CHQR – FM?

5
1019

message sent through our ‘Tip line’ from Raydeo in Calgary, Albert

I work at a competing station in Calgary. Our sales manager just got an email from a client that said his Corus sales rep says Q107 will be replaced by QR77. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Talk isn’t allowed on FM in Canada, right? Unless you have a specialty license that allows that. And what would Corus do with the AM then? Turn it off? Finding this one hard to believe since the rules don’t allow it but who knows? I am 99% sure that FM music stations can’t go all talk which is why it hasn’t been done so far. Anyone else hearing anything about the future of the 107.3 frequency? Power 107 coming back makes more sense to me.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. True about CKO but it was likely a specialty designated FM station. Here is the definition of Specialty right from the CRTC website (and it was not changed in the recent radio review):

    A private commercial FM station is considered to be operating in the Specialty format if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

    * the language of broadcast is neither English nor French;
    * more than 50% of the broadcast week is devoted to spoken word programming;
    * less than 70% of the music broadcast is drawn from category 2 (Popular Music) as defined in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-819.

    So based on criteria #2 above, moving QR77 to FM would require Corus to apply to the CRTC to change the FM license for CFGQ to a Specialty designation and the CRTC would have to approve that before the station could make the flip. Further, assuming the CRTC approved it, if Corus ever wanted to change the station back to a music format, they would have to apply again to change the license back to a regular FM license.

    The Canadian Association of Broadcasters on behalf of all the major companies asked for this rule to be changed but the CRTC did not agree. If you read the radio review decision, at Paragraph 36, they note “with respect to AM stations, some interveners indicated that ownership flexibility would allow vulnerable AM stations, including those operating in news/talk formats, to find a new home on the FM band, without prejudicing the existing content and music diversity of FM radio. However, one intervener noted that allowing AM conversions could lead to hardship for the remaining AM stations and further erode their listenership and revenues.”

    The CRTC agreed with the intervenor and did not loosen the Specialty designations. In Paragraph 220 the CRTC reiterates that “radio stations operating in the specialty FM format specialize in the broadcast of, for example, news or talk programming”. It requires a Specialty license. You can’t just flip a music FM to talk.

    So this idea is dead in the water UNLESS Corus has covertly applied to amend the license for CFGQ. That is highly unlikely as an application such as that which would have impact on all other stations operating in the market would be posted for comments and subject to a Public Hearing.

    I can’t see Corus being bold enough to just outright defy the CRTC given they are a publicly traded company, have high stakes with the CRTC with all their other radio and Global TV and even Specialty TV channels.

    NO way this is happening. POWER 107 or some other pop garbage incarnation is 1000 times more likely. Which ever Calgary station flips to Classic Rock to fill that void will open up an opportunity for 107.3 I guess. Maybe Classic Rock 97-7 in January and then 107.3 can flip to “All 90s” because that is such a ratings winner!

    Peter

  2. Hey Peter. This is what I thought. I remember Rogers had All News stations in Halifax and the maritimes on FM but they were specifically applied for to be Specialty. And when Rogers went to sell those stations, the buyer (I think Newcap) had to request the licence go back to being a regular music FM station or they wouldn’t buy the station.

    Why on earth would Corus tell all their clients that they are changing the station when they really can’t? Unless they just do it and ask CRTC for forgiveness later? Maybe they just don’t care anymore. With their share price under $2 now, they really have no shareholder value to protect anymore. What a mess!

  3. Actually, I know very well that sports betting radio is getting to be the trend down south, hence KGO 810 from San Francisco changing to exactly that. So maybe in the new year q107 will be changing to just that, the first all talk commercial station of any kind in Canada. Then maybe cknw here in vancouver will follow suit unexpectedly.

  4. Rogers does the same thing in Ottawa. News 1310 (CIWW) is simulcast on CJET-FM Smith Falls so exactly what is being discussed here in Calgary. The CRTC appears oblivious to this situation in Ottawa if you read the license renewal decision for CJET-FM. Even though the station was already simulcasting CIWW at the time, the CRTC was denying Rogers request to drop the Hit-NonHit rule on the station. What a joke! https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2021/2021-63.htm

    It appears a case of “ask for forgiveness later” as there is no record of Rogers requesting to alter CJET-FM to a Specialty license to allow this legally.

    Rogers does operate News-Talk on FM in Halifax on CJNI-FM but that station is properly licensed as a Specialty designated FM.

    Corus may be taking the stance that if Rogers gets away with it, they will try it too!

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