Montreal radio ratings: A boost for CKOI, but not much new otherwise

Numeris released its quarterly PPM ratings last week, and I’m not completely sure how to headline this because there hasn’t been much change.

Here’s how it works out for English-language stations:

We see long-term declines continuing for CJAD and The Beat, the latter of which seems to have been hit hardest by the pandemic (probably because it’s long been a 9-to-5 at-work station), and we see that Virgin Radio remains not only behind CHOM among anglophones, but once again behind CBC Radio One as well.

TSN 690 had its best summer book in years, which may have something to do with the Canadiens playing in the Stanley Cup Final in July.

If we add in francophone listeners (and stations), the biggest short-term news is a spike in ratings for CKOI 96.9, which has jumped to second place among music stations behind Rythme FM. And CHOM’s strong audience among francophones pushes it just ahead of The Beat in total average minute audience.

ICI Musique is still going a bit strong after gaining some audience at the beginning of the pandemic. As for newcomer WKND 99,5, it’s still not quite at the Radio Classique level before 2017, but its audience is twice what it was last summer when it launched.

Anyway, here’s La Presse’s story on it and here are the self-congratulatory press releases:

22 thoughts on “Montreal radio ratings: A boost for CKOI, but not much new otherwise

  1. Mister Potatohead

    on CJAD:

    Other than Dr. Joe on sunday at 3:00, there is n-o-t-h-i-n-g worth listening to on CJAD.

    No one wants to listen to their broadcasts of amateurish podcasts, or reruns of shows from Toronto. Why would i want to listen to CJAD when I can get them on my own (without their ever-increasing number of commercials)… And don’t get me started on how they absolutely RUINED “Alive at Five” (formerly “First Glance”). It is too painful to listen to.

    I used to tune in regularly for LOCAL news, shows and commentary, but now that they canned that in favour of CTV news, and there is virtually no local news on this station.

    I am listening more and more to CBC 88.5 for their more in depth local news as CJAD apparently cut their wrists when they cut their news staff and local programming.

    Any updates on CFQR 600?

    1. Digger

      Yes Mr. Potato, I am with you. I was a loyal CJAD listener for most of my life. I made the switch to CBC 88.5 after the last round of cuts at CJAD and have not gone back for even a minute. The station now has the feel like it is running pre-recorded shows and podcasts out of someone’s basement. Above all, I could not get by all the ads on CJAD. The last day I listened was the Andrew Carter show. Between 5:35 AM and 5:50 AM, twelve of the fifteen minutes were advertisements, followed by three more minutes of ads at 5:54 AM and 5:57 AM.
      Most of the programming at CBC is refreshing, interesting and informative. Local morning and afternoon shows and local news all day long! If nothing is on CBC to my liking, I switch over to SiriusXM. The Howard Stern Show is a hoot and he is the best interviewer with some interesting guests.

      Steve: We missed you over the summer. Keep up the good work and post more on Montreal radio and television! We like it!

    2. Madeleine

      Absolutely agree! CJAD might be the highest rated English Talk Radio Station, but that’s only because there isn’t much else. ?

      Morning so I don’t need to talk about nutrition every Monday or Money every Tuesday…etc.

      Give me interesting stories or interviews.

      And on my drive home, all it is is Anglo bitch fest every night. There has to be more happening in the world!

      Morning ms I now listen to Paul Arcand who is 1000 times more interesting, and nights, it’s whatever Podcast I have queued on Spotify.

  2. Zeke


    Why do your trend lines go back to 2015? I’d make a guess that absolutely every station has a a complete turnover of on air staff from then to now.

    I’d think that going back three years would be more than sufficient.

    And the more worrying situation is the general decline in listener-ship across the board.

    Is there anyplace to find out Montreal ratings for the various streaming services and podcasts?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Why do your trend lines go back to 2015?

      Because that’s when Numeris started publicly releasing average minute audience numbers with its PPM ratings.

      I’d think that going back three years would be more than sufficient.

