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Broadcast areaGolden Horseshoe
Frequency99.1 MHz (FM) (HD Radio)
BrandingCBC Radio One
FormatPublic radio/News/Talk
SubchannelsHD2: CBL-FM simulcast
OwnerCanadian Broadcasting Corporation
First air date
March 5, 1928 (as CKGW 980 AM)
Former call signs
CKGW (1928–1932)
CRCT (1932–1937)
CBL (1937–1999)
Former frequencies
910 kHz (AM) (1928–1929)
690 kHz (1929)
960 kHz (1929–1931, 1933-1934)
840 kHz (1931–1933; 1934-1941)
740 kHz (1941–1999)
Call sign meaning
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Great Lakes A[1]
Technical information
Licensing authority
ERP55,100 watts (average)
98,000 watts (peak)
HAAT303.7 metres (996 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
43°38′56″N 79°22′54″W / 43.64889°N 79.38167°W / 43.64889; -79.38167
WebcastListen Live
WebsiteCBC Toronto

CBLA-FM (99.1 MHz) is a non-commercial radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Owned and operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the station is the flagship station of the CBC Radio One network, broadcasting a mix of news and talk. In addition to the Toronto market, CBLA also reaches much of Central Ontario with a network of twelve rebroadcasters. The studios are in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.

CBLA-FM has an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 55,100 watts, peaking at 98,000 watts. The transmitter is atop First Canadian Place, at King and Bay Streets.[2] It uses a directional antenna to avoid interference with stations in the U.S. Besides a standard analog transmission, CBLA streams its programming online.


CKGW and CBL[edit]

CBLA's origins date back to March 5, 1928. That was the official sign on of CKGW at 910 AM, a commercial station owned by Gooderham and Worts, with studios at the King Edward Hotel.[3] However, Gooderham & Worts had been operating the station on an experimental basis from as early as 1925.[4]

Due to the instability of frequency allocations in North America at the time, the station's dial position changed several times over the next number of years, to 960, 690 and finally clear channel 840. In 1932, the station was leased by the CBC's predecessor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission. It used the call sign CRCT until 1937, when the station was purchased outright by the CBC and adopted the call letters CBL. It moved to a new transmitter facility in rural Hornby. The 650 ft guyed mast that the station transmitted from was for many years the tallest structure in all of Canada.[5]

740 AM[edit]

With North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, the station moved to 740 kHz. Its former channel, now 860 kHz, went to CFRB (which would relocate to 1010 kHz in 1947), while the 840 kHz clear channel was relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, where it was taken by WHAS. (See Canadian allocations changes under NARBA.)

Between 1938 and 1943, CBL had a rebroadcaster, CBY, to supplement coverage in Toronto. CBY broadcast on 960 kHz, switching to 1420 in 1939 and then to 1010 in 1941. CBY is now CJBC 860, Toronto's Ici Radio-Canada Première French language station.

99.1 FM[edit]

In 1946, CBL-FM was launched, bringing the CBC's FM network (now known as CBC Music) to Toronto. It originally broadcast on the same 99.1 MHz frequency now used by CBLA, but moved to 94.1 in 1966. 99.1 was vacant until 1977, when it was assigned to the CKO radio network. CKO ceased operations in 1989, and the frequency was again vacant until it was assigned to CBLA.

CBL established a large low-power relay transmitter (LPRT) network in Northern and Central Ontario during the 1950s and '60s. These transmitters, all on AM frequencies, mainly rebroadcast the CBL signal but also offered some separate regional programming directed towards the regions served by the LPRT network in place of some local Toronto programming. One example of this was the daily Northern Ontario Report, which aired in the late afternoon. Most of these LPRT network transmitters now rebroadcast CBCS in Sudbury or CBQT in Thunder Bay. Some of these transmitters have switched to FM as well, or have been shut down as FM transmitters covering areas served by multiple AM transmitters have signed on.

