After two-and-a-half years, Kelowna's only country radio station, B-103 has changed format.
After two-and-a-half years, Kelowna's only country radio station, B-103 has changed format.

Country succumbs to the bottom line

by - Story: 52489

Country music fans have lost their radio station in Kelowna and some of them are none too happy.

After two-and-a-half years on the air, B-103 played its last tune Wednesday afternoon.

It officially switched over to Q-103 at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

B-103 grew from the ashes of CKOV, the AM station which first signed on in the valley in 1931.

"The country music fans are upset and I really feel bad for the listener," says Bruce Davis, General Manager of Q-103 and Power-104.

"They are disappointed -- there is a sense of loss, but we can't continue to lose money."

Davis says the company did extensive research in the marketplace before launching B-103 in August of 2007.

He says the research pointed them in the direction of country music, however, since then, two new stations have entered the marketplace and the recession hit.

"It's a hard lesson to learn. Country fans are extremely loyal. They love the format," added Davis.

"There are just not enough of us (I'm a country fan myself) to make it commercially viable. We were losing money. We had a great radio station and gave it the best shot we could."

This is the fourth time country has failed in the Kelowna radio market.

CKOV was a country station in the late 1970s and early 80s. The Bullet, now AM-1150, also tried -- twice.

"We could never find a way to make it work," says Astral Media Regional General Manager, Don Shafer.

"We tried a couple of different ways of doing it. Country is a great format, I just don't think anybody has done it right here."

Shafer believes, done right, country can work in Kelowna.

The new Q-103 kicked off its latest incarnation with Sheryl Crow's hit 'A Change'.

In a news release announcing the format flip, Q-103 says it will play music from signature artists including Madonna, Nelly Furtado, John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Michael Buble and Pink, with just the right amount of flavoring from artists like Gwen Stefani, U2, Sheryl Crow and Train.

The musical line-up is very similar to that played on SILK-FM and SUN-FM, however, Davis says there is a difference.

"We have purposely positioned ourselves right between SUN and SILK," says Davis.

"We think this music will attract the 25 to 44 female demographic."

The station will run commercial and news free until 5:30 a.m. Monday when the new team of DJs hits the airwaves.

The new line-up includes Steve Thompson, formerly of Bob-FM in Winnipeg joining Heather Adams in the morning.

Drew Ferreira, who moved to Kelowna from Toronto, will anchor mid-days, while Troy Scott moves from mornings to host afternoon drive.

Long-time Kelowna broadcasters Dave Pears and Grant Scott are not included in the line-up.

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