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When Is A Station Cursed Or Simply Mishandled

Lance's Line RadioInsight Blog

Jewel 101 100.7 100.5 CFJL Winnipeg Evanov Cursed Radio StationsThe CRTC this week approved 100.7 CFJL-FM Winnipeg’s application to relocate to 100.5 in part because “the frequency itself has become stigmatized as a station no one listens to.”

While The Jewel format is fresh and new in the Winnipeg market, is enjoyed by those who tune it in, and is successful in other markets where it is played, it can not escape the stigma that comes with the frequency after so much time at the bottom of the ratings. Listeners have told our marketing department the station is a “loser”, and consequently, potential advertisers see the station as perpetually “last in the market” to our financial detriment. It is our belief that a change in frequency to 100.5 MHz will help Dufferin overcome and shed some of the negative baggage associated with the 100.7 frequency.

Now whose fault is that? Since December 2005 when the station was acquired by Newcap the station has operated under EIGHT different format/brand combinations. There was AAA “Cafe 100.7” then Country “100.7 Hank-FM“, Classic Rock/Blues and then Mainstream Rock as “100.7 K-Rock“. Evanov acquired them in 2011 and began stunting with Christmas Music as “100.7 The Lounge” before going Soft AC/Standards as “100.7 The Breeze“. Next was “100.7 Lite & Refreshing” before the most recent relaunch as “Jewel 101” in January following CFJL successfully appealing to have its specialty programming restrictions removed from its license.

With four identities in three years, along with multiple personality changes, how can this station gain any momentum? With an 80kW at 206.1 meter signal originating just south of the city center, the signal was not to blame. The move to 100.5 will increase the station’s ERP to 100kW, but that’s just an added benefit.

There are plenty of stations that radio industry observers consider “Cursed” for their constant failures. 105.1 in New York City went through five formats in the 1990s, continually being unable to gain consistency just like CFJL. In 2002, they flipped to Urban “Power 105.1” and has become a successful operation since. The same can be said for 104.5 in Philadelphia from 1997 until 2007 when it went from Hot AC to Rock AC to Soft AC to Spanish CHR before finding stability as Alternative “Radio 104.5“. Its not the frequency that hampering the station’s success. It was simply the programming.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

2 Comments

  1. Profile photo of notdarth


    I would think any mediumwave station on 910 kHz would be (christ help me) “cursed”, or at least the victim of a severe birth defect. Can anybody tell me what 455 kHz (IF) times 2 is? I would think that’s some major technical baggage right there, regardless of programming.

    Didn’t seem to stop either incarnation of KISN on that frequency or Sunny, but that’s Portland.

  2. Profile photo of Bongwater


    I agree. But there is something much uglier at work.

    The only real “curse” a station has is putting a new format on. And then the management just sits back, puts their feet upon the desk and just expects the listeners and advertising $$$ to simply just roll in.

    Um…HELLO??!!!

    You’d be surprised how many people in the radio industry STILL stubbornly stick to this mindset. As if it were still 1984 and not 2014.

    Yes, local radio has survived many things hurled at it. But it’s not invincible. Nor immortal. Terrestrial radio actually is in the fight for it’s life now. Online/mobile streaming is gaining increasing popularity. And just because you have a dedicated bunch of PPM users, does it realistically translate into how many ACTUAL people from whatever sample are listening to the radio with the dizzying array of mobile entertainment options people have today?

    It’s very hard for me to actually hear a radio on ANYWHERE anymore. There are a few, here and there. But VERY few. And far in between. For the most part, people are either watching TV (or having it on as background noise), they’re playing with their mobile devices or listening to their music collections. Hearing a RADIO playing somewhere today is VERY RARE.

    Walk into a store and you won’t hear a radio, but a music service. I hear people blaring their music collections in cars. Down the street, if I hear anything wafting from the windows or open doorways, it’s the TV. Young people aren’t wearing their headset radios, but playing around with social media on their smartphones.

    And very rarely do I ever see any actual and visible advertising FOR radio stations.

    How are people in this environment supposed to even know your station even exists? That radio itself is an option. ESPECIALLY with younger people?

    But as I said, many people in this industry still act as if it’s 1984. But the tech is changing at a crazy rate. Yes, radio has survived many things hurled at it. But people just don’t stumble across a station like they used to. Not in the modern world.

    General word of mouth isn’t about radio, but about another technology altogether. And when a station changes in this environment, it’s hard to know the new format even exists if there’s nothing to call their attention to it. Stations don’t promote themselves or advertise the way they used to.

    And this is a major part of the reason why some stations go through such schizophrenic changes. They never get established. It’s all about hot and fast results NOW. And when the numbers don’t instantly turn out as planned, then really, who’s fault is it if people don’t know your station is even there? Even in small markets, it’s now one of THOUSANDS of mobile entertainment options out there.

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