CHOM has gone through a pretty big change over the last year, and particularly since the beginning of 2010. The morning team has gone through a complete turnover since Pete Marier joined in August. Chantal Desjardins joined in January, and PJ Stock was brought in to replace the departing Ted Bird.
On Feb. 1, the station rebranded itself, promising more and better music, though without being too specific about it.
Whatever they did, it isn’t working. According to the latest ratings numbers, CHOM is losing listeners just about everywhere.
The ratings cover the period from Nov. 30 to Feb. 28, which means only about a third of the latest ratings period covers the “new CHOM”, but it gives the first indications of how listeners reacted to the format change, and that reaction isn’t good.
Astral Media, which compiles ratings information into boring webcasts, has created charts showing numbers for the Montreal region. They’re not complete (and, for those interested, they don’t give very useful information about non-commercial stations like CBC), but for the commercial market, it gives a good perspective of what’s going on.
CHOM, like CJFM and CJAD, is an Astral Media radio station, though the numbers come from BBM.
The chart above shows adults 18-49, a key demographic for advertisers. You can see that CHOM has dropped from second to third, and now sits behind Corus’s CFQR in the ratings (this will be a common theme in the numbers below). In the slightly older 25-54 bracket, it’s the same story, although there CFQR, CHOM and CJAD are neck-and-neck-and-neck with 21% market share each. CJFM holds a commanding lead with 33%.
CHOM is still #1 among men 25-54, but CJFM has virtually eliminated its lead over the past six months, and sits at an uncomfortably close second. Among women 25-54, it’s fourth, and the only station among the big four to lose listeners in the last ratings period.
In the mornings, we see that CHOM has dropped from being a close third to fourth, behind CFQR. While the other stations are gaining listeners or stable, CHOM is clearly losing listeners in large numbers.
This is significant because Ted Bird left at the beginning of January, and Chantal Desjardins came on at the same time. So two thirds of that blue bar represent the new morning team.
It’s not just the mornings. For every time block Astral’s report included (all of them for age 25-54), CHOM has lost listeners, and in most cases has dropped below CFQR in the ratings game:
- Late mornings: CHOM has dropped from second to third, behind CJFM and now CFQR.
- Lunch hour: CHOM has dropped from second to third, behind CJFM and now CFQR. CJFM now has almost twice as many listeners as CHOM during this time slot.
- Early afternoons: CHOM has dropped from second to third, behind CJFM and now CFQR.
- Drive home: While still holding on to second place, it has lost a lot of ground to leader CJFM, which is the only anglo commercial station to show marked improvement.
- Weekends: CHOM has dropped from third to fourth, behind CJFM, CJAD and now CFQR, losing 20% of its listeners) in only three months.
CHOM program director Daniel Tremblay didn’t respond to a request for comment about what this might mean for the future of programming on the station.