Corus closes On 2 Montreal Stations

Canada’s first radio station is no more, as Canadian media and entertainment empire Corus Entertainment Inc. pulled the plug on two Montreal AM radio stations just after 7pm on Monday 29 January.

Despite the excellence and dedication of station employees, Info690 and AM940 are unprofitable. Corus Québec and its employees worked to grow audience and revenues on both these stations while operating them as efficiently as possible. It is clear that these two AM stations are not viable, particularly in the current economic climate.

This decision affects 10 positions, including eight positions at Info690: three journalist positions, two traffic reporter positions and three operations positions. At AM940 Montreal’s Greatest Hits, two positions were affected: one on-air host position and one technician position.

The Info690 Montréal newsroom, known as CorusNouvelles, will continue its activities as part of 98,5 FM Montréal. CorusNouvelles will continue to invest in providing news content to the entire Corus Québec network and its clients. The majority of journalist positions from the Info690 newsroom (five of eight journalist positions along with three of five traffic reporter positions) will be retained.

AM940 is a direct descendent of Canada’s first radio station, CFCF, originally at the 600 dial on the AM band. In 1919, the Canadian Marconi Co. launched XWA (Experimental Wireless Apparatus) in Montreal and it became the first commercial broadcast radio station in Canada. The name was switched to CFCF in November 1920.

The stations were pulled off at 7:02 p.m., cutting off a recording that had been running since all programming stopped about 10 a.m. The recordings, which were made by the general managers of the respective stations, thanked listeners, and advertisers, and explained it was a difficult decision to close the stations.

“We put tremendous effort into trying to find the right format and content to grow our audience base and operate profitably, but after years of effort it is clear these AM stations are not viable,” said Mario Cecchini, Vice President, Corus Québec. “We would like to thank the employees affected by this decision for their hard work. We would also like to acknowledge the support of listeners and advertising clients of Info690 Montréal and AM940 Montreal’s Greatest Hits.”

The operating licences for these two AM stations will be returned to the CRTC. Corus Québec employs 466 people in Quebec.