Category Archives: Radio

Posted in Radio

Andrea Collins leaves Virgin Radio 96 for Toronto

Virgin's Andrea Collins

Andrea Collins, the Virgin Radio daytime host and occasional CTV fill-in weather presenter, is pulling up stakes and moving to Toronto after five years.

She made the announcement last week on social media, and today was her last day, which prompted a surprise sendoff from her coworkers.

Collins will be taking a job co-hosting the morning show on Virgin Radio 99.9 in Toronto, replacing Maura Grierson, who’s taking maternity leave. She’s also becoming the “iHeartRadio Canada ambassador” — in January, the U.S. radio brand signed a partnership with Virgin owner Bell Media.

She starts May 2, a few days before she turns 32.

Collins was hired by Virgin in 2011, after previous radio jobs in Winnipeg and Victoria, to replace Nat Lauzon, who bolted for The Beat. Then, after Cousin Vinny Barrucco did the same, she was moved to afternoon drive, becoming the first woman in this market to host an afternoon show solo at a music station. She later moved back to daytime when Mark Bergman went back behind a microphone.

When I profiled her for a Gazette feature in 2013, she described her career as a series of being in the right place at the right time. I think that downplays her talent, but there’s also some truth to it.

No announcement has been made about who will host from 9am to 1pm weekdays now (or maybe it was and I missed it, just like I missed this announcement more than a week ago). A job posting for on-air host at Virgin was made last week.

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Posted in Opinion, Radio

Radio host Jeff Fillion fired for insensitive use of sarcasm, emoji

Today, we learned that even Quebec City’s trash-talk radio has its limit.

Or, well, we learned that again. Because it’s happened several times before, including with the man at the centre of the issue today, the king of the format, Jeff Fillion.

At exactly 1pm on Wednesday, Bell Media and CHIK-FM (Énergie Québec 98.9) announced that Fillion, who hosted the afternoon drive show from 3-6pm weekdays, no longer works for the company. (It’s not explicitly clear if he was fired, quit or some mutual agreement was reached, but it’s clear this was more the company’s doing than his.) The station has put Maxime Tremblay in his timeslot for the time being.

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Posted in Radio

Radio Shalom is no more — what happens to CJRS 1650 AM?

Radio Shalom has been shut down.

Kind of.

CJRS 1650 AM is still on the air (you can catch the live stream here), but since last Friday at 6pm it has been broadcasting non-stop evangelical Christian programming supplied to it from CKZW (not an official callsign), a Christian audio service operated by André Joly. CKZW had supplied programming for CJRS during the Sabbath, when Jewish rules prevent practicing members from operating a radio station. Owner Robert Lévy has decided, at least for now, to have them provide programming 24/7.

I explain what happened in this story for the Montreal Gazette. Basically Radio Shalom was not breaking even, and Lévy was no longer willing to fund the station by himself. Despite a public plea in December, it seems no one (or not enough people) stepped up, and despite giving extensions, he’s decided it’s the end of the road.

Though there were some goodbye messages on Facebook, the end on the air was anti-climactic. The last Jewish program was actually a syndicated broadcast from France, and made no mention of Radio Shalom going off the air. It was cut off mid-sentence during an interview, switching awkwardly to CKZW programming with some dead air.

So what happens now? I couldn’t get an interview with Lévy — I was promised a press release that never came — but others provided more detail. Joly will provide CKZW programming 24/7 (including some bilingual programming, he said) and Lévy will remain the owner to satisfy CRTC ownership requirements.

Joly said there are discussions about him buying the station (which would require CRTC approval), but that’s not a given. He suggested there still might be hope of a benefactor coming forward and bringing Radio Shalom back.

But that doesn’t look likely at this point. Despite Montreal’s strong Jewish population, the community hasn’t rallied behind this station. There are various reasons I was given for this. Among them, the French/English split was also a cultural one, between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews. There was a religious versus secular split, with the former following hard-line (and sexist) rules. And the station’s insistence on its independence, refusing to become a mouthpiece for any Jewish community organization.

Plus the running joke that Montreal already has a Jewish radio station in CJAD.

And there were the kinds of problems that any small radio station faces. The AM signal was poor and hard to hear in many parts of the city, the programming was all produced by volunteers and didn’t attract many listeners, and some people at least felt it was poorly managed. (Though no one is stepping up and promising to turn things around if they’re put in charge.)

What happens now is still up in the air. Joly would like to keep CJRS and turn it into a Christian station, but that would require him and Lévy agreeing on a sale price for the station. If an agreement isn’t reached, Lévy’s options are limited, but he could shut down the station, return the licence and sell off whatever assets are still there.

The likelihood of a Jewish radio station returning to Montreal, though, seems slim at this point. There might be better hope of having Jewish-themed shows on ethnic stations — right now I know of only Radio Centre-Ville that has a regular show on Judaism, but others have had shows for that community in the past.

