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November 18, 2020 4:23 pm  #1


89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

It's rare that a radio station advertises a format flip in advance - mostly they just make the change and leave disappointed listeners to find out when they tune in. But it's even more unusual when they admit it's a major alteration and that some fans "may not like it." 

The current Alternative format is getting the axe as of noon Thursday after 30 years, although the station won't say exactly what they're changing to.

Here's the text of the announcement:

"From the Cutting Edge to New Rock 89X, it’s been one hell of a ride over the past thirty years. If you’ve ever listened, called the X-Lines for a request, won a contest, or partied with us at a Birthday Bash – THANK YOU. 89X was a unique station and we have some great memories.

"Thirty years is a long time though and it’s time for a change. Soon there will be a very new and VERY different sound on 88.7FM and to be honest if you’re a New Rock fan you’re probably not going to like it.

“When you’re looking for your New Rock fix you can always check out Rock Nation on the iHeartRadio Canada app, and if you want to find out what’s next for 88.7FM, listen Thursday, November 19th at noon.”

Interesting to see it was a Detroit TV station posting an article on the Bell Media Canadian station change. I found some of the comments after the article especially notable. 

89X radio station making major change to format: ‘Very new, very different sound'

 

November 18, 2020 4:32 pm  #2


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

The Detroit Free Press also notes the station helped introduce many Americans to some Canadian bands they likely would not have heard otherwise.

"Because of Canadian content rules mandating quotas for homegrown content over the airwaves, 89X also helped build substantial Detroit audiences for Canadian artists such as the Tragically Hip, Sloan, Our Lady Peace and others."

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 4:43 pm  #3


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Sister station AAA 93.9 The River will also be flipping at the same time.


 
 

November 18, 2020 5:03 pm  #4


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

In terms of format speculation, I think you have to look at this one a bit differently.

Normally, we'd be asking "Where are the format holes that can bring the most ratings?" But in markets like Windsor, ratings are on the cusp of becoming irrelevant. Numeris already cancelled the fall book in all diary markets, and the spring won't look much better if they don't improve on recruitment and methodology.

So, remove local ratings = local sales from the motivator here. Add in a pinch of really bad year for sales and the cost-cutting that inevitably follows.

If you speculate on format keeping the above in mind, the two brands that appear in Windsor tomorrow won't be a surprise at all. 

Last edited by RadioAaron (November 18, 2020 5:03 pm)


 
 

November 18, 2020 5:08 pm  #5


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

I guess this means my T-shirt is going to be dated as of Thursday!

https://i.ibb.co/Lz2QXxg/CIMX-Windsor-T-Shirt.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 5:21 pm  #6


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

RadioAaron wrote:

If you speculate on format keeping the above in mind, the two brands that appear in Windsor tomorrow won't be a surprise at all. 

I can see a few things....  Moving one of their AM's to FM be it CKLW or their CKWW oldies station... OR bring in Pure Country and/or Virgin where they can network/vtrack many dayparts and drop most local required programming.  I'm putting money on country personally. 

Sadly nothing they do, will be a huge ratings win, with Detroit screaming every format at them with no cancon.   Country is available on many stations on both sides of the border, but I don't think they care... It's about finding a format they can sell. 

 

November 18, 2020 5:26 pm  #7


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Exactly. Because Numeris has said they're going to combine the results they did collect from the fall in the spring book, the spring book for these stations will be a blended mess of old/new formats, so...useless. They wouldn't get a read on the new stations until NEXT fall's book, if it even happens.

So duplicate formats don't matter - and if you're a local advertiser, which one is going to look bigger? I'd wager the one that has their promotion plastered all over CTV.


 
 

November 18, 2020 7:57 pm  #8


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Perhaps what's equally remarkable about this story is that it appeared in several media outlets, including a TV website, a major newspaper and several other places on the Internet - all of them from Detroit reporting on a Windsor station, no less.

Outside of a SOWNY Board or something like Broadcast Dialogue, I wonder if, say, Kiss 92.5 announced a huge format change tomorrow, it would make the Star, the Sun or any of the major newspapers. Probably not. 

Sad the way other media, especially print, ignores radio in this city (unless there are layoffs, but then it's more of a business story.). It wasn't always like that. In fact, the Star used to have Greg Quill as a regular full time radio columnist. Now they barely have one full time entertainment reporter - if that.

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 8:34 pm  #9


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

It's pretty obvious that it'll be Virgin and Pure Country, which is interesting.  All I have ever heard from anyone down that way is that Windsor is a rock market if ever there was one and neither Canadian company will be doing a rock format after noon tomorrow.

