|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (September 2011)|
|City of license||Brampton, Ontario|
|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Branding||"102.1 The Edge"|
|Slogan||Toronto's New Rock|
|Frequency||102.1 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||August 8, 1960|
|Sister stations||Q107, AM640|
CFNY-FM, promoted under the branding 102.1 The Edge, is a Canadian radio station, broadcasting at 102.1 FM in the Greater Toronto Area. The station rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s due to its freestyle DJing format and unique (at that point) choice to play alternative music. Following a number of years hallmarked by internal problems and a listener rebellion as a result of management decisions, the station eventually evolved into its current format of conventional modern rock. The radio station is currently owned by Corus Entertainment. The station's studios are based in downtown Toronto, Ontario at Corus Quay.
From 2004-2008, the station's program director was longtime on-air personality and notable Canadian radio personality Alan Cross. During this period, Cross was named Canadian Program Director of the Year in 2005, 2006, and 2008. In 2008, Cross left for a position at Corus Entertainment's Splice Media interactive department and was replaced by Ross Winters. Cross was fired from Corus in July 2011, when the company restructured its online content department. Winters was fired in July 2013 and replaced by CILQ-FM program director Blair Bartrem who is overseeing both stations.
- 1 History
- 2 Availability and international reach
- 3 Accolades and awards
- 4 Station-wide contests, events, and features
- 5 Notable past hosts and staff
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
From CHIC to CFNY
The station commenced operations on August 8, 1960, as an FM rebroadcast of an AM station, CHIC. When two brothers, Leslie and Harry Allen Jr., bought the station in the 1970s, they began playing album rock music in the evenings while simulcasting the AM programming during the day. The nearby Humber College provided a steady stream of young employees, who were encouraged to play their own selections. Noted Canadian radio and television personality Vicki Gabereau was one of such employees. At this point in the station's existence, it operated under the call letters CHIC-FM, with a transmitter power of 857 watts ERP mono. This was just enough to just service the town of Brampton.
Until approximately 1975, the CHIC-AM control room operator spun LPs from the third turntable in AM master control. Nonstop full play of each side of the LP was the norm - with just a break by the AM operator for ID and to flip the LP over. The music was picked by the AM operator prior to their shift. Some of those on air people were Dave Gordon, Mike Lynch, Steve Martak, Rich Elwood, Ted Woloshyn, Scott Cameron; any genre of music was open to airtime.
The style of the station was well received by listeners. In 1976, a new FM studio was built just up the road from the old studio in Brampton on a very limited budget. Engineers Mike Hargrave Pawson and Steve Martak built the new studio and a new transmitter site in Georgetown to increase the coverage from 857 watts to 100 kW ERP.
In July 1977, CHIC-FM officially became CFNY-FM. The phrases "Canada's First New Youth" and "Canada Fucks New York" have been cited as backronyms for the call sign. Staff employed to that point were fired in favour of hiring a new team and David Pritchard joined the station as CFNY's first program director. He had previously been a DJ at CHUM-FM, and under his guidance the station became more structured. It also began hosting specialty programs of reggae and blues music, and a popular, nationally syndicated Beatles show.
David Marsden, who had started as an announcer at the station, was selected as Pritchard's successor in 1978.
"The Spirit of Radio"
During Marsden's tenure as program director, the style of the station evolved into a sound which is perhaps best described as a more professional-sounding version of a campus radio station. At the time, alternative music was new and had not yet received wide exposure, but it was also in 1978 that New Wave and punk rock emerged as dominant forms of popular music — and so the station became known as one of the few commercial stations at the time which played alternative music.
During this period, the station began using The Spirit of Radio as a promotional catchphrase. In turn, listeners of the station began to refer to CFNY as The Spirit of Radio. Canadian band Rush was unable to obtain airplay on radio stations other than CFNY early in their career, and in 1979 wrote the song "The Spirit of Radio" about the station. Unable to mention CFNY directly for fear of alienating airplay on other stations, the band instead ensured the catalog number for their album Permanent Waves was 1021 - a nod to the station's 102.1 FM frequency.
While the fan base was loyal, the station struggled to grow its audience due to its small studio and low broadcasting power. With only a small broadcast range, the station used unconventional promotional strategies in an attempt to grow the brand. CFNY would send DJs to host regular new wave dance parties, both to build a community amongst its fans and to supplement the station's limited advertising revenue through admission fees.
