Tag Archives: WEZF

CRTC wants to crack down on cross-border stations

UPDATED below with CRTC’s notice of hearing.

Tim Thompson, centre, heads Montreal sales for 94.7 Hits FM (WYUL) and other U.S. stations targetting Montreal.

Tim Thompson, centre, heads Montreal sales for 94.7 Hits FM (WYUL) and other U.S. stations targetting Montreal.

In an office building next to the Holiday Inn Pointe-Claire, Tim Thompson and his team of 10 salespeople and four promotions people are trying to get Montrealers to tune away from the big three music stations they’re used to — CHOM, Virgin Radio and The Beat — and tune into a station beaming its signal into the city from across the border in Chateaugay, N.Y., near Malone.

94.7 Hits FM (WYUL) markets itself as “Montreal’s Hit Music Channel“. While technically licensed by the FCC to serve this tiny New York town, its real goal is to get a foothold in Montreal with its 50,000-watt signal. And it succeeds, reaching most of the western half of the island.

The advantage to being a cross-border station is regulatory freedom. CHOM, Virgin and The Beat have to ensure 35% of the music they broadcast is Canadian. They have to ensure no more than half the music they broadcast is or was hit music (a condition originally meant to protect AM stations, now used to protect French stations in Montreal and Ottawa). They’re not allowed to air advertising in French.

As an American station, WYUL doesn’t have any of those obligations. It can broadcast whatever music it wants and programming in whatever language it wants.

“We really just play top 40, and that’s the beauty of our station,” says Marketing Director Tina Paylan.

Not only does the station target Montreal listeners, but advertisers as well, with about 90% of its advertising coming from this region. (It also targets Cornwall in eastern Ontario, in addition to Malone.)

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Star 92.9 takes out attack ad on The Beat

Ad from Star 92.9 in this week's Suburban

Well that’s a bit more direct than you normally see. This ad is from Star 92.9 WEZF, a station based in Burlington, Vermont, that targets the Montreal audience even though it’s not incredibly easy to pick up here if you’re not in a car.

In case you can’t tell from the references to Aaron, Tasso, The Q and 92.5, the ad is a direct attack on The Beat (CFQR, now CKBE) and its programming changes.

I get the plan to profit from the format change, but the direct attack seems a bit much. Though there are still people bitter about Tasso and (later) Aaron getting the boot, I haven’t heard much negative about changing from The Q to The Beat. It’s too early to get an idea of ratings, but The Beat General Manager Mark Dickie says he’s encouraged by early numbers in their target demographic.

But I guess going outrageous is part of their marketing plan. It got me talking about them.

Star owner ad salesman Tim Martz spoke with The Suburban’s Mike Cohen recently (makes you wonder if the timing of the story and the ad are a coincidence).