 

November 18, 2020 8:45 pm  #10


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

The Windsor radio market has been overwhelmed by the Detroit neighbour since its foundation, as almost every major radio formats can be found in the nearby Detroit market. There's Channel 955 representing the CHR format, WYCD for country, also rock stations with huge share in Detroit such as WCSX and WRIF.

89X's alternative and 93.9 The River's triple-A format are both not being found in the Detroit market. However if Bell decided to turn both stations into Virgin and Pure Country, I'm not certain if they can really compete with the American counterparts in a long term.

 

November 18, 2020 8:59 pm  #11


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Perhaps there's a hint with what's happening at Bell's Vernon, B.C. radio station, CICF, aka Sun FM. It's set to switch from AC to Pure Country at - wait for it - noon Thursday local time. Sound familiar? Three on air personalities have already been dumped. 

Sun sets on Vernon radio station format, personalities

     Thread Starter
 

November 18, 2020 9:04 pm  #12


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Adrian106072 wrote:

tHowever if Bell decided to turn both stations into Virgin and Pure Country, I'm not certain if they can really compete with the American counterparts in a long term.

When you take ratings out of the equation, what it means to "compete" changes completely. 
 


 
 

November 18, 2020 10:45 pm  #13


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

All of the on air staff at both 89X and The River have also been let go according to Milkman Unlimited.  The staff found out by conference call today.  Amazing how much this story has been covered by US media in Michigan.  Some of the articles had plenty of comments from readers too.  Seems like Detroit appreciated 89X a lot more than Windsor. 

Couldn't find anything on the format change or layoffs on  CTV Windsor, CBC Windsor, or the Windsor Star.  Pretty sad.

 

November 18, 2020 11:00 pm  #14


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

We will all know tomorrow but Virgin and Pure Country is my bets here.  If Blackburn was smart, they could flip one of their under performers and try to pickup rock, as they do have a history with the format.   This could shake up things in Windsor for sure.   Nothing anyone can do will stop cross broader listening but perhaps sales locally.

Last edited by radiokid (November 18, 2020 11:02 pm)

 

November 19, 2020 11:30 am  #15


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Bell isn't actively courting US listeners any longer.  They will always get some regardless, but 89X and to a lesser extent The River were the only stations had any traction with advertising in the US.  Bell closed their Detroit sales office at some point in 2017, so revenue must have been sliding and now with the closed border nothing happening.

CKLW 800 seems to be heavy local talk Windsor/Chatham with mostly local news.  They feature iHeart shows like Evan Solomon, Tony Chapman and Jon Pole.  They did have one music program called Here + Now which featured new and emerging artists from Windsor and Chatham county.  How times have changed on the Big 8.  LW does very well in the ratings but only in Windsor and area. 

The Detroit radio stations don't really go after or are concerned with listeners from across the river mostly because there is no money in it for them.  And Metro Detroit has a population of over 4.2 million vs 350,000 for Windsor/Chatham.

I am on the Virgin and Pure Country bandwagon too for the format flip.  Looks like we will know in half an hour.  Wonder if any Windsor media (other than Bell) will cover this today! 

 

November 19, 2020 12:02 pm  #16


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

And the winner is... Pure Country, as of noon Thursday.

     Thread Starter
 

November 19, 2020 12:03 pm  #17


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

It's official..

Windsor's #1 Hit Music Station 93.9 Virgin Radio 
Windsor's Pure Country 89

 

November 19, 2020 12:07 pm  #18


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Only in Canada, the land of cookie cutter media.

 

November 19, 2020 12:12 pm  #19


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

     Thread Starter
 

November 19, 2020 12:29 pm  #20


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Here is the new website for Virgin 93.9 Windsor
https://www.iheartradio.ca/virginradio/windsor
Looks like both stations are giving away $10,000 with contests.  Pure Country is going commercial free for 10,000 songs (about 26 days?) and Virgin 93 minutes commercial free.  Of the two changes 89X to Pure Country is the most dramatic.  The River to Virgin still major but not nearly as abrupt as CIMX. Guess that is why Pure Country is going to go weeks with no commercials.

 

November 19, 2020 12:46 pm  #21


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Forward Power wrote:

Only in Canada, the land of cookie cutter media.