In 1997, CBL applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for conversion to FM. 740's daytime signal easily covered Buffalo, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio. It was also powerful enough to serve as the CBC outlet for the Waterloo Region as well. Its nighttime signal reached much of the eastern half of North America (including three-fourths of Canada). However, radio frequency interference made the station nearly unlistenable in some parts of downtown Toronto. In a controversial decision, the CBC was awarded the 99.1 frequency[6] over Milestone Radio, which had applied to open an urban music station, and which would have been the first station operating under that format in Canada, to serve the city's large black community. Adding to the controversy of the CBC being awarded a station on the FM band in the country's biggest market, 99.1 was believed at the time to be the last available FM frequency in the city. On April 19, 1998, the new FM signal signed on for the first time, and began simulcasting CBL.

On June 18, 1999, the station completed its move to FM, adopting the CBLA call letters. CBL 740 remained in operation for an additional day, broadcasting a recorded loop listing alternative FM frequencies for any remaining listeners. The final announcement ran thus:

This is CBC Radio One, broadcasting from the Hornby transmitter at 740 AM. In the Toronto area, we will now move to 99.1 FM, with additional frequencies throughout southern Ontario. This transmitter has served the community well since 1937, and has been at 740 AM since 1941. This is the end of an era in Canadian broadcasting history. Now, signing off, from CBL, adieu.

— Philip Savage, CBC Communications department[7]

Relay transmitters and HD Radio[edit]

The CBC subsequently surrendered two relay transmitters outside the city which duplicated the CBLA signal. In 2000, the CRTC awarded one of the new frequencies thereby available in Toronto to Milestone, which launched CFXJ in 2001, and the other to the Aboriginal Voices Radio Network, launching CFIE-FM in 2002; that frequency later became home to CFPT-FM. The Hornby transmitter was leased to the new occupant of 740, CHWO, in 2001. That station is now known as full-service oldies station CFZM.

The CBC Jarvis Street Tower site was demolished in 2002 to make way for the RadioCity condominium development.

On October 4, 2021, CBLA added HD Radio operations, as part of upgrades in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Local programming[edit]

The station's local morning program is Metro Morning, and Toronto's most popular radio show in the ratings since 2004.[8] It has been hosted by David Common since October 16, 2023.[9] Here and Now, hosted by Gill Deacon since September 2013, airs in the afternoon slot.[10] On weekend mornings the station produces Fresh Air, hosted by Ismaila Alfa and heard throughout Ontario. Saturday afternoons the station broadcasts an arts and culture magazine, Big City, Small World, hosted by Mariel Borelli.

The station also produces a second morning program, Ontario Morning, which airs on most of the network's transmitters in Southern Ontario outside of the Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, London and Windsor metropolitan areas. Ontario Morning is currently hosted by Ramraajh Sharvendiran. Similarly, the aforementioned Big City, Small World is replaced by CBLA-FM-2 Kitchener-Waterloo's In the Key of C (formerly CBO-FM Ottawa's Bandwidth until its cancellation) on all of the station's rebroadcasters outside Toronto.

Since October 2005, Here and Now has begun at 3 p.m. on CBLA's main transmitter in Toronto, unlike most CBC Radio One stations whose local afternoon programs begin at 4 p.m. However, the station's rebroadcast transmitters outside of Toronto air regular CBC network programming for the first hour and join Here and Now in progress at 4.

CBLA's rebroadcaster in Crystal Beach, which serve areas within commuting distance of Toronto, normally air Metro Morning instead of Ontario Morning, but otherwise abides by the schedule used by other rebroadcasters – it carries neither the 3 p.m. hour of Here and Now, nor any other specially-scheduled programming specific to the Toronto area. (For example, special weekend editions of Metro Morning aired on CBLA during the 2010 G20 Toronto summit; however, the Crystal Beach and Paris transmitters carried a morning show originating from Ottawa, as did CBLA's other rebroadcasters outside Toronto.)

