Comments Off on Bells shuts down 6 AM stations and lays off 1,300 staff accross Canada
14 June 2023 – Bell has shutdown of 6 AM radio stations across Canada today, and is cutting 1,300 jobs, or 6% of its workforce.
The eliminated positions equate to a six per cent cut at Bell Media. Bell blames the job cuts on “unfavourable public policy and regulatory conditions that it can no longer outwait.”
Bell will move to a “single newsroom approach across brands, allowing for greater collaboration and efficiency,” said Richard Gray, vice-president of news at Bell Media, in an internal memo distributed to staff Wednesday morning.
Robert Malcolmson Bell’s chief legal and regulatory officer said the company can’t afford to continue operating it’s various brands, including CTV National News, BNN, CP24, local TV news stations and radio independently of one another. Rosa Hwang, executive producer, CTV National News and CTV News, has been relieved of her duties. The LA & UK bureaus have bene closed and the Washington bureau is being scaled back. Off air as of today are:
1290 AM Winnipeg 1060 AM Calgary TSN AM Edmonton BNN Bloomberg 1410 Vancouver Funny 1040 Vancouver NewsTalk 1290 London ON
1150 AM Hamilton 820 AM Hamilton 580 AM Windsor have been sold to an undisclosed third party, subject to CRTC approval.
Our thoughts are with those broadcasters’ and their families impacted by this mass layoff.
Patrick Grierson, on May 16, after battling an undisclosed illness. With a broadcast career spanning more than 40 years, the radio advertising pioneer retired in 2017 as leader of the largest national radio sales organization in Canada, Canadian Broadcast Sales (CBS). He started his career with Standard Broadcasting in the 1970s and was eventually appointed president of the Standard Broadcast Sales Radio division, following the Slaight family’s acquisition of the company in 1985. In 1987, Grierson founded United Broadcast Sales (UBS), which saw Standard Broadcast Sales merge with Western Broadcast Sales (WIC). He served as President and CEO of UBS until 1993, when he brought together UBS and All Canada to create one dominant Canadian radio sales company. Grierson was honoured by the Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) with its 2015 Ontario Hall of Fame Award. He was inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) Hall of Fame in 2017.
Comments Off on Billie Holiday joins 101 The Grand
Billie Holiday joins the Grand at 101 in Centre Wellington as the host of Billie and Friends, as well as, the Assistant Program Director. She hosted the popular Mad Dog and Billie Show in Toronto for 12 years on Kiss 92.5, CHFI and Virgin Radio.
Most recently, Billie cohosted The PJ and Billie Show on COUNTRY 106.7 Kitchener. Billie is thrilled to be the host of “Billie and Friends’ on The Grand at 101. She is excited to share stories and laughs with the listeners in Wellington County and really get to know the community.
She is joined by Austin Cardinell and Arlene Dowell on the show.
Comments Off on Attitudes and opinions towards commercial radio in Canada
How do Canadians feel about Radio? This is a great question and clearly one that the CRTC have been thinking about. They recently invested $123,000 to have an extensive research study done by Ipsos Public Affairs. This research firm did qualitative research talking with 88 participants across 13 focus groups (9 in English, 4 in French) between March 19 – 31, 2020. Then, between November 12 – 26, 2020 they did quantitative research with 1,735 Canadians aged 18 years or older.
It is unfortunate that there was such a time lag between the qualitative research and quantitative research as there is no way to know what impact this may have had on the results. But what we do know is that COVID-19 was just starting in March of last year and by November last year more people were working from home and listening habits and commute patterns had changed.
Here is a summary of the key findings:
The good news is that radio continues to reach more Canadians than any other medium. 7 out of 10 Canadians listen to radio each week and 40% of Canadians listen daily to radio. In vehicle listening is still where most listening happens making up 80% of consumption.
Commercial radio is considered the most important broadcast platform for Canadians to have access to with 64% saying they listen mainly for music while 57% say it is news and information they are seeking. 51% rely in radio for weather, 22% come to radio for talk and 10% saying they like to hear contests and games on the radio.
