Radio Connects says as Canadians continue to shelter-in-place, they’re still connecting to radio. According to the industry advocate’s latest data analysis, more Canadians tuned in at home during the week of Apr. 13 vs. the week of Feb. 24 and they listened for longer with A25-54 home tuning increasing by +27%. Numeris has released its own data analysis highlighting that streaming of AM/FM radio online continues to grow, now representing about 8% of Total Radio Consumption for Canadians 18+. The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for March recorded an 11% increase in audio streaming from the previous month, up 26% vs. the same month last year. Read more here.
Harvard Broadcasting Yorkton and the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan held their annual Airwaves for Health Radiothon on Apr. 27-28. Instead of being held at the Regional Hospital, the Radiothon was a social distancing event with GX94 (CJGX-FM) and Fox FM (CFGW-FM) staff in their studios and guests by phone. The decision to go ahead with the Radiothon resulted in a record-breaking $173,090 raised for the purchase of medical equipment for the ICU, ER, Operating Room & Dialysis unit. The Radiothon also provided an opportunity for health care workers to talk about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vista Radio’s Moose FM stations in Timmins, Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Hearst, and Iroquois, marked “Thank-You Thursday” Apr. 23 by offering up their airwaves to recognize community heroes shining during the COVID crisis. Listeners with great stories of thanks were invited to request a special song. The stations plan to continue the effort as long as stories keep coming in.
Country 600 CJWW Saskatoon dubbed Apr. 22 “Music is Medicine Day” with the intention of lifting the spirits of essential service employees and providing company to those feeling isolated. Throughout 13 hours of programming, station personalities Dave Thomas, Steve Chisholm, Jay Richards, Jason Lee, Ben Brooks and Landen were joined by celebrities ranging from leaders of all political stripes to Stanley Cup champions, country music stars, professional athletes, local television personalities and listeners from all corners of the province of Saskatchewan. The day culminated in a “Stick Tap For Saskatchewan” – three minutes of noise at 7 p.m. to show listeners we’re all in this battle together. The station also partnered with the Do-More Ag Foundation to bring awareness to mental illness that can be present at a stressful time for communities with the agriculture sector in the process of planting the 2020 crop.
boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto has launched “Covid-Free Fridays,” committing to two hours of up-tempo music and good news every Friday morning, without mention of the ongoing pandemic. Hosted by Stu Jeffries, the two-hour commercial-free block debuted last Friday, accompanied by new imaging. Program director Troy McCallum says overwhelmingly positive response affirmed their suspicions that listeners were ready for a reprieve from the last few months of pandemic-dominated content. Read more here.
CBC Edmonton morning show, Edmonton AM, is hosting virtual radio road trips, taking listeners to a new Alberta destination every Friday. On the first edition of the series, hosts Mark Connolly and Tara McCarthy turned up the volume on an oldies playlist and headed up Hwy 16 to Jasper National Park, with among their stops Jack’s Diner in Spruce Grove and Folding Mountain Brewing in Hinton.
Taz & Jim will pull a 12-hour shift on London’s FM96 (CFPL-AM) May 1 in honour of all healthcare heroes working long hours. Broadcasting live from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. for the full duration of a typical hospital shift, the morning show duo is encouraging healthcare workers to request songs and share their stories on the show. Friends and family members of healthcare workers are also welcome to dedicate songs of support for their loved ones.
Rod & Jill of Country 105 (CFDC-FM) Shelburne, ON are doing a 12-hour shift to honour frontline workers on May 1. From 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., they’ll be sharing healthcare worker stories and doing ‘Shout Outs’ from family and friends.
106.5 ELMNT FM (CFPT-FM) Toronto and 95.7 ELMNT FM (CFPO-FM) Ottawa have launched Ca$h Tunes! – a new contest responding to those struggling with unemployment, slow business, and other financial challenges related to the pandemic. Every weekday at 6:20 a.m., the ELMNT morning shows will reveal the Ca$h Tune of the day. When they hear it, listeners can text ELMNT FM, the name of the song, and the artist. The 15th person to text can win up to $500.
99.3 County FM (CJPE-FM) Prince Edward County is launching H.E.L.P. – Homegrown Exciting Live Performances with Friends, a new artist-meets-community initiative airing Friday nights at 10 p.m. that will showcase a local artist’s original video concert distilled to 30+ minutes in audio format, followed by short musical clips of other artists coming up in future broadcasts. Created by Ras Bingi, a long-time volunteer DJ with the community station, the show responds to the lack of adequate internet service in many areas of Prince Edward County that inhibit the ability to stream video concerts.
99.3 County FM will be the recipient of proceeds from the sale of “Into the Sunset” – local musician Bill McBurney’s new album. McBurney worked with a large group of local musicians to produce the album and said donating the proceeds to the community station was a natural fit: “County FM is our station, helping County musicians to get our music out there, especially now when people are isolated and need a little boost.” The non-profit, member-owned, volunteer-driven station, has felt the sting of COVID-19 through reduced ad revenue, but has persevered with a full-slate of programming throughout the current crisis. The CD is selling for $15, which includes shipping to anywhere in the County; $20 shipped anywhere in Canada. More info at 993countyfm.ca.
iHeartRadio Canada stations across Western Canada are continuing to launch initiatives to thank and support frontline workers and local businesses. CFAX 1070 Victoria has launched the Win and Shop Local contest, asking listeners to choose from a list of local businesses and tell the CFAX team why it’s their favourite. The weekly winner receives a shout-out for their favourite spot and a $100 gift card to spend when they reopen. Penticton’s EZ Rock 800 AM and 97.1 Sun FM are running a Front Door Food Drive in support of the Salvation Army Food Bank. In Edmonton, Virgin, The Bear, and CTV Edmonton have launched online fundraiser, Feed Your Friends for the Edmonton Foodbank. An initial goal of raising $10,000 was quickly surpassed when Ryan Reynolds, Nathan Fillion, and Darnell Nurse made donations. In Winnipeg, 103.1 Virgin Radio and 99.9 BOB FM have launched the Harvest Hero campaign, helping provide food to those in need through Winnipeg Harvest. In Regina, Pure Country 92.7 is raising funds and awareness for Family Services Regina, who deal with domestic abuse situations, which are on the rise with families now spending time in close quarters.
TELUS has launched a weekly podcast series hosted by veteran Vancouver broadcaster Tamara Taggart. TELUS Talks with Tamara Taggart features interviews with doctors, healthcare professionals, and others with guests sharing how they have adjusted to living through the crisis and strategies on staying mentally and physically well. Recent podcast guests include businesswoman and CBC Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson; B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry; Canadian Olympian and hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser; and life coach Liesse Wilcox. The podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, and video accompanying each episode can be found on Optik TV On Demand.
Jennifer Smith, Cliff Dumas and Don Shafer are behind the recently-launched EveryPodcasts.com – a Vancouver-based venture offering podcast development, marketing and media buying. Smith is the former Director of Sales & Marketing, Western Canada, for CBC TV and the former VP & GM of Vancouver’s Roundhouse Radio (CIRH-FM). Dumas is a producer and writer with experience at both CBC and CMT Canada, while Shafer is a veteran radio programmer and the former CEO of Roundhouse Radio.
LISTEN: on the latest Sound Off Podcast, Matt Cundill talks with Sheryl Worsley from KSL Radio in Salt Lake City. After 20 years as a news director, she shifted to audio and audience development in the Bonneville cluster’s digital space and helped launch hit true crime podcast series COLD, which was picked up by podcast powerhouse Wondery.