Mark Bergman puts himself back on Virgin Radio

Mark Bergman

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 returns


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.

About Astral:

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

16 thoughts on “Mark Bergman puts himself back on Virgin Radio

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I wonder if the boss will fire him if his ratings slip, oh wait a minute, he is the boss.

      The Gazette story addresses this. Martin Tremblay, Bergman’s boss, would step in if necessary, but if Bergman gets fired against his will, it would probably be from both jobs.

  1. Steve W

    Fagstein I think for at least your Gazette story you should state that ‘Brand Director’ is another word for Program Director. I just can’t stand the term Brand Director! I’ve never heard of Martin Tremblay. So he’s also the Operations Director for Montreal French Astral radio stations?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Fagstein I think for at least your Gazette story you should state that ‘Brand Director’ is another word for Program Director.

      I suppose, but then I’d have to explain what a program director is. This is a general-interest newspaper after all.

      I’ve never heard of Martin Tremblay. So he’s also the Operations Director for Montreal French Astral radio stations?

      Yes. Tremblay has been in radio for decades, and with Astral for quite some time now in various positions, including being responsible for its Toronto stations when Mix 99.9 became Virgin Radio. He’s back in Montreal, and his office is next to Astral VP Martin Spalding.

      1. Michael Black

        But “Brand Director” sounds like he’s in charge of promoting the station, making sure “the brand” is well defined and distinct from other brands/stations. Note that branding is pretty much about the brand, not the contents. Coca-Cola, Hudson’s Bay, Sunkist and so on are about the, not the product. A lot of effort and money is spent on making brands distinctive when the actual product is otherwise generic.

        “Program director” is at least defining the product, the programming that could be distinctive from the other stations. Of course, radio programing is relatively generic, not changed often, so “program director” doesn’t seem to have much to do. Which perhaps is why some stations are more worried about “brand”.


  2. Michael D

    According to your report here and the Gazette, Virgin seems to lead the Beat is those areas of the shift changes. but not midday, so why mess with afternoon drive if they lead there..If Mark wanted to get back to radio, why not replace that Dick Clark wannabe from LA..and this would have still kept everybody in their chairs, and you know maybe hear someone new on the weekends.

    The problem with Montreal radio is that they don’t take chances with new people..just reshuffle the all the same people….Cousin Vinny, don’t sweat it, you have nothing to worry about..!!

  3. Harvey

    I’m curious about the 12-3 Ryan Seacrest slot. How well is he doing? I know some people that tune out cause they find he has no personality. Why not get rid of him and have the local djs take over?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I’m curious about the 12-3 Ryan Seacrest slot. How well is he doing?

      The Beat does slightly better than Virgin during working hours, but that’s the case both during Seacrest’s show and the locally-hosted show from 9am to noon.

  4. Your conscience

    Even after all the cannibalization Astral has done, it’s still not over. Nikki and Andrea are getting the shaft. They’re even too cheap to hire someone else? Montreal radio is so pathetic. It’s “not because of the ratings”? Yeah ok guys. Bullshit.

  5. Jon

    According to the article, you mentioned that Nikki moves to weekends, which includes a shift on Sundays from noon to 6:00pm (replacing Tony Stark). Although the rest of the weekend lineup is rounded out with syndicated shows, I hope they’re not getting rid of the UK Chart Show on Sunday evenings – I think Virgin Montreal is the only station in Canada now still airing the show and aside from the local talent, that’s the one show I enjoy listening to. Seacrest is already on weekdays – I don’t see why he needs another three hours on Sunday nights. Any news on what the rest of the weekend lineup will be like?

  6. Anonymous

    I can think of Several people not reshuffled. Sarah Bartok is from out west, Freeway Frank spent most of his career there. Andrea Collins is from Winnipeg. How are they reshuffling the same old people? Plus say what you want but Mark Bergman is solid.

  7. Gazoo

    Virgin? What frequency do they broadcast at?!!

    Just a matter of time before Andrea and Nikki end up at The Beat !

  8. Michael D

    I am wondering if this is a case of ego and wondering if he can score big ratings over Cousin Vinny..Lke Sonny and Cher once sang, ” The Beat goes on”

    1. Fagstein Post author

      I am wondering if this is a case of ego and wondering if he can score big ratings over Cousin Vinny

      Only Bergman can say whether this is about ego. But as for ratings, Virgin is still leading in afternoon drive, and if there’s anything that the Beat raiding of Virgin’s staff has shown, it’s that the voice behind the microphone during those couple of minutes every hour doesn’t actually make a huge difference. People tune in for the music, not the personalities.


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