In September 2011, the CBC announced plans to launch a new local radio service for the Kitchener-Waterloo area beginning in fall 2012, re-using the existing transmitter, CBLA-FM-2 (89.1 FM) in Paris.[11][12] On November 7, 2012, the CBC applied to the CRTC to convert CBLA-FM-2 to a self-sustaining FM radio station, which would carry national CBC Radio One programs, along with a minimum of 12 hours and 30 minutes a week of local programming.[13] The new station commenced programming on March 11, 2013,[14] but was later forced to resume rebroadcaster-only service in April, due to a misunderstanding of the application details and the conditions of the repeater license.[15] The new station received full approval from the CRTC on April 25, 2013.[16] Prior to its sign-on, CBLA-FM-2 carried the same schedule as the provincial CBLA feed, apart from Metro Morning (Kitchener-Waterloo, like Crystal Beach, is also within commuting distance of Toronto).


CBLA-FM has the following rebroadcasters.

Rebroadcasters of CBLA-FM
City of license Identifier Frequency Power Class RECNet CRTC Decision
Bancroft CBLA-FM-5 99.3 FM 269 watts A Query 2014-488
Crystal Beach CBLA-FM-1 90.5 FM 319 watts A Query 98-428
Haliburton CBLY-FM 92.3 FM 50 watts LP Query 89-765
Huntsville CBLU-FM 94.3 FM 70,000 watts C1 Query 92-783
Maynooth CBOD-FM 89.3 FM 110 watts A1 Query 89-612
Orillia CBCO-FM 91.5 FM 5,200 watts B Query 88-487
Owen Sound CBCB-FM 98.7 FM 100,000 watts C1 Query
Parry Sound CBLR-FM 89.9 FM 180 watts A1 Query 92-783
Penetanguishene CBCM-FM 89.7 FM 2,800 watts A Query 98-27
Peterborough CBCP-FM 98.7 FM 10,170 watts B Query 98-516
Shelburne CBLA-FM-4 102.5 FM 2,600 watts A Query 2001-157
Wingham CBLA-FM-3 100.9 FM 11,800 watts B Query 99-192

In the 1970s, the CRTC approved the CBC's application to change the frequency of CBOD Maynooth from 1230 kHz to 1400 kHz and later moved to 89.3 MHz in 1989.[17]

In 1986, the CRTC approved the CBC's application to change the frequency of CBLY Haliburton from 710 kHz to 1400 kHz[18] and later moved to 92.3 MHz in 1989.

On December 2, 1998, the CRTC approved the CBC's application to change the frequency for CBCP-FM Peterborough from 93.5 MHz to 98.7 MHz.[19] CBCP-FM originally signed on in Peterborough at 93.5 FM in 1980.

On July 4, 2014, the CBC submitted an application to convert CBLV Bancroft from 600 kHz to 99.3 MHz; this was approved on September 23, 2014.[20] In March 2015, the call sign CBLA-FM-5 was chosen for the new FM transmitter to replace CBLV.[21][22] CBLV was one of the last AM low-power relay transmitters to rebroadcast CBLA-FM Toronto.

Former rebroadcasters[edit]

  • Kitchener-Waterloo - CBLA-FM-2 89.1 - A former repeater of CBLA-FM what is now a local CBC Radio One outlet serving the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

Shortwave relay (VE9GW/CRCX)[edit]

Frequency6.095 MHz
11.81 MHz
24.38 MHz
Formatshortwave radio
NetworkCRBC (1933–36)
CBC (1936–38)
OwnerGooderham & Worts (1930–36)
CBC (1936–38)
First air date
April 1930
Last air date
Former call signs
VE9GW (1930–35)
Call sign meaning
Canadian Radio Commission-X

