Category Archives: Radio

CRTC report has fundamental but very vague suggestions to change our broadcasting system

One day before the deadline set by Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, the CRTC on Thursday released a report into the broadcasting system that proposes major, fundamental changes to how broadcasting is regulated in this country. (The condensed backgrounder is here.)

Unfortunately, that report is also quite vague, even on the parts that should be specific.

It’s not the CRTC’s fault, really, because that’s not really its purpose. The original order issued back in September by Joly is just as vague, seeking a report on “the distribution model or models of programming that are likely to exist in the future; how and through whom Canadians will access that programming; the extent to which these models will ensure a vibrant domestic market that is capable of supporting the continued creation, production and distribution of Canadian programming, in both official languages, including original entertainment and information programming.”

In terms of assessing programming distribution models, the report is pretty clear, but is also repeating a lot of stuff we already know: conventional television and radio are mature industries and have no way to go but down, online audio and video streaming services are catching on with the population, and Internet delivery of content means more Canadians are getting that content directly from foreign sources who don’t have to contribute to Canadian content or answer to the CRTC.

What’s new is what the commission proposes to do about it, but that’s where the data and charts go out the window and we’re left with vague, obvious suggestions and what often sounds like one unnamed person’s opinion.

But let’s go through them and look at the issues in a bit more detail:

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Joey Elias pulls the plug on his CJAD Comedy Show

Joey Elias, left, and Noel Butler. Elias is the professional comedian.

Late nights on CJAD will never be the same. After more than 10 years hosting the late-night Comedy Show, Joey Elias has stepped away from the microphone.

On Friday, Elias promised a big announcement. And it was big: that show would be his last. The 11pm hour weekdays has been replaced by a simulcast of CTV National News and CTV Montreal’s 11:30pm local news. It’s unclear if this is a temporary or permanent thing. CJAD Program Director Chris Bury did not respond to a request for comment.

Though rumours quickly spread that Elias was cut as a cost-saving measure, especially as it came around the same time as other Bell Media cuts. But Elias says it was his call.

“After receiving offers — plural — to stay on, it was I that chose to opt out,” Elias tells me. “It was an incredibly tough choice to make, and I want to stress this: Management treated me with the utmost respect. I made my choice because I realized that right now at this very point in my life, I have neglected my responsibilities as a son, sibling, family member and friend — so (I) felt start now before it’s too late.”

He says he’s in good health and could be back some day. “The door for a return has been kept open and I hope to do so one day.”

Meanwhile, CJAD has also lost the Chris Robinson Travel Show, which aired on Saturdays. A Facebook post by the show says it’s on “sabbatical” and will be off the air for “a while”.

Interview: Shari Okeke explains why CBC’s Mic Drop podcast keeps adults out of the conversation

There’s a scene that plays out at the beginning of the second episode of Mic Drop, a new podcast by CBC Montreal. A young girl named Ava takes us through her skin care process to deal with acne. She uses a face cleanser, a moisturizer, and some oil product as part of a multi-step daily routine to try to cut down on the number of pimples on her face. The scene is edited together with thoughts from her about what it’s like having pimples, how people around her react to her, and how it makes her feel.

Ava is 11.

There’s nothing newsworthy about this segment, and it’s about one of the most normal of topics, but it’s surprisingly insightful. And a reminder to us olds that while we may have vague memories of what teenage life is like, we don’t really know that life, especially now.

Mic Drop, which runs for seven episodes, is filled with these kinds of stories, told directly by kids 11-17, without a host or narrator. The topics vary, from the mundane annoyances of acne to the very real issues of drug use and domestic violence, and plenty of stuff in between.

Interested by this format and the content of the podcast, I sat down with creator Shari Okeke last week to ask her about how it came together.

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Radio diary ratings: Radio-Canada has largest market share in Quebec City

Market share (% of listening hours) in Quebec City’s central market (data by Numeris)

It shouldn’t come as big a surprise as some are making it, but ICI Radio-Canada Première is the top-rated station in Quebec City, both in terms of listening market share (above) and total listeners in the central market, according to data released by Numeris on Thursday.

Three talk radio stations — RadCan, Cogeco’s FM93 and RNC Media’s CHOI Radio X — have been battling for top spot for the past few years, and FM93 has come out on top recently. But in this ratings period (measured Feb. 26 to April 22), it suddenly drops to third. RadCan, meanwhile, climbs to first while CHOI remains mostly stable.

