CRTC approves Radio Classique 99.5 sale to Leclerc, conversion to pop music station

Montreal radio listeners who tune to 99.5 FM to hear classical music will soon have to find another source for those runes. On Friday, the CRTC announced it is approving a sale of CJPX-FM from Radio Classique to Leclerc Communication, which will turn it into a pop music with the same WKND brand it uses in Quebec City.

Radio Classique’s other station, CJSQ-FM 92.7 in Quebec City, will remain a classical music station, but I wouldn’t count on it surviving for long now that its big brother has been sold off. Radio Classique is also maintaining its online streaming.

The sale is valued at $4.89 million, with Leclerc having to pay an additional 6% of that value to go to independent funds per the CRTC’s tangible benefits policy.

Leclerc, which tried the same thing with CKLX-FM 91.9 in 2018 (a deal that failed when the CRTC said it couldn’t also buy CHOI Radio X in Quebec City), said it was happy with the decision, and will convert 99.5 to WKND “in the coming months.”

UPDATE (April 28): The CRTC has published the rationale behind the decision. It says there’s no diversity of voices concern since one independent owner has been replaced with another, and “the entry of Leclerc would maintain musical diversity in MontrĂ©al, although the musical offering would differ from that currently broadcast by the station.” It also noted that the station had not been profitable since 2014, and other broadcasters (Radio-Canada, Stingray and SiriusXM) also provide classical music programming, though none are on analog FM.

6 thoughts on “CRTC approves Radio Classique 99.5 sale to Leclerc, conversion to pop music station

  1. Anonymous

    Classical music stations and other similar marginal formats are the low hanging fruit in markets where there are few if any open FM frequencies. Generally the stations are low rated and unlikely to be making much of a profit. Jazz stations are in a similar situation.

    Converting to the WKND format is a positive thing for the consumer. There is much demand in this segment, a large segment of the total Montreal radio listenership falls at least in part to it’s playlist. It’s not hard to imagine a station like this coming in and ending up with 4-5% market share in a reasonable time frame.

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  2. Lance Campeau

    WOW…. Another blow to the already incredibly stagnant and narrow FM offering in Montreal…

    Their are already multiple FM stations in English & French pumping the local airwaves full of the same brand of low quality, screeching noise pretending to be music that was produced by that one douchebag Swedish producer.

    Its nothing less then a shame that the only station on the MTL dial that programs beautiful, listenable & impeccably recorded music is about to be supplanted by yet another channel filled with same type of auto-tuned trash that causes instant “tune out” to the largest segment of the demographic that still considers radio a viable medium (PD’s please take note that KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO FM RADIO ANYMORE).

    A major loss for fans of REAL music in Montreal and I wish them nothing but failure in their endeavor to make an already dying medium even worse.

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  3. Bruno

    Of course they are happy to get their hands on Radio Classique, as opposed to CKLX-FM (91,9 Sports), the transmitter is much more powerful. Can’t believe the CRTC changed their license to play pop music. I will really miss Radio Classique.

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  4. Anonymous

    This is bad news for classical music fans.
    There are options and work arounds to the problem though.

    As you mention, Radio Classique will maintain a online streaming presence.
    That’s good if you’re home on your Wi-Fi set up. But using your cell phones data plan to stream to a Bluetooth device either at your home or office or in the Car can get expensive. And not practical.

    There are currently two other classical music stations in the Montreal area.
    But you’ll need a radio that can pick up the HD Radio signals. Both are on the FM band in digital form.

    95.1 – HD2 : ici musique classique
    107.9 – HD2 : VPR Classical

    HD Radio in your Car.
    Believe it or not, plenty of car owners have a functioning HD Radio in their car radio, and don’t even know about it. Example, HD Radio seems to be a basic feature in Subaru’s since 2015.
    There are other cars as well that have it as part of a basic package, and even high end cars.
    The best way to know if your car has HD Radio already in it is to look at your users manual.

    HD Radio at Home or Office
    There are a few models available that can be purchased. These are basically regular Analogue AM/FM radios that also have AM/FM HD Radio digital technology in them to pick up the HD Radio signals. The best thing to do is go to hdradio.com and click on the Get a Radio, Home Radios section on the main page. You’ll find these radios for sale on amazon, and myhdradio.ca

    Very important when buying a unit. Make sure the HD Radio logo in on the radio. In the front. In the back side whatever. Just calling it HD does not make it a HD Radio.
    You can see what the logo looks like at hdradio.com

    Here is the current list of of stations transmitting a HD Radio signal in and around the Montreal area.

    95.1 (CBF-FM)
    103.3 (CHAA-FM)
    105.7 (CFGL-FM)
    103.7 (CITE-FM)
    107.9 (WVPS-FM)

    When you lock on to them with a HD Radio, you’ll then see the HD1, HD2, HD3. HD4 options will appear. Then you can access each one.

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  5. Bruce

    if you want classical music go online, easiest solution for all your needs
    local radio will become national in scope with local news and weather, there is no other way to go
    Bell has started the process if you like it or not…that is the consumers choice

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  6. Waxy

    What a disappointing CRTC decision! We don’t have an HD Radio unit (other than in the car) so a station that’s on for 3-4 hours a day in our home will be really missed. What we really need – more pop music stations. Geez!

    Reply

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