|City of license||St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Slogan||Today's Best Music|
|Frequency||94.7 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||June 15, 1977|
|Format||Hot adult contemporary|
|Callsign meaning||OZ for "OZ FM"|
|Owner||Stirling Communications International
(Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Ltd.)
CHOZ-FM is a Canadian radio station based in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Its main St. John's transmitter broadcasts on FM at 94.7 MHz, but additional transmitters are located throughout the province. The station, known as "OZ FM", is one of the various media properties of the Stirling family; this includes local television station CJON-DT.
The station launched on June 15, 1977, at 93.9 FM soon after Geoff Stirling sold his interest in what is now CJYQ. It was originally a full-time rock station known as "The New Radio OZ, The Rock Of The Rock!"; it is perhaps intended to be the Newfoundland equivalent of other stations then owned by Stirling such as CHOM-FM Montreal. It eventually transitioned to a combination CHR/CR format under the "OZ FM" brand; nonetheless it kept the "The Rock Of The Rock!" slogan.
In 1984, CHOZ was granted to change frequencies from 93.9 FM to 94.7 FM.
During most of the 1990s it was the most popular FM radio station, both in the province and in the core St. John's market. The channel's success was driven largely by the strength of its eclectic morning show, The Dawn Patrol.
Yet by the early 2000s its newly strengthened competitor Newcap Broadcasting had begun to cause a significant effect, particularly in St. John's. Already the owner of the city's dominant radio station, AM station VOCM, Newcap effectively split CHOZ's market by converting VOCM-FM (and several other stations across the province) to classic rock, and soon after CKIX-FM to contemporary hits. Another strong contender, Coast Broadcasting's adult contemporary station CKSJ-FM, launched in 2004.
But since CKSJ and CKIX only operated in the St. John's area, Oz FM was now in the problematic situation of competing primarily with female-skewing FM stations in its largest market, and with a single male-skewing FM competitor in the rest of the province.
CHOZ can still boast having the largest audience of any FM radio station in the province, largely because it is the only station with a province-wide network of transmitters, all carrying identical programming, which can therefore be accumulated for ratings purposes as a single station. In contrast, other provincial radio services - such as CBC Radio One, VOCM/CFCB, and K-Rock - are made up of separate local stations with some unique programming, while several stations operate only in the immediate St. John's area.
In 2003, Randy Snow left the OZFM Dawn Patrol to join rival station CKIX to host his own morning show. His replacement was Brian O'Connell, who left the VOCM Morning Show to join OZFM.
In April 2007, O'Connell took over as station manager for the OZFM Network and host of the daily Electric Lunch program. Then, Brian left OZFM and now works for Newcap Broadcasting hosting The VOCM Irish Newfoundland Show and The VOCM Morning Show (VOCM). OZFM staff announcer Paul Kinsman was named as O'Connell's on air replacement, joining long time Dawn Patrol veterans Deborah Birmingham and Larry Jay.
On August 17, 2009, OZ changed its format to mainstream rock from hot adult contemporary, forcing rival CKIX-FM taking the hot adult contemporary format, but continue to report on the Mediabase/Nielsen BDS Canadian top 40 panel. However, CKIX-FM has since returned to contemporary hit radio following the return of hot AC to Oz FM.
At Midnight on January 2, 2012, Oz FM stopped playing their mainstream rock format without notice. Oz FM started playing a hot adult contemporary format, with a new slogan Today's Best Music. This ended the use of their longtime slogan "The Rock of the Rock", despite the fact that that slogan was still used the previous time that the station played a contemporary hit format; "The Rock of the Rock" slogan is still used on occasion, usually before a rock-leaning track is be played. The station also resurrected the longtime heart-rainbow logo, that the station used prior to 2007. The following month, the station surfaced on the Mediabase Canadian hot AC panel.
