Tag Archives: radio ratings

CHOI climbs back into second (or first, depending how you count) in Quebec City radio ratings

Numeris released radio ratings for diary (read: medium-size) markets recently. You can read the top-line details here, or get some deeper numbers from Bell Media Sales for stations in Quebec.

Among things of note:

  • After a disappointing fourth-place 11.1% share in last fall’s ratings report, CHOI-FM has bounced back into second with a 14.5% share in Quebec City. CJMF-FM (FM93) remains the top-rated radio station in the market. Among adults 25-54, CHOI is number one again, and among adults 18-34, it’s tied with CJEC-FM (WKND).
  • CHOI’s ratings doubled during the noon hour, pushing it into first place, thanks to André Arthur. But that wasn’t enough for him to stay on. As the ratings period ended, Arthur’s contract was terminated.
  • Radio Classique CJSQ-FM Quebec City jumped from a 2.5% share to 5.3%, closer to its average over the past few years.
  • CBC Radio One (CBVE-FM) in Quebec City still has a 0.6% share. It reaches 15,300 listeners a week in the provincial capital, but 36,000 overall through the Quebec Community Network of retransmitters.
  • Ottawa’s CFRA, which was hit hard by the Bell Media cuts last fall and then again in February, saw its share among anglophones drop from 10.9% to 8.1%. The past few years the ratings had been around 9%.
  • CKOF-FM, Cogeco’s talk station in Gatineau, jumped from 6.9% to 9.4%.
  • Regina’s CIZL-FM (Z99), while still the top station in the market, dropped more than four points, from 20.2% to 16.0%.
  • Lethbridge’s CFRV-FM (107.7 The River) lost almost five points from last fall, going from a tie for first to a distant third. CHLB-FM (Country 95.5) is top with 20%, and CJOC-FM (Classic Hits) jumped up four points in second with 16.5%.
  • In Red Deer, CIZZ-FM (Z98.9) dropped from second place to second-last, from 11.7% to 6.7%. This isn’t the first such radical fluctuation for this station in the ratings.
  • Kamloops, B.C., is really tight: Only one percentage point separates the top four stations in the market.

Coverage

Radio ratings: Virgin and The Beat are tied (so both declare victory)

Quarterly radio ratings from Numeris were released on Thursday. There aren’t any big surprises for the anglophone market. Overall, among all listeners age 2+, these are the average minute audiences from anglophones across the 24/7 week for the top 10 stations:

  1. CJAD: 15500 (29.6%)
  2. Virgin Radio 96: 8500 (16.2%)
  3. The Beat: 8500 (16.1%)
  4. CHOM: 6100 (11.7%)
  5. CBC Radio One: 3400 (6.5%)
  6. TSN 690: 2300 (4.4%)
  7. Rythme FM: 1200 (2.2%)
  8. Radio Classique: 900 (1.7%)
  9. CKOI: 700 (1.4%)
  10. CBC Radio Two: 700 (1.4%)

Little has changed from previous reports, but Virgin and The Beat are in a statistical tie, which meant they had to be creative to proclaim themselves #1.

Virgin stuck to the key age 25-54 demographic, and its slightly higher reach. (And Bell points out that CHOM is tied with The Beat for second place among adults 25-54.) The Beat, meanwhile, points out that it’s higher during the work day (both overall and among women 25-54), which has always been its strong point.

AM 980 is dead last

New in this ratings report is the inclusion of CHRF, the former Radio Fierté that now just identifies itself as AM 980 and airs music. The station, which abandoned its LGBT-themed programming less than a year after launching, is in last place among measured stations in both languages.

Among francophones, it has an estimated 100 listeners on average, a market share of 0.1%, and reaches 3,000 listeners a day. More francophones listen to TSN 690 or CJAD.

Among anglophones, its average audience and market share both read as zero, and it reaches 1,100 listeners in an average day.

The station has a lot of work to do if it’s going to attract an audience. It could start by having programming and telling people about it.

Owner Evanov Radio hasn’t announced what its plans are for the station, which has a standard commercial licence and isn’t tied to any format (though it must remain a French-language station).

