CJAD merges Natasha Hall, Aaron Rand shows, to rebroadcast CTV News at 6

On the heels of recent cuts to its programming, CJAD is reducing its local schedule by an hour a day and merging the shows of afternoon hosts Natasha Hall and Aaron Rand as of next Monday.

The announcement was made at the beginning of Hall’s show on Wednesday. The two, who have known each other for years going back to when Hall did traffic for Rand’s morning show on Q92, will co-host a show from 2 to 6pm weekdays. The new show, whose name hasn’t been announced but will be something like “Montreal Now with Aaron Rand and Natasha Hall”, replaces Hall’s 2-4pm show and Rand’s 4-7pm show.

Hall said Robyn Flynn, currently the producer of Rand’s show, will produce the new show, while Brian Kowlessar, currently with Hall’s show, will stay as technical producer.

The final hour, from 6-7pm, will be a rebroadcast of CTV News Montreal at 6. That follows similar moves from Toronto’s CFRB and Ottawa’s CFRA, which already rebroadcast local CTV newscasts at 6pm. CJAD already rebroadcasts CTV’s national newscast at 11pm and the local 11:30pm CTV newscast.

Meanwhile, morning host Andrew Carter announced Wednesday he would be joining the Live at Five show, from 5am to 5:30am, with Trudie Mason and James Foster.

The end result of these changes will be reducing CJAD’s local original programming down to 11 hours on weekdays, from 5am to 6pm and excluding the Evan Solomon Show from noon to 2pm. That’s much less than it used to be, when CJAD had local programming until 11pm or midnight.

There’s no word of staff cuts as a result of this change, though it may save some money down the road by, for example, not needing to bring in replacements during vacations. A memo from Bell Media on Tuesday said its organizational changes were complete, so there shouldn’t be other major staff cuts in the near future.

90 thoughts on “CJAD merges Natasha Hall, Aaron Rand shows, to rebroadcast CTV News at 6

  1. MamaGirl

    What happens to James foster I enjoyed him with Trudie Mason when Andrew p left in November at that time slot 5-530 am

    Reply
    1. Just Me

      This morning on “Live at Five” Trudie Mason said that next week “Live at Five” would be her and James Foster as usual, with Andrew Carter joining them.

      Reply
      1. CatS

        Oh God why??? Live at 5 only needs those 2 (Trudy and James) at 5am. Sorry to say, do not need another 30 mins of Andrew Carter.

        Reply
  2. Al

    Death by a thousand cuts (disambiguation). This has nothing to do with local management (whatever of it is left) and everything to do with Bell Media corporate and their marriage with the CRTC. Those two seem to sleep well together. If the Commission were doing its job, this type of crap would NEVER be allowed to happen. Welcome to fascism, Canadian style.

    Reply
        1. Steve

          I agree Al. I wish we could give “thumbs up” to comments because if so, I’d give you a 1000 thumbs up”. Talk about being way overboard and so misunderstanding of how any definition of Nazism doesn’t apply here.

          Reply
    1. Dan Shields

      It is more oligarchial than fascist. What causes this is the non competitive nature of Canuckistanian media. You just have to compare English Montreal to Plattsburg-Burlington. Smaller market and literally exponentially more TV and radio stations.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        You just have to compare English Montreal to Plattsburg-Burlington. Smaller market and literally exponentially more TV and radio stations.

        They compare pretty well. Plattsburgh/Burlington has several commercial TV stations operated by only three companies. Montreal, meanwhile, has three stations in English and two in French owned and operated by four companies. The radio market in Burlington/Plattsburgh has more radio station owners, but there isn’t much space on the FM dial in Montreal for additional stations.

        Reply
        1. Dilbert

          Additional stations isn’t the answer, it’s diversity of ownership.

          There is a limit to the number of stations in Montreal. The language issue makes this a given. There is no sane reason to have all of the active anglo stations (ignoring TTP fiasco) held by only two companies. So much is the demand for alternate voices that you have stations edging in front Hudson and such.

