Toronto Mike

The Problem With Jack: CJAQ's Rock N' Roll Failure


My shower radio is tuned to 92.5.  That's Jack-FM, "Toronto's Best Rock Variety", and I listen to it in the shower because it just so happens my shower is perfectly timed with an ad-free block of old and new rock tunes on Jack.  It's just a series of tunes, anything from Honeymoon Suite to Coldplay to Bruce Springsteen, and it starts my day nicely.

I don't expect Jack-FM to last much longer in its current incarnation.  Nobody's listening, it seems.  The recent BBM results give Jack-FM a 1.8 market share, which supposedly and unscientifically translates into 180,000 listeners.  Q107, if you're looking for a comparison, scored a 6.3.  1.8 is brutal, which means I expect changes by Labour Day.

How did Jack fail so miserably? Why can't a station playing a great mix of rock n' roll gain any traction?  As Jules Winnfield says in Pulp Fiction, personality goes a long way.  And Jack doesn't have personality.

Their bland morning duo seems to double as their afternoon hosts.  A station that once threatened to go without djs has instead decided to employ djs that fail to hold a listener's interest.  There's certainly no compelling reason to tune in again to hear what he or she will say next.  It's really all about the music, but if you're betting all your money on the shuffle, how can you possibly expect to win against iPods?  Five years ago, when the Jack PD at the time said the station was just like listening to your iPod on shuffle, I asked whose iPod he was talking about?  Radio can never, ever be the same experience as listening to your own iPod on shuffle.  That's why you've gotta have personality.

In my recent interview with long time local radio duo Humble and Fred, I closed by asking the guys a simple question that was on my mind.  Why the heck aren't Humble and Fred, as a duo, still on Toronto radio?  Humble's answer hits Jack's nail on the head.

No idea... why not ask the PD at Jack FM, who's also the afternoon drive guy and janitor.

Things could have been different for Jack, but instead the sounds of Aerosmith and White Stripes have drifted well below the radar to a dismal 1.8 share.  I'll bet nobody reads this closing sentence because I'll bet nobody cares.

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About Toronto Mike
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