Good news/bad news

Looking into the more detailed reports compiled by Bell Media and Cogeco Force Radio (via Infopresse), you can see strengths and weaknesses among the various stations. Some things of note:

  • CHOM’s morning show does much better with women than the rest of its schedule
  • CJAD’s ratings spike at 11pm during Joey Elias’s comedy show. It’s the most popular station at that hour among anglophones 25-54.
  • Virgin spikes during the morning show, while the Beat’s morning show has fewer listeners than daytime programming.
  • Mitch Melnick is still the high point of TSN 690, around 5pm weekdays.
  • Demographically, among anglophone commercial stations:
    • Most male: TSN 690
    • Most female: The Beat
    • Youngest: Virgin
    • Oldest: Radio Two
    • Richest: TSN 690
    • Poorest: Radio Two
  • Paul Arcand’s morning show on 98.5 FM is still the most popular thing on radio, with an average audience peaking above 35,000 listeners among adults 25-54, though Rythme FM’s weekend shows have about the same audience in that demo and Arcand’s numbers aren’t as high as they used to be. 98.5 is also tops during the afternoon drive period and in late evenings. Rythme FM is strongest during the work day.
  • Rouge FM’s audience dips noticeably during Isabelle Racicot’s lunchtime show, particularly among men. It also underperforms during the morning show and drive-home show.
  • Énergie 94.3 does poorly during the work day. It’s the only one among the big French stations whose peak is in the afternoon, thanks to Éric Salvail’s drive-home show.
  • CKOI has the second-strongest morning show, with Debout les comiques.
  • CKOI is now number one among adults 18-34.
  • 91.9 Sport’s best audience comes just after 3pm when Jean-Charles Lajoie starts his show. The station flatlines after 7pm when it runs repeat programming.
  • Rythme FM’s morning show does poorly among men, especially when compared to the rest of the day, which is very strong.
  • On weekends, from 9am to 9pm, Rythme FM blows away the competition. It has twice the audience of any other station in the middle of the day.
  • Radio Classique saw a modest ratings increase, now that it has new programming. It’s too early to tell if it’s significant (and if it will stay).
  • Demographically, among francophone stations:
    • Most male: Radio Circulation (84%)
    • Most female: Rouge FM (60%)
    • Youngest: Énergie
    • Oldest: Radio Classique
    • Richest: Énergie
    • Poorest: 91.9 Sport

Fall radio ratings show status quo in Montreal

Montreal anglo radio ratings (2+, central market). Click for larger version.

Montreal anglo radio ratings (2+, central market). Click for larger version.

PPM radio ratings came out this week. And while there isn’t much that’s headline-grabbing on the anglo side, there’s a few things I noticed that are worth mentioning.

The top-line numbers show that, once again, CJAD is the most popular radio station among anglophone listeners. No shock there. And when you look at the chart above, you can see that over time their share has actually grown. Its their fourth consecutive book above 25%, after years of never getting above 25.2%.

Among the music stations, The Beat is once again the most popular overall (among both anglophones and francophones), but among the important demographic of adults 25-54, Virgin Radio beats it by five points, and the trend is in Virgin’s favour. Among younger adults (18-34), Virgin beats The Beat by nine points.

Among men 25-54, CHOM is still tops with a 28% share, but that barely edges out Virgin. TSN Radio 690 has only a 6% share among this group, a third of CJAD’s.

CBC Radio One, which peaked in the fall of 2014, has been declining since, with a 6.5% share overall. CBC Radio Two is at 1.5%, the third consecutive quarter at that level or below after being above it for at least four years.

Continue reading

Radio ratings confirm FM93 is still #1 in Quebec City

Numeris, the company that surveys TV viewers and radio listeners to determine ratings for those industries, released its report from radio diary markets on Thursday. This report covers mainly medium-sized markets by having a sample audience fill out forms saying what they listened to. (Larger markets like Montreal are measured using meters, which are considered more accurate.)

In Quebec, the headlines from this report is that talk station FM93 is the undisputed leader in the provincial capital (Le Soleil, Journal de Québec) with a 17.7% market share, well ahead of the next best stations, Rouge FM (CITF-FM) and Radio-Canada Première (CBV-FM), tied at 12.3%. CHOI, once the market leader, is fourth at 11.1%, the same rank it was at in the spring ratings. Among adults 18-34, it has dropped from first to sixth place. It’s also sixth among women 25-54, down from a close second last year.

But before you declare the CHOI style of “radio poubelle” dead, note that former CHOI personalities are doing quite well at other stations, according to data collected by Le Soleil and RadioEgo.com. Jeff Fillion at Énergie beats his former station, but is still behind FM93 (his move from the lunch hour to afternoon drive caused the lunch ratings to plummet back to a third of what they were under him among adults 25-54, and the afternoon drive numbers to more than double). Stéphan Dupont is doing well as Énergie’s morning man (whether he’s #1 or #3 depends how you measure), and it seems clear from the ratings numbers that he’s taking his audience mainly from CHOI, quadrupling his station’s audience in the mornings in one year. Éric Duhaime is #1 at noon with Nathalie Normandeau at FM93, beating CHOI’s Richard Martineau. And André Arthur’s show at CHOI is #1 in his short timeslot of 11:30 to noon weekdays. The station would probably do better overall if he was willing to take more airtime.

