the audience, both overall and among adults 25-54.

Will this turn things around? Several factors suggest it won’t. The Montreal station it’s taking programming from isn’t exactly a ratings powerhouse, and Ottawa has different sports teams that won’t be talked about regularly in a Montreal broadcast.

Plus, there doesn’t look like there’s going to be any live sports programming, at least at first. Cogeco has French-language radio rights to Canadiens games, which air on 104.7 FM in Gatineau. And French-language broadcasts of Ottawa Senators, Ottawa Fury and Gatineau Olympiques games air on Unique FM 94.5.

(via John Fowler)

Posted in Radio

Elliott Price returns to radio with Sunday night show on CFMB

Elliott Price (file photo, obviously)

Elliott Price (file photo, obviously)

Two and a half months after being shown the door by TSN Radio 690, Elliott Price announced Monday he’s getting back on the airwaves, though in a much less high-profile gig: A two-hour Sunday night show on multilingual station CFMB 1280 AM.

“That’s what’s available,” Price told me about the timeslot. “I was looking around for airtime and there were other options that didn’t fit what I wanted to do, so this is what we’re going to do.”

This isn’t a new job that Price has been hired for, it’s time that he’s brokered on the radio. This means if he wants to get paid, he needs to sell his own advertising. It’s something he hasn’t handled before, he said, but he’s been talking to a few potential advertisers and he’s confident he’ll be able to sell the show.

“I’m confident because it’s affordable,” he said, in a somewhat self-effacing manner. Ad rates for Price is Right won’t be nearly as high as those for the TSN morning show.

The new show, which begins on Valentine’s Day, will be mainly Price talking about sports. It’ll start with a rant from Price, and follow with interviews and other talk. He’s roped in Grant Robinson, a former TSN 690 intern and co-host of The Sports Grind on CJLO, to join him so he’ll have someone to interact with regularly.

“I have a lot to say and I’ve bottled it up for two months,” Price said.

There will also be a podcast, whose schedule isn’t set in stone but will be “more than once a week” as Price’s schedule allows and as there’s enough material to talk about. The plan is to put the best of the podcast on the show and vice-versa.

“We can branch out, we can do more, but I think our basic focus should be sports,” Price said about the shows’ content.

Price didn’t want to talk about what happened at TSN Radio. I suspect that might be because it’s only been two and a half months and they’re probably still paying him some severance. But he did say that after the time off “it’s time to get off my ass and get back to work.” He’s been a guest on City TV’s Sportsnet Central Montreal, but that’s not permanent nor enough to pay the bills.

“What do I do? I watch sports, and I talk about them and right now it’s just my son listening to me. He’s a fine audience but he only pays me so much.”

The shift to another station, whose programming is mainly not in English, will be a change for Price. But so will the schedule, after so much time hosting morning shows.

“I still get up early but not as early, think more 6 and less middle of the night,” he said. “Now if we can retrain the pets we’ll be so happy. They’re still on the 4 am shift.”

UPDATE (Feb. 17): Price’s podcasts, including highlights from the Sunday show, are posted here. On Sunday’s first show, Price addresses his dismissal from TSN 690:

How is it possible that an all-sports radio station in my home town exists and I don’t work there? Just so you know, I never embarrassed the brand, was not let go for something I said or did or as far as I know didn’t do. I showed up for work every day — okay, 99 per cent of the time — on time. I missed one day of work in 36 years. Hey, I’m a numbers guy. And while I believe you have to offer something in my business to get something back, it’s their money. They get to decide who to spend it on, and you get to decide if that’s good enough for you.

Price also listed a series of local sponsors who jumped on board with the new show.

Price is Right’s intro is voiced by Jim Connell.

Posted in Montreal, Radio

Community centre proposes new low-power station in St-Laurent at 90.7 FM

voix-st-lo-logo

Despite protestations that the FM band is full in Montreal and every last available frequency has been taken, more attempts to squeeze in new stations keep appearing.

