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.

75 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. Frankie

          Yeah I agree . Her voice is unpleasant and it feels like a really local yockel affair. Yet I stopped tuning in to morning 92.5 cuz I couldn’t listen to Nicki .Her voice was abrasive and off putting.

        2. Robert

          Claudia is mediocrity at best. This station sucks. Even worse rather than being new and trying to innovate they’re replicating the old 95.9. Seriously Mark Bergman? Whatever m. This station lost me when they axed Sarah B.

      1. Linda gauthier

        I cant believe you got rid of Nicky. She made the show in the morning. Don’t like the replacement at all . Bad move !!!

    2. Anna

      I cannot believe Nikki removed just like that??? She is the Queen of morning show host…I am so disappointed…I searched other stations…but nothing compares…I really hope one of the other stations get Nikki on air….she always made me smile…

    3. Marisa

      I find it despicable, I can’t believe that they got rid of the only person who was able to turn around the radio station. Nikki Balch is the reason I listened to the 92.5 every morning ! She is so alive and funny that the rest of the team didn’t compare. Why remove her ? What was the goal??
      It is a disgrace to see how people are used and tossed away like dirt! You just lost another listener and I hope thousands will follow!

      1. DIanne Caban

        Niiki was amazing. I agree with you. She was hilarious and she made the show. It is a special gift to be that funny and quick like she was. I don’t listen in the morning anymore. Maybe for 10 minutes that’s it. But I listen to Donna and the others. The radio show needs to stop replacing their broadcasters like they are ponds in a chess game. They are special and deserve more respect and appreciation. I hope you bring her back . She brought Happy to that show.

  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!

    1. DIanne Caban

      Niiki was amazing. Her talent to make her audience laugh was amazing. A natural gifted comedian. And she brought the listeners happiness during a Pandemic. Her and Sam Hilarious. Radio stations need to respect and value their broadcasters. They are not ponds in a chess game. Niiki if you read this thank you. You are a gifted and talented broadcasters that brought happy and funny to our homes during a Pandemic!

  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. Momo

              Too much of a feminist lol, I mean I think she was many things besides pro womens rights…and I supported her speaking up on important subjects instead of being sterile and boring like the rest of them. If they thought they had bad ratings before……

    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.

    1. Mr Jasmin

      That’s how I feel.
      I switched from Vergin to beat because of how they did wrong to freeway and Natasha couldn’t accept it then discovered Nikki and enjoyed so much how brilliant host Nikki is then this happens to her .
      If feel like all over again.
      Now I’m only looking forward to hear if she’s going to be there.
      I will listen to any station where ever she goes

  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.

    1. Anonymous

      I personally am not a fan of Claudia. She doesn’t have the energy Nikki did and giving her the morning show is an error. Her French accent is too thick and she tries to stick in French when she can. Best of luck Nikki. Time to switch to Virgin although will miss Sam, Vinnie was great on The Beat

  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. 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.

  17. 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

    1. Jake Leblanc

      I have to laugh out loud when I read the comments of Jeremy White on CHOM! You are obviously NOT a CHOM listener if you could suggest damaging their brand like that. The talent at that station is stellar. They don’t have the turnover that the Beat and Virgin have. CHOM announcers are mainstay and their fans appreciate that. To soil it with an outside like that; what an insult!

  18. 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.

  19. 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!!!

  20. Jan Tobin

    Radio is a nasty industry and obviously how this was dealt with is no exception. The way The Beat is handling the letting go of Nikki is no way to treat someone who did so much for the station and us as listeners. I began listening to Nikki a few years ago and the truth is she is an exceptional broadcaster and personality. I actually loved listening to her and Sam together but I always knew she was so much bigger than the position she had at the Beat. We had the privilege of world class talent. I have always told my husband we will be hearing her on a much bigger platform some day soon. A major loss for the Beat in my opinion.

  21. Marco

    I seriously doubt the on air people are to blame for ratings declines. Think about it. Are one or two staffers to blame when any business underperforms? Poor management is usually the cause of lackluster service. When a business stops meeting customer needs, it loses customers.

  22. Anonymous

    As a woman of colour I was proud of Nikki and was a fan. I loved her humour and quick wit. She made my commute a delight. However towards the last couple of years I started to feel icky as I felt she was becoming very opiniated and a little bully-ish. Especially towards Sam. It seemed that he just agreed to everything she said just to get along. I do enjoy the funny banter but it became uncomfortable when it felt to me like she was putting him down. Now I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes but as a listener it wasn’t always pleasant, at least for me. I suspected at some point she’d get axed and I’m sad to see that I was right. I wish her nothing but the best!

