Numeris released its summer 2020 ratings this week, and combined with the ratings from the spring, we see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as fewer people tune in.
The Beat 92.5 saw the most noticeable drop in terms of raw audience numbers, going from an average of 10,000 anglophone listeners a minute down to 6,800 and 6,600. But it maintained its second-place rank among English-language stations. Virgin also saw a drop, continuing a long decline that has seen it lose more than half its audience in three years.
Conversely, CHOM managed to grow its audience slightly, which gave it its best audience share in years as its competitors declined. And Énergie 94,3, which has refocused itself on rock music and away from talk, saw a jump in audience that put it ahead of sister station Rouge FM 107,3 for the first time since at least 2011, and claiming the adults 25-54 demographic over Rythme FM (though Rythme has much higher ratings overall).
In Toronto, Corus’s Q107 also had a big jump in ratings, making it the #1 station among adults 25-54, a status it didn’t hesitate to crow about.
So does this mean rock music stations did well during the pandemic?
Well, no. I crunched the numbers for this story for Cartt.ca and it turns out these three stations are the exception. Across Canada, rock and alternative stations were flat, and most lost audience.
One format that unquestionably suffered from the pandemic is sports talk, with the eight stations in Canada’s five metered markets dropping more than half as all professional leagues suspended play. There was a rebound in the summer as leagues came back, but stations are still well below normal.
Canada’s two traffic stations in Vancouver and Montreal (both at 730 AM) saw a huge dip in the spring and a stronger recovery in the summer as people started going back to work.
News talk overall didn’t change much, which could indicate that habits didn’t change or that an overall drop as fewer people listened to radio going to work was offset by increased interest in news about the pandemic.
On Montreal’s franco side, 98,5fm remained the #1 station even though it had its B-teams running during the summer.
After a three-year absence, CJPX-FM has returned to Numeris ratings measurement under new owner Leclerc Communication. The station, which launched under the WKND brand, registered an average minute audience of 1,500, much lower than Radio Classique before it, but it didn’t launch regular programming until the fall and it’ll be a while before it has a chance to build up a brand and get pop music listeners into the habit of checking it out as they scan between the stations.
Leaving the chart is CHRF 980 AM, as owner Evanov Radio pulled the plug on it in June.
- The Beat 92.5: #1 music station among anglophones
- 98,5fm: #1 station
- Rythme 105.7: #1 music station
- Énergie 94,3: #1 station for adults 25-54
- CKOI 96.9: #1 reach with 2 million listeners
- 107,3 Rouge: #1 afternoon drive show
- ICI Première 95,1: Best summer ratings ever
- ICI Musique: Best ratings since PPM introduced