Posted in Radio, TV

With Jean Lapierre’s death, Quebec media loses its chief political analyst

There wasn’t anyone as omnipresent in Quebec news media over the past decade as Jean Lapierre.

The former federal MP, who died with his wife, three siblings and two pilots as their plane crashed on approach to an airport Tuesday in les Îles de la Madeleine, parlayed his political experience into various roles as a political analyst.

While people covering all sorts of beats misuse the term “insider” to describe themselves, Lapierre was about the closest thing Quebec media had to one who had the freedom to speak his mind on political issues. And he had the sense to never claim to be a journalist, even though most of the time he was engaging in journalism.

Lapierre had a busy schedule and many clients. Daily appearances on Montreal’s 98.5 FM, Quebec City’s FM93 and 106.9 FM in Trois-Rivières, columns on several shows on TVA and LCN (Mario Dumont had a segment with him that came to an end with a tribute), a twice daily segment on CJAD (Program Director Chris Bury explains how the station kept adding his segments because of demand) and a weekly appearance on CTV Montreal. Cogeco, Quebecor and Bell Media were all sending him regular paycheques for his insight.

So it’s unsurprising that many of his media colleagues were emotional as they relayed the news of his death, from Denis Lévesque to Paul Larocque to Pierre Bruneau to Paul Arcand to Aaron Rand and Andrew Carter. There are so many tributes from media people and politicians it would be impossible to compile them all. TVA/LCN and CJAD have put together entire dossiers on Lapierre, and there are enough obituaries and written tributes to keep you reading for days.

I didn’t know Lapierre personally, and I’m starting to think I’m one of the few people in Quebec media not to be in his ever-expanding circle of friends. I have no personal anecdotes to share, beyond that one time I stood outside the Quebecor office at the National Assembly press gallery and listened to him do a segment for LCN about a budget announcement.

But I know enough about him to know that there isn’t anyone quite like him. Sure, there are other former politicians giving analysis on TV. (RDI has an entire show devoted to it.) But how many of them will give you a colourful seven-minute description of how a politician should shake hands at a campaign event? How many of them will call out BS when he sees it, even if it’s from a politician he knows as a friend?

Lapierre wasn’t perfect, and we should resist the temptation to sugar-coat his life as we summarize it. But even if he wasn’t the most objective source of information about politics, he built this air of trustworthiness because he wasn’t afraid to tell it as he saw it. Perhaps because of that more than anything else, he had a unique ability to clearly explain the political process, and political thinking, to Quebecers in both languages. One that will be surely missed.

And he was someone who enjoyed what he did, who was very successful at it, and made a lot of friends doing it.

We should all be so lucky.

 

Posted in Radio

Radio Shalom shutting down on Friday

Radio Shalom 1650 AM, a small station serving Montreal’s Jewish community, is shutting down April 1 at 6pm, according to a post made Tuesday on the station’s Facebook page:

The station’s owner, Robert Levy, announced in December that he was unwilling to continue paying for its losses by himself, and warned that if no one else stepped up he would be forced to close it. Now it looks like he’s making good on that threat.

It’s unclear if the station will simply surrender its licence, opening up 1650 AM for another station, or if there’s still a chance someone might buy the station’s commercial religious licence and try something else with it.

The loss of Radio Shalom, which says it’s the only radio station in North America focused specifically on the Jewish community, will no doubt be felt by many others who appreciated the idea of it, even if they may not have been regular listeners.

Posted in Radio

Radio ratings: Virgin and The Beat are tied (so both declare victory)

Quarterly radio ratings from Numeris were released on Thursday. There aren’t any big surprises for the anglophone market. Overall, among all listeners age 2+, these are the average minute audiences from anglophones across the 24/7 week for the top 10 stations:

  1. CJAD: 15500 (29.6%)
  2. Virgin Radio 96: 8500 (16.2%)
  3. The Beat: 8500 (16.1%)
  4. CHOM: 6100 (11.7%)
  5. CBC Radio One: 3400 (6.5%)
  6. TSN 690: 2300 (4.4%)
  7. Rythme FM: 1200 (2.2%)
  8. Radio Classique: 900 (1.7%)
  9. CKOI: 700 (1.4%)
  10. CBC Radio Two: 700 (1.4%)

Little has changed from previous reports, but Virgin and The Beat are in a statistical tie, which meant they had to be creative to proclaim themselves #1.

Virgin stuck to the key age 25-54 demographic, and its slightly higher reach. (And Bell points out that CHOM is tied with The Beat for second place among adults 25-54.) The Beat, meanwhile, points out that it’s higher during the work day (both overall and among women 25-54), which has always been its strong point.

AM 980 is dead last

New in this ratings report is the inclusion of CHRF, the former Radio Fierté that now just identifies itself as AM 980 and airs music. The station, which abandoned its LGBT-themed programming less than a year after launching, is in last place among measured stations in both languages.

Among francophones, it has an estimated 100 listeners on average, a market share of 0.1%, and reaches 3,000 listeners a day. More francophones listen to TSN 690 or CJAD.

