Over the past week, I have been taking a closer look at the applications for Montreal’s AM clear-channel frequencies 690 and 940 kHz that were presented at CRTC hearings in October. In today’s final installment, I look at the application from Paul Tietolman, Nicolas Tétrault and Rajiv Pancholy for a French news-talk station on 690 and an English news-talk station on 940. Though these are technically two separate applications, they are virtually identical in format and are being treated as one application here.
The would-be station owners at the CRTC hearing (from left): Nicolas Tétrault, Rajiv Pancholy and Paul Tietolman
Do you believe in radio? Do you believe that corporate greed and ineptitude has more to do with the decline of media than the Internet or changing habits? Do you think the thing the media sphere needs right now more than anything else is an owner with the heart of a mom-and-pop operation and the bank account of a Fortune 500 executive?
If so, the three men pictured above are here to be your saviours.
If you don’t believe, if you think investing in talent has already been proven not to work, and that rigorous cost-cutting is the only thing that keeps radio profitable these days, then these three men will seem like morons willing to flush tens of millions of dollars right down the toilet.
Despite how closely I’ve followed radio, I can’t honestly say which of these is true. I want to hope for the former, but the latter just seems more realistic.
And the success of these applications will depend, more than anything else, on which side of that fence three CRTC commissioners sit.
From the Airchecker blog, a memo about changes at Astral Media radio stations in Montreal (which include CJAD 800, CHOM 97.7 and CJFM 95.9).
- Mike Bendixen, former CJAD programming director who took a temporary job doing the same at CFRB 1010 in Toronto, will remain there permanently.
- Steve Kowch, the man Bendixen replaced at CFRB (and who took Bendixen’s job at CJAD in a rather ironic move), is out. His last day is Dec. 18. He had expected to be at CJAD until March. Now he can concentrate on writing a book, at least.
- Chris Bury takes over as PD/Interim News Director at CJAD on Jan. 4. Bury started at CJAD in 1998, but for most of this decade worked at 940 News. He became CINW’s program director when it became 940 Hits.
- Mark Bergman becomes Interim Program Director of CJFM (Virgin Radio 96), replacing Bob Harris, who is leaving for Hamilton. Bergman is currently the assistant PD. Bergman will remain on his afternoon show with Chantal Desjardins.
- Mathew Wood, who managed promotions for all three stations, now focuses exclusively on CHOM.
- Melissa Mancuso, a promotions assistant, replaces Wood as Promotions Director at CJFM.
- Bianca Bayer becomes Promotions Coordinator for CJFM. (What’s the difference between a Promotions Director and Promotions Coordinator? Beats me.)
- Lisa Fuoco becomes Promotions Director at CJAD, stripping “assistant” from her title.
- Peter McEntyre will assist Fuoco part-time. (McEntyre is also one of the hosts of CJAD’s Irish Show)
VP/GM Martin Spalding explains the strategy, in case it’s not obvious:
The strategy is to have a dedicated Program and Promotions Director for each station. This will enable CJAD, Virgin 96 and CHOM to compete independently, prosper and build strong brand identities within an aggressive and ever-evolving radio market.
Could it be that Astral Media is finally realizing that radio stations work better if they have their own brands and target audiences, and that the tag “an Astral Media radio station” doesn’t impress anyone?
UPDATE (Dec. 10): The Suburban’s Mike Cohen talks briefly with some of the figures in these changes.