Among the music stations, another sudden shift means Leclerc Communications’ WKND jumps to top spot ahead of Bell’s Rouge FM, which seems to be in a long, slow decline. The remaining stations’ shares are mostly the same as they have been. (Note that, as in Montreal, Radio Classique stopped reporting Numeris ratings after last spring.)

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CPAM, CJMS given one more (last?) lifeline with two-year CRTC licence renewal

Montreal’s Haitian radio station, and the AM country station it bought after its previous owner had extensive licence compliance issues, are trying the patience of the CRTC. But the commission is giving each of them another chance to get their administration in order.

On Friday, the commission renewed each of their licences for two years, with requirements that they broadcast messages on air acknowledging their non-compliance, and with three mandatory court orders each requiring them to be in compliance with their licence conditions.

“The Commission is concerned with the licensee’s ability and commitment to operate the station in a compliant manner,” it wrote in each of the decisions.

CJWI 1410 (CPAM Radio Union) was found in non-compliance with licence conditions related to:

  • Timely filing of annual financial reports
  • Timely response to CRTC requests for audio recordings and information
  • Keeping and producing proper records of music played on air (one request for information was never answered)
  • Timely filing of proof of financial contributions to Canadian content development
  • On-air announcements about previous non-compliance (the broadcasts did not use the exact wording laid out by the CRTC)

This is the third consecutive licence term in which CJWI has been in non-compliance. In other words, the station has never fully complied with its licence conditions since it launched in 2002. In 2008, the commission found the 2007 annual return was filed late and gave a four-year licence renewal. In 2015, the commission found once again annual returns were filed late (four years’ worth were filed simultaneously, and the fifth three months later), as well as proof of Canadian content contributions. It imposed a $2,500 de facto fine and broadcast of shame messages noting their non-compliance.

The excuses given by CPAM for the failure to comply are also getting repetitive, usually blaming some nameless employee or accountant for not knowing the rules. (Though the excuse that records were destroyed in a firebombing is a pretty good one.) Its promise that someone will take charge of ensuring paperwork is filed rings hollow in light of its repeated failures.

CJMS 1040 was found in non-compliance with conditions of licence related to:

  • Timely filing of annual reports (one year’s was never filed)
  • Responses to requests for information (a request was never answered despite several reminders)
  • Production of audio recordings on demand (a request was not fulfilled)

The latter to contradict mandatory orders issued by the CRTC in 2014. Failure to comply with such an order could result in a contempt of court proceeding. But here the commission seems content to simply issue new mandatory orders that may or may not be followed.

This is the fifth consecutive licence term that CJMS has been found in non-compliance, but the first under this owner. Like CJWI, CJMS has never fully complied with its licence. CJMS’s licence had already seen short-term renewals since its launch in 1999:

Both licence renewal decisions make clear that the commission is losing patience, and that a further failure to meet licence conditions could result in the stations losing their licences entirely.

In the meantime, mandatory orders have been issued requiring each station provide:

  • Program logs and audio recordings on request of the CRTC
  • Reponses to requests for information from the CRTC
  • Full annual returns by the deadline

I’m pessimistic that either station will be fully in compliance two years from now. But hopefully they’ll be close enough that the commission decides to give them yet another chance.

Cogeco Media to acquire 10 of RNC Media’s 15 radio stations

RNC Media is vastly decreasing its role as a major radio broadcaster, and has agreed to sell 10 of its 15 radio stations to competitor Cogeco for $18.5 million.

Affected stations are:

  • Planète 104.5 in Alma
  • Planète 93.5 in Chibougamau
  • Planète 99.5 in Roberval
  • Planète 100.3 in Dolbeau-Mistassini
  • Radio X 95.7 in Saguenay (repeater at 96.3 Alma)
  • Capitale Rock 104.3 in Val-d’Or
  • Capitale Rock 102.1 in La Sarre (repeater at 95.7 Rouyn-Noranda)
  • WOW 96.5 in Rouyn-Noranda (repeaters at 103.5 Val d’Or and 103.9 La Sarre)
  • Pop 104.9 in Lachute
  • Pop 102.1 in Hawkesbury

