Toronto Radio Ratings: Sept 1, 2014 - Nov 30, 2014

A tweet from @Scroll includes PPM Top-line Radio Data for Toronto from September 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.

Here it is. I'll share some observations and thoughts on the other side.

to-radio

That 2.7% share for CFNY sticks out. This entry I wrote about PPM radio ratings five years ago shows CFNY had a 5.4% share. That's a 50% decline.

Is this partially the result of cancelling the Dean Blundell Show? Since firing Blundell, the morning show has changed a few times, a sure recipe for bleeding listeners. Meanwhile, the new kid on the alt rock block, Indie88, chimes in with a 1.2% share. But make no mistake, Edge 102 and Indie88 combine for less market share than Edge 102 had only five years ago, further evidence male-focused stations are floundering.

On the other end of the spectrum, CHFI continues to lead all stations with CHUM-FM slipping a little from 12.1% five years ago to 10% today, still good for second place. CBC Radio One remains strong with an 8.7% share, good for third place overall. CFRB is easily the most listened to AM station with a solid 7.7% share.

In the always interesting battle between The Fan 590 and TSN Radio, The Fan leads 2.4% to 0.7%. Five years ago, when CHUM was merely simulcasting CP24 on 1050, they only had a 0.1% share, so I guess this is progress.

What does everyone think of these numbers?


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Comments (30 - click here to join in!)

Irv

Personally I think the real story is the rise of CFRB 1010. In the 80s and 90s, CFRB was a top station in the market. As the years passed the station drifted to the point of oblivion. A 7.5 is a respected share though it's likely the demo is all 50 plus (making ad sales tough). They have BLOWN AM 640 out of the water.

The other real story is CKFG otherwise known as G98.7. G98.7 is a low powered urban radio station (440 watts). It's pulling in a 2.8 share & beating Flow 93.5. Given it's coverage, etc, it's ratings are remarkable. But, as soon as you start listening you understand why it does what it does. Quality finds an audience. I think G98.7 (and Jazz FM) are the best FM stations in the entire country, bar none. It's an app that exists on all my phones and a sound that comes out of my internet ready TV all the time.

December 11, 2014 @ 4:11 PM

Lyle Lanley

Can TSN Radio afford to tank like this?

December 11, 2014 @ 4:19 PM

Doug

Do they have ratings for individual shows for each station? It would be interesting to see the ratings for the mornings, drive home and Sundays from 11am to 5pm.

December 11, 2014 @ 4:33 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Doug

I believe you have to subscribe for big money to get the details.

There are a little more details here but nothing that granular.

December 11, 2014 @ 4:37 PM

Argie

Where is 640? I know they're registered in Richmonh Hill but their numbers should still be available. Just curious.

December 11, 2014 @ 7:16 PM

Jody Thornton

@Argie:

AM 640 is CFMJ. So station # 3

December 11, 2014 @ 7:19 PM

Speysidephil

Why don't they show the station numbers instead of the stupid letters. Geeeeez!
I also remember Freddie P. Being very skeptical of these measurements, have things changed in how they arrive at the numbers?

December 11, 2014 @ 7:30 PM

NW

Well at least CHUM managed to get the same share (%) as CINA (1650 AM). Maybe Bell should consider a format switch for CHUM to all-Bollywood.

Too bad we can't see the numbers for 860, 1610 and 1690.

December 11, 2014 @ 7:52 PM

Irv

Speyside: how ratings work

Until about 2009, ratings were measured by diary which was a book the chosen sample filled out. At that time "big radio" insisted the numbers were accurate. PPM came about & many stations discovered the old system was flawed. In some cases "market leaders" fell through the floor. In other cases stations in the shitter did just the opposite. Noted is that we use diary in some markets but PPM in others. Once PPM came in, "big radio" insisted the numbers were accurate. They'll also tell you that if I wear a PPM device & I happen to walk by a store with Country FM playing that I am a "listener" of country FM.

It's very likely there is accuracy in the numbers though I'd bet the margin of error is wide. If I was to carry a PPM meter it would only work part of the time. When I work and stream radio, it's through headphones. When I go to the gym or go jogging I use an iPod Nano with a radio on it...with headphones. That listening would not be recorded BUT if I went to the Richmond Chinese Market & walked by a booth with a Chinese station on and they subscribed to PPM I'd be a "listener".

While CFRB did pull in a good share, their CUME & Daily Cume are quite low. What that means is that few people listen to CFRB but those that do listen for a long time. Translation: Senior nods off during a talk show.

December 11, 2014 @ 9:19 PM

Irv

If you think the TSN feed in Toronto is bad, check out Vancouver's CFTE. It's got a 0.2 share versus the all traffic station which as a 0.9.

December 11, 2014 @ 9:24 PM

Ryan

What stands out for me is the gains that G 98.7 (CKFG) have made in the last year or so to the point where they are now beating Flow 93-5 (CFXJ).