          As for TV, remember this: of the three English stations, they are all owned by the networks they represent. In the US, the stations are owned by companies independent from the networks, and they can mix and match what they run on their sub channels without issue. They also control much of their own non prime time programming, set to local taste rather than a national standard. The stations can and do run stand alone without any network / outside support. They do their own switching, etc. Each of them has local news both produced and put on air locally.

          In Montreal TV, we have Bell Corporate, Global Corporate, and Rogers Corporate. None of these stations are stand alone, none of them can operate without the mothership. Programming decisions are made wholesale at a national level. switching and control of everything on air is done centrally, making the stations nothing more than rebroadcasters for the most part.

          Franco? Bell corporate and Videotron Corporate. Not much better!

          Reply
          1. Jack Nathanson

            Also, note that none of the Montreal television stations broadcast anything on their sub channels. Almost as if they are afraid that giving viewers more choice of what to watch on broadcast television will result in fewer people seeing the need to spend the big bucks to subscribe to cable. And coincidentally, the cable companies seem to owned by the same corporations that own the broadcast television stations. So the viewers are getting screwed in all directions.

            Reply
        1. Anonymous

          When the reporters are directed what to report they become obsolete, thankfully BCE recognize this. Shareholders shouldn’t be on the hook for salaries and pensions that have no return.

          Reply
      1. Gazoo

        Maybe more will start pulling the plug on Bell, radio, tv, communications all together.
        As mentioned in another post, other communication companies out there offering equivalent services for less.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          You have to watch out though… if you are buying “non cable TV” internet, you are buying it from a company that is buying it from Bell. So even when you try to avoid, you are not avoiding. It’s also not like Videotron is a particularly much better corporate citizen either.

          Reply
      2. Sydney

        The Bell near monopoly cannot last forever. People are already pissed at them. Our anything for a vote federal government would throw Bell under the bus if they thought they would get more votes.

        Reply
  3. Sidney Margles

    The CTV News in CJ AD, and similsrly elsewhere is not a rebroadcast, but a simulcast.. Heard on radio at the same time as on TV.

    Reply
    1. Sol Z Boxenbaum

      Newscasts on CTV are telecast at precise times daily. Newscasts on CJAD are approximately within 1-3 minutes late depending on how much time Natasha takes to discuss with the next host what her topic will be in the next segment and how many commercials CJAD can squeeze in to tell you who the sponsors are (Elektrica with a K) or might it be Electrika with a K)
      Let’s face it Sydney in our day at 1191 Mountain Street they would never have got away with newscasts that were not precisely on the air on time. If not the listeners had the benefit of being able to switch to CFCF or CKVL or CFOX. Today we are at the mercy of the “suits”

      Reply
  4. Yuno Hoo

    Who cares anymore. The station is now just a shell of itself. There is nothing left to listen to on this station.
    So sad.

    Reply
    1. U No Hoo Too

      Don’t care too. Only a matter of time before they start simulcasting more programming from Toronto on weekends. Already had enough of the guy from Toronto weekday evenings. This guy has a hate-on for Amazon. Only listened a few times for less than 10 minutes and each time he brought up Amazon. Too bad TTP won’t get their station off the ground. There’s always CBC Radio – presetting my radios today. Will now listen to only the “CTV News” before and then the Tom Mulcair and James Mennie segments.

      Reply
  5. Michel

    There is nothing more frustrating than listening to a TV show on the radio, as often images are discussed and radio listeners have no idea what the heck is happening. So I guess that means I’m calling BELLSHIT !!

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    This station is basically dead.
    Listeners should start to look around for something else.

    CBME-FM 88.5 (CBC Radio1)
    WVMT-AM 620
    WVPR-FM 107.9 -HD1: VPR
    – HD3: BBC World Service

    Or look at one of the French language News talk stations.

    Reply
      1. Marc

        Yes. Just like any heavily syndicated AM talk station in America whose local programming is limted to morning drive and a couple weekend shows.