The sale leaves RNC Media with five stations in its three largest markets:

  • CKLX-FM (91,9 Sports) in Montreal
  • CHOI-FM (Radio X) in Quebec City
  • CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9) in Donnacona (serving Quebec City, repeater at 105.5 Lotbinière)
  • CFTX-FM (Pop 96.5) In Gatineau (repeater at 107.5 Buckingham)
  • CHLX-FM (Wow 97.1) in Gatineau

Cogeco already has two French-language FM stations in Montreal and Quebec City, which means there was no point in Cogeco acquiring them. It has one station (CKOF-FM 104,7) in Gatineau. The acquired stations will be its first in the Saguenay and Abitibi regions.

RNC Media also owns TVA and V affiliates in Gatineau and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It recently announced it was shutting down its Radio-Canada affiliate in Abitibi, CKRN. RNC said the Montreal, Quebec and Gatineau stations were “not on the market.”

The sale requires approval by the CRTC before it can proceed.

We should also expect some of these stations to join Cogeco’s network brands, particularly Rythme FM.

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Community station FM 103,3 being forced to move transmitter off Olympic Stadium tower

The government agency that runs the Olympic Stadium has been active the past few years in trying to modernize it. A new really expensive roof was approved by the Quebec government. The tower was renovated into offices for 1,300 employees of the Desjardins group.

But another plan, to open the roof of the tower as an observation deck, means having to remove several radio transmitters, and the Régie des installations olympiques has given at least one of them an eviction notice.

CHAA-FM 103,3, the community station serving the south shore of Montreal, broadcasts from the Olympic Stadium tower, with a signal directed toward Longueuil. In an application to the CRTC, it says it received a notice in 2016 that it must vacate the tower by Dec. 31, 2017. The RIO later offered a three-year lease because work to renovate the roof was delayed, but that lease contained an option to cut it short with 12 months notice.

On top of that, work currently taking place on the tower has interfered with proper operation of the transmitter, due to all the vibration and dust being created. The station, owned by Radio communautaire de la Rive-Sud inc., finally decided it had enough, and has applied to move the transmitter to the CBC/Radio-Canada tower on Mount Royal, which houses almost every commercial FM and TV transmitter in the market.

The application was published Monday by the CRTC, and is accepting comments until Feb. 19, a shortened comment period the commission agreed to so it could expedite the application process.

Current (pink) and proposed (black) transmitter locations and signal patterns for CHAA-FM 103,3

The new transmitter would be higher (284m vs 192m), and slightly more powerful, with a maximum ERP of 1700W instead of 1400W. But its signal pattern would be similar (slightly better toward Brossard and the west), and impacts on nearby stations on the same or adjacent frequencies would be minimal, its engineer asserts.

This move won’t be cheap, though. CHAA estimates a moving cost of $200,000 for new equipment on the new site, and says its rent will double. It’s seeking a loan to cover the costs.

The Mount Royal Antenna is the tallest in Montreal, and the home of transmitters for CBMT, CBFT, CFCF, CFTM and CFJP television transmitters (plus CJNT that broadcasts from a building next to the tower), and CBME, CISM, CKUT, CIRA, CKBE, CBM, CKMF, CBF, CJFM, CHOM, CHMP, CJPX, CBFX, CFGL and CITE FM transmitters, and will soon be joined by CKOI. As a result of its ideal position on top of the mountain, it’s also the most expensive place to put a transmitter, so some stations have used alternate sources, like a nearby Bell-owned tower on the other side of Remembrance Rd. But Olympic Stadium was another option.

Besides CHAA-FM, only one other broadcast transmitter remains on the stadium: CIBL-FM 101,5. And that station is in the middle of a major financial crisis. The last thing it needs is a forced transmitter relocation, even if it had been aware of it for some time.

Correction: This post originally said Télé-Québec’s CIVM-DT transmitter was operating from Mount Royal after moving from the Olympic Stadium. I don’t know where I got that from, but the Industry Canada database shows it still listed as transmitting from the Olympic Stadium tower.

Cogeco is ready for HD Radio, but isn’t eager to jump on it

Richard Lachance, president of Cogeco Media

At Cogeco’s annual general meeting recently, I managed to borrow Cogeco Media president Richard Lachance for a brief conversation about the company’s plans in radio. At an earlier meeting with Cogeco CEO Louis Audet, the focus was on the cable and telecom side, and the radio division didn’t come up until I asked at the very end if there was anything new there.

