Poof! No more CKAC Sports

The Canadiens flagship French radio station is off the air.
Tune CKAC at 730 on the AM dial Friday afternoon and all you’ll hear is very bad pop music.

Among the silenced sports voices: Smilin’ Ron Fournier. But not for long, there were reports, late on Friday, that Fournier’s show would be moved to 98,5 FM.

Cogeco, the media conglomerate that owns CKAC, will relaunch the frequency as an all-traffic station, beginning Tuesday. CKAC Circulation will be subsidized by Quebec’s beleaguered Transport ministry.

Canadiens hockey will be heard on 98,5, one of Cogeco’s Montreal FM stations.

Beyond game broadcasts, it would appear the CKAC Sports schedule is defunct: Sports de Lit, he morning show featuring Michel Langevin and Gabriel Grégoire (and an hour of hockey talk, weekdays at 9 a.m.); Les gérants d’estrades with Mario Langlois. Likely to be migrating to the FM band are the afternoon Amateurs de sport, with Michel Villeneuve and regulars Michel Bergeron and Jacques Demers; and, of course, Bonsoir les sportifs, with the irrepressible Fournier.

Greater media minds than those staffing the Friday afternoon desk at HIO will have to explain how a city like Montreal can support all-sports radio in English but not in the language spoken by the large majority of the city’s population.

Possible explanation: the Team 990 is owned by mighty Bell Media, a much larger company than Cogeco.

But still …

There is great dismay at HIO Tower. We hate to see colleagues get zapped, of course (and there but for the grace of that video of the boss go we).

But CKAC Sports was a valued source of great Canadiens coverage and commentary. It was all Habs, all the time – a treat for Montrealers who eat, sleep and breathe CH hockey.

And now Louis from Ville Mercier will have only one sports station to phone every day.

Stéphane Laporte of La Presse is not happy about this: “Maybe this is is a secret government plan to convert sports fans to the language of Gomez.


  1. Caballero says:

    This is a huge loss to the sports community here. By here I mean in the province, not the mostly anglo users of this site who probably have never even listened to CKAC sports, and now come on just to add their two cents which is pretty much to dismiss radio in general or the station. To anyone who is truly obsessed with the Habs, this is a loss because as some of you have hinted at, only the French media in this province gets truly crazy about their hockey. On the other side, the attitude is, “come on folks it’s just a game,” but to our Quebecois brethren it is not just a game. This skewed their perspective often, but I need to hear that passion before and after a game even if it isn’t in my mother tongue. Thanks to everyone at CKAC, especially the people who may not get a show on 98.5 FM.

  2. EricInStL says:

    Always remember “follow the money”…

    It seems CKAC has 2 more years left with the Habs, it also is said that the Bell might want to do french sports radio. So figure Cogeco cannot compete $$$ wise against Bell and if they lose the habs like CJAD then CKAC has no reason to exist.

    So they are preparing for the future 2 years in advance….

    Anyway in radio like in tv, they recycle the talent so all is not lost.

  3. JD_ says:

    Watched the ’93 final series highlights for the umpteenth time on NHL Network tonight.

    Gotta hand it to McSorley, he at least concedes he effed up with the stick. Seriously, why would a dope like him need a super-curve? May as well have played with a sand wedge.

    Gretzky whines a bit but gets over it. At series end, he ends up takin’ the high road, backs his team’s herculean effort, and gives Demers kudos.

    The Mullet whines and doesn’t get over it. “I wouldn’t have made that call,” in reference to Demers’ astute call in Game 2. Nice try. Coincidentally, Melrose is a loser and Demers is a winner.

    (What were Koules and Barrie thinkin’? Jesus. At its genesis, the only disaster more obvious than hirin’ that goofball was Kovalev’s contract in Ottawa.)

    And, yeah, I’ve heard all the stick-curve conspiracy theories, includin’ the recent one from Robitaille.

    Sour grapes. And not somethin’ you really want to hang yer hat on.

    See, in the end, the Kings lost the next three games, includin’ a drubbin’ in game 5. I remember watchin’ the final moments, seated on the floor in front of a big screen in some pub downtown, pitchers flyin’ overhead as the seconds were counted down.

    Great watchin’ all the post-game interviews. The Habs were a frickin’ motley crew. All on the same page.

    And the greatest goalie of all time quietly leadin’ the charge, willin’ the team to greatness.

    Poindexter Bentley Subban, baby. Cut of the same cloth.

  4. HabinBurlington says:

    Well I speak no french despite various efforts through grade school and high school. However, I can understand why people would be saddened at the loss of a radio station that obviously catered to Habs news.

    For those of you that counted on this station, I hope that some radio station can find a way to fill this void. Unfortunately radio today is a mathematical business, if they get enough advertisers with a certain model of content they keep going, if not they just try something else.

    From a Toronto perspective we just got a 2nd all sports radio station (TSN) and i was so excited, however, it seems like now we just have 2 poor sports radio station. Perhaps I am jaded and want to hear more about Montreal, but find myself streaming Melnick alot during the season.

    Again, to those that enjoyed this station, I hope the personalities find their way to another dail number.

  5. Graceland says:

    I listened to CKAC quit a lot. You would never know that 990 is now the English voice of the Habs, having to listen to all that soccer talk. I know nobody who cares for this boring sport with a net the size of an 18 wheeler, and players rolling around like they were shot by a howitzer. Not to mention you know the final score before they even play the national anthem. Smarten up 990. The vast majority of Montrealers want to hear about the Habs, not about Louigi Bordoni. Ever notice how many non Habs fans that broadcast for 990? Very strange for the English voice of the Habs.

  6. HardHabits says:

    Wait a second. We’re taking radio right?

    All you ham operators dust off your relics and fire up those tubes. Get out your news print and fondly hold onto the past while you’re at it. Think I’ll hook up my rotary phone again and demand that Bell turn my line back to dial from pulse. Heck. Why stop there. I think I am going to get some Polaroid film and haul out my tank-like camera and be the life of the party with photos that don’t have to be developed and seen only a week later.


    Some of you are too young to remember but HIO started as a usenet chat room user group of the Classified/Sports Section of the Gazette news paper.

    Ah, the good old days.

    Gonna go hook up my dial up modem and surf the Web at incredibly slow speeds just for old times sake.

  7. Toe Blake says:

    They ever ax the Cajun blue grass station that I listen to here in my cabin in midtown Manhattan and I WILL go postal!!!

  8. AndyF says:

    I’m not ashamed to admit I spent my day listening to that station. The amount of hockey information and insight was amazing.

    Somehow, I can’t help but feel that someone high up at Cogeco has made a huge mistake. It’s really a shame…

  9. jrshabs1 says:

    I’m an English Hab fan who just read Stéphane Laporte article on the demise of CKAC Sports. The article was translated to English. Question: Do the people of Quebec dislike English Canada so much as to refer to English as “the language of Gomez”? What does that even mean? Apparently the term “politically correct” has not yet been translated into French. The article leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Go Habs Go!!

    • Kristopher7 says:

      Just got to sigh at the ignorance and move on. I have dozens of Quecebois(es) friends, co-workers, and even a girlfriend. None of them say disgusting hyperbole like this. Just seems like someone letting his “souverainisme” BS slip into his writing.

      “the language of Gomez”? is one of the most insipid things I’ve heard in a long while, and it puts a bad taste in my mouth as well. We are a long ways to Utopia, but we’re getting there, one day at time.

      • DadidolizedDougHarvey says:

        Sports commentary is often the last refuge of political incorrectness, it can be ugly but can also be candid. I am not surprised. Good to call him on it.

    • normally hes a good dude that stephane but yeah that gomez comment is awkward, brutally awkward… so hes saying that its a government conspiracy that we convert all habs fans to spanish?

      had he chosen an anglophone player then it would have been par for the course when emotion takes over but thats failsauce at its funniest

    • Exit716 says:

      Apparently this decision was a result of Money and the Ethnic vote…err….
      Cogeco’s a hack company with shitty cable systems in parts of Ontario that Rogers wasn’t interested in buying.

    • Caballero says:

      I can easily sympathize with our French brothers and sisters, who have seen their hockey team become less and less French, instead filled with tepid American hired guns who get overpaid (Gomez), and now their French radio station about the Habs is taken away, leaving the team 990 as the official voice of the Habs. It is an effective parallel. I believe this is what he meant, but it came out wrong. Even though I am an Anglo, I was a big CKAC fan, and I believe this team does need more talented French players. If only they could stand the pressure of playing here.

  10. The 2011 Summit

    This will be one to remember.
    And don’t forget the Children’s Foundation Auction.
    Raffle tickets are 20.00 ea or 3 for 40.00
    Everyone should bring one item to raffle off.

    Shane Oliver
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  11. Marc10 says:

    That’s insane. Hopefully it just means they move the sports assets across to the FM Band. CKAC was indeed All Habs All The Time (or as close as you could get to that…)

    Their website has some decent interviews. I’ll miss Mario Langlois and his chats with the likes of Mario Tremblay. And of course Martin McGuire and Dany Dube were by far the best tandem of broadcasters for the Habs.

    Go figure…?!

    “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
    Andy Warhol

    Go PK Go!

  12. Psycho29 says:

    This is sad news, I always turned to CKAC before or after Habs game so I didn’t have to listen to Marinaro’s hockey expertise.
    Maybe some of the CKAC shows will move to 98.5

    Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

  13. rsty says:

    Ron Fournier’s show was hilarious, I will miss listening to his post-game hysteria; best of luck to them moving forward. I hope they give Fournier the post-game show on the 98.5.

    • Tremblant Habs Fan says:

      I heard that Fournier, Villeneuve and Jeremy Philosa were going to 98.5, not sure what their time slots will be.

      • rsty says:

        That’s great news, those guys are good broadcasters. I’m hoping that 990 will step up their game, but like someone said below, it does often sound pretty amateurish.

        If I were a francophone Quebecer who didn’t speak english well, I’d be pretty peeved at this development. There’s nothing like listening to mind-numbing sports radio while at work.

  14. Gindan69 says:

    Well no more centralized Habs missinformation station. They were fun to listen to. Even this week they were fantasizing about an all Quebec team winning gold at a fantasy Quebec city hosted Olympics.

  15. Bripro says:

    Wow, there goes another sports institution.
    And they were very entertaining. I listen to them during lunch hour, so that my work colleagues and I could argue over stats and all that was Habs.
    But someone’s gotta tell Stéphane Laporte that the government he’s accusing with his conspiracy theory is the same government that has increased funding to L’Office de la Langue Française.

  16. Critical-MASS says:

    Meh, sh*t happens…so deal with it and move on….times are a changing in the radio/tv / digital ad technological world.CKAC i hardly knew ‘er.

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

    • rsty says:

      Why don’t you tell that to everyone who’s out of a job? That you didn’t listen to the station doesn’t change the fact that they had some good programming and sports talk. Terribly insensitive comment, I’m surprised the moderators allowed this.

      • why wouldnt they allow it herr rsty?

        CM speaks the truth, media is shifting and radio is probably hurtin the most

        • rsty says:

          Listen, I’m not arguing about shifting trends in transmitting information. I’m just saying that to say “meh sh*t happens” is insensitive to the numerous people now out of a job. It implies that it’s inconsequential, which it certainly is not.

          • and im not trying to split hairs here but the expression “sh*t happens” is attached to many events of consequence

            my point is that its not so over the line that it requires moderation, because if that offended you i would not only suggest not reading most of the comments here, but ditching the internet entirely

          • Clay says:

            I agree with what that mofo with the funny eyes (above me) said. TOO sensitive.

            Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

            Winston Churchill

  17. Tremblant Habs Fan says:

    That’s too bad, I’m an anglo and would listen to CKAC much more than 990, I felt the content and quality of hosts and guests were far superior to that of the Team’s. Maybe we’ll see RDS radio in the not too distant futur?

  18. HabsFanMTL says:

    well that sucks , being bilingual myself i enjoyed tuning into ckac sports from time to time, whenever theteam990 would start talking soccer or some other sport i’m not into all i had to do was tune into ckac and i’d always hear about my favorite subject, our habs!! any time of the day. good riddence ckac sports u will surely be missed

  19. dontpanic says:

    they should all host a daily/weekly french hour/show on the Team.
    A few anglophones like me might in enjoy it.


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