The latest is an application by La Voix de St-Lo, an online radio station operated by the Centre communautaire Bon Courage de Place Benoit in St-Laurent. It proposes a French-language community radio station at 90.7 FM, with a 50-watt transmitter from right next to the community centre.

The station appears to have picked the callsign CHIL-FM, though it’s unclear if they will be able to use that if the application is approved.

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Posted in Radio

CBC Quebec says goodbye to Jacquie Czernin

Jacquie Czernin (CBC photo)

Jacquie Czernin (CBC photo)

It’s been almost two years since Jacqueline (Jacquie) Czernin left her job as host of Breakaway on CBC Radio to be with her ailing mother in Kelowna, B.C., on what was supposed to be a temporary leave. But every time she was supposed to return, the date got pushed back.

Finally, it reached the breaking point, and last month it was announced she wouldn’t be coming back.

Today, her show aired a long-distance conversation between her and Quebec AM host Susan Campbell about Czernin’s 25-year career at CBC, including some clips of Czernin’s work (like getting Brian Mulroney to sing).

The staff at Breakaway, which is based in Quebec City and can be heard on the Quebec Community Network (most CBC Radio One stations in Quebec outside Montreal), have been getting messages of support from listeners, and Czernin, who gets a bit emotional during the interview, repeatedly expresses gratitude.

A permanent replacement host hasn’t been announced publicly, but Rachelle Solomon, who has been hosting Breakaway since Czernin left, would be the obvious choice.

Posted in Radio

CRTC approves frequency swap allowing Ottawa station to boost power

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

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

In its last day of decisions for 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved a plan proposed by Torres Media’s CIDG-FM (Dawg FM) to pay a community station more than $150,000 to swap frequencies.

The plan, which I told you about in May, goes as follows:

  • CHIP-FM, a community radio station based in Fort Coulonge, Quebec, about 90km northwest of Gatineau, changes frequency from 101.7 to 101.9 MHz
  • CIDG-FM, a commercial station based in Ottawa, changes from 101.9 to 101.7, and because the new frequency has fewer restrictions on it, the station can increase its power from 5,500W to 19,500W.
  • Torres Media, which owns CIDG-FM, pays Pontiac Community Radio, owner of CHIP-FM. The amount isn’t disclosed in the application or decision, but a financial projection included in the application shows it’s at least six figures. It includes Torres Media taking care of all the expenses related to the application itself and the change in frequency for CHIP-FM.

As a result of the change, which also comes with a new transmitter site, Dawg FM would improve its signal considerably toward the southwest, areas like Nepean and Stittsville. The signal still wouldn’t be as good as the older FMs that have unrestricted allocations, but it would be able to fight on a slightly more even level.

Dawg FM, which broadcasts a blues/rock format and launched in 2011, has a 0.5% share among anglophones and 0.2% among francophones in the latest Numeris ratings.

Posted in Radio

Fall radio ratings show status quo in Montreal

Montreal anglo radio ratings (2+, central market). Click for larger version.

Montreal anglo radio ratings (2+, central market). Click for larger version.

PPM radio ratings came out this week. And while there isn’t much that’s headline-grabbing on the anglo side, there’s a few things I noticed that are worth mentioning.

The top-line numbers show that, once again, CJAD is the most popular radio station among anglophone listeners. No shock there. And when you look at the chart above, you can see that over time their share has actually grown. Its their fourth consecutive book above 25%, after years of never getting above 25.2%.

Among the music stations, The Beat is once again the most popular overall (among both anglophones and francophones), but among the important demographic of adults 25-54, Virgin Radio beats it by five points, and the trend is in Virgin’s favour. Among younger adults (18-34), Virgin beats The Beat by nine points.

Among men 25-54, CHOM is still tops with a 28% share, but that barely edges out Virgin. TSN Radio 690 has only a 6% share among this group, a third of CJAD’s.

CBC Radio One, which peaked in the fall of 2014, has been declining since, with a 6.5% share overall. CBC Radio Two is at 1.5%, the third consecutive quarter at that level or below after being above it for at least four years.

