Non-stop music, except during football

I'm pretty sure this was the original idea behind this photo of NRJ people with Alouettes' Larry Smith

I’m kind of a stickler for format purity, in that a broadcaster that specializes in one thing shouldn’t try to be something else just because that something else gets ratings.

So I’m not crazy about live-action movies airing on Teletoon, or funny pet video compilations airing on the Discovery channel. Unfortunately, I’ve seen both in the past week.

When it comes to radio, the genres aren’t so specific, at least for over-the-air broadcasting. They really come down to two camps: music and talk. The latter can have news, sports, comedy, documentary, or whatever else they can think of. The music stations (at least commercial ones) just play music, perhaps with the occasional goofball listener contest thrown in.

NRJ, a music network based off a brand developed in France, announced that it will be carrying Alouettes games until 2013, a job formerly (and quite logically) left to CKAC, the AM sports station. The Alouettes also have a release in English and French.

So once a week, for a few hours, NRJ will stop playing music and start airing football play-by-play. Not just in Montreal, but all over Quebec.

This has already happened on the anglo side. CHOM-FM has been airing select Alouettes games, even though all of them are available on CJAD.

It’s worth pointing out, by the way, that CHOM, CJAD and NRJ are all owned by Astral Media. CKAC is owned by Corus.

As for CKAC, well, they still have the Canadiens, of course. And they carry home games of the Impact. They’re also adding a few baseball games to their schedule.

Just take it off the TV

One of the things actually being advertised in this release is that the play-by-play won’t be done by NRJ or anyone at Astral Media, but will basically just be taken off the audio feed of RDS.

CKAC tried this back in 2007, and the result wasn’t particularly favourable. The next season, they brought in Charles-André Marchand to do their own play-by-play.

We’ll see if NRJ learns the same lesson, or just decides that, even though TV play-by-play doesn’t work on radio, it’s cheap enough that they can live with the mediocrity.

10 thoughts on “Non-stop music, except during football

  1. James

    >>a broadcaster that specializes in one thing shouldn’t try to be something else just because that something else gets ratings.

    Wait. Why not? You kind of just brush over that like its a fact. These are private businesses generating profit (or attempting to). Why shouldnt they try to get ratings, as long as its within the boundries of their license?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Why shouldnt they try to get ratings, as long as its within the boundries of their license?

      Well that’s the thing, isn’t it? I don’t think it falls within the boundaries of their license. If you tell the CRTC you’re going to provide children’s programming and you air non-stop porn, I think your license should be revoked.

      1. James

        Thats a completely unfair comparison, and I’m pretty sure you know it.

        Discovery airing funny animal videos *IS* within their license. I’ve watched that show with my nephew. Why not bring kids in early? Why not let Discovery air what gets ratings? Funny animal videos and kids live-action movies are not porn, so spare the hyperbole.

  2. gds

    Its not like they play that much music anyways. The french stations spend even more time talking, making stupid jokes and contests and advertising then the english stations.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Last season, all the CHOM games were at the beginning of the season, in July, when the Habs aren’t playing. And the Als an Habs are pretty good about not having their games overlap.

  3. Alex H

    I think it is Rogers that is going in front of the CRTC asking for permission to allow all sorts of things including live sports and music videos to run on their specialty channels, including food, HGTV, and similar. I cannot for the life of me understand why they would need to do this, except for a lack of original programming or a desire to lean into other markets.

    In montreal, there are more than enough french language radio stations that could cover football. The CRTC needs to wake up and start enforcing the “promise of performance” type arrangements that define these stations, rather than letting them overlap. Otherwise, we end up with more Corus style duplication, replication, and eventual closures.


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