        Reply
      2. Joe

        Yes they do, I love listening to them for the laughs, it’s a comedy show. I can’t believe people in the US listen to this like it’s gospel. Rush Limbaugh, Howie Carr, one of the clowns from Fox and Friends, they’re all on. I remember after the 2016 election someone called from Montreal saying there’s a bunch of Montrealers protesting Trump’s victory, friggin hilarious.

        Reply
    1. Brett

      This is where I would love for CFQR 600AM to stop their music, and get to the talk format they promised. We need another competitor who is local. I would gladly listen to them over CJAD.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        CFQR-AM 600 can start off with at least one two hour weekly show, and then expand slowly.
        If they think that they where going to switch on full News / Talk one day to the next, forget about it.

        They need to slowly build up a regular audience.
        But, they haven’t done anything.
        And, I don’t expect them to do anything.

        Reply
      2. Rahul Majumdar

        Been waiting 8-10 years for CFQR 600 to get going. The English Montreal market is still large enough for competition on the AM dial, and with the closure of CJAD’s newsroom, CFQR has an experienced talent pool to draw from.

        Time to make a move if people still believe in freedom of information. Use it, or lose it…

        Reply
      1. Louise

        “Hall is unbearable to listen to”

        Glad to hear.. I thought that it was only me. I turn the radio off when she comes on. Not very well read and a horrible nasal voice with an overemphasis on vowels.. meeeee, seeee

        Reply
        1. Mousse

          100% agree with Sol, Craig and Louise – she’s just awful, totally cringeworthy and has no business teaming with the intelligence and compelling work of Aaron Rand !! I listened for 1 hour on the first day and had to turn off the show. Large sigh.

          Reply
          1. MamaGirl

            I cannot get used to Natasha hall , tried for an hour on the second day and just was wishing for Aaron to keep talking. It’s a no go for me sadly.

            Reply
            1. Stephen Morrissey

              While I was never a fan of Natasha Hall’s show, not interested in what was discussed, my impression of Aaron Rand has gone down because of the way he talks over and dominates the new Rand-Hall show. The new format is difficult and doesn’t work for either of them. The news at 6 p.m., the television news, is terrible. Bell screwed CJAD.

              Reply
              1. chuck wintle

                I think Aaron Rand needs to do that to compensate for Hall’s lack of voice presence on the air. Why Bell chose to mess around like this is beyond me.

        2. Stephane

          She is completely unbearable to listen to and as another commenter said “cringeworthy”. She keeps talking about herself (nobody really cares about her personal life) and has nothing of interest to add to the conversation. Her predictable comments don’t belong on the radio of such a cool city as Montreal.

          Reply
          1. anarac

            The pair of them were so “holier than thou” today with their vaccine talk. Since neither of them have any kind of medical background their opinion is not worth anything, Maybe they need to shut up.

            Reply
  7. CatS

    sadly this is the death knell of the last vestige of real-time info on the radio in Montreal. I am saddened for those long-time people at CJAD. Bell does not care for you in spite of their Lets Talk Bullshit.
    God help us in Montreal if ever we have another ice storm type emergency.

    Reply
  8. Frank

    Just what we needed: an extra half hour of Carter’s inane jokes, fumbling sentence structure. and inability bring serious decorum to news. Oh how I miss Nerenberg…

    Reply
  9. Gilles Larin

    “MA BELL” does it AGAIN! The ONLY thing they are interested in are PROFITS! They have basically ELIMINATED AM radio broadcasting in Canada (INCLUDING LEGEND CJAD) and are gradually eliminating good television with their profitable CRAP! Way to go BELL!

    Reply
    1. Al

      Gilles..good observation. One might think that the suits at Bell Media would have enough foresight to realize that by “editing” and otherwise serving up garbage, they stand a good chance of losing the very entities that create their bottom line. Aside from Aaron in the afternoon occasionally, and Sunday trivia, they haven’t had my ears for years. Then again, neither has any other station in the city. I AM going through iPods like crazy, though.

