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Radio & Podcast News – Stingray Radio to give away $15M in free ad grants

Stingray has initiated what it’s dubbing an “economic stimulus plan” offering local businesses the opportunity to apply for “grants” in the form of free radio advertising. Through the program, Stingray says it will provide a minimum of $15 million in radio advertising grants to local businesses in markets where Stingray operates one of its 104 radio stations. The grants will range from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000 per business. The recipient business will then have 12 months to use the grant towards booking and airing a campaign with no additional investment required. The program will include an approval process overseen by the local Stingray radio management team that will be based on factors, including immediate economic need, COVID-19 impact, and community benefit. Stingray says it remains to be seen whether anticipated demand for commercial production will mean that some of the 90 employees temporarily laid off in March will be recalled early. Read more here.

The New Classical FM (CFMZ-FM) Toronto and Zoomer Radio (CFZM-AM) have each launched “Win a $5,000 Advertising Campaign” contests asking listeners to nominate a business they think needs help. “We are looking for a business who has shown longevity and client loyalty in their community, shown effort in adapting their service during the COVID-19 outbreak, and could truly benefit from sharing their message to our audience to continue building their business through the fallout of COVID-19,” says Grace Howley, VP Sales, Assistant GM, ZoomerMedia Radio Division. The two winning businesses will each receive a $5,000 ad campaign. The stations will also offer their creative and production departments to write and produce the commercials for the winners. 

Numeris says radio has been able to retain 88% of its weekly reach during the pandemic in spite of the massive disruption of Canadians’ work and commuter routines. As of Mar. 16, when most Canadians began sheltering-in-place and/or working from home,  88% of weekly reach was retained during the first six weeks covering Mar. 16 – Apr. 26, compared to the previous six weeks encompassing Feb. 3 – Mar. 15. When comparing the pre-COVID period (Feb. 3 – Mar. 15) vs. the COVID-19 period (Mar. 16 – Apr. 26), nearly 80% of women, 18+, and 83% of men, 18+, were reached weekly by radio during COVID-19 across the Canadian PPM markets (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton), compared to 92% and 93% respectively pre-COVID. The Calgary and Montreal Franco markets experienced the highest weekly reach, 18+, at 85% and 83%, A18-34, during the COVID-19 period. Read more here.

Numeris says the Radio Diary Spring 2020 Release will go ahead May 28, as originally scheduled. The audience measurement agency says the majority of diaries were processed prior to the start of the pandemic with 20 weeks (out of the 24 week sample under continuous measurement) fully processed before the start of COVID-19 to be included. The remaining four weeks will reflect older diaries from the previous Radio Diary release, as needed. Meter data continues to flow daily with no disruption of data delivery to members. To date, Numeris says moving to virtual call centres and remote panel maintenance has had no negative impact on panel performance.


Tom Power

CBC Radio is restoring its programming to its pre-COVID schedule as of Monday, May 18. An extended broadcast of CBC Radio One’s The Current is still airing this week (3.5 hours in most time zones). Among the shows returning to their regular time slots are q with Tom Power with upcoming guests to include Steven Page (May 18), Tori Amos (May 19), Ricky Gervais (May 20), Louis Gossett, Jr. (May 21) and Simu Liu (May 22), among others. CBC Music (aka CBC Radio 2) has been back on its regular schedule since May 4. 

CBC Podcasts’ critically-acclaimed Someone Knows Something is back for a sixth season with a new investigation exploring the disappearance of 19-year-old Donald Izzett Jr. Host David Rigden follows a mother’s decades-long search to find justice for her son, who she believes was killed during a road trip across the U.S. in 1995. 

Rebel 101.7 (CIDG-FM) Ottawa is airing virtual REBELFEST 2020 this weekend. Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, through Monday, May 18, the station will be showcasing bands ranging from Rage Against The Machine to local acts like Eve of Uprise with 30 minute to two-hour stop sets, accompanied by concert-level announcer intros. To satiate its listeners lamenting the cancellation of concerts and festival, the station is also replaying Metallica concerts, unedited on Saturday nights.

CISN Country 103.9 Edmonton is broadcasting a 12-hour live show in support of nurses and other healthcare workers on Friday, May 15. Running from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., CISN in the Morning is celebrating National Nurses Week and recognizing healthcare heroes working long hours. Hosted by Chris Scheetz, Matt DeBeurs and Crystal Darche and broadcasting live for the full duration of a typical hospital shift, the station is encouraging healthcare workers to request songs and share their stories on the show.

101.5 The Wolf (CKWF-FM) Peterborough will broadcast a 12-hour tribute to frontline workers, live from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on May 15. As an act of solidarity with frontline workers, Brian and Taylor of Wolf Mornings will be working their own 12-hour shift with the hosts inviting all frontline workers to make song requests and share their stories in advance of the broadcast. Song requests and stories can be entered online with select requests and stories to be shared on air. Friends and family members can also make advance requests to dedicate a song to a frontline worker. The show will feature special guests who will join the broadcast remotely including Royal Tusk, Headstones, Our Lady Peace, The Tea Party, Monster Truck, Toronto Blue Jays telecaster Jamie Campbell, and more.

Jian Ghomeshi has resurfaced with a podcast called Roqe, “conversations from, to, and about the Iranian diaspora.” Debuting last month, episodes to date have featured guests including Rudi Bakhtiar of the Humanitarian Relief Coalition, fashion designer Shadi Parand, classical pianist Sanaz Sotoudeh, and Bollywood star Mandana Karimi. New episodes drop Mondays and Thursdays on YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud. According to the Roqe Media website, “Roqe makes its mission to be an antidote to a market tired of superficial interviews or soundbite media hits and it is committed to doing so in a non-partisan and non-politically aligned way.” Roqe Media is backed by Mehrdad Ariannejad, CEO of Tirgan, the Toronto not-for-profit promoting cross-cultural dialogue between Iranian-Canadians and the global community, which also stages a biennial celebration of Persian culture.

SiriusXM and Calm, the meditation and mindfulness app, have launched The Calm Channel, featuring soothing music, tranquil soundscapes and mindfulness meditations. The Calm Channel is available on channel 68, as well as on demand on the SiriusXM app, as part of SiriusXM’s Stream Free offer through May 31. 

Podtrac data indicates weekly podcast listening in the U.S. is returning to normal levels. The week of May 4-10 was flat for downloads and up 1% for audience compared to the previous week. This is the third consecutive week download growth has been flat or positive, and the fourth consecutive week audience growth has been flat or positive. Weekly downloads since the first week of January are up 25% and weekly audience up 9% through the week ending May 10 across all Podtrac-measured podcasts. On a monthly basis, average downloads for the Top 10 Publishers were down 6% in April over March, but still up 3% from Jan. 2020.

Nielsen has launched Gracenote Audio On Demand, a database enabling search and discovery of more than 37 million podcast episodes across all digital entertainment platforms. At launch, Gracenote Audio On Demand has standardized podcast titles, descriptions and imagery across more than 900,000 podcast series with each assigned a popularity score to help surface the most popular content, while the top series will leverage more descriptive information such as Category Hierarchy and Celebrity Links to make it easier for consumers to find specific topics they’re interested in. 

Podcast Movement 2020, which was to be held in Dallas in August, is being tentatively rescheduled to Oct. 19-22. Organizers say the October dates give the event an additional two months to monitor containment and confirm that Podcast Movement can be safely hosted. Why not cancel outright like so many other industry events? “We’ve spoken with members from all over the community, and they’ve let us know the importance of Podcast Movement staying on the books for them in 2020,” said organizers in an email. “We’ve learned that they see PM as something that is a contributor to the industry as a whole, not only from an education and training perspective, but as a vehicle that helps move podcasting forward. We’ve hosted the event every year since 2014 to do just that, and we feel like we owe it to those who’ve put their faith in us those 6+ years to give it our best shot at continuing the movement.” 

Shawn Parr, the former host of Westwood One-syndicated radio show Nash Nights Live, is launching his follow-up Shawn Parr’s Across the Country, June 1. Based in Nashville, the show promises to connect listeners with some of the biggest names in country music. The show will be available for syndication in Canada via Momentum Media Networks. Learn more here.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Jason Barrett of Barrett Sports Media joins Matt Cundill to discuss how sports radio can best manage the pandemic. With no sports in action across the planet, Jason offers some short term and long term advice for programmers. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

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