The focus groups identified the three key reasons why Canadians listen to commercial radio
To get the latest information – news, weather, and traffic
Radio creates a sense of atmosphere, comfort, and community
For the music
The CBC did not fare as well as commercial radio with only 32% saying they listen to the CBC on a regular basis. Currently the federal Government spends over $1.8 billion of taxpayer funds on the CBC each year. The research found that only 39% listen to streaming services, 17% to satellite radio and 22% to podcasts.
For the most part Canadians are happy with what they hear on commercial radio. The fact that commercial radio is free of charge is by far the thing Canadians like most about it (60%), followed by the convenience and simplicity (30%), the connection it gives them to their local community (30%), variety of music genres (27%), and a reliable source of information (26%).
The focus groups confirmed that commercial radio is positively perceived by listeners as an enjoyable and entertaining medium that has a variety of musical genres available and is considered a good source of high-level news and information. When it comes to how commercial radio could be improved, the most popular suggestion was to play fewer commercials followed by a wider variety of music. Music repetition was also mentioned in the focus groups.
In these studies, it seems Canadians exhibited a strong sense of patriotism towards the promotion of Canadian artists and music in general and feel it is essential to ensuring a strong Canadian culture (62% strongly/somewhat agree). Most felt the current levels of popular Canadian music on commercial radio should stay the same.
Most Canadians feel it is important that we continue to promote Canadian artists through content rules (60%) and that more should be done to promote new and emerging Canadian artists on commercial radio (51%). However, many also admitted that they don’t pay a lot of attention to whether the artist is Canadian or not when listening to music (58%).
Most agree that streaming music services should be required to support the Canadian broadcast sector (53% strongly/somewhat agree) but feel that any future regulations should not interfere with consumers’ ability to choose the content they want (68%). The qualitative research also showed that many were supportive of having streaming services contribute financially to the Canadian music industry, as they believed that homegrown artists should be supported.
Awareness of commercial radio station ownership is relatively low. However, some concern exists about concentration of ownership and that it may limit the diversity of opinions and music available or limit Canadians’ access to different sources of information.
The youngest generation (Gen Z, 18-23) is less likely to listen to commercial radio on a regular basis, but also feel it is important to have access to it and express satisfaction with most aspects of the listening experience. They are less likely to feel it is important to have access to local, national, or international news, weather, or traffic on commercial radio and more likely to mention diversity, exposure to new artists, or more Canadian music as aspects of commercial radio that need to be improved.
Boomers (56+) are more likely to support the current French-language content rules, requiring streaming services to contribute financially towards the Canadian broadcasting system and ensuring a minimum amount of Canadian content is included on streaming services weekly playlists. Boomers are least likely to feel as though there is not enough programming offered on commercial radio in their preferred language
Those born in Canada are more likely to listen to commercial radio on a frequent basis, to feel having access to commercial AM/FM radio is important (8-10 on 10 point scale) and to be satisfied with the listening experience. They are more likely to be satisfied with the availability of programming in their preferred language, the availability of local content from where they live, the frequency of information, and the quality of programming
Those born outside Canada are more likely to feel having access to international news on commercial radio is important and that they would like more access to content in their preferred language on commercial radio. They are also less likely to agree that promoting Canadian artists and music is essential to ensuring a strong Canadian culture and to feel that streaming music services should be required to support the Canadian broadcast sector.
This is a great report card for radio in Canada and hopefully the CRTC will be aware of this as it undertakes a review of the radio policy, the first one ion 30 years. You can read the full study here
The lasted 13 week PPM surveys were conducted by Numeris from 31 August to 29 November known as the R4 book. Below is our overview of the winners along with some comments. All figures quoted are Monday to Sunday 2am-2am and Adults 12+ unless otherwise noted.
