If you’re scanning the radio dial here in Edmonton, you’ll notice we have a new station. Or, more accurately, an existing station that has for the thousandth time changed formats. What was known most recently as 96X is now Big Earl, who apparently “plays everything country.” There are some really great posts in their forums, like this one:
I wonder how many of these loyal 96X listeners would convert to listening to country if they gave it more than 10 minutes of listening. I personally know of two people who HATED country music until they listened to it and then it became all they listened to!
I think a lot of people would be surprised if they actually gave country music half a chance.
And of course there are some not so good posts, like this one:
YOU HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES SO GO TO A COUNCELOR YOU SUPPOSEDLY DONT CARE WHAT PEOPLE SAY SO I GUESS YOU WONT CARE ABOUT THIS……………GET A LIFE AND DONT WORRY BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL NEVER LISTEN TO YOUR STATION BECAUSE YOU MADE IT AND BECAUSE YOU SUCK SO IF YOU REALLY ARE SMART…….YOU WILL CHANGE IT BACK
With this reply:
I HATE U STUPID BIG EARL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To be truly honest, I really don’t care. I almost exclusively listen to music or podcasts on my Zen Touch in the car now anyway, and if I do happen to listen to the radio it’s to either The Bear or Joe FM (yeah I have come to like Joe FM). That being said, it’s always fun to throw out my two cents.
I think what happened is that The Bounce and Sonic started to take away listeners from 96X, so they “did some research” as their program manager said on the 6 O’Clock news tonight (must have been a slow news day) and decided country would be the way to go. The format is actually a copy of a Big Earl station that launched in Camrose last month, and that one is probably a copy of another station. In my opinion, Big Earl is doomed to failure. We already have a very successful country station in CISN, and unlike 96.3, they don’t change their format every year destroying any sort of listener base they might have managed to accumulate.
Futhermore, we already have the “play anything” format in Joe FM, so will a subset of that be successful? I guess we’ll find out, but I doubt it. The only thing that’s for sure is that being a program manager at 96.3 must suck.
UPDATE: My mistake, there are two country stations in Edmonton – CISN and CFCW. Also, looks like both 96X and The Bounce lost listeners in the Fall 2005 ratings while CISN and CFCW gained listeners. You can see the ratings here. Oh and the official website for Big Earl is http://www.bigearlonline.com. While we’re on the topic of new radio stations, did you know that MAGIC 99, a Smooth Jazz/Adult Standards station launched on Thursday? Check it out at 99.3 or online at http://www.magic99.ca.
UPDATE 2: Found a better ratings page complete with descriptions and commentary.
UPDATE 3 (3/28/2008): The station has changed once again, to Capital FM! You can read about it here.