Bell’s Virgin Radio Toronto & Edmonton Cutting Staff
In some not so surprising news, Virgin Radio Toronto has essentially cleaned house. Almost all of the local on-air staff are gone. The entire morning show, Tucker, Maura, Robyn, Andrew Wilson as well as, Tessa, Will Nash, and Kella.
Word is, Bell is going to rebrand all of the Virgin Radio stations now that the original contract is over. I heard just in the last 24 hours that changes were coming to the Virgin brand and it makes sense to start with the original Canadian Virgin station. There have also long been rumors about the future of the stations in Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, and even Halifax. My take on this is we will see Adam Wylde resurface on the ALL NEW MIX 99.9 Toronto. My theory is that by the time mid-December rolls around we will see all Virgin stations renamed. Probably also some more layoffs, and in order to generate buzz, probably run only music and commercials until early to mid-January.
Personally, I never liked the idea of a Virgin radio network, nor do I like the idea of a Fresh radio network, or any other network of stations. I prefer a local concept and local identity, because what may work in Vancouver may not work in Toronto, or even what works in Calgary may not work in Edmonton. The timing of these changes is awful but I believe that in the end, we will see a strong local presence that we do not currently see. I think Virgin in Vancouver will revert back to The Beat, Calgary will become Vibe, Toronto and Montreal will become Mix, and then for the others I think new names, and possibly format changes.
On February 17, 2017, Evanov flipped the format of Jewel 100.5 in Winnipeg, to Hot 100.5. At the time it was a curious move but was done out of necessity. Word going around was Bell was about to flip Virgin back to the Hot name. As Hot 103.1 they always had strong ratings. But as Virgin, they have not done as well. At the time Energy 106 was having issues gaining a good share of the ratings so Evanov felt that by switching format and taking the Hot name that they would be able to take more listeners from Virgin and eventually if or when Virgin flipped then they would be unable to revert to the previous branding. Perhaps the changes we see at Virgin stations across Canada would also cause other Bell stations to make changes such as with Kool FM Victoria or even within the same market? Maybe when 99.9 changes, the format will be one with less overlap with CHUM. Or perhaps CHUM will take a more Virgin sound on and 99.9 will change formats completely.
Another update, the morning show of Ian and Chelsea have been let go at Virgin Edmonton. I will continue to update as I hear more about the other Virgin properties
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