Bell Media Radio
Bell Media Radio, G.P. (doing business as Bell Media Radio and branding itself as iHeartRadio Canada in its mobile apps and on its websites; formerly known as CHUM Radio) is the radio broadcasting and music events subsidiary of Canadian media conglomerate of Bell Media.
|Founded||1945 (as CHUM Limited)|
2007 (as CHUM Radio under CTVglobemedia ownership)
2011 (current name)
|Headquarters||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Randy Lennox, president of broadcasting|
|Divisions||Orbyt Media (formerly CHUM Radio Network)|
The company has its origins in CHUM Limited, which was acquired by its predecessor CTVglobemedia in 2006. Through subsequent acquisitions, it also subsumed the radio properties of Astral Media in 2013. In 2016, Bell Media reached a deal with U.S. radio conglomorate iHeartMedia to operate a localized version of its internet radio platform iHeartRadio, and organize live events in Canada under iHeartMedia brands such as the Jingle Ball.
Bell Media currently owns over 100 radio stations across Canada, including most of Canada's largest radio markets. The company's programming is also distributed to other stations across Canada via its syndication division Orbyt Media, and it is also the local licencee of the Virgin Radio brand.
As of August 2009, its head office is currently located at 250 Richmond Street West in Toronto, where the studios of its Toronto flagship stations CHUM-FM, CKFM-FM, and CFRB are located. The stations moved from their historic location, 1331 Yonge Street, after the property was sold to Aspen Ridge Homes for $21.5 million.
CHUM Radio also previously operated CHUM Satellite Services, a multimedia division which provided programming and production services for corporate clients. This operation was acquired in 2009 by Stingray Digital, which eventually renamed it Stingray360.
On January 6, 2016, iHeartMedia announced that Bell Media would enter into a licensing deal to launch a Canadian version of its radio streaming service iHeartRadio. Bell will handle Canadian licensing, marketing, and distribution of the service, contribute its content to the venture, and also gain rights to produce iHeartRadio-branded events. The service launched in October 2016.
Since then, Bell has downplayed the branding "Bell Media Radio" in reference to its stations, and has referred to the collective platform, including the terrestrial stations, online outlets (which were all consolidated under iHeartRadio.ca) and other original audio content from Bell Media properties that are distributed under the platform (including podcasts), under the name iHeartRadio Canada. The MuchMusic Video Awards were also re-branded as the iHeartRadio MMVAs.
Bell's stations broadcast in a variety of formats, although hot adult contemporary and adult hits are particularly common. Its hot AC stations use a variety of brand names, but are all patterned to an extent after flagship CHUM-FM, while its adult hits stations are all branded as Bob FM. The company is the largest private-sector radio operator in Canada with 106 radio stations across the country.
The stations typically air locally produced or voice-tracked programming for the majority of their schedules, although some national network programming also airs. In 2007 and part of 2008, the hot adult contemporary radio stations also aired the national evening program The Sound Lounge.
The company also operates eight sports radio stations, all branded as TSN Radio. Three of these stations were formerly part of a larger but short-lived national sports radio network known as The Team, which was launched by CHUM Limited in 2001 on virtually all of the company's AM radio stations across Canada, but was dissolved in 2002 due to poor ratings. The stations that did not remain AM sports radio stations are either oldies or news/talk formats.
On May 28, 2019, Bell launched Pure Country as a standard branding for its country music stations, including 12 existing stations and newly-flipped CKLC-FM in Kingston. All stations carry a midday show hosted by Shannon Ella, and The Bobby Bones Show on evenings.
- "Executive Directory – Bell Media".
- "CHUM site slated for luxury condos". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- "The CHUM sign's new home". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Stingray Digital (August 5, 2009). "Stingray Digital acquires CHUM Satellite Services Limited from CTV Limited". Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "iHeartRadio joins Canada's streaming market through partnership with Bell". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- "TSN Radio a reality". The Globe and Mail, January 21, 2011.
- "Pure Country: Nationwide rebrand gives new name to Big Dog 92.7". CTV News Regina. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- "Bell Media Rebrands 13 Canadian Country Stations As Pure Country". RadioInsight. May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- "The Breakfast Club Crosses The Border Into Toronto". RadioInsight. March 11, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2020.