In the spring radio book, CBC Radio 1 did what would have been thought impossible only a few years ago: It surpassed CJOB in the ratings. The fall radio book has confirmed and emphasized the gains CBC has made in the Winnipeg market. The parenthesis is the 2014 fall figures.
- CBC Radio One –15.3 (12.8)
- 680 CJOB — 10.9 (13.6)
- 92 CITI FM — 9.4 (6.6)
- 103.1 Virgin Radio — 9.0 (8.3)
- QX 104 — 7.4 (9.8)
- 99.9 BOB FM — 6.0 (5.8)
- KiSS 102.3 — 4.9 (5.0 as 102.3 Clear FM)
- Energy 106 — 4.5 (5.3)
- CBC Radio 2 — 4.0 (3.4)
- FAB 94.3 — 3.9 (5.0)
- TSN 1290 — 3.5 (3.2)
- 97.5 BIG FM — 3.1 (2.6 as Power 97)
- 99.1 Fresh Radio — 2.5 (2.2 as 99.1 Fresh FM)
- Jewel 100.5 — 2.2 (1.8 as Jewel 101)
- Radio-Canada — 0.2 (0.2)
CJOB still maintains a number 1 hold on the 6 AM to 10 AM slot and that is where the music stations offer the most competition as well. However, CBC Radio 1 is strong in so many other places that it climbs into the number 1 spot for daily listeners.
There have been many programming and brand changes in the Winnipeg radio market. Charles Adler has left for SiriusXM Radio on Satellite. And four of the 15 radio stations including one dominant Power 97 have changed call letters, staff and music formats.
The CBC is not without problems. It has excellent national programming that helps it stay original but just this past weekend the Globe and Mail pointed out to problems of the show Q. Once again the issue is hosting and how rigid the program is to reading off question cards. The interview will Adele is given as an example of missed opportunities in the form of an intuitive follow-up questions.
Setting aside quibbles about CBC radio programming, it has been successful where CBC TV has not: winning the ratings.
So is all lost for CJOB? The answer is no. There are some possibilities available to increase their ratings without a lot of pain. The first thing is to move to FM. Or at the very least run dual signals like CBC. One of the reasons CBC has gained in the local ratings is that people continue to favour FM. Another thing the station can do is to find a broadcast partner like 92 CITI FM and CBC Radio 1 have for television. The Wheeler show broadcasts on both 92 CITI FM and City TV and the ratings are solid.
It hasn’t helped CJOB that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn’t even make the play-offs. It is a sure bet that had the team made a run for the Grey Cup, the ratings may have looked very different. As it is, the fall book reflects continued strength of the TSN 1290 and the continued love affair with the Winnipeg Jets return. It is not hard to imagine that a CJOB with Winnipeg Jets on it would not have lost the number 1 position.
Still, not the first time CJOB has lost the Jets. They can survive but the question remains whether Corus Entertainment wants to give their local station the resources to pursue a more solid ratings outlook.
As for all of the music radio stations? It would seem to be that radio DJs will be the main attraction if music can be sourced from so many other places. In short, the people doing original material on the station matter.
I have migrated to satellite radio for all but TSN to CBC to CJOB. A lot of people don’t listen to anything they haven’t downloaded or haven’t connected to via streaming. Will that audience come back? Maybe only for live sports broadcasts.
It is a tough market but original material still has a market. For a long time many radio stations chased the same music or talk formats with the same people and thought they had a captive market. They don’t. Local and original could be what changes where the radio stations stand in the next years.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations