Tag Archives: CKRS

CHOI plummets from first to fourth in Quebec City radio ratings

Numeris released its spring radio ratings report for diary markets today, and it’s really bad news for Quebec City’s controversial talk station CHOI-FM. It goes from having a 17.7% market share last fall to only a 9.5% share this spring, dropping from first to fourth in the market.

The top three stations are tight, with CJMF-FM (FM93) having a 15.5 share, followed by CBV-FM (Première Chaîne) at 14.5, and CITF-FM (Rouge) at 14.1.

Looking deeper into the numbers suggests it’s not that Quebec City radio listeners are tuning away from CHOI-type programming, but rather that other stations are using that very style of talk to lure away listeners. In particular, NRJ’s decision to hire away CHOI star Stephan Dupont made a big difference, more than doubling NRJ’s morning show audience and cutting CHOI’s noon-hour show’s audience by half.

The FM93 show with Eric Duhaime and Nathalie Normandeau also managed to create a boost and more than double its audience for the noon hour.

Most of the music stations have about the same share as they did before. Bringing up the rear is CBC Radio One, which registers a 0.7% share, much higher than the 0.2% share of last fall, but the margin of error is too big to draw conclusions from that.

More details from Le Soleil and the Journal de Québec.

Sherbrooke: Bell Media still dominates

Not much change in Sherbrooke, though CITE-FM-1 (Rouge) has edged CIMO-FM (NRJ) in market share, with 21.9 to 19.9, respectively, and CKOY-FM (fm 107.7) has climbed well above CFGE-FM (Rythme) for fourth place behind Première Chaîne. Rouge and NRJ are both owned by Bell, and Rythme and 107.7 are owned by Cogeco.

More details in La Tribune

Trois-Rivières: Status quo

Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) is still the top station here, now up more than five points on its nearest rivals, CIGB-FM (NRJ) at 15.6, and CHEY-FM (Rouge) at 14.7. Première Chaîne follows the at 9.6, then Cogeco talk station 106.9 fm (CKOB-FM) at 6.2 and the Bécancour independent station CKBN-FM at 5.2.

Saguenay: Rythme format is working

In Saguenay, there’s little change for the top stations: Rouge (CFIX-FM) at 25.3, NRJ (CJAB-FM) at 20.6, KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) at 13.2, and Première Chaîne (CBJ-FM) at 9.8. But the transformation of Attraction Radio’s CKRS-FM from a talk station to a Rythme FM affiliate (and change of callsign to CILM-FM) brought its share up from 6.8 to 8.9. It still has a way to go, but it’s headed in the right direction.

Ottawa-Gatineau: Both country stations lose audience

On the English side, the numbers worth analyzing are for the country music stations. Bell Media’s CKKL-FM went from Bob to New Country 94 last November. But its market share nevertheless dipped from 3.3 to 2.7, about the same as it was last spring. Its direct competitor, Rogers’s CKBY-FM (Country 101) in Smiths Falls, saw a greater ratings drop, from 6.7 to 4.2.

On the franco side, Rouge FM (CIMF-FM) is still king with a 24.4 rating, followed by Première Chaîne at 15.5. They’re followed by NRJ (CKTF-FM) at 9.4 and Cogeco’s talk station CKOF-FM at 8.2. All other stations are below 5, including CHLX-FM , whose affiliation to the Rythme FM network hasn’t had much of an impact on its share.

More details from Le Droit.

The next report for PPM markets, including Montreal, will come out on June 11.

Rythme FM expands with third new affiliate in six months

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CKRS-FM Saguenay wants to become a Rythme FM station

CKRS logoA week after the Journal de Montréal reported that CKRS-FM in Saguenay wants to become a Rythme FM, the CRTC has published an application from the station that confirms the news.

CKRS is owned by Richard Speer’s Attraction Radio, a growing new player in the Quebec radio scene. It officially owns five radio stations, including CJIT-FM in Lac-Mégantic. It currently has an application in front fo the CRTC to purchase CJLM-FM (M 103.5) in Joliette from a cooperative for $750,000, a deal announced in January 2013. (The deadline for comments on that was last week, and there were no comments filed on that application. A hearing is scheduled June 26, but that’s a formality. The parties aren’t being asked to attend.) And it recently announced a deal to buy the Réseau des Appalaches, owner of Passion Rock and O97,3 stations in the region of Victoriaville/Thetford-Mines.

La Presse’s Nathalie Collard profiles the group in a recent story.

History of losing money

CKRS, whose AM predecessor dates back to 1947, was once part of the Corus Quebec radio network. It was left off the list of radio stations sold to Cogeco in 2011, and was slated for closure. It was picked up by Radio Saguenay Inc., a group whose owners included Guy Carbonneau. But losing about $400,000 a year (less than the $1 million a year that it lost under Corus), Radio Saguenay gave it away to Attraction for $300,000, a purchase approved by the CRTC in 2012. CKRS and became Attraction’s third station, all of them acquired mere months apart.