      Feel free to ignore data you don’t feel is relevant.

      Is there anyplace to find out Montreal ratings for the various streaming services and podcasts?

      No. Numeris does not measure podcasts and streaming services like it does radio and TV ratings.

  3. Dilbert

    Well, this is a little more insight into why Nikki Balch has gone missing. The Beat is getting a serious beat down in the ratings since Winter 2020 (ie, the COVID era) and with anglos, it’s getting worse. With Francos they had a very small uptick but not a very important one. They are down solidly across the board. It’s also more important to see that their gap to Virgin in the two language groups has dropped off very much

    With Rythme-FM, Virgin, The Beat, and others that have always hinged on an the at work station mentality have suffered. Rythme-FM has dropped ore than 50% from it’s peak in 2016, The Beat is down 50% from it’s Anglo peak, and Virgin is down MORE than 50% from it’s peak in the anglo market. What this suggests isn’t just that they are suffering from a bad case of COVID, but also that they are suffering from a bad case of no longer fully hitting their target market.

    I would suggest that one of the three, if not all of them, will brand refresh and shift their playlists to try to get back to building listeners. With the border blaster HITZ going away, there is a solid piece of market waiting to be snapped up, especially for the Anglo stations. One or the other (or both) would be good to look at the HITZ playlist and figure out what part of that list can be added to their own to expand their offering without encouraging too many existing listeners to tune out.

    CHOM once again proves that Rock music isn’t the biggest marketplace, but it’s dependable as all hell which is why any changes there are generally done slowly and carefully. Additions and shifts to the playlists are done with the utmost respect for the listenership built up over 50 years on the same basic brand and concept. It’s shifted over the years, obviously, but it’s more of a glacial slide and not moon rocket moves.

    I think CJAD is next to need a real new approach on things. They are maintaining market share mostly but the listener hours continue to drop. The national Evan Solomon show in the middle of the day and the dead end of Jamil Javani has turned ‘AD from a station aimed at Montreal to just another sewage pipe for the Bell Toronto flushes. While I haven’t seen the numbers, I am guessing that most of the ratings are made morning show and afternoon, and that the rest of the schedule is now a massive black hole of people tuning out or turning off the radio entirely. Financially this may be better for Bell, but for use of the public airwaves, it’s a disaster.

    The final oddity is CKOI. Huge book, obviously, but still stuck with the weird effect that Anglos generally don’t listen to French radio stations, what Francos clearly do tune into Angle music stations at higher levels.

    1. Gazoo

      Regarding Nikki’s departure at The Beat, not sure the reason you reference is the reason.
      The Beat now has Mark Bergman, Sam, Claudia Marques and Kim Kieran in the mornings.
      If it was a cost cutting measure, why have 4 on air people in this time slot?

      1. Dilbert

        it depends on who is getting paid what, who’s contract has value, and of course, who ends up in the afternoons to replace Claudia. Nikki was “lured back” to Montreal, so you can assume that she was getting paid at least a small premium. Was she more expensive than Claudia? I would guess yes, at least a bit.

        it also depends on the other work these people do. Having 4 people on air for a few hours in the morning is one thing, but if they also do editing or voice work or office work, their costs are differed. If one person is on air only, and another also does commercial voice work, pre-recorded shows, or perhaps is assistant music direct or whatever, it changes things.

        It will depend a lot of how everything shuffles out. How many on air people in all shows. Pushing out perhaps the most expensive person on staff (Nikki) and putting in a lower cost person in the afternoon slot (example) may be a net saving.

  4. louise

    The drop at CJAD seems to coincide with when Elias Makos and Natasha Hall joined the day time line up.

    They are both insufferable. ( I initially thought that Natasha Hall was someone who CJAD had picked up at the shopping mall, like Olga and Laurie.)

    How has CJAD not figured this out?

