Ignored 121: Important CanCon update



Ignored 50: No alternative

In a September 11, 2012 press release, Indie 88.1 president Doug Bingley expressed great excitement for the new radio station he was about to introduce to the Greater Toronto Area…

It’s like Rock N Roll in 1957, I think the market is poised to explode with this type of music. It’s a great opportunity for Canadian musicians and Toronto listeners. We’ll have a unique sound unlike anything else in the market.  If you want to hear a sample of Indie Toronto visit http://www.indietoronto.ca

Fast forward two years and a bit, Indie 88.1 has done a decent job at taking a slice of the semi-lucrative alternative/modern rock/indie pie. Recent ratings show that incumbent “modern rock station” 102.1 The Edge enjoys a 2.7% share in Toronto whereas Indie 88.1 has a 1.2% share.

For what it’s worth, CHFI FM 98 leads with a 13% share and that’s with the dulcet tones of Lovers & Other Strangers now streaming elsewhere (sadly).

Perhaps part of Indie 88.1’s success is that it’s probably more commercially viable that their original CRTC ruling would lead you to believe. Yes, Indie 88.1 plays a lot of legit Canadian indie, as promised, but also a lot of non-indie, non-Canadian outfits such as Foo Fighters, Cage the Elephant and Modest Mouse.

As for 102.1 The Edge, they have mercifully ditched a lot of a growly nu-metal nonsense of the 2000s in favour of yes, more Canadian indie… and lots of Foo Fighters, Cage the Elephant and Modest Mouse.

My point? 102.1 The Edge and Indie 88.1 actually have fairly similar playlists.

Check the graphic below: eight of the nine most played Indie 88.1 artists were also in the Top 25 most played Edge 102.1 artists.

In addition, the stations shared 11 artists in their respective Top 25 most played artists lists.

Lastly, I had no idea Edge 102.1 even played K-OS.


Ignored 42: This is your #CanCon


Q107 (a.k.a. “the mighty Q”) redefined classic rock radio in Toronto when they underwent a slight format change in the spring of 2014.

Veteran shock jock/guy John Derringer gave this audio explanation at the time, talking about the station adding much more post-1994 “rock” to the playlists. JD said the station was swerving to meet the listening demands of “Ryan and Johnny in [their] late 30s” who apparently respect Led Zeppelin, even if they didn’t grow up on Led Zeppelin.

In short, Q107 now plays a lot more Stone Temple Pilots. Who seem underrated at this point. More on that later (or never).

With the format change, Q107 also had to recalibrate their CanCon quotas, which basically meant mixing a little Sam Roberts and Finger Eleven amid the Kim Mitchell and Triumph “deep cuts”.

Curious (for some reason) about how this CanCon shuffle shook down, I took a sample of every Canadian songs played by Q107 between September 10-16, 2014.

Click on these graphs to tell the story of what now defines classic rock in a CanCon context: