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.“