Tag Archives: CJFM

Radio ratings: The Beat back above Virgin (but…)

Radio ratings March 2014

Total audience share for major ownership groups, winter 2013-14 (ages 2+). Cogeco Diffusion: 98.5 + Rythme FM + CKOI + The Beat + Radio Circulation; Bell Media: NRJ + Rouge FM + CJAD + CHOM + Virgin + TSN 690; CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC Radio One + CBC Radio Two + ICI Première + Espace musique; Other: CJPX Radio Classique + Radio X + non-reporting stations

One year after The Beat took a surprising lead over Virgin among all anglophone listeners, it has done so again. The latest BBM quarterly ratings report, released last week, shows The Beat with an 18.4% share among anglophones, slightly less than its record 18.6% in March 2013. That’s ahead of Virgin Radio at 15.1%.

When you factor in the francophone audience, where Virgin has a slight lead (4.1% vs. 3.9%), The Beat is still ahead overall, though just by a bit. This differs from last year, where Virgin had the lead among all listeners because it was stronger among francophones. The Beat last year had a 2.1% share among francophones, so there’s some significant improvement there.

What’s interesting about this jump back to number one (well, actually number two, behind CJAD) for The Beat is that it happened during the same time of the year last year, suggesting that there may be some seasonal aspect to it. Maybe The Beat has better Christmas music?

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Fall radio ratings: Any way you slice it, Virgin beats The Beat

Virgin Radio ad on its website thanking listeners

Virgin Radio ad on its website thanking listeners

Fall ratings for markets including Montreal came out on Thursday, and like they usually do, they showed nothing earth-shattering. Everything is pretty well where you expect them to be.

For the past few quarters, after the ratings report comes out, both Virgin Radio and The Beat make a big deal about how they did better than the other. This time, it was just Virgin crowing. And with good reason: by almost every metric, they have more listeners than their competitor.

Of course, with only five commercial stations, the English-language market in Montreal has plenty to go around. In any other large market, a 15% share would be enough to send champagne corks popping. But here, that’s fourth place out of five.

The numbers

Ratings period is always a penis-measuring contest, so let’s go ahead and whip ’em out.

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Shave to Save: Christine Long goes short for a cause

The new Christine Long.

The new Christine Long.

Well, she didn’t go all the way. They didn’t bring out the razors. And in fact, between her, her cameraman and her boss who were there, she’s still the one with the longest hair. But there’s no mistaking that Christine Long looks different today than she used to.

“Tomorrow mommy’s gonna look pretty scary,” Long told me on Halloween night, after taking her kids trick-or-treating. It was a joke, of course, there’s nothing scary here. And despite all the cracks directed at her, she didn’t feel nervous or worried at all. If anything, she was eager to get it done.

Long has been trying to shave her head for six years, she said. But being a TV reporter, her bosses had resisted allowing her to do so. She credited the fact that Virgin Radio and CTV are under common ownership with helping to push it toward happening. (Going over her boss’s head to new station manager Louis Douville might have also had an impact.)

Jed Kahane, CTV Montreal’s news director, had a slightly different history. Yes, they weren’t crazy about it in the past, but it was more the seriousness of the proposal this time that prompted them to finally agree.

Either way, CTV now has a reporter with a lot less hair.

“I was like, you know, I’d like to do more than write a cheque,” Long said of her decision to go along with it. As a CTV personality, she’s hosted plenty of events for cancer fundraisers and other charities, and she felt the need to give back in some tangible way.

And because she’s on TV, she wanted to show to women who are going through cancer treatment that there’s nothing wrong with having a bald head or a short head of hair.

Ultimately, she said, her goal is that women who have gone bald will feel less self-conscious about going out to the grocery store without a hat or a wig. She wants to normalize the look.

And so, she says she won’t be hiding her new hairstyle as it grows back, though she’ll be keeping her head warm and admits she loves hats.

The hair hasn’t been put to waste. It’s been donated to the CanDonate hair program, which creates free wigs for children under 16. Long said she hopes to follow the progress of her hair and talk to the child who receives it.

At least in the moments after it happened, Long was relieved more than anything else. She needed a haircut.

And she’s excited to see it grow back. “By Christmas, I’ll look like Justin Bieber.”

She’s promised her husband she’ll only do this once. Both of them seemed pretty sure she’d stick to that promise.

