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Signal For Sale?

January 12, 2012 @ 08:09

There could be a very interesting development in Toronto radio over the next few months that could not only see the demise of am 640 as we know it, but also an escalation in the sports radio wars.

Even if Bell Media and Rogers hadn't bought MLSE, it's no secret that Corus Radio wanted out of the hockey business. It never turned into the revenue generator they thought it would, and what money it did make was not enough to off-set the cost of running other day parts on the station.

When am 640 was MOJO, it made sense to have hockey. A guy's station with guy talk married to hockey play-by-play and hockey talk. Back then the station actually had an identity, something it has sadly lacked since somebody came up with the brilliant idea to drop the guy theme and adopt a mish-mash of something-or-other.

Since then, the station has done virtually nothing forcing Corus Radio to pour huge amounts of money down a bottomless pit.

But that could all change in imminently. Sources tell me that Bell Media has inquired about purchasing the 640 frequency from Corus Entertainment and using it for TSN Radio, currently occupying the shitty 1050 signal.

This could be a lucrative way out for Corus. Rather than continuously feeding a dead dog, or switching to an all-traffic format (which has been discussed). they can grab a few million off Bell and then use the am 640 studios as a production studio or maybe even a studio for where the business is really going, an internet station with super low overhead.

Give the room to Mike Stafford and let him go wild!

Bell is committed to a sports format and it makes a lot of sense now that they've grabbed a piece of MLSE. They'll have content they don't have to pay for, but it's hard to sell that content when 1050 on your dial virtually disappears in many parts after sun down.

It's a technical thing. For reasons that are beyond my explanation the lower you go on the am band the better the signal and the ones up the dial go all fuckin' weird at night.

In this case, 640 is beyond huge. When we were doing the MOJO thing we'd get calls from places like North Bay. 640 would instantly put TSN Radio on an even playing field with The Fan when it comes to reach.

It makes sense on so many levels. Even if Corus wanted to renew their hockey contract, they couldn't because the guys who now own the team own their own radio stations. The content on their own properties is worth way more than they'd ever get from Corus.

But more than anything else, it represents an attractive option for Corus. Over the past couple of years I've heard inklings about a desire to literally flip the switch "off" at 640. Unless you have niche programming like all sports or all news and are prepared to throw lots of money at it long term, am signals are useless.

Unless of course you have one that somebody else wants.

Hello TSN 640?

Category: Radio | Sports

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14 Responses to "Signal For Sale?"

January 12, 2012 / 09:08

Makes sense until you suggest that Corus will be doing "wild" podcasts with the 640 studio.

Freddie P.
January 12, 2012 / 10:00

I didn't say "will".. it was a suggestion.

January 12, 2012 / 11:38

Was my comment too long? :)

January 12, 2012 / 13:26

Looking forward to Stafford joining you in Etobicoke.

And yes, Bell runs two sports stations in Van so there's a precedent.

Rick C in Oakville
January 12, 2012 / 21:33

Hope to see you blogging a little more regularly Freddie P, love the Podcasts but also love the Canadian Thinker part as well.
I've been pulling away from 640 for sometime now, Stafford is the only one worth listening too anymore, since Oakley has gone all Rush Limbaugh, with his ranting and raving. I preferred the earlier comedic John Oakley style when he did RB in the afternoons.
Had to laugh when you and humble were mocking AM640 about the programming after Stafford, all dead air LOL. Maybe 640 can do Sun Radio to compliment the Sun TV channel.

Larry B.
January 13, 2012 / 13:06

I stopped listening to 640 when that aggravating windbag Adler started referring to himself as cutting edge.
Ironically, the real cutting edge was taking place at the same time on 1010.

John Larzer
January 13, 2012 / 13:31

As bad as Adler is, he's not as bad as Arlene Bynon!

Liz B.
January 13, 2012 / 16:47

I haven't listened to 640 since Humble and Fred left.

Billy Bob
January 13, 2012 / 17:28

If Corus was smart they'd put Humble and Fred Radio on 640.

January 13, 2012 / 18:12

What's with that message from the PD they run far too often?
If you have to tell people what you're doing, you might not be doing it right.

Gerry Fife
January 13, 2012 / 18:13

Crazy thing is, the only reason I ever punch 640 is for hockey games. I have no idea what else they do.

January 13, 2012 / 20:28

They had something going with MOJO Radio. They should have given that format more time.

pigeon toed dave
January 14, 2012 / 08:31

Fred-- Is Scruffers health good enough that you could get him as a call in guest on a regular basis to reminisce old times in the radio biz. Always got a kick out of Scruff especially his phone call outs to weird people.

March 28, 2012 / 19:36

One format that works in the U.S. is a business radio format. There are none in Canada from what I can see. Sirius/XM has some business stations. Seeing as Toronto is a financial hub, something like that could work well here.

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