    1. Dan

      In fairness to whitElias he has great information. He is definitely over exposed was likely in the right place at the right time. A little whitElias goes a long way. I wonder if talking about Telsa the way that he does is what got him his car? I cannot imagine that his salary at CJAD covers 100k + vehicle. whitElias.

  5. Anonymous

    CJAD-AM 800 : This station is just awful. There needs to be a change in management and the on air staff.
    CHOM-FM 97.7 : Not a great Rock station. But Acceptable
    CFQR-AM 600 : Great music station. But, it’s on AM analog. That’s what kills it.
    CHAA-FM 103.3-HD2 : Really good new country music station. I usually listen to it on my morning drive.
    CBME-FM 88.5 : I just can’t listen to CBC Radio 1. It’s like listening to college radio with social benefits (insurance, pension plan etc.) for the staff.
    CBF-FM 95.1-HD2 : Nice classical music station. I usually listen to it on my drive home in the evening.

  6. Frank Lecker-Wurst

    Avoiding Thomas Mulcair still kvetching on radio (and still belly aching over his defeat in 2015), and Lise Ravary speaking on both sides of her mouth are two good reasons to tune out on CJAD… not to mention Elias Makos and his pompous style

  7. Richard

    I feel bad for Elias. It’s not his fault that he was miscast. Sure he’s not great, and he’s extremely hard on the nerves, but the onus is on the higher-ups.

  8. Stephen Sartori

    A couple of things.
    1) Can’t Cjad raise ad prices to maintain or increase revenues.
    and maybe work to make the Ads more interesting instead of adding more and more and more spots ? It’s really getting out of hand. I find myself continuously trying to escape the endless torture or never ever ending ads. I go to CBC or satellite radio
    Or The music on my phone when it just won’t stop.
    2) And as far as the local Cjad hosts are concerned I would be interested in knowing the opinions of others as who seems to do the most Vs the least research on the topics they present. Some seem reasonable but others are really incredible on continuously presenting views that have not been researched At All. Who Gets The Lazy Ass Talk Show Announcer Award ?

    1. Anonymous

      Research? On CJAD!

      There is no research. The afternoon show with Natasha and Aaron is pretty bad. I don’t think either one has the capacity to even know how to research anything. Makos seems to make an effort, and probably does the most. And he has a good Spidey sense to have his finger on moving pieces at hand. But, he misrepresents that info, and withholds info, to push his on point of view. And talks down, to opposing points of view by labeling those views to be coming from nut jobs.

      And their news spots are just awful. I think they spend more time trying to locate a silly story of no importance to be added to the end of their news spots. Then actually doing news reports of any value.

      1. Louise

        Of all of them, Hall seems to be the worst informed, only able to talk about her child and partner. I really don’t know what she is doing there.

        (And what about that afternoon producer Robyn Flynn who talks about TV shows and teenage type of stuff? Why is she even there? Two people aren’t enough.. they need three? I know way more about her weight and boyfriends than I would ever want to know. Me,me,me.. just like Hall)

        I don’t know what Rand knows because he is very biased and only presents what he wants people to know. He is very mean spirited and sarcastic when anyone disagrees with him and he just turns me off.

        Agree with Anonymous that Makos may read a bit more, but I find his presentation style to be hysterical (and not as in hysterically funny.. more in the sense of overwrought and frantic). I just can’t listen to him.

        1. James

          Well said! Nothing against this Elias chap, but I find it odd that he has been given a show. Frantic is an understatement. Rand is a.o.k. in my books. I can see your point for sure.

  9. Ebin M.

    CJAD is a sad shadow of what it was in the “good ole days” but I suspect that’s more the state of radio than just them. That said, piping in all these crappy shows from Toronto day and night must be a turnoff to local listeners?

    I’m surprised that Bell doesn’t just merge CJAD and TSN, have news talk during the day and from 4 or 5pm turn it over to talk sports coverage.

  10. James

    Does Numeris release numbers on all day parts?
    I’d like to see who has the best ratings for evening shows in the city or afternoon drive shows.


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