Mark Bergman missed being on the radio.
Fortunately for him, he runs a hit radio station, so today he decided to just put himself back on the air. Astral announced today that starting Monday, April 8, Bergman will be doing afternoon drive again, from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
The press release (copied below) makes no mention of Andrea Collins, who currently holds that position. The station has been reassuring fans on Facebook that Collins is staying with the station.
Here’s how the new schedule will work: Collins will move to late mornings, doing the 9-12 shift. Nikki Balch, who currently does that shift, will move to weekends, but also be doing more web work, making videos and conducting interviews. So she will remain full-time at the station.
Bergman and Astral Radio Montreal Operations Director Martin Tremblay insisted that the changes have nothing to do with the recent ratings report showing Virgin trailing The Beat overall among 2+ audiences (Tremblay noted that the station still dominates most key demographics), but was merely a question of Bergman wanting to come back to the air.
You can read more about the situation in this story I wrote for The Gazette, which will appear in Thursday’s paper.
It’s hard not to see this as a demotion for Collins and Balch to make room for Bergman, if only because it’s consistent with the musical chairs that see people moving one rung down the ladder. Bergman and Tremblay, again, say this isn’t the case. But this could also be seen as Virgin recognizing that it needs to beef up daytime and weekends. The Beat is No. 1 during the daytime because of its strength as an at-work station, and Virgin’s lead on weekends is slipping against a station that has local favourite Nat Lauzon.
Bergman has been at a desk job since he hired his own replacement in 2010. He tells me there are still plenty of hours in the day for him to continue his brand director job and host a show without needing to hire more administrative staff.
MARK BERGMAN IS BACK!
Montreal, April 3rd 2013 – Virgin Radio Brand Director Mark Bergman is thrilled to announce the return of Mark Bergman to Virgin Radio’s airwaves. After a 3-year absence on-air, his deep passion for the product has driven him back to the mic to be part of your drive home! Apparently, when you give someone a mic they never really want to let it go. As of April 8th at 3 p.m., Mark Bergman is back on Virgin Radio.
“Selfishly speaking, I’m thrilled to have someone as talented as Mark on the air” said Astral Radio Montreal Operations Director Martin Tremblay. For Mark personally, I know this is something he really wants to do”. For his part, Mark Bergman said, “I’m assuming that this will mean I will now be getting 2 paycheques. I’d never double-dip in the chip bowl at a party but I most definitely will with our accounting department”.
Born and raised in Montreal, Mark Bergman has always been Mark Bergman’s favorite radio personality. He fondly remembers actually starting on-air in 1998 by handing out bumper stickers to Montreal listeners and thinking “One day I want to put myself back on the air!” After leaving Montreal for 7 weeks for what were rumored to be cosmetic surgery procedures, he realized that there was no place like home and returned to his roots in Montreal, where he has remained an active member of the community!
Mark retains his role as Virgin Radio’s Brand Director… meaning one day he technically could have the unique opportunity of firing himself. Mark Bergman implores you to please tune in April 8th at 3 p.m. for the return of Mark Bergman.
Virgin Radio 96 is a member of the Astral family. Astral is one of Canada’s largest media companies. It operates several of the country’s most popular pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit astral.com.
From Mark Bergman via Milkman Unlimited comes news about new appointments at CJFM 95.9 aka Virgin Radio 96, two of whom replace Bergman himself, who has been holding a few titles since being named the station’s program director and has been looking for new blood for the past few months:
The big one is behind the scenes. Madhvi Shah becomes the station’s music director, taking over from Bergman. “Madhvi is part of the reason that Virgin Radio has been enjoying the success that it has. Her attention to detail, strong work ethic, love of music, and her strong desire to win, will make Madhvi a successful and strong Music Director,” Bergman writes.
Vince Barrucco, aka “Cousin Vinny”, who has been getting the really crappy shifts of late (late night weekdays and early morning weekends), takes over Bergman’s afternoon show The Rush.
“Over the last 2 months I searched across the country for Montreal’s next big star. Throughout my search, I began to notice that Montreal’s next big star was right here in Montreal! Cousin Vinny possesses a rare quality that allows him to raise his game faster than anyone I’ve ever met. Vinny has been working with Cat Spencer over the last couple of months in order to get the gig of his dreams. Well today his dreams come true! Vinny’s slick on-air style, hot phone calls, and targeted material will give The Rush the fuel that it needs to continue owning the #1 afternoon drive position in Montreal!”
Finally, Natasha Gargiulo, who you might recognize from Global Quebec, Entertainment Tonight Canada and CJNT’s Italian show, will be a contributor to Vinny’s show, with segments three times a week.
