Tag Archives: CJMF

Posted in Radio

Ratings prove benefits of talk format

In June, Cogeco Diffusion announced that it would take three stations outside Montreal using the CKOI brand and turn them into talk stations similar to CHMP 98.5. Three months after the changes took effect, we have our first publicly-available ratings data for two of these stations.

On Thursday, BBM Canada released top-line radio ratings for diary markets (PDF). Diary markets are those that measure ratings through the use of diary surveys of listeners, asking them to fill out forms saying what they listened to. They exclude the five largest markets (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary), which have switched to the Portable People Meter, an electronic device that logs what people actually listen to. PPMs are more expensive, but more accurate.

The BBM diary survey data gives us snapshots of markets including Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Ottawa/Gatineau, the latter in both French and English. Cogeco has a talk station in each of these metro areas.

In Sherbrooke (CKOY-FM 107.7) and Gatineau (CKOF-FM 104.7), the stations both saw ratings boosts compared to this spring and a year ago.

Sherbrooke’s CKOY has an 8% market share, which is actually last-place among metered commercial stations in the market now that CJTS-FM has been shut down. But that number is up from 6.6% a year ago, 4.9% in fall 2010 and 5.2% in fall 2009.

Gatineau’s CKOF has a 7.6% market share, its highest since the spring of 2009, and up from 4.3% in fall 2011.

The third former CKOI station, Trois-Rivières’s CKOB-FM 106.9, is not part of the publicly-available data, so we don’t know how it did as far as ratings didn’t do as well, according to Astral’s BBM analysis. It lost ground overall, and particularly among young adults and women. But among adults 25-54 (the key demo), it’s about where it was a year ago – in last place.

In Quebec City, where Cogeco already had a talk station and the CKOI-branded station there was sold to an independent company when Cogeco bought Corus, the numbers also look good for talk radio. Controversial talk radio station CHOI-FM, which had been as far down as fifth and sixth place in the market in 2009, is now the top-rated station in the market with a 15.9% market share. Cogeco’s Quebec City talk/rock station CJMF-FM (FM93) is in third place, and its 14.7% market share is its best since at least 2009.

The Journal de Québec has some details of the Quebec City market.

Combined with data showing that CHMP in Montreal keeps getting higher ratings, it’s clear that there’s a pattern here, and the switch from music to talk has had some (at least modest) success in terms of ratings.

Radio-Canada was also crowing about these numbers. In Ottawa/Gatineau, Radio-Canada’s Première Chaîne had a reach exceeding 100,000 listeners for the first time ever. (Reach is defined as the number of people tuning into a station at least once a week.) It also breaks down some numbers for each of its shows.

Spin cycle

Lots of broadcasters issued their own statements on their ratings numbers, including for many small markets that BBM doesn’t give numbers for directly. Here’s a few I’ve found for Quebec’s diaried markets:

  • Astral gives an overall picture and rundown by market (with only the good news highlighted). Astral’s ratings analysis folks also have details in terms of age, gender and time of day for the Quebec, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay markets.
  • Cogeco Quebec: FM 93 might be losing to CHOI, but it does better in the city of Quebec itself, and FM 93 and sister station 102.9 are stronger as a pair than the pair of stations owned by RNC and Astral. (Wow, that’s some heavy spin)
  • NRJ Abitibi: A brief pointing out that they’re No. 1 in Rouyn-Noranda and Val d’Or
  • Radio-Canada Saguenay: Third place, but some interesting gains
  • Planète Dolbeau-Mistassini: We’re No. 1! Share this news on Facebook!
  • Planète Alma: More women are listening to us! Share this news on Facebook!

Other less biased analysis by market:

Posted in Montreal, Radio

RNC wants to turn Planète Jazz into Radio X

Update (March 14, 2013): The application has been denied.

If owner RNC Media gets its way with the CRTC, Montreal could soon be getting its own “radio poubelle” station by next fall.

CKLX-FM 91.9 has applied to the CRTC for permission to change its format from jazz to talk radio, citing its poor financial situation and the lack of francophone talk radio options in Montreal.

You can download and read the application here (ZIP).

Planète Jazz, which launched Dec. 14, 2004, is the last commercial jazz radio station in Canada, its owner says, after similar formats in Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Winnipeg abandoned it for other more popular formats. Though it won’t release full details to the public, RNC says CKLX has revenues “well below” $1 million a year, about 18% of what was forecast in the station’s business plan.

It has come to the conclusion that the format does not work, and it must either change formats or consider shutting down the station.

