Nikki Balch out at The Beat 92.5

Just as Montrealers are enjoying their Labour Day weekend and local media are preparing for the fall season, The Beat rebranded its morning show, erasing host Nikki Balch out of existence.

Nikki, who has been with the station since 2016, and had been at Virgin Radio a few years before that, hasn’t posted anything publicly, nor have her now-former colleagues that I could find.

The station has replaced her with Claudia Marques on the renamed “The Morning Show”. She moves to mornings after co-hosting the afternoon drive show. Mark Bergman and Stuntman Sam remain on the morning team, and Kim Kieran gets officially added to the brand.

The move comes just days after the on-air staff, including Balch, posed for a new set of photos.

41 thoughts on “Nikki Balch out at The Beat 92.5

    1. Joseph Coughlan

      I will not listen anymore now that I discovered you let Nikki go the others are just babbles, I listened too the Nikki for her not the babblers hope I find you on another station

  1. Anonymous

    I noticed that also despite seeing her in her Instagram taking part of the photoshoot. Please keep us posted as soon as you will have more details. I’m wondering…

  2. KAY

    WoW , the radio business is heartless! She made it a number one morning station and now its like she never existed – so cruel…good luck Nikki in your future endeavors, hopefully your voice will be on the airwaves again real soon!

  3. Alex M

    Monday morning commutes with my girlfriend we’d both make wagers as to whether Nikki was going to be off again.

    So gossip aside… she really has been missing a lot of work recently. Hope it’s nothing serious and wishing her the best.

  4. Donna

    Nikki WAS the energy of the morning show. She helped me get through the end of my graveyard shift. What am I going to do now? The others are just not the same. ?

  5. Dilbert

    I am not surprised to see this happen.

    According to the last ratings post here on the blog, The Beat lost a big chunk of listened minutes and such in the last year. Yes, COVID and all, we all know. However, the drop is also relative to others, which is key. All stations are playing a level COVID field, if you like.

    Morning shows are a big driver of total listenership for a station. People start their day listening to your station and stick with you, at least that is the theory. So the morning show is key. It’s one of the reasons why successful morning shows last longer than almost any other position in radio. You don’t mess with success that is driving your business.

    That all said, I think the switch to Claudia Marques seems more like a quick fill than a real plan. As you mentioned, the entire on air staff including Balch recently did new promo pictures. It makes it pretty clear that even a few weeks ago this change wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Did the Beat get a preview of upcoming ratings? Did the music director or management want to take the morning show in a direction Balch didn’t agree with? Unless someone talks, we will never know.

      1. Dilbert

        BY your own post:

        and I quote “The Beat 92.5 tied for its worst performance in average minute audience in the past five years”.

        Year over year, the Beat is suffering greatly. From Winter 2020 to Winter 2021, their ratings (by your own chart) went from a 10 to a 7.2. These current ratings for the last 5 books are down signfiicantly from where they were previously. Yes, it isn’t EXACTLY a year, it’s a year and a quarter if you wish.

        The point remains. The Beat took a huge beating on COVID and other issues, and has lose listenership and such at a level way more significant than other stations, particularly CHOM or CJAD. All radio is down somewhat compared to where it was since the last real peak in 2017 or 2018, depending how you look at it. The Beat and Virgin both are dealing with losing about a third of their overall average minute audience as a result of COVID and the changes that have come along.

        Yeah, I know you love to correct and nit pick, but I know you understood the concept. Nikki has been with The Beat since 2016 and rode it’s peak to a huge 12.2 average minute audience in the summer of 2017 (odd to peak in summer too!). Things have continued on well until Winter 2020, and from there it’s been a solid drop off. Radio stations only have a few cards they can play to stop decline, which are playlists, personalities, or positioning / branding. They have to do what they do.

        That said, the timing of this change seems much more to be pressure from the outside. The change is sudden and the date horrible, it’s back to school time which is when so many people define their routines for the next months.

        Interesting side note: Mark Bergman was the PD at Virgin back in 2013, and he was the one who removed Nikki from the main daytime lineup and shuffled her off to the weekends, putting himself on air. Fast forward to 2019, he gets the boot from Virgin and comes to The Beat, and ends up on the morning show headlined by the person he got rid of for himself back in the day. He joined the morning show in the summer of 2020. It would be interesting to see if his presence on the show (or perhaps a desire for an increased presence) may have been a sore point here.

          1. Mimi

            I don’t like Mark Bergman. I don’t like any of them except Cat Spencer. I switched as soon as Cousin Vinny left. I found Nikki was too much of a feminist and made sure everyone knew. Her voice was annoying and I think at The Beat usually makes the right decision. What I think they should of done was brought Cat spencer back to the morning show with Claudia. I just don’t get how Sam still has a job. He’s so boring.

    1. Donna

      That would be great! I’ve stopped listening to 92.5 since her absence; it just made me very sad nit to hear her and her energy anymore.

  6. Alicia

    Well she did just post those new promo pics to her socials. Feels like she’s trolling us! Waiting to see what’s next for her. Montréal hasn’t seen the last of Nikkibonair

    Also? When is CHOM’S new morning host being announced? Bet it’s Jeremey White… which means otger changes at The Beat…

    Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  7. Donna Coyle

    I thought Nikki was amazing and I switched from virgin radio because of her. Not impressed I love Claudia but she will never replace Nikki. I will follow Nikki whatever radio show she will be doing.

  8. S Santos

    Nikki was from Ottawa, she was on Hot 899 before. She should go back to Ottawa to a hit music station. Nikki should go on stations like Jump 1069 midday or afternoons, she should join Chris on Kiss 1053 or move to Move 100. Nikki should probably do middays on Country Radio lik Pure County 94 or join Robin in the morning on Country 923 Smiths Falls. (Maybe she should join the Rebellion. Do evenings on Rebel 1017.

  9. Dianne

    Nikki and the morning team were hilarious. They were funny and witty and brought happy to our mornings. Especially during this Pandemic the team were are hero’s in the morning. You knew for sure they would make you laugh and brighten up your day. Especially during this Pandemic. I thank the entire team and the station for their great work. But Nikki leaving the show very sad.
    Bring her back!!!

  10. Anonymous

    omg…I can’t believe she is gone. I just got back from vacation and she is out…I travel to work very early in the morning and she made the mornings fun and I always laughed. I hope you have gone to something better, all the best Nikki.

  11. Anonymous

    Glad she’s gone..she was opinionated to a fault.. during the peak of Covid in 2020 every morning all they spoke about was Covid.. they never a health care worker, I needed entertainment, not to have to listen to what I was dealing with once I got out of my car! I missed was long over due the axe for Nikki!

  12. Anonymous

    Well , here we go again, I left the mix when Freeway Frank and Natasha Garguilo were let go just disappeared as with Nikki !! I went to the Beat which was great I think Nikki was amazing full of life, making our mornings fun and interesting easier to start the day . I will miss Nikki, morning show will not be the same.

    1. Leia

      It’s as though the goal is to make English radio stations in Montreal the worst in the world. So disappointing. She was amazing.

  13. Marilyn Gaffney

    I’m really sorry that Nikki Balch left the Beat I tuned in to listen to her every morning the group really seemed to get on well. Please bring her back I like Claudia but Nikki really ran the show.

  14. Anonymous

    I’m sorry but I don’t think Claudia is good for morning radio
    Unfortunately won’t be listening to it
    But I’ll check in when Donna saker comes on

    1. Mike from Canmore

      Mark Bergman needs to go away!! I can’t get away from this guy! Put him and Aaron rand on a show from midnight to 6am. Bring back Peter Anthony holder……92.9 the star Mike and Mary in the morning. Just pure fun!

  15. Tina Ferstman

    Very sad that Nikki is gone! Made my mornings! Always laughed so hard.
    Claudia Marques just doesn’t do it for me. Don’t like her voice. A bit irritating. I guess I’ll be flipping stations for a while till I find something I like.

  16. Ant

    Well, let me tell you my experience with Nikki. It was June 2018 when I went inside the studio when it was Nikki and Vinny before it was called Nikki, Sam and Andy. I’ve been a few times inside the studio with Donna, Meghan, Jeremy etc. I was expecting the same personality as when she is on air but nope it was wayyyyy different. It felt so cold, no communications with her co-workers, felt a bit off tbh and she asked me in a bit of a rude way on who I am. Anyways, my experience at the beat was honestly great( the best radio station ever ) I love them so much, but she’s a bit tough. I know I’ve been reading some comments here on Fagstein and on her Instagram comments. People won’t be listening to beat anymore but honestly who cares. Just because she leaves doesn’t mean the beat 92.5’s ratings will go down.It could but we have the best announcers including the number one workday announcer ( Donna, CJ( now moved to the mornings on weekends) Meghan, and 5@7 with Cat and Claudia! Another thing is people don’t love Claudia a lot. I personality like her but she can’t be doing two shifts. One in the morning and night. They need a new announcer now with Andy and Nikki that are both gone. Did I like Nikki? Yes but I know that her communication and her personality towards her co-workers are different when the music and commercials are playing. Also it’s kind of strange that people are saying “ well I’m following wherever she goes” Hmm what if she finds a job in Ottawa, you’ll hear her from Montreal when there is hundreds of radio stations in Montreal.

  17. Chantal

    I’m glad! She annoyed me. All she would do is make fun of Sam or go against everything he would say, got real annoying. I would wait till her show ended to put back on that station. Love Sam and Claudia. I think it will be better here on out.

    1. Eileen

      I totally agree with you, Chantal! She was always rude to him and insulting him. She once called him a douche bag and said he had bad hygiene. It was horrible listening to that. I don’t know why she was allowed to talk to him like that.
      The new team is so much better!!

    2. From a listener

      When Nikki started back in 2016 I really liked her but I have to be honest the last 3 years I did not like her anymore. I cannot pin point what exactly it was but I would find myself turning the radio off. I always liked Sam and Claudia good luck to both. I will be listening.

    3. Anonymous

      To be honest, I was not a fan of Nicki. She was SELECTIVELY objective and spent most mornings preaching only to turn around and say something just as belittling.

  18. Richie

    It’s bizarre that Cogeco hasn’t given a shot to someone younger like Jeremy White to anchor their morning show… I agree with Alicia above, Jeremy White would be a superstar on CHOM 97.7 FM and they haven’t announced a new morning host yet. Jeremy is still on The Beat so unless they are holding him to his non-compete and keeping him on air as they did with Vinny B, or he’s just not interested in going to CHOM-FM, it would be a no brainer for me if I owned CHOM-FM. He would bring new life to the morning show! Best to Nikki, cheers. – R

  19. Anonymous

    I also don`t think I will listen anymore, I have been listening on and off since she left and the program feels flat without her,


      The show is not the same without Nikki but as good as before. I like their topics and the intelligent and funny way they approach them with.

  20. Linda

    I listen to Niki every morning while doing my run. I am angry that she is gone. Hopefully, she will get another morning show and I will definitely switch to that station!!!


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