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Cbc radio one vancouver.svg
City Vancouver, British Columbia
Broadcast area South Coast
Branding CBC Radio One
Frequency 690 kHz (AM)
First air date 1925
Format public broadcasting
Power 50,000 watts
Class B
Transmitter coordinates 49°08′19″N 123°11′56″W / 49.138744°N 123.198774°W / 49.138744; -123.198774 (CBU 690 Vancouver)
Callsign meaning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation VancoUver
Former callsigns CNRV (1925-1933)
CRCV (1933-1936)
CBR (1936-1951)
Former frequencies 1100 kHz (1925-1941)
1130 kHz (1941-1952)
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Webcast Listen live
Website CBC British Columbia

CBU is a Canadian radio station, which airs the programming of the CBC Radio One network, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The station broadcasts on 690 AM (a clear channel frequency) and on 88.1 FM as CBU-2-FM. CBU's newscasts and local shows are also heard on a chain of CBC stations around the Lower Mainland.

CBU's studios and offices are in the CBC Regional Broadcast Centre on Hamilton Street in Downtown Vancouver. The AM transmitter is in the Steveston section of Richmond, British Columbia and the FM transmitter is on Mount Seymour. CBU transmits at 50,000 watts, the highest power authorized by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), allowing it to be heard throughout Metro Vancouver and around the British Columbia Coast. But because CKGM Montreal is the dominant class A station on 690, CBU must use a directional signal to avoid causing interference.


The station was launched in 1925 as CNRV The Voice of the Pacific on 1100 AM, owned by the Canadian National Railway radio network.[1] CNRV was acquired by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission in 1933, becoming CRCV. In 1936, the CBC was created, taking over the CRBC's operations, and CRCV became CBR. The station moved to 1130 in 1941 (see Canadian allocations changes under NARBA), and to 690 in 1952 when the call sign was changed to its current CBU. Power was increased from 10,000 watts to its present 50,000 watts in 1967 with a transmitter site move to the Steveston shoreline.

In 1947, an FM simulcast was launched on CBU-FM. Distinct programming on the FM station was aired for the first time in 1964.

In early 2008, the CRTC approved CBU's application for a simulcast of its programming on the FM band.[2] On October 10, 2008, CBU began testing its FM simulcast on 88.1 FM as CBU-2-FM with an effective radiated power of 19,500 watts, and it officially signed on soon after. Around the same time, the CBC also applied to broadcast on separate transmitters into Nanaimo, as well as the Sunshine Coast, with the intent to shut down the AM transmitter on 690 kHz if approved. The CRTC denied these other two transmitters due to the lack of available frequencies in the region.

Among Radio One stations on the AM dial around Canada, CBU serves the largest area of population, since CBM Montreal became CBME-FM in 1998, followed by CBL Toronto's move to FM in 1999 as CBLA-FM.

In 2011, CBC applied to the CRTC to increase the coverage area of CBU-2-FM's transmitter. CBC has proposed to increase the height of the antenna and to increase the ERP to 97,600 watts. The ability of increasing the signal coverage area is made possible by the fact that CHEK-DT in Victoria moved from channel 6 to 49, as part of the over-the-air digital television transition. This CBC transmitter application was approved September 13, 2012.[3]

Shortwave relay[edit]

By 1946, CBR operated a shortwave relay for remote areas of British Columbia using the call sign CBRX and operating on a frequency of 6160 kHz (in the 49m band). The call sign changed to CBUX in 1952 when the AM station became CBU.

In 1965, the call sign changed to CKZU, recognizing that the ITU prefix CB was not assigned to Canada, but to Chile. The transmitter operates at 1000 watts and is located adjacent to CBU's AM transmitter.

In February 2017, it was announced that CKZU will unlikely to return to shortwave. The CBC stated that the transmitter was in state of disrepair with no replacement parts available due to aging equipment. Purchasing a new transmitter would be too costly due to the minimal number of listeners who tune into the facility.[4][5]

Local programming[edit]

CBU's local programs are The Early Edition in the morning and On the Coast in the afternoon. CBU also originates the lunch-hour show BC Almanac as well as the weekend programs North By Northwest in the morning and Hot Air on Saturday afternoons. These shows (except for The Early Edition) are broadcast province-wide to Radio One's stations in Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince Rupert and Prince George, as well as their respective rebroadcasters.


Rebroadcasters of CBU
City of license Identifier Frequency Power Class RECNet CRTC Decision Notes
Abbotsford CBU-1-FM 88.5 FM 7400 watts B1 Query 2007-348 2010-298 49°3′8″N 122°14′58″W / 49.05222°N 122.24944°W / 49.05222; -122.24944 (CBU-1-FM 88.5 Abbotsford)
Moved to 88.5 from 101.7 on August 10, 2011.
Chilliwack CBYF-FM 91.7 FM 500 watts A Query 49°6′35″N 121°50′52″W / 49.10972°N 121.84778°W / 49.10972; -121.84778 (CBYF-FM 91.7 Chilliwack)
Harrison Hot Springs CBYH-FM 96.7 FM 90 watts A1 Query 49°17′37″N 121°46′40″W / 49.29361°N 121.77778°W / 49.29361; -121.77778 (CBYH-FM 96.7 Harrison Hot Springs)
Hope CBUE-FM 101.7 FM 105 watts A1 Query 49°23′14″N 121°25′21″W / 49.38722°N 121.42250°W / 49.38722; -121.42250 (CBUE-FM 101.7 Hope)
Pemberton CBU-3-FM 91.5 FM 262 watts A Query 50°19′39″N 122°49′20″W / 50.32750°N 122.82222°W / 50.32750; -122.82222 (CBU-3-FM 91.5 Pemberton)
Squamish CBRU-FM 98.3 FM 3,000 watts A Query 84-282 2006-275 2002-432 49°46′24″N 123°7′44″W / 49.77333°N 123.12889°W / 49.77333; -123.12889 (CBRU-FM 98.3 Squamish)
Originally 1350 AM, then 1260, then 1270.
Whistler CBYW-FM 100.1 FM 500 watts A Query 50°4′45″N 123°1′4″W / 50.07917°N 123.01778°W / 50.07917; -123.01778 (CBYW-FM 100.1 Whistler)

CBU's signal on 690 AM also directly broadcasts to Nanaimo and Gibsons.

Former CBU personalities[edit]

  • Anne Petrie, former host of CBU radio program 3's Company.
  • Rick Cluff, former host of CBU radio program The Early Edition.


  1. ^ "CBU-AM History of Canadian Broadcasting". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-252". CRTC. September 5, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-494". CRTC. September 13, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  4. ^ Dave Zantow. "CKZU unlikely to return to shortwave". The Swling Post. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  5. ^ "No more CBU on shortwave". Radiowest.ca. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 

External links[edit]

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