The Breeze hits the east coast

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The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby rwbrown » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:49 am

Stingray Launches 96.5 The Breeze in Halifax
2019-01-15
January 15, 2019 - On Thursday, January 17th, a warm new breeze will arrive in Halifax as Stingray launches 96.5 The Breeze…Halifax’s Relaxing Favourites.

96.5 The Breeze (CKUL-FM) will offer Halifax listeners something new that has been missing on the dial for many years. With easy, relaxing, and familiar favourites, 96.5 The Breeze will provide an oasis from today’s extremely noisy and busy world.

Listeners can expect a broad playlist spanning five decades, from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and today. 96.5 The Breeze will feature artists like Lionel Richie, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Whitney Houston, Sara McLachlan, Billy Joel, and Adele, giving listeners a non-stop stream of relaxing favourites that they can listen to at work, at home, or in the car.

“We’re offering an escape – a place to relax and revisit these great songs that listeners know and love. They were all huge hits, and for some reason, radio in Halifax seems to have forgotten about them,” said Dan Barton, Stingray’s Director of Contemporary Programming for Nova Scotia. “96.5 The Breeze is bringing those fantastic songs – and that relaxing, familiar feel - back to the radio.”

Some of the largest cities in Canada and United States have recently seen similar radio stations launch over the past year, with tremendous success. The Breeze format is now on the air in Vancouver, Edmonton, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Detroit, among other markets and it is proving to be very popular with listeners and advertisers.

96.5 The Breeze will be available for live streaming at 965thebreeze.com and on the Radio Player Canada app featuring over 500 of Canada’s leading radio stations.

96.5 The Breeze launches at 12am on Thursday, January 17 on 96.5 (CKUL-FM).



For more information, please contact:

Ken Geddes, Director of Nova Scotia Operations, Stingray Radio Inc.

902-493-2813

kgeddes@newcap.ca



Dan Barton, Director of Contemporary Programming - NS, Stingray Radio Inc.

902-493-2750

dbarton@newcap.ca
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby rwbrown » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:51 am

Evanov preemptively flips Halifax’s Rock 105 to The Jewel
By Connie Thiessen - January 15, 2019

The competition in Halifax’s tight, 10-commercial station, radio market just heated up with a move by Evanov to preemptively flip its Rock 105 (CKHY-FM) station to Soft AC format The Jewel ahead of plans by Stingray to introduce an easy listening station to the market.

The format flip comes almost six months to the day Evanov rebranded Rock 105, tweaking the Alternative/Active Rock LIVE 105, in a bid to go head-to-head with its biggest competitor, Stingray-owned Classic Rock ratings powerhouse Q104 (CFRQ-FM).

Evanov already operates The Jewel Soft AC format in eight markets, including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal West Island, Winnipeg, and Brantford. While the stations vary somewhat market to market, they play a variety of hits focused in the 1990s and late 2000s, including artists like Amanda Marshall, The Cardigans, Destiny’s Child, Savage Garden, and others.

The Jewel 105 signed on at 7 p.m. AT Tuesday with syndicated offering The Lounge, hosted by Brian Perhoff, featuring easy listening and jazz deep cuts from the likes of Sade and Eydie Gorme.

Stingray is set to flip its Hot AC station Mix 96.5 (CKUL-FM) to The Breeze…Halifax’s Relaxing Favourites at midnight this Thursday, Jan. 17.

A source with knowledge of the situation, told Broadcast Dialogue, Evanov’s head office decided to move up The Jewel’s Halifax launch, on news of the approaching debut of The Breeze.

Afternoon drive host Gina Kennedy, aka Gina K, is a casualty of the format flip. Kennedy arrived in Halifax just this past September from CHOM 97.7 Montreal.

A spokesperson from Evanov was unavailable to comment.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby paterson » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:15 pm

Welcome to the "east coast breeze" Stingray! The radio shell game is getting more interesting every week. Stations like CKHY Halifax, rebranding every six months not a good move but Evanov is obviously getting a jump on The Breeze Halifax. They are sort of like the annoying little Pomeranian that keeps yapping next door at the big dog.

