Stingray expands The Breeze format to Halifax

Stingray has revealed it’s expanding the Canadian footprint of The Breeze “easy, relaxing, and familiar favourites” format to Halifax.

This Thursday, Jan. 17, Mix 96.5 (CKUL-FM) will be relaunched as 96.5 The Breeze…Halifax’s Relaxing Favourites.

The rebrand follows Stingray’s move to flip Classic Hits stations LG 104.3 (CHLG-FM) Vancouver and 96.3 Capital FM (CKRA-FM) Edmonton on Boxing Day to The Breeze format, which has been meeting with success in several U.S. markets, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

The format’s broad playlist spans five decades, from the 1970s through
today, featuring artists like Lionel Richie, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Whitney Houston, Sarah McLachlan, Billy Joel, and Adele.

The Halifax market, serving less than 385,000 listeners, is currently without an easy listening station.

Dan Barton, Stingray’s Director of Contemporary Programming for Nova Scotia, told Broadcast Dialogue, in a tight market with 10 commercial radio stations, it’s been an ongoing search “to find that proper niche.”

“Mix 96.5 was a great station, but we took a look at The Breeze format and saw a great opportunity to put something on-air in Halifax that nobody else is doing,” said Barton.

Barton said with Mix 96.5 placing seventh for the third book in a row with listeners 25-54 in Numeris’ Fall 2018 Radio Diary Survey, they were looking to achieve some consistency with the station.

The on-air lineup, including Brad Dryden and Natalie Fournier on mornings, Leah Miller on middays, Colin Sweets on afternoon drive, and Kate Venas on weekends, will stay the same.

“We’re really happy to be able to say we’ve already got the right people on the ground to make this format run and we’re excited to see where they take it,” said Barton.

The rebrand marks CKUL-FM’s fifth format in six years.

Newcap abandoned consistent ratings performer, KOOL FM Classic Hits format, in Aug. 2013 to relaunch as Adult Album Alternative (AAA) Radio 96.5. The station’s playlist was eventually tweaked to include more mainstream hits. In Feb. 2016, the station flipped again to Hot AC, branded as Mix 96.5. With listeners A12+, CKUL-FM was in 13th place in the Fall Diary Survey with a 2.7% share.

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