Monthly Archives: December 2012

Fagstein’s 2012-13 guide to holiday transit

As I have in previous years, I ask that you have some sympathy for the bus, metro or train driver, station attendant or other employee who has to work during the holidays – some on Christmas morning, some through midnight on New Year’s Eve – just so that you can get you from point A to point B in the dark, wet, snowy mess that is the last week of the year.

Here’s what there is to expect as far as schedule changes this weekend and next:

STM (Montreal, including the entire metro)

Note that from Dec. 22 to Jan. 6, the STM offers its Family Outings plan, which allows an adult to bring up to five children under 12 to ride for free with a fare-paying adult. (Normally this is allowed only during weekends and statutory holidays.) This does not apply to the 747 bus.

  • Monday, Dec. 24:
    • Buses and metro service will follow a regular Monday schedule.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25:
    • Most bus routes will run on a Sunday schedule.
    • Metro trains will pass about every 10-12 minutes on the green line and every 10 minutes on the other lines.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Most bus routes will run on a Saturday schedule.
    • Metro service will run on a special schedule, with additional trains added to the Orange and Green lines to accommodate rabid Boxing Day shoppers.
    • Monday to Friday shared taxi service will not be in operation.
  • Dec. 27-30: Normal schedules for all services.
  • Monday, Dec. 31:
    • Buses, metro and taxi service will follow a regular Saturday schedule.
    • As usual, there’s no extension of metro service despite how many people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Last trains of the night leave the two blue line terminuses at 12:15am, in all five directions from Berri at 1:00am and from Longueuil at 1:00am.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Most bus routes will follow Sunday schedules..
    • Metro trains will pass about every 10-12 minutes on the green line and every 10 minutes on the other lines.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Most bus routes and metro trains will follow a Saturday schedule.

Note that Opus cards can be recharged at any point after Dec. 20.

STL (Laval)

As usual, the STL offers free transit on its buses on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Holiday schedules based on their online flyer:

  • Monday, Dec. 24: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144, 804 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules in effect for all routes.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular schedules for all routes according to the day of the week.
  • Monday, Dec. 31: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144, 804 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Wednesday, Jan 2: Saturday schedule for all routes.

RTL (Longueuil)

Like the STL, the RTL is offering free service for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and is asking for donations in lieu of fares.

From their PDF guide:

  • Monday, Dec. 24 (free service): Saturday schedule for most routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 99, 123.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 and T77 which will offer weekday service every 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25: Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday schedules for most routes, except:
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 35, 45, 80.
    • A modified schedule for the 8.
    • Weekday schedule for taxi lines T22 and T89.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service for all routes according to the day of the week
  • Monday, Dec. 31 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 99, 123.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 and T77 which will offer weekday service every 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday schedules for all routes, with additional departures on lines 35, 45, 80.

AMT (commuter trains)

The AMT offers free trips on the two lines that operate on Christmas and New Year’s – Vaudreuil/Hudson and Deux-Montagnes.

From their website:

  • Monday, Dec. 24: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Vaudreuil (all trips are free)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil
    • No service on other lines
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service on all lines according to the day of the week
  • Monday, Dec. 31: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Vaudreuil (all trips are free)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil
    • No service on other lines

Customer service at the AMT will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Radio personality Greg Hébert dies

It’s been almost a decade since he left Montreal for a job at CFRA in Ottawa, but Montreal radio personalities who were around back then are remembering Greg Hébert, who used to work at CHOM and CKGM.

Hébert died Thursday night after a long and heavily-mediatized battle with cancer.

He started his radio career in Montreal as a producer for the CHOM morning show of Pete Marier and Andrew Carter in 1999. After two years, he went to what was then sister station CKGM (Team 990) and produced for the afternoon show of Joey Elias and Tony Marinaro, also working as a sports reporter and weekly show host.

But he’s better known in Ottawa, where he was the host and producer of a nightly business show on CFRA radio, and a business reporter for A Channel (now CTV Two). He left for medical reasons after getting a diagnosis of synovial sarcoma in 2009.

His former colleagues in Montreal posted remembrances on social media.

From Pete Marier:

Sad News today, Greg Hebert passed away last night. He worked as a producer for “Pete and Andrew” on CHOM back in 2001. To his wife Lauren: Greg had outstanding qualities. Chief among them were his honesty, courage, determination and quit wit. These equipped him to rise quickly as a broadcaster and to become one of the bravest persons I’ve ever met.

