Cogeco debuts live ad reads on Montreal radio stations

The format is meant to capitalize on the familiarity of loyal listeners and avoid redundancy in messages.
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Announcers on Cogeco’s Montreal radio stations – 96.9 CKOI, Rhythm 105.7 and The Beat 92.5 – are now reading live ads that they write themselves in their own words.

Taking a cue from the world of podcasts, where the format has been a popular way to leverage the affinity listeners have for a host, live-read ads are designed to make the messages more relevant and familiar to loyal listeners, says Nancy Laroche, media creativity director at Cogeco Media. The live ads only run during the morning rush hours and are limited to just six each morning, and two per advertiser. The announcers create the ads using a list of points to cover provided by the advertiser the day before it airs.

This format makes each ad unique and avoids redundancy. While not totally off-the-cuff, it also allows the hosts to customize the ads in the moment with details such as the weather, current issues or discussions happening on the show. Live reads are only being offered at Cogeco stations in Quebec for now.

“What we’re asking readers to do is make the spot sound like the here and now – like this spot cannot be broadcast anywhere else,” Laroche says. “It will air only once, specific to today. For example, they say something like this is the coldest day of the year but in few months, you will want to have a pool.” Trévi, a Quebec pool and spa company, is among the first advertisers trying out the format.

The live-read format is only offered to three different clients per week, giving them two live reads a day for five days – and no client can buy more than two weeks a month at one station. The spots are being handled by experienced announcers – Marjorie Vallée of Rythme, Mylène Ledoux of CKOI and Sam of The Beat – and read with a background of music distinctive to each station.

According to the latest PPM numbers from Numeris, CKOI has a 9.1% share of hours tuned among Francophone A12+ listeners, with Rhythm having a 10.9% share. Among English listeners, The Beat has a 17.7% share, as well as a market-leading 29.8% share among women 25 to 54.