||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2010)|
|City of license||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Broadcast area||Metro Vancouver|
|Slogan||Today's Soft Rock|
|Frequency||103.5 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||August 10, 1960|
|Callsign meaning||Canada's Highest Quality Music|
(Bell Media Radio)
|Sister stations||CKST, CFTE, CFBT-FM, CIVT-DT|
CHQM-FM (identified on air and in print as 103.5 QM/FM) is a Canadian radio station in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia. It broadcasts at 103.5 megahertz on the FM band with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts from a transmitter on Mount Seymour and airs a younger-targeting adult contemporary format. It is Western Canada's oldest and one of the most-listened-to commercial FM stations in Vancouver along with sister station CFBT-FM. It is owned by Bell Media.
CHQM is now the largest adult contemporary station in Canada not locally-owned, having overtaken from Montreal's CFQR-FM in February 2011 after that station switched ownership from Toronto's Corus Entertainment to Montreal's Cogeco.
CHQM-FM is currently most-listened-to radio station in Vancouver with a 12.4% share, according to BBM's Winter report.
CHQM-FM signed on the air on August 10, 1960 with a mainly instrumental easy listening format, several months after its original AM sister station, CHQM 1320 (whose programming CHQM-FM mainly simulcast), first went on-air on December 7, 1959. The original owner of CHQM-AM and -FM was Vancouver Broadcast Associates Ltd., headed by Bill Bellman and Jack Stark, with the stations' studios and offices then located on 1134 Burrard Street.
On November 4, 1961, CHQM-FM began broadcasting in stereo, and was authorized by the Board of Broadcast Governors (predecessor of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC) to increase its transmission power from 18,950 watts to 100,000 in 1963. The transmitter site was moved from Grouse Mountain to Mount Seymour at this time. CHQM-FM was the second private radio station in Canada to transmit in stereo (after CFRB-FM/Toronto), and it was the first in the nation to transmit an SCMO subcarrier ("Q Music"). This subcarrier was used to transmit background music to stores and businesses throughout the Lower Mainland, and it helped support the FM station during the difficult first two decades, when FM audiences were small. Parent company Vancouver Broadcast Associates changed its corporate name to Q Broadcasting Ltd. on August 23, 1969.
The two owners had a falling-out, and each struggled to control Q Broadcasting through the mid-1970s. In 1979, Stark assumed complete control of the company. Bellman moved on to become a major shareholder in fledgling CKVU-TV, also in Vancouver.
CHUM Limited acquired CHQM-AM and -FM on October 17, 1990, on condition from the CRTC that CHUM sell either CHQM-AM or its other Vancouver AM station, CFUN (regulations of the time allowed media companies to own only one AM and one FM station in a particular market in Canada); CHQM-AM was sold, while the FM made a gradual switch from its longtime beautiful music format to its current format over a six-month period between March and September of 1992, giving Vancouver two adult contemporary stations (the other being CKKS, now Jack FM as CKLG-FM). However, despite CFQR-FM in Montreal changing from a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist to an easy listening playlist with vocals by 1988, only to go adult contemporary by 1992 (the same time it joined CHQM to flip to their current AC formats), CHQM had a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist.
Vancouver ended up with three ACs by 1996, when Star 104.9 was expanded to Vancouver. The three-way AC battle ended in 1999, when Rogers acquired the station and changed to alternative rock as "Xfm", which later became AC/smooth jazz as "Clear FM" (Clear FM went to full-time AC by 2006). CKKS switched formats to Jack FM on Boxing Day 2002, leaving QM as the sole AC in Vancouver (with an exception from 2006-2008). On July 12, 2006, CTVglobemedia announced it would acquire CHUM Limited, which includes CHQM. The transaction was approved by the CRTC (on condition that CKVU, which had also been acquired by CHUM in 2001, be sold to Rogers Communications) on June 8, 2007, and CHQM became a CTVglobemedia station on June 22. On September 21, 2008, in order for the Jim Pattison Group's later launch of 100.5 The Peak, rival AC station CKCL-FM (Clear FM) became classic hits as "FM 104.9", making Vancouver once again the largest market in Canada with only one adult contemporary station (many AC stations in Canada are either owned by Astral Media or Rogers Media), eventually surpassing Edmonton in that category (and from 2006-2008, Calgary). Although KAFE in Bellingham, Washington has an adult contemporary format, and is easily receivable in Vancouver, the station itself does not target the Vancouver area.
By 2010, sister station CJMJ-FM in Ottawa dropped the remaining 1960s songs, although 1960s songs can still be found on CHQM, such as Stand By Me by Ben E. King and What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, making CHQM one of the only AC stations owned by Bell Media to do so. They still play a few 1960s songs and more classic hits to go up against classic hits station CFUN-FM. With the flip of CFUN to CHR, they now only rival Rogers Radio's adult hits CKLG and (soon-to-be) Newcap Radio's hot adult contemporary CKZZ, as well as adult album alternative rivals CKPK and CHHR.
The most famous contest on 103.5 QM/FM is their game "Beat the Bank" in which players will call in. The lucky caller would get to open "vaults". When they choose to open the "vaults", they hear the sound effect of a creaking door. Once they open the very first door, they have a voice saying an amount of money, in which they get to choose or say that they would like to keep opening vaults to get a larger amount of money. Each door gives a larger sum. If they open a vault with the alarm sounding, they lose all their money and therefore do not receive any money as a prize; however the station will provide losing contestants with a gift certificate. After the player either loses or chooses an amount of money, every vault is explored until the alarm sounds. The last vault opened before the alarm is discovered is announced as the maximum possible prize that could have been claimed during that session. Other contests when players call in, players usually have to answer a question or a series of questions to win a prize, which are usually tickets to go see a concert live in Vancouver.
- 103.5 QM/FM
- CHQM-FM history at Canadian Communications Foundation website
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CHQM-FM