Going up: Énergie’s well behind competitors, but its share has increased from 7.8% to 9.4%. And though CHOI is still fourth, its 11.1% share is up from 9.5% in the spring. WKND is up two points from 5.9 to 7.9% (and its reach is up about 15%).

Going down: Rouge and Radio-Canada are both down about two points from the spring. CJSQ Radio-Classique saw its share drop from 4.7% to 2.5%. The fact that Radio-Classique was in transition during the ratings period probably has a lot to do with that.

The sole English-language station in Quebec City, CBC Radio One (CBVE-FM), has a 0.6% rating, down from 0.7% in the spring. About 37,000 listeners in Canada listened to that station or its retransmitters on the Quebec Community Network (which covers most of Quebec except Montreal and Gatineau) for at least 15 minutes during the measured period.

Sherbrooke

Little change here from the spring. The two Bell Media stations (Énergie and Rouge FM) lead with about a 20% market share each.

Trois-Rivières

There’s now a very tight three-way race for the top between NRJ (CIGB-FM) at 16.8%, Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) at 16.5% and Rouge FM (CHEY-FM) at 15.5%. That’s a significant drop for Rythme. Independent Bécancour station CKBN-FM jumped from 5.2% to 9.0% for fourth place, edging Radio-Canada. Talk station CKOB-FM 106.9 is behind at 6.2%, and Espace Musique jumped from 2.9% to 5.6%.

Saguenay

Rouge FM (CFIX-FM) has solidified its dominance here and now has a 31.9% share, up from 25.3% in the spring. Its sister Énergie (CJAB-FM) dropped three points to sit at 17.5%, while KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) gained two and a half to reach 15.7%.

The Rythme FM station owned by Attraction Radio has fallen back to Earth after shooting up a couple of points following the format change. It’s now at 7.1%, about what it was before becoming a Rythme affiliate.

Drummondville

The only two stations surveyed in this market are tight as can be: CJDM-FM (Énergie) at 27.8% and CHRD-FM (Rouge FM) at 27.7%. Competition would be intense if they weren’t both owned by Bell Media.

Ottawa/Gatineau

On the anglo side, Bell Media’s New Country 94 (formerly Bob FM) still hasn’t been resonating with audiences, stuck with a 2.9% market share. But its competitor Country 101, a Rogers station operating out of Smiths Falls but which targets Ottawa, has seen its share drop more than half from 6.7% to 3.3% in a year.

Otherwise, the only change by more than a couple of points is CBC Radio One, up four points to 22.9%. It has more than twice the share of any other station, thanks mainly to the fragmentation of the market.

On the franco side, Rouge FM is still by far the top rated stations, but it lost 4.5% market share, and is now at 17.7%. Otherwise the only notable shift is a more than doubling of the share for Corus’s English music station Jump! 106.9, which is now at 4.2% of francophone listeners, similar to other English-language music stations in the market.

I’ll leave looking at other markets to others since I’m less familiar with them. PPM quarterly ratings, which includes the Montreal English and French markets, come out next week.

If you want to delve into deeper analysis, InfoPresse has posted the charts put together by Bell Media research and Cogeco Force Radio, or you can read the self-congratulatory statements from Bell or Leclerc.

New ratings book shows The Beat’s surprise gains disappear

In March, when Numeris last released its quarterly ratings, the numbers showed an unusual spike in listenership for The Beat 92.5 (CKBE-FM). It was several points above competitor Virgin Radio 96 and won in key demographics for the first time. For the station, it was a trend, a sign that changes including a new program director had brought more listening hours to them, and it was something that was likely to continue. For Virgin (CJFM-FM) and owner Bell Media, it was a fluke, a figure explained mainly by the fact that the rating period covered Christmas and The Beat tends to do better with Christmas music.

I said we’d know in the next ratings book which side was right. And in the numbers that came out from Numeris this month, it looks like it’s Bell.

What was a 5.7-point lead in overall (ages 2+) listening share has been cut by more than half to 2.1 points. The new numbers are more consistent with what The Beat has been showing over the past couple of years.

Not that this is such a horrible position to be in. It still leads overall (though both stations fall well behind CJAD among all anglophone listeners), and it has a larger reach than it did before. The station’s press release also points out that for the key advertiser-friendly demographic of adults 25-54, which has been mostly won by Virgin recently, The Beat is now better during the work day (9am to 5pm).

Bell Media’s press release, also republished below, notes that Virgin is top among anglos 25-54, and its morning and afternoon drive shows are “dominating” in those demos. And since Bell also owns all the other English-language commercial stations in Montreal, it notes that Bell Media overall has a 72.4% share among anglo listeners.

