Radio & Podcasting News – Bell Media rolls out national Pure Country brand on 13 stations

Humble & Fred
Shannon Ella

Bell Media has rolled out a rebrand of 13 of its iHeartRadio Canada stations. It’s billing “Pure Country” as the first-ever national country music radio brand encompassing stations from Northern B.C. to Nova Scotia including Pure Country 94 (CKKL-FM) Ottawa; 103.5 (CKHJ-FM) Fredericton; 99.5 Truro, NS (CKTY-FM); 93 (CJBX-FM) London; 106 Orillia (CICX-FM); 96.7 (CHVR-FM) Pembroke; 105 (CKQM-FM) Peterborough; 91.7 (CICS-FM) Sudbury; 890 (CJDC-FM) Dawson Creek; (CJFW-FM) Terrace, BC; 101 (CKXA-FM) Brandon, MB; 92.7 (CHBD-FM) Regina and 99 (CKLC-FM) Kingston. The stations will be anchored by local morning and drive home shows, but will feature syndicated midday, evening and weekend programming. Shannon Ella , previously with BX93 London and KHJ Fredericton, will host middays across the network. Syndicated Nashville-based offering The Bobby Bones Daily Show will air evenings, with Bones’ Country Top 30 Countdown also airing on weekends. Sophie Moroz and Jeff Hopper, co-hosts of The Morning Pickup on the Pure Country Ottawa station, will host the iHeartRadio Pure Country Countdown, Saturday and Sundays. A Bell Media spokesperson said there are no staff reductions as a result of the rebrand, with midday on-air announcers at affected stations to be reassigned. Twelve of the 13 rebranded stations were already country format with the exception of Kingston, which was formerly modern rock station 98.9 The Drive. The Drive had been running without announcers since January when most of its staff were laid off or moved over to sister station 98.3 Fly FM (CFLY-FM). Its new on-air lineup, starting June 24, will feature Gord St. Denis and Chelsea Lacroix (previously both on-air at Corus Ottawa) on mornings; Trinette Atkinson (who also serves as music director and is former PD at Larche Communications’ Sudbury stations) on afternoons; and program director Brittany Thompson, who is also a weekend personality CFLY-FM, on evenings. Read more here.

Paul Haavardsrud

CBC has plans to roll out a new national business show originating out of Calgary this fall. The Cost of Living, hosted by Paul Haavardsrud, will debut on CBC Radio One on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11:30 a.m. (noon NT). The weekly 30-minute show will cover business and economic stories and how they affect the day-to-day lives of Canadians. Susan Marjetti, executive director of CBC Radio and Audio, said the show is part of the public broadcaster’s commitment to better reflect a wider range of experiences and perspectives from across the country.

CBC’s Upfront presentation on Wednesday included the unveiling of plans to launch the new CBC LISTEN app this fall as the one-stop destination for all CBC Music, CBC Podcasts and CBC Radio content. Listeners will be able to tap in to local and national CBC Radio One and CBC Music shows, live or on-demand, for free, and gain access to more than 175 curated music playlists featuring new releases from Canadian artists. The public broadcaster also revealed its slate of new and returning original podcasts for the upcoming year. They include: Chosen Family (June 19, Season 2) with Montreal comedians and queer BFFs Thomas LeBlanc and Tranna Wintour exploring the intersection of art, community and sexuality; Uncover: The Cat Lady Case (July 9, Season 4), the investigative series looks into the cold case of seniors who went missing from the Muskokas without a trace; Uncover: Sharmini (Sept. 10, Season 5), the investigative series follows reporter Michelle Shephard as she revisits a 20-year-old unsolved murder; Hunting Warhead (Fall), an exploration of the dark web with a task force that includes journalists and police officers; The Story Store (Fall), a collaboration between CBC Podcasts and CBC Kids, The Story Store is open for business, taking orders from real kids across Canada and turning their suggestions into fun-filled adventures; Asking For It (Winter), Kaitlin Prest (The Shadows) helms this fiction series that centres around one woman’s tumultuous journey through three relationships; Someone Knows Something: Izzett (Winter, Season 6), host David Ridgen investigates the 1995 disappearance of Don Izzett, who was discharged from the military for being gay, embarked on a road trip – and never made it home. There will also be new seasons of Tai Asks Why, The Secret Life of Canada, and PlayMe.

SiriusXM Canada has revealed the three finalists in its second annual SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). They are Matt Lang (Maniwaki, QC); Kelsi Mayne (Windsor, ON); and Tim & The Glory Boys (Winnipeg, MB). The grand prize winner will be chosen live at SiriusXM Top of the Country Finale during Country Music Week 2019 in Calgary Sept. 5-8. The winner will receive the $25,000 grand prize, plus an international SOCAN songwriting camp and more.

Bayshore Broadcasting’s 97.7 MAX FM (CHGB-FM) Wasaga Beach is pledging to change the station’s handle to 97.7 Kawhi FM if and when Kawhi Leonard re-signs with the Toronto Raptors. Morning man Ben McCully says the station would also offer up a playlist selected & approved by Leonard.


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