By SCOTT FYBUSH
Rogers Media surprised listeners in CANADA‘s capital on Thursday afternoon with a three-way format flip, killing its “Jack” adult hits brand, relocating its country station, and adding an FM simulcast for its news-talk station – plus a new brand that might hint at bigger plans down the road in other markets.
Jack had been on CJET (92.3) in Smiths Falls, south of Ottawa, since 2004, one of the last survivors of what had once been a big national brand for Rogers. Now the 92.3 signal is the new home of country, the format that had been up the dial on the bigger CKBY (101.1 Smiths Falls) signal since the last big shuffle of these facilities back in 2004.
As “101.1 Country” becomes “92.3 Country,” the 101.1 signal has flipped to a simulcast of CIWW (1310 Ottawa) – but it’s no longer “1310 News” for that hybrid news-talk format. Instead, Rogers has unveiled a new “CityNews” brand for the 1310/101.1 simulcast. It’s an interesting choice: Rogers’ CityTV national brand doesn’t have a local Ottawa outlet (though CITY-TV from Toronto is on cable and satellite there), making this a curious market to launch the brand, if in fact it’s something Rogers is planning to expand in other markets where it does have both news-talk radio and local CityTV newsrooms.
(How can Rogers juggle an AM-FM simulcast and a total of three FMs, including top-40 “Kiss” CISS 105.3? Because Smiths Falls is technically a separate market – which may mean 92.3 Country, in particular, becomes less of a competitive threat to the bigger country competition in Ottawa, Bell’s “Pure Country” CKKL 93.9.)
Much more, of course, in Monday’s full issue of NERW…
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