Turbulence and expansion
In 1979, the station's original owners were involved in court action unrelated to CFNY and forced to sell the station. In spite of its problems, CFNY garnered praise from its listeners and other broadcasters alike. Referring to its free-form format, the station was called "one of the last truly alternative radio stations in North America". When the new owners went bankrupt in 1979, the station received 6,200 letters and tens of thousands of names on a petition lobbying the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to "save real radio."
With the Canadian economy in recession and interest rates high, the station's owners sold the station to media conglomerate Selkirk Communications. Selkirk moved the station's transmitter to the CN Tower in Toronto, thereby greatly increasing the broadcasting power and range of the station. By 1985, the station had reached new heights of popularity, capturing over 5.4% of the Toronto area listeners and becoming internationally famous for its music mix. By this time, the station's dance party tradition had evolved into a large video dance party, hosted by Martin Streek, who joined the station as a DJ and on-air personality in 1984. This event regularly toured throughout southern Ontario and expanded the station's influence well beyond its actual broadcast range. For a brief period, it was also available on satellite across North America, although this also led to the introduction of more "popular" music.
Through the early and mid-1980s, CFNY was well-respected for introducing new performers that other stations wouldn't play due to not being well-known names. Some examples of these include Canadian artists such as Martha and the Muffins, Rough Trade, Blue Rodeo, Jane Siberry, Singing Fools, 54-40, Skinny Puppy, Jolly Tambourine Man and The Spoons.
CFNY also created Canada's first independent music awards, the U-Knows, the name of which was a pun on Canada's mainstream Juno Awards. In 1986, the station held a listener contest to rename the awards, which were re-dubbed the CASBY Awards, for "Canadian Artists Selected By You". It was in this same year that Alan Cross joined the station as an on-air personality.
In 1987, after nine years in the position, David Marsden stepped down as program director. He was succeeded in the role by on-air personality Don Berns.
One notable broadcast was their worldwide period of silence for John Lennon, followed by "Remember" for the recently slain singer. More than 500 radio stations, including one in each Canadian province and American state, plus one in Sydney, Australia played this Dream Network tribute broadcast.
Format change and listener rebellion
Late in 1988, management at CFNY ordered a change in format. After nearly 13 years of success and popular acclaim as a freestyle rock and alternative radio station, CFNY switched to a primarily Top 40 format. Alternative, which had supported the station for most of its history to that point, was relegated to weekends and late night programming.
This dramatic shift in format would not be without consequences. Most significantly, the change sparked a rebellion in its fan base. The station's mid-day phone-in request show was inundated with requests for alternative songs. In support of their new policies and format, station management quickly attempted to put a stop to this by ordering that DJs were to refuse all such calls and fulfill only those requests which were for Top 40 music. Not just unpopular with the station's fan base, the new format also resulted in the dismissal or resignation of much of the on-air staff. Perhaps the most notable of these was the resignation of program director Don Berns after only two years in the role, in protest of station management's decisions.
In response, the more devoted of the station's listeners and fans began signing petitions, even going so far as to file an intervention with the CRTC to oppose the station's 1989 licence renewal. Certain radio analyst reports suggested that as many as 100,000 new listeners had been gained by the change, but this masked the fact that the market share dropped considerably, to 4.3%.
Revival, evolution, and beginning of the Edge
In 1989, Selkirk was acquired by Maclean-Hunter, which was committed to returning the station to an alternative format. Instead of reviving the old free-form programming, however, Maclean-Hunter tweaked the station's programming to create a more conventional modern rock station. In the same year, "Humble" Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson launched the station's new morning show, Humble & Fred, which would go on to receive wide acclaim.
In the early 1990s, the station again became an important outlet for new Canadian music, with bands such as Barenaked Ladies, The Lowest of the Low, Rheostatics, and Sloan counting CFNY as their first major radio supporter. Unfortunately for the station's influence, alternative rock became the decade's dominant genre and so CFNY did not sound as distinctive compared to other radio stations as once had.
Unfortunately it would also be some time before the changes were effective in resolving the staff morale problems born during the station's recent turbulent years. The most public manifestation of the station's morale issues came in 1992, when DJ Dani Elwell resigned from the station by reading her résumé live over the air.
But the 1990s were also a period of revival and sowing seeds of growth for the station. In addition to the growth of the Humble & Fred morning show, Jason Barr also joined the station at this time and would go on to become a significant contributor to CFNY.
