MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 2, 2011) - Cogeco Diffusion today announced that starting Tuesday, September 6, CKAC will become Radio Circulation 730, a station entirely dedicated to traffic, road work and weather in the Greater Montréal area. Current CKAC sports programming will be transferred in part to 98.5 FM.
On May 20, 2011, Cogeco Diffusion and the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) announced an agreement to put a French-language and an English-language dedicated traffic radio station on the air. The objective was to reduce the impact of disruptions related to the major work on the Greater Montréal area road network over the next few years. Cogeco Diffusion then submitted applications to the CRTC to obtain broadcasting licences for AM frequencies 690 kHz and 940 kHz, which have been unused since January 2010.
However, sudden and unexpected opposition from Cogeco Diffusion Montréal area competitors Bell Media and Astral Media Radio, as well as from Tietolman-Tétrault Média, forced the CRTC to schedule a public hearing for October 17, 2011 to study the two licence applications for specialty traffic stations broadcasting over frequencies AM 690 kHz in French and AM 940 kHz in English. This unforeseen situation is causing unacceptable delays and uncertainties in deploying the project to bring the two traffic radio stations to air as agreed with the MTQ and presented last May.
"This opposition to our project from our competitors came as a surprise since none of them had shown any interest in the AM 690 kHz or AM 940 kHz frequencies since Corus ended Info 690 and 940 News operations in January 2010. We continue to believe that our initial project was the best possible use of these frequencies for the public good," stated Richard Lachance, Senior Vice President of Cogeco Diffusion. "We did not make the decision to change CKAC's vocation lightly. However, in our opinion, we made the best choice given the circumstances, because the people of the Greater Montréal area have a crying need for continuous information about traffic conditions and road work. It was urgent that Radio Circulation go live early in September."
The sports programming shows that are most popular with listeners will be broadcast daily on 98.5 FM. "We believe in sports and its potential for radio, and we're not abandoning our audience of sports fans. In fact, we're maintaining a good portion of our sports programming, especially broadcasts of the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact games," Mr. Lachance emphasized. The content of the sports programming on 98.5 FM will be released this afternoon, September 2, at 1:00 p.m.
Because the launch of Radio Circulation 730 is confirmed, the application for a French-language traffic radio station on AM 690 kHz was withdrawn yesterday, September 1. Cogeco Diffusion asks that the CRTC make its decision as quickly as possible with regard to the licence application for an English-language radio traffic station on AM 940 kHz.
Radio Circulation 730 will go on the air at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6 on AM 730 kHz.
ABOUT COGECO DIFFUSION
Cogeco Diffusion is a subsidiary of COGECO Inc., a diversified communications company with subordinate voting shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:CGO). Cogeco Diffusion operates thirteen (13) radio stations across Québec: Rythme FM Montréal, CKOI FM, 98.5, The Q92.5 FM and CKAC-AM in Montréal, FM 93 and 102.9 FM in Québec City, CKOI FM Gatineau in Ottawa-Gatineau, CIME-FM in Saint-Jérôme, Rythme FM Sherbrooke and CKOI FM in Sherbrooke, Rythme FM Trois-Rivières and CKOI FM Trois-Rivières in Trois-Rivières, making it one of Québec's largest radio broadcasters.