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The third option for TSN Radio 690

If you don’t want to read this really long post, you can get the short version in this story and this followup in The Gazette, and this story at Cartt.ca.

CRTC Quebec regional commissioner Suzanne Lamarre grills Bell on its plans for Montreal radio on Monday.

CRTC Quebec regional commissioner Suzanne Lamarre grills Bell on its plans for Montreal radio on Monday.

I’d thought about it. Some people had asked me about it. Others suggested it to the CRTC in their written submissions. And the CRTC asked Bell about it in a letter after it filed its application. But until Monday afternoon I didn’t think it was seriously an option that the commission might consider imposing.

Could the CRTC force Bell to keep CKGM (TSN Radio 690) and sell one of the other English-language Astral radio stations in Montreal, as a condition of approving the larger Bell-Astral deal?

Learning from the very negative public reaction from its initial proposal last year to turn CKGM into a French-language radio station, this time Bell is asking for an exception to the CRTC’s radio common ownership policy so it can keep it in English while still owning three other stations in the (currently) five-station market. This puts the commission in an awkward position if it accepts the purchase deal. Does it give the exception, giving one company control of four of five commercial stations and 75% of the commercial audience share? Or does it deny the exception, forcing Bell to sell the money-losing station to someone else who would most likely change its format? Bell convinced thousands of listeners that the former is better, putting together a Save TSN 690 petition and getting the same fans who were cursing its name months earlier to be suddenly singing its praises.

A background in common ownership

The CRTC’s common ownership policy, often incorrectly or incompletely explained, has two rules for radio:

  1. One company can’t own more than two AM stations and two FM stations in a single market
  2. One company can’t own more than three stations total in a market with fewer than eight commercial stations

French and English stations are considered in separate markets even if they share the same geographical area. Montreal’s English market, with only five commercial stations (though soon to be six) meets that second criteria, while the French market, with 11 commercial stations (soon to be 13 or even 14), doesn’t.

The policy is just that, a policy, and exceptions have been granted before. The most on-point one is one that was granted to Cogeco in 2010 that allowed it to keep three French FM stations in Montreal after it acquired most of the Corus Quebec network. This was allowed in exchange for Cogeco setting up the Cogeco Nouvelles radio news service, with CHMP 98.5 FM in Montreal as its flagship station. That station is now the highest-rated in Quebec. The second-highest-rated, CFGL (Rythme FM) 105.7, is also owned by Cogeco.

The irony here is that this request was strongly opposed by Astral Media (it even threatened legal action to stop it), it was supported by third parties because it would put Cogeco in a position to better compete with Astral, and Cogeco is a fierce opponent of the Bell/Astral deal because of increased concentration of ownership. (Cogeco hasn’t said much about the request for an exception, perhaps seeing how hypocritical it would look.)

Now Bell/Astral is using the Cogeco decision as a precedent to get the same treatment in English. Astral argues this should be an easier decision because unlike CHMP, CKGM is a money-losing station, its audience is tiny, and it’s on AM.

And Cogeco, the one company that you’d think would be most against allowing Bell to own four of the five stations in this market, is silent on the matter. Cogeco CEO Louis Audet told me on Wednesday after the company’s appearance before the CRTC that “we’ve kept away from that” and “it’s up to the commission to decide.”

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Mark Bergman puts himself back on Virgin Radio

Mark Bergman

Mark Bergman missed being on the radio.

Fortunately for him, he runs a hit radio station, so today he decided to just put himself back on the air. Astral announced today that starting Monday, April 8, Bergman will be doing afternoon drive again, from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

The press release (copied below) makes no mention of Andrea Collins, who currently holds that position. The station has been reassuring fans on Facebook that Collins is staying with the station.

Here’s how the new schedule will work: Collins will move to late mornings, doing the 9-12 shift. Nikki Balch, who currently does that shift, will move to weekends, but also be doing more web work, making videos and conducting interviews. So she will remain full-time at the station.

Bergman and Astral Radio Montreal Operations Director Martin Tremblay insisted that the changes have nothing to do with the recent ratings report showing Virgin trailing The Beat overall among 2+ audiences (Tremblay noted that the station still dominates most key demographics), but was merely a question of Bergman wanting to come back to the air.

You can read more about the situation in this story I wrote for The Gazette, which will appear in Thursday’s paper.