      Reply
  10. Lance Campeau

    Bell’s is clearly trying to kill off radio and push people toward their garbage mobile apps for everything.
    They can eff off.

    Reply
  11. Dilbert

    What I am not getting is the idea that CJAD is the biggest, most listened to anglo station in the market, and yet some how Bell thinks it’s the best place to cut 40% of the programming hours and get rid of all of the reports of the last real radio news room in the region – the one that provided news to all of their sister stations in the market.

    If Bell cannot figure out how to make a reasonable profit with the biggest anglo station in the market, perhaps they should get out of the radio business. They clearly don’t have a clue.

    Reply
    1. Jack Nathanson

      I don’t think Bell wants to make a profit from radio and television broadcasting. It seems to deliberately run lousy programming on both radio on television in order to make listeners and viewers desperate enough to subscribe to Bell cable and specialty channels, from which it makes most of its profits.

      Reply
  12. Mike

    Does anyone know if the CRTC requires a minimum amount of news reports during the day? In Toronto, CFRB has eliminated some newscasts during the day. I thought CTV News might be a substitute for radio news. CJAD and CFRB have large audiences. Are these stations profitable? CFRB, until today was commercial free from 5 to around 6.15pm, I suspect because they wanted car radios to be tuned to their station for the next morning’s drive. The risk is that there are alternatives in the Toronto market that some might now be tempted to listen to during the commercial breaks.

    CBC Radio One with 7 hours of commercial free weekday local programming might end up being the only place to go for local news and information if this trend continues. I think the current model is broken.

    I have always wondered if the cost of on air talent has increased faster than advertising revenue? With high quality podcasts from public and private broadcasters, I am not sure how private broadcasters with a traditional news and information format can compete.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Does anyone know if the CRTC requires a minimum amount of news reports during the day?

      It does not. It expects some local programming and local news, but there is no condition of licence in its standard conditions requiring it.

      CJAD and CFRB have large audiences. Are these stations profitable?

      Reply
  13. Ron

    This is ridiculous. It is just a way to get one (or both) out the door but not right away. Let the dust settle a bit and then fire one of them. More money for investors!
    With all the recent cuts, I think CJAD is a lost cause. Why don’t they just sell the stations instead of driving them into the ground? I had been a faithful listener for more than 50 years but with the latest round of cuts, they lost me. From suggestions on here, I switched over to CBC 88.5 and it is way better than expected. I also bought a subscription to SiriusXM. Their app is absolutely wonderful!
    Goodbye CJAD.

    Reply
  14. Craig McPherson

    Bell’s fourth quarter profit for 2020 rose from $672 million the year before, to $889 million, and this in a year when advertising tanked. And somehow out of that windfall they figure they have to dump staff and make programming cuts across at their radio stations? Get ready for even more “sponsored content” at CJAD, where basically anyone who wants to pay can buy their own show.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Bell’s fourth quarter profit for 2020 rose from $672 million the year before, to $889 million, and this in a year when advertising tanked.

      Bell Media’s fourth-quarter revenue was $791 million (vs. $879 million in Q4 2019) and adjusted EBITDA was $189 million, vs. $205 million a year ago. If you break it down to English-language radio specifically, Bell Media had a $3.4-million loss in 2019-20.

      You could argue that Bell’s telecom side should be subsidizing its media side, or that profitable media outlets should subsidize unprofitable ones, but it’s not like Bell’s AM radio stations are rolling in profits.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        Well, let’s see. 3.4 million loss in the quarter means about 38,000 per day. Bell controls 100 radio stations, around 80 are english. So you are looking at about $450 per day per station, that is it and that is all. The losses are notable but not exactly in line with taking out hundreds of people.

        Put another way, the entire losses in anglo radio media could be solved by removing a couple of VP level people.

        The other problem in Bell is that they don’t seem to have the ability to deal with stations on an individual case basis. Everything is done in large broad brush sweeps. Huge moves. Hundreds fired.