Know that he touched a lot of people this way, and I’ll always be proud to call him my Friend. Pete Marier.

From Nat Lauzon:

Rest in peace, Greg Hébert, the bravest soul I ever encountered. A husband, son, friend, fighter. And to many like me – a teacher. Join Team Greggybear and read his incredible legacy. A gift to everyone fighting for their very lives against a horrible disease. Thank you Greg. xx

From Tony Marinaro:

There were far more from his colleagues in Ottawa.

Obituaries have been published in the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun, CTV News Ottawa and CFRA. They’re well done and I encourage you to read them.

After getting his cancer diagnosis, Hébert decided to go public about his cancer fight. He started up a charitable foundation and wrote a blog. The last post written by him is dated a month ago.

Hébert leaves behind his wife Lauren, who announced after he died that she is pregnant.

A funeral for Hébert will be held on Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. at Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Central Chapel, 315 McLeod St. in Ottawa.

Randy Tieman leaves TSN 690 show

Randy Tieman

This one kind of came out of nowhere. Randy Tieman, who in addition to anchoring the evening and late-night sportscasts on CTV News in Montreal hosts the early afternoon show on TSN Radio 690, is leaving the latter gig. Tieman made the announcement on Friday’s show that that would be his last one.

It’s unclear to me at this point why he’s leaving (I missed the announcement, in case that provided some clue), but I’ve asked Tieman and CKGM station manager Wayne Bews for comment. I’ll update this if I hear from them.

Tieman’s two gigs made for gruelling work days, as he would come into TSN’s studios for a show from noon to 3pm, then to CTV to prepare for the 6pm news and working through to just after midnight, when the late-night news would end, he’d pretape a segment for the next day’s noon newscast and could finally go home.

Hopefully this will mean Tieman has more time to sleep and do other things the rest of us do with those extra four hours a day.

Tieman clarifies on Twitter that he’ll still be “kicking around at times.”

No announcement has been made about who will replace Tieman.

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CRTC approves CJNT purchase, new ICI station

CJNT Metro 14 Citytv/ICI

It’s a yes.

On Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission gave its approval to applications by Rogers and 4517466 Canada Inc. to reorganize over-the-air television in Montreal and add a 10th television station to the market, the first new one in 15 years.

The applications were essentially approved as submitted, which is great news to everyone involved. CJNT, which will become a Citytv station, will be stripped of all ethnic programming requirements once the Rogers purchase is complete, and will launch a local morning show. Rogers and CJNT’s current owner, Channel Zero, also made significant commitments to support a new station, ICI, which will assume ethnic programming requirements as a producers’ cooperative. (The decisions were important enough that the CRTC even issued a press release on the matter, in which chairman Jean-Pierre Blais says that these decisions “will increase the diversity of voices in the Montreal region.”)

My Gazette story on this news is here, including comments from the various players.

Here’s what’s next for them:

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CTV Montreal making final push toward HD newscasts

CFCF HD camera

One of the HD field cameras being used by CTV Montreal cameramen.

After what has seemed like eons since its competitors made the switch, CTV Montreal has announced that it’s making its final push toward launching a high-definition broadcast, which should begin in the spring or early summer. But it’s not all good news – technological change will mean a slight reduction in the number of technical staff at the station, management and its union have confirmed.

The station issued an update via its Facebook page last week, explaining that it had just put new HD studio cameras in place (viewers might notice a slight difference in colours or crispness in the studio shots during newscasts), and is building a new control room that will be HD-capable.

Other steps toward the conversion had already been taken earlier. New field cameras have been acquired, new editing suites installed, an upgrade to digital storage completed, and a new studio has been constructed that has the proper wiring and the level of detail necessary to work right in HD.

CBC and Global made the upgrade a long time ago. Both first moved to a 16:9 upconverted SD system, which masked the fact that they weren’t yet HD. CTV did not make a similar move due to a company policy that HD not be faked like that. CBC Montreal went through an upgrade that cost around $1 million that made it the first English CBC station in Canada to be fully in HD. Global’s conversion was a lot easier because it doesn’t have a control room – Global Montreal’s newscast is directed and controlled from Edmonton, leaving only the field cameras, studio cameras, edit suites and high-speed data connections to upgrade.

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CRTC skeptical about CJNT, ICI applications

As with all ownership transactions it is the responsibility of the seller or its representative to prove that a transaction is in the public interest. The Commission has been abundantly clear about this recently. This means that the burden of proof lies with Rogers and Channel Zero. This is not simply a matter of promising to invest a certain amount of money in the Canadian broadcasting system, many other factors must also be taken into consideration, including the impact on the Montreal market and the Commission’s various policies.

This was the statement at the beginning of last month’s hearing by Jean-Pierre Blais, the chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Combined with the grilling that the commission gave to the three parties involved in two applications related to the purchase of CJNT by Rogers, it’s clear that the commission’s hard line about acquisitions wasn’t just a one-off for Bell’s sake.

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Global adding national morning show

Global announced on Wednesday that it is launching a new national morning show on Jan. 7. The half-hour show, hosted by Liza Fromer, would air live at 9am in Montreal and other Eastern Time markets, 8am 10am in the Maritimes, and on tape-delay at 9am in the rest of the country.

For most stations, this program would be led into by the local morning news show. This will include Montreal, though we’re still not closer to knowing when exactly a new morning show will launch here, except for the vague “early next year.”

The new show wouldn’t compete directly with CTV’s Canada AM, and might not stack up too well against other shows that air at 9am, but it has to do better than 100 Huntley Street.

Between this new show, the local morning shows (which are part of a promise to the CRTC when Shaw bought Canwest) and the planned March launch of Global’s B.C. One regional news channel, it’s clear that Shaw is putting lots of money into developing news at Global.

Not enough to put local control rooms back into smaller markets, but still quite a bit.

Are the STM’s fare hikes STILL unreasonable?

A while back, I did up a chart to give some context to the STM’s proposed fare hikes for 2013. Since then, the city of Montreal has decided to increase its allocation to the STM and allow the transit agency to lower its fare hikes. So here’s an amended chart with the new numbers.

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 (new) Change 2008-2013
Monthly CAM (regular) $66.25 (+1.9%) $68.50 (+3.4%) $70 (+2.2%) $72.75 (+3.9%) $75.50 (+3.8%) $77.75 (+3.0%)
$77 (+2.0%)
Monthly CAM (reduced) $36 (+2.9%) $37 (+2.8%) $38.75 (+4.7%) $41 (+5.8%) $43.75 (+6.7%) $45.50 (+4%)
$45 (+2.9%)
Four-month CAM (reduced fare only) N/A N/A $148 ($37/month) $155 ($38.75/month) (+4.7%) $164 ($41/month) (+5.8%) $175 ($43.75/month)(+6.7%) +18.2% (2010-13)
Weekly CAM (regular) $19.25 (+1.3%) $20 (+3.9%) $20.50 (+2.5%) $22 (+2.5%) $23.50 (+6.8%) $24.25 (+3.2%)
$23.75 (+1.0%)
Weekly CAM (reduced) $11 (+2.3%) $11.25 (+2.3%) $11.50 (+2.2%) $12.75 (+10.9%) $13.75 (+7.8%) $14.50 (+5.5%)
$14 (+1.8%)
Three-day tourist pass $17 (unchanged) $17 (unchanged) $14
$16 (+14.3%) $16 (unchanged) $18 (+12.5%) +5.9%
24-hour tourist pass
(Also used as 747 fare)
$9 (unchanged) $9 (unchanged) $7 (-22.2%) $8 (+14.3%) $8 (unchanged) $9 (+12.5%) None
Evening pass (after 6pm) N/A N/A N/A $4 $4 (unchanged) $4 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (regular) N/A $20 $21 ($2.10/trip) (+5%) $22.50 ($2.25/trip) (+7.1%) $24 ($2.40/trip) (+6.7%) $25 (+4.2%)
$24.50 (+2.1%)
+25% (2009-13)
+16.7% (2009-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (reduced) N/A $10.75 ($1.08/trip) $12 ($1.20/trip) (+11.6%) $13 ($1.30/trip)
$14 ($1.40/trip) (+7.7%) $15 (+7.1%)
$14.50 (+3.6%)
+39.5% (2009-13)
+34.9% (2009-13)
Two trips (regular) N/A N/A N/A $5.50 ($2.75/trip) $5.50 (unchanged) $5.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Two trips (reduced) N/A N/A N/A $3.50 ($1.75/trip) $3.50 (unchanged) $3.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Single fare (regular) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $3 (+9.1%) $3 (unchanged) $3 (unchanged) +9.1%
Single fare (reduced) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $2 (+14.3%) $2 (unchanged) $2 (unchanged) +14.3%
Consumer price index for Montreal 2.1% 1.0% 1.4% 2.8% 1.8% (projected) N/A +10.9% (projected)

So what do you think? Is this easier to stomach? If not, what should be done about it?

