THINK TANK: Market Analysis: Winnipeg

As part of our ongoing series of market explorations, this month we delve into the city that gave the world Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, is home to the Royal Canadian Mint, and was crowned the “Slurpee Consumption Capital of the World” in 2012 for the 13th year-in-a-row (thanks to 188,833 Slurpees being sold every month at each 7-11 store).

As the eighth-largest radio market in the country, listeners in Winnipeg have 24 stations to choose from, including a surprisingly large number of community, campus and non-English language options.  For the commercial stations, there’s some serious money to be had – according to the CRTC’s 2011 Statistical and Financial Summaries report, the Winnipeg radio market was valued at $41.71-million, making each ratings point theoretically worth something in the neighbourhood of $400K.


2011 Census figures give Winnipeg a population of 663,617, which aligns to 322,195 males (48.5%) and 341,425 females (51.5%).

The median age for the city skews a little younger than the national numbers (males 37.6-years vs. 39.6 nationally, females 40.3-years vs. 41.5 nationally), while the largest individual age cohort is that of the 45-54’s, with over 100,000 residents landing in that bracket.  Breaking out the specific population demos:

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As for just how many Slurpee’s the average Winnipegger can buy, Statistics Canada indicates the 2010 median total household income in the city to be $72,050 (just above the national median of $69,860), which works out to 41,171 medium-sized $1.75 Slurpee’s per household – mmm, that’s a whole lot of brain-freeze!

Linguistically, Winnipeg has become quite diverse, with more than a quarter of the population claiming a language other than English as their mother tongue:

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As they haven’t yet graduated to the PPM system, Winnipeg still gets measured by the good ol’ paper diary with the upcoming Spring book scheduled for release May 30th.  To get a sense of the longer-term trending in the city, here are the past four books (all numbers 12+):

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Breaking out the format percentages (and looking only at commercial stations), the most listened-to music format is Rock, followed by Classic Hits and Top 40:

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Elsewhere on the dial, there are a number of other signals available that aren’t part of BBM:

  • CKJS AM 810 – Multilingual
  • Premiēre ChaÎne 1050AM / 90.5FM – Radio-Canada (soon to move to 88.1 FM)
  • Espace Musique 89.9 FM – Radio-Canada
  • Envol 91.1 FM – French Community Radio
  • CHVN 95.1 – Contemporary Christian music
  • CKUW 95.9 – Campus / Community Radio
  • CJUM 101.5 – Campus / Community Radio
  • Streetz 104.7 FM – First Nations Community Radio
  • Ignite 107 – Contemporary Christian music (parent company Golden West Broadcasting has   just received CRTC approval to amend their specialty license to a Classical music format)
  • CJNU FM – Community Radio (station has been airing part-time on 107.9 FM and was recently granted a full license for 93.7 FM, which should be running by September 2013)



— With 67-years of history in Winnipeg, Corus’ CJOB continues to be the dominant signal in the city, with a steady stream of news, talk and opinion.  Home base for the nationally syndicated Charles Adler show, which is heard on 13 other stations across the country.

— Up until 2003, 92 CITI FM was North America’s most-powerful FM station, with the transmitter pumping out a sizzling 360,000-watts.  Since then, the station’s more reasonable 140,000-watt stick has continued to deliver a ratings-winning combination of personality, promotion and fist-pumping classic rock.  Parent company Rogers saw an upwards bump in the Fall 2012 book following the addition of “Wheeler in the Mornings with Philly and Rena” a few weeks into that ratings period; the Spring 2013 BBM will be the morning show’s first full book.

— Previously known as “Hot 103”, Astral’s flip to the higher profile Virgin brand in Autumn 2012 has yet to show any dividends in the form of increased ratings.  The station is part of the potential Bell takeover of Astral (pending CRTC approval), and speculation has it that – depending on the amount of time remaining on the licensing agreement with Virgin Group Ltd. of the UK – Bell may decide to replace all of the Virgin imaging nationally with their own existing brands.

— Also anxiously awaiting the CRTC decision on Bell’s acquisition of Astral is QX104, Winnipeg’s sole Country outlet.  Bell has stated that if the deal is approved, they will divest this property.

— While many may think that Jack FM was the one that first came up with the idea, it was actually Bell’s 99.9 Bob FM that originated the “Classic”, “Adult” or “Variety”-hits format.  Still pulling strong numbers, the station continues to roll out the “80’s, 90’s & Whatever” to Manitoba’s capital.

— The Spring 2013 BBM’s will show if the rock audience has warmed up to the new Power 97 morning show teaming of “Carson and Connors”, who took over after Wheeler, Philly & Rena left following a contract dispute with parent company Corus.

— The frequency that Fab 94.3 beams out on has seen its fair share of format changes over the years – easy listening, AC, Hot AC, pop alternative, classic hits – and more changes may be coming.  Yet another station to be affected by the proposed Bell/Astral deal, Fab 94.3 will be on the chopping block as Bell has announced plans to divest the property if the CRTC OK’s the pending takeover.

— Launched on July 29, 2011, Evanov’s dance-leaning Energy 106 is the newest station to take up residence on the Winnipeg dial.  Right from the start, Energy 106 pretty much split the Top 40 ratings pie, taking about 45% of the audience that Virgin (aka Hot 103) used to control.

— Sporting the historic legal calls of CKY, 102.3 Clear FM has been evolving sonically since 2011, moving away from a softer AC sound to something almost-but-not-quite Hot AC, which makes the station a natural for “at-work” tuning.

— Rising out of the ashes of Groove FM (which had a 70% Jazz commitment), Corus’ relaunch of the station as 991 Fresh FM in February 2012 (this time without the license restrictions) has seen slow but steady growth.  The Spring BBM’s will be the first book for the new morning show helmed by Aussie import Matt Sutton.

— The return of the Jets have boosted the fortunes of TSN 1290, with play-by-play broadcasts and non-stop hockey chat drawing in the puck-crazy Winnipegers.  Much like any other sports station across the country, 1290 has a laser-like focus on M25-54’s and connects strongly with the demo, so the 12+ numbers can be a little misleading.

— With numerous format changes over the recent years (anybody remember Cafe, Hank or K-Rock?), Evanov’s Soft AC 100.7 The Breeze struggles to find an audience, despite having the legendary Don Percy in mornings.