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ICI Radio-Canada Première.svg
CityWindsor, Ontario
Frequency1550 kHz (AM)
BrandingIci Radio-Canada Première
FormatFrench News/Talk
OwnerCanadian Broadcasting Corporation
Former frequencies
540 kHz (1970-2013)
Call sign meaning
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Essex County French
Technical information
Power10,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
42°12′56″N 82°55′15″W / 42.2156°N 82.9208°W / 42.2156; -82.9208

CBEF is a non-commercial AM radio station, broadcasting at 1550 kHz in Windsor, Ontario. It airs the programming of Radio-Canada's Première network.

CBEF is a Class A station broadcasting on the clear-channel frequency of 1550 AM, and is the only full power station on this frequency in Canada. Most clear channel stations broadcast at 50,000 watts, the maximum permitted for Canadian AM stations, but CBEF is powered at 10,000 watts. It uses a directional antenna, located off Talbot Road (Route 3) in Tecumseh, Ontario.[1] CBEF is also heard on three FM rebroadcasters in Southern Ontario.

CBEF was launched in 1970. It originally broadcast at AM 540, until taking over the 1550 frequency in 2013. The 1550 frequency was previously used by CBEF's English language sister station, but CBE converted to the FM band in 2013 (now CBEW-FM 97.5 MHz).


CBEF's local morning program is Matins sans frontières. The station also airs the regional afternoon program L'heure de pointe Toronto from CJBC in Toronto. On Saturday mornings, the station carries the province-wide morning program À échelle humaine. The province-wide program airs on CBON and CJBC, as well as CBEF. On all public holidays, the morning show Matins sans frontières airs as usual and the afternoon show Pas comme d'habitude is heard province-wide (except Ottawa).

In the CBC's programming cuts announced on March 26, 2009, almost all of CBEF's local programming was slated for cancellation, meaning that the station would become effectively a rebroadcaster of CJBC except for a skeleton staff of two anchors to present local news updates during the day and report on breaking news.[2] A local lobby group, "SOS-CBEF," organized to oppose the cutbacks.[2] The group's request for an injunction against the change was denied in July, due to the presiding judge ruling that she did not have the appropriate legal jurisdiction to issue an injunction.[3]

Matins sans frontières, a one-hour local morning program hosted by Charles Lévesque, was reinstated from September 7, 2010, and in May 2013 was expanded to two hours; as of summer 2015, it expanded to three hours. The station continues to rebroadcast CJBC in other local programming blocks.

At the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)'s license renewal for the CBC's services in 2013, the commission directed the network to maintain at least 15 hours per week of local programming on CBEF during the 2013-18 license term, due to the lack of other French-language radio services in Windsor.[4]


The station has a rebroadcast transmitter (CBEF-1-FM) in Leamington, on 103.1 FM. Due to AM reception issues in downtown Windsor, CBEF was also approved by the CRTC to operate a 620-watt rebroadcaster in Windsor at 105.5 MHz, provided that does not interfere with stations at or near this frequency, such as WQQO in Toledo, Ohio or WWCK-FM in Flint, Michigan. The call sign for the new rebroadcaster at 105.5 FM is CBEF-2-FM. As of April 1, 2012, CBEF-2-FM is on the air.

In May 2012, the CBC filed paperwork with the CRTC, seeking permission to move CBEF to CBE's previous transmitter and frequency of 1550 AM at 10,000 watts,[5] and to establish a low-powered FM rebroadcaster (CBEF-3-FM) at 98.3 MHz in Sarnia.[6] The change was requested due to concerns that rust may be affecting the now-obsolete 540 facility, and that nearby hydro electric lines were also affecting its signal. The move, as requested, was approved by the CRTC on October 16, 2012. The station was given until October 16, 2014, to either implement the move or request an extension beyond that date.[7] CBEF began simulcasting on 1550 AM in November 2012, with messages to listeners to switch over to the new frequency. The 540 transmitter was turned off a few weeks later.

Despite the Class A designation and a clear-channel frequency, CBEF broadcasts on a directional signal to the northeast, to protect another Class A clear channel station, XERUV Xalapa, Mexico, as well as smaller stations operating on that frequency (the closest being WLTI in New Castle, Indiana and WDLR in Delaware, Ohio).

On September 1, 2016, the CBC applied for permission to move the transmitter in Sarnia (CBEF-3-FM) from 98.3 to 101.5 MHz. The technical parameters for the move include a constant power of 1,886 watts and a height of 107.4 meters EHAAT on the same tower as CKCI-FM. This would improve the station's coverage throughout Sarnia and the immediate Port Huron area, though it may be subject to co-channel interference from WWBN from Flint, Michigan, in the fringes of its listening area to the west of Port Huron. The station would also become short-spaced to WRVF in Toledo, Ohio, also on 101.5, as well as CKNX-FM in Wingham, Ontario on 101.7 and CKOT-FM in Tillsonburg, Ontario on 101.3 MHz.[8] The CBC's application to move CBEF-3-FM to 101.5 MHz (with a change in power from 2320 to 1,886 watts) was approved on February 3, 2017.[9] On May 28, 2018, CBEF-3-FM moved to 101.5 MHz.


Rebroadcasters of CBEF
City of license Identifier Frequency Power Class RECNet CRTC Decision
Leamington CBEF-1-FM 103.1 FM 1,000 watts A Query
Windsor CBEF-2-FM 105.5 FM 620 watts A Query
Sarnia CBEF-3-FM 101.5 FM 1,886 watts A Query

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