Among the other stations, there isn’t that much new. CJAD still dominates overall with a quarter of all anglo listening hours. TSN 690 had a good book, matching its spring 2014 share among all listeners thanks to a strong Canadiens playoff run. CBC Radio One is well within that range of 7-8.5% that it usually sits in. Radio Two had its worst rating in at least the past four years with a 1.5% share, though that could just as easily be statistical error as anything else.

Among francophone audiences, CHMP 98.5 still dominates, and The Beat barely edges Virgin in listening hours, though Virgin has the larger reach.

Continue reading

CHOI plummets from first to fourth in Quebec City radio ratings

Numeris released its spring radio ratings report for diary markets today, and it’s really bad news for Quebec City’s controversial talk station CHOI-FM. It goes from having a 17.7% market share last fall to only a 9.5% share this spring, dropping from first to fourth in the market.

The top three stations are tight, with CJMF-FM (FM93) having a 15.5 share, followed by CBV-FM (Première Chaîne) at 14.5, and CITF-FM (Rouge) at 14.1.

Looking deeper into the numbers suggests it’s not that Quebec City radio listeners are tuning away from CHOI-type programming, but rather that other stations are using that very style of talk to lure away listeners. In particular, NRJ’s decision to hire away CHOI star Stephan Dupont made a big difference, more than doubling NRJ’s morning show audience and cutting CHOI’s noon-hour show’s audience by half.

The FM93 show with Eric Duhaime and Nathalie Normandeau also managed to create a boost and more than double its audience for the noon hour.

Most of the music stations have about the same share as they did before. Bringing up the rear is CBC Radio One, which registers a 0.7% share, much higher than the 0.2% share of last fall, but the margin of error is too big to draw conclusions from that.

More details from Le Soleil and the Journal de Québec.

Sherbrooke: Bell Media still dominates

Not much change in Sherbrooke, though CITE-FM-1 (Rouge) has edged CIMO-FM (NRJ) in market share, with 21.9 to 19.9, respectively, and CKOY-FM (fm 107.7) has climbed well above CFGE-FM (Rythme) for fourth place behind Première Chaîne. Rouge and NRJ are both owned by Bell, and Rythme and 107.7 are owned by Cogeco.

More details in La Tribune

Trois-Rivières: Status quo

Rythme FM (CJEB-FM) is still the top station here, now up more than five points on its nearest rivals, CIGB-FM (NRJ) at 15.6, and CHEY-FM (Rouge) at 14.7. Première Chaîne follows the at 9.6, then Cogeco talk station 106.9 fm (CKOB-FM) at 6.2 and the Bécancour independent station CKBN-FM at 5.2.

Saguenay: Rythme format is working

In Saguenay, there’s little change for the top stations: Rouge (CFIX-FM) at 25.3, NRJ (CJAB-FM) at 20.6, KYK Radio X (CKYK-FM) at 13.2, and Première Chaîne (CBJ-FM) at 9.8. But the transformation of Attraction Radio’s CKRS-FM from a talk station to a Rythme FM affiliate (and change of callsign to CILM-FM) brought its share up from 6.8 to 8.9. It still has a way to go, but it’s headed in the right direction.

Ottawa-Gatineau: Both country stations lose audience

On the English side, the numbers worth analyzing are for the country music stations. Bell Media’s CKKL-FM went from Bob to New Country 94 last November. But its market share nevertheless dipped from 3.3 to 2.7, about the same as it was last spring. Its direct competitor, Rogers’s CKBY-FM (Country 101) in Smiths Falls, saw a greater ratings drop, from 6.7 to 4.2.

On the franco side, Rouge FM (CIMF-FM) is still king with a 24.4 rating, followed by Première Chaîne at 15.5. They’re followed by NRJ (CKTF-FM) at 9.4 and Cogeco’s talk station CKOF-FM at 8.2. All other stations are below 5, including CHLX-FM , whose affiliation to the Rythme FM network hasn’t had much of an impact on its share.

More details from Le Droit.

The next report for PPM markets, including Montreal, will come out on June 11.

The Beat beats Virgin: a fluke, or a turning point?

The quarterly radio ratings haven’t interested me much in a while, mainly because there’s few stations owned by even fewer owners, and the ranking never changes. People talk about a few extra listeners here and some demographic shift there, but overall it’s always the same: CJAD has the highest market share*, Virgin is No. 1 with adults 25-54, CHOM does best with men, and we ignore the fact that all three of those stations are owned by the same company.