It’s hard not to see this as a demotion for Collins and Balch to make room for Bergman, if only because it’s consistent with the musical chairs that see people moving one rung down the ladder. Bergman and Tremblay, again, say this isn’t the case. But this could also be seen as Virgin recognizing that it needs to beef up daytime and weekends. The Beat is No. 1 during the daytime because of its strength as an at-work station, and Virgin’s lead on weekends is slipping against a station that has local favourite Nat Lauzon.

Bergman has been at a desk job since he hired his own replacement in 2010. He tells me there are still plenty of hours in the day for him to continue his brand director job and host a show without needing to hire more administrative staff.

Mark Bergman returns

MARK BERGMAN IS BACK!

Montreal, April 3rd 2013 – Virgin Radio Brand Director Mark Bergman is thrilled to announce the return of Mark Bergman to Virgin Radio’s airwaves. After a 3-year absence on-air, his deep passion for the product has driven him back to the mic to be part of your drive home!  Apparently, when you give someone a mic they never really want to let it go. As of April 8th at 3 p.m., Mark Bergman is back on Virgin Radio.

“Selfishly speaking, I’m thrilled to have someone as talented as Mark on the air” said Astral Radio Montreal Operations Director Martin Tremblay.  For Mark personally, I know this is something he really wants to do”.  For his part, Mark Bergman said, “I’m assuming that this will mean I will now be getting 2 paycheques.  I’d never double-dip in the chip bowl at a party but I most definitely will with our accounting department”.

Born and raised in Montreal, Mark Bergman has always been Mark Bergman’s favorite radio personality.  He fondly remembers actually starting on-air in 1998 by handing out bumper stickers to Montreal listeners and thinking “One day I want to put myself back on the air!”  After leaving Montreal for 7 weeks for what were rumored to be cosmetic surgery procedures, he realized that there was no place like home and returned to his roots in Montreal, where he has remained an active member of the community!

Mark retains his role as Virgin Radio’s Brand Director… meaning one day he technically could  have the unique opportunity of firing himself.  Mark Bergman implores you to please tune in April 8th at 3 p.m. for the return of Mark Bergman.

About Astral:

Virgin Radio 96 is a member of the Astral family. Astral is one of Canada’s largest media companies.  It operates several of the country’s most popular pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit astral.com.

Montreal radio ratings: “a solid book” for The Beat, but …

Station Winter 2011 Winter 2012 Fall 2012 Winter 2013
CJAD 25.9 24.8 25.2 25.0
CJFM (Virgin) 18.2 17.3 18.6 15.9
CKBE (Beat) 17.2 14.9 16.6 18.6
CHOM 10.3 11.9 13.7 13.5
CKGM (TSN) 2.6 4.4 2.3 2.6
CBME (CBC1) 7.5 8.2 7.2 7.0
CBM (CBC2) 2.9 2.7 2.4 2.5

BBM ratings, anglo 2+ audience

I don’t normally pay that much attention to the quarterly BBM ratings of Montreal radio stations. Not because I don’t care, but just because there’s rarely anything in them that’s newsworthy. A share point up here, a share point down there. Some stations do better in some time periods, others do better in others. There isn’t usually much movement.

Lately, CJAD has been first overall among all audiences, while the three music stations have been fighting for audience in key demographics: men for CHOM, young women for Virgin and somewhat older women for The Beat. CBC falls significantly behind, and TSN Radio even further. Other stations don’t even register. Things have been a bit more interesting on the French side with the rise of CHMP 98.5, which is now Quebec’s most-listened-to radio station.

But today’s numbers (PDF) showed a significant change for once: In overall audience (ages 2+), The Beat has leaped ahead of Virgin Radio for the first time, getting an 18.6% share versus 15.9%. That prompted The Beat to send out a press release calling itself “Montreal’s #1 Music Station”.

That was enough for a Gazette story on the matter.

But as the story shows, The Beat’s claim to be ahead of Virgin comes with a caveat: Virgin still outperforms in key demographics (among them, adults 25-54, adults 18-34 and women 25-54) and in key time periods.

In Astral’s press release, in which Virgin also calls itself “Montreal’s number one music station”, it focuses on the key advertising demographic of adults 25-54, in which Virgin still leads.

We could play with demographics all day, but if we stick to adults 25-54, the results show a three-way tie among the music stations: Virgin 21.9%, The Beat 20.1% and CHOM 20.0%, with CJAD behind at 13.1%. This represents an upward trend for The Beat and CHOM, but is down from last year for Virgin.

