|City of license||Hamilton, Ontario|
|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Branding||953 Fresh FM|
|Slogan||Life's short. Have Fun!|
|Frequency||95.3 MHz (FM)
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||September 24, 1976|
|Callsign meaning||derived from the word "sing"|
|Website||95.3 Fresh FM|
CING was launched in 1976 by Burlington Broadcasting, at 107.9 FM in Burlington, Ontario. Initially an easy listening and then an oldies station, the station switched to a dance music format in 1991, which garnered a huge audience, after several months of adding new-age music to its mixture of classical and middle-of-the-road music. The station applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) a number of times in the 1980s for frequency changes in the hopes of better reaching the more lucrative Toronto market, but was denied each time.
CING is one of the most powerful radio stations in Southeastern Ontario. Its signal can be heard in Hamilton, the Greater Toronto Area, the Niagara Region, and even Buffalo, New York. The station is marketed towards both Hamilton and Toronto.
FM 108 era
CING-FM began on September 23, 1976, as a beautiful music format featuring mostly instrumental versions of pop favorites. The first song heard on the 107.9 FM frequency was "Sing" by The Carpenters. The station began experimenting with playing oldies during the overnight period in 1978, and response was so positive that by 1980 oldies shows constituted the majority of the program schedule. During the 1980s, FM 108 dayparted its programming between oldies and middle of the road music.
In its heyday, 'FM 108' was known for its personable oldies announcers. Each brought a unique character, special talent and inimitable style to the broadcast that held the audience captive in a bygone era of broadcasting. Some of the most memorable personalities include Glen Darling, Norman B., Steve Richards/Mortenson, Wes Atkinson, Burt Thombs, Clint Trueman, Jay Brown, Dale Patterson, webmaster for Rock Radio Scrapbook, as well the Shadow, Dave Terryberry, Larry Smith and of course the infamous Rockin Robin.
FM 108 began to phase out its oldies programming in the fall of 1989 with the addition of dance music programming ("Rhythm Radio") evenings and overnights; the station continued with its soft AC/MOR format during the rest of the day on weekdays, as "Daytime Lite and Rhythm at Nite." Oldies programming was relegated to Saturdays. The last oldies show on FM 108, hosted by Dale Patterson, aired on September 29, 1990. "Daytime Lite" ended in August 1991 and the dance format expanded to full-time (as Dance 108, and then to Energy 108 in the mid-90's).
Energy 108 era
In 1997, the station was acquired by Shaw Communications. Following the change in ownership, Energy's format shifted from dance music to mainstream CHR. Dance, rap, hip-hop, rock, and pop all received equal airplay. A minor name change also took place, with Energy 108 changing to Energy Radio. Under Shaw's ownership, several other stations in Ontario, including CKDK in Woodstock, CHAY in Barrie and CKGE in Oshawa, also adopted the Energy Radio format, rebroadcasting CING much of the day. Shaw's radio operations were, in turn, spun off to Corus Entertainment in 1999.
History of 95.3 FM pre-CING
In 1991, CJXY went on the air as "Y95.3" - a classic rock station that became a powerhouse in Southern Ontario. Danny Kingsbury was the architect of this new station as program director. Within 3 years, Y95 was beating sister station Q107 from Toronto in the ratings - a huge feat for a station from Hamilton, since Hamilton and Toronto are considered to be two separate markets according to the BBM ratings panel and the CRTC. At its peak, the morning show consisted of Jeff Lumby, Tedd Colbear and Todd Lewis. The afternoon drive team consisted of Scott Thompson, Lori Love (now at CHRE) and Dave Spragge. Eventually, new ownership decided to prop up Q107 by weakening Y95; the classic rock format was moved to the weaker 107.9 frequency.
Frequency switch; subsequent format changes
In 2001, CING and CJXY swapped frequencies. CING moved to its current 95.3 frequency, and CJXY took over 107.9. The frequency switch brought with it a change in the network's sound, with the mainstream CHR format making way for a hot adult contemporary format. With CING now available over a wider geographic area, the other stations dropped their CING simulcasts in 2002. The new format mirrored the format of Toronto's market leader 104.5 CHUM FM, which resulted in very low ratings.
On August 9, 2002, at 6 PM, the station dropped its troubled Hot AC format (and the "Energy" moniker), and began stunting with stand-up comedy bits. The final songs on "Energy" were "Rhythm is a Dancer" by Snap! and "Happy Trails" by Roy Rogers. On August 19, at 7 AM, the station flipped to country, branded as Country 95.3. The first song on "Country" was "Small Town Saturday Night" by Hal Ketchum.
On November 13, 2009, at 3 PM, CING switched formats from country to classic hits, branded as "Vinyl 95.3". The final song on "Country" was The Dance by Garth Brooks, while the first song on "Vinyl" was Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones. The station's playlist featured the greatest hits of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and was considered to be the first oldies/classic hits station in the GTA on FM after the CRTC permitted the oldies format to be heard full-time on FM for the first time. Locally, the station competed against AM station CKOC; after Christmas of that year, the station also competed against classic hits-formatted CHBM in Toronto, which lost their oldies outlet on 1050 CHUM, which flipped to a simulcast of CP24 in March of that year.
In its latter months, the station has broadened their playlist to include 1990s and current music. With this change, however, the station's ratings began to slide.
On April 10, 2013, at 9:53 AM, the station flipped formats back to Hot AC, now branded as 95.3 Fresh FM. The final song as "Vinyl" was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, while the first song as "Fresh" was Get The Party Started by P!nk. While the rest of the previous format's airstaff (including Toronto market veterans Bob Magee and Gord James) was let go, Darrin and Colleen remain in mornings with their producer Mike moving to evenings after a brief jockless period.
- Midnight-5:30am: Fresh Music
- 5:30am-9am: Darrin & Colleen
- 10:30am-3pm: Emily Szabo
- 3pm-7pm: Kelly Cutrara
- 7pm-12am: Mike Alfano
- Midnight-10am: Fresh Music
- 10am-4pm: Andrew Gerrior
- 4pm-6pm: Fresh Top 20 with Toni Ross
- 6pm-12am: All-Request House Party
- Midnight-12pm: Fresh Music
- 12pm-6pm: Andrew Gerrior
- 6pm-8pm: Fresh Top 20 with Toni Ross
- 8pm-Midnight: Fresh Music
In 2012, CING signed on HD Radio operations. Currently, their HD-2 subchannel is testing mostly with traffic and weather reports, as well as gas price reports. CING is the first Canadian radio station to utilize the technology. Multicultural station CJSA-FM in nearby Toronto signed on their HD technology in December 2013.
- Decision CRTC 86-434
- Decision CRTC 88-292
- Corus expands FRESH FM to Hamilton, Canadian Radio News - RWCRN, April 10, 2013
- 95.3 Fresh FM
- History of CING-FM from the Canadian Communications Foundation
- Project Dance: Remembering CING-FM
- FM 108 Remembered
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CING-FM