The truth is there isn’t. Cogeco hasn’t bought, sold or shut down a radio station in years, or even rebranded or reformatted. Its Rythme FM network has gained — and lost — some affiliates, but otherwise there has been little change in the past five years, following realignments that came from the Cogeco acquisition of Corus’s radio stations in Quebec.

There was discussion about Cogeco helping out community station CIBL, but here are a couple of other things I got out of him:

HD Radio: Cogeco’s FM transmitters are ready, or soon will be, to broadcast using HD Radio, a hybrid system that adds digital streams on top of the analog signal. Major broadcasters have been experimenting with it, mostly by simulcasting AM radio stations on FM HD (such as Bell is doing with CJAD and TSN 690 on their 107.3 signal). But Lachance was lukewarm on its appeal. Outside of cars, receivers are hard to come by, and demand isn’t that significant. And activating an HD signal has a negative effect on the power of the analog signal. Cogeco has experimented with an HD signal on CFGL-FM (Rythme FM 105.7), just rebroadcasting a digital version of the analog signal, but that’s no longer running.

If Cogeco followed the path of its competitors, it could rebroadcast its AM station (CKAC Circulation 730) on an FM HD transmitter like 98.5 or 105.7, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge rush to do even that.

CKOI’s current antenna atop the CIBC building

CKOI: The days of Montreal’s most powerful radio transmitter are numbered. The 307,000-watt signal, grandfathered at that power when the federal government imposed a 100kW limit on FM stations in the 1960s, is being replaced by a new transmitter on the Mount Royal Antenna, that will be higher up but lower power (147kW) so its pattern doesn’t extend beyond its current one.

Lachance said the plan is to make the move this year, probably around June. After that, the existing transmitter and antenna on the CIBC building at Peel St. and René-Lévesque Blvd. downtown will likely be torn down. CKOI’s backup transmitter, and others for Cogeco stations and some Bell stations, is in Laval’s Auteuil district.

Most people won’t notice a change. But Cogeco believes the higher antenna will mean less interference from large buildings and the mountain itself.

Other Cogeco stations have applied for and gotten permission to increase to the maximum 100kW. The transmitter for CHMP 98.5 has already been increased. The Beat 92.5 (CKBE-FM) remains at 41kW and its upgrade, though approved, isn’t scheduled in the short term.

CIBL has saviours, but it needs a business plan

Montreal community radio station CIBL-FM 101.5 is in a financial crisis. On Jan. 5, it laid off all 13 of its employees and cancelled all programming, replacing all its shows with an automated music playlist.

Its board of directors has launched a committee to try to figure out how to get the station back on track. Its now-former employees, meanwhile, are mobilizing to save the station. Their efforts can be seen on the Facebook page they’ve started. More than 200 people have signed up for memberships, and other groups have raised money or attention for their cause.

But while there’s plenty of nostalgia and compiling lists of famous people who got their start there (RBO, Marie-France Bazzo, Jean-René Dufort), and lots of talk about the importance of the station and community radio in general, there aren’t a lot of concrete proposals for how to get CIBL out of its financial mess, one that is in large part its own making.

Fortunately, CIBL still has a lot of good will, and people with the power to do something are stepping up and offering to help, like entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer (who is on the board of directors of the Société de developpement Angus, which owns the building housing CIBL) and Cogeco Media president Richard Lachance.

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Montreal radio ratings: Virgin Radio 96 slips to fourth place

Market share among anglophone Montrealers, based on Numeris data

Numeris published its latest quarterly report for metered markets today, and the data for Montreal is about the same as it always is, with one exception: Virgin Radio 96 has its lowest overall share ever, and for the first time has dipped below CHOM to fourth place among anglophones — 12.1% to CHOM’s 12.5%. Both stations are owned by Bell Media, so it’s not a huge deal in terms of competition, but the trend line for Virgin is clearly heading down, from a high of 20% in 2012.

I have no magical explanation for this trend, and I’m sure everyone has their theories, from its use of syndicated programming like Ryan Seacrest to its loss of popular announcers to The Beat, but the most likely explanation is that The Beat has a better idea of what music anglos want to listen to.

