National News

Calgary radio station drops short song format

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

CALGARY - A radio station in Alberta has given up a format featuring shorter versions of songs which it said gave listeners "twice the music."

The station, 90.3 Amp (CKMP) in Calgary, changed to the style called QuickHitz nearly three weeks ago.

Owner Newcap Radio said it was a first for a radio station in Canada and perhaps the world to take up the format.

But Steve Jones, vice-president of programming, says the station went back to its original format Tuesday.

"It was greeted with a lot of curiosity and it was also greeted with numerous legal threats from a variety of different directions," Jones said from Halifax.

"As we evaluated it, we made the decision that this week we would just go back to the old strategy because to do this successfully would involve far too many lawyers getting far too rich."

Jones wouldn't identify which artists had raised the spectre of legal action except to say they were mostly Canadian.

"Nothing was ever launched, but there was sort of swashbuckling and discussions about that from various artists and other industry stakeholders," he said.

"It just came to a point where we said it isn't worth risking the relationships with all of our content providers, the various artists that we play, at our radio station."

Calgary singer Jann Arden vented on Twitter after the new format was introduced that the station was basically messing with art and, amid expletives, she called the people running it "morons.''

"Can anyone recommend half a good book I should read?'' she wrote.

"The NHL is only having one period this season. Makes sense. Those games are just too long.''

Arden got word of the switch back to the old format earlier in the day and was looking for confirmation on Twitter.

"Is it true? Amp radio full songs?" she asked.

Jones said shorter songs were a good fit for the 18- to 34-year-old demographic the station was going after.

He doesn't think the concept is entirely off the table.

"Our plan is to go back to the drawing board, maybe work a bit closer with some of the various stakeholders in the industry and try and bring this back at a later date."

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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