This time though, there was a noticeable change. And it made a big difference. The Beat 92.5, which had been slightly ahead of Virgin Radio 96 in most reports the past two years but behind in the key demographics, shot ahead under both measures. Instead of them fighting it out at around 16% or 17% of the audience, The Beat had 20% and Virgin was under 15%.

That was enough to write a story for the Gazette and get the program directors on the record.

That wasn’t easy, mind you. Sam Zniber, who was hired last August at The Beat, flat-out refused to tell me what he thought contributed to the ratings increase, fearing his competitor would find out and copy him. He would only say it’s a team effort.

Mark Bergman at Virgin, meanwhile, did his best to put a positive spin on the ratings, pointing out that the station has a larger reach, and saying that because the measured period included December, the numbers biased in favour of The Beat.

That’s half true. Virgin’s market share does go down in the winter ratings period, but The Beat’s doesn’t spike during that period. And it wasn’t nearly this bad last winter, so it must be something else.

I listened to The Beat, trying to figure out what changed. Was it the announcers? No, because their lineup has been stable for the past year. Was it the amount of music? Anne-Marie Withenshaw’s lawsuit suggests a shift toward less time on air for announcers, and I’ve noticed that many breaks are very brief — like seven seconds brief. But studying the “recently played” lists of Virgin and The Beat, they play about the same number of songs per hour (about eight during peak hours when they have contests, traffic and other stuff, and about 13 an hour during off-peak hours).

The type of music played seems to have changed. Instead of just Katy Perry pop, it’s got more R&B, more dance. Its slogan “Montreal’s perfect mix” and describing itself as airing a “variety” of music make it seem more and more like The Beat of today is the Mix 96 of a decade ago.

Or maybe it’s a combination of factors — a new program director bringing in some new ideas, an experienced on-air staff (many of whom used to work at Virgin) keeping the audience loyal, a more popular mix of music, lots of contests and stunts to keep people engaged, a better-than-expected boost from Christmas music season, and a bit of luck.

We’ll know in three months (or maybe six) how sustainable this lead is. I suspect it won’t last long, but the trend (at least among 2+ audience) has clearly been in The Beat’s favour since it relaunched in 2011.

radioratings

* An earlier version of this post said CJAD had the “most listeners”. As a reader points out, if you count everyone who listens for at least a minute during a day or a measuring period, Virgin has more listeners. I’m more interested in the average, but for clarity I’ve referred instead to market share.

Wayne Bews let go from The Beat

Wayne Bews, hired only a year ago as general manager of The Beat, filling the role vacated by Mark Dickie, has once again fallen victim to corporate management deciding that a station doesn’t need its own general manager. Cogeco tells me that the position has been eliminated and his functions taken over by other people within the company.

Bews left his job at TSN 690 for similar reasons in the fall of 2013, though at least that time Bell got him a job at CTV Montreal.

Charli Paige is Virgin’s new evening announcer

Meanwhile, a new face at Virgin. Tony Stark’s old evening show has been given to Charli Paige, who comes from 101.3 The Bounce in Halifax, where she was Jillian Blinkhorn. Her show airs 6-11pm Mondays to Thursdays.

Stark, meanwhile, is in the middle of a contest at The Jump in Ottawa to find a morning co-host.

Radio ratings: Best book ever for TSN Radio 690

We're number one! ... Well, number five, but who's counting?

We’re number one! … Well, number five, but who’s counting?

The ratings for March, April and May in Montreal were released by BBM Canada last week. And in general they show no real difference from the previous report that came out in March. On the English side, CJAD remains the most popular station by share of listening hours, followed by The Beat, Virgin, CHOM, CBC Radio One, TSN Radio 690 and everyone else.

But while TSN 690 remains in last place among the five commercial stations, its ratings are the best it’s ever seen with 364,000 listeners a week, a 5.2% market share overall (up from 3.6% in the spring) and a 7.7% market share among adults 25-54, up 36% from last winter.

Continue reading

Radio ratings: CHOI still #1 in Quebec City; Jeff Fillion boosts NRJ Québec by 447%

Radio ratings for mid-size markets across Canada were released this week by BBM Canada. Unlike big markets like Montreal and Toronto, these markets are measured twice a year by written diaries, which are less accurate than electronic meters.

Here’s what they show (updated with notes from Bell Media Radio’s analysis):

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Montreal radio ratings: Not much new here

BBM Canada put out its ratings for spring 2013 on Thursday. The top-line data is here (PDF), and as usual the various radio stations did their best to spin things in their favour (see 98.5’s here).

The big picture is that not much has changed. On the English side, CJAD is still the most-listened-to station among all listeners, and The Beat is ahead of Virgin for the second straight quarter. They’re followed by CHOM, CBC Radio One, Radio Two, TSN 690 and classical station CJPX, followed by the French stations.