Among anglophones, its average audience and market share both read as zero, and it reaches 1,100 listeners in an average day.

The station has a lot of work to do if it’s going to attract an audience. It could start by having programming and telling people about it.

Owner Evanov Radio hasn’t announced what its plans are for the station, which has a standard commercial licence and isn’t tied to any format (though it must remain a French-language station).

Good news/bad news

Looking into the more detailed reports compiled by Bell Media and Cogeco Force Radio (via Infopresse), you can see strengths and weaknesses among the various stations. Some things of note:

  • CHOM’s morning show does much better with women than the rest of its schedule
  • CJAD’s ratings spike at 11pm during Joey Elias’s comedy show. It’s the most popular station at that hour among anglophones 25-54.
  • Virgin spikes during the morning show, while the Beat’s morning show has fewer listeners than daytime programming.
  • Mitch Melnick is still the high point of TSN 690, around 5pm weekdays.
  • Demographically, among anglophone commercial stations:
    • Most male: TSN 690
    • Most female: The Beat
    • Youngest: Virgin
    • Oldest: Radio Two
    • Richest: TSN 690
    • Poorest: Radio Two
  • Paul Arcand’s morning show on 98.5 FM is still the most popular thing on radio, with an average audience peaking above 35,000 listeners among adults 25-54, though Rythme FM’s weekend shows have about the same audience in that demo and Arcand’s numbers aren’t as high as they used to be. 98.5 is also tops during the afternoon drive period and in late evenings. Rythme FM is strongest during the work day.
  • Rouge FM’s audience dips noticeably during Isabelle Racicot’s lunchtime show, particularly among men. It also underperforms during the morning show and drive-home show.
  • Énergie 94.3 does poorly during the work day. It’s the only one among the big French stations whose peak is in the afternoon, thanks to Éric Salvail’s drive-home show.
  • CKOI has the second-strongest morning show, with Debout les comiques.
  • CKOI is now number one among adults 18-34.
  • 91.9 Sport’s best audience comes just after 3pm when Jean-Charles Lajoie starts his show. The station flatlines after 7pm when it runs repeat programming.
  • Rythme FM’s morning show does poorly among men, especially when compared to the rest of the day, which is very strong.
  • On weekends, from 9am to 9pm, Rythme FM blows away the competition. It has twice the audience of any other station in the middle of the day.
  • Radio Classique saw a modest ratings increase, now that it has new programming. It’s too early to tell if it’s significant (and if it will stay).
  • Demographically, among francophone stations:
    • Most male: Radio Circulation (84%)
    • Most female: Rouge FM (60%)
    • Youngest: Énergie
    • Oldest: Radio Classique
    • Richest: Énergie
    • Poorest: 91.9 Sport
Posted in Radio

CRTC approves low-power FM retransmitter for Radio Moyen Orient

Realistic pattern of the new CHOU retransmitter

Realistic pattern of the new CHOU retransmitter at 104.5 FM

A year and a half after rejecting a technically identical proposal, the CRTC has approved an FM retransmitter for Radio Moyen Orient (CHOU 1450 AM) in Saint-Michel.

The new transmitter will operate at 104.5 FM with a power of 50 watts, from an antenna on top of the Sami Fruits building on 19e Ave., near Pie-IX and Jarry. The map above shows its limited coverage area, and the red parts show where it can expect interference from other stations.

The biggest source of mutual interference will be CBC Radio One’s transmitter at 104.7 in N.D.G., which will be harder to hear in areas of Ahuntsic and Villeray. But people in those areas will be listening to CBC on 88.5 anyway.

Red splotches mark places where CHOU may cause adjacent-channel interference with CBME-FM-1 at 104.7.

Red splotches mark places where CHOU may cause adjacent-channel interference with CBME-FM-1 at 104.7.

So what changed at the CRTC to change their minds?

That’s a good question, because I can’t really find any differences in the applications. It uses the same technical parameters, the same arguments, the same listener complaint letters and the same field measurements. But for some reason, the commission now believes the station has demonstrated a technical need for the retransmitter, which is at the edge of CHOU AM’s service area.

In the Commission’s view, the new transmitter would allow approximately 14,000 Arabic speakers to receive CHOU’s ethnic programming, mainly in Saint-Léonard. However, coverage may not be adequate in all of the targeted neighbourhoods because the proposed low-power transmitter would experience interference in most of its secondary service area.

So maybe the commissioners just changed their minds on the subject.

The decision means speakers of Arabic and other Middle-Eastern languages will be well represented on the FM band in Montreal. CKIN-FM 106.3, which was purchased by Neeti P. Ray last summer, has changed its schedule to be mostly Arabic.

CHOU has two years to implement the new transmitter, unless it requests an extension. Other FM frequencies can still be used for medium and low-power transmitters. An application is pending for 90.7, and the CRTC has determined that 107.9 isn’t protected.

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.

Continue reading

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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