Fall radio ratings: Could The Beat surpass CJAD?

Numeris released its quarterly ratings report for metered markets on Wednesday, and for Montreal the only surprising thing is how much The Beat continues to dominate over Virgin Radio. With a 21.5% share, it has more than twice the average listeners than Virgin Radio at 9.4%. And not only it it the fourth straight quarter that The Beat has been more than twice Virgin’s share, it’s the third straight where Virgin has fallen behind CHOM for third place among English music stations.

The 21.5% share is The Beat’s highest since it launched in 2011, and less than four points below perennial leader CJAD 800. Could we see a future where The Beat isn’t just the most popular music station and the most popular among that advertiser-friendly 25-54 audience, but among all ages and formats as well?

The book is more bad news for Virgin Radio, which tried to turn things around by letting go of program director Mark Bergman (he’s now at The Beat) and morning hosts Freeway Frank and Natasha Gargiulo and stealing Vinny Barrucco back from The Beat to lead its new morning show. The Beat’s morning show, headed by Vinny’s former co-host Nikki Balch, is still ahead. It’s still early — this is the first full book with Barrucco hosting the morning show with Shannon King — but they have a lot of ground to cover, and Virgin has lost a lot of ground that it has to make up.

TSN 690 is at the bottom of the anglo commercial radio pack, but it had its best share since 2017. CBC Radio One, meanwhile, which had good numbers from 2017 until this spring, has fallen back below 7% in market share.

On the francophone side, the top line hasn’t changed much, except for a rebound for CHMP-FM 98.5 (which always tends to dip in the summer with replacement hosts and less news), and a drop for CKOI 96.9.

Bragging rights

14 thoughts on “Fall radio ratings: Could The Beat surpass CJAD?

  1. mediaman15

    Well, this is interesting. The Freeway Frank and Cousin Vinny experiment seems to have failed miserably,,,
    When is Bellmedia gonna pull the plug on the Virgin brand? It’s a tired brand and recognize their many failures. Mark Bergman must be glad he’s out of that hot oven.

    And when Is Bellmedia and the Toronto suits and bean counters going to realize that you can’t keep on cutting without affecting your listeners and its Numeris numbers….Something has to give at some point…

  2. Bernard Bouchard

    Depuis quelques jours, CFQR 600 et CINV 940 ne diffusent plus de signaux sur les ondes. Ca n’a pas l’air de fonctionner fort leur affaire!

  3. Dilbert

    The elephant in the room is total listener minutes.

    In Fall 2016, the total for these five stations was 45.5.
    In Fall 2019, the total for these five stations is 35.5

    That means 22% less listener minutes.

    Now, the second part of this elephant is that the vast majority of the tune out is Virgin and CJAD. Virgin has lost more than 40% of it’s listener minutes, and CJAD is sitting now nearly 30% below it’s average (forget peak).

    So where are these listeners going?

    1. Brett

      With many mobile carriers offering unlimited data we can assume that many listeners are streaming music and talk radio. Being on a carrier that doesn’t offer unlimited data I still listen via FM radio. I know many who left FM radio for Spotify and similar apps die to unlimited streaming.

      If stations want to keep their listeners they need to change their formats to something not in market. They could at least tweak their formats to include music played in rest of country but not Montreal.

    2. Deborah Bee

      I used to listen religiously to CJAD for decades, but now, being a news junkie; I’m more interested in TV news (MSNBC). The numbers may reflect people watching the impeachment trial on TV.

    3. Dee

      Where did this listener go? The 680 AM (WVMT) dial for Howie Carr’s show when I’m preparing dinner. Friday mornings in the kitchen? Brian Kilmeade followed by Rush Limbaugh.

        1. Anonymous

          Thank you for correcting that. WVMT is indeed 620.
          My experience too has been instances (inclement weather) interfering with getting reception in the house or maintaining static-free listening.
          Try moving the radio to a different area in the room or angling the radio to the right or left. Either can improve reception.

  4. Anonymous

    Very Interesting development. If CKBE-FM 92.5 manages to surpass CJAD-AM 800 by the next ratings book, you know what will hit the fan over at Bell Media.

    And wouldn’t it be nice to see CJAD drop from the top of the Anglo market ratings. Listening to that station is like listening to a bunch of circle jerks. And it’s certainly time for CJFM-FM 96.9 to have a format change. How about Country Music, Heavy Metal, Alt Rock, all 80′ & 90’s, all X-mas Music something, anything else other than their current format.

    All Bell Media stations are doing is driving listeners to SiriusXM, Spotify, Amazon music, and podcasts. What a business model. And if i hear one more iHeart Radio app promo on their stations, I’m going to vomit. Just what everybody needs is to burn their data on their phones to listen to their stations.

    1. Brett

      I agree with you. Bell needs change their format. If they want to keep CHR why not go rhythmic CHR and add in some hip hop to take away some listeners of 94.7 Hits FM who can’t get a clear signal in the city.

      Also I would welcome Bell flipping to country music. CKKI-FM 89.9 Kic Country needs competition. Their station is just music, no host beyond a Monday evening show. Weekend are all syndication. Would love a country station that has a local presence. Just look at how big country music has gotten in the last few years. More tours are stopping at the Bell Center and Bell could take advantage of that with county radio. Virgin Radio needs to go

  5. Danny C.

    The once mighty Virgin Radio has been decimated. I am glad to see Bell Media’s firing of Freeway and Natasha completely backfire.

    1. Dilbert

      I think what is key here is that unless the morning show is completely broken (ie, target audience is tuning out) changing the hosts isn’t a good thing at least in the short term.

      Of course, this may change over time if the new hosts attract more people.

      I think it’s much more a question of the overall direction of the two stations. Hosts are a deck chairs on the Titanic problem for Virgin, the overall brand / station is having issues.

    2. Anonymous

      Freeway & Natasha became too insular and tone deaf to their wider audience. They were great but the last couple of years the fatigue was there. Natasha always seemed to be pushing a product or traffic to her social media. Frank compensated with consummate elegance and professionalism. I am tired of the big carriers like everyone else. Frank & Natasha needed a shakeup at the very least. Wish them both well…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *