It’s still too early to determine if the new format of Montreal’s CKLX-FM 91.9 is a winner, but RNC Media has decided it’s good enough to start copying some of that programming on its Gatineau station Capitale Rock 96.5 (CFTX-FM).
Starting Monday, Capitale Rock adopts a hybrid format of rock music and sports talk, and will simulcast programming from 91.9, including its morning show, noon show and afternoon drive show. The rest of the schedule will be either local hosts or no host at all.
The announcement of the change did not go well with Capitale Rock listeners on Facebook, with many declaring they would stop listening to the station now that their favourite hosts have been replaced with Montreal-based programming. And though the station promises the programming will be “de-montrealized”, it’s hard to take that seriously.
The change does not appear to affect the three-transmitter station group in the Abitibi region, which also runs under the Capitale Rock brand.
The reason for the format change is obvious: Capitale Rock has atrocious ratings. The latest Numeris report shows it with a 0.5% market share among francophones in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, putting it well behind most anglophone music stations and even anglo talk stations. Even ICI Musique has more than twice the audience, both overall and among adults 25-54.
Will this turn things around? Several factors suggest it won’t. The Montreal station it’s taking programming from isn’t exactly a ratings powerhouse, and Ottawa has different sports teams that won’t be talked about regularly in a Montreal broadcast.
Plus, there doesn’t look like there’s going to be any live sports programming, at least at first. Cogeco has French-language radio rights to Canadiens games, which air on 104.7 FM in Gatineau. And French-language broadcasts of Ottawa Senators, Ottawa Fury and Gatineau Olympiques games air on Unique FM 94.5.