Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City radio stations' fate in air

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TWO Winnipeg radio stations will be sold by Bell Media if its $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media is allowed to proceed.

Country station QX-104 and oldies station Fab 94.3 will be sold as part of the deal, which would see Bell and Astral stations across the country change hands, according to documents filed in Montreal Monday at a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearing looking into the proposed deal.

QX is owned by Astral and Bell owns Fab. In the spring BBM ratings, both were in the middle of the pack, with QX-104 attracting 6.8 per cent of listeners 12 and up, while Fab had 6.6 per cent, to come in seventh and eighth place, respectively, in the market.

No details were released about how the stations would be sold.

If the takeover is approved, Bell's parent company, BCE, said it will own 33.5 per cent of the English-language TV market, which falls under the 35 per cent mark set by the CRTC for approval.

Competitors and consumer interest groups say the number is higher than 37 per cent and are asking the federal government to quash the deal.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2012 B8

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