Friday, December 28, 2007

Is Moses Znaimer a genius?

You may have missed this when it was announced, but Mr. Moses Znaimer (of MuchMusic and City-TV fame) bought Classical 96.3 FM, a classical music station in Toronto.

I noticed the ad to the left in the Globe and Mail last weekend. According to the ad, Classical 96.3 FM is "Toronto's #1 Classical station and Toronto's #2 station Evenings and Weekends overall". The source cited for this rating is the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement's (BBM) S42007 survey.

Now, being Toronto's #1 classical station is not that hard, given the dearth of classical stations in Toronto. But the fact that Classical 96.3 is Toronto's #2 station during evenings and weekends is, I think, highly significant. If this is true - and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of BBM's survey data or that Classical 96.3 is reporting the results correctly - then there is a significant, under served market for classical music in Toronto. But what about CBC Radio Two, you may ask? They play wall-to-wall classical music, don't they? Well, no, they don't, not since CBC Radio management's ill-advised foray into all-things-to-all-people (and satisfying no one) programming, launched on March 19 2007 and gradually creeping into all facets of CBC Radio Two's programming. In fact, I don't think any one would classify CBC Radio Two an "all classical" radio station during the evenings and weekends anymore - which may be precisely the reason for Classical 96.3 FM's popularity during these time slots.

At the time that Mr. Znaimer made his application to the CRTC to purchase the station, an article posted on the CBC web site stated that:

There are French-language private classical stations in Ottawa and Montreal and CBC's Radio Two, the public broadcaster, is available throughout the country, but no other commercial classical station survives in English Canada.

Well, hah! Guess what? The public broadcaster no longer survives as a classical station in English Canada either, except in the minds of the most self-deluding individuals.

So, back to the topic of this blog entry - is Mr. Moses Znaimer a genius for having invested in a radio station that features classical music? I don't know whether Mr. Znaimer is a genus or not, but I do believe that he has a knack for understanding trends in the market and in providing consumers with what they want. If I could, I would go long on Mr. Znaimer (i.e. buy stock in Mr. Znaimer with the expectation that the stock would subsequently experience price appreciation) and short CBC Radio management (i.e. sell stock in CBC Radio management that I do not own, with the expectation that the stock price will subsequently fall and I will be able to buy the stock at a lower price and replace the stock that I borrowed in the short sale, thereby making a profit).

Mr. Znaimer is also in the process of launching a new multi-media web site, integrating social networking, radio and video in one site. Mr. Znaimer believes that the over-50 generation is being overlooked by mainstream media and is targeting this generation with his new venture. CBC Radio management, are you sitting up and taking notice of this?

As further anecdotal evidence of the popularity of Classical 96.3 FM, I track readership of this blog using Google Analytics. And, do you know what the most popular search term that has lead readers to this site has been during the eight months that I have been writing this blog? Why, "new classical 96.3", amazingly enough! Also, I've found through Google Analytics that this site has been visited 47 times by someone from the CBC. I know you're out there, even if you're too bashful to comment!

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