December 11, 2014 @ 9:36 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

CFRB was helped, no doubt, by the most interesting municipal election in Toronto's history.

I actually spent an hour today chatting with a CFRB reporter about the mighty 1010 and will share that interview on Monday morning.

December 11, 2014 @ 10:07 PM

Irv

Yeah, very likely the bump at CFRB was election related. The stations demo is small and I would imagine it's older & male. If you want to see really interesting, take a look at books from the 80s. I have a few on a hard drive somewhere.

@Ryan. The success of G98.7 is because it knows it's audience. It's regular programming features a wide swath of great urban music. They play great modern urban music, have great mix shows (80s and 90s stuff) and pepper the playlist with 70's stuff you don't hear anywhere else. On top of that the on air staff are great. Mark & Jem in the morning were at Flow years ago. The mid-day announcer is "Red" who worked in Van but was on Kiss & Flow if I recall. Red is just AWESOME too. Afternoons are Wayne Williams (ala Energy 108).

Then add in the specialty shows which appeal to the core audience (of which I am not). These shows may not bring in huge ratings but they give the station real credibility with it's audience. Unlike most modern radio, G98.7 respects it's audience.

Indie 88 should take notes from this station. They could do much the same thing with the indie format. Instead they seem bent on being a cooler version of Edge 102. What they should have did is be CFNY version 2.0. I don't mean put Depeche Mode on repeat either. I mean hire people who can identify what is "interesting new music". And I don't mean follow a hipster path of the latest coolest fringe band. I mean paying attention to the music scene & finding undiscovered gems with larger appeal. And the format could well incorporate certain elements of EDM, "indie country", etc. They'd have a faithful audience that would "lock the dial and rip the knob off".

These "micro stations" are like micro brewery beer. G98.7, Grand 92.9 in Fergus, etc are those fine, obscure beers people would talk about worldwide. Indie 88 is like Rickards. Rickards portrays itself as that "cooler than the mainstream" beer, but anyone who knows beer..who lives beer..knows it's just another bottle of mass produced piss water.

December 11, 2014 @ 11:05 PM

Sammi

I still don't get what Indie 88 is trying to do. I tuned in for the first time in a long time and still hear the same songs repeated over and over. I just don't get it.

December 12, 2014 @ 6:46 AM

Irv

Sammi

Indie 88 is just trying to be a cooler version of Edge 102. My guess is that some of Indie's ratings reflect the mess that is Edge 102 lately (huge staff turnover, lost programming, etc). It is FOOLISH for a small station like this to do a David and Goliath.

Years ago in KW, CKWR attempted to do this type of thing to CHYM FM. CHYM is like CHFI, it's a big, bland radio station with huge numbers. It owns the market. The result was CKWR was crushed & the idea was an abject failure. Indie should find a place Edge will never venture & stick to it.

December 12, 2014 @ 9:22 AM

Jason from Sudbury

I wonder how Q107 would do if they were to bring back the pure rock/hard rock format they had in the 90's.

December 12, 2014 @ 4:40 PM

Matt

Hey Mike - interesting post. I think its clear that CFNY still hasn't recovered from getting rid of DBS...I switch between Indie88 and the Edge and they are both just absolutely horrendous, Indie88 especially. Their morning crew are a couple of talking heads, and the girls voice drives me insane.

Any news on whether Dean is making a comeback? He's dropped a couple tweets indicating that he might be back on air soon....

December 12, 2014 @ 7:42 PM

Raptors Devotee

CFRB has raised their game, and sure, the election coverage all year helped to provide a boost, but even moving ahead their formats that bring in various panels for round table discussions is great listening in both ends of the drive shows. Ryan Doyle has IMO more than taken the reins of John Tory from the afternoon drive show, and by having various sidekicks with different POV's, it makes for captivating listening that never gets old.

Although I myself am just over 50, I see CFRB also appealing to younger people who are even somewhat politically and newsworthy engaged, but of course, the over 50 crowd is their key demographics, which btw, the notion that the 18-34 year old crowd is the one to go after i.e. sports radio, has been overplayed, as the CFRB demo has all of the money to spend. What you don't get is the ability to shape them to your brands, as they are already set in stone.

TSN radio's big problem, even with streaming and podcasts, is their atrocious feed at 1050, which is blown away by CFRB 1010 right next to it on the dial, and is very hit and miss throughout the city. TSN was using their radio arm as an extension of their tv, which was a mistake, and continues to be one, although they are shifting a bit away from that. Naylor's drive show is solid, and not the gong show of McCown's, but Bob is an institution here, so his ratings will always dominate as long as he is there. I can go on in more detail on the sports end, but that would take too long.