CFMB, pioneer in multilingual broadcasting

CFMB’s offices and studios on York St. in Westmount

It’s easy sometimes when talking about radio in this city to focus too much on the big commercial stations. They have ratings numbers and promotions departments and big audiences with popular personalities, so it makes sense that they get more attention.

But it’s nice to visit some of the other stations that make up this city’s broadcasting landscape. Stations like CKDG (Mike FM), CJLO (Concordia), CKUT (McGill), CKRK (K103), CKKI (KKIC) and others have a more grassroots feel, often struggling with small budgets, willing to experiment and in it more for the love of broadcasting than the financial rewards.

I’d never been to CFMB before, or met anyone who worked there, so their upcoming 50th anniversary was a perfect opportunity to profile Montreal’s first multilingual station.

My profile of CFMB 1280AM appears in Saturday’s Gazette. It’s packaged with a sidebar listing the multilingual/multiethnic radio stations in Montreal.

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Fall radio ratings: CHOM and CJPX gain, The Beat and TSN lose, Radio X struggles (UPDATED)

Fall 2012 ratings from BBM Canada for the anglo Montreal market (Aug. 27 to Nov. 25), with comparisons to the same period a year ago. (Numbers reflect total 2+ audience)

BBM Canada released its fall 2012 ratings for metered markets (including Montreal) on Thursday. While members get detailed information from which they can spin all sorts of good news, the public gets an overall picture (PDF).

On the English side, there’s the usual fluctuations. CHOM gains a point and a half compared to last year (but is down slightly in market share compared to the summer), and also has a larger overall audience than it did a year ago.

CJAD, Virgin and The Beat are also up slightly, and CBC Radio One has lost a bit.

Among francophone listeners, where anglo music stations actually have a larger audience than in English, CHOM has 30,000 more listeners on a daily basis than it did a year ago, and Virgin and The Beat have both lost a bit of ground.

I await their spin, revealing what nuggets of significant gains aren’t being reflected in the overall ratings. (See below)

For TSN Radio (CKGM), there’s no getting around the disappointing ratings period. The station has a 2.3% market share this fall, down from 4.0% a year ago. Its daily audience among anglos has dropped from 60,000 to 43,000. Even simulcasting on two frequencies hasn’t been enough to compensate for the lack of NHL hockey.

The Beat falls among 25-54 demos

But those are for the total audience. What about the key 25-54 demographic, the people with money that advertisers want?

Astral Radio’s BBM analysis (which is much more objective than its press releases) provides the answer:

CKBE (The Beat) has lost the gains it made this spring, falling back into third place overall behind CHOM. It has a 21% commercial market share among adults 25-54, compared to CHOM’s 25% and Virgin’s 32%. Much of that loss is among men, where it had spiked to 22% in the spring but is now back at 16%. Among women, it’s gone down slightly, but Virgin’s lead has increased from four points to 13 points.

Its morning show has dropped back into fourth place after barely reaching second in the spring, with fewer than 7,000 listeners in the average minute (Virgin’s morning show has more than 10,000 listeners) among adults 25-54. Late mornings and lunch hour have dropped from first to third, and early afternoons dropped from first to second behind Virgin. Its drivetime show also dropped from second to third after losing about a quarter of its audience from the spring. On weekends, it was third before and remains so.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is average listening time: 3.1 hours per week, putting it behind CJAD, CHOM and Virgin, which are all between 4 and 4.5 hours a week.

Overall, it’s an awful ratings period for The Beat, bringing them back to what they were at before their notable gains in the spring. That explains why their press release (below) doesn’t mention any numbers.

CJFM (Virgin Radio) is still No. 1 in most key demographics. Among women 25-54, they’re at 41% market share. Its biggest gain is in late mornings and early afternoons, where Nikki Balch and Ryan Seacrest respectively have picked up almost 3,000 average-minute listeners from the spring. Virgin also made significant gains at morning and afternoon drive. It’s now the top station during the morning rush and from 11am to 8pm weekdays among adults 25-54.

Its strength remains in younger audiences – the top nine shows among adults 18-34 are all on Virgin.

CHOM still gets to brag that it’s No. 1 among men, and its market share among men 25-54 has gone up to 35%, though much of that probably has to do with the lack of hockey pushing TSN Radio listeners back to their backup radio option. CHOM has also jumped ahead of The Beat for second place among all adults 25-54.

