CKNW Radio changes reflect the state of the industry
Commercial radio has survived the arrival of television, the Internet, and satellite radio.
But nobody will ever refer to the current era as the golden age for what broadcasters sometimes refer to as "theatre of the mind".
Canadian broadcasting giant Corus Entertainment's third-quarter financial results tell the story.
Television revenue rose from $140 million to $170.6 million year-over-year.
Radio revenue fell from $47.1 million to $43.5 million year-over-year.
Over the first three quarters, television revenue is up 16 percent at Corus. Radio revenue has fallen six percent over the same period.
This morning, its flagship CKNW station didn't have a sponsor for its 8 a.m. major newscast. That's unusual, given that 8 a.m. is a peak listening time.
Recent changes at the station must be seen in light of these results.
After veteran broadcasters Bill Good and Philip Till announced their retirements, the station that likes to call itself the Top Dog had a chance to shuffle the deck.
Instead of luring a popular broadcaster from another station (such as CBC Radio's Stephen Quinn) to fill a prime weekday spot, CKNW kept costs down by moving people around.
Able veteran Jon McComb goes from the afternoon drive to a long morning slot, stretching from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. That's one-and-a-half hours later than Till was on the air.
Afternoon host Simi Sara will be on the air a bit earlier, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by Michael Eckford from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Eckford, best known as Fiona Forbes' partner for years on the Urban Rush cable TV show, had been doing evenings on CKNW.
It means that the key morning and afternoon drive positions will be held by CKNW incumbents.
The only newcomer is Justin "Drex" Wilcomes, who will be on the air from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.—never known as the highest-paid slot in radio.
Wilcomes had already been working for Corus at CFOX FM, which is CKNW's sister station.
In 2013, Wilcomes achieved some notoriety when he was fired from Courtenay radio station Jet FM. It came after he asked Premier Christy Clark on the air if it was better to be a "MILF" than a "cougar".
In June, CKNW did some downsizing by laying off newscasters Tom Mark and Terry Bell, and sportscaster Stu Walters.