See some analysis here from Astral, and here from La Presse.

Needless to say everyone’s happy and everyone is number one. Here’s how the numbers break down for each station:

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Inside Astral radio’s new Montreal studios

This fall, Astral Media’s three English stations in Montreal — CHOM, CJAD and CJFM (Virgin Radio) — moved from Fort St. to Papineau Ave. The goal was to consolidate Astral’s five radio stations, allowing them to share resources, including a newsroom.

I got a couple of chances to visit the new offices, once for interviews with a couple of personalities and again when they held an event for clients. Here are some photos to give you a sense of what it’s like inside.

Astral’s building at Papineau Ave. and René-Lévesque Blvd.

I just realized when producing this post that I don’t have a recent picture of the exterior of the Astral Media building at Papineau and René-Lévesque. The one above was taken in August 2009. On the front are logos of the two French stations, both of which have rebranded. Rock Détente (CITE-FM) is now Rouge FM, and Énergie (CKMF-FM) is now NRJ (with the same pronunciation).

Anyway, the outside hasn’t changed much, except for the logos. It’s inside where everything’s different. The offices have been renovated. There’s glass everywhere. Even the office of Astral vice-president Martin Spalding is surrounded by glass, so anyone in the nearby CHOM studio can see what’s going on in there.

The studios of all five stations are on the second floor. Using the Montreal bastardization of cardinal directions, the southwestern corner is CHOM, the southeastern corner (at Papineau and René-Lévesque) is Virgin (facing René-Lévesque) and NRJ (facing Papineau). Rouge FM is on the eastern side, and CJAD’s studios are on the northeastern corner. CJAD’s newsroom covers the north side.

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The young faces of Montreal’s drive-time radio

 

Gazette Culture section, Jan. 5

On the list of jobs everyone wants but nobody can get, radio DJ ranks pretty high. Right there with TV anchor and newspaper staff columnist. Those privileged enough to get these coveted positions seem like the luckiest people in the world, especially because the job sounds like it’s so simple.

In Montreal, the three big music stations all have announcers or hosts (what they call the DJs now) in the afternoon drive periods under the age of 35. Why is that? Shouldn’t such a prestigious position (second only to the morning drive slot) go to people who worked in the medium for decades, toiling at some obscure community station in a tiny town working as the overnight traffic announcer? What do these people have that’s so special?

For profiles that appear in Saturday’s Gazette, I met with these three announcers, all of whom got their current jobs in 2012, and asked them about their career paths. As you’ll learn, it’s a combination of good timing, talent, a lot of determination, and a bit of luck.

(These stories took a surprisingly long time to do. Astral was a bit nervous in light of the whole Bell thing, and even after I managed to do all the interviews, the story stayed in the bank for a month so it could work as a feature story in the first week of January when the local arts scene is pretty uneventful. To give you an idea, the photos of Bilal Butt and Andrea Collins, which I took during their interviews, were taken while CHOM and Virgin were still at their old studios on Fort St.)

The Beat’s Vinny Barrucco

“Cousin” Vinny Barrucco, 28, started at The Beat in May, after being poached from the same job at Virgin Radio. The Beat’s management apparently found him good enough to fire their existing drive guy and convince Vinny to stay off the radio for three months to comply with a non-compete clause in his Virgin contract.

A guy this young getting poached like this (Cat Spencer and Nat Lauzon were also lured to The Beat from Virgin, though they have much more experience) has got to get to a guy’s ego.

Vinny might seem like a goofball, and to a certain extent he is, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t work hard. He started by doing those right-of-passage jobs, interning for Mitch Melnick on Team 990 and then working at Kahnawake’s K103. He had his eyes set on Virgin, and as he tells it pestered management there for months to get noticed. Finally he was offered an overnight shift in 2009, but quickly moved up to afternoon drive, replacing Mark Bergman who became the station’s brand director.

Vinny’s story includes other tidbits, like his rejections from Concordia’s communications studies program, or the untimely death of his father that set his career back a year but also helped to get it started.

It’s the story of a man who is living his dream because he followed his passion and never gave it up. Yeah, it sounds like a cliché, but there were a few Oprah-like moments when I interviewed him at The Beat, so it seems a propos.