But while The Beat lays claim to “MONTREAL’S #1 MUSIC STATION”, it’s not the one with the most listeners. When you count the francophone audience, Virgin comes out way ahead. Virgin also claims just about every advertiser-friendly demographic, including ones like people with children at home and people looking to buy a new or used car.

Virgin also claims to be gaining in those demographics.

Among francophone audiences, the top stations among 2+ audiences are 98.5, Rythme FM, Première Chaîne, Rouge FM, NRJ, Virgin, CKOI and CHOM in that order. Nothing surprising here.

Astral crows that Rouge FM has its best showing ever in a PPM survey, including a win For Joël Legendre over Rythme FM’s Véronique Cloutier at lunch hour among adults 25-54 and women 25-54. Overall, the station is still third in adults 25-54, but only one point behind Rythme FM. The only other station to show two straight quarters of audience growth in adults 25-54 is Radio X, but that was a growth to a 2% share (3% among men 25-54).

Broken down by time period, Rouge has gained in weekday mornings, late mornings and early afternoons over two straight quarters. Others have stagnated or dropped. Isabelle Maréchal at 98.5fm has lost almost a third of her 25-54 audience from 10am to noon on weekdays in the past year. Eric Duhaime saw a spike in his noon-hour audience at Radio X, more than doubling since last fall, but still behind Radio Classique among adults 25-54. Virgin has taken the lead back from The Beat among adults 25-54 during the three periods of the workday.

Analysis

Spring 2013 ratings by time period, weekdays, adults 25-54, by Cogeco Force Radio

Spring 2013 ratings by time period, weekdays, adults 25-54, by Cogeco Force Radio

Infopresse has Cogeco Force Radio’s analysis, which includes the above chart showing ratings by time period.

You can read Astral’s ratings analysis here. You can also read their analysis of Quebec City, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Gatineau markets, which are measured by semi-annual surveys.

In Saturday’s Gazette, Brendan Kelly looks at the phenomenon of more French-speaking listeners tuning into English radio stations than English-speaking ones, and a bit of history that explains why Montreal doesn’t have any bilingual stations. A sidebar to it looks at the latest ratings, and notes a boost for Virgin in Andrea Collins’s new time slot of late mornings. (There’s also a recovery in early afternoons when it’s Ryan Seacrest on the air.)

The Journal de Montréal also has a ratings story focused on 98.5fm.

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:

Continue reading

Fall radio ratings: CHOM and CJPX gain, The Beat and TSN lose, Radio X struggles (UPDATED)

Fall 2012 ratings from BBM Canada for the anglo Montreal market (Aug. 27 to Nov. 25), with comparisons to the same period a year ago. (Numbers reflect total 2+ audience)

BBM Canada released its fall 2012 ratings for metered markets (including Montreal) on Thursday. While members get detailed information from which they can spin all sorts of good news, the public gets an overall picture (PDF).

On the English side, there’s the usual fluctuations. CHOM gains a point and a half compared to last year (but is down slightly in market share compared to the summer), and also has a larger overall audience than it did a year ago.

CJAD, Virgin and The Beat are also up slightly, and CBC Radio One has lost a bit.

Among francophone listeners, where anglo music stations actually have a larger audience than in English, CHOM has 30,000 more listeners on a daily basis than it did a year ago, and Virgin and The Beat have both lost a bit of ground.

I await their spin, revealing what nuggets of significant gains aren’t being reflected in the overall ratings. (See below)

For TSN Radio (CKGM), there’s no getting around the disappointing ratings period. The station has a 2.3% market share this fall, down from 4.0% a year ago. Its daily audience among anglos has dropped from 60,000 to 43,000. Even simulcasting on two frequencies hasn’t been enough to compensate for the lack of NHL hockey.

The Beat falls among 25-54 demos

But those are for the total audience. What about the key 25-54 demographic, the people with money that advertisers want?

Astral Radio’s BBM analysis (which is much more objective than its press releases) provides the answer:

CKBE (The Beat) has lost the gains it made this spring, falling back into third place overall behind CHOM. It has a 21% commercial market share among adults 25-54, compared to CHOM’s 25% and Virgin’s 32%. Much of that loss is among men, where it had spiked to 22% in the spring but is now back at 16%. Among women, it’s gone down slightly, but Virgin’s lead has increased from four points to 13 points.

Its morning show has dropped back into fourth place after barely reaching second in the spring, with fewer than 7,000 listeners in the average minute (Virgin’s morning show has more than 10,000 listeners) among adults 25-54. Late mornings and lunch hour have dropped from first to third, and early afternoons dropped from first to second behind Virgin. Its drivetime show also dropped from second to third after losing about a quarter of its audience from the spring. On weekends, it was third before and remains so.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is average listening time: 3.1 hours per week, putting it behind CJAD, CHOM and Virgin, which are all between 4 and 4.5 hours a week.