  23. Heather

    I am a long time 92.5 listener! I will not be anymore. Nikki made the morning show. It’s not the same without her ,Why is the radio business so cruel! Here today and gone tomorrow!! Good bye 92.5

  24. Chuck

    I’ve got nothing against Claudia Marques as a person, I’m sure she’s great. But as a radio personality she just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. Even before she got the morning shift, I would change the station when she came on. Nikki brought the sunshine to my morning radio and now that she’s no longer part of the show, I can’t stand to listen to it. I hope she finds a position, as others have suggested, on Virgin because that’s what I’ve settled on the past couple of weeks for my morning drive.

  25. Lorraine

    I will not listen anymore she was great Claudia sucks, you guys fucked up also Donna isn’t that great she is getting old and it’s the same songs for years and years,Sorry haven’t said this before get your facts right

  26. Carol Fer

    I am glad that Nikki is off the air. She was condescending and overly (Fake) sweet when speaking with her phone listeners. The other 2 co hosts had become insignificant over the last few months, she overpowered them. She had become a run away train.

  27. A

    Yes, radio stations seem cruel. But I don’t understand why people say she was let go. She’s going to another station for sure. On Insta, she says she’s fine and will explain later. That’s to respect her non-compete clause. They wouldn’t have paid for a big photoshoot and all if they were going to let her go a few days/weeks after.

  28. Jessica

    The morning show has lost it’s touch and adding Claudia to it now it a big mistake. I think you should bring back Vinny it hasn’t been the same dynamic since he left.
    And can you show the door to Megan Kelly while you’re at it, how can someone’s voice be so annoying. She is so overdone it almost sounds fake. I turn off the radio when she’s on!
    The Beat is going to shit. Donna is the only good one.

  29. MYM

    Nikki made Sam and Marc bearable…without her they are just noise and Claudia unfortunately doesn’t have the chops for morning show. The second I learned Nikki was not coming back ( I thought she was on vacation so was willing to bear the Marc Bergman show until she came back) I texted them that I am no longer listening and they ruined my mornings, Nikki was the joy of mornings for me. Sorry to see her go. sorry 92.5 no longer has a reason for me to listen. Oh and everybody is smarter than Sam….everybody.

  30. Beth

    There are always 2 sides to every story, but seriously the Beat do this every 5 years or so, you get used to and like someone and then they are gone! Just like that. Sad company to work for. Its not like the Beat had low ratings either. Shame on them!

  31. Angela

    I stopped being a regular listener when they got rid of Sarah!!! She was the best!!!
    I never warmed up to Nikki especially after one of her first days on air, the Canadiens had lost a big game in the series and she told everyone to “get over it”!!! My jaw dropped!! You are brand new on a radio show, in a hockey city and you tell people to get over it!! You lost me as a listener!!!

  32. Antonia

    Nikki was very loud and very abrasive, especially towards the end. Had low esteem for her co-workers and it emanated on an extensive thick level the moment she began speaking, especially towards Sam, and this attitude lasted the entire morning show, EVERY MORNING! There were times when I switched channel just because of all her negative comments towards the “boss”, towards Sam, AND men in general. Soooo glad she’s been replaced. It’s bad enough we drive to work in traffic, and then have to deal with someone else’s negative replies, comments, and sometimes extremely loud laughter that made me crinch. Good riddance.

  33. Glen

    Nikki was the heart of the morning show. We need a little laughter in the morning to get us going. It’s just not there anymore. I don’t think she was berating any of her colleagues. This is radio we don’t know what goes on behind close doors. Good luck to the morning crew. I will try to find some morning laughter in another show. Bonne chance Jeremy White. Love listening to you.

  34. Suzanne Blouin

    Now you need a replacement for Claudia. I’m sure she’s a very nice person but I can’t stand her voice.
    So aggravating. Sorry.

  35. Paolo Macera

    I just hate this station in general!
    I loved listening to it for years when Aaron stand and Paul Zachaib (Tasso Patsikakis) we’re in air, they were just amazing, had a bromance that was contagious even on the air and we genuinely had fun and actually laughed when they were joking around instead of today’s stupidity of everyone’s forced laughter.
    They trialed and errored many DJ’s until Nikki came on air and I started to listen again.
    Now I am reading they canned her for reasons unknown and when you call in asking where she is, no one knows, playing hypocrites.
    The Beat 92.5 do kit know what they want.
    They had once again something great going and they go breaking it up again.
    Well that’s it for me my friends, kiss The Beat 92.5 bye bye!!!


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