Vancouver’s The Peak lays off talent as HD Radio experiment slow to gain traction

Vancouver's 102.7 The PEAK relaunched on HD Radio on July 25. (Shawn Smith/Broadcast Dialogue)

Vancouver’s 102-7 The Peak has laid off its talent, six months after pulling the alt-rock brand off FM and moving it onto HD Radio and online.

Part of a format flip that saw The Peak’s former home at CKPK-FM rebranded as NOW!radio in July, the move marked Pattison Media’s first foray into the HD Radio space.

The company announced Wednesday it had released morning show duo Jeremy Baker and Charis Hogg, in addition to Jason Manning, who had worn various hats at the station over the last eight years, including afternoon host, Music Director and Assistant Program Director.

Program Director Russell James told Broadcast Dialogue that Canadian listeners have yet to fully embrace HD Radio.

Jeremy Baker & Charis Hogg

“It’s still early days for HD radio in Canada and while we have the most technically sound and dynamic sounding HD signals on 102-7, it’s just not something Canadians are used to finding in their cars, and it’s a smaller group of people who own cars with HD enabled radios at this stage,” said James. “The PEAK continues on 102-7 HD2 and online with a loyal audience.”

Canadians have been slower to adopt the in-car tech. Of the roughly 2,400 HD Radio stations in North America, fewer than 100 signals originate north of the border (about half of those multicast). There are now an estimated four million HD Radio-equipped vehicles in Canada, with one in three new cars sold equipped with an HD receiver.

“Our industry is facing some revenue challenges right now, and this unique platform combination is still new, but we continue to find ways to innovate in a world where traditional ratings is still largely, the currency,” said James, adding that there are no plans to have live announcers on The Peak going forward.

James said the station will continue to maintain a presence in the community “at events, supporting local artists, and keeping the indie and community spirit alive through produced content.”

Subscribe Now – Free!

Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 30 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Let’s get started right now.

* indicates required