Unlike some other radio stations in Montreal, CJFM has been enjoying climbing ratings of late. So it’s all happy fun time with no downside.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
I’ll get more details from Bergman just as soon as it’s no longer 1:30am on a Saturday.
Mark Bergman, who hosts the afternoon drive-time show on CJFM (
Mix 96 Virgin Radio 96) but was recently promoted to interim program director at the station, is hanging up the mic and hiring his own replacement.
But he won’t disappear forever, he tells me:
Radio is a passion of mine (I’d have to be crazy to be in this biz, if it wasn’t).
I started off handing out bumper stickers, then tech work, then overnight shows, evenings, drive, and now the next step for me is programming the entire station. It’s ways been a goal to program… But yes, I will still be around on-air here and there.
Bergman, who I’m told spends his days alone in his office crying, with occasional screams of “Chantal! Why did you leave me?“, is accepting applications for a permanent weekday 4-7pm host until Jan. 31. Requirements are three years of on-air experience, the kind of energy and perkiness that you’d expect from a music radio announcer, and “fashion sense of Lady Gaga”, which I find an odd requirement because every time I see someone from that station they’re wearing a standard-issue Virgin Radio T-shirt.
The game of musical chairs in local radio continues. Bob Harris, formerly the head honcho at Astral Media’s Montreal radio stations, is moving to take a similar job in Hamilton. His wife, CHOM morning host Kim Rossi, joins him and gets a job in St. Catharines.
Two weeks ago, Astral announced that each station would have its own program director and promotion director. Mark Bergman will take over Harris’s job at CJFM 95.9 (Virgin Radio 96).
Rossi’s job will instead be filled by Chantal Desjardins, Bergman’s afternoon cohost on CJFM.
Before then, hopefully someone will figure out how to change the name of the Mark & Chantal Facebook fan page.
From her bio:
Chantal received a Communications degree from the University of Winnipeg and a Creative Communications diploma from Red River College. She then got her big media break as a sports anchor/reporter at CityTV Winnipeg.
Chantal got her first taste of radio thanks to a number of guest appearances on Winnipeg’s Q94FM and BOBFM’s morning shows. Once Chantal realized she could wear jeans and a ponytail every day to work, it was only a matter of time before her big TV hair and spray tan days were behind her.
Chantal’s lived in Montreal since 2006, reporting on the Montreal sports scene for CJAD800AM and helping people get home every afternoon as a traffic reporter for Astral Media Montreal.
Meanwhile Rossi, whose last day on CHOM’s morning show is this Friday, has a long post on her blog saying thanks to just about everyone she’s ever met.
From the Airchecker blog, a memo about changes at Astral Media radio stations in Montreal (which include CJAD 800, CHOM 97.7 and CJFM 95.9).
- Mike Bendixen, former CJAD programming director who took a temporary job doing the same at CFRB 1010 in Toronto, will remain there permanently.
- Steve Kowch, the man Bendixen replaced at CFRB (and who took Bendixen’s job at CJAD in a rather ironic move), is out. His last day is Dec. 18. He had expected to be at CJAD until March. Now he can concentrate on writing a book, at least.
- Chris Bury takes over as PD/Interim News Director at CJAD on Jan. 4. Bury started at CJAD in 1998, but for most of this decade worked at 940 News. He became CINW’s program director when it became 940 Hits.
- Mark Bergman becomes Interim Program Director of CJFM (Virgin Radio 96), replacing Bob Harris, who is leaving for Hamilton. Bergman is currently the assistant PD. Bergman will remain on his afternoon show with Chantal Desjardins.
- Mathew Wood, who managed promotions for all three stations, now focuses exclusively on CHOM.
- Melissa Mancuso, a promotions assistant, replaces Wood as Promotions Director at CJFM.
- Bianca Bayer becomes Promotions Coordinator for CJFM. (What’s the difference between a Promotions Director and Promotions Coordinator? Beats me.)
- Lisa Fuoco becomes Promotions Director at CJAD, stripping “assistant” from her title.
- Peter McEntyre will assist Fuoco part-time. (McEntyre is also one of the hosts of CJAD’s Irish Show)
VP/GM Martin Spalding explains the strategy, in case it’s not obvious:
The strategy is to have a dedicated Program and Promotions Director for each station. This will enable CJAD, Virgin 96 and CHOM to compete independently, prosper and build strong brand identities within an aggressive and ever-evolving radio market.
Could it be that Astral Media is finally realizing that radio stations work better if they have their own brands and target audiences, and that the tag “an Astral Media radio station” doesn’t impress anyone?