CFTR is all the talk

The eyebrows which shot up at Toronto station cftr-am's commando-like format change from all-hits to all-news are now knitted figuring out what it will mean for the market and the industry.No one, it should be noted, is predicting for the Rogers...

The eyebrows which shot up at Toronto station cftr-am’s commando-like format change from all-hits to all-news are now knitted figuring out what it will mean for the market and the industry.

No one, it should be noted, is predicting for the Rogers Broadcasting-owned station the fate which befell CKO Radio of recent memory.

All-talk cko foundered in a sea of debt and recrimination.

Observers say if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had not ordered the Toronto station to set up a national network it would have survived.

In the 1970s, mostly news ckvn-am in Vancouver lost money and disappeared.

John Rea, general manager of Canada’s only all-sports station, Telemedia Communication’s cjcl-am in Toronto, welcomes 680 News, saying it is good for radio generally and good for am in particular.

Talk band

Rea says am is becoming the talk and information band.

Brian Jones, president and chief executive officer of the Radio Marketing Bureau, agrees with Rea.

Jones says across the continent there is a trend towards news formats on am.

However, he says with the cftr change he wonders where those listeners who tuned in for pop music will migrate, suggesting Q-107-FM and cfny-fm as two possible options.

Gary Slaight, president of Standard Broadcasting, owner of the No. 1 station in the country, cfrb-am in Toronto, says it is a case of wait and see with 680 News.

Slaight says the fall bbm book should tell the story.

As for the format, Slaight predicts listeners will tune in to 680 News for a quick fix of the day’s events, then turn back to their favorite station.

Also, Slaight wonders if there is room in the Toronto market for a second talk station.

The venerable cfrb is a news-talk mixture, as is Standard’s cjad-am in Montreal.

Slaight says cktb-am in St. Catharines, Ont. is mostly talk.

The way 680 News works is on a 20-minute ‘news wheel.’ Every 20 minutes a complete package of news, business news, weather, sports and traffic is broadcast 24-hours a day.

Not new

The all-news format is not new, Viner said at the news conference, pointing to such examples as wmaq in Chicago and kdk in Philadelphia.

Viner says the change at cftr was done in-house by Rogers personnel, not by industry ‘radio doctors.’

Cross-town rival Slaight is not convinced.

He says he guarantees u.s. consultants were involved, and also guarantees Rogers conducted extensive research south of the border.

Viner, who was obviously taken aback by a news conference question about what cftr’s advertisers thought of the format change, said in American all-news markets the top advertisers are financial services followed by food companies.

Viner says 680 News is an 18+ format, adding in the u.s., the all-news demographic is 25-44.

Sandy Sanderson, eastern division executive vice-president at Rogers Broadcasting, said at the 680 News launch the company will spend about $2 million advertising the station in its first year.

Educational job

Martin Kingston, president of Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly, 680 News’ ad agency, says his shop has an educational job in front of it.

Kingston says aclk is developing a tv campaign now that should be on air June 21.

He says radio spots to air on 680 News are being prepared, transit shelter ads are slated and outdoor boards are planned for July, August and September.

He says full-page and half-page ads in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun have already appeared.