CHFI-FM

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For the radio station that began as CHFI, see CFTR (AM).
CHFI-FM
"Toronto's Lite Favourites, 98.1 CHFI"
City of license Toronto, Ontario
Branding 98.1 CHFI
Slogan "Toronto's Perfect Music Mix"
Frequency 98.1 MHz
First air date 1957
Format adult contemporary
Power 44,000 watts
Callsign meaning Canada Hi-FIdelity
Owner Rogers Radio
Sister stations CFTR, CJCL, CKIS
Website 98.1 CHFI

CHFI-FM is a Canadian radio station, which broadcasts an adult contemporary format at 98.1 on the FM dial in Toronto, Ontario. Like most Toronto radio and TV channels, it broadcasts atop the CN Tower with an ERP of 44 kW, and has a sizeable amount of American listeners. It is the most-listened to radio station in Canada and the most listened to station in Toronto according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) ratings (occasionally sharing the top spot with Bell Media Radio-owned Hot AC station CHUM-FM). CHFI-FM is one of three AC stations in Toronto, along with CKDX-FM and CKLH-FM of Hamilton.

History[edit]

The station was launched in 1957, and was the first FM outlet in Toronto to provide its own distinct programming rather than simulcasting an AM station. CHFI also initially provided a special Muzak-like background music service for offices and retail outlets in the city.

The station was acquired in 1960 by Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., the company now known as Rogers Radio. In 1962, an AM counterpart, CHFI, which later became highly successful Top 40 music station CFTR, was added.

CHFI-FM pioneered the "beautiful music" format. The main programming heard from dawn until midnight was traditional easy listening fare. Music director Michael Compeau created a number of the station's much-imitated programs. The most famous was the popular and long running Candlelight and Wine heard evenings from 6 to 11 pm. The program, hosted by Don Parrish, mixed soothing instrumentals, soft vocals and occasional light classical pieces in "pop" arrangements. The program spun off a series of best-selling record albums, many of which are now highly prized collectors' items.

Compeau also created the popular Classics 'til Dawn, an overnight program of popular classical music. (In 1984, Compeau would become program director of CFMX-FM and use this same format for their overnight program.)

Another of Compeau's innovations was Front Row Centre, heard Sunday afternoons at 2 PM. This one-hour program featured full original cast recordings of popular Broadway musicals, with host Don Parish explaining the story between songs.

In the 1970s, Todd Russell began hosting a late evening program called Reminiscing featuring modern recordings of popular songs from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In 1973, Compeau decided to add some spice to the program by sprinkling in a few original period recordings. Since very few had been reissued on LP at this time, a call went out to collectors who loaned their original 78-rpm records to the radio station. The records were cleaned, repaired and brushed with distilled water before being transcribed to tape. Dubbed the "new library of old 78's", these antique rarities were showcased each weeknight. (In 1974, host Todd Russell died and was replaced by Sandy Hoyt.) CHFI soon amassed a collection of over 3,500 period recordings and the reminiscing program became one of the station's biggest successes. As time went on, the modern recordings were phased out and the program featured mainly the period recordings.

A format change in the late 1970s led to the elimination of these programs, and CHFI began moving towards a soft-rock/adult contemporary sound, making this one of the longest-running English-language adult contemporary stations in Canada.

Its current logo was unveiled in 2000, when Rogers rebranded the station from CHFI FM98 and the Toronto's Perfect Music Mix slogan, to 98.1 CHFI, moving away from soft adult contemporary to mainstream adult contemporary under the Toronto's Soft Rock slogan.

In 2003, CHFI, competing closely with fellow Toronto adult contemporary station CJEZ-FM (now adult hits CHBM-FM), attempted to popularize a younger morning show. Firing longtime CHFI morning show personality Erin Davis and moving her on-air partner Bob Magee to afternoons, the station named Mad Dog and Billie, later known as Jay and Billie, to host the morning show. These younger broadcasters had hosted mornings on co-owned Toronto station KISS 92 FM when it previously broadcast a contemporary hit, then Hip-hop and R&B format. The station began IDing as 98-1 CHFI (no point) instead, and unveiled the Today's Lite Music slogan.

Bringing Jay and Billie on for mornings backfired on CHFI, as the station's ratings fell nearly out of the Top 10. Shortly after being fired from CHFI, Erin Davis was hired by CJEZ as a fill-in co-host, working alongside Mike Cooper. This brought CJEZ's ratings up dramatically, beating CHFI in several books. In 2005, CHFI management fired Jay and Billie, rehired Davis for mornings, and also hired Mike Cooper as her co-host on October 26 after his contract with CJEZ expired. At the same time, the station returned to using the point on the station's ID, and returned to their old soft AC sounds and switched to the "Toronto's Lite Favourites" slogan. This turned around CHFI's ratings, as the station claimed the top spot in the ratings (as well as becoming the most listened-to station in Canada), while CJEZ's ratings fell, prompting that station to flip to adult hits in December 2009.

As of 2009, the station would return to mainstream AC, but retained the Toronto's Lite Favourites slogan (which has since reverted to the Toronto's Perfect Music Mix slogan as of February 2013) and decimal point from the station ID. In addition, newer jingles were unveiled, along with an opening bumper for newer music (which the station has largely increased the amount of). As well, harder-edged content is largely reappearing on the station, which is mostly upbeat, rhythmic material, such as The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling". At the same time, artists such as Michael Bolton, Air Supply and Jewel were largely dropped from the station's playlist. On December 26, 2009, long-time competitor CJEZ-FM switched from an adult contemporary format to an adult hits format, leaving CHFI as the only adult contemporary station in the Toronto radio market, although rimshot stations CKDX-FM in Newmarket, CKLH-FM in Hamilton and CHRE-FM in St. Catharines are de facto Toronto radio stations due to the stations' stronger signals.

With the tweak in CHFI's format, Rogers owned AC stations CHYM-FM in Kitchener, CKY-FM in Winnipeg, CFLT-FM in Halifax (which has since flipped to adult hits as "Jack FM"), and CHFM-FM in Calgary started following this pattern beginning in mid-to-late 2010. However, most of the 1970s songs were retained by CHFI, while the other stations dropped them entirely.

Today, CHFI competes with Hot AC station CHUM-FM, older-skewing AC CKDX-FM, CKLH-FM, and CHRE-FM, as well as, to a lesser extent, Buffalo-based WJYE and WTSS.

Morning show hosts[edit]

Other personalities

Current airstaff[edit]

Weekdays:

  • Midnight-5am: CHFI Music
  • 5am-9am: Erin & Mike
  • 9am-2pm: Michelle Butterly
  • 2pm-7pm: Darren Osborne
  • 7pm-9pm: (Monday-Tuesday): Tish Iceton, (Wednesday-Friday): Darryl Henry
  • 9pm-Midnight: John Tesh

Saturdays:

  • Midnight-6am: CHFI Music
  • 6am-9am: Tish Iceton
  • 9am-10am: Best of Erin & Mike
  • 10am-Noon: Tish Iceton
  • Noon-6pm: Darryl Henry
  • 6pm-Midnight: Coop's Classics w/ Mike Cooper

Sundays:

  • Midnight-6am: CHFI Music
  • 6am-Noon: Tish Iceton
  • Noon-6pm: Darryl Henry
  • 6pm-7pm: Best of Erin & Mike
  • 7pm-9pm: Chatelaine Radio w/ Taylor Kaye
  • 9pm-Midnight: CHFI Music

Rebroadcasters[edit]

CHFI-FM can also be heard on these low-power transmitters:

British Columbia[edit]

Rebroadcasters of CHFI-FM
City of license Identifier Frequency RECNet CRTC Decision
Granisle VF2350 99.9 FM Query 99-36

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

City of license Identifier Frequency RECNet CRTC Decision
Labrador City/Wabush VF2050 99.1 FM Query 87-864

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°40′14″N 79°22′47″W / 43.67054°N 79.37962°W / 43.67054; -79.37962