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Posted in Radio

CJAD honours Balcan, Sinclair and Blackman as it opens a “hall of fame”

cjad-cartoons

Framed Aislin cartoons of George Balcan, left, Gord Sinclair and Ted Blackman.

This morning, on its 70th anniversary, CJAD 800 inaugurated what it officially calls a “hall of fame” but program director Chris Bury admitted would probably be more accurately described as a wall of fame. Its first three inductees, unveiled during the Andrew Carter morning show, are of no surprise: George Balcan, Gord Sinclair and Ted Blackman.

The three Montreal broadcasting icons, who all died between 2002 and 2004, were immortalized with caricatures produced by cartoonist Terry Mosher (Aislin), actually taken from cartoons he had already drawn of the three. “We had a few versions” for each of the three, Bury explained, and they decided to go that way rather than use old publicity photos, many of which were not in great condition, were poorly lit or seemed too serious.

The framed cartoons will be hung in the CJAD studio, where people who work at the station “can get a sense of the history of the radio station,” Bury said.

More CJAD personalities will join these three over the coming years. Bury said the plan is to induct one every six months or so until the 75th anniversary in 2020. “Nothing is set in stone” about who else will be inducted, though there are some obvious picks. Simple math would suggest about a dozen inductees in all, though that too hasn’t been set in stone.

“I don’t know how many other stations could do this,” Bury said after the ceremony.

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Posted in Radio

Radio ratings confirm FM93 is still #1 in Quebec City

Numeris, the company that surveys TV viewers and radio listeners to determine ratings for those industries, released its report from radio diary markets on Thursday. This report covers mainly medium-sized markets by having a sample audience fill out forms saying what they listened to. (Larger markets like Montreal are measured using meters, which are considered more accurate.)

In Quebec, the headlines from this report is that talk station FM93 is the undisputed leader in the provincial capital (Le Soleil, Journal de Québec) with a 17.7% market share, well ahead of the next best stations, Rouge FM (CITF-FM) and Radio-Canada Première (CBV-FM), tied at 12.3%. CHOI, once the market leader, is fourth at 11.1%, the same rank it was at in the spring ratings. Among adults 18-34, it has dropped from first to sixth place. It’s also sixth among women 25-54, down from a close second last year.

But before you declare the CHOI style of “radio poubelle” dead, note that former CHOI personalities are doing quite well at other stations, according to data collected by Le Soleil and RadioEgo.com. Jeff Fillion at Énergie beats his former station, but is still behind FM93 (his move from the lunch hour to afternoon drive caused the lunch ratings to plummet back to a third of what they were under him among adults 25-54, and the afternoon drive numbers to more than double). Stéphan Dupont is doing well as Énergie’s morning man (whether he’s #1 or #3 depends how you measure), and it seems clear from the ratings numbers that he’s taking his audience mainly from CHOI, quadrupling his station’s audience in the mornings in one year. Éric Duhaime is #1 at noon with Nathalie Normandeau at FM93, beating CHOI’s Richard Martineau. And André Arthur’s show at CHOI is #1 in his short timeslot of 11:30 to noon weekdays. The station would probably do better overall if he was willing to take more airtime.

Going up: Énergie’s well behind competitors, but its share has increased from 7.8% to 9.4%. And though CHOI is still fourth, its 11.1% share is up from 9.5% in the spring. WKND is up two points from 5.9 to 7.9% (and its reach is up about 15%).

Going down: Rouge and Radio-Canada are both down about two points from the spring. CJSQ Radio-Classique saw its share drop from 4.7% to 2.5%. The fact that Radio-Classique was in transition during the ratings period probably has a lot to do with that.

The sole English-language station in Quebec City, CBC Radio One (CBVE-FM), has a 0.6% rating, down from 0.7% in the spring. About 37,000 listeners in Canada listened to that station or its retransmitters on the Quebec Community Network (which covers most of Quebec except Montreal and Gatineau) for at least 15 minutes during the measured period.

