Montreal radio ratings: The Beat crows after its best book ever

Total audience listening share percentage among anglophones in Montreal, from Numeris top-line ratings.

Numeris has released the summer ratings for Montreal radio stations, and though there isn’t much new here, it’s more good news for The Beat 92.5. Its 21.1% share of tuning hours among anglophones is the best it’s gotten since the station launched out of the ashes of The Q in 2011.

The new report widens the lead it had over direct competitor Virgin Radio 96, which appeared to narrow slightly in the spring. As the chart above shows, Virgin hasn’t been ahead of The Beat in this category by any significant margin since 2012.

For much of that time, Virgin did claim the lead among the adults 25-54 and women 25-54 demographics that appeal to advertisers. But The Beat has since won in those categories, too. Steve Kowch has some numbers compiled from Bell Media that show The Beat winning in every demographic.

Of course, The Beat can’t claim to be Montreal’s most popular radio station (that would be 98,5 fm), its most popular station among anglophones (that would be CJAD, though its lead has dropped off significantly), or its most popular music station (that would be Rythme FM).

It also can’t claim to have the most popular morning show, so it did the next best thing and claimed to be the fastest growing one:

Bell Media did something similar on the French side, claiming Rouge FM 107,3 is the most improved radio station over the summer. But among all francophones, Cogeco’s Rythme has 50% more listening hours.

Like Virgin, CHOM is also experiencing a long-term downward trend from its high in 2013.

In commentary online, it seems the station anglos want to talk about is TSN 690, predicting doom over a drop from the spring as well as last summer that is certainly rock-solid evidence that the on-air personality they don’t like is awful and should be fired. I don’t know why the ratings are down (though the P.K. Subban trade probably had people tuning in last summer), but the station’s ratings fluctuations don’t seem out of the ordinary for me.

As usual, take these numbers with a grain of salt. Summer is different from the other quarters, there’s less news and no Canadiens games, so CJAD, CBC Radio One and TSN 690 usually dip while the music stations peak.

Among francophones, talk radio actually did better during the summer, with 98,5fm still ahead at an 18.6% overall share, followed by Rythme FM (13.6%), ICI Première (12.7%), CKOI (10.4%), Rouge (8.8%), The Beat (6.3%) and Énergie (5.8%).

The new kids on the Numeris block, CHRF 980 and CIBL 101.5, are about the same, with 900 and 100 average listeners a minute, respectively.

91,9 Sports had a 2.3% overall share among francophones, its best result since launching that format, putting it just behind ICI Musique and Radio Classique in terms of listeners.

18 thoughts on “Montreal radio ratings: The Beat crows after its best book ever

  1. Bill M.

    Bell should put 690 out of its misery and just pull the plug on it. Have news/talk on CJAD from 6 am to 6 pm then do sports for the other 12 hours. If sports teams overlap, just stream the less popular one online.

  2. Anonymous

    690 had a revolving door for all the shows throughout the summer as the regulars took time off.
    The fall session will be a better indication of how they are doing.
    I will say that since Elliot Price was let go in the morning, I rarely listen now.
    Will tune in for Mitch Melnick who has some solid guests returning (Pierre McGuire) for the fall.
    And with all the changes that have taken place on other stations with on air personalities, (800, 97.7) rarely tune in to those stations either.

      1. Dan Shields

        Thanks for the reply. Question; if they aren’t measured how can you say that YES and The Buzz’s numbers are minimal? They could be, using the same logic, massive on the West Island, no?

        1. Fagstein Post author

          if they aren’t measured how can you say that YES and The Buzz’s numbers are minimal?

          My understanding is that stations that aren’t members of Numeris are still tracked, and so when you add up all the market shares of all the stations, what’s left is everyone else. In this case, the total is 94.5%, so the remaining stations together (campus, community, ethnic and foreign) all add up to 5.5% of listening hours.

  3. Media Man

    So definitely yes not too much change here, and news stations down with less politics in the summer and no hockey..