The morning show with Terry DiMonte and Heather Backman now has about 10,000 listeners 25-54 in the average minute, good for second place after being behind The Beat and CJAD in different ratings periods. It continues a steady climb from 8,000 a year ago and 7,000 the year before that. CHOM’s morning show audience has grown 50% in two years, but still isn’t the high peak of the day. Among men 25-54, there are only about half as many listeners at 7am as there are at 11am.

Tootall had a great ratings report, with the late morning part of his show gaining 20% audience since the spring and now the top-rated show at CHOM. The lunch hour and afternoon parts had more modest gains. The afternoon drive show with Bilal Butt gained slightly to its highest average-minute audience in two years, but it’s still a distant second to Virgin and mired in a tight three-way race with The Beat and CJAD. Even among men 25-54, the show struggles to compete with Virgin and CJAD.

On weekends, CHOM dipped slightly, but it’s still a clear second, and it’s fighting with Virgin for top spot among men 25-54 on weekend afternoons.

CJAD’s numbers didn’t change much. Astral brags about its high-rated morning show, but it’s still third among adults 25-54 (its strength is earlier in the morning, and it dominates the ratings until about 7am). The lunchtime show with Ric Peterson made a significant jump from 2,500 to 3,500 listeners in the demo (but still well behind the three music stations), and the afternoon drive show with Aaron Rand also gained more than a thousand listeners in the 25-54 demo. Rather than fighting TSN for fourth place, it’s fighting CHOM and The Beat for second.

Among all audiences, CJAD is still the top rated station among English listeners, and has the five top-rated shows.

CKGM (TSN 690) is clearly wishing for hockey to come back. Among men 25-54, it has a 7% market share, about half what it did a year ago. Every major time slot is down, and its hopes of competing with CJAD in some of them (notably afternoon drive) are gone for now.

Radio X disappoints

On the French side, not much has changed from a year ago. CHMP 98.5 is still the No. 1 station with a 22.5% market share, followed by CFGL (Rythme FM, 18.6%), CITE (Rouge FM, 12.3%, up more than two points from a year ago) and CBF (Première Chaîne, 11.3%).

NRJ (CKMF) and CKOI continue to be stuck in the single digits, with CKOI hitting a new market share low of 5.7%, even though it’s third-highest in total weekly audience reach. At this point, CKOI barely beats out classical music station CJPX, which has grown a point and a half in French and gained 30,000 daily listeners since last year.

NRJ’s market share is 7.1%, down from 10.3% a year ago.

The most interesting information on the franco side concerns CKLX-FM 91.9, which went from being Planète Jazz to Radio X this fall. Reports that ratings had actually dropped as a result of the change have turned out to be true. Planète Jazz had a 1.3% market share, 64,300 daily listeners and 902,800 weekly listeners a year ago. In the summer, it had a 1.2% share, 62,700 daily listeners and 944,800 weekly listeners. But in its first ratings period as Radio X, it has a 0.8% market share, 54,500 daily listeners and 640,100 weekly listeners.

Radio X, in other words, has only 2/3  the audience that Planète Jazz had, after a programming change designed to bring in more listeners.

Radio X, owned by RNC Media, will counter that this kind of change takes time to build an audience, though that’s not necessarily true.

To be fair, it also made some gains in the key 25-54 demos. Its morning show and afternoon drive gained quite a bit, while early afternoons took a nosedive. Weekends show a significant increase during the hours when it airs rock music (we’re still waiting for a CRTC decision on an application to strip it of its specialty jazz status – until then it has to devote 70% of its music to the jazz/blues format).

Overall, though, the station’s ratings are very poor, behind even Radio Classique (CJPX) and fighting for last place with Radio Circulation (CKAC).

Big gains for Radio Classique

While not much has changed for the other commercial radio stations in French in Montreal, there’s a noticeable increase in the ratings for CJPX Radio Classique, particularly among men.

Consider this: During the lunch hour, it had 630 average-minute listeners this spring, but 4,730 this fall, an astounding increase of 651%. It had similar jumps during all hours of the day, except afternoon drive where it saw a mere doubling of audience.

It makes sense to assume that Radio Classique picked up many former Planète Jazz listeners, but its increases are larger than CKLX’s entire audience was. Is there something else at play here, or is this just a case of sampling error spouting out random variation in small numbers?

Either way, Radio Classique beats out Radio X in all time periods among the 25-54 demo. Radio Classique’s overall commercial market share among 25-54 is 3%, up from 1% in the spring.

More ratings coverage

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