Though CKRS’s licence was renewed just a few months ago, Attraction says it feels it can’t continue operating the station in its current format.

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Cogeco to buy Corus Quebec radio stations

Pierre Trudel thought it was Quebecor, but Quebecor had it right: Cogeco, a cable provider in Ontario and parts of Quebec, which also owns the Rythme FM radio network and used to own TQS before that went into bankruptcy, has announced that it will acquire Corus Quebec’s radio network, pending CRTC approval.

The transaction, valued at about $80 million, includes:

In Montreal:


  • CJRC-FM Souvenirs Garantis 104.7 in Gatineau
  • CIME-FM 103.9 in St-Jerome
  • CHLT-FM Souvenirs Garantis 107.7 in Sherbrooke
  • CKOY-FM 104.5 in Sherbrooke
  • CHLN-FM Souvenirs Garantis 106.9 in Trois-Rivieres
  • CFOM-FM Souvenirs Garantis 102.9 in Quebec City
  • CFEL-FM (“CKOI”) 102.1 in Quebec City

It’s hard to tell from a simple press release what this all means. Cogeco has experience in radio, so I wouldn’t expect any major overhauls immediately (except, I guess, having to rename “Corus Nouvelles”). But CFQR would be Cogeco’s first anglophone radio station, for what that’s worth.

On the francophone side, this would mean a loss of competition. Instead of three major players (Astral Media is the other, owning the NRJ and Rock Détente networks), there would be two. CKOI and CFGL would come under the same owner, working together instead of competing with each other for music listeners.

In Sherbrooke, it’s worse: Three of the four five commercial music stations, CKOY, CHLT and CFGE, would all be owned by Cogeco, leaving CITE-FM-1 Rock Détente 102.7 and CIMO-FM 106.1 NRJ in nearby Magog as the only competition.

In Trois Rivières, it would be two for Cogeco, two for Astral. Same for Quebec City, though there’s more competition there from independents.

It’s also worth noting that this sale comes mere months after Corus cut local programming at Souvenirs Garantis stations CJRC, CHLT and CHLN.

What about CKRS?

CKRS 98.3FM in Saguenay, the fourth Souvenirs Garantis station that got its morning show cut to be replaced with Paul Arcand, is not part of the transaction. Corus has been looking to get rid of that station, and the deadline for bids was yesterday, and the new owner (if there is one) should be known soon.

UPDATE: Nathalie Collard also has some thoughts on the matter.

Corus Quebec cuts regional programming

Corus Québec announced Monday that it is cutting the morning program at four “Souvenirs Garantis” regional radio stations in Quebec and replacing them with a simulcast of Paul Arcand’s show from Montreal from 5:30 to 9am, starting next Monday.

Affected are (with links to local stories and lists of fired local personalities):

Once upon a time, it took a lot of people to run a radio station. Now apparently it takes about a dozen, and even then there’s some room for more cuts. Corus managers defend the cuts by saying Arcand’s show isn’t a “Montreal” show but a “provincial” one. Even if we accept that as true, it still means the local voices are cut.

And this isn’t Saturday nights they’re talking about – they’re cutting the weekday morning shows, the most important timeslot of any radio station.

Corus’s press release says Arcand and Mario Cecchini will be visiting these regions this week to meet the media. Hopefully they’ll get some tough questions about why people in those regions should continue to tune in after their local voices have been cut. (UPDATE Feb. 19: See below)

Local voices are important, and that’s evidenced most by how little coverage there is here so far. Only Radio-Canada stations and Gesca papers mention the cuts, and the change in Mauricie has no local coverage whatsoever that I can find online UPDATE: Le Nouvelliste had the story the next day, and other papers have added coverage.

The FPJQ, the association representing Quebec journalists, condemns Corus’s cuts, as does the NDPAgence QMI, meanwhile, didn’t see fit to mention that there would be any.

Pierre Jury of Le Droit rightly calls this part of the Montrealization of commercial radio.

UPDATE (Feb. 19): Le Nouvelliste has a report on what Paul Arcand is telling the regions he’s visiting this week:

  • There will still be local journalists who will produce local news reports during the morning, and if something important happens, they will have the ability to stay on air (somehow I doubt that’s going to be practical in the long term).
  • Nobody’s going to be hearing Montreal traffic reports on regional stations.
  • He finds the term “Montrealization of the airwaves” insulting for some reason. He says that’s not what happening, even though it’s regional programming being replaced with Montreal-based programming.
  • Afternoon shows are being extended, so the amount of local content is the same (only, instead of needing a morning host and an afternoon one, you just have one host on a longer shift).
  • This is good for the regions because he’ll be dealing with more regional issues and they will get a larger audience.
  • This has been done before, badly, and that’s why people don’t like this idea. But Corus has a magical ability to do a good job, and if they don’t then people will complain.