December 13, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

Anon&on

I just did the latest 88.1 music survey, (I think) the first not to have Adam's name to it.
Basically it was- What do you think of these 102.1 standards from the 80's & 90's? Cue REM, RHCP, Clash.
In interesting TO radio news, anyone checking out the new TRP underground radio station? wearetrp.com

December 13, 2014 @ 9:29 PM

Douglas

Geography makes me think of the impact on two ratings comparisons:

Looking at the ratings for Indie88 and CFNY, I wonder how far the Toronto PPM devices reach. Ultimately, Indie88 has far less reach and penetration than CFNY's. Indie suffers from dead spots and weak patches far closer to its far weaker power and much lower height transmitter compared to CFNY. For those who like numbers: 2.1 kW at 281 m (HAAT) vs. 35.4 kW at 420.5 m.

How far does "Toronto" PPM reach? A look at the transmitter powers and the Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT) for each station simply tells you that Indie88 just doesn't "get out" as much. That has to have an impact on listenership one way or another. Who wants to have a picket-fencing, hashing, or fade-dropping signal on a regular basis? Only real die-hards. Considering the above, Indie88's ratings are pretty solid.

Similarly, I see that KX94.7 Hamilton one of Durham Radio's "new country" music stations, shows up in the Toronto ratings. 94.7 becomes a challenge to listen to as you go east, "thanks" to Durham Radio's 94.9 The Rock out of the 'shwa. Yet, Durham Radio's original country station, KX96 (95.9), the station that KX94.7 is copied (in more ways than one) from, does not show at all. Essentially, one has to listen to 95.9 to the east, 94.7 to the west, yet only the 94.7 Hamilton shows in Toronto ratings. Regardless, my understanding is that Durham Radio is doing better with their two-station combination than media conglomerate Corus ever managed with their powerhouse, southern Ontario covering signal on 95.3 ever did.

Score one, or two, for the little guys, but these two scenarios make you wonder about the accuracy, reach and effectiveness of not just radio signals, but of the BBM Numeris ratings system, either PPM or diary.

December 14, 2014 @ 11:19 AM

Irv

Jason From Sudbury

It seems like all things hard rock are pretty much dying. If you pay attention much of the hard rock has been stripped from radio playlists. When's the last time a song like Kiss - I wanna hear it loud came on the radio? I guess it's just that time where that music fades away. That's one reason American rock radio is superior to Canada. It still plays that stuff without the Cancon dribble.

Got this station on my TV right now called WDRV (I think it's through iTunes). Anyone remember Byrd in the Airchair from Q107 and 97,7 HTZ FM fame? He works at the station.

December 14, 2014 @ 5:17 PM

mike

What happened to q107?
Their ratings seem to be plummeting since they changed to a newer rock format.
Even Boom 97.3 is ahead of them now.

December 16, 2014 @ 3:48 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@mike

Two things....

1. Q107 is all about the older guy demo. Their advertisers want that middle-age man market, so that's really all they care about in these ratings.

2. Rock radio across the country seems to be faltering.

December 16, 2014 @ 4:16 PM

Matt

I hate to bash Indie88 again...but they seem to be on this David Bowie kick recently....I get what theyre going for, playing that old song that you normally wouldn't hear on the radio. But goddamn, play Queen or something.

Oh, and the big guest during the primetime morning hours? Some rep from the LCBO. Jesus Christ....I go from hearing actual guests (who people have actually heard) to this....Jesus Christ!

Mike - no news on Dean?

December 17, 2014 @ 8:15 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Matt

I wrote Dean to invite him on my podcast (again) and he politely declined.

Funnily enough, I was chatting with someone in the business who said he heard Dean's coming back to radio very soon. No specifics... and I don't know where he'd be resurfacing, but this person believes we'll have Dean on morning radio in the GTA in the next couple of months.

December 17, 2014 @ 8:47 AM

Dave

Mike do you have any ratings for daily time periods for tsn and the fan. Tks alot

December 28, 2014 @ 1:49 PM

Mike

@Douglas

@Douglas,

I have heard that only the Hamilton station is actually subscribing to the Numeris PPM service and that the two Oshawa stations don't pay to be in the Toronto ratings. I will also suggest that if they did, you'd see a decent for both KX96 and 949 The Rock in Toronto. Country is the hottest format right now, look a the country bars success. Also, take the Edge's numbers from two years ago with DBS, look at the losses now and then tally what little Indie have been able to garner, the remainder is about what the Rock has scooped up.

December 29, 2014 @ 8:12 AM

kevin obico

Does the pre-recorded first hour of the Bill Carroll Show hurt CFMJ? Or are people tired of the same old hypocritical spin?

January 6, 2015 @ 6:49 PM

Pool boy

I listen to newstalk1010 almost all day and love the variety of opinions even if I don't always agree with them...I listen to talk radio mostly when I'm driving, which is most of the day, because I get tired of listening to the same 5 songs most music radio plays on rotation day in and day out

March 17, 2015 @ 10:58 PM

F.Mccallum

I stopped listening to CHFI I have told them over 12 years that they play too much bubble gum music and their hosts are so boring.I came over to CHFI before Don Daynard came over and that was over 30 years ago

March 19, 2015 @ 11:59 AM

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