On-air personality Alan Cross launched a new feature on the station in 1993, The Ongoing History of New Music. The program, created, hosted, and personally managed by Cross, chronicled all manner of history and trivia about the roots of rock music in a quasi-documentary style. Over time the feature would come to be one of the most recognizable and long-running pieces on the station, being owned by the station until 2008 and continuing to air new segments up until May 2011.
The mid-1990s were another era of transition for CFNY as station owner Maclean-Hunter was acquired by Rogers Communications in 1994. CFNY was sold to competing telecommunications conglomerate Shaw Communications as a result of the acquisition. During this period, the station dropped its old branding and became 102.1 The Edge. For several years toward the end of the 1990s it was also referred to as Edge 102 before this was dropped in favour of the current usage. On May 1, 1996, the station finally moved from its old studio in Brampton to a new facility at 228 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto.
After 13 years as CFNY's morning show hosts, Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson departed CFNY for Mojo 640 in 2001. Taking their place were newcomers Dean Blundell and Todd Shapiro, as well as station regular and Humble & Fred contributor Jason Barr. The new morning show was launched as The Morning Show with Dean Blundell, and later renamed The Dean Blundell Show. This remained the station's morning show until its cancellation in January 2014 broadcasting from 5:30 a.m. until 10 a.m., and was a significant driving force behind many of the station's contests and events. Shapiro was fired from the station on July 24, 2013.
Josie Dye joined the station in 2002 as its new mid-day host, on air from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and remains a popular fixture at the station. 2002 also saw Derek Welsman join the station as a commercial producer. Welsman is now a member of the Dean Blundell morning show. In June 2003, music director Kneale Mann left the station to launch CJDV-FM, a new Corus station in Kitchener-Waterloo. He left Corus two years later to launch CILV-FM in Ottawa then became a leadership consultant in 2007.
Alan Cross, host and creator of The Ongoing History of New Music, as well as on-air personality since 1986, departed the station in 2001 to pursue an opportunity as program director at Hamilton-based radio station Y108 for several years. However, in 2004 he returned to the Edge as program director. His tenure as program director for the Edge garnered acclaim for both him and the station, as he was awarded Canadian Program Director of the Year three times - in 2005, 2006, and 2008. He is now the creator and host of the syndicated show The Secret History of Rock.
For a number of years in the 2000s (decade), it became rare that the station would announce its call letters. To most, it was simply 102.1 The Edge. Perhaps due to CRTC regulations requiring radio stations to announce their call letters, the station began in August 2005 to identify itself as both CFNY and the Edge during identification breaks. In 2006, however, the station fell afoul of the CRTC. The regulating body opted to give CFNY only a four-year license renewal, rather than the customary seven. The regulator's concerns reportedly involved the station failing once to meet its mandated Canadian content targets.
Further staff shake-ups and alterations came with the close of the 2000s (decade). Program director Alan Cross departed the station once more in 2008 to take a position at Corus Entertainment's interactive division, Splice Media. His replacement was Ross Winters who was fired in July 2013. In May 2009, host Barry Taylor, as well as longtime personality and current afternoon drive host Martin Streek were fired for undisclosed reasons. Tragedy struck the Edge staff just a few months later, when Martin Streek took his own life on July 9.
With the departure of Taylor and Streek, host Dave "Bookie" Bookman briefly took over the afternoon drive slot until the Edge hired Fearless Fred - a host at Edmonton-based 100.3 The Bear - to take over the position. Fred joined the Edge as afternoon drive host in August 2009, while Bookie moved to the weekday evenings timeslot.
Just a year later, in August 2010, Dean Blundell Show co-host Jason Barr was released from his contract and left the station  and formed the Biggs & Barr morning show at CHTZ-FM with former Mix 99.9 announcer Chris Biggs. Derek Welsman, former commercial producer and show guest, returned to The Dean Blundell Show after a three year stint at Astral Media as permanent co-host in November of that year.
On September 13, 2010, the Edge left its longtime home studio at 228 Yonge Street for a new studio at the Corus Quay, at 25 Dockside Drive. The new location is casually referred to by staff as Sugar Beach, and is located across the street from the Kool Haus concert venue.
On December 9, 2012, long-time on-air personality and staple Dave Bookman was fired. Bookie was allowed to return to the station to say good-bye to listeners. In September 2013, Bookie joined CIND-FM.
On July 24, 2013 it was announced that Todd Shapiro would not be returning to The Dean Bundell Show. The exact reasons have not been made public.
