|Slogan||Toronto's Perfect Music Mix|
|First air date||February 1, 1957|
|HAAT||420.5 meters (1,380 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Canada Hi-FIdelity|
|Owner||Rogers Media |
(Rogers Media, Inc.)
|Sister stations||Radio: CFTR, CJCL, CKIS-FM|
TV: CFMT-DT, CITY-DT, CJMT-DT
CHFI-FM (98.1 MHz) is a commercial radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Owned by Rogers Media, it broadcasts an adult contemporary music format. CHFI's studios and offices are located at the Rogers Building on the northwest corner of Bloor and Jarvis Streets in downtown Toronto. Its transmitter is located atop the CN Tower. From late November to late December, CHFI switches to all Christmas music.
CHFI-FM is currently the most listened to station in the Toronto radio market, according to the Numeris ratings. CHFI-FM is one of three AC stations in the Toronto area, along with CKDX-FM in York Region and CKLH-FM in Hamilton.
On February 1, 1957, CHFI-FM first signed on the air. It was owned by CHFI-FM, Ltd. and it broadcast with 9,450 watts, a fraction of its current power. CHFI-FM was the first commercial FM outlet in Toronto to provide its own distinct programming rather than simulcasting an AM station. Because the programming was only on FM, the call sign was chosen to represent the words "Canada HiFI" or "high fidelity," providing a higher quality sound than on AM radio. CHFI also initially provided a special Muzak-like background music service for offices and retail outlets in the city.
The station was acquired in 1960 by Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting, the company now known as Rogers Radio. In 1962, an AM counterpart, 680 CHFI, was added. It later became the highly successful Top 40 music station CFTR.
CHFI-FM pioneered the "beautiful music" format in Canada. The main programming heard from dawn until midnight was traditional easy listening fare, mostly instrumental cover versions of popular hits, as well as Broadway and Hollywood show tunes.
Music director Michael Compeau created a number of the station's much-imitated programs. The most famous was the popular and long running Candlelight and Wine heard evenings from 6 to 11 p.m. The program, hosted by Don Parrish, mixed soothing instrumentals, soft vocals and occasional light classical pieces in "pop" arrangements. The program spun off a series of best-selling record albums, many of which are now highly prized collectors' items. Compeau also created the popular Classics 'til Dawn, an overnight program of popular classical music. (In 1984, Compeau would become program director of classical station CFMX-FM and use this same format for its overnight program.) Another of Compeau's innovations was Front Row Centre, heard Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. This one-hour program featured full original cast recordings of popular Broadway musicals, with host Don Parish explaining the story between songs.
In the 1970s, Todd Russell began hosting a late evening program called Reminiscing featuring modern recordings of popular songs from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In 1973, Compeau decided to add some spice to the program by sprinkling in a few original period recordings. Since very few had been reissued on LP at this time, a call went out to collectors who loaned their original 78-rpm records to the radio station. The records were cleaned, repaired and brushed with distilled water before being transcribed to tape. Dubbed the "new library of old 78's", these antique rarities were showcased each weeknight. (In 1974, host Todd Russell died and was replaced by Sandy Hoyt.) CHFI soon amassed a collection of over 3,500 period recordings and the reminiscing program became one of the station's biggest successes. As time went on, the modern recordings were phased out and the program featured mainly the period recordings.
Switch to Soft AC
A format change in the mid-1980s led to the elimination of these programs, and CHFI began moving towards a soft adult contemporary sound, making the station one of the longest-running English-language adult contemporary stations in Canada. In December 1987, Don Daynard became CHFI's new morning show host, a position he would hold until his retirement on December 10, 1999. Bob Magee took over mornings on December 13.
A new logo was unveiled in 2000, when Rogers rebranded the station from CHFI FM98 and the Toronto's Perfect Music Mix slogan, to 98.1 CHFI, moving away from soft adult contemporary to mainstream adult contemporary under the Toronto's Soft Rock slogan.
In June 2003, CHFI, competing closely with fellow Toronto adult contemporary station CJEZ-FM (now adult hits CHBM-FM), attempted to popularize a younger morning show. Firing longtime CHFI morning show personality Erin Davis (who had been with the station since September 1988) and moving Bob Magee to afternoons, the station named Mad Dog and Billie, later known as Jay and Billie, to host the morning show, beginning June 23. Jay and Billie hosted mornings on co-owned Toronto station KISS 92 FM before it flipped to adult hits earlier that month. The station began IDing as 98-1 CHFI (no point) instead, and unveiled the Today's Lite Music slogan.
