Astral goes EZ on Ottawa

The newly rebranded mediaco celebrates by launching a new female-targeted radio station in Ottawa. Ad opps are sponsorship-focused.

Astral is looking to give the ladies what they like with a new female-targeted radio station in Ottawa, ON.

Called EZ Rock 99.7, the station’s format was developed specifically to appeal to working women in the 35-to-44 demographic, Denis Bouchard, GM, Ottawa-Gatineau, Astral Media Radio, tells MiC. The daytime programming will be divided into 99-minute all-music blocks (the first and only in Canada to do so, Bouchard says), featuring the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna and Michael Bublé. Programming will also include new original shows such as the EZ Breakfast Show with Neil Hedley, Stephanie ‘Viv’ Vivier and Steve Kennedy, The Night Cap, once again with Hedley and Vivier, Monday to Thursday at 10 p.m., Studio 99 on Saturdays with retro hits, and Love and Lipstick on Sunday nights with ‘Sex with’ Sue McGarvie.

As the daytime programming will be largely ad-free from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with only three four-minute blocks of advertising, the station’s daytime advertising opportunities will focus primarily on sponsorship sales, Bouchard says. (After 3:30 p.m., the station will return to a more traditional format with two 2.5 minute breaks an hour ’til 6 and three three-minute breaks per hour from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m..) Those opps include shows, 99-minute suites of music or content and giveaways. Traditional ad opps in the paid breaks are available as well. The station is open to customized campaigns as well, Bouchard added.

Officially launched yesterday at 6 p.m., EZ Rock 99.7 will be promoted with a $250,000 marketing campaign across Astral and non-Astral properties, including TV, TSAs, billboards and street teams that will visit office buildings downtown, handing out swag. There will also be a marketing team that calls around to different offices with contest offerings and prizing.

National advertisers on board for the launch include McDonalds, The Bay, GM dealers, Sleep Country and Leon’s.

The new radio station – Astral’s 84the nationwide – coincides with the rebranding of the mediaco revealed yesterday. The company now sports a colourful new logo, designed by Toronto-based Juniper Park, which will be rolled out to consumers and industry alike across the company’s media platforms, including speciality and pay television, radio and OOH.

‘Our new identity reflects the attributes of our unique culture, focused on providing innovative and tailored advertising solutions to clients, and on delivering rich and exciting content to consumers through a variety of platforms all across the country,’ Ian Greenberg, president and CEO, Astral, said in a release.

The company also sought to engage the agency community with the new brand with an industry-facing contest called ‘What you love.’ Four hundred media and creative agency professionals were sent customized Astral gift boxes, that drove the giftee to a personalized URL. Once on the site, where visitors are welcomed by name, the visitor is encouraged to tell Astral what they love, and how they would express it. It can be anything, Derev Antikacioglu, corporate marketing director, Astral, tells MiC: dogs, charity, your mother, anything.

The submissions will be reviewed by Astral and the winner receives an integrated media campaign, courtesy of Astral, in which they can communicate their idea to the rest of the country in English or French.