Sherbrooke

Little change here from the spring. The two Bell Media stations (Énergie and Rouge FM) lead with about a 20% market share each.

Trois-Rivières

There’s now a very tight three-way race for the top between NRJ (CIGB-FM) at 16.8%, Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) at 16.5% and Rouge FM (CHEY-FM) at 15.5%. That’s a significant drop for Rythme. Independent Bécancour station CKBN-FM jumped from 5.2% to 9.0% for fourth place, edging Radio-Canada. Talk station CKOB-FM 106.9 is behind at 6.2%, and Espace Musique jumped from 2.9% to 5.6%.

Saguenay

Rouge FM (CFIX-FM) has solidified its dominance here and now has a 31.9% share, up from 25.3% in the spring. Its sister Énergie (CJAB-FM) dropped three points to sit at 17.5%, while KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) gained two and a half to reach 15.7%.

The Rythme FM station owned by Attraction Radio has fallen back to Earth after shooting up a couple of points following the format change. It’s now at 7.1%, about what it was before becoming a Rythme affiliate.

Drummondville

The only two stations surveyed in this market are tight as can be: CJDM-FM (Énergie) at 27.8% and CHRD-FM (Rouge FM) at 27.7%. Competition would be intense if they weren’t both owned by Bell Media.

Ottawa/Gatineau

On the anglo side, Bell Media’s New Country 94 (formerly Bob FM) still hasn’t been resonating with audiences, stuck with a 2.9% market share. But its competitor Country 101, a Rogers station operating out of Smiths Falls but which targets Ottawa, has seen its share drop more than half from 6.7% to 3.3% in a year.

Otherwise, the only change by more than a couple of points is CBC Radio One, up four points to 22.9%. It has more than twice the share of any other station, thanks mainly to the fragmentation of the market.

On the franco side, Rouge FM is still by far the top rated stations, but it lost 4.5% market share, and is now at 17.7%. Otherwise the only notable shift is a more than doubling of the share for Corus’s English music station Jump! 106.9, which is now at 4.2% of francophone listeners, similar to other English-language music stations in the market.

I’ll leave looking at other markets to others since I’m less familiar with them. PPM quarterly ratings, which includes the Montreal English and French markets, come out next week.

If you want to delve into deeper analysis, InfoPresse has posted the charts put together by Bell Media research and Cogeco Force Radio, or you can read the self-congratulatory statements from Bell or Leclerc.

Posted in Radio, TV

Bell Media rehires Louis Douville as regional sales manager

Louis Douville

Louis Douville

Two months after he lost his job as general manager of CTV Montreal, Louis Douville is back at Bell Media. It was just announced internally that he is taking on the new job of regional sales manager for local TV and radio in Quebec, starting Monday.

In his new job, Douville will be responsible for advertising sales managers at CTV Montreal and Bell Media’s radio stations in both languages throughout the province. He reports directly to Toronto.

Douville tells me he considers the change a lateral move, with “a more focused responsibility” but with a wider scope.

He says he had no hard feelings about being cut as part of hundreds of job cuts at the company this year. “I never took it personally. I was a victim of economic times,” he said. “To be able to stay with a company that I’ve invested in for 33 years is pretty fabulous.”

Advertising is a big challenge, especially for a company like Bell Media, which is looking to increase or at least maintain its revenues while operating with fewer staff. Douville said he has ideas for strategy but wants to discuss them with his staff first. And as for taking on that daunting task, he offered advice he heard from a wise man once:

“If you take a challenge that doesn’t terrify you, you’re not taking on enough of a challenge.”

Posted in Radio

Châteauguay’s CHAI-FM seeks to replace two transmitters with one

If you look at a list of radio transmitters in the Montreal area, you’ll find a listing at 101.9 MHz for CHAI-FM, a community radio station in Châteauguay. But you’ll also find one called CHAI-FM-1 in Candiac, also at 101.9 MHz.