Toronto Calgary (sample = 1,180)
The CBC (CBLA-FM) benefited from people looking for news and information and remains the most listened to station in Toronto. They are up 6.4% to a 17.7% audience share %. Q107 is the most listened to commercial station for the second book in a row, but static at 11.1%. They were helped by some impressive female numbers which frankly does not make sense. Boom holds onto #3 with a 9.2%, CHFI is next with an 8.5% which is down from the 13.4% in R2. News and talk stations performed well, as you would expect in this Covid-19 world. 680 News is up 21.5% to a 7.1% and Newstalk 1010 is up 16.4% to a 5.8%.
In the money demo (adults 25-54) CBC are #1 at 12.9%, Boom 97.3 is #2 tied with Q107 followed by CHFI and 680 news. Next is CHUM-FM who are down 10% (6.5% to 5.8%) and up to 6th place because of a 40% growth in audience share (4.0% to 5.6%) is Indie 88.
The other demo advertising agencies are interested in is Adults 18-34 where Q107 is #1 for the second book in a row with a 17.8% and grew their audience by 24%. Next is CBC with a 12.8% with CHFI at #3 with a 9.6% and Boom with an 8.2% share. CISS 92.5 at #5 with a 5.8% (down 28% from R3 where they had an 8.2%) and are now tied with Virgin Radio. CHUM are next with a 5.5% and Z103.5 lost 28% of their audience in this age demo (6.4% to 4.5%).
When you look at TSL which is the amount of time listeners spend with a station in a week you can see that some of these radio stations benefit from a huge number of hours spent listening to them. Which helped their overall audience share numbers. CBC listeners spend an unbelievable 48.6 hours per week with the public broadcaster. I know lots of people are working from home, but this is one of the highest TSL numbers I have ever seen. CFRB get 31.2 hours per week and Q107 an impressive 20.7 hours per week. Again, all figures are 12+ Monday to Sunday 2am to 2am unless otherwise noted. More people check out CHFI in a week than any other Toronto radio station with over 6.5 million cume. Next is CHUM with 5.9 million followed by Boom 97.3 with 5.6 million and Virgin radio with 5.3 million.
Moring Drive is dominated by the news and talk stations with CBC 26.4% share, CFRB 11.2% and 680 news with an 8.4% of morning drive audience.
As an industry we need to look at PPM sample sizes and the methodology if we hope to retain credibility with advertisers and ad agencies. Frankly some of these numbers do not make sense. There is only so much you can blame on Covid-19 and Trump!
Vancouver Calgary (sample = 833) The most listened to station in Vancouver is the Corus owned Newstalk station CKNW with a 14.8% share of audience (all people 12+ Monday to Sunday 2am-2am). CBC is #2 and 93.7 JR country is 3rd followed by Rock 101 and Virgin Radio tied at 7.4% share.
Ad Agencies buy Adults 25-54 and this demo is owned by Rock 101 with a 10.7% and sister station CFOX is #2 with a 9.8%. These two stations are clearly benefiting from the return of Ronnie Stanton to the programming chair. Next comes JR country with a 9.2% followed by the Stingray station Z95.3 which is up 53% in audience share (5.3% to 8.2%).
Bell’s QM-FM is the most sampled station in Vancouver with a 12+ cume of 2.3 million followed by Virgin Radio at 2.1 million and Jack FM at just over 2 million. It will be interesting to see what the new morning show of Drex and company can do for Jack FM in 2021.
CKNW benefits from 50.3 hours of time spent listening over the week. CBC are next with 30 hours and the Christian station Praise 106 are 3rd with 18 hours a week. Morning Drive is dominated by the news and talk stations with CKNW with a 16.3% share and CBC next with a 16.2%. Then it’s Bells QM in 3rd spot with a 7.5%, Rock 101 with a 7.3%, and JR Country with a 7.1% share of audience.
Calgary (sample = 747) News and information stations dominate the ratings in Calgary with the Corus News/Talk station 770 CHQR at #1 with an 9.8% audience share which is up almost 13%. CBC are #2 with a 9.0% and Country 105 is 3rd with a 7.4% (down 14%) followed by Pattison’s Hot AC 101.5 Today Radio with a 7.4%.
Pattison’s Today Radio wins the Adults 25-54 race with a 10.9% adults 12+ followed by Bells Rocker CJ 92 with a 6.8% and Harvard’s X92.9 with a 6.7%. The CBC are 8th in Calgary with a 5.2% of audience.
18-34 is owned by Pattison’s WILD 953 with a 10.3% share with sister station Today Radio close with a 9.7% and Stingray’s XL 103 with an 8.1% audience share. (up 22.6% from the previous book).
Rawclo’s soft AC (CHUP) is the most checked out station in Calgary with a cume of 1.3 million, followed by Virgin Radio with 1.1 million and XL 103 with about the same amount of full coverage cume.
News and information junkies spend a lot of time with the news stations in Calgary and the Corus AM CHQR gets 38.6 hours per week followed by the CBC at 29.6 hours and CBC Radio 2 at 22.1 hours.
Morning drive is dominated by CBC Radio One with a 12+ audience share of 13.9% followed by 770 CHQR at 10.9% and Country 105 at 7.7%.
Edmonton (sample = 795) Pattison’s UP 99.3 is back on top in Edmonton with a 12+ audience share of 8.0% swapping placed with the CBC who are down 12% to 7.9%. The AC Breeze product (CKRA) and 102.3 Now FM are tied for 3rd with a 7.6%. CFBR-FM “The Bear” has 7.2% share of audience.
102.3 Now wins the Adults 25-54 battle in R4 with a 12.6% with Sonic @ #2 with a 11.3%, and Stingray’s K97 at #3 with an 8.2%.
102.9 Sonic FM stay on top in the 18-34 demo and grew their audience by 30% to a 17.2% followed by 102.3 Now with a 13.1%. K97 are 3rd with a 11.9% share followed by CISN Country and The Bear.
Stingray’s The Breeze is the radio station more people in Edmonton check out than any other with a full coverage cume of 1.2 million. Kiss 91.7 is #2 with 1.1 million listeners and 102.3 Now is a closer 3 when it comes to cume.
CBC Radio One get 27.5 hours a week, followed by CHED at 19.8 hours and Multi-Cultural station CKUA at 15.6 hours.
CBC Radio One are #1 in AM Drive with a 10.0% with CHED at #2 with a 8,7% and Sonic 1029 at #3 with an 8.6%.
Montreal(sample = 1,467) Cogeco are doing well in Montreal and have 3 of the top 5 stations in the market adults 12+. Their French language News/Talk station (CHMP-FM) is #1 with a 17.6% share of all people 12+. At #2 is CBC (CBF-FM) with a 12.3%. Cogeco’s 105.7 Rythme FM with an 11.1% is #3 and sister station 96.9 with a 7.5% come in at #4. Rounding out the top 5 is legendary rocker CHOM with a 7.1% audience share.
Adults 25-54 has Bells French classic Hits statins Energie 94.3 at #1 with a 12.1%. CBC are #2 with a 10.9 and at #3 is Cogeco’s News/Talk station (CHMP-FM). Close behind is sister station 92.5 The Beat with a 10.4% and next also with a 10% (10.2%) is Cogeco’s 105.7 Rythme FM proving that if you want to reach this important agency demo you need the Cogeco stations.
Cogeoc’s CKOI-FM are #1 with Adults 18-34 with a 14.6% followed by sister station News/Talk station (CHMP-FM)with a 11,0% and 3rd is Bell’s Energie 94.3 with a 10.3%.
More people check out the French language Hot AC CKOI-FM who has a weekly full coverage cume of 4.1 million people. Just behind them is sister station 105.7 Rythme FM. Bell’s French language Hot AC is 3rd with 3.5 million listeners and 02.5 The Beat has a weekly cume of 3.4 million listeners.
The big AM stations CJAD gets the most hours tuned in this market with an impressive 62 hours per week. At #2 is CBC (CBF-FM) at 37.6 hours and #3 is News/Talk station (CHMP-FM) with 32.3 hours of tuning per week.
Morning Drive (6-10am) is dominated by Cogeco’s French News/Talk monster with an impressive 24.5% 12+ audience share. CBC are #2 with a 13.2% and #3 is Cogeco’s 105.7 Rythme FM.
This has been a crazy year because of Covid-19, people working form home, shorter or no commutes and of course the antics of Donald Trump which have all likely to have impacted radio listening in one form or another. We can only hope that 2021 will be a better year!
Comments Off on 10 Things I Have Learned Over the Last 20 Years
It was 20 years ago this month that ByrnesMedia was formed. As I reflect on all the incredible people we have worked with, the radio stations we have helped, and the successes we have enjoyed, I got to thinking about all the things we have learned. Here are some that are perhaps more important today than ever as we all navigate the impact of a pandemic that none of us had heard of until a few months ago.
Music: I have learned that size matters when it comes to the number of songs in active rotation. Most radio stations have too many songs in their active library which impacts Time Spent Listening. This is because the PD and announcers listen to the station way longer than the average listener and they get sick of hearing the same songs. Remember, it’s never the songs you do not play that will hurt you. Music makes up 70% of the hour on most music stations, and in this Covid-19 world where commercial islands are smaller, chances are you are playing play even more songs each hour. Therefore, it is more important today than ever that your active music library is the right size, and that every song is right for the format and appeals to your target audience. If just one song per hour is weak, burnt, or unfamiliar to your audience, this will cause tune out. Low TSL often indicates a music issue, which can be fixed. Radio stations that still do some form of research have an advantage. By the way, there are new forms of music research that are a lot more cost effective than the old auditorium music tests. For those stations who cannot afford local music research, we provide a weekly list of format specific suggested currents, as well as our twice yearly gold safelists. We then work with the station to ensure the music universe is right for their market and station.
Music Scheduling Software: I have learned that many radio stations do not know how to get the most out of their music scheduling software. We work with the most popular (Music Master, RCS Selector, and PowerGold) and any one of them can help your radio station sound better, provided they are configured to achieve the programming goals of the station. We have rebuilt more music databases from the ground up than I care to count, because it is often faster than trying to fix the problems caused by lots of different hands messing with the database over many years. Getting the correct fields set up, ensuring the right information is present for each song card, establishing categories, the optimum number of songs per category, building the right number of clocks, and setting up the rules are all the basic things you must get right so the software can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Next comes the training of the person who will schedule the music. A computer can schedule a day in minutes, but editing the daily log for tempo, style, and flow will take at least an hour per day provided the person editing the log is trained properly and understands the programming objectives.
Information: In many Canadian markets, the radio station is now the only source of reliable local information. Newspapers have either closed or become regional and they often lack the local information. There is a real cost to have trained news staff who can cover the various local body meetings and gather and write stories that explain what the story means and how it will impact the average listener. Those radio stations that get the importance of local news are likely getting more hours tuned today because the listeners trust them to have the local information and deliver it in such a way that they feel informed and safe. The thing that I have learned is the importance of local news and information as a tangible way to create a point of difference between one station and their competitor.
Personality: I have learned that few stations invest the time and effort into coaching and helping their announcers to become local personalities. Often, it is the personalities on the radio station that becomes the icing on the cake that sets one radio station apart from all the others. You can often get that talent to the next level quicker by identifying their strengths and encouraging them to amplifying those skills and talents. All personalities benefit from regular coaching and positive feedback. Morning shows need the most attention, but other dayparts also benefit from regular coaching sessions.
Imaging: Do you know who your biggest advertiser is on your radio station? In most cases it is the radio station itself. Count the number of times in a day your radio station runs recorded imaging promoting the station, features, personalities or shows. Radio stations need to take the time to ensure the image voice appeals to the target audience and the production and writing is up to par. Imaging should sell benefits of listening, and should help the radio station achieve its programming goals. Unfortunately, imaging is often not given the attention it deserves on many radio stations.
Promotion: In my experience, most radio stations do not have a clear strategy when it comes to promotions. Promotions should either make the station money, grow audience, or grow Time Spent Listening. There is a place for all three, but you need a clear plan. If your goal is to grow TSL, then your promotions should encourage forced tuning or listening for extended periods of time. The “Song of the Day” is an example of a forced tuning promotion. Listen at 7:10am for the song of the day and when you hear it played later in the day call in, to win a prize. Many stations took all the promotions off the air during the initial stages of Covid-19. But now that summer is here and things are starting to open up again, perhaps it is time to revisit this strategy. If your station is famous for a particular promotion, you should consider bringing it back again, providing you can execute it. Prizing may be an issue and connecting the listener with the prize may also be a challenge if your office is closed to the public. In that case, do a deal with a local courier company to deliver your prizes to the listener’s home for on-air mentions. On-air contesting that is “fun” to listen to is important when there is so much doom and uncertainty in the world. Listeners who have been stuck working from home for months will appreciate this.
Strategy: This is where it all starts, but not every radio station has a clearly defined game plan that they review on a regular basis. To win, you need a roadmap and everyone on your team needs to understand the goals, the role they will play and the timeframe to achieve success. In my experience, not many radio stations have a strategic plan. If your new fiscal starts on September 1st, you should be working on this now.
The Power of Local: Radio stations that have personalities that listeners relate to, and who are involved in the events that are important to the local community are the stations that win. This is a bold statement in a world were remote voice tracking has become more prevalent. There are some personalities who voice track from another market that sound more local and deliver more relevant content than some of the lazy talent who are located in the market. To be on the air in any market is a privilege but an average sounding talent who can truly reflect what is important in the local community day in and day out should do better than that slick out of market voice tracked talent. However, with technology that is available to any radio station today, and provided that out of market talent is briefed on what is happening in the local market, I think they could have an advantage over time. But it requires a “content captain” to be present in the home market who is skilled in gathering perishable, important local information and getting that to the talent no matter where they are located. If you look at the cume in the major PPM markets you will see that it continues to erode from survey to survey, which is a real concern for our industry. If we turn our radio stations into jukeboxes which lack local content, then we are no better than Spotify, Pandora, or any of the other music services that are available on listeners’ smart phones, tablets, and in vehicle entertainment systems. All these services are chipping away at the reach of radio. My experience is that not many radio stations truly embrace the power of local.
Sales: We encounter three types of radio stations in our travels; radio stations that make money but have no fun, radio stations that are not making money but are having fun, and the best of all are those stations that make money and have fun doing it. We are often asked to meet with sales staff when we work at a radio station, which is more likely to be via Zoom or Teams these days. I love talking to sales staff because not only does it help to break down the barriers that exist between sales and programming, it also means that we get to learn things about the station and the market that are important. There is always one salesperson who will be eager to tell it like it really is. What I have learned over the past 20 years of visiting radio stations is that good sales staff are hard to find and they are often harder to keep. Stations need to train and compensate sales staff, and ensure the product is as good as it can be, so the advertising is more effective, and the sales staff can generate repeat business. Without good sales staff it is hard to have a successful radio station that is making money and having fun.
