Tietolman interested in buying CJAD

Paul Tietolman

Paul Tietolman, the son of former Montreal radio magnate Jack Tietolman and one of three partners in a new French-language talk radio station that received CRTC approval last fall, says that he would be interested in buying CJAD or any other station Bell Media is forced to put up for sale in Montreal to get approval for its takeover of Astral Media.

The $3.38-billion purchase announced last Friday would give Bell control of four out of the five English-language commercial radio stations in Montreal, which would go against a CRTC policy that no more than three commercial radio stations in a market with fewer than eight total can have a common owner. Unless the CRTC grants an exception, that would mean one of CJAD 800, CKGM 990, CHOM 97.7 or CJFM 95.9 would be on the block.

Tietolman and partners Nicolas T├ętrault and Rajiv Pancholy received CRTC approval last fall for a French-language news-talk station on one of two clear channels available in Montreal – 940 kHz. But a similar application for an English-language news-talk station was rejected because the group would not accept the more restricted channel of 990 AM. The other clear channel, 690 kHz, went to CKGM, which plans to change frequency within the next few months (probably after the Canadiens’ season is over), with 990 going to Dufferin Communications for a French-language music/talk station targeted at the LGBT community.

Though the group said at the time that no other frequency would be acceptable and they would not proceed with one station unless it got approval for both, they’ve essentially folded on both those points. Plans are under way to launch the French news-talk station this fall, and the group is preparing a submission to the CRTC for an application for an English version that would use a frequency of 600 kHz. The only thing left is to find a transmitter site.

Tietolman said his group is in negotiation with Cogeco for use of their former CINF/CINW site in Kahnawake. The towers there have stood unused since Info 690 and 940 Hits went off the air in January 2010. A final transmitter site for their French-language station also hasn’t been chosen yet – they may want the two to use the same towers to save money.

Of course, Cogeco is also looking to submit an application for a new AM radio station in the Montreal area, to revive their plan for an English all-traffic station. At last report, Cogeco was still in discussions with the Quebec transport ministry to determine an agreeable frequency and coverage pattern to submit to the CRTC. I haven’t been told what frequencies they’re considering (a multiple-transmitter system may be among them), but 600 would be a strong contender. It’s the former frequency of CFCF AM and CIQC, and has adequate coverage in anglo areas, probably better than any other available AM frequency.

Tietolman said he’d be interested in any stations Bell would have to divest itself of, but seems to have a particular eye on CJAD, whose news-talk formula could easily be converted into the radio station they have in mind (and, of course, would provide instant listener loyalty as well as eliminating their proposed station’s main competition).

With the Bell-Astral deal having just been announced and no CRTC hearing even set yet, much less a decision on what if any stations they would have to sell, nothing formal is on the table yet.

But if CJAD is the station that goes on the table (and some insiders believe that will be the one they decide to get rid of), there’s at least one party interested in taking it over.

15 thoughts on “Tietolman interested in buying CJAD

  1. Usedtobe

    Nothing to do with the sale of Astral, but I just heard some FANTASTIC news re CJAD. Kim Fraser HAS QUIT!! Halleluliah!!!! Hooray! It’ll be safe to listen to CJAD on the weekends again!

    I guess her recent demotion was too much for her astronomical ego to bear. Good riddance.

    1. Michael D

      well this is good news…hope they bring in someone new..instead of recycle someone old….why can’t programmers….look at all the changes in the past year to 18 months….outside of Freeway Frank, it’s just people that have shuffled around..

  2. Neil K.

    If Mr. Tietolman was indeed seen touring the premises on Fort St. today, I would hazard a guess it was to scout out the joint for his own new station, and has nothing to do directly with a potential purchase.

    He needs studios and offices; Astral is moving out in four months. Makes sense to rent a space that’s already wired and equipped as a radio station, with plenty of news facilities, no?

    If there’s any truth at all to the rumours about TTP buying CJAD, they’ll be long gone out of there before any approvals come down. And he wouldn’t be talking to anyone at Astral right now; he’d be dealing with the Bell gang.

    Methinks he’s eyeing it for the coming French AM station, and IF anything should happen later vis-a-vis CJAD or CHOM, he can always fit them in.

    Astral currently rents that Fort St. space so the real estate wouldn’t be part of any negotiations with anybody.
    He’d be taking over a lease.

    1. Michael D

      Well Neil, this sure is getting interesting for TTP, never thought of the lease thing…excellent thinking….defintely needs offices, downtown is always the place to go from a news point of view…and TTP could still fit in three stations anyways,, e.g. CHOM, and two new News stations.

      I am surprised that Astral was leaving there, but in view they have the Rouge network..and there’s lots of space there on Papineau…..

      So back to TTP, if I were Paul Teitolman,,I would want to buy CHOM and start the new English on 600 Khz for example, CHOM gives them a foot in the door for the music station area. I don’t think they would tinker with CHOM but as a few have said, Pete Marier would probably be brought back..
      Now if CJAD is the one on the table…the people there better start looking starting with Mr. Carter and Mr. Schnurmacher…

      I am hearing some people at 800 are already getting nervous and keeping their options open as to other areas of employment. So yes this is getting interesting..

  3. Jimmy Jack

    I see this as the only good news in the whole Bell takeover of everything media in Canada.

    I agree it sounds preordained. I cannot imagine Bell hasn’t thought thought the whole thing. Although I can also see Bell thinking they can do whatever the hell they want.

    Kim Fraser – Good riddance. CJAD improved a thousand percent when she walked out the door.

    1. Marc

      Kim Fraser is not leaving CJAD. She is giving up her position as an executive producer to do charitable work at the MCH but is hanging on to her weekend show. So, for instance, the Dr. Joe show will continue to be “hosted” by Kim Fraser.

      1. Michelle

        She finally quit weekdays because of the first hit her ego took when they booted her from weekdays but she asked to hang on to the weekends because her family needs the money and her ego just quite can’t let go of the exposure she thinks the weekends will still give her. Give it a little time though, CJAD will kick her large ass the rest of the way out now that’s she dared to show her ingratitude. I stopped listening to CJAD on a regular basis a long while ago so forgive me for just finding out about this. Why the heck is getting rid of all of her taking this long????

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Do we need so many radio stations in Montreal?

      Depends on your definition of “need”, I suppose. We don’t need radio at all, or television, or sports. But markets outside Montreal have far more radio stations serving the same amount of people.

  4. Michael D

    Well Steve as I said on a reply to Neil’s comment..this is really getting interesting.. The question here and you might know. If TTP were to get ‘AD, would they have to be bound by the format that they proposed for a new station or simple buy it and make some changes.

    If it means going with what they proposed in their application, then it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume some big names would be looking maybe for new markets..

    So does this means a long awaited overhaul to the morning area from 5:30 to noon…..and a complete weekend overhaul….

    Would it be preferable for Bell to keep CJAD and for TTP to have a new station to provide choice..?I still like the idea of TTP getting CHOM and having a new News Station..

    this should be interesting..let the games begin !!!

    1. Fagstein Post author

      If TTP were to get ‘AD, would they have to be bound by the format that they proposed for a new station or simple buy it and make some changes.

      CRTC licenses aren’t particularly specific as to format, unless a station is licensed as a specialty station. CJAD’s license would limit it to being an English-language spoken word station, and would require a minimum amount of local programming, but the TTP format would easily fit within this.

      As for changes to CJAD’s programming, we’re still pretty early in the game for this. I don’t imagine they’d take a fire-everyone approach right off the bat.


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