Groove FM Given Green Light to Flip Formats

The Groove FM control room at its Polo Park studios. (CHRISD.CA FILE)

A Winnipeg radio station specializing in smooth jazz is hoping a format switch will make it viable again in the new year.

Corus Entertainment-owned 99.1 Groove FM filed documents with the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in August to abandon 70% of its current format, citing it can no longer turn a profit.

In a licence renewal document, Corus said CJGV-FM (Groove) has “suffered significant financial losses,” saying the smooth jazz format isn’t profitable in the Winnipeg market anymore. Corus asked the CRTC to grant it a short-term licence based around a “mix adult contemporary format.”

“The new format would feature a wide variety of today’s pop and rock hits, mixed with songs from the 80s and 90s,” the broadcaster said.

The licence renewal, which the CRTC granted on Wednesday, takes effect today and will last until August 31, 2016.

For a station to request a deletion of certain conditions of its licence isn’t completely uncommon. Two radio stations in Calgary and Edmonton were granted approval to ditch their own jazz-style formats in earlier rulings.

But a new format won’t see jazz vanish from the 99.1 FM frequency entirely. As part of its conditions, the new station will be required to include a two-hour smooth jazz show in its programming lineup.

A competing Winnipeg radio station opposed the licence change, telling the CRTC another new mainstream station in the local market would negatively impact its station. Evanov Radio Group, which owns The Lounge 100.7 (CFJL FM), contested against Corus, but was ultimately ignored. Enanov also owns two other stations in the city — Energy 106 and CKJS AM 810.

Groove FM held a 1.6 share in the spring 2011 ratings book, down from 2.1 a year earlier.

A radio insider tells the new unnamed Corus station will launch sometime before March 1, 2012.