Gooderham & Worts opened an experimental shortwave radio station in April 1930 with the call letters VE9GW. Listed as being located at Bowmanville, Ontario, at CKGW's transmitter site, it relayed CKGW programming on 6095 kHz to northern Ontario, northern Manitoba and the Canadian Arctic. While mostly relaying programming from CKGW, it would also air a regular specialty programme for DXers in the International Short Wave Club. After switching to a new transmitter in the winter of 1930-1931, the station boosted its power to 200 watts from 25 Watts and it could be received as far away as Europe, South Africa, and New Zealand on either 6.095 or 11.81 MHz, and would later broadcast on 24.38 MHz, as well. In 1932, the station's power increased to 500 watts. From 1933 to 1936, CKGW and VE9GW were leased from Gooderham & Worts by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which used the station as one of the broadcasters of Northern Messenger, a mailbag programme aimed at listeners in the Far North, which the CBC would continue to air into the 1970s. CKGW became CRCT and, in 1935, VE9GW's call letters changed to CRCX. In 1937, both stations were purchased by the new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CRCT became CBL and CRCX was closed down in 1938. The station mostly broadcast on 6.095 MHz but, at various times, transmitted on 11.81 or 24.38 MHz.[23][24][25][26][27]

Former callsigns[edit]

CBLA is a former callsign of a defunct CBC radio transmitter in Atikokan, as well as the defunct CBLR in Red Rock that now belongs to CBLA's rebroadcaster in Parry Sound.


  1. ^ Meaning of call letters
  2. ^ FCCdata.org/CBLA-FM
  3. ^ "CKGW: Canada's Cheerio Station". City of Toronto. 2017-11-23. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  4. ^ History of CRCT (CKGW) - Canadian Communications Foundation
  5. ^ http://www.nydxa.info/archive/1999/NYDXA0899.PDF [bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ Decision CRTC 97-362
  7. ^ Fybush, Scott (1999-06-19). "CBL, Adieu". Archived from the original (MP3 audio news story) on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  8. ^ Renhart, Anthony, "Andy Barrie battles Parkinson's; Popular CBC radio host comes out ‘as a guy with a disability'", Globe and Mail, June 29, 2007
  9. ^ Kevin Jiang, "Veteran journalist David Common taking over as new host of CBC Radio's Metro Morning". Toronto Star, October 4, 2023.
  10. ^ "Gill Deacon named host of Here and Now". CBC News, May 31, 2013.
  11. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2011-09-26). "CBC to introduce new local service to Kitchener-Waterloo". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  12. ^ Rubinoff, Joel (2011-09-27). "CBC to expand radio and internet presence in Kitchener and Waterloo by fall 2012". Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
  13. ^ Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-616, CRTC, November 7, 2012
  14. ^ "CBC launches new Waterloo Region station March 11". CBC News, January 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "CBC temporarily takes KW morning show off air". CBC News. 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  16. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-203, English-language FM radio station in Paris and licence amendment for CBLA-FM Toronto, CRTC, April 25, 2013
  17. ^ The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, on October 18, 1975 · Page 47 Decision CRTC 78-473
  18. ^ Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) (1986-10-01). "ARCHIVED - Licence amendment - CBLY Haliburton". crtc.gc.ca. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  19. ^ Decision CRTC 98-516, Change in frequency and power decrease for CBCP-FM, CRTC, December 2, 1998
  20. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-488, CBLA-FM Toronto - New transmitter in Bancroft, CRTC, September 23, 2014
  21. ^ Canadian Radio News recap for February, 2015 Archived 2016-09-15 at the Wayback Machine (under call letter data), airchecker.ca, March 1, 2015
  22. ^ CBC Radio station list Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine - Ontario, dxinfocentre.com
  23. ^ "Canadian Experimental Station VE9GW" (PDF). World-Radio. August 26, 1932. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  24. ^ "Apex Radio Stations Worldwide". Wavescan. Adventist World Radio. August 16, 2009.
  25. ^ https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-Site-Early-Radio/Archive-Radio-News-IDX/IDX/30s/33/Radio-News-1933-11-R-OCR-Page-0030.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  26. ^ Berg, Jerome S. (2013). The Early Shortwave Stations: A Broadcasting History Through 1945. McFarland. pp. 37, 76, 93, 95, 96, 120, 147, 166, 286. ISBN 978-0786474110. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  27. ^ "The Canadian Northern Messenger Service". Wavescan. Adventist World Radio. March 4, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2020.

External links[edit]