CFTR (AM)

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CFTR
CityNews logo.svg
Broadcast areaGreater Toronto Area
Frequency680 kHz
BrandingCityNews 680
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatAll-news radio
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
August 8, 1962
(59 years ago)
 (1962-08-08)
Former call signs
CHFI (1962–71)
Former names
680 News
Former frequencies
1540 kHz (1962–66)
Call sign meaning
Canada's First, Ted Rogers[1]
Technical information
Licensing authority
CRTC
ClassB
Power50,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
43°12′51″N 79°36′31″W / 43.21417°N 79.60861°W / 43.21417; -79.60861 (CFTR)
Repeater(s)92.5 CKIS-HD2 (Toronto)
Links
WebcastListen live
WebsiteCitynews680

CFTR CityNews 680 (formerly 680 News AM) is a commercial all-news radio station licensed to Toronto, Ontario, serving the Greater Toronto Area. Owned by the Rogers Sports & Media subsidiary of Rogers Communications, the station became Canada's first solo station to broadcast an all-news radio format, following in the footsteps of the CKO national all-news radio network, a format that has since been replicated in major markets across the country. The CFTR studios are located at the Rogers Building at Bloor and Jarvis Streets in downtown Toronto, while the station transmitter is located on the southern edge of Lake Ontario at Oakes and Winston Road (near the QEW and Casablanca Road) in nearby Grimsby.[2]

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. In addition to a standard analog transmission, CFTR is simulcast on the second HD digital subchannel of CKIS-FM, and is available online. CityNews 680 is also simulcast on Bell Satellite TV channel 958.[3]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The station launched on August 8, 1962.[4] 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 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.[5]

First CFTR logo as a top 40 station.
Broadcast towers in Grimsby, Ontario

In 1971, so as to distinguish itself from CHFI-FM, the station changed its call letters to CFTR; the "TR" being a tribute to Ted Rogers, Sr., radio pioneer and father of controlling shareholder Ted Rogers.[1]

In 1972, CFTR 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, CHUM.[5]

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 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.[6][7][8]

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.[5]

All-news era[edit]

680 News logo (2017-2021)

Through the 1980s and 1990s, music listeners switched to FM, prompting AM stations like CFTR to find non-music formats. On June 1, 1993, at 10 a.m., CFTR announced it would be discontinuing the Top 40 format,[9] and began broadcasting a 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.

The station offers listeners a "weather guarantee" jackpot, which is drawn from a pool of listeners who enter the contest.[citation needed]

In June 2021, Rogers announced that it would rebrand CFTR and its other all-news and news/talk radio stations under the CityNews brand.[10] The rebranding took effect on October 18, 2021.[11][12]

Notable staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Van Hasselt, Caroline (2010). High Wire Act: Ted Rogers and the Empire that Debt Built. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons. p. 99. ISBN 9780470739747.
  2. ^ Rossiter, Eric (September 3, 1979). "CFTR Move Gets Approval" (PDF). DX News.
  3. ^ "None" (PDF).
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-249
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "CFTR-AM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". www.broadcasting-history.ca.
  6. ^ Rock image fades as CHUM goes upmarket, Henry Mietkiewicz, Toronto Star, June 6, 1986
  7. ^ CHUM ends teen rock image to woo baby boomers, Henry Mietkiewicz, Toronto Star, June 7, 1986
  8. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/1980s/1986/RR-1986-06-13.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ CFTR dumps pop music to launch day-long news, Greg Quill, Toronto Star, June 2, 1993
  10. ^ "Rogers extends CityNews brand to five more of its news radio stations". Medicine Hat News. The Canadian Press. June 4, 2021. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "CityNews". toronto.citynews.ca.
  12. ^ "CityNews". toronto.citynews.ca.
  13. ^ "TheStar.com | HtoM | Bob McAdorey, 69: DJ led heady days at CHUM". Toronto Star. February 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-02-24.
  14. ^ "CFMJ-AM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". www.broadcasting-history.ca.
  15. ^ "Rick Moranis | the Canadian Encyclopedia".
  16. ^ "CFTR-AM | History of Canadian Broadcasting".

External links[edit]