CHOM’s Bilal Butt

Bilal Butt, 33, is a more familiar name among Montreal radio listeners. He’s been at CHOM since 2005, and worked at CHOM and Mix 96 before that. He was mainly doing evenings until the unceremonious departure of Pete Marier led him to be upgraded to the afternoon drive slot.

When I talked to him last summer and again in the fall, he apologized for leading such a boring life. He’s just a guy with a job on the radio and a musician in his spare time.

To Butt’s boss, André Lallier, that’s what makes him so relatable to listeners: he’s just a regular guy.

Not that his life has been entirely vanilla. His home didn’t have music in it when he was growing up, and his parents didn’t approve of his career goals at first. But he loved radio too much. After interning for Cat and Nat at Mix 96, he began working for CHOM, then took a job in Fort McMurray, Alta., before coming back to CHOM in 2005. And though maybe someday when he’s older he might make the jump to mornings, he’s more than happy where he is right now, with a schedule that lets him both sleep in and go out at night, and a job that lets him play rock music and sit behind a microphone.

Virgin’s Andrea Collins

Andrea Collins, 28, is the newbie to Montreal radio. She started here in 2011, taking over Virgin’s daytime shift after Nat Lauzon left to focus more on her other projects and do weekends at what would become The Beat. In April, after Barrucco also left for The Beat, Collins was bumped up to afternoon drive.

So I guess Collins owes a lot of her career here to The Beat, even though she’s never worked there.

Collins came to Montreal after a career that led to her working at stations in Winnipeg and Victoria at stations called Kool, Curve, Bob and Q. It involved a lot of moving, but that helped her get so far in such a short time.

As I spoke to her, it had become clear that she’s embracing this city. She’s fallen in love with the Plateau (yeah, she’s become one of those people), and is working on improving her French.

One thing noteworthy about Collins is that she’s the first female solo drive-time announcer at a major commercial English station in Montreal, at least as far as anyone knows (correct me if I’m wrong here). Not that there haven’t been other women in strong positions in Montreal radio, with Sue Smith, Nancy Wood, Nat Lauzon and Donna Saker among them. But the afternoon drive post has been a pretty male-oriented slot, or with a male-female team (conversely, the workday has been mainly female-oriented for music stations like this).

What’s perhaps most remarkable is that this isn’t a big deal, either for Collins or Virgin. It may be a historical footnote, but gender wasn’t really a consideration in choosing Collins for this job, and there hasn’t been some huge feminist revolution that has opened the door to this. It just happened.

There are still some aspects of radio that are sexist in nature. Morning shows, like TV newscasts, are paired male-female, even when some of the most popular teams have been of the same gender (see: Aaron and Tasso, Terry and Ted). But it’s nice to see that another glass ceiling has disappeared, even if Collins didn’t feel it smash as she passed through.

Five things you didn’t know about professional music radio announcers

1. They listen to themselves. You might think these people just show up to work, talk about random stuff they have in their head and then go home. But they actually review a lot of what they say, and so do their bosses. It’s the best way to improve how they sound, and constant improvement is necessary in a world where success is measured by ratings. So these announcers will listen back to recordings of their breaks (in music radio, a “break” is the part where the announcer talks live into the microphone, which sounds like the exact opposite of what a break should be).

2. They’re not rich or famous. Collins and Butt drive old beat-up cars. Barrucco takes the commuter train. Though they can’t claim to be poor, radio announcers in their kinds of jobs have pretty middle-class salaries. Add to that the complete lack of job security and it’s less glamorous than you might think. As for fame, these characters walk the streets undisturbed pretty often. Butt recounts the one time someone recognized him at a Subway. Being recognized in public is the exception rather than the rule.

3. They spend a lot of time at fundraisers. It’s even written into contracts now that radio personalities have to participate in certain events to help promote the station. Add to that events that they’re asked to participate in outside of work. Part of it is because they’re perceived to be locally well-known, and part of it is that radio announcers like these tend to make good emcees.

4. Many of them work alone. Morning shows still have a concept of team, with multiple hosts, a news announcer, a traffic announcer and a technician. But most other shifts at these music stations consist of a single person, who hosts and operates the boards, cueing songs and taking calls. There’s enough time to do it with all the music that plays, but it’s quite a bit of multitasking, and it takes a while to get it all down without screwing things up. Adding social media communication to the mix only adds to that workload.

