So what does the news of AM650 being sold to Rogers mean?
April 25th we learned that Rogers was purchasing AM650 from Newcap, a move that was expected when Bell (TSN Radio) lost the Vancouver Canucks broadcasting rights. As it stands right now its business as usual at 650 until the transaction closes, which is expected to complete over the summer, we have TSN Radio 1040 and TSN Radio 1410. Once Sportsnet 650 launches in the late summer or fall, we will see some big changes in the Vancouver sports radio landscape. I don’t think Bell will hold on to the 2 sports stations and I will assume we will see 1410 flip, or be sold or go dark. If it flips, would Bell go talk, to compete against 980? Or go music, maybe taking the CISL audience? Or could Bell sell the station? I am not sure who they would sell it to, seems like very few people are in the market for an AM station nowadays unless they are looking to put news, talk or sports there. I highly doubt Bell will let the station go dark either.
Basically what my prediction is Bell will flip the station to a talk station, and yes I know it was a talk station previously, but I think that since CKNW has lost a lot of listeners, even though some have come back, I expect Bell could program 1410 better now. Focus on local news as well as sports updates mixed into local talk. Regardless of what they do, they won’t keep 1410 as sports. There will not be a market for 3 sports stations. 1410 has some programming that is popular such as Jim Rome and Dan Patrick. I personally think we will see 1040 pick up Rome and Patrick, meaning there will be jobs lost at 1040. As much as I hate the idea of people losing jobs we can probably see a shift in morning and afternoon show and possibly an elimination of middays. Midday shows could be Jim Rome and Dan Patrick. Morning show may still feature one of either Bro Jake or Dave Pratt, and afternoons could be one host less. I believe Blake Price would be moved to mornings to co-host with whoever is left.
Rogers when they take over 650 and launch sports will probably relocate a couple of current Sportsnet TV hosts to host a show. We may see Scott Rintoul show up on 650 as he was let go from 1040 back in January. I expect a fairly strong lineup on Sportsnet radio as they will have the Canucks radio rights and the Blue Jays starting next season. One thing I have noticed as a sports fan Rogers has brought in lots of people to work the hockey broadcasts. Lots of names that will be able to provide a lot of insight on the radio side, similar to TSN radio does now. If they can program the station as well as they have been programming the TV side of things I think Sportsnet radio will be a ratings winner (in terms of a sports station).
Interesting times coming up in Vancouver.
Also I think these changes will set off a chain reaction of events in Vancouver radio. Meaning possible changes at 104.3 after CISL is sold, plus the changes at 1410, if 1410 turns talk and competes and even beats CKNW it would cause changes to happen there.
Good on Rogers for making changes happen, even it may result in a few job losses, I still think there will be lots of new jobs as well
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