Technology: Not many radio stations focus on the audio quality and the audio chain to ensure the product sounds the best it possibly can. The old saying of garbage in equals garbage out, is never more accurate than when it comes to the audio of a radio station. It all starts with the music library. If your music has come from a variety of sources and was recorded at different bit rates and levels, then no matter how good your processing is, your levels will be all over the place. In the old days when you had announcers in the booth, you hoped they would control the levels and log anything that was a problem so it could be fixed. Today many control rooms are empty after AM Drive and the automation system controls the radio station. So today more than ever it is vital that you spend the time to ensure all your music is of the best possible quality and recorded properly into your system. A number of stations we work with have gone through the process of recording everything from scratch and you can really hear the difference. By the way, this is a job for only one person, so that every song is recorded the same way. Do not think purchasing music from a service and importing the audio will solve your problems. I know of one station who did this and found several mistakes, including the wrong songs, the wrong versions of songs, and in once case a song with no audio just 3 minutes of white noise. Next, your engineer needs to do a complete sweep of your audio chain to ensure all the levels are consistent from the control room to the transmitter. Lastly, getting the processing right is critical to a great sound, and must be in line with your strategic goals. Do you want to be the loudest, the cleanest, or the least fatiguing station in your market? I visited a station prior to Covid-19 and immediately noticed how “muddy” the station sounded. The staff thought it sounded fine, so I went looking for the engineer. He lived in a different market and only visited the station once a month. On my next visit, we took a trip to the transmitter site and found that the processor was set to the wrong format, and the firmware had never been updated. In summary, I have learned to always look at the audio, the audio chain and the processing as that is such an important aspect of any radio station.
Conclusion: There are lots of other things I could tell you about what I have learned over the past 20 years consulting stations in Canada and beyond, but I’ll stop at 10. You may not agree with all my observations, but if there is one suggestion from the above that you decide to focus on, then you will make your radio station better. I am now well into my 43rd year working in a business I love. This is a fun business to be in, and every day I wake up excited and energized to do my part to help radio stations be more successful. I hope you feel the same way.
Comments Off on Canadian AM Radio started 100 years ago (20 May 1920)
Canada has an honourable place in the early development of radio. Marconi, is credited with accomplishing in 1901 the first trans-Atlantic ‘interrupted code’ transmission, from St John’s, Nfld, but it was a Canadian, Reginald A. Fessenden is was the pioneer in developing radio, including the foundations of AM Radio. Fessenden first transmitted the sound of the voice in 1900 over a distance of 50 miles, and six years later transmitted the first two-way radiotelegraphic communication across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Scotland.
Fessenden was bitterly disappointed that Marconi’s company, rather than his own Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada, was granted by the Canadian government exclusive rights to build the first transmitting stations in Canada. Fessenden’s aim had been to make Canada a world centre for long-range radio transmission, but he never again chose to live in his native country. His name as one of the great radio pioneers has remained largely unknown, even to Canadians.
Regularly scheduled radio broadcasting did not begin until after World War I when the Canadian Marconi Company station XWA (now CFCF) in Montreal transmitted at 9:30pm on 20 May 1920, the first scheduled broadcast in North America, possibly in the world. It was a performance by soprano Dorothy Lutton. This broadcast was heard by guests at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier hotel’s ballroom over 100 miles away.
Canadian consumers soon began to demand the latest in radio technologies, and the manufacturing and selling of radio became lucrative. Recognizing the potential of the new technology, retailers like the T. Eaton Company created specialized catalogues and cultivated a tech-savvy sales staff.
Over the past hundred years, radio has enabled Canadians to keep abreast of current news and events, discover and promote musical artists, stay in touch with their communities and enjoy original Canadian content. As radio’s popularity grew, so did the need to expand the communications system. By 1922, the country had 39 radio stations in operation. By 1932, there were 77 stations. Shortly after, in 1936, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada was established as a way to ensure citizens stayed connected across the country. The CBC later established news bureaus abroad to provide its audience with a Canadian perspective on international events.
Canada Post issued a pair of stamps to mark the 100th anniversary of the first scheduled radio broadcast in Canada. Booklets of 10 Permanent domestic-rate stamps (five of each design) are available, along with an Official First Day Cover.
Stamps and collectibles are available at canadapost.ca
There are lots of examples of companies altering their creative messaging in this current COVID-19 environment. Here is one of the best pieces of creative I have come accross in the past few days.