Evanov is def a wild card and the Jewel is much more adventurous musically than what we are hearing on The Breeze. The Jewel delves into real MOR music and album covers that you don't hear on light AC radio. They have a spotty record ratings and business wise but they do what nobody else is doing and they have been growing every year and currently have about 18 stations mostly in the east. Ethnic, The Jewel, Hot AC/Dance, Country, Classic Rock, LGBTQ (Proud Toronto first terrestrial gay themed radio station in the world).

Interestly that one of their Winnipeg stations CFJL was branded as "The Breeze in December 2011, and in 2014 became The Jewel which had already been established in the east with about 7 other stations. I listen to the Jewel in Brantford from time to time, normally live or voice tracked in the evening and The Lounge 7 to 11 pm is unique. Daytime they have a somewhat smaller town sound but musically interesting and mostly soft/top 40 AC/MOR. And they do focus on their broadcast area, hometown.

Radio may get very interesting in 2019...lets hope
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby rwbrown » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:09 am

This format introduction of the Breeze by Stingray has reengaged me into the mysteries of radio programming. It has started to consume some of my thought time. I'll share what I've been thinking.

As a historic note, what is now 96.5 the Breeze was originally launched in 1990 as an easy listening format. This is coming around full circle.

In conversations I've heard that AC is a tough sell in the HRM market, but is certainly not served until now.

As a former announcer with the Brantford stations in the 1990's before it was purchased by the Evanovs, I was glad to see they kept the hometown feel with the Jewel. What they did to 1380 AM is another story, but the station already had few listeners when I left in the spring of 1998, so they had little or no choice. My nostalgia is not a business plan.

I have done some steaming comparisons of the Breeze vs. Jewel and there are distinct differences. Working in the 80's and 90's at mostly AC AM stations, the sound of the Jewel is very similar. The Jewel has more depth with can-con where the Breeze is playing safer with can-con. They have some great people so there is no doubt research invested. The Breeze is more of what I remember as bigger market AC FM format. By 1998 when I left the on-air side and went back to school you could clearly see the writing on the wall. This AC format was all but abandoned for almost a decade except for the Jewel stations and MOR died as AM stations flipped to FM or became talk/sports. There are only a handful of AM music stations. (Windsor, Guelph, BC Interior, Duphin MB, Sydney NS, etc.) CJOY Guelph is more a BOOM than a MOR station these days.

I was actually surprised Stingray went with this Breeze format. My bet on a winner and a format that I very much enjoy is the Boom in Toronto. I'm by no means any expert and will admit being more of an arm chair quarterback, but I'm thinking the Boom is more the equivalent to a modern oldies format.

Here is how I look at this. Taking my age (55) and the music brings back nostalgic memories (hits played on 1050 CHUM or 680 CFTR staring around 1974 and peaking between the years 1977 and 1985 then falling off by the early 90's), Boom just makes sense. So my MP3 playlist would have late 70's pop/rock(Elton John/Bill Joel/Boston/Styx), a bit of disco (Rod Steward/CHIC), new wave (Gary Nueman/Cars/Pat Benatar/Blondie), 80's CHR/rock (John Melencamp/Bryan Adams/Michael Jackson/U2) and end around grunge (Nirvana/Pearl Jam). If I look at the Breeze or Jewel, a lot of that music would not be in my wheel house and most of my male peers were listening to CHUM-FM or Q107 at the time, so they would be really out of this wheel house. The only reason I know most of the playlists on the Jewel or Breeze is because I played them on the radio or my mom liked them, not because they were the records or CD's I was buying for my personal collection. The Jewel and Breeze is more what my 86 year old mother gravitated to. My mom was front row and on the front page at the first Beatles concert at Maple Leaf Gardens, purchased Elton John records in the 70's and when I visited her home in the 90's or 2000's, the radio was generally tuned to a current AC station. (CHFI or The NEW CHAY)

The next ratings will tell the story if this Breeze format does anything in Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby paterson » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:28 pm

Hey rwbrown, good insights and comments. Your on air experience working with various AC formats gives you credible knowledge on this topic.