    But the Virgin /Beat slugfest is interesting to watch, but not surprised The Beat pulling away, and the Beat with their familiarity with their stable of poached of ex Bell Media staffers, which is what this is.

    But will be really interesting to watch, seeing that Martin Tremblay is now officially the programming guru, I wonder how long he’ll take to pull the plug on Mark Bergman. Don’t need two programmers.. Bergman is expendable both as PD and the afternoon drive announcer..

  4. dilbert

    The long term trends here are quite interesting.

    First off, CHOM is in decline. I have thought that classic rock stations always end up with a bit of a double edge sword problem: If they stick with the classics, it’s harder to attract new listeners (especially when you have another choice like The Buzz in the market). Yet, if they move towards newer music (as CHOM has tried), you risk alienating the classic rock lovers who aren’t really into the new stuff. Considering the hiring of Picard in 2011, it appears that this may be part of the problem. After an initial boost in listeners, it’s been a slow and steady decline.

    I often think that classic rock listeners, like newspapers readers, are slowly dying off. That’s a different problem.

    The Virgin versus The Beat thing is interesting, but even more so when you put the two audiences (anglo and franco) together – at that point, they are essentially tied in daily cume – and they just about lead the marketplace.

    CJAD is also facing the ongoing issue of low daily cume. While they seem to retain listeners longer (in part no doubt because of their morning show ratings), they have fewer people sampling them each day. That could be an indication of a longer term the cards.

    1. Media Man

      Some interesting observations here definitely.. CHOM is definitely caught in the middle, and there may be some indication of any direction with Tootall’s replacement to be named soon..
      Probably at his big retirement bash at Club Soda..

      As for CJAD, even more interesting but kinda along the same vein, of younger vs.older. Besides Andrew Carter and Aaron Rand definitely keeping the 50+ crowd longer but probably not into the newer Leslie Roberts and what’s her name from 1 to 3 and their weekend programming after the solid morning shows have gone to the pits..

      But everything should come to a head when AM 600 gets going, and my advice would be to look for younger demographic type programming,seasoned hosts that can attract both demos, and certainly an aggressive newsroom breaking out scoops like Claude Beaulieu at AD used to do. But talk shows or certain subjects and guests geared to a younger clientele would be the thing..

      Maybe CJAD is thinking about that with their new show on parenting on Sundays with Orla Johannes being one of the co-hosts. That’s a good example of a younger demographic show.

    2. Dorothy

      To attract and build audience for certain TV shows, networks used to position that show in a timeslot immediately following a hit.
      With a background in print, I’m unfamiliar with how radio jockeys for listeners but logic suggests the same tactic would apply, i.e. a host with strong numbers is the natural segue for his/her audience staying tuned for the next show.
      However, too many hosts and those interviewed for their political take on things, have become basically interchangeable, an echo chamber of the left. For a time there, pit bulls and Uber were driving the agenda, show after show, day after day. What was there to sample?

  5. Lance Campeau

    I can’t say much for the Beat’s musical content or the quality of their hosts as I never really listen to the station for more then a minute at a time. However, they certainly have the hottest sounding FM broadcast feed on Montreal radio. I’d love to know what they are using in their processor chain.

  6. Dorothy

    CJAD’s latest leg down: quel surprise.
    Kevin O’Leary is gone; no one really has replaced Jean Lapierre; it’s been years since Prof. Tom Velk (or someone like him) has shared his thoughtful insights. And I can’t recall the last time I heard Lise Ravary.
    I also wonder how many listeners in the 50+ demographic relate to the new hosts.

    And I suspect some listeners (like me) have absolutely had it with the Trump-bashing.

  7. Will

    “station’s ratings fluctuations don’t seem out of the ordinary for me.”

    so the lowest ratings in 4 years for TSN is ordinary?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      so the lowest ratings in 4 years for TSN is ordinary?

      Yes, since the same rating happened four years ago. If they drop below 2% or climb above 5%, that would be out of the ordinary.

        1. Fagstein Post author

          the ratings have been trending downward for a while now.

          Not really. The average over the past three years is higher than the previous three years, for example, and there was a peak as recently as spring 2015.


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