Numeris, the company that surveys TV viewers and radio listeners to determine ratings for those industries, released its report from radio diary markets on Thursday. This report covers mainly medium-sized markets by having a sample audience fill out forms saying what they listened to. (Larger markets like Montreal are measured using meters, which are considered more accurate.)
In Quebec, the headlines from this report is that talk station FM93 is the undisputed leader in the provincial capital (Le Soleil, Journal de Québec) with a 17.7% market share, well ahead of the next best stations, Rouge FM (CITF-FM) and Radio-Canada Première (CBV-FM), tied at 12.3%. CHOI, once the market leader, is fourth at 11.1%, the same rank it was at in the spring ratings. Among adults 18-34, it has dropped from first to sixth place. It’s also sixth among women 25-54, down from a close second last year.
But before you declare the CHOI style of “radio poubelle” dead, note that former CHOI personalities are doing quite well at other stations, according to data collected by Le Soleil and RadioEgo.com. Jeff Fillion at Énergie beats his former station, but is still behind FM93 (his move from the lunch hour to afternoon drive caused the lunch ratings to plummet back to a third of what they were under him among adults 25-54, and the afternoon drive numbers to more than double). Stéphan Dupont is doing well as Énergie’s morning man (whether he’s #1 or #3 depends how you measure), and it seems clear from the ratings numbers that he’s taking his audience mainly from CHOI, quadrupling his station’s audience in the mornings in one year. Éric Duhaime is #1 at noon with Nathalie Normandeau at FM93, beating CHOI’s Richard Martineau. And André Arthur’s show at CHOI is #1 in his short timeslot of 11:30 to noon weekdays. The station would probably do better overall if he was willing to take more airtime.
Going up: Énergie’s well behind competitors, but its share has increased from 7.8% to 9.4%. And though CHOI is still fourth, its 11.1% share is up from 9.5% in the spring. WKND is up two points from 5.9 to 7.9% (and its reach is up about 15%).
Going down: Rouge and Radio-Canada are both down about two points from the spring. CJSQ Radio-Classique saw its share drop from 4.7% to 2.5%. The fact that Radio-Classique was in transition during the ratings period probably has a lot to do with that.
The sole English-language station in Quebec City, CBC Radio One (CBVE-FM), has a 0.6% rating, down from 0.7% in the spring. About 37,000 listeners in Canada listened to that station or its retransmitters on the Quebec Community Network (which covers most of Quebec except Montreal and Gatineau) for at least 15 minutes during the measured period.
Little change here from the spring. The two Bell Media stations (Énergie and Rouge FM) lead with about a 20% market share each.
There’s now a very tight three-way race for the top between NRJ (CIGB-FM) at 16.8%, Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) at 16.5% and Rouge FM (CHEY-FM) at 15.5%. That’s a significant drop for Rythme. Independent Bécancour station CKBN-FM jumped from 5.2% to 9.0% for fourth place, edging Radio-Canada. Talk station CKOB-FM 106.9 is behind at 6.2%, and Espace Musique jumped from 2.9% to 5.6%.
Rouge FM (CFIX-FM) has solidified its dominance here and now has a 31.9% share, up from 25.3% in the spring. Its sister Énergie (CJAB-FM) dropped three points to sit at 17.5%, while KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) gained two and a half to reach 15.7%.
The Rythme FM station owned by Attraction Radio has fallen back to Earth after shooting up a couple of points following the format change. It’s now at 7.1%, about what it was before becoming a Rythme affiliate.
The only two stations surveyed in this market are tight as can be: CJDM-FM (Énergie) at 27.8% and CHRD-FM (Rouge FM) at 27.7%. Competition would be intense if they weren’t both owned by Bell Media.
On the anglo side, Bell Media’s New Country 94 (formerly Bob FM) still hasn’t been resonating with audiences, stuck with a 2.9% market share. But its competitor Country 101, a Rogers station operating out of Smiths Falls but which targets Ottawa, has seen its share drop more than half from 6.7% to 3.3% in a year.
Otherwise, the only change by more than a couple of points is CBC Radio One, up four points to 22.9%. It has more than twice the share of any other station, thanks mainly to the fragmentation of the market.
On the franco side, Rouge FM is still by far the top rated stations, but it lost 4.5% market share, and is now at 17.7%. Otherwise the only notable shift is a more than doubling of the share for Corus’s English music station Jump! 106.9, which is now at 4.2% of francophone listeners, similar to other English-language music stations in the market.
I’ll leave looking at other markets to others since I’m less familiar with them. PPM quarterly ratings, which includes the Montreal English and French markets, come out next week.
If you want to delve into deeper analysis, InfoPresse has posted the charts put together by Bell Media research and Cogeco Force Radio, or you can read the self-congratulatory statements from Bell or Leclerc.
In Ottawa, the issue with the country stations looks odd, until you do the math.
The listeners of BobFM have likely migrated elsewhere. So whatever ratings they had before reset to zero. They have picked up 2.9% of the market. CKBY has lost 3.3. Considering the margin of error on these things, its reasonable to conclude that adding a new country station to the market has basically just split the country listeners and not brought any new ones in.
I will give them credit, Bell has been able to take about half the country music market, which is a pretty good accomplishment in a year. However, they aren’t really that far ahead of where they were as the mostly automated BobFM. I cannot imagine that the current arrangement is any more profitable for them. Further, they have clearly kicked the crap out of CKBY, which must be hurting with a loss of nearly half their market.
Ottawa’s fragmented market and insane dominance of CBC in the area is really weird to watch.
For a Montrealer, maybe, but that’s pretty well the norm in other cities. Halifax, Fredericton, Winnipeg and Victoria have CBC Radio as by far the leader in market share. Most cities with CBC Radio One stations have shares between 10 and 20 per cent, regardless of how many stations there are.
Add Vancouver and Toronto as markets where CBC One is always in the top two or three during ratings especially during local morning drive news/information shows. It’s always been interesting to see Montreal as the exception when it comes to CBC strength. My sense is that Montreal audiences see English CBC as but a small arm of Radio-Canada, which rightly or wrongly is perceived to be dominated by French nationalists and separatists and therefore not really “one of us.”
This seems to have been the perception since the 1970s leading to the dominance of CJAD and the now defunct CFCF back in the years when that station was still competitive. Those two full-service (at the time) AM stations were held to be the stations that truly reflected English Montreal and its concerns whether that may have been true or not.
It’s not as strong here as other markets, but the difference is exaggerated by the large shares for the commercial stations. CJAD is probably the biggest reason why more Montrealers aren’t tuning in to CBC.
Its because compared to other marketplaces, the Montreal market is neither diluted or highly segmented. Outside of the CBC, anglos has ONE news / talk channel, one rock station, two hits stations, and bugger all else. This has been a process of refinement from the days of having actual choice. Now with 70%+ of the market controlled by a single company, we move even further down the road of having absolutely no competition.
This has been in part due to technical issues that have long haunted the CBC. Their original AM frequencies. 940 AM was never a great choice, and they almost always had issues with reception. They move to FM in 1998 should have been a big deal, but they got stuck with a poor frequency choice of 88.5 that left them off of most people’s dials, and also left them with only a class B signal (11,500 watts – compared with CHOM or Virgin at 41,000 watts). CBC just has never been a powerhouse player in the Montreal market.