|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Slogan||"#1 for Breaking News, Traffic and Weather. This is 680News Toronto." (top of the hour)
"#1 for news in Toronto. This is 680News." (bottom of the hour)
|Frequency||680 kHz (AM)|
|First air date||1962|
|Callsign meaning||Canada's First Ted Rogers|
|Former callsigns||CHFI (AM)|
|Former frequencies||1540 AM|
|Affiliations||Canadian Press, ABC Radio News, Bloomberg Radio|
(Rogers Media Inc.)
|Sister stations||Radio: CHFI-FM, CJCL, CKIS-FM
TV: CFMT-TV, CITY-TV, CJMT-TV
CFTR is a radio station serving the Greater Toronto Area. Owned by Rogers Media, it broadcasts an all-news format branded as 680 NEWS. CFTR's studios are located at the Rogers Building at Bloor and Jarvis in downtown Toronto, while its 8-tower transmitter array is located on the southern edge of Lake Ontario at Oakes and Winston Road (near the QEW and Casablanca Road) in Grimsby.
History of CFTR
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The station launched in 1962 on 1540 kHz as CHFI, simulcasting the beautiful music of CHFI-FM, one of Canada's first FM radio stations. Since 1540 was 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.
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 a new morning man named Jim Brady, to rival 1050 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 format in 1986.
Other announcers included Duke Roberts, Paul Godfrey, Dick Joseph, Peter "Red Knight" Thompson, Bobby Day, Rick Hunter, Tom Jeffries, George Hamburger, Bill Hayes, Steve Gregory, Dan Williamson, Bob Saint, Tom Rivers, Big "G" Glenn Walters and "Big Don" Biefer, among others. The newsroom was headed by Robert Holiday and included Larry Silver, John Wilson, Ted Bird, Clint Nickerson, Evelyn Macko and others.
The station also hired John Records Landecker from WLS in Chicago. Landecker spent two years at the station in the early 1980s. His dismal ratings caused the firing of the program director who hired him, Bill Gable.
On June 1, 1993, at 10 AM, CFTR announced they would be discontinuing their Top 40 format. After the announcement, the station began airing a jock-less countdown of "the top 500 songs of the (then) past 25 years" titled "The CFTR Story." At 6 AM 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. With the Toronto station's success, Rogers later expanded the format to stations in Vancouver (CKWX) in 1996, Calgary (CFFR) in 2006, and Ottawa (CIWW) in 2010.
In addition to these stations, Rogers owns news-talk stations in Kitchener (CKGL), Halifax (CJNI-FM), Saint John (CHNI-FM), and Moncton (CKNI-FM) (CHNI and CKNI have since been sold to different owners and flipped formats). All of these are branded similarly to the company's all-news stations, and use a similar all-news wheel during morning and afternoon drive.
As part of an ongoing promotion, 680News has a “guaranteed high” temperature for the day. The forecast is set in the morning and the “guaranteed high” is announced on all weather reports. Listeners can enter a contest on the station’s website, and if the forecast high and the actual recorded temperature at Pearson International Airport differ by 3 or more degrees (Celsius) a name will be drawn from a pool of listeners. The winning listener wins a jackpot (starting at $1,000) which is increased by $100 every day the station gets the temperature correct.
The largest jackpot for the weather guarantee was awarded on April 5, 2010 to Charmane Palmer. The station got the temperature correct (within the parameters of the contest) 286 days consecutively, making the jackpot total $35,200 (additional funds were added to the prize during the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics).
- Teresa Kruze - now host on CTS and columnist with Metronews Toronto
- Michael Hainsworth - business reporter with CTV Toronto
- Chris Mavridis - Former CBS News correspondent, now show creator and head writer at Discovery Channel
- Rick Ralph - sports reporter moved from Toronto and now Winnipeg Jets game day host on TSN Radio 1290
- Rob Valentine, morning traffic reporter (2011-2016)