The Beat’s press release, announcing itself as the number one radio station (among adults 25-54) is here. Virgin decided to just go with its weekly reach number without trying to rank itself.

Market share among Montreal francophones, based on Numeris data.

On the French side, CHMP-FM 98.5 remains the top-rated station by far among all ages 12+, but Radio-Canada’s ICI Première has climbed into second place, edging out Rythme FM. The trend line for Radio-Canada is impressive, taking a big jump in the fall of 2016 and continuing to improve. (Alain Gravel took over as morning show host on the station in the fall of 2015.)

Both adult contemporary stations Rythme FM (Cogeco) and Rouge (Bell) have declined significantly over the past two years, with Rouge falling from third place to fifth. Its major shakeup this fall, bringing in most of the on-air staff from sister station Énergie, hasn’t done much to help yet. (And since the top of that list was Éric Salvail, it’s not getting better soon.) CKOI and Énergie are about the same as they were two years ago in terms of share, with Énergie getting about the same number of francophone listeners as the three English-language music stations (dotted lines in the chart above).

Bell Media tried to polish the ratings turd as well as it could, crowing about how Énergie is the most improved francophone music station in Montreal, and how Rouge FM is … also the most improved? … actually how Rouge has seen the biggest gain in overall reach in the past six months, and how the drive-home show is best among women 25-54 despite “un mois d’octobre tumultueux.”

At the bottom of the chart (I’m excluding stations below 1%), RNC Media’s 91.9 Sports continues to slowly improve its numbers. This is the first time since it was a jazz station that it has kept the same format and brand for more than two years. And it looks like the city’s only French-language full-time sports station has finally found something that works.

The chart line for CJPX-FM Radio Classique stops this summer. The station was not included in the Numeris report, meaning that it has stopped subscribing to the service.

Still below 1% are Evanov’s CHRF 980 AM, Cogeco traffic station Circulation 730, and community station CIBL 101.5, which have average minute audiences of 900, 300 and 100, respectively.

Radio ratings: FM93 leads Quebec City

Numeris has released its top-line data from diary radio markets (mid-size cities that aren’t big enough to be measured by electronic meters). Here are some highlights:

Quebec City

Overall market share:

  1. FM93: 14.9%
  2. CHOI: 13.7%
  3. ICI Première: 13.5%
  4. Rouge: 9.7%
  5. WKND: 7.6%
  6. Énergie: 7.4%
  7. M: 7.3%
  8. Pop: 6.1%
  9. Blvd: 5.7%
  10. ICI Musique: 4.1%
  11. CBC: 0.4%

By owner:

  1. Cogeco: 22.2%
  2. RNC Media: 19.8%
  3. CBC/Radio-Canada: 18%
  4. Bell: 17.1%
  5. Leclerc: 13.3%

Compared to the spring, FM93 and Radio-Canada have lost some ground and CHOI has regained it to climb into second place overall. There was some shifting of the order, but the biggest change was to RNC Media’s Pop 100.9, which doubled its share. The last ratings period came just after they switched from rock to pop, which caused a dramatic decrease in ratings. Now they’re better than the 4.8% share they had a year ago as a rock station.

More coverage from the Journal de Québec and Le Soleil. Among the details noted, CHOI continues to do better in the suburbs while FM93 reigns in the central market, Jeff Fillion has the highest-rated noon show, and FM93’s move to all-talk weekends has had a negative impact on their ratings.

Sherbrooke

  1. Rouge FM: 22%
  2. Énergie: 18.5%
  3. ICI Première: 16.4%
  4. 107,7fm: 11.2%
  5. Rythme FM: 8.1%
  6. ICI Musique: 3.5%

Bell continues to dominate this market with its 40% share, double that of Cogeco, but Radio-Canada’s main network saw a bump.

Trois-Rivières

  1. Énergie: 19.7%
  2. Rouge FM: 16.8%
  3. Rythme FM: 12.2%
  4. ICI Première: 9.3%
  5. FM 90,5: 9.0%
  6. 106,9fm: 5.8%
  7. ICI Musique: 4.6%

Another Bell-dominated market. But the story here is CKBN-FM (FM 90,5), a community station on the south shore covering the Bécancour region, which has climbed above Cogeco talk station 106,9 to claim fifth place in the market.

Saguenay

  1. Rouge FM: 23.4%
  2. KYK Radio X: 21.0%
  3. Énergie: 18.7%
  4. ICI Première: 11.5%
  5. ICI Musique: 4.2%

Radio X is no longer king in blueberry country as Bell’s Rouge FM takes the lead. Énergie is also up, pushing Bell’s share from 38.5% to 42.1% since the spring.

Drummondville

  1. Rouge FM: 30.8%
  2. Énergie: 22.7%

The only two stations reporting in this market are both owned by Bell Media, so there isn’t much competition to talk about. But Rouge FM has pulled well ahead of Énergie after being a couple of points behind.

Ottawa-Gatineau

Anglo top 5:

  1. CBC Radio One: 21.3%
  2. Hot 89.9 (Newcap): 9.2%
  3. CFRA 580 (Bell): 8.7%
  4. CHEZ 106.1 (Rogers): 6.6%
  5. Majic 100.3 (Bell): 6.0%

With more than 20 stations in the region, only CBC cracks the 10% share in English. Newcap’s Hot 89.9 leads the music stations and CFRA leads the commercial talk stations, but beyond that it’s a very tight battle.

Torres Media, which owns CIDG-FM, sent me (unsolicited) some numbers showing the station’s growth since it changed frequency from 101.9 to 101.7 and increased power. An 82% increase in the adults 25-54 audience is impressive. But the station still has only a 2.9% share overall.

Franco:

  1. Rouge FM (Bell): 21.1%
  2. ICI Première: 15.4%
  3. Énergie (Bell): 8.5%
  4. 104,7fm (Cogeco): 7.8%
  5. ICI Musique: 5.1%
  6. Hot 89.9 (Newcap): 4.8%
  7. WOW (RNC): 4.5%
  8. Pop (RNC): 3.6%
  9. CHEZ 106.1 (Rogers): 3.5%
  10. Jump 106.9 (Corus): 2.5%

At least the top five stations are all French-language ones among francophones. But RNC’s one-syllable pop music stations are down with the top-rated English music stations.

Elsewhere

  • In Sydney, N.S., community station The Coast 89.7, licensed to Glace Bay, has been added, and reports a 13% share, good for fifth place out of eight stations (six plus CBC).
  • In London, Ont., CKOT-FM (Easy 101), which was purchased by Rogers a year ago, has started reporting ratings even though it’s licensed to Tillsonburg, 40km away. Numeris shows it’s the top-rated private station in the market, behind only CBC. In the spring it was behind Bell’s country station BX93 and Virgin Radio.
  • In Hamilton, CHTG-FM (92.9 The Grand) in Haldimand has begun reporting in that market after being bought by Durham Radio and switching from country to classic hits. It scores only a 1.2% share as a spill station.
  • In St. Catharines/Niagara, CIXL-FM (Giant FM) has taken the lead from Bell’s EZ Rock, gaining five share points in a year while EZ lost four. Bell’s 97.7 HTZ also saw a bump from 5.6% to 8.0% in a year, but we’ll see if that survives the recent layoffs at the station.
  • In Sudbury, Ont., which last year had four stations within 1.3 share points of the lead, KICX Country has climbed on top with a 20% share while the others fell below 15%. KICX is in the process of being purchased by Bell. Rogers’s 92.7 Rock jumped from sixth place to third by increasing its share by more than 50%. The market has six stations with shares above 10%.
  • In Winnipeg, Corus’s rebranding of Fresh Radio as Peggy 99.1 has had only a modest effect on ratings, going from 1.6% to 2.1%. ChrisD.ca and the Winnipeg Free Press have more analysis of Winnipeg ratings.
  • In Prince George, B.C., Vista’s CIRX-FM (The Goat) has climbed into a commanding lead with a 25% market share compared to second place with 19.7% a year ago. All five stations have at least a 14% share.
  • Castanet has details on ratings in Kelowna, B.C.

