NS: Not Kool anymore — Halifax radio station changes its tune

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By Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax

As Haligonians turned the dial to 96.5 FM Monday afternoon, they were greeted by the unusually modern sounds of Matt Mays, Imagine Dragons and Adele.

The old Kool 96.5 sign can still be seen at their Kempt and Windsor head office.

[HALIFAX, NS] - As Haligonians turned the dial to 96.5 FM Monday afternoon, they were greeted by the unusually modern sounds of Matt Mays, Imagine Dragons and Adele.

At noon, Kool 96.5 FM’s classic 1970s and 80s tunes were replaced by “honest and real” singer-songwriter music on the new Radio 965, said the vice-president of programming for Newcap Radio.

“Kool was doing alright, but we felt we could do better,” said Steve Jones.

Jones said over the past few months, Newcap had noticed more and more people were listening to the likes of Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers across the country.

He said based on their research, the trend was especially pronounced in Halifax.

“They were looking for something less packaged than a lot of the top-40 music,” Jones said, adding that the audience passionate about Kool’s retro music was “diminishing and getting older.”

He said the new Radio 965 fits the interests of Halifax’s young, educated, white-collar demographic about 25 to 45 years of age, interested in finding new music.

“We saw that no radio station was really satisfying them,” Jones said.

Former Q104 announcer Dominik Diamond is replacing Griff Henderson and Caroline Parker on the morning show, Jones said, while Colin Sweets will take the afternoon slot.

He said four new people will be added to the 96.5 office, and Henderson and Parker have moved to “other opportunities” as it’s hard to keep the same personalities during a brand change.

Jones said Radio 965 is more low-key and won’t be holding big contests, or goofy games like “stump the host to win a prize.”

Kool had been on the air for a decade, Jones said.

For those left missing Fleetwood Mac, the Steve Miller Band, Queen and others, Jones said Kool’s classic favourites will have “more prominence” on Newcap’s Q104.

Jones said the rock station has recently undergone some changes to move away from the need to be “edgy and extreme” at all times.

“We’ve tried to be a little more well-rounded in our approach and a little bit friendlier,” Jones said.

Organizations: Radio 965, Newcap Radio

Geographic location: Halifax

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  • lisa
    May 31, 2014 - 18:39

    I loved Kool FM 96.5 couldn't wait to change the radio station to Kool FM when we got close enough to Halifax, I miss it so. I am a lady of the eighties and loved all the music and your great hosts. They really seemed to love their jobs and had fun with it. So sad it changed. I have been asking for awhile now what happen to Kool FM, now I know :-(

  • Elle
    March 11, 2014 - 07:49

    96.5 is the only station my alarm clock received clearly. Now I listen to static when I wake up because it is better than the alternative. I gave it a try. Terrible.

  • RCP
    November 13, 2013 - 10:15

    Can anyone recommend a station with classic rock and not classic hits. I used to listen to 89.9 and now I can't even tune in. Yesterday on the drive home from work they were playing the Rankins. I'm a Caper, but I need to listen to classic rock and not the Rankins when driving in the car.

  • Brian
    October 11, 2013 - 18:32

    Bring back the old 96.5 I will not listen to this station as it is now. Tell your advertisers they better switch stations!

  • Jon
    October 03, 2013 - 20:47

    I used to look forward to hearing Griff and Caroline in the morning. Does anyone like your new station? The music is just a bunch junk hipster yuppie music that will never be remembered. New cap has made big mistake in my opinion. 89.9 is good but no G&C. Sad

  • Paul
    September 26, 2013 - 15:27

    you guys suck at 96.5 now i will turn radio off first before i listen to you now,,,, what a stupid move

  • Karen P
    September 26, 2013 - 07:50

    I'm over 45, educated and have spending power. 96.5 you lost me. Q104 is a bit much for me but thankfully I discovered 89.9 - close enough.