Overall, it’s an awful ratings period for The Beat, bringing them back to what they were at before their notable gains in the spring. That explains why their press release (below) doesn’t mention any numbers.

CJFM (Virgin Radio) is still No. 1 in most key demographics. Among women 25-54, they’re at 41% market share. Its biggest gain is in late mornings and early afternoons, where Nikki Balch and Ryan Seacrest respectively have picked up almost 3,000 average-minute listeners from the spring. Virgin also made significant gains at morning and afternoon drive. It’s now the top station during the morning rush and from 11am to 8pm weekdays among adults 25-54.

Its strength remains in younger audiences – the top nine shows among adults 18-34 are all on Virgin.

CHOM still gets to brag that it’s No. 1 among men, and its market share among men 25-54 has gone up to 35%, though much of that probably has to do with the lack of hockey pushing TSN Radio listeners back to their backup radio option. CHOM has also jumped ahead of The Beat for second place among all adults 25-54.

The morning show with Terry DiMonte and Heather Backman now has about 10,000 listeners 25-54 in the average minute, good for second place after being behind The Beat and CJAD in different ratings periods. It continues a steady climb from 8,000 a year ago and 7,000 the year before that. CHOM’s morning show audience has grown 50% in two years, but still isn’t the high peak of the day. Among men 25-54, there are only about half as many listeners at 7am as there are at 11am.

Tootall had a great ratings report, with the late morning part of his show gaining 20% audience since the spring and now the top-rated show at CHOM. The lunch hour and afternoon parts had more modest gains. The afternoon drive show with Bilal Butt gained slightly to its highest average-minute audience in two years, but it’s still a distant second to Virgin and mired in a tight three-way race with The Beat and CJAD. Even among men 25-54, the show struggles to compete with Virgin and CJAD.

On weekends, CHOM dipped slightly, but it’s still a clear second, and it’s fighting with Virgin for top spot among men 25-54 on weekend afternoons.

CJAD’s numbers didn’t change much. Astral brags about its high-rated morning show, but it’s still third among adults 25-54 (its strength is earlier in the morning, and it dominates the ratings until about 7am). The lunchtime show with Ric Peterson made a significant jump from 2,500 to 3,500 listeners in the demo (but still well behind the three music stations), and the afternoon drive show with Aaron Rand also gained more than a thousand listeners in the 25-54 demo. Rather than fighting TSN for fourth place, it’s fighting CHOM and The Beat for second.

Among all audiences, CJAD is still the top rated station among English listeners, and has the five top-rated shows.

CKGM (TSN 690) is clearly wishing for hockey to come back. Among men 25-54, it has a 7% market share, about half what it did a year ago. Every major time slot is down, and its hopes of competing with CJAD in some of them (notably afternoon drive) are gone for now.

Radio X disappoints

On the French side, not much has changed from a year ago. CHMP 98.5 is still the No. 1 station with a 22.5% market share, followed by CFGL (Rythme FM, 18.6%), CITE (Rouge FM, 12.3%, up more than two points from a year ago) and CBF (Première Chaîne, 11.3%).

NRJ (CKMF) and CKOI continue to be stuck in the single digits, with CKOI hitting a new market share low of 5.7%, even though it’s third-highest in total weekly audience reach. At this point, CKOI barely beats out classical music station CJPX, which has grown a point and a half in French and gained 30,000 daily listeners since last year.

NRJ’s market share is 7.1%, down from 10.3% a year ago.

The most interesting information on the franco side concerns CKLX-FM 91.9, which went from being Planète Jazz to Radio X this fall. Reports that ratings had actually dropped as a result of the change have turned out to be true. Planète Jazz had a 1.3% market share, 64,300 daily listeners and 902,800 weekly listeners a year ago. In the summer, it had a 1.2% share, 62,700 daily listeners and 944,800 weekly listeners. But in its first ratings period as Radio X, it has a 0.8% market share, 54,500 daily listeners and 640,100 weekly listeners.

Radio X, in other words, has only 2/3  the audience that Planète Jazz had, after a programming change designed to bring in more listeners.

Radio X, owned by RNC Media, will counter that this kind of change takes time to build an audience, though that’s not necessarily true.

To be fair, it also made some gains in the key 25-54 demos. Its morning show and afternoon drive gained quite a bit, while early afternoons took a nosedive. Weekends show a significant increase during the hours when it airs rock music (we’re still waiting for a CRTC decision on an application to strip it of its specialty jazz status – until then it has to devote 70% of its music to the jazz/blues format).