The Jewel in Brantford overall does a pretty good job in my opinion. Brantford is not an easy radio town, about 78% of radio listening is out of market. As you are well aware rw, Brantford sort of gets clobbered by Hamilton/St Catherines, Toronto, Kitchener, Buffalo/Niagara. Guelph has a similar situation with all of the Toronto/Kitchener/Hamilton, even some London FM stations sending strong signals off air into the Royal City. The Jewel Brantford had a weekly cume of 184,000 last book so respectable. They sound local which is great and their on air personalities come through as adult and conversational. Musically they are more daring that what I have heard on the various Breeze stations. Announcers occasionally talking up to vocal over song into's.

There is some speculation that Stingray may be looking at rebranding CFXJ The Move Toronto to a Breeze format. This station has moved back to a Hip Hop/Urban sound after dabbling with throwbacks and a more Hot AC format 3 or 4 years ago. BOOM FM certainly is safe since they battle CHFI for the number one position in Toronto and Southern Ontario. BOOM has very strong numbers, and have been a big success since they brought in the format 9 years ago. It has been interesting to see how CHFI has actually moved away somewhat from the softer AC sound over the past few years and become a brighter more contemporary station.

I haven't really formed an opinion on the Breeze Edmonton and Vancouver yet since they are both very new. However the San Francisco Breeze KISQ which has had the format for about 3 years is kind of bland to my ears and not big on personalities. Butare they currently 4th in the ratings, however they do trail another AC, station KOIT which is #2. News station KQED FM has the largest audience in San Francisco.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby Aaron » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:03 pm

paterson wrote:There is some speculation that Stingray may be looking at rebranding CFXJ The Move Toronto to a Breeze format.


That's pretty easy speculation, but I'd bet against it. A Breeze 93.5 would get at least some of its audience from Boom; the stations are very similar era-wise with the difference being in tempo and presentation. When you look at early numbers from Edmonton, it would seem that a pretty big chunk of the Capital FM audience is spending a lot of time with the frequency's new format.

In some circumstances, you could argue that the two brands could be complementary and that they'd be better off managing their own overlap than having someone else in the market do it for them - but it's not worth any ratings erosion on their biggest money making station in the country to try what could be a fad format on an impaired signal. Maybe - maybe - were a flip at another station in the market imminent, but I don't see any obvious contenders for that.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby groundskeeper willy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:52 pm

Aaron wrote:When you look at early numbers from Edmonton, it would seem that a pretty big chunk of the Capital FM audience is spending a lot of time with the frequency's new format.


Uh, not to be contentious or anything, but what numbers are you looking at? The flip from Capital to Breeze happened December 26th. The four week block of PPM measurement for the December 24th to January 20th period won't be released until January 30th. The PPM 13-week quarterly summary won't be out until March 6th. Unless you're looking at internal research that Stingray is conducting themselves (which would not be for distribution outside of the sales/marketing/upper management offices), just curious as to where are you getting your data from?
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby Aaron » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:54 pm

Ratings are released daily for subscribers. It been enough days to get a rough idea of the initial impact of the station. With a little Excel know-how you can get the monthlies predicted down to a couple tenths of a share.

"January"'s monthlies only have four days left and it's looking like a really strong start for Edmonton's Breeze (Granted, it includes Dec 24+25, two huge days for CKRA). And I don't see where the audience is really coming from, other than the existing 96.3 cume
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby groundskeeper willy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:01 pm

Aaron, thanks for the info, didn't know the radio side had access to that type of daily data, I was under the impression that Numeris only did the daily breakout for the TV side of the biz. As with any station launch / format change, you're always going to have a bump in listenership due to sample tuning, so while those initial numbers may look good, you really do need a longer data capture period, at least two or three PPM cycles, to get a more realistic sense of audience trending.

Hats off to Stingray for trying something a little different, a format that isn't chasing after the allegedly coveted 25-34 demo that every other station is after. As long as they keep platooning in fresh material and avoid burning the core artists, this soft AC thing should be extremely sellable for the foreseeable future. Still way too much Luba for my tastes though, five titles in rotation this past week, yikes! But I guess if it's a choice between playing Luba or another Bryan Adams (or Blue Rodeo) track, I'll grudgingly take another play of "Let It Go".
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby Aaron » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:18 pm

groundskeeper willy wrote: As with any station launch / format change, you're always going to have a bump in listenership due to sample tuning, so while those initial numbers may look good, you really do need a longer data capture period, at least two or three PPM cycles, to get a more realistic sense of audience trending.


