Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The impressive story of radio station entrepreneur Tim Martz

Tim Martz
For many years, Tim Martz and I have corresponded by telephone and email. A former Montreal who now runs his radio empire from the warm climate of San Francisco, he does make frequent visits here to visit his staff at offices in Vermont and Pointe Claire. Multiple attempts were made to meet. Finally, Martz’s local sales boss Tim Thompson brought us together for lunch.
Let me say right from the start how impressed I am with Martz. He is the owner of 947 Hits FM and Wild Country 96.5 FM. His company also handles local sales for  Burlington, Vermont’s two top FM radio stations, Star 92.9 and The Buzz 99.9.
Martz is an interesting case study. He was born and raised in Kitchener and moved here at the age of 13 when his dad Don became the sales manager and ultimately general manager of CFCF TV and  Radio and CFQR. After graduating from McGill, he attended Northwestern University in Chicago and earned his MBA. For the next 15 years he worked in the area of mergers and acquisitions before moving into radio, buying, creating and selling stations. Twenty five years ago he established a small station in Presque Isle, Maine on the border of New Brunswick. “I learned pretty quickly at that time that having a US station across the border from Canada allowed you to broadcast there, without having to follow CRTC rules,” he said.
Thirteen years ago he bought what was known as Yes FM in Ogdensburg, New York and relaunched the station at 947 Hits FM. While the studio and transmitter was moved to Malone, New York, a significant presence was established in Montreal via a sales and promotions office in Pointe Claire headed by radio veteran Marty Lamarr  and a non-stop array of local appearances. “It is great not having the CRTC telling you what to do,” he said. “We can air French and bilingual commercials, for instance, something our competitors cannot.”
If 92.5 Star  FM and The Buzz were smart, they would give Martz and Thompson the mandate to engage the services of one or two local on air personalities. There is no question there are Montreal fans of both stations. If they were to add the words “also serving Montreal” and have someone providing a few hits a day on what is new in the big city it would absolutely translate into more listeners.
I guess only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. From what I can tell, those stations have zero impact in the Mtl market.