CBC rebrands radio program ‘Q’ as ‘q’

Radio host Jian Ghomeshi is shown in a handout photo.
Radio host Jian Ghomeshi is shown in a handout photo. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC

TORONTO – CBC Radio says its revamped arts and culture show “Q” has been renamed, sort of.

The new name is the same, but spelled with a lower-case “q.”

By just slightly tweaking the show’s brand the CBC has missed an opportunity to distance itself from the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, says one marketing expert.

“Personally, I think that that’s probably not enough of an effort,” says Brynn Winegard of Winegard & Company.

“What they’re trying to do (I think) is maintain some amount of brand consistency so that they’re not just losing all brand equity, and then at the same time, have it be a little bit different.”

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The daily radio program relaunches Monday with its new host, rapper Shadrach Kabango, a.k.a Shad.

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READ MORE: Judicial pretrial for Ghomeshi sex assault case to continue on April 28

Shad’s first day will feature live performances and guests including U.S. comic and podcast host Marc Maron, musician Chilly Gonzales, singer/songwriter Bahamas and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

Former “Q” host Ghomeshi was fired in October amid sexual assault charges. He faces seven counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking, but his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to all charges.

Winegard says the “big letter ‘Q”‘ was so synonymous with Ghomeshi that a full rebrand was really required.

“They always say there’s no such thing as bad PR – (but) I think in this case there is,” says Winegard.

“They’re really digging around for how to salvage that brand and make it into something new.”

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The new “q” joins the ranks of other brands that have adopted lower case lettering, including activewear company adidas and British telecom giant vodafone.

“It’s like taking a more informal or casual approach to convey or communicate a nonchalantness, an openness, an inclusionary kind of a sentiment,” says Winegard of lower-case branding.

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“(It’s) trying to bring others into the brand (without being) officious or condescending or intimidating…. They want people to adopt the brand and not feel like the brand is this big looming thing.”

The new “q” airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One and on Sirius XM.