        CJAD is a perfect example. Top anglo station in the marketplace by far. Weak outside of peak hours, but the station does have a loyal but greying audience. If this station isn’t making money, it’s a failure of management and nothing else. Their solution for the top station in the market? Gut the news department and kill off 33% of the programming hours, replacing them with stuff few people are interested in listening to on repeat.

        It’s not that Bell’s telecom side should subsidize, but rather that the profitable businesses seem to keep Bell from properly running their various businesses. They find ways to make more money elsewhere so they just cut in radio (and local TV) without mercy with an eye on short term bottom line and nothing else. As a stand alone business, their radio (and local TV) stations would be run in an entirely different manner, that is for sure.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          the entire losses in anglo radio media could be solved by removing a couple of VP level people.

          First of all, they did remove several VP-level people. Secondly, why do you think people at that level get paid more than a million dollars a year?

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            Just like the Nazi comment above, this is one of those places where you show a tendency to black or white things that come with shades of grey.

            VP level staff at Bell are generally taking home low six figure salaries, not more than a million. But a VP generally doesn’t exist alone, nor do they sit all of their lives in a small box on a street corner. They have staff, they have office space, they have phones, travel, benefits, and so on. None of it is free.

            They don’t exist in a vacuum. They have pay and they have expenses. You can bet that each VP was costing the company nearly a million overall…

            More importantly for any broadcasting company, cutting back office generally does not show to the public. Cutting CJAD from 18 hours a day to 11 shows. Turning sports radio stations into comedy stations shows. Gutting news rooms and moving to rebroadcasting TV news shows. Those costs are harder to measure, but judging by the comments here and elsewhere, are very expensive when it comes to the value of the product / service they offer.

            Bell chose instead to give 200 plus people the axe and to cut services widely. How sad.

            Reply
  15. Edmund Lewis Gleason

    Since 2006 I have Sirius. Plenty of great entertainment there. I do occassionaly listen to CJAD but way less than usual.

    Reply
  16. Michael Black

    Isn’t this foretold by radio and tv websites that focus on news, rather than information about the station? If I wanted news, I’d go to the station, but I expect to find news at the website about why the station is off the air, and who to contact to complain.

    I haven’t listened to CJAD in at least eight years. It became about the news, and the commercials. Always in a rush to get to those, the “talk” became clutter to the station. But the news changed glacially, not in half an hour, or even a few hours.

    I might have kept checking news at their website (having driven me off, the website became news rather than an adjuct to a station I listened to), except it became “iheart radio” as if that applied to a “news/talk” station.

    Reply
  17. S. Santos

    Maybe the afternoon show should be called the Drive Home OR “StayHome Supper Bunch” with Aaron and Nat. Tasso can come virtually call in or Zoom in and be the right wing critic commentator like Mr Lowell Or Mr Carroll in Ottawa. Call it the Aaron and Nat show.

    Reply
  18. Michelle

    Just when you think they’ve cut enough, they keep on cutting. Don’t like the merger of 2 shows. Even if AR and NH are “friends”, I don’t see this one lasting. Maybe this is a way to “force” AR of retiring sooner rather than later. Imagine all the money Bell will save! I hope we get a new anglo radio staion because this format doesn’t reflect our unique place in Quebec. Can’t stand listening to podcasts from Toronto.

    Reply
  19. Dorothy

    Hall’s show appeals to a different audience than Rand’s. In their fused format, how many guys sitting in traffic on the drive home would listen to relationship stuff or a parenting skills guru? Would they be predisposed to turning the dial elsewhere for such segments and not return to CJAD 15 minutes later?

    Reply
  20. Jim

    And yet ultra Trump hating leftist Elias Makos remains. I could not listen to his show anymore. Gave up on far left CJAD a while ago. Only Trudi Mason has a level head there, the rest gave up on even being centrist a long time ago.
    Shuyee Lee is good but her soundbites were so short, I never understood what the interviewee aas saying.

