Stingray has launched a new cross-country, weekday evening show on its The Breeze stations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax.
The Evening Breeze is hosted by Stacey Thompson, who has been an on-air personality with Stingray’s boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto since 2014, and currently anchors weekends on the station.
Thompson was already heard on evening and weekend day parts on 104. 3 The Breeze (CHLG-FM) Vancouver and 96.3 The Breeze (CKRA-FM) Edmonton, which flipped to the “easy, relaxing, and familiar favourites” format on Boxing Day, but her voice is new to 96.5 The Breeze (CKUL-FM) Halifax, the station most recently introduced to the format in mid-January.
Hosted from Toronto, the show promises to share feel good stories and take requests and dedications via text and the web, with listeners called back for audio interaction. The show will air in real time in each market, starting at 7 p.m. local time. It will end at 9 p.m. in Vancouver when the station moves to Special Interest programming, but continue until midnight in Halifax and Edmonton.
Thompson feels the show has huge interactive potential in the age of social media where some of the emotion has been taken out of on-air interactions.
“My hope is just to connect and hear some great stories and just make them relatable,” Thompson told Broadcast Dialogue. “In an age where we’ve got social media, sometimes when you hear the story right from somebody who is speaking from the heart you get a different feeling than from somebody posting on Instagram.”
“Adult Contemporary is making a bit of a comeback. The music that we’re playing are just beautiful guilty pleasures for me, so some of them bring back silly memories, but others invoke emotions as well. I’m not sitting there sobbing, but they get you to think and reflect. The music is wonderful, I’m absolutely loving it,” said Thompson.
Format a “long-term build”: Jones
The Breeze format, which has met with success in several U.S. markets, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Detroit, resulted in a fairly flat book for the Vancouver station in the latest PPM ratings (going from a 4.9 share to 4.2 A12+). The Edmonton station saw its ratings boosted from 7.3 to 9.6 A12+, however Steve Jones, SVP, Brands & Content, Radio, for Stingray, says that bump was driven by airing Christmas music over the holidays leading up to the late December flip from the previous classic hits format.
“To be fair and transparent…ratings post-Christmas for The Breeze [Edmonton] are not up from the previous classic hits format. Things are pretty much steady. Our expectation always was that this would be a long-term build, and we are comfortable with the slower and steadier growth,” Jones told Broadcast Dialogue.
The launch of a cross-country evening show is the latest in a series of similar moves to streamline voices across several Stingray brands. That includes syndicating the morning shows across its Real Country and boom-branded radio stations in rural Alberta. The Real Wake Up with Vinnie & Randi, which originates from Real Country 95.5 (CKGY-FM) Red Deer, is now heard on 15 stations.
Stingray also launched a cross-Canada evening show in January on its CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio)and Hot AC (Hot Adult Contemporary) radio stations, hosted by Katie & Ed, the morning team from 90.3 AMP Radio (CKMP-FM) Calgary.
While those moves have taken place since Stingray’s take over of Newcap Radio in October, Jones asserts they are not the result of a new, head office-driven strategy.
“Everything that has happened since the Stingray takeover in October was already in the works,” said Jones. “In fact, the team in Montreal has been fantastic at allowing the radio division to do our best work. They’ve been a great resource, and they have not dictated strategy.”
“The projects you’ve seen are all projects that the radio division believes will provide our audiences with the absolute best product. We do believe that the radio landscape is changing, and radio needs to change with it. We’re constantly looking for ways to better serve our audience in 2019 and beyond, and how we can do that in the most efficient way possible,” said Jones.
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