Overall, though, the station’s ratings are very poor, behind even Radio Classique (CJPX) and fighting for last place with Radio Circulation (CKAC).

Big gains for Radio Classique

While not much has changed for the other commercial radio stations in French in Montreal, there’s a noticeable increase in the ratings for CJPX Radio Classique, particularly among men.

Consider this: During the lunch hour, it had 630 average-minute listeners this spring, but 4,730 this fall, an astounding increase of 651%. It had similar jumps during all hours of the day, except afternoon drive where it saw a mere doubling of audience.

It makes sense to assume that Radio Classique picked up many former Planète Jazz listeners, but its increases are larger than CKLX’s entire audience was. Is there something else at play here, or is this just a case of sampling error spouting out random variation in small numbers?

Either way, Radio Classique beats out Radio X in all time periods among the 25-54 demo. Radio Classique’s overall commercial market share among 25-54 is 3%, up from 1% in the spring.

More ratings coverage

Continue reading

Ratings prove benefits of talk format

In June, Cogeco Diffusion announced that it would take three stations outside Montreal using the CKOI brand and turn them into talk stations similar to CHMP 98.5. Three months after the changes took effect, we have our first publicly-available ratings data for two of these stations.

On Thursday, BBM Canada released top-line radio ratings for diary markets (PDF). Diary markets are those that measure ratings through the use of diary surveys of listeners, asking them to fill out forms saying what they listened to. They exclude the five largest markets (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary), which have switched to the Portable People Meter, an electronic device that logs what people actually listen to. PPMs are more expensive, but more accurate.

The BBM diary survey data gives us snapshots of markets including Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Ottawa/Gatineau, the latter in both French and English. Cogeco has a talk station in each of these metro areas.

In Sherbrooke (CKOY-FM 107.7) and Gatineau (CKOF-FM 104.7), the stations both saw ratings boosts compared to this spring and a year ago.

Sherbrooke’s CKOY has an 8% market share, which is actually last-place among metered commercial stations in the market now that CJTS-FM has been shut down. But that number is up from 6.6% a year ago, 4.9% in fall 2010 and 5.2% in fall 2009.

Gatineau’s CKOF has a 7.6% market share, its highest since the spring of 2009, and up from 4.3% in fall 2011.

The third former CKOI station, Trois-Rivières’s CKOB-FM 106.9, is not part of the publicly-available data, so we don’t know how it did as far as ratings didn’t do as well, according to Astral’s BBM analysis. It lost ground overall, and particularly among young adults and women. But among adults 25-54 (the key demo), it’s about where it was a year ago – in last place.

In Quebec City, where Cogeco already had a talk station and the CKOI-branded station there was sold to an independent company when Cogeco bought Corus, the numbers also look good for talk radio. Controversial talk radio station CHOI-FM, which had been as far down as fifth and sixth place in the market in 2009, is now the top-rated station in the market with a 15.9% market share. Cogeco’s Quebec City talk/rock station CJMF-FM (FM93) is in third place, and its 14.7% market share is its best since at least 2009.

The Journal de Québec has some details of the Quebec City market.

Combined with data showing that CHMP in Montreal keeps getting higher ratings, it’s clear that there’s a pattern here, and the switch from music to talk has had some (at least modest) success in terms of ratings.

Radio-Canada was also crowing about these numbers. In Ottawa/Gatineau, Radio-Canada’s Première Chaîne had a reach exceeding 100,000 listeners for the first time ever. (Reach is defined as the number of people tuning into a station at least once a week.) It also breaks down some numbers for each of its shows.

Spin cycle

Lots of broadcasters issued their own statements on their ratings numbers, including for many small markets that BBM doesn’t give numbers for directly. Here’s a few I’ve found for Quebec’s diaried markets:

  • Astral gives an overall picture and rundown by market (with only the good news highlighted). Astral’s ratings analysis folks also have details in terms of age, gender and time of day for the Quebec, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay markets.
  • Cogeco Quebec: FM 93 might be losing to CHOI, but it does better in the city of Quebec itself, and FM 93 and sister station 102.9 are stronger as a pair than the pair of stations owned by RNC and Astral. (Wow, that’s some heavy spin)
  • NRJ Abitibi: A brief pointing out that they’re No. 1 in Rouyn-Noranda and Val d’Or
  • Radio-Canada Saguenay: Third place, but some interesting gains
  • Planète Dolbeau-Mistassini: We’re No. 1! Share this news on Facebook!
  • Planète Alma: More women are listening to us! Share this news on Facebook!

Other less biased analysis by market: