CFTR (AM)

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CFTR
680News 2015 Logo.png
City Toronto, Ontario
Broadcast area Greater Toronto Area
Branding 680 News
Slogan #1 for Breaking News, Traffic and Weather
Frequency 680 kHz (AM)
First air date August 8, 1962
Format All-news
Power 50,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 380
Transmitter coordinates 43°12′51″N 79°36′31″W / 43.21417°N 79.60861°W / 43.21417; -79.60861 (CFTR)
Callsign meaning Canada's First Ted Rogers
Former callsigns CHFI
Former frequencies 1540 AM
Affiliations Canadian Press
ABC Radio News
Bloomberg Radio
Owner Rogers Media
(Rogers Media, Inc.)
Sister stations Radio: CHFI-FM, CJCL, CKIS-FM
TV: CFMT-TV, CITY-TV, CJMT-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website 680NEWS.com

CFTR (680 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station serving the Greater Toronto Area. Owned by Rogers Media, it broadcasts an all-news radio format branded as 680 News.

CFTR's studios are located at the Rogers Building at Bloor and Jarvis in downtown Toronto, while its 8-tower transmitter array is located on the southern edge of Lake Ontario at Oakes and Winston Road (near the QEW and Casablanca Road) in Grimsby. While CFTR broadcasts at the maximum power for Canadian AM stations, 50,000 watts, it must use a complicated directional antenna system to avoid interfering with other stations on 680 AM.

History of CFTR[edit]

The station launched on August 8, 1962.[1] Its original frequency was 1540 kHz, using the call letters CHFI, simulcasting the beautiful music of sister station CHFI-FM, one of Canada's first FM radio stations. Because AM 1540 is a clear-channel frequency assigned to stations in the United States and the Bahamas, CHFI was authorized to broadcast only during the daytime. In 1963, it sought to pay CHLO in St. Thomas, Ontario to move from 680 to another frequency, to free up 680 for CHFI's use. No deal was finalized, but, by 1966, the stations reached an agreement to share 680, and CHFI moved to 24-hour operation at that frequency.

First CFTR logo as a Top-40 station.

In 1971, it changed its call letters to CFTR, with the TR a tribute to Ted Rogers, Sr., radio pioneer and father of controlling shareholder Ted Rogers.

In 1972, it abandoned the beautiful music simulcast of CHFI and adopted a Top 40 format. For many years, it was the primary competition to Toronto's original Top 40 station, 1050 CHUM.

In 1973, programmer Chuck Camroux upped the ante in the Toronto radio "Rock and Roll Wars" by tweaking CFTR's notoriously bad signal, adding some reverb, and hiring new morning man Jim Brady to rival 1050 CHUM's Jay Nelson. Both stations hovered near one million listeners per week. Although Brady finally topped Nelson in the ratings in 1979, over-all, CFTR didn't surpass CHUM in the Toronto BBM ratings until 1984. Once CFTR gained ratings supremacy, CHUM dropped Top 40 in favour of an adult contemporary music format in 1986.

CFTR also hired John Records Landecker from WLS in Chicago in 1981. Landecker spent two years at the station before returning to Chicago to work at WLUP.

Other announcers included Duke Roberts, Paul Godfrey, Dick Joseph, Peter "Red Knight" Thompson, Bobby Day, Rick Hunter, Bill Gable, Tom Jeffries, George Hamburger, Bill Hayes, Steve Gregory, Dan Williamson, Bob Saint, Tom Rivers, Bob Callahan, Mike Cooper, Big "G" Glenn Walters and "Big Don" Biefer, among others. The newsroom was headed by Robert Holiday and included Larry Silver, John Wilson, Ted Bird, Clint Nickerson, Evelyn Macko and others.

Through the 1980s and 90s, more music listening switched to FM, prompting AM stations to find non-music formats. On June 1, 1993, at 10 a.m., CFTR announced it would be discontinuing the Top 40 format.[2] After the announcement, the station began airing a jockless countdown of "the top 500 songs of the (then) past 25 years" titled "The CFTR Story." At 6 a.m. on June 7, after playing Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" (which was the #1 song in the countdown) and Starship's "We Built This City" (which also ended CHUM's Top 40 era in 1986), CFTR adopted its present all-news format. It was the first all-news radio station in Canada since the end of the former CKO network in 1989. With the Toronto station's success, Rogers later expanded the format to stations in Vancouver (CKWX) in 1996, Calgary (CFFR) in 2006, and Ottawa (CIWW) in 2010.

CFTR's first logo as 680 News, used from 1993-2015.

In addition to these stations, Rogers owns news-talk stations in Kitchener (CKGL) and Halifax (CJNI-FM), and formerly did so in Saint John (CHNI-FM), and Moncton (CKNI-FM) (The latter two stations have since been sold to different owners and flipped formats). All of these are branded similarly to the company's all-news stations, and use a similar all-news wheel during morning and afternoon drive.

Weather guarantee[edit]

As part of an promotion, 680 News had a contest with a “guaranteed high” temperature for the day. The forecast was set in the morning and the “guaranteed high” was announced on all weather reports. Listeners would enter the contest on the station’s website, and if the forecast high and the actual recorded temperature at Pearson International Airport differed by 3 or more degrees (Celsius]) a name was drawn from a pool of listeners. The winning listener won a jackpot (starting at $1,000) which was increased by $100 every day the station got the temperature correct.

The largest jackpot for the weather guarantee was awarded on April 5, 2010 to Charmane Palmer. The station got the temperature correct (within the parameters of the contest) 286 days consecutively, making the jackpot total $35,200. Aadditional funds were added to the prize during the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics.[3]

Notable personalities[edit]

Past[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]