|City of license||Toronto, Ontario|
|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Slogan||The Beat of Toronto|
|First air date||2001|
CFXJ-FM is a Canadian radio station in Toronto, Ontario. Owned by Newcap Radio, the station signed on in 2001 as Canada's first urban contemporary radio station under the brand Flow 93-5, but has since alternated between urban and rhythmic contemporary formats (the latter being its current format since December 2012).
The urban era (2001–2005)
Milestone Radio, first applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for an urban music station in 1990, but were passed over in favour of a country music station, CISS (now CKIS-FM). They applied again in 1997, and were passed over in favour of CBLA, the city's existing Radio One station, which the CBC wanted to move to FM for technical reasons.
Both decisions sparked controversy in Toronto, as the CRTC's reasons for passing over an urban-format station (which Toronto did not have) in favour of existing radio services were believed to be racist in nature. The lack of an urban station also created immense difficulties for Canadian hip hop, reggae and R&B musicians, who had no radio outlets in Canada to play and promote their music.
As well, the 99.1 signal which was awarded to the CBC was believed to be the last available FM frequency in the city. However, in 1998, the CBC found that it was able to surrender two repeater transmitters outside of Toronto due to CBLA's superior coverage of the region. In 2000, the CRTC opened applications for new services on these two frequencies, and on Milestone's third application, the CRTC awarded the 93.5 frequency to the company.
CFXJ officially debuted on March 1, 2001, after airing as a testing signal for several days in February of that year, using the name FLOW 93.5. Before the station became prominent in the Greater Toronto Area, many listeners would tune into Buffalo, New York's 93.7 WBLK, which has aired an urban contemporary format since the 1960s. Since CFXJ's debut, many Canadian hip hop and R&B musicians – including Jully Black, k-os, Kardinal Offishall and Jarvis Church, among others – have made the types of significant career breakthroughs that often eluded Canadian urban musicians in the 1990s.
The rhythmic top 40 era (2005–present)
FLOW and R&B/Hip hop in Canada
Since 2005, CFXJ has constantly "tweaked" its sound, experimenting with combinations of rhythmic Top 40 and classic urban formats by adding artists such as The Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, Eva Avila and Pussycat Dolls, while still striving to satisfy hip hop and R&B enthusiasts by breaking new North American/international music in Canada, such as Chamillionaire, Young Jeezy, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Akon. In August 2007, the station launched a new campaign using the moniker "The New Flow 93.5" on air.
Urban-format stations quickly followed in several other Canadian cities as well. However, since then, CIBK-FM in Calgary, CFBT-FM in Vancouver, CKEY-FM in Niagara Falls, CKBT-FM in Kitchener, CIHT-FM in Ottawa, and CHBN in Edmonton, have evolved to mainstream Top 40 due to the lack of R&B, hip hop and/or dance product by Canadian acts being released and the pressure to follow the CRTC's guideline on Canadian content music quotas.
By 2009, with the arrival of top 40 station CKIS-FM, FLOW 93.5 continued as a rhythmic top 40 station, but leaned back towards its urban roots, with some of the rhythmic pop songs phased out. CFXJ-FM continues to be reported on Mediabase and Nielsen BDS on the Canadian top 40 panel, since there are no rhythmic top 40 stations in Canada. However, this move back towards an Urban-lean was unsuccessful, and many of the adult urban tracks were dropped by March 2010. (CKFG-FM launched as an Urban AC in October 2011).
In February 2011, CFXJ re-tweaked its format back to a conventional rhythmic Top 40 direction that once again includes dance product and began billing its slogan as "Hip-Hop, Dance, and R&B." It also saw a mass exodus of air staffers (including the program director and sales staff, as well as all specialty programs and mix shows being cancelled) as CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media Radio) took over the ownership of the station from Milestone.
CHUM VP/Programming David Corey replaced Wayne Williams as PD and has reshuffled the lineup, bringing in fellow ex-WJMN/Boston imaging director Scott Morello as APD and re-teaming morning host Melanie Martin with her fellow CKIS alumni J.J. King. Midday personality; Miss Ange, afternoon drive personality; Jeni, swing personality, now evenings; Peter Kash, MD Justin Dumont, Promotions Coordinator; Angelique Knights, morning show producer; Johnny Michaels, creative writer; John Shannon, producer; Korey Bray along with former sales manager; Byron Garby and some other account representatives were all retained as part of this change.
By August of that year, its slogan once again became simply "Toronto's Hip-Hop and R&B". In November, the station once again returned to urban with the launch of competitor CKFG-FM. However, by December 2012, the station had moved back to a Rhythmic Top 40 format, with a heavy emphasis on currents and re-currents. This even goes to show in its recent change in slogan, "The Beat of Toronto".
Two years later, in late 2014, influenced by the popularity of The Back in the Day Buffet noon-hour mix-show, as well as the growing popularity of the classic hip-hop format in the United States, the station revamped its playlist to include classic hip-hop, R&B and reggae tracks from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, while still emphasizing current music. In addition, CFXJ added a secondary slogan: "The Best Throwbacks and Hottest Hits."
On June 23, 2010, it was announced that CHUM Radio, would acquire full control the station, subject to CRTC approval. On December 23, 2010, the CRTC approved the sale of CFXJ to CHUM. CHUM previously joint ventured with Milestone with CHBN in Edmonton, which was sold to Rogers Radio along with CHST in London. The station's headquarters were relocated from their longtime home at 211 Yonge Street to CTV's 250 Richmond Street West (near 299 Queen Street West, where MuchMusic and other Bell Media specialty television stations are based) in February 2011 after CTVgm took control of the station. On April 1, 2011, Bell Canada completed its acquisition of 100% of the shares in CTVglobemedia it didn't already own. It renamed the company Bell Media and likewise renamed the radio division Bell Media Radio.
In March 2013, the Competition Bureau approved a proposal by Bell Media to acquire Astral Media, under the condition that it divest itself of several television services and radio stations. Following the closure of the merger in July 2013, CFXJ was placed in a blind trust pending its eventual sale.
On August 26, 2013, Newcap Radio announced it would acquire CFXJ along with four other former Astral Media radio stations from Bell Media for $112 million. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 19, 2014 and the sale closed on March 31, 2014. With the sale, CFXJ moved their studios to the former CFRB and CKFM studios at 2 St. Clair West (at Yonge and St. Clair).
- CRTC Decision 90-993
- Decision CRTC 2000-203
- "CFXJ Switching Formats" from All Access (February 3, 2011)
- "More Changes At Flow 93-5 In Toronto" from All Access (February 15, 2011)
- "Flow Toronto The Best Throwbacks and Hottest Hits". Retrieved 2014-10-23.
- "classic rock and classic rap". Retrieved 2014-11-17.
- CHUM Radio buys Toronto's New Flow 93.5 FM from Milestone. Canadian Business, June 23, 2010.
- CHUM Radio to Acquire Toronto Radio Station The New Flow 93.5 FM from CTV Media Site (June 23, 2010)
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-715
- Biblic, Mirko. "Re: Voting Trust Agreement between BCE Inc. and Pierre Boivin, the trustee Application No. 2013-0243-9 – Approved". CRTC. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "Competition Bureau OK's BCE-Astral deal, with conditions". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Bell moves closer to Astral with sale of TV assets". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Newcap signs agreement with Bell Media to acquire five radio stations in Toronto and Vancouver". CNW. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-129
- "Newcap Radio receives CRTC approval to purchase stations in Toronto and Vancouver". Canada Newswire. March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- Flow 93.5
- CFXJ history at Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CFXJ-FM