Tommy Schnurmacher announces retirement from CJAD

Tommy Schnurmacher, host of CJAD’s Gang of Four and a fixture on Montreal’s English-language talk radio scene for decades, announced today he’s hanging up his headphones for good. His last show will be Dec. 13:

Schnurmacher told listeners he will travel more and finish a novel, although he promises to continue to share the opinions that have earned him popularity and created debate: “I may be saying goodbye to daily radio deadlines but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not be able to keep myself from holding court from time to time whether that’s on-air, off-air or on Twitter”.

(A video of Schnurmacher’s on-air announcement is posted on CJAD’s website.)

CJAD will replace his noon-hour show by moving the Natasha Hall show up to noon and adding a second hour to the nationally broadcast Evan Solomon Show from 2-4pm.

The move comes as Bell Media is in the process of cutting staff across the country (and some of them are billing their departures as retirements). I’m told that Schnurmacher’s leaving of his own accord here.

But it was only a year and a half ago that Schnurmacher said retirement wasn’t on the horizon. “No. I love doing this. I love the work, I don’t foresee retirement any time soon,” he told me in May 2016. In November, he cut down his hours at CJAD, leaving his late-morning show to Leslie Roberts and keeping just the Gang of Four part, which went an hour long at noon. In his on-air announcement, he said he has discovered in the past year that he enjoys travelling even more than he thought, and he wants to do more of it.

Schnurmacher’s final show will be a special broadcast in front of a live audience, with tickets being given out to CJAD listeners.

Tootall’s last day

It’ll be weird not hearing Tootall’s voice on the radio. You won’t notice it at first — after all, everyone takes vacations — but eventually, a subtle void will develop, a silence where there used to be this calm voice welcoming you to the Electric Lunch Hour and

The man who never tells you his real height or his real age said his final goodbye on the air yesterday. The video is above and the audio is posted on CHOM’s website. It features thank-yous from music director Picard and Bell Media executive and former CHOM boss Martin Spalding.

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Montreal radio ratings: The Beat crows after its best book ever

Total audience listening share percentage among anglophones in Montreal, from Numeris top-line ratings.

Numeris has released the summer ratings for Montreal radio stations, and though there isn’t much new here, it’s more good news for The Beat 92.5. Its 21.1% share of tuning hours among anglophones is the best it’s gotten since the station launched out of the ashes of The Q in 2011.

The new report widens the lead it had over direct competitor Virgin Radio 96, which appeared to narrow slightly in the spring. As the chart above shows, Virgin hasn’t been ahead of The Beat in this category by any significant margin since 2012.

For much of that time, Virgin did claim the lead among the adults 25-54 and women 25-54 demographics that appeal to advertisers. But The Beat has since won in those categories, too. Steve Kowch has some numbers compiled from Bell Media that show The Beat winning in every demographic.

Of course, The Beat can’t claim to be Montreal’s most popular radio station (that would be 98,5 fm), its most popular station among anglophones (that would be CJAD, though its lead has dropped off significantly), or its most popular music station (that would be Rythme FM).

It also can’t claim to have the most popular morning show, so it did the next best thing and claimed to be the fastest growing one:

Bell Media did something similar on the French side, claiming Rouge FM 107,3 is the most improved radio station over the summer. But among all francophones, Cogeco’s Rythme has 50% more listening hours.

Like Virgin, CHOM is also experiencing a long-term downward trend from its high in 2013.

In commentary online, it seems the station anglos want to talk about is TSN 690, predicting doom over a drop from the spring as well as last summer that is certainly rock-solid evidence that the on-air personality they don’t like is awful and should be fired. I don’t know why the ratings are down (though the P.K. Subban trade probably had people tuning in last summer), but the station’s ratings fluctuations don’t seem out of the ordinary for me.

As usual, take these numbers with a grain of salt. Summer is different from the other quarters, there’s less news and no Canadiens games, so CJAD, CBC Radio One and TSN 690 usually dip while the music stations peak.

Among francophones, talk radio actually did better during the summer, with 98,5fm still ahead at an 18.6% overall share, followed by Rythme FM (13.6%), ICI Première (12.7%), CKOI (10.4%), Rouge (8.8%), The Beat (6.3%) and Énergie (5.8%).

The new kids on the Numeris block, CHRF 980 and CIBL 101.5, are about the same, with 900 and 100 average listeners a minute, respectively.

91,9 Sports had a 2.3% overall share among francophones, its best result since launching that format, putting it just behind ICI Musique and Radio Classique in terms of listeners.