5. They plan what they say. A good deal of research goes into these shifts. Music announcers have to keep up on the latest news and get everything from celebrity gossip to concert announcements to relay that information to listeners. Even finding little bits of trivial information to send out between two songs requires going out and finding it. It’s not exactly like putting together a Master’s thesis every day, but it’s still a lot of work.

The end of Fort and Ste. Catherine

Virgin studios at Fort and Ste. Catherine Streets.

This weekend, Astral Media’s English radio stations stopped using studios at Fort and Ste. Catherine Streets and began using new studios in the Astral building at Papineau Ave. and René-Lévesque Blvd.

The new studios are in the same building as Astral’s French stations NRJ and Rouge FM, as well as other corporate offices. The consolidation has been planned for a long time, since well before Bell announced it was going to purchase Astral.

The new location across town is in an unofficial media district. The Maison Radio-Canada is on the other side of René-Lévesque. The Bell Media building (which houses the studios of CFCF and RDS) is on the other side of Papineau. The TVA building is just a few blocks away.

CTV was one of the media outlets to chronicle the transition. You can see the report from Derek Conlon (who worked at CJAD) here.

UPDATE (Sept. 3): Rob Kemp did a little video marking his final shift at CHOM’s Fort Street studio.

Isabelle Racicot joins Virgin Radio

Isabelle Racicot (photo: Astral Media)

Virgin Radio 96, a station that has been losing some of its top talent to rival The Beat over the past year but insists its team is bigger than one individual superstar, has just added a pretty big star to its lineup.

Isabelle Racicot, host of TVA’s talk show Ça finit bien la semaine, has been added to Virgin Radio’s lineup, where she will host the Virgin Hit 20 weekend show, Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 10am, starting Aug. 25, Astral Media announced on Wednesday.

Racicot replaces Tony Stark, who was set to leave Virgin for a job in Halifax but has changed his mind. Stark also hosts Monday to Thursday evenings (including the Virgin Radio Takeover listener-driven show), as well as Sunday afternoons.

Putting TV personalities on the radio is common at French-language music stations in Montreal, but not so much on the English side (Todd van der Heyden is one of the exceptions). The lack of non-news local TV programming in anglo Montreal certainly has some part in this.

Comparisons will naturally be drawn (by me, at least) between Racicot and Anne-Marie Withenshaw, who hosts All Access Weekend at The Beat, Saturdays at 10am. Both are weekend shows hosted by bilingual personalities known more for French television than anything else. (The two shows will not be competing with each other directly – though it’s interesting that one airs 10am to noon on Saturdays and the other 10am to noon on Sundays.)

Isabelle Racicot (left) at Virgin Radio and Anne-Marie Withenshaw (right) at The Beat. What’s with the shiny grey T-shirts?

I couldn’t help noticing that Racicot’s Astral photo is oddly similar to the one done for Withenshaw when The Beat launched last year (plus some silly lens flares). Or are shiny grey shirts in style these days?

UPDATE (Aug. 26): Brendan Kelly profiles Racicot in Saturday’s Gazette.

Tony Stark leaving Virgin Radio for Halifax (UPDATE: NOT)

Virgin Takeover is going to need a new host

 

Virgin Radio 96 is losing another personality, but at least this time it’s not another poaching from The Beat.

Tony Stark, the evening announcer who hosts Virgin Radio Takeover and Virgin Live on CJFM-FM from 7pm to midnight Monday to Thursday, as well as Sunday afternoons, is leaving to return to CJCH-FM (101.3 The Bounce) in Halifax, where he’s accepted a job as their afternoon drive host. Stark came to CJFM two years ago from CJCH, where he hosted the 10am to 2pm timeslot.

Stark’s last day at Virgin hasn’t been decided yet. He’s currently substituting for the vacationing Andrea Collins as the afternoon drive host there.

It’s “gonna be tough to leave a great city like Montreal,” Stark tells me, but an opportunity for a high-profile job in a market he’s familiar with (and has “a great vibe”) was just too good to pass up.

CJCH-FM is owned by Bell Media, which is in the process of buying Astral Media and CJFM.

Virgin has posted an opening for Stark’s position, with the same on-air times. Interested parties can apply to brand director Mark Bergman by Aug. 14.

Bergman jokes: “In search for people with the names Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker!”

UPDATE (Aug. 12): Stark isn’t leaving after all. Bergman and Stark said this weekend that he’s actually sticking around, for unforeseen and unspecified “personal reasons.”