Umm....

https://i.ibb.co/7gmjKN0/Screen-Shot-2020-11-19-at-12-45-29-PM.png

 


 
 

November 19, 2020 12:55 pm  #22


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

paterson1 wrote:

Here is the new website for Virgin 93.9 Windsor
https://www.iheartradio.ca/virginradio/windsor
Looks like both stations are giving away $10,000 with contests.  Pure Country is going commercial free for 10,000 songs (about 26 days?) and Virgin 93 minutes commercial free.  Of the two changes 89X to Pure Country is the most dramatic.  The River to Virgin still major but not nearly as abrupt as CIMX. Guess that is why Pure Country is going to go weeks with no commercials.

 
The change to Virgin Radio is still somehow sensible, as there's no CHR stations directly targeting Windsor itself. It also provides a new exposure of the Virgin brand to the American market for the first time. The only issue that they need to deal with is to compete with Channel 955, even if a lot of people already mentioned Detroit's rating doesn't affect Windsor in a salient manner.

However the change to Pure Country is really questionable, since there are at least 3 country stations in the Detroit-Windsor market. Bell should have at least kept the better-performing River 93.9 on the 88.7 frequency, without directly competing with too many stations having the same format.

The lack of news coverage in terms of the demise of both stations in Canada also makes me quite sad, as radio  listening has always been an integral part for Canadians. The negligence of such event suggests that Canadian media companies isn't really putting much effort securing the status of radio, in hindsight.

 

November 19, 2020 12:55 pm  #23


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

...and a twist! Right as 89x flipped to Country, 98.7 The Breeze in Detroit flipped to Alternative. 
https://i.ibb.co/ZNtgrnk/En-NFIPb-WMAMr-KWk.png


 
 

November 19, 2020 12:57 pm  #24


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Adrian106072 wrote:

However the change to Pure Country is really questionable, since there are at least 3 country stations in the Detroit-Windsor market. Bell should have at least kept the better-performing River 93.9 on the 88.7 frequency, without directly competing with too many stations having the same format.

You're missing the point of what happened here.
 


 
 

November 19, 2020 2:01 pm  #25


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Well all these format changes in Windsor/Detroit are getting lots of coverage in Michigan.  Similar to Pure Country 89, Detroit's new ALT 98.7 also playing 10,000 songs commercial free.  Interesting that 98.7 changed format just as "The Breeze" had moved to all Christmas music.  So Bell certainly has shaken up the Windsor/Detroit radio market a little today and maybe took a few by surprise. 
https://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/2020/11/19/after-89-x-folds-98-7-abruptly-switches-alternative-rock-format/6341453002/

 

November 19, 2020 3:02 pm  #26


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

It's not just Rogers. Bell has been wringing out some of its workers, too. 

Tough week for Halifax radio as both Rogers, Bell make cuts 

     Thread Starter
 

November 19, 2020 5:06 pm  #27


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Sounds like The Breeze 98.7 changed format to ALT 98.7 right after 89X moved to country at 12 noon today. Apparently they were the middle of a Christmas song.   Would have been interesting to hear that changeover.  The Breeze format had it's debut only two years ago in Detroit on November 9, 2018. Broadcast Media has a little more detail on this and a few other changes...
https://broadcastdialogue.com/bell-media-flips-stations-in-windsor-woodstock-vernon/    

 

November 19, 2020 5:43 pm  #28


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

A great article from Radio Insight boils down the Windsor/Detroit format flips today to this... "from a business perspective Bell Media and Entercom can much better serve their goals and cut costs with the new "Pure Country 89.1", "93.9 Virgin Radio" and "Alt 98.7"  
Here's a link to the complete story...
https://radioinsight.com/headlines/201551/nationalization-takes-hold-in-two-nations-looking-at-todays-three-station-format-shuffle-in-detroit-windsor/

Last edited by zed (November 19, 2020 5:48 pm)

 

November 19, 2020 6:40 pm  #29


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

Forward Power wrote:

Only in Canada, the land of cookie cutter media.

yes, really exciting radio! Maybe Blackburn 95.9 Windsor "The Wolf" will consider a switch to rock of some kind?  

Radio these days is run like I used to fish ... after 5 minutes I'd get impatient and change lures or bait. Didn't help much and I no longer fish...

 

November 19, 2020 10:31 pm  #30


Re: 89X Windsor Changing Format Thurs. & Predicts "Some May Not Like It"

And finally The Windsor Star chimes in with a somewhat detailed article on the format changes in Windsor and Detroit.
https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/89x-no-more-detroit-windsors-88-7-fm-switches-to-country-music-after-30-years-of-modern-rock