Though it’s not stated explicitly in the application, it’s hinted that the new format would be similar to that of CHOI-FM in Quebec City, a station also owned by RNC Media that has controversial opinionators who talk more than they think (people like Stéphane Dupont). It’s been dubbed “radio poubelle” and compared to right-wing talk-radio stations in the United States, but it’s popular, with more than 200,000 listeners.

RNC Media also owns the similarly-styled CKYK-FM in the Saguenay region, as well as music stations Capitale Rock in Gatineau, Planète-branded stations and other Radio X and Radio X2 stations across Quebec.*

CHOI is so controversial, in fact, that the CRTC ordered it be shut down because of its comments. Only the sale of the station from Genex Communications to RNC Media (and the issuing of a new license) saved it from going dark.

RNC conducted a survey of Montreal listeners to gauge their interest in a new station “that would have a style that discusses subjects in the news, that asks real questions and isn’t afraid of its opinions”. Based on that, it predicts a new talk-radio station would have a 10% market share, and 20% among the key demographic of men 25-49. It also sees its revenues going from $2.6 million in the first year to $8.2 million in the seventh year of its license, far above what they could have hoped for Planète Jazz.

The market for French-language talk radio has been open for opportunity, particularly since CKAC turned into all-traffic last September. Other than Radio-Canada and community/campus stations, the only talk radio station is CHMP 98.5, which has shot to the top of the ratings. It also has to do double-duty as a sports station in the evenings.

The application, survey and other documents curiously make no mention of the license for a talk-radio station recently given to the Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy media group. That station is also expected to launch next fall. It’s unclear if they’re unaware of the license or if they’re just ignoring it in their projections.

RNC Media President Raynald Brière declined to comment on the application, saying “le dossier n’est pas complet.”

The application, which would see the license changed from requiring 75% jazz to requiring 50% talk, is a Part 1 application, which means the CRTC has not called a hearing to discuss it, and if there’s no significant opposition it could be approved without the owners having to appear in front of the commission.

The deadline for interventions is 8pm on Feb. 13. You can file an intervention or comment here, by clicking “submit” next to the item about RNC Media.

*UPDATE: This move is strangely the opposite of one being done in Abitibi, where RNC Media is abandoning the Radio X format in favour of Capitale Rock, replacing talk radio with music. (Thanks Psychodork for pointing this out.)

Reaction

UPDATE (Jan. 20): The Journal de Québec reports about this move, getting the manager of its Quebec City stations to comment. The company wants to export the CHOI format to Montreal, but adapting to the market. Less talk of bringing back the Nordiques, more talk about traffic. (Is this really what separates Montreal from Quebec City?) The paper also talks to André Arthur, who thinks they should put Stéphane Dupont (the guy who told Haiti “fuck you” after the earthquake) in Montreal.

There was also a discussion on Tuesday on CHOI itself about the application, with an interview with Patrice Demers. They even discuss potential hosts, saying Patrick Lagacé is unlikely and Jeff Fillion is very doubtful, but nothing is set in stone.

The proposal also was discussed on Radio-Canada’s Les Lionnes, which prompted not one but two discussions on CHOI. You can imagine how Radio Poubelle and a public broadcaster TV show hosted by three women think about each other.

La Presse covers this in the form of a column from Marc Cassivi. There are also blog posts at Voir from Sportnographe’s Olivier Niquet and journalist Fabien Loszach. Each of these got criticized on CHOI, which blasted Cassivi for being uninformed about what can be heard on CHOI, and said Voir’s complaints that CHOI’s programming is sexist, racist or homophobic are simply false.

Stéphane Gendron reacted to the news on Radio X, in which he said he would be interested in an on-air position at the station, because he’s more of a radio guy than a TV personality.

Jeff Fillion himself also comments the news on his Radio Pirate.

At least one blogger has called for people to rise up against this move, and another defends the sophistication of Radio-Canada against its Radio X-supporting critics.

Quebec’s FM93 wants to go mostly-talk

Coincidentally, the application from RNC Media comes about the same time as one from Cogeco Diffusion to change the license of CJMF-FM (FM 93.3) in Quebec City to allow for more talk. Currently the station offers a hybrid format of talk and music, but its survey numbers show more than 60% of its listeners tune in only for talk programming.

The new schedule would see talk programming in the mornings and evenings on weekends (noon to 4pm would remain music) and weekday evenings. Weekday mornings and afternoons are already all-talk.

As an added bonus to Quebec City listeners, the change would mean the station broadcasts all Montreal Canadiens games. Currently it offers only a selection. This will be welcome news to Canadiens fans in the region who may have been able to tune in to the bleu-blanc-rouge on AM station CKAC but have no hope of listening to 98.5.

The deadline for interventions or comments in the CJMF-FM application is Feb. 6. It is also a Part 1 application and can be seen on this page.