With Stock Collapsing, Corus Kills ‘QR’ On FM


As 2023 began, Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment turned heads and sounded alarms at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) by making a major format adjustment at CFGQ-FM 107.3 in Calgary, a 100kw facility that since 2004 had been Classic Rocker “Q107.”

CFGQ officially began simulcasting News/Talk CHQR “QR77.” The CRTC in February 2023, one month after the FM began sharing the programming of the AM, began gathering materials to determine whether or not Corus ran afoul of rules that prohibit the 24/7 simulcast of the two stations.

Now, 18 months into the simulcast, financially troubled Corus — which Broadcast Dialogue reports has cut 35 unionized staff from Global News newsrooms across the provinces — is ready to put unique programming back on CFGQ.

Even with the simulcast, “QR Calgary” failed to place at No. 1 in key demographics, with CBC Radio One the leading spoken word audio choice in Alberta’s largest market and the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area with a 15.7 share among adults 12+. In Spring 2024, Numeris data show “QR Calgary” with a combined 8.4 share among adults 12+.

However, unlike in the U.S. where Audacy Inc. began simulcasting all-News WINS-AM on an FM in New York and all-News KNX-AM on an FM in Los Angeles, the CRTC has strict rules prohibiting such arrangements. And, rather than challenge the regulatory body overseeing broadcast media in Canada, Corus is moving forward with the launch of a music presentation for CFGQ — likely to come following the July 1 Canada Day holiday.

Keeping the “QR Calgary” simulcast would have been possible had Corus seek CRTC approval to amend CFGQ’s license so it could have an AM rebroadcasting transmitter — an interesting difference between U.S. and Canadian regulatory policy. That move would have revoked the license for CHQR.

Speaking to Broadcast Dialogue, a Corus spokesperson said, “We can confirm that we were not able to monetize QR on both AM and FM, the way we had hoped. We are committed to continuing to deliver the best news and talk content in Calgary on QR 770AM, and are focused on finding new audiences across streaming and other platforms. Broadcast of QR news and talk content on 107FM will cease by the end of July 2024, and we look forward to bringing a new music station to Calgary in the future.”

The launch of a new format for CFGQ comes as Corus stock on Thursday fell to a new record low of $0.19 CDN. Trading was exceptionally active, with 5.09 million shares trading against average volume of 548,340 shares.

— With reporting from RBR+TVBR in Vaughn, Ont.


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