Charlottetown Radio Moves

We’ve got two “new” radio stations in Charlottetown this month.

The first, branded The Ocean, is a new wrapping on the old CHTN-AM; they’ve moved to the FM dial and updated their sound a little. They told the CRTC that the “new” station would:

…offer a Classic Hits/Oldies musical format, offering music from the 1960s to the present, targeting primarily female listeners aged 35 to 54.

In Newcap’s application to the CRTC (a ZIP file of PDFs), they further define the “Classic Hits” format as “20% of our music from the 70s, 40% from the 80s, 20% from the 90s” with an additional 20% from the 2000s.

Their application also indicates that the new CHTN will have year-one revenue of $1.1 million vs. expenses of $658,000, growing to $1.4 million in revenue for year 7 vs. $716,000 in expenses.

Because the station is simulcasting their signal on both their old AM frequency (720 AM) and their new FM one (100.3 FM), you can get a good idea of the quality difference between AM and FM by switching your radio back and forth between the two (hint: FM is way, way, better).

Also from CHTN’s parent company Newfoundland Capital Corporation is a new FM station, branded K-Rock like many of Newcap’s other rock stations across the country; it’s actual call letters are CKQK. The CRTC approval for their license indicates they’ll play:

…a blend of music consisting of new and Classic Rock from the late 1960s to the hits of today, targeting primarily male listeners aged 25 to 44.

Their (application to the CRTC (a ZIP file of PDFs) indicates:

  • They expect to have 16% of the audience in their first year, reaching 15,360 people over 12 per week over their entire coverage area.
  • They expect to grab their share from Magic 93 (down 5%), CFCY (down 2%), CHTN (down 1%), CKTO in Truro (down 2%), CBC (down 2%) and CJMO Moncton (down 2%).
  • They expect to make their money from new radio advertisers (40%), existing radio advertisers (30%) and expanded radio ad budgets (30%).
  • They estimate the size of the Charlottetown radio ad market to be $5 million to $6 million, and their total year-one revenue to be $680,000.
  • They estimate their total year-one expenses to be $745,000.
  • Capital cost for the start-up estimated at half a million dollars — $150K for studio, $270K for transmitter and $80K for “start-up costs”.
  • Newcap considered nine possible formats for the new station — 80s/90s, Active Rock, CHR, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country, Hot A/C, Oldies and Soft A/C — before settling on “Rock” as their format, which they define as “a format that focused on Classic Rock… and Classic Hits.”
  • Their “projected era balance” (and I can’t believe I just typed that) is:
    • 1960s — 5%
    • 1970s — 15%
    • 1980s — 25%
    • 1990s — 25%
    • 2000s — 30%

Meanwhile, CFCY-AM has also been approved for a move to the FM dial. They’ll be broadcasting on 95.1 FM and their format will remain the same:

…the Country music format currently provided by CFCY, targeting listeners aged 25 to 54.

In Maritime Broadcasting’s application for the move (a ZIP file of PDFs), they indicate:

  • Their year-one revenue will be $1.3 million vs. expenses of $1.2 million, rising to revenue of $1.5 million in year 7 vs. expenses of $1.2 million.
  • They expect to reach 76,750 people over 12 per week during their first year, or 3.5% of the morning market, 2.25% of the lunch market, 1.5% of the drivetime market and 0.5% of the nightime market.

Perhaps the weirdest item in CFCY’s application is a 2004 letter from CBC Television news anchor Ian Hanomansing in support of the Martitime Broadcasting (although not in reference to the specific application). There are also letters from the Mayors of Charlottetown and Cornwall, from the President of the PEI Rural Beautification Society, and the Canadian Cancer Society, among others.

CFCY’s application also sheds light on a dramatic Summerside-Charlottetown rivalry:

Summerside and Charlottetown residents passionately support their respective cities. Residents of Summerside consistently support Summerside businesses first, and Charlottetown businesses only as a last resort. Our local staff often hear anecdotal stories of retailers in Charlottetown, unable to attract Summerside customers, setting up storefronts in Summerside. The previous owners of CJRW-FM in Summerside fell victim to this phenomenon. Specifically, the Schurman family converted CJRW to the FM frequency band in hopes of realizing additional revenues from Charlottetown. They were unsuccessful at overcoming the cultural differences between the two cities. The incremental revenue from Charlottetown did not materialize and never will.

CFCY will also be simulcast on both their old and new frequencies for three months after they make the switch.

When all this moving is finished, Prince Edward Island will be without AM broadcasters.


al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on July 23, 2006 - 18:17 Permalink

…offer a Classic Hits/Oldies musical format, offering music from the 1960s to the present, targeting primarily female listeners aged 35 to 54.”

Yeah, definitely trotting this tidbit out if I ever hear a dude say he likes this station.

I definitely have sensed a ‘we’ll never play anything unfamiliar and uncomfortable, don’t worry, there there’ tone from them. How depressing.

Ken's picture
Ken on July 23, 2006 - 23:41 Permalink

With AM radio completely abandoned I wonder what the CRTC’s long-term plans are for AM frequencies?

If this island has no use for 560Khz-1300Khz why lock up the bandwidth in a national plan?

PEI is a leader in being the first province to abandon AM, how futuristic is that?

Couldn’t Route2 use that bandwidth?

Peter if you where the commisioner in charge of PEI-RTC what would you do with this abandoned width of radio band?

I would set up 14 transmitters to stream podcasts based on popular votes on content via the web. Radio free PEI.

marian's picture
marian on July 24, 2006 - 14:30 Permalink

I know this is a little off topic, but I have to shamelessly flog the fact that I am now podcasting my trip to Croatia on my blog. Actually, my husband does most of the talking, but if you like to travel feel free to check it out.

marian's picture
marian on July 24, 2006 - 14:31 Permalink

If you’re looking for the actual podcasts, they’re interspersed in short segments as links to MP3s throughout the text.