TSN 990 to become French radio station

Bell Media has applied to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s broadcast regulator, for permission to convert TSN 990 into a French all-sports radio stattion, RDS 690.
Montreal has been without sports radio in the city’s predominant language since 2011, when CKAC became an all-traffic station.

The Bell application states:

Bell proposes a sports talk format targeting francophone males aged 18 to 54 to be known as RDS Radio. Bell states that the station would respond to the strong demand for sports programming recently created by the loss of CKAC’s all-sports format, and would repatriate the lost francophone male 18-54 tuning and advertising revenue to the French-language radio market. Bell added that the service would be complementary, rather than directly competitive, with existing Montréal radio stations.

Here’s Jason Magder’s Gazette story on the plan to create RDS 690.

RDS’s own story on the switch.

English radio broadcasts, which were carried on TSN 990 last season, would be moved to CJAD 800, which Bell is acquiring as part of its proposed purchase of Astral Media, a deal that requires CRTC approval.

Should its purchase of Astral be approved, Bell would become owner of CJAD and two Montreal FM music stations, Virgin Radio and CHOM. These additions to TSN 990, which Bell owns already, would the media colossus in contravention of a CRTC regulation that limits ownership in any market to three stations in the same language.

By switching to French all-sports, Bell’s English holdings in Montreal are reduced to the aforementioned trio of Astral stations.

Expect the sewage to hit the ventilation system big-time in Montreal as fans react to the loss of TSN 990.

The move comes less than a year after BEll received CRTC permission to change the English all-sports station’s frequency from 990 to 690, citing improved reception at the latter frequency in the western parts of Montreal island.

From the CRTC file:

Bell Media stated that the reception of station’s night-time signal is poor in Montréal, especially in the west end, and that the use of 690 kHz, which would result in better night-time protection as well as fewer constraints for protecting third adjacent signals, would bring a significant improvement to CKGM’s night-time coverage. As well, because 690 kHz has superior propagation qualities, the applicant indicated that the signal received in Montréal would be of better quality, daytime and night-time.

In seeking the frequency change, Bell told the CRTC technical problems had been a contributing factor in the poor financial performance of  the erstwhile Team 990, which almost almost $5 million from 2007 to 2011.

The CRTC will conduct hearings on Bell’s latest applications in September.

It’s expected the Canadiens broadcasts will remain on TSN 990 for the 2012-’13 season.

French radio coverage of Canadiens games – which used to be on CKAC –  is on 98.5 FM, a Montreal station that Bell doesn’t own.

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