Radio ratings: CBC Radio One climbs to #3 in Montreal

Numeris has released its quarterly radio ratings report for metered markets including Montreal, and the new data show a surprising change in order for the city’s English-language radio stations, with CBC Radio One climbing above both CHOM and Virgin 95.9 in average minute audience for the first time.

Rather than being a reflection on the Bell-owned music stations (though both are down from their summer numbers), this seems to be a rather stunning jump among CBC’s audience, with its 14.8% market share its highest by far in at least the past decade, and more than double what it was just two years ago.

On the music side, once again The Beat 92.5 leads, growing its gap with its competitors though still well below what it was before the pandemic.

CJAD remains the market leader overall, but had its lowest average-minute audience since Numeris began releasing that statistic publicly in 2015. TSN 690 remains relatively stable, unlike the Canadiens’ season so far this year, and CBC Music once again brings up the rear.

In the francophone market, 98,5fm remains at the top, reaching an average minute audience about the same as it had at the start of the pandemic. ICI Radio-Canada Première also continues to trend upward.

Among music stations Rythme FM remains in the lead though its overall trend continues to be negative. CKOI, which challenged for first place this summer, falls into a more distant second place among francophones, and Énergie and Rouge fight for third place.

WKND 99,5, in only its second year, has also fallen a bit since its high last winter and spring.

We’re #1!

As usual, the roundup of cherry-picking press releases:

Diary markets

On Thursday, Numeris also released its fall diary ratings data (i.e. those done using surveys rather than automated meters), which includes smaller markets like Ottawa-Gatineau, Halifax, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Victoria. Here are some highlights of market shares:

Ottawa-Gatineau (anglo)

  1. CBC Radio One: 22.6%
  2. Move 100.3: 7.4%
  3. 580 CFRA: 6.9%
  4. CBC Music: 6.3%
  5. Boom 99.7: 6.2%
  6. Hot 89.9: 5.6%
  7. Live 88.5: 4.7%
  8. CHEZ 106: 4.6%
  9. Lite 98.5: 4.1%
  10. Pure Country: 3.8%
  11. TSN 1200: 2.8%
  12. CityNews: 2.7%
  13. Kiss 105.3: 2.1%
  14. Rebel 101.7: 2.0%
  15. Jump! 106.9: 1.8%
  16. ICI Première: 1.4%
  17. ICI Musique: 1.2%
  18. Énergie 104,1: 0.8%
  19. Country 92.3 (Smiths Falls, Ont.): 0.7%
  20. 95.7 Elmnt FM: 0.5%

Quebec City

  1. CHOI Radio X: 16.6%
  2. FM93: 15.8%
  3. WKND 91,9: 10.6%
  4. Rythme 102,9: 7.7%
  5. Rouge 107,5: 6.4%
  6. ICI Musique: 5.2%
  7. Vibe 100,9: 2.1%
  8. Blvd 102,1: 1.9%
  9. Énergie 98,9: 1.6%
  10. CBC Radio One: 0.2%


  1. CBC Radio One: 15.7%
  2. 680 CJOB: 13.8%
  3. QX104: 8.7%
  4. Bounce 99.9: 6.4%
  5. 103.1 Virgin Radio: 5.4%
  6. 92.1 CITI: 4.9%
  7. Peggy 99.1: 4.5%
  8. Energy 106: 4.1%
  9. 94.3 Now: 4.1%
  10. Power 97: 4.1%
  11. CBC Music: 4.0%
  12. Hot 100.5: 2.8%
  13. Kiss 102.3: 2.7%
  14. Funny 1290: 0.8%

15 thoughts on “Radio ratings: CBC Radio One climbs to #3 in Montreal

  1. Peter L

    Sure would be fun … and by fun, I mean instructive … to see the same chart with 40 years knocked off. You’d have to have a decoder ring for all the changes of course … save for CJAD, CHOM, and CBC (well, I guess there is band change with them).

  2. Lance Campeau

    There has never been a poorer state of English radio in Montreal.

    – CBC has basically devolved into a propaganda wing for the Liberal Party of Canada
    – CJAD’s Aaron Rand is the last shred of on-air talent after Bell Media’s endless slash & burn
    – TSN 690 barely programs anything that doesn’t focus their only legitimate broadcasting asset (Habs)
    – CHOM finally updates its on air product, a move that comes 15 years late.

    To my ears… all the feeds now have that monotonic stench of Toronto bean counters calling the shots instead of localized Montreal PD’s who better understand the our regional market.

    1. Dorothy

      And CJAD isn’t pro-Liberal? Maybe not the cheerleader that CBC is but…can you name a regular commentator on any of the local shows with a conservative viewpoint?

  3. Yoono Hu

    I’m not surprised. CJAD has become unlistenable with basically only a few locally produced shows and rest being syndicated shows or podcasts. It is brutally frustrating to sit through their ever increasing number of repetitive commercials. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the cancellation of their news department.

