CHAY-FM began signed on with a beautiful music format on May 21, 1977, but changed to more of an adult contemporary format the following decade with the decline of beautiful music on FM. The station broadcast from a 1,000 foot tower just south of Barrie that it shared with local television station CKVR-TV. Later that year, on September 27, a small plane crashed into the tower, destroying it and killing everyone on board. CHIN-FM assisted CHAY in temporarily restoring its signal until the tower was replaced one year later.
In 1989, CHAY-FM moved from traditional easy listening to a more modern soft adult contemporary format. Throughout the transition period, the station continued to attract an audience of a quarter million listeners per week.