Blake Carter and Peter Kash are back in mornings on Toronto’s Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM) as of Wednesday as the station parts ways with syndicated New York City-based morning show The Breakfast Club.
Featuring hosts DJ Envy, Charlamagne tha God, and Angela Yee, The Breakfast Club started its run on Flow in mid-May after its initial March launch date was delayed due to COVID-19.
Steve Parsons, General Manager, Toronto, and National Director of Programming for Stingray, told Broadcast Dialogue that on day one of the local duo’s return to mornings, the station saw a 33% increase in streams.
Parsons said the station’s timing around The Breakfast Club was “thwarted by a perfect storm.”
“First it was the pandemic. The fact that it was centered in New York, to begin with, led us to believe that the show would look pretty inward. We were to launch Mar. 16. We thought it would be irresponsible to move our local morning show to drive during a global pandemic, so we put the move on pause. Then came the much-needed cultural uprising around the tragic death of George Floyd,” explained Parsons.
The Breakfast Club, which airs in 90 markets across the U.S. and has a monthly audience of eight million according to Nielsen, is known for being at the epicentre of hip hop, but Parsons said between the hosts’ inability to be in the same room together and no stars dropping by to be interviewed, it was clear the show was becoming something else.
“The show we wanted got side railed through no fault of their own,” said Parsons, who added that more recently “the Donald Trump show” was highlighting the cultural divide between the U.S. and Canada.
“While Charlamagne tha God was preaching every black person should buy a gun and Floridian felons should be given the right to vote without paying their fines, it was pretty self-evident that the show was speaking to a different country’s priorities,” said Parsons. “What Young Thug thought of Lil Baby became rather irrelevant in the face of these massive issues. And thus the tenor of the show did indeed turn inward to hyper-U.S. issues. It all just sounded really out of place in Toronto.”
Parsons said while morning show syndication on this side of the border continues to be met with lukewarm results, “the goal of putting a show on the air that hits with your specific audience is something we’re constantly trying to make happen.”
“The haters did enjoy hitting me up to let me know that they thought an American show in Toronto was an outrage, but I would imagine they weren’t going home that night to watch Anne of Green Gables on Netflix. Challenging norms and trying to find an innovation that moves the ball down the field is something we’ll continue to strive for,” said Parsons.
With Carter and Kash back in mornings, Ricochet moves into afternoons, in addition to hosting the Made in Toronto Takeover Sunday to Thursday at 11 p.m. LINX hosts evenings and the weekend dayparts, while Illicit hosts Saturday and Sunday from 4 – 10 p.m.
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