Jump to content


Coordinates: 43°38′33.00″N 79°23′13.92″W / 43.6425000°N 79.3872000°W / 43.6425000; -79.3872000
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Broadcast areaGreater Toronto
Frequency1540 kHz (AM)
BrandingCHIN Radio
First air date
Call sign meaning
Canada Happiness International[1]
Technical information
Power50,000 watts daytime
30,000 watts nighttime
Translator(s)CHIN-1-FM 91.9 MHz
WebcastListen Live

CHIN (1540 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is owned by CHIN Radio/TV International, and broadcasts a multilingual radio format, with programs in Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese and other languages. It formerly utilized an FM rebroadcaster at 91.9 MHz, CHIN-1-FM, originally used to fill in reception gaps in parts of Greater Toronto; CHIN-1-FM now broadcasts a separate schedule of ethnic programming, no longer simulcasting CHIN . In addition, there is a full-power FM station on 100.7 MHz, CHIN-FM, which offers a third ethnic programme schedule. CHIN, CHIN-1-FM and CHIN-FM have their radio studios on College Street in the Palmerston-Little Italy neighbourhood of Toronto.

By day, CHIN broadcasts at 50,000 watts, the maximum power for Canadian AM stations. Because 1540 AM is a clear-channel frequency reserved for the U.S. and Bahamas, CHIN reduces power at night to 30,000 watts to avoid interference. It uses a directional antenna with a four-tower array. The AM transmitter site is on Lakeshore Avenue on the Toronto Islands.[2] The transmitter for CHIN-1-FM is atop an apartment tower complex near Bathurst and Sheppard in Toronto's Clanton Park neighbourhood.

Entrance hall


Early years[edit]

CHIN is one of Canada's first multilingual broadcast outlets along with Montreal's CFMB. Toronto broadcaster Johnny Lombardi and lawyer and North York mayor James Ditson Service signed on the station in 1966.[3] The 1540 AM frequency had originally been used by CHFI-FM to simulcast on the AM band, but owner Ted Rogers was dissatisfied with the frequency. At the time, it was only licensed as a daytimer, required to sign off at sunset to protect U.S. and Bahamian clear-channel stations that also broadcast on the frequency. Lombardi and Service bought Radio 1540 Limited from Rogers in 1965.

They used the frequency to launch CHIN the next year, while Rogers shifted CHFI-AM to 680 kHz, where it became CFTR.[3] In 1967, CHIN launched a sister station, 100.7 CHIN-FM.[4] Both stations are licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to carry a schedule of programs in numerous languages aimed at Toronto's many ethnic groups.

Loss and recovery of license[edit]

Lombardi was summoned to appear before the CRTC in 1970 after a Serbian-language programme aired on CHIN, calling for the assassination of Yugoslavia's consul in Toronto.[5] Due to this incident, and other issues, the CRTC refused to renew CHIN's license and ordered the station off the air by the end of the year.[6] Lombardi was also in conflict with Service and another minority shareholder, James Longo, who had appealed for the license to be transferred from Lombardi to themselves.[7]

Subsequently, Lombardi bought out Service's share of the company (Longo was not recognized as a shareholder by the CRTC).[8] Lombardi was able to regain the license after a new hearing in which Service and two other bidders failed to convince the CRTC to award the license to one of them over Lombardi.[9][10]

24-hour broadcasting[edit]

CHIN had attempted to broadcast at night by securing a second frequency at 1600 AM, but its application was denied by the CRTC in 1973. CHIN was able to make an agreement with the owners of clear-channel Class A KXEL in Waterloo, Iowa, which also broadcasts on 1540. With that pact, the CRTC authorized CHIN to broadcast 24 hours a day from a new transmitter with a directional pattern that better protects KXEL from interference.

The next year, CHIN acquired a competitor when Brampton station CKMW (now 530 CHLO), switched to a multilingual format after being acquired from