In August 2012, Paul Kinsman and Larry Jay left the Dawn Patrol. The Morning Show was renamed to the Morning Rush and featured a new host, Robert Shawn, alongside the only remaining original host Deborah Birmingham. In January 2013 the pair was joined by their formerly behind the scenes producer, Laura Woodworth. Deborah Birmingham took a leave of absence from the morning show and the station in January 2014 and her place on the Morning Rush was filled by Stephanie O'Brien.
Other on-air announcers include Stephen Lethbridge (weekdays from 2 PM-Midnight), Hugh Campbell (weekends) and Danielle Butt (Jigs and Reels Saturday and Sunday mornings).
In January 2011, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council admonished CHOZ-FM for playing the unedited version of Dire Straits' Money for Nothing, following a complaint from a listener that stated that the song contained the word "faggot", a slur for a homosexual person. Even though the song has won numerous awards and has been played countless times on Canadian radio, the CBSC felt that the unedited version has become unacceptable for airplay, as the term "faggot", which was once an acceptable term, has since become an unacceptable slur. In response to the ruling, at least two stations, CIRK-FM in Edmonton and CFRQ-FM in Halifax, played the unedited version of Money for Nothing repeatedly for one hour out of protest. On January 21, 2011, the CRTC asked the CBSC for a review on the ban, in response to the public outcry against the CBSC's actions; the regulator requested the CBSC to appoint a nationwide panel to review the case, as the decision on the ban was reviewed by a regional panel for the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
On August 31, the CBSC found the slur to be inappropriate; however, due to considerations in regard to its use in context, the CBSC has left it up to the stations to decide whether or not to censor the song. Most of the CBSC panelists thought the slur was inappropriate, but it was used only in a satirical, non-hateful manner.
|City of license||Identifier||Frequency||RECNet||CRTC Decision|
|Clarenville||CJMY-FM||105.3 FM||Query||CRTC 87-702|
|Corner Brook||CKOZ-FM||92.3 FM||Query|
|Grand Falls-Windsor||CKMY-FM||95.9 FM||Query|
CJMY and CKMY were previously known as CKCV and CHOS respectively, up to at least 2002. The changes were apparently made to reserve appropriate call signs for "My FM", Newfoundland Broadcasting's proposal for a second FM service, which went before the CRTC later that same year. (The licence in question eventually went to a different company as Coast 101.1.)
On November 30, 2012, its transmitter at Red Rocks, CKSS-FM 96.9 FM, had closed; the station has cited the age of the tower and the costs of the upkeep. OZ-FM, however, announced plans to reactivate it from another location, pending approval from the CRTC. OZ-FM also originally planned to also temporarily close CIOS-FM 98.5 FM in Stephenville on the same day, but had second thoughts in doing so, and opted to keep it open from the same location instead. The application to move the Stephenville transmitter to a new location has been approved on November 8, 2013.
OZ FM is also available across Canada on Bell TV on channel 951, and in the St. John's area on an audio subchannel of CJON-DT.
- Decision CRTC 84-636
- Canadian Press, via CBC: "Censor Dire Straits song: broadcast panel", January 13, 2011.
- CBSC: "CHOZ-FM re the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits", October 14, 2010.
- Piazza, Jo (January 14, 2011). "No Way, Eh! Canadian Station Defies 'Money For Nothing' Ban". Fox News Channel. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- News 1130 Vancouver: "What you can and can't say on the radio", January 14, 2011
- CTV: "CRTC seeks review of 'Money for Nothing' ban", January 21, 2011.
- Canadian Press, via CTV: "'Money for Nothing' slur inappropriate, council says", August 31, 2011.
- Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-23
- CRTC public hearing transcript, December 10, 2002
- Decision CRTC 97-316
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CFZY-FM
- Decision CRTC 98-205
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for VF2321
- The Gulf News: "OZ FM, NTV to stop broadcasting from Red Rocks", November 26, 2012.
- radiowest.ca: "Canadian Radio News for December, 2012", January 2, 2013.
- OZ FM
- CHOZ history at Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CHOZ-FM