Thursday February the 19th, 2015 1:57PM
Word just in to Puget Sound Radio, Vancouver’s The Beat will flip to Virgin Radio on Thursday March the 5th….
With the purchase of Astral by Bell Media in 2013, Bell holds the rights to the Virgin Brand here in Canada. Once the sale was finalized, it opened up the door for Newcap to come into the city and buying The Shore and the 95.3 frequency which at the time was the Virgin radio station in Vancouver, so Newcap rebranded with the brand from the past Z953. Because of contract commitments with Virgin, the parent company, the deal is to have a Virgin station in all Bell Media markets. Considering both The Beat and CHQM are strong leaders in the market, its no wonder there was lots of consideration as to who would pick up the brand, and the Beat will now proudly display the Virgin 94.5 FM name in Vancouver. Speculation had been CHQM would be the one to flip
Will this affect the format as well, or just the branding? I’m curious since the Beat is such a strong station in the market (and others, I know a lot of people here on the Island who favour the Beat as well).
Oh great. No thanks. Bad move. Ratings will drop. The Beat has a following for a reason, most people who listen to the beat hated Virgin. I think it’s a big mistake!!
Sounds like a simple brand change. If your favourite coffee shop changed it’s brand but kept the same menu, staff and management, would you all the sudden abandon it?
I had heard recently that they had looked at moving the virgin branding to Victoria because of how well the beat and qm/FM were doing in Vancouver. Seems maybe management was unsure about bringing Virgin back. I believe the only reason they are is contractual obligations
Ironically, the change will occur nearly 13 years ago to the day when The Beat (then owned by Focus Entertainment) officially launched. The switch was flipped for the transmitter around Feb. 15, 2002, followed by a soft launch in early March with new features added each week and rotating jock shifts. Original lineup under PD Matthew McBride was Slim & Destiny mornings (with EJ handling 411 and traffic), Michele B middays, DJ Alibaba PM drive, and Barbara Beam evenings. David Kaye was the imaging voice. Nira Arora, Flipout, and Big D (Dylan Willows now at The Zone Victoria) would join later that Spring. Those were the days! 🙂
According to Gord Lansdell at ‘Northwest Broadcasters,’ the rebranding will be to ‘94.5 Virgin Radio…The Beat of Vancouver.’ The change will take place at 8:55 a.m. Thursday, March 5. “The only thing that will change is the name, the same awesome music and personalities will remain.”
So that should allay any fears of any radical changes.
Virgin doesn’t have any specific say on the music or format. Their deal requires Bell to have a Virgin licensed station in Vancouver (as Astral did). So Bell had no choice either The Beat or QM had to go.
Virgin only cares about getting their license fee each year. Certainly it is in their best interest that the station do well, as that increases the fee. But the music etc., is all up to Bell.