  • sasha
    September 14, 2013 - 13:52

    WELL WELL WELL,IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT WHAT THE YOUNGER FOLKS NEED EH. I'M NOT IN THAT CATEGORY OF 25 TO 45 AGE GROUP, I'M 57 YRS YOUNG. 1 ST. TIME I TURNED ON THE RADIO ON THAT DAY AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE FOR THE PAST 10 YRS. ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT MY GREAT MUSIC HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH SONGS & ARTISTS I'VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF. AND AS FOR JOINING THE Q 104 FAMILY, IT'S NOT EVEN A OPTION. I'VE TALKED TO MANY OF MY FRIENDS & WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH YOUR DECISION TO CATER TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION ONCE AGAIN.

  • John Patriquin
    September 13, 2013 - 20:27

    I had been away for about a month and today was our first day back to listen to Kool, now I am pissed. No more Griff and Caroline or the music I prefer. 96.5 was the only station I listened to, now it is the one I will not listen to. Newcap, you screwed up.

  • sharon croft
    September 13, 2013 - 05:32

    I don't listen to the station anymore --can't stand to listen to the new guy in the morning or the music.There were already enough of those stations on the air.There was a petition on facebook to bring back the old Kool music .

  • kevin
    September 12, 2013 - 12:50

    89.9 did a smart thing and went with the same format of 96.5 the only thing are different announcers but music is pretty well the same try it out.

  • Betty
    September 12, 2013 - 12:46

    I hope you take notice of all the comments from your former listeners.You can count me as one of them.There were plenty of other stations playing the kind of music you changed to.It is always for younger people so I guess baby boomers don't count anymore.You had a very entertaining station there in 96.5 ,fun to listen to ,but no more. I am very disappointed .

  • Bruce Murray
    September 12, 2013 - 07:15

    Did someone give control over programming to their child as a graduation gift? Grif and Caroline not only lifted everyones mornings but they were active in the communiity as well. For your sake I hope the advertizers feel the same about targetting 19 -24 year olds, who lets face it have so much spending power. Please let them know you have lost yet another listener.

  • jane
    September 11, 2013 - 20:23

    Won't be listening to 96.5 again. Woke up to and drove to work with Griff and Caroline for many years. New format and music sucks . Couldn't get through one day of listening.

  • Jon
    September 09, 2013 - 09:36

    this really stinks! if I wanted to listen to live105 I would have put that station on, now you took 96.5 away from me. Thanks a lot jerks! The new 96.5= Live105.........GROSS

  • Trina
    September 03, 2013 - 18:13

    What were you thinking? Griff and Caroline had such awesome chemistry and comedic banter. Honestly, mornings are so much more dreary without them brightening up my morning commute (and beyond). I loved the music, loved the banter and looked forward to listening to them every morning. I HATE the new format. The music is terrible, depressing actually! Where did Griff and Caroline go - I'll be following them to that station. Hopefully someone was smart enough to scoop them up as a team! They were Kool! It is not too late to correct your mistake and fix this dismal new format! Let me know when it is safe to come back, because for now I am off to find a better station! I know I am not alone. Talk around my office agrees that 96.5 is no longer worth listening to!

  • Trina
    September 03, 2013 - 18:11

    What were you thinking? Griff and Caroline had such awesome chemistry and comedic banter. Honestly, mornings are so much more dreary without them brightening up my morning commute (and beyond). I loved the music, loved the banter and looked forward to listening to them every morning. I HATE the new format. The music is terrible, depressing actually! Where did Griff and Caroline go - I'll be following them to that station. Hopefully someone was smart enough to scoop them up as a team! They were Kool! It is not too late to correct your mistake and fix this dismal new format! Let me know when it is safe to come back, because for now I am off to find a better station! I know I am not alone. Talk around my office agrees that 96.5 is no longer worth listening to!

  • Kate
    September 03, 2013 - 13:06

    Very disappointed to turn on my radio and find that the format had changed. I even tuned in to Griff & Caroline when working on the computer (had them bookmarked). They made me laugh during the good and bad times which was just what I needed. That is how I came to be a listener and fan over all these years. I tried listening to the new format but it is boring. You mentioned going to Q104! You really must be kidding!! I finally found Hal 89.9 and have tuned my radio and my computer into that station now. Wrong move for you. I know you will lose a lot of listeners. Hope to hear Griff & Caroline again sometime soon.

  • Marsha
    September 03, 2013 - 12:29

    Well I return from vacation to find I have been robbed.....of my favorite radio station and my coffee buddies Griff and Caroline. And I am an unimportant demographic being 45+ ...Wow not a good way to start the week ...even if it's a short one

  • Linda
    September 03, 2013 - 12:12

    David, could not of said it any better! Miss my morning buddies and as everyone has mentioned, hope we hear where they go so we can continue to hear their joyful voices each day. Wishing you both the very best!

  • dale
    September 01, 2013 - 21:27

    Will not be listening anymore ,Griff and Carolyn started our day with lots of laughs-that what people need. They are gone and so are we. So Sad

  • Lynwood
    August 31, 2013 - 09:27

    The new 96.5 stinks. Don't understand why a change when you have something that worked. Their are other age groups in this province. I tuned in most of this week but couldn't take it any longer, bye 96.5.

  • tara
    August 30, 2013 - 19:57

    Very disappointed! You had a great thing going and you blew it. 96.5 WAS a great staion! Now it is gone.

  • MIKE
    August 30, 2013 - 06:17

    Used to be the best station in the province, now the worst.

  • Darren
    August 29, 2013 - 20:42

    Do they seriously recommend Q104 as a replacement? I guess that's true. The only real way to tell Griff and Caroline apart from the three Neanderthals at Q104 is that the three knuckle draggers use the word "pissed" and "human excrement" as often as possible cause it's funny.

  • David Arsenault
    August 29, 2013 - 19:47

    Very disappointed and will miss Griff & Caroline every morning. I would like to know where they end up because I would be listening to them. I miss the interaction between the two of them. They made me laugh and started my day off right. I will not be listening to 96.5 any longer. I tried and do not like the format at all.

  • Dawn
    August 29, 2013 - 18:06

    WOW I get change, so go with a new music play list, but to get rid of you DJ,,,,ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Griff and Carolyn were great. They made me smile all the way to work in the morning.......I would stream your station at work, BUT NO MORE. Principle. I get change but people being let go for this reason, cannot believe it. Not that you care, but you lost me as a listener and even from the Q, now Steve Jones, you gotta go.....I know they both will find positions and I hope you loose even more listenings JUST BECAUSE>>>>

  • swanzette
    August 29, 2013 - 16:47

    Wowwwwwwww, ok first I thought Griff and Caroline musta been on vac and things will go back to normal first week of Sept. Soooooooo was there any heads up from them this was coming? If so I missed it. I listen to them every single morning and ever radio in my house and in my car is set to 96.5. NO OTHER radio hosts have the chemistry these two had, I am beyond shocked and upset. I will NOT be listening to this station anymore. I am 37 years old so this station wasnt just for "older folks". Totally untrue. Bye bye 96.5. Shame on the management for attempting to keep up with the Joneses. Will miss u lots Griff and Caroline :(

  • shawn
    August 28, 2013 - 20:35

    Griff and Caroline where the best ,loved the first to five questions in the morning going to work. I tried six times listening to the music and had to change the channel. There is a lot of baby boomers out there and your station will fail. Down hill all the way. Good luck Griff and Caroline in your future. We will miss you all. You worked great as a team, and made us laugh.

  • Chad
    August 28, 2013 - 13:15

    I think the individual/s that made the decision to scrap the Kool we all know and listened to on a regular daily basis should be replaced. There is no other radio station with their demographic. I can say within my office, at least a half dozen listeners lost, Griff and Caroline were awesome radio host and should have been grabbed up by another station.