It’s an unusual solution to a coverage problem to have a repeater on the same frequency, and CHAI is the only one in the area that attempted it. There’s a reason for this: talk to any broadcast engineer and they’ll tell you that while it can be done, it’s very tricky. If the stations aren’t perfectly synchronized, people between the transmitters can hear unpleasant sounds and echoes.

CHAI-FM proposal: A new transmitter (green) replaces the two old ones (red and blue).

CHAI-FM proposal: A new transmitter (green) replaces the two old ones (red and blue).

So CHAI has decided after less than a decade to abandon that plan and instead seek changes to its primary transmitter (an increase in power, change in pattern and shift of location and height) to allow it to cover both the city of Châteauguay and the MRC de Roussillon with one signal. As you can see from the map above, the engineers have done a pretty good job of replicating the two coverage areas with one signal.

The new CHAI-FM would transmit from atop the Châteauguay water tower in the eastern corner of the city, using a directional antenna and a power of 238 watts, up from 100. The height above average terrain would go from 50 to 66.7 metres. (The city approved the installation unanimously in a council meeting on Dec. 1, 2014, setting a $350 a year rent plus taxes and $460 a year for electricity, a deal of five years renewable twice.)

Being so close to Montreal, the signal has to be careful not to interfere with other existing ones. An engineering analysis found potential interference issues with a half dozen stations but managed to minimize them:

  • CBMG-FM Cowansville (101.9): CHAI and this CBC Radio One transmitter would cause interference to each other, but CHAI notes that the area of CBMG’s signal it would interfere with, centred around Iberville, would be covered by Radio One’s main Montreal transmitter at 88.5 FM, which carries identical programming. CBMG could cause interference to CHAI in Candiac, Delson, Lery and the southern West Island.
  • CJSS-FM Cornwall (101.9): Though they operate on the same frequency, the analysis found CHAI would not interfere with CJSS and CJSS’s interference with CHAI would be minimal, confined to a sliver of its pattern southwest of Lery.
  • WCVT-FM Stowe, Vt. (101.7): No potential interference was found here unless WCVT were to increase to its maximum theoretical power, which it couldn’t do anyway because that would interfere with CBMG.
  • CHPR-FM Hawkesbury, Ont. (102.1): The stations are far enough apart in space and frequency that there are no interference issues.
  • CIBL-FM Montreal (101.5): CHAI would cause some interference to reception of the Montreal community station in the area southeast of CHAI’s transmitter, but that interference would be less than is currently caused by both CHAI-FM and its retransmitter. CIBL would not cause interference to CHAI.
  • CINQ-FM Montreal (102.3): The mutual interference situation for CINQ is virtually identical to that of CIBL.

The worst interference issue both ways is with the Cowansville station, and that’s the only one that would actually increase a non-trivial amount under this scenario. CHAI’s proposed parameters go as far as they can without leaving a coverage hole for CBC Radio One (an area that isn’t within either coverage area of CBME-FM 88.5 or CBMG-FM 101.9).

The CRTC is accepting comments on this application until Jan. 18. You can download the application here (.zip) and comment here. Note that all information submitted, including contact information, becomes part of the public record.

Posted in Radio

Valleyfield’s CKOD-FM gets approval for sale, rebrands as Max 103

Barely a week after the CRTC officially approved the sale of the station to Torres Media (owner of Ottawa’s Dawg FM), CKOD-FM has relaunched with a new studio location, $75,000 of new equipment, and a new branding: Max 103.

As I explained in May, the Valleyfield station was in a pretty dire situation less than a year ago, unable to pay its rent or even keep the transmitter running. Torres Media came in with a lifeline and got it back up and running, getting the CRTC to approve a temporary management agreement while it deliberated on the official sale.

The purchase price was $250,000. Torres Media asked for an exemption to the CRTC’s tangible benefits policy, which normally places a 6% tax on the sale of radio stations, with that money going to Canadian content development funds or other similar initiatives. The commission denied that request, and so the new owner has to pay $24,076 in addition to $1,500 to make up for the previous owner’s failure to pay mandatory Canadian content funding contributions.