    I have reduced my listening down to just 1 hour a week: Dr. Joe on Sunday afternoon, and the rest of the time, I listen to CBC 88.5. Their local Montreal news on the half-hour is significantly more comprehensive with almost twice as many news stories as CJAD.

    As per the ratings above, it looks like i am not the only one.

  4. Anonymous

    It’s clear people are looking around at what other options are available beside CJAD-AM 800.
    If the numbers on CBME-FM 88.5 are to be believed, people are looking into CBC Radio 1 as one of those options.

    You would think that the owners of CFQR-AM 600 would understand that there is a thirst for something else other than CJAD-AM. And that they would have by now at least one talk program on. Nope, still playing great music on a AM station. At least, try and get a low powered FM translator in the market if all you want to do is play music.

    As for music stations in the market, most stations are stuck on their old ways in the Montreal market. Thats’ why SIriusXM exists. And now that they also offer streaming, you don’t even need a Sat Radio.

    The Montreal radio market needs a big over haul.

  5. Stephen Sartori

    WOW ! Two years ago if you would have told anyone that CBC Radio One Was Going To Pass Virgin96 And CHOM in the ratings
    they would have called you insane.
    This is incredible.

  6. Dilbert

    While it’s too early to say for sure, I would suspect that a drill down in the CHOM numbers would find a bigger drop off in the morning show. Losing Terry I think will prove to be a very big deal for CHOM ratings overall for a while. Generational change, if you will. While it might not be exactly a one for one like for like swap, that may be one of the reasons CBC has picked up so much this time around too. There were a lot of morning listeners in play.

    The ratings of Rythme, Virgin, Energie, and The Beat all continue to show that overall, that part of the musical market isn’t improving. WKND certainly has taken some listeners in from other places, and overall that market just seems to be declining. I don’t think it will keep going as is for very much longer before one or more of them will have to make big changes. Rythme is particularly looking like they need to find a solution before they fall completely back into the pack. If their trend continues, it’s only a couple of more ratings periods before they won’t be in the lead anymore.

    Overall, the ratings seem to be indicating that the preference for talk radio in Montreal, on both sides, continues to grow. Talk is now 1 and 3 Anglo and 1 and 2 Franco. There is no reason to think this will not continue.

    In fact, it brings me to my theory of the ratings period: Will Bell wake up and realize they have too many stations in Montreal?

    My thought is that in a cost saving move, they could do the following: Move CJAD from AM to 96FM. Either sell off the AM station or kill it completely. Change CJAD to be a hybrid station, with talk from 5am to say 7PM (end of the news) and then music from then until the next morning, interrupted only for the 11pm news. Virgin disappears. It would improve the sound quality of CJAD, it would put it on a more equal footing with 98.5, and it would allow Bell to get rid of a whole pile of people and resources spent to get only a 3.6 market share. If they gave them even a small boost on CJAD, it would be a profitable move.
    They could of course decide to have something else (like comedy) on the AM channel, but the financial benefit it best when they move away from the AM band entirely.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      My thought is that in a cost saving move, they could do the following: Move CJAD from AM to 96FM.

      How would replacing a music station with a talk station save money? There’s a reason FM licenses are used mainly for music stations — it’s the most efficient money maker.

      1. Stephen Sartori

        Not to mention that the CJAD signal is not very good the further we get from Montreal. The 95.9 signal is much better.

      2. Dilbert

        I just look at 98.5 – A huge success. FM is a nice clear signal for the most part, no drop outs and what not.

        As I said, they could hybrid it, as CJAD is essentially only a 5AM to 6PM station these days anyway. Let the time after 6 be music, and away you go.

        Savings? Well, the entire staff of Virgin, to start with. The AM transmitter. All the overhead of one of the two stations.

    2. Anonymous

      FYI… CJAD-AM 800 is already on the FM Band.
      You can find it at 107.3 FM – HD2.
      Just go over to, or and get yourself a AM/FM HD Radio.
      You can get a Home radio or a Head unit for your car.
      Sounds great.
      But the content on CJAD stays the same.

  7. S. Santos

    So Hot 89.9, Live 88.5 and Chez 106 Ottawa were surprisingly beaten by Move 100 and CBC Music 103.3. Hit is not the number one hit music station in Ottawa. CFRA still continues to beat CITY News 1310 even though it is simulcasted on 101.1 FM Lanark and Ottawa. CFRA can not be beaten. Pure Country 94 obviously beats Country 92 Smiths Falls. (I know Country 92’s content comes from Ottawa, but do they have a local Smiths Falls station? Is it OK to ask?)

  8. Frank

    Unfortunately CBC Radio thinks it can broadcast a local ‘Arts’ show at 5pm on Saturdays that no one listens to? I’ve tried listening but find it totally irrelevant and long winded. So much could be done to improve this program.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *