Canadiens' English Flagship Station Switching Over To French-Language Outlet
Bell Media has "announced plans to transform" CKGM-AM, part of the TSN Radio network, "to a French-language sports station," according to Jason Magder of the Montreal GAZETTE. Bell Media said that it "intends to change TSN 990 to RDS 990, the radio equivalent of the French Reseau des Sports TV network." There has been "a void in French-language sports radio" in Montreal since CKAC-AM folded last year. RDS President Gerry Frappier said that there are "no plans to continue TSN 990 either on the Internet or any other form." Magder notes once the station "makes the transition to RDS, it will cease to exist." If the deal is approved, English-language broadcasts of Canadiens games "would return to CJAD, where they had been until last season." Frappier said that the company "expects to hear a decision" from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission within six months. It could take "several more months after that to make the transition," Canadiens games "will likely be broadcast in English on TSN 990 for most, if not all" of the '12-13 season (Montreal GAZETTE, 7/11). In Montreal, Pat Hickey writes Bell's announcement "sounds like a death knell." The decision also "reflects a bottom-line reality," as Montreal is "first and foremost, a French-language market and the RDS brand is strong." It televises all 82 Canadiens games and the CFL Montreal Allouettes. But there has been "no French-language all-sports radio outlet since CKAC became a weather and traffic station last year." RDS 990 "would fill that hole, but it would also leave a void on the English side" (Montreal GAZETTE, 7/11).