Montrealers want new English talk radio station

Steve Kowch blog photoFrom where I sit On the Kowch, the time is right to launch a new English language news and talk radio station in Montreal as a result of the CRTC decision to approve the Bell/Astral merger. Bell will now own four of the five radio stations serving the English community – including the city’s only news and talk radio station.

But before we launch in the Fall of 2016, we want input from Montreal’s Anglophones and Allophones on what they want to hear on the New AM600. We’re building this radio station from the ground up. We need your support. We need to know what you think is missing on English radio in Montreal.

Tell us what you want to hear and what it will take for you to listen to the New AM600. We’ve made it easy to have your say. Just send us an email to:

montrealneedsam600@gmail.com

Let us know in the email if you would like to participate in a focus group about the New AM600. We will not share your email address. But feel free to share our special email address with your friends, family, neighbours, at work, your Face Book friends, LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers so that they too can have their say about the New AM600.

Lack of competition breeds complacency. Montreal’s English radio market is demonstrably starving for an alternate source of news and information programming. It is a community hungry for a greater diversity of opinion.

That was the message to the CRTC when TTP Media applied for a license to launch its English language news and talk radio station. I believe that message is even more relevant today as a result of the Bell/Astral deal now approved by the CRTC.

“Eighty per cent of Montreal’s Anglophones and Allophones surveyed by Leger Marketing say they want a second English language news and talk radio station.

“They want what is available in other major Canadian radio markets: the opportunity to be informed about and to call in to debate issues of the day on more than one talk radio station.” – TTP Media at Montreal CRTC hearings in October 2011

Last November, the CRTC awarded TTP Media a license to operate an English news and talk radio station on the 600AM frequency, home of CFCF – Canada’s Finest, Canada’s First radio station – from 1933 until 1999 when it went off the air. This is in addition to the license granted to operate a French language news and talk radio station and the license to operate a French language sports station.

Here is our plan to return competition to the Montreal airwaves as outlined at the CRTC when I spoke on behalf of TTP Media at the application hearings:

“Francophones, Anglophones and Allophones in Montreal don’t live in a vacuum. They are neighbours and as such care about what goes on in each of the communities. We will help them share their thoughts with one another. We are in a unique position to use our French and English radio station hosts to share their different points of view on each of our two news and talk radio stations.

“The synergies between both stations will provide information, debate and strong opinions not heard anywhere else on Montreal radio – French or English.”

“To be successful, we will create stimulating fresh programming. Content is KING! In studio we will have two co-hosts with differing opinions – polar opposites who will be fearless to express their point of view and debate with the listeners. Hosts will have total freedom to express their opinions with no corporate interference on what they can or can’t say on air.

“We will be fearless in our approach to covering the news – providing investigative reports to shine the light on corruption and scandals, to protect the rights of all Montrealers, no matter their cultural heritage, language, religion, sexual orientation or politics.

“Our news department will be live 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to cover unexpected events like disasters or storms that threaten the health and security of our listeners.

“We believe it is our moral obligation as broadcasters to be there for our listeners no matter the time of day or day of the week.”

“There is nothing more powerful in radio than going out into the local community bringing listeners together with the news makers to debate the important issues of the day. We will do that with live on air town hall meetings.

“To attract younger and new listeners we have to reach out to where they communicate with each other. We will have a prominent presence on the platforms where these younger demos get their information – online, on their mobiles, tablets and social media. We will do this by reaching out to provide on air exposure to online bloggers, podcasters and print journalists who don’t currently have access to the Montreal radio airwaves.

“We believe it is also important to provide airtime to community groups, social agencies and  charitable organizations who do good work in Montreal. Whenever they need us, we will be there for them.”

The chair of the CRTC hearings called these proposals bold.

TTP Media prefers to call it a commitment to Montreal radio listeners.

Social media has been a buzz about TTP Media and its long awaited launch of AM600 since the CRTC Bell/Astral decision that is reducing competition in Montreal radio.

“TTP Media, we need you more than ever now” – a posting on Fagstein’s Montreal blog

From where I sit On The Kowch, I’m excited about TTP Media’s plans for its Montreal English and French language news and talk radio stations. Francophones, Anglophones and Allophones will finally have a choice for where they get their news or discuss important issues of the day on the radio.

Don’t forget to send us your ideas about the New AM600 to our special email address at:

montrealneedsam600@gmail.com

Check out Mike Cohen’s blog in The Suburban about the work behind the scenes to get ready for a launch date of the New AM600.

Steve Kowch was program director of two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations for 14 years

He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Making It BIG in Media

He can be reached at steve@kowchmedia.com

www.facebook.com/kowchmedia