CBAF-FM is a French-language Canadian radio station located in Moncton, New Brunswick. The station has an ad-free news/talk format and is the flagship of the Ici Radio-Canada Première network for Atlantic Canada. CBAF is owned and operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and broadcasts on 88.5 MHz.
CBAF was launched in 1954, the first French-language radio station for the Moncton area at AM 1300 kHz. In 1980, the station was granted a rebroadcaster on FM at 88.5 MHz, to offset AM radio reception problems in the Moncton area. The CBC operated both transmitters until 1988, when the AM transmitter was discontinued and the FM transmitter became the station's primary frequency.
The construction of a new CBC station in Moncton was started in 1953 at an expected cost of $450,000.
CBAF 1300 kHz went on the air on February 20, 1954. Studios and offices were then located at St. George Street in the former Assomption Building, a four storey structure built in 1955 by the Société l’Assomption (It is to be noted not to confuse the former Assomption Building with the current Place Assomption on Main Street in Moncton). Today known as the Maison Commerce House, it overlooks St. George and Archibald Streets. The premiere French-language radio station for the Atlantic region, CBAF offered programming from the CBC's French-language network headquarters in Montreal, QC. Its call letters signifies C BAtlantique Francais.
In 1957, CBAF 1300 kHz had a radiated power of 5,000 watts and used a single directional antenna pattern. The transmitter was located in the nearby village of Saint Anselme. In 1968, a regional French-language production centre was set up at the Moncton studios.
In 1970, CBAF with its Radio-Canada television station CBAFT-TV, and the CBC English-language counterpart CBA 1070 kHz relocated to their new studios and offices on Archibald Street (today known as University Avenue) beside the Hôtel-Dieu de l’Assomption Hospital, which was renamed the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Regional Hospital by the Government of New Brunswick in 1967.
April 10, 1980 saw an FM rebroadcaster at Moncton (CBAF-26-FM) on 88.5 MHz to duplicate the programming of CBAF-AM. The duplicate channel was needed in order to offset severe night-time coverage deficiencies of the AM signal and to improve the reception of the station in outlying areas. CBAF-AM was to have gone silent by November 1, 1985 but the CBC kept it going until the plug was finally pulled in 1988. In the end, CBAF-AM operated on 1300 kHz with a power of 5,000 watts (single directional pattern). CBAF-26-FM operated on 88.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts. The FM repeater became CBAF-FM, following the closure of the AM signal.
The Radio-Canada network was renamed "Première Chaîne" on September 1, 1997, later becoming "Ici Radio-Canada Première" in August 2013.
The station produces a morning drive show (Le Réveil, Monday to Thursday from 6 to 9 a.m.), and an afternoon drive program, L'heure de pointe Acadie, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m; the latter is also heard on stations in other Maritimes provinces. Other programs exclusive to the Maritimes region are Format Libre, weekdays 9 a.m to 10 a.m and again from 12 Midnight to 1 a.m., and L'heure juste, from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. All other programs on the national schedule are aired live, with separate times given for Atlantic Time; promotional trailers for national programs give the broadcast time as one hour later (for example- "neuf heures, Maritimes dix heures"). A national program that it is normally heard at 7 p.m. local time in other time zones - Bien dans son assiette , is heard at 6 p.m. instead, to enable its nightly news program, L'heure du monde to be heard live at 6 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. AT.; it is also the only time that Bien dans son assiette is heard, as it is pre-empted at 12 Noon for L'heure juste (in other areas, the evening broadcast is the repeat from the late-morning broadcast).
CBAF-FM-5 in Halifax and CBAF-FM-15 in Charlottetown were once satellites of CBAF, but are now stations in their own right despite retaining rebroadcaster-like callsigns. CBAF-FM-5 and CBAF-FM-15 officially became separately licensed in 1987 and 1994 respectively.