I think the idea of the initial bump doesn't necessarily apply here - I don't think it's been even long enough for the general public to have noticed this station. (Is there any promotion in market?) And it's not getting huge cume, but rather TSL -- so I guess my point here is that the format is appealing to the Classic Hits audience, which Stingray would be seeing, which would give them pause to launch it in Toronto.

Same thing in Vancouver, where much of the LG audience seems to be sticking around, without having an impact on heritage AC QM/FM.

And I completely agree about giving them kudos for trying this. 50-64 should be a radio advertising power-demo.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby Aaron » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:48 pm

Further, I think Stingray Edmonton is the best positioned cluster in the country to make a case for 45+ advertisers, with their portfolio now comprised of K97, The Breeze, and CFCW.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby paterson » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:42 pm

Wondering if there is some loyalty to Sean Burke in the morning in Edmonton? This could be part of the reason that much of the Capital FM audience has stuck with the station so far. You are correct Aaron that December 24 and 25 just prior to the Breeze would be a factor as well.

Just some chat on the Southern Ont/WNY forum if CFXJ The Move (Flow) would move to a Breeze format. They really have just recently gone back to Hip Hop so maybe they are going to give it some more time. Toronto doesn't have a true AC station any longer, just out of market from St. Catherines, Hamilton, Newmarket, sometimes Buffalo. CHFI at times seems closer to a hot AC station and dropped most of the traditional AC artists years ago. Although to their credit they still have news and the announcers are more adult sounding than a traditional hot AC station.

I wonder if someone will throw in the hat and attempt country in Toronto again. CISS FM (now Kiss 92.5) did have some initial success with country but when Rogers bought the station from Rawlco the country format died soon after. Again the only country radio in Toronto is outside the market.

Edmonton and Vancouver are overplaying many artists in addition to cancon. Hearing Air Supply, Juice Newton, Michael Bolton too much and the same songs. Also overplaying Burton Cummings and Corey Hart. Totally unnecessary, all they need to do is review the A/C charts from the 80's 90's early-mid 2000's and refresh themselves what was actually played back then. So far they ain't doin' that! Playing it too safe, and they are going to burn out songs and artists. The Breeze in San Francisco is very repetitive, maybe that is why they are trailing KOIT FM that has a similar format but is a little more uptempo and has a larger playlist.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby groundskeeper willy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:55 pm

Absolutely Aaron, there are so many music stations that are still hell-bent on chasing the under-35 demo, which is an audience that just doesn't care about radio. Great to see that the reality has finally dawned on the national PD's & consultants, that of trying to create programming that will attract and appeal to those who may still have an actual radio in the house / car, don't care about using a Spotify playlist, and have a huge amount of discretionary income & aren't afraid to spend it. Not everybody wants (or needs) to hear the new Lady Gaga, Maroon 5 or Lovelytheband every day, especially if those acts have no meaning or relevance to your life.
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Re: The Breeze hits the east coast

Postby paterson » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:59 pm

Good points Willie and Aaron, I also give some credit to Stingray to attempt this format again, which has generally been missing from the radio landscape in larger markets for a while. However if they are serious attracting an older demographic (45+) they need to up the surveillance material. Music alone ain't going to carry the day! This demo needs more information and content.

Both stations need some news updates (does Vancouver have any at all?) A short business news recap in the afternoon would be a good idea, brief sports, more personality from the on air staff etc. The Breeze should not just aim for three or four improved books but play the longer game. The audience should not need to flip to another station just to hear basic news and information. They don't need a lot, but right now Edmonton and Vancouver don't have enough surveillance content to keep the 45+ demo interested. Short news/info updates would make the world of difference for them.

Listening to various Breeze stations in SanFan and Philadelphia, you have little sense what is happening locally and no real connection to the listener other than they are playing songs that people haven't heard in a while. Hey listen for a few days and you will hear them!

I have noticed a slight improvement in the music, they finally added some more songs so hopefully this will continue. Breeze in Vancouver is getting raked over the coals on the Puget Sound Radio site. About 95% negative and many comments since the launch on December 26th.
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