    Reply
    1. Skid

      Exactly, remain centrist and double your audience, but the bleeding heart, self-righteous in the media just couldn’t help themselves. Let the snake consume itself!

      Reply
    2. Louise

      I wish that someone would teach Makos how to conjugate using the correct tense with conditionals. He really massacres the language.

      Reply
  21. Stephen Morrissey

    It’s time Bell was broken up, it controls radio, TV (CTV), newspapers, all of the market in some cities. Is there a politician who can take on this monster?

    Reply
  22. Michel

    CJAD deck chair change – Any agreement to thoughts about changing Andrew Carter and Ken Connors? Ken is well clicked on with current affairs and is engaged in the entertainment scene (especially the local scene). He could be better suited for weekday morning man, while Andrew, with his Dad jokes and la-la land focus would be entertaining for the weekends.

    Reply
  23. Just Me

    Well, “Live at Five” is gone. Andrew Carter’s show now begins at 5:00. James Foster does a regular top of the hour news segment, and then does a short “trending” segment just before 5:30. Between those two segments it’s Andrew Carter chatting a bit with Trudie Mason. Not the news half hour it used to be…

    Reply
    1. CatS

      I totally agree. I waited to comment for a couple of days, but this is no longer Live At 5. They are pretty much pushing Trudy out of the picture which is disgusting. The format as it was for that 30 minutes was fine. Why change it to accommodate Carter? He is fine from 5.30am but his addition to this 30 min segment is not welcome quite frankly. I wondered why Peplowski left, now I understand why.

      Reply
    2. Yoono Hu

      So sad to have listened to “First Glance” and then “Live at Five” for so many years, only to now hear the consistently unprepared Andrew Carter and his mouth full of marbles stumble around Trudie Mason and try to be witty (and it may be only my perception, but I think that they are sneaking in a few more commercials within that half hour, too).

      For countless years I used to get up early specifically to listen to that show, only to more recently then switch over to CBC at 5:30. Live at Five was the very last show worth listening to on CJAD, and now there is truly nothing to listen to AT ALL on this station.

      With these recent changes, it seems to be the end of an era. George Balcan, Gord Sinclair, and all of the others on CJAD’s “Wall of Fame” must be rolling in their graves.

      So sad

      Reply
      1. Keith

        I wonder will replace that Bell Wall with the modern updated version now known as the “Wall Of Shame”!!! Nothing worthy to go forward from this debris….I’m sure rising stars James Foster & Sophia M. will see the light of this broadcasting Titanic & move on to “greener pastures” where their talent would better used! R.I.P. CJAD , u died once they changed their format in the mid 80s…

        Reply
  24. Frank

    Gave the new Rand-Hall show a listen. It’s more The Aaron Rand Show with colour commentary by Hall. I can see Hall leaving soon as she brings nothing and sounds as if she’s hurrying to get her word in.

    Reply
    1. CatS

      I tried to listen again tonight (Day 4 of this horrible pairing) and I just could not. Natasha is a disaster and adds nothing.

      I listened for James Mennie and Tom Mulcair commentaries , then I had to turn CJAD off completely.

      I used to listen to CJAD from 4pm when Aaron Rand came on until 7pm. Now why bother until and unless Aaron is back to being solo host. So sad!

      Reply
  25. Anonymous

    Has anybody noticed the amount of comments on this site concerning the changes to 1 AM Talk station in Montreal. People say radio is dead. But, from the look at all the interest on the subject matter, I don’t think so. Too bad, Bell Media can’t seem to understand that people are really interested in radio.

    The problem is not radio. The problem is Bell Media.

    Reply
  26. Yoono Hu

    According to Mike Cohen of the Suburban,( https://tinyurl.com/64epem48 ), CFQR AM 600 could be forthcoming about a talk radio format debut. The ownership appears to be spurred on by recent programming changes that Bell Media imposed upon CJAD. Does anyone have any additional information?

    Reply

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