On September 25 Peggy in Winnipeg let go of all there on air staff. Although Colleen Rusholme, is still part of Corus stations, as she is part of the Boom Ottawa and Big Barrie morning shows in Ontario. The idea behind removing the on air staff is to gear up for a format change with many speculating it is going to just be a simulcast of CJOB, similar to the Q107 flip in Calgary with moving QR to an FM simulcast. But I have a better idea, that can be implemented with no additional on air staff.
Corus could implement a format similar to Jack FM. The Jack brand in Canada for the longest time had only a morning show, for the most part, but now there is more shows throughout the day. I know that in Winnipeg there is a similar format that used to be called BOB before Bell flipped it to Bounce 99.9. The idea of a refreshed 99.1 could be a rock version, similar to the Big format that Corus tried temporarily on 97.5 before flipping back to Power. The way I would restructure the station is go full rock format, and then Power could actually be tweaked as well, to go to a more alternative rock format. I compared the playlists from Power and Edge Toronto (which Corus also owns) and there is very few songs or artists that were played in the same 4 hour window I looked at. Having a more alternative format on 97.5 and a more rock leaning Jack FM style format on 99.1 would be good for ratings, and would take listeners away from 921 CITI which is currently a higher rated station then either of the Corus owned stations. I would even go so far if I were Corus to model the Power playlist off Indie 88 in Toronto. That station has competed and done quite well against Edge and could make a good format opportunity in Winnipeg at Power. Then 99.1 could implement a Q107 or Big FM style format with a little bit of other music added in. The format could lean rock with one or two songs per hour that touch other genres. Toss in a Michael Jackson or Duran Duran song, maybe the Pet Shop Boys, Eminem, Madonna or even 2Pac or someone like that. It would compete with Bounce 99.9 as well as 921Citi and it wouldn’t compete against Power as that format would shift more Alternative.
Corus also has an added luxury in the fact they already have a great roster of on air staff, so they wouldn’t have to add anyone if they want to save costs. Dan Chen currently middays at Power is also an on air talent at Q107. He could slide up the dial from Power to the new 99.1. The morning show on Dave FM Cambridge could also add 99.1 and be on air in Winnipeg as well.
My ideal lineup on 99.1 would be the Dave morning show with Gayle, Darryl and Jessie followed by Dan Chen on middays and the afternoon show could be Brian West from Y108 and FM96 London, and then evenings could be split between Monica (Fresh FM Kingston morning show), who has worked with Q107 as well, and Kella who works at Q107 evenings could be the other evening show host. Maybe on the weekends 99.1 could have Fearless Fred doing a best of show from his Q107 afternoon show, as well as Big Z from Big FM Barrie and Y108, and maybe Liz Gogol and her Rock 20 countdown.
The entire 99.1 lineup could be from out of market but still be a good strong lineup on a good rock based station. It would be a lot better than the current format and it would compete in the market. It would also be better than having a talk radio station on FM. I know this is wishful thinking but I wish more stations would move in this direction instead of either shutting down a station or just moving talk to FM. Talk should stay on AM and FM should have decent music options. In some markets a format similar to this suggested format would be good. It would strengthen both Power and 99.1 as well as taking a run at the rock ratings leader in 921 Citi.
It could be a good format if the changes are made properly. If they aren’t done properly then it can be a wasted format change. Let’s hope management has a good plan for 99.1 and it works well for them.