This will pass and when it does people will want to reconnect with friends, family and loved ones. They will want to go to local bars, restaurants and entertainment. The brands that think outside the box, truly connect with listeners and remain top of mind will be the brands then benefit.
Local radio can do that more effectively than any other medium. Get your sellers and your creative people together and come up with creative that cuts through.
Comments Off on How Local Radio Can Help During the COVID-19 Crisis
by Chris Byrnes
As I write this, a state of emergency has just been declared in Ontario. Things are changing by the hour across the country and around the world as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread at an alarming rate.
In these uncertain times, more listeners than ever before will be tuning to their favourite radio station to get he latest news and local information. Many people are being asked to work form home, so you’ll notice the roads are less busy and of course lots of businesses are closed or operating on limited hours. Concerts and events have been cancelled and movie theatres are closed, and the pubs are also closed. This means more people will have more time on their hands and perhaps will tune to their local radio station to find out what is happening and stay up to date. We are encouraging our radio clients to do all they can to ensure they sound the best they ever have sounded, given the number of listeners who will be tuning in.
This is a great time for local radio to shine. Become even more hyper local and get the relevant local information on the air in a timely manner. Add additional newscasts or information updates and consider going to a top of the hour update for as many hours of the day as you can reasonably handle. This will create appointment tuning and given how quickly things are changing there will be plenty of content to deliver.
Be sure you have your newsmakers on the air. Reach out to the Mayor, the Police Chief, your MPP and health professionals on a regular basis who will most likely be happy to provide the local angle.
Get the latest information on your website, and update that page regularly. If the content is updated regularly, people will come back to the site multiple times. You might also add the opportunity for listeners up upload photos showing how they are passing the time at home and encourage them to leave some comments. It might spark ideas and help others also pass the time. Read some of the comments on the air to help create that sense of community. You might also create a “cancellations page” and keep that updated.
The other opportunity for radio is to help the retail community in your area. Consider running a promo on the air along the lines of the script the team at Heart FM wrote today:
Hi this is Scott Lunn, General Manager of Heart FM. Things are changing rapidly in our province and we are working hard to keep you informed on both local and national levels. We also want to help local businesses get the word out to consumers. If you are a business in Oxford County and you are open, changed your hours or have much needed supplies – let us know and we will get the word out to our listeners. Simply call 519.537.8400 Or email me at GM@1047.ca. If you let us know at Heart FM – our on-air team will let listeners know. Information is key during these times of uncertainty and we can help. And please stay safe.
This is a simple but tangible way that your radio station can help, and yes it might cost you some revenue in the short term, but it will be worth it because it will help local business in these changing times. Announcers give a shout out to local businesses and let the public know what is open, and anything special that is going on. When supplies are short listeners want to know that there is toilet paper at the local supermarket!
Offering this free service may save some local business from going under and keep more locals in jobs. Perhaps down the road these businesses will recognise the value that local radio has in their community.
Radio is the original one-to-many medium and this is a great time to be using the power of your transmitter and the reach of your social media platforms to inform and entertain. If you are doing something to help your community and make a difference in your local area in this time of crisis, please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to add it to this article which will be updated.
The R1 survey of 2020 is out and CHFI got their usual “All Christmas” spike and remain the top commercial radio station in Toronto. This is the one book that should be compared to the same measurement period in the previous year for a fair comparison. The stations that grew audiences included Indie 88 (up 42%), Z1035 (up 39%), Virgin Radio (up 27%), Q107 (up 25%) and Kiss (up 21%). Stations that lost audience share included Boom 973 (-8%) Global 640 (-45%), G98.7 (-29%), Zoomer Radio (-42%).
Here is how things stacked up all people 12+ & 24-54 (Monday to Sunday 5am to 1am audience share %)
12+ Share% R1’19
12+ Share% R1’20
25-54 share% R1’19
25-54 share% R1’20
590 The Fan
ByrnesMedia Inc. is a radio and new media strategy company with decades of experience positioning successful stations throughout Canada and around the world.