The relaunch happened yesterday, and Cogeco’s local community TV service sent a reporter to do a report on it:

The Journal Saint-François was also there.

 

Yves Trottier, who has been with the station for a couple of decades now, returns to the air as the morning man. He also has a 5% ownership stake in the station.

CKOD-FM’s 3kW signal at 103.1, which is unchanged in this ownership transition, allows it to cover the Suroît area, reaching from Hudson to Huntindgon and the Ontario border to Saint-Martine. Its coverage area also includes Île Perrot and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. People further east will have trouble hearing it due to interference from CHAA-FM 103.3.

The investment seems significant, and Torres Media seems serious about relaunching the station. They’ve promised to keep it local, and have apparently reached a deal with InfoSuroit.com to provide local and regional news.

I can’t find a website for the station The station’s website is pretty bare right now, and there’s no online stream. Hopefully that will come soon.

Posted in Radio

Radio Humsafar ready to launch on AM, but needs to move its antenna first

Jasvir Sandhu in the Radio Humsafar studio in Lasalle.

Jasvir Sandhu in the Radio Humsafar studio in Lasalle.

A year and a half after it was approved by the CRTC, Radio Humsafar, a South Asian station set to broadcast at 1610 AM, still isn’t on the air.

But there are signs of life. The group has applied to the commission for an amendment after it determined that its original plan to share an antenna with CJLO 1690 AM wasn’t feasible (the frequencies are too close together).

Instead, Humsafar will install its own antenna on 46th Ave. near François Cusson St. in Lachine’s industrial park, four kilometres west of CJLO’s antenna. Otherwise, the technical parameters are the same, 1000W day and night, and the coverage pattern is almost identical.

Humsafar has gotten a permit from Lachine to install the antenna, according to a report in the community paper. But the CRTC needs to approve the location change, so it has opened the application to public comment until Jan. 8. That means it’ll probably be the end of February before it gets the okay from the commission.

In the meantime, you can listen to it online.

Posted in Radio

TSN 690’s Elliott Price, Abe Hefter laid off as part of Bell Media cuts in Montreal

The wave of job cuts sweeping Canada finally hit Montreal today, with the first big names on the list of those getting the axe: Elliott Price, co-host of the morning show on TSN Radio 690, and Abe Hefter, host of the weekend morning show.

I lay out the news in this story in the Montreal Gazette.

“Unfortunately, I can confirm that Elliott Price departed the company as part of the ongoing restructuring at Bell Media,” was the official comment from Bell Media spokesperson Olivier Racette.

Bell Media isn’t offering much comment on departures, and program director Chris Bury referred all comment to Racette.

Price didn’t respond to a request for comment and hasn’t said anything on Twitter, but he did change his Twitter biography:

price-bio

Price’s departure leaves the morning show in the hands of Shaun Starr and Rick Moffat, along with their contributors.

Price has been a fixture on Montreal radio since 1982, notably as a voice of the Montreal Expos.

Hefter, host of The Locker Room, is also gone, Mitch Melnick announced today on the air.

Other confirmed on-air cuts:

The fact that both Virgin and CHOM have ditched their overnight hosts suggests to me that they might try going announcerless overnight. We’ll see.

There are also several behind-the-scenes jobs at these stations that have been cut. Producers, marketing and promotions people and others.

At CTV Montreal, the cuts have been more modest. No anchors or reporters have lost their jobs yet, though they will be filling the vacant Quebec City reporter position internally instead of hiring someone new, according to union local president Susan Lea.

Five positions are gone, all in operations (i.e. off-air jobs), of which one was a voluntary departure with a severance package to protect the job of a younger employee, Lea said.

“We’re expecting a couple more” jobs to be cut, she said.

Lea said CTV Montreal was probably spared more severe cuts like we’ve seen elsewhere because of more severe cuts that happened a year ago. The station is down to about 100 people.

I haven’t heard about on-air cuts at RDS or other French-language properties in Montreal yet.

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