  • Diane
    August 28, 2013 - 11:22

    I have listened and changed radio stations the last couple of mornings. No longer funny. Just sounds boring. I so enjoyed the interaction between Caroline and Griff and many a morning I have laughed just listening to them. Needless to say you have lost about 25 people who listened to this station. Hopefully we will find another station comparable. Wish Griff and Caroline all the best in the future.

    • Dan
      September 02, 2013 - 20:36

      Must be using the same pollsters that Darrell Dexter uses to tell him he is doing a great job. Guys you lost my vote on the dial. Your unfortunate change has made me lose faith in the entire newcap brand. I don't know anyone who is satisfied with your new format.

  • Shannon
    August 28, 2013 - 07:53

    Very disappointed with 96.5; definitely won't be listening to that station anymore. What you are playing now can be heard on any other radio station in the Hfx area; 96.5 used to be unique and I agree with Doug that "The"Boomers are the largest demographic around with arguably the most spending capital and you take away something that has been a "staple for over a decade". Griff & Caroline were a hoot , naturally funny and I will miss them; I wish them all the best.

  • Richard
    August 28, 2013 - 06:07

    Not cool, what happens to the fun loving Griff and Caroline. Let us know which station they moved to, so I can listen to them and enjoy my trip to work in the morning.

  • wendy heisler
    August 27, 2013 - 21:04

    Very disappointed as I absolutely loved tuning to 96.5 first thing in the morning. Found Griff and Caroline to be most entertaining and great with their radio audience. Listened to the new venue twice and won't give it a third chance. Really disliked the music and don't understand that when the young audience already has C100 and The Bounce why those of us over 45 can't have a station that resonates with our age group. 96.5 is tuned out for me.

  • Maureen
    August 27, 2013 - 20:33

    I am so very disappointed in the change! The new station and music on it is terrible! There were already stations that catered to the younger crowd. I can guarantee I will not be tuning in to 96.5 anymore. I am very sorry to know that the 40 plus crowd doesn't matter anymore!

  • Ron
    August 27, 2013 - 20:24

    Very disappointed with your choice. I guess if your over 45 you don't count. I for one will not be listening to this station any more. It will be Hal FM for me.

  • Maureen Bremner
    August 27, 2013 - 19:39

    new format sucks! couldn't even handle 5 mins of it! Check out facebook comments! Not one positive comment! Big mistake guys! We miss Griff and Caroline! Wish them all the best!

  • Doug
    August 27, 2013 - 14:48

    YOu guys must be smoking too much weed. You had a good thing going with Kool FM in the former format. I agree with David. The"Boomers" are the largest demographic around with arguably the most spending capital and you take away something that has been a "staple" for us for over a decade?! Good luck is all I can say! I for one won't be listening! Looks like it is HAL FM for me!

    • pat
      August 27, 2013 - 20:57

      this was the only station worth listening too with griff & caroline , won't ever listen to this station again, it sucks

  • Tom
    August 27, 2013 - 12:04

    Dominik Diamond? Really? He's only slightly less irritating than a squeaky brake. Wherever Griff and Caroline wind up is where I'll tune in. Music aside (you blew it on that one) they were the best of the best in Halifax and made my dreary ride to work enjoyable. Satellite radio in the car from here on in. Weekends were now made for Galaxy at home. Dam! Now I'll have to listen to my wife. She used to sing to the radio.

  • David
    August 27, 2013 - 10:29

    wow. I guess us older people better just roll up and die, because the market is the 25-45 white collar worker and we all know they listen to radio all the time , better let Apple know so they can expect the I-pods to be returned and downloading of music to stop. Mr Jones is very out of touch with his audience and maybe he will be the next to be reformatted. All the best to Griff and Caroline , they were a great start to everybody's day.

  • Dan
    August 27, 2013 - 10:20

    This is happening all over the Maritimes. A sign of the times. A few months ago in Fredericton, last week in Saint John. Didn't say I like it, just said it's happening. But who cares? With all the choices of radio today, if you don't like the change, find the station you do like.