Bringing Jay and Billie on for mornings backfired on CHFI, as the station's ratings declined. In September 2004, Erin Davis was hired by CJEZ as a fill-in co-host, working alongside Mike Cooper. This brought CJEZ's ratings up dramatically, beating CHFI in several books. In June 2005, CHFI management fired Jay and Billie, rehired Davis for mornings (who returned on September 6), and also hired Mike Cooper as her co-host on October 26 after his contract with CJEZ expired. (Cooper has since retired, with Darren B. Lamb (formerly of CHUM-FM) joining as Davis' co-host in February 2016.) At the same time, the station returned to using the point on the station's ID, returned to their old soft AC sound and switched to the "Toronto's Lite Favourites" slogan. This turned around CHFI's ratings, as the station reclaimed the top spot in Toronto ratings, while CJEZ's ratings fell, prompting that station to flip to adult hits in December 2009.
Musical and Personnel Changes
In 2009, the station returned to mainstream AC, but retained the Toronto's Lite Favourites slogan (which has since reverted to the Toronto's Perfect Music Mix slogan as of February 2013) and decimal point from the station ID. In addition, newer jingles were unveiled, along with an opening bumper for newer music. Some upbeat, rhythmic material, such as The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" was added. At the same time, softer artists such as Michael Bolton and Air Supply were largely dropped from the station's playlist. On December 26, 2009, long-time competitor CJEZ-FM switched from an adult contemporary format to an adult hits format, leaving CHFI as the only adult contemporary station in the Toronto radio market, although rimshot stations CKDX-FM in Newmarket, CKLH-FM in Hamilton and CHRE-FM in St. Catharines can be heard in some parts of the market.
On November 9, 2016, Erin Davis announced she would be retiring from CHFI on December 15, and would be moving to British Columbia to be closer to her family. Darren B. Lamb continues to host mornings, along with co-host and longtime CILQ DJ Maureen Holloway.
Morning show hosts
- Sandy Hoyt – 1978–1985
- Jay Nelson – 1986-1987
- Don Daynard – 1987–1999
- Erin Davis and Don Daynard – 1988–1999
- Erin Davis and Bob Magee – 1999–2003
- Jay and Billie – 2003–2005
- Erin Davis and Darren Osborne (fill–in host) - 2005
- Erin Davis and Mike Cooper - 2005–2016.
- Erin Davis and Darren B. Lamb - February 29, 2016 – December 15, 2016
- Darren B. Lamb and Maureen Holloway - January 9, 2017 – present
- Gene Taylor – host of Taylor's Trivia from Detroit
- Don Jackson – host of Lovers and Other Strangers
- Ken Shaw
CHFI-FM can also be heard on these low-power transmitters:
|City of license||Identifier||Frequency||RECNet||CRTC Decision|
Newfoundland and Labrador
|City of license||Identifier||Frequency||RECNet||CRTC Decision|
|Labrador City/Wabush||VF2050||99.1 FM||Query||87-864|
- CFTR, originally CHFI
- Toronto Santa Claus Parade - CHFI is the official radio broadcaster since 1980s
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1958 page A-467
- Pop goes the station as CHFI pulls plug on Beautiful Music Henry Mietkiewicz, Toronto Star, July 20, 1986
- CKFM's Don Daynard moving to CHFI, Toronto Star, October 13, 1987
- Morning man heads for the sunset; Don Daynard leaving popular CHFI radio show Betsy Powell, Toronto Star, September 29, 1999
- 'Dandy' Don Daynard rides off into sunrise; CHFI's popular morning host retires after 47 years in the radio business, Betsy Powell, Toronto Star, December 11, 1999
- Erin Davis Departs as Mad Dog & Billie Join CHFI
- Mad Dog and Billie change dials: Morning radio hosts join CHFI; chance to reach more listeners Neco Cockburn, Toronto Star, June 17, 2003
- Bye Bye, Jay and Billie
- Message from PD Julie Adam regarding morning show change
- You're fired, would you like to come back? Wallace Immen, The Globe and Mail, September 23, 2005
- Top of the morning to you, Erin Davis Ashante Infantry, Toronto Star, September 4, 2005
- Erin Davis announces retirement after nearly 30 years as CHFI host Sammy Hudes, Toronto Star, November 9, 2016
- Maureen Holloway Kick-Starts Toronto Mornings on "Darren & Mo" on 98.1 CHFI Beginning January 9, Rogers Media, December 14, 2016
- Official website
- CHFI-FM history – Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CHFI-FM