Bell Media took another step toward putting its 109 radio stations into neat little brand packages this week with the announcement of a new brand: Bounce, which has been applied to 25 of those stations, including all the EZ Rock stations in B.C., the Bob FM stations in Winnipeg and elsewhere, and 102.9 K-Lite in Hamilton. (The full list of stations is below.)
The format bills itself as favourites from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with an apparent focus on more pop and rock songs, with artists like Aerosmith, The Tragically Hip, Bon Jovi, INXS, Elton John, Michael Jackson and Oasis. It seems to be a way to bring the adult contemporary focus of EZ Rock, the nostalgia of Bob and the harder rock formats of 100.9 Big Dog or 105.3 The Fox into the same family.
This move makes Bounce the largest of the Bell Media brands by number of stations, though most of them are in smaller markets. It also, along with previously announced Move and Pure Country brands, reduces to just a handful the number of Bell stations that haven’t been tied to a national brand.
I’ve written about brand consolidation recently, but this just further underscores how much cleaning up Bell in particular is doing with its brands, with 85 of its music stations now belonging to just 7 brands.
Bell Media national radio brands
- Bounce (adult hits): 25 stations
- Pure Country (country): 16 stations
- Virgin (contemporary hits): 12 stations
- Move (adult contemporary): 11 stations
- Funny (comedy): 4 stations
- TSN Radio (sports talk): 4 stations
- Bloomberg Radio (business news): 2 stations
- Énergie (CHR/rock): 10 stations
- Rouge (adult contemporary): 9 stations
- Boom FM (adult hits): 2 stations
The 14 stations left can be separated into two groups: 8 news-talk stations and 6 other music stations
The news-talk stations, including CJAD 800 in Montreal, seem pretty ripe for a national brand, and I’m a bit surprised one hasn’t been imposed already. Bell has already replaced their newscasts’ branding with CTV News, so why not just call them CTV News Radio like Corus did with Global News Radio?
There’s definitely a listener brand loyalty issue. It’s a bit more sensitive on talk radio than it is with music, and some of those brands (like CJAD or NewsTalk 1010) go way back, even though they’re largely just call letters, or the words “News Talk”.
These are the six remaining music stations that still have their own brand at Bell Media:
- CHOM 97.7 Montreal (rock)
- 100.3 The Bear Edmonton (rock)
- CJAY 92 Calgary (rock)
- HTZ 97.7 St. Catharines (rock)
- CHUM 104.5 Toronto (hot AC)
- AM580 Windsor (oldies)
You could make the case that these are special situations where an individual brand is warranted:
- CHUM is a highly-rated station in Canada’s largest market and has been known as CHUM FM since it launched in 1963
- AM580 is a de facto Detroit station and doesn’t have much wiggle room, and Bell doesn’t have a national oldies brand.
- CFBR-FM in Edmonton has been known as The Bear since 1992
- HTZ has been playing rock since 1995
- CJAY has never changed its callsign
- CHOM is … well, CHOM.
That said, Bell has killed legacy brands like Majic 100, QMFM in Vancouver, Capital FM and KHJ in Fredericton, C100 in Halifax, FLY FM in Kingston and 89X in Windsor as part of these recent rebranding efforts, so I wouldn’t put it past them to create a common rock brand for those last four stations.
Stations rebranding as Bounce
- CFWM-FM 99.9 Winnipeg
- CKX-FM 96.1 Brandon, Man.
- CKLY-FM 91.9 Lindsay, Ont.
- CJPT-FM 103.7 Brockville, Ont.
- CJOS-FM 92.3 Owen Sound, Ont.
- CICZ-FM 104.1 Simcoe, Ont.
- CKNL-FM 101.5 Fort St. John, B.C.
- CKRX-FM 102.3 Fort Nelson, B.C.
- CFTK 590 AM Terrace, B.C.
- CKOR 800 AM Penticton, B.C.
- CJOR 1240 AM Osoyoos, B.C.
- CHOR-FM 98.5 Summerland, B.C.
- CJAT-FM 95.7 Trail, B.C.
- CKKC-FM 106.9 Nelson, B.C.
- CKXR-FM 91.5 Salmon Arm, B.C.
- CKCR-FM 106.1 Revelstoke, B.C.
- CKGR-FM 106.3 Golden, B.C.
- CKTK-FM 97.7 Kitimat, B.C.
- CHTK-FM 99.1 Prince Rupert, B.C.
- CKLH-FM K-Lite 102.9 Hamilton, Ont.
- CKKW-FM KFUN 99.5 Kitchener, Ont.
- CIKX-FM K93 93.5 Grand Falls, N.B.
- CFXY-FM The Fox 105.3 Fredericton
- CKTO-FM Big Dog 100.9 Truro, N.S.
- CKBC-FM MAX 104.9 Bathurst, N.B.
At the same time, Bell Media also rebranded CHRX-FM 98.5 Fort St. John, B.C. and CHRX-FM-1 95.1 Dawson Creek, B.C., from Sunfm to Move.