In November 2013, the station faced criticism when Dean Blundell Show cohost Derek Welsman made on-air comments about a criminal trial on which he had been the jury foreman, resulting in allegations both of homophobia — the case involved allegations of sexual assault against a client of a gay bathhouse — and of potentially causing a mistrial by publicly discussing aspects of the jury deliberations. The station announced the show's suspension on December 12, 2013, and the show was ultimately cancelled on January 6, 2014. With the firings of Blundell and Welsman, the station's morning show is currently hosted by "Fearless Fred" Kennedy, although a permanent new host has not yet been announced.
Availability and international reach
102.1 The Edge has long been an international station, as its signal is strong enough that, like many other Toronto radio stations, it is widely available in two of the top fifty media markets in North America. Its signal from Toronto beams from the CN Tower throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY market, in addition to Toronto. CFNY pulls a share of between 0.6% and 1.1% in the Arbitron radio rating in Buffalo. CFNY is also receivable in areas east of Erie, Pennsylvania; however, interference from classic rocker WQHZ at 102.3 MHz prevents CFNY from being received in much of the city of Erie. In addition, the station broadcasts streaming audio over the Internet.
The Edge is also available on Bell TV as part of the music channel package. The station also appears in the music mix of a number of cable distributions systems around the country. This gives the station not only a regional coverage, but a number of listeners over all of Canada.
As a result of these factors, CFNY frequently promotes itself as one of the most listened-to radio stations in the world — the station did, in fact, rank tenth in a 2002 Arbitron survey of the world's most listened-to Internet radio streams.
In 2001, a spin-off television channel was created and modelled after 102.1 The Edge. Edge TV was a digital cable specialty channel own by The Edge's parent company Corus Entertainment. The channel was taken off the air in 2003 due to insufficient distribution.
Accolades and awards
CFNY-FM and its staff have been the recipients of numerous awards in the station's history.
- The station has been named Canadian Rock Station of the Year by the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards more than two dozen times.
- Former morning show Humble & Fred, having its origins in 1989, was voted Best Morning Show in Canada four times by the Canadian radio industry
- Former music director and on-air personality Kneale Mann was twice named Canadian Music Director of Year.
- Former program director Stewart Meyers was named Canadian Program Director of the Year three times.
- Former program director Alan Cross was named Canadian Program Director of the Year three times.
- Afternoon drive host "Fearless" Fred Kennedy won the inaugural 2009 Steve Young Award, recognizing rising Canadian radio stars under the age of 30
- The Dean Blundell Show was awarded 2011's "Top Radio Program (Morning Show)" award by Top Choice Awards
Station-wide contests, events, and features
CFNY launched the annual U-Knows awards in 1981, to recognize Canadian musicians. Following a listener contest in 1986, they were renamed the CASBY Awards - an acronym for Canadian Artists Selected By You. The event is held every summer, where awards are presented to Canadian musicians who have won the most votes from listeners.
Since 1987, Edge has been the organizer of the annual EdgeFest summer concert festival. The name and concept has been replicated all over North America by various alternative rock stations.
Edge Free Money
Edge Free Money, originally known as Free Money Month, is a call-in contest run by the station. Every day for a given period of time, a band is selected as the Edge Artist of the Day. The first time that this artist is played on-air, listeners may begin calling in. The 102nd caller to get through wins $1000 from the station. In 2011, Free Money Month actually spanned three months: September, October, and November.
Jingle Bell Rock
Since 1998, the Edge has run an annual concert series in December of each year. From 1998 to 2008, it was known as the Edge Electric Christmas. Starting in 2009, it began to be billed as Jingle Bell Rock. It is a series of several concerts which are generally in smaller concert venues, although playing in large venues is not unheard-of. A percentage of proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Josie's Top 20
Beginning on August 29, 2011, Josie Dye began compiling lists of her top 20 songs on themes that she decides upon. Josie hosts a pre-recorded show for these features, which is broadcast on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. The lists are archived on the Edge's website.
Rock of Fame
The station launched its own hall of fame for notable musicians in the summer of 2011. This initiative is now defunct as it relied on Dave "Bookie" Bookman's presence in the radio and music industries.
- Foo Fighters (inducted August 9, 2011)
- Coldplay (inducted September 21, 2011)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers (inducted April 28, 2012)
- The Offspring (inducted September 2, 2012)
- The Tragically Hip (inducted November 1, 2012)
A yearly event which had been held since the start of the Dean Blundell Show, Sausagefest was a summertime backyard barbecue-style event which was typically held at the Sound Academy venue and emceed by the hosts of the show. It features artists and bands (different each year) performing on the stage inside, while drinks and barbecued food are sold outside. With the sudden departure of long-time Dean Blundell Show co-host Todd Shapiro, no Sausagefest was held in the summer of 2013.
