WINNIPEG — Music-listening habits have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was so much uncertainty that Numeris, the company that measures radio data across the country, hasn’t released ratings in over a year due to not being able to gather a representative listening sample.
Thursday’s release of the Spring 2021 ratings book paints a picture of how listener retention has shifted amid Winnipeg’s radio stations, owing in part to a move to remote working and learning, making the traditional morning and afternoon “drive” a thing of the past. That trend will continue as many offices won’t be recalling their workers back until the fall, setting the stage for several more months of market changes in how traditional AM and FM radio is consumed.
“Music stations are having fewer listeners throughout the week. Stations have seen drops of 10 to 30 percent in listener activity,” said Matt Cundill, president of the Sound Off Media Company and former Power 97 program director.
“The most stable of the music stations was QX 104… country as a format that always performs well in times of crisis. CBC and CJOB grew their audiences for obvious reasons,” citing news and information during a critical time.
“Overall, Winnipeg radio listening appears to have gone from an 18-inch pizza, to a 15-inch one. Some music stations may talk up their share increases but there is less listener pie to fight over. The trend follows a North American one where there is less demand for music and more demand for personalities.”
Cundill noted 680 CJOB picked up the radio broadcast rights for the Winnipeg Jets from TSN 1290 last fall, in a multi-year licensing deal through the 2026-27 seasons.
Other changes to the local radio landscape included the demise of TSN 1290 altogether, which Bell Media switched to a comedy format. Bell also recently rebranded 99.9 BOB FM to Bounce Radio 99.9 to better align with national branding surrounding the format.
The below data is for the 12+ demographic, with the Spring 2020 ratings in parentheses for comparison.
SPRING 2021 RADIO RATINGS
- CBC Radio One — 16.7 (13.9)
- 680 CJOB — 12.0 (10.7)
- QX 104 — 9.1 (8.4)
- 99.9 BOB FM (now Bounce Radio 99.9) — 6.6 (7.7)
- 103.1 Virgin Radio — 4.9 (5.2)
- 92.1 CITI — 4.8 (5.2)
- Energy 106 — 4.4 (3.5)
- Power 97 — 4.2 (4.3)
- Peggy @ 991 — 3.9 (3.5)
- 94-3 The Drive — 3.8 (5.3)
- CBC Radio 2 — 3.8 (4.0)
- KiSS 102.3 — 3.7 (5.3)
- Hot 100.5 — 2.5 (2.0)
- TSN 1290 (now Funny 1290) — 1.9 (3.8)