Notable past hosts and staff
- Steve Anthony - morning show host 1987-1989
- Jason Barr - morning show on-air co-host, 1995-2010 (now member of Biggs-Barr morning show on CHTZ-FM)
- Dave "Bookie" Bookman - on-air personality, 1991-2012
- Alan Cross - on-air personality, Ongoing History of New Music host, 1986–2001; program director, 2004–2008 (Now host of syndicated show "The Secret History of Rock")
- the late Pete Griffin - Pete and Geets co-host 1982-1987
- "Humble Howard" Glassman - co-host of Humble & Fred show, 1989–1991, 1992–2001, 2011-present (now on CFRB)
- David Haydu - Pete and Geets co-host, 1982-1987
- Ben Kowalewicz (vocalist of Billy Talent) - producer, on-air personality
- Kneale Mann - programming and on-air personality, 1985-1992; music director, on-air and syndicated host, 1995-2003 (now leadership consultant)
- David Marsden - on-air personality, 1977–78; program director, 1978–1985; director of operations, 1985–1988 (now host of Saturday and Sunday nights on CKGE-FM)
- Fred Patterson - co-host of Humble & Fred show, 1989–2001, 2011–present (now on CFRB)
- Chris Sheppard - on-air personality
- the late Martin Streek - on-air personality, 1984–2009
- George Stroumboulopoulos - on-air personality and Live in Toronto host (Now host of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on CBC Television)
- "The Future of Music With Radio Legend Alan Cross – The Music Biz Weekly Podcast". The Music Biz Weekly Podcast. 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "The CFNY Spirit Of Radio Fan Page". Spiritofradio.ca. 2003-11-12. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Bill Reynolds, "A rock 'n' roll original: DJ Martin Streek symbolized CFNY's unlikely resilience". The Globe and Mail, July 11, 2009.
- Ian Pearson, "ramshackle radio", The City, October 1979
- "CFNY 102.1 Articles: newspaper, 1981". Spiritofradio.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Canadian Communications Foundation | Fondation des Communications Canadiennes". Broadcasting-history.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Thousands of Canadians join to pay tribute to Lennon". The Leader-Post (Regina SK). The Canadian Press. 15 December 1980. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "CFNY 102.1 Articles: NOW, March 1989". Spiritofradio.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "CFNY 102.1 Sounds and Recordings". Spiritofradio.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Your Name (this will appear with your post) (2011-01-06). "Astral's 97.7 HTZ-FM, Niagara Announces New Morning Show | Broadcaster - Canada's Communications Magazine". Broadcastermagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Dean Blundell Cancelled. Toronto Star, January 6, 2014.
- "Behind the Voice | | TORO MAGAZINE | What Men Need to Know about Sex, Style, Music, Sports, Drinks & Video". Toro Magazine. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-394" (Press release). Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- "Martin Streek Out At Edge 102.1 / CFNY | Toronto Mike's Blog". Torontomike.com. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- jill colvin. "Former 102.1 The Edge personality Martin Streek commits suicide". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Fearless Fred On His Way to Edge 102 | Toronto Mike's Blog". Torontomike.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Jason Barr Fired from Edge 102 | Toronto Mike's Blog". Torontomike.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "102.1 The Edge is leaving the Eaton Centre". Blogto.com. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Todd Shapiro no longer on the Dean Blundell Show". Toronto Star, July 24, 2013.
- "Dean Blundell show apologizes for ‘homophobic’ juror jokes". Toronto Star, December 12, 2013.
- "Dean Blundell Show suspended from Toronto’s Edge 102.1". Toronto Star, December 12, 2013.
- "‘Fearless Fred’ Kennedy to fill in for cancelled Dean Blundell on 102.1 the Edge". canada.com, January 8, 2014.
- Arbitron Press Release
- "Canadian Music Week Announces Fred Kennedy As Recipient of the Steve Young Award". Canadian Music Week. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
- "The Dean Blundell Show - Top Radio Program (Morning Show) - Top Choice Awards 2011". Top Choice Awards. 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "102.1 the Edge - Josie's Top 20". Edge.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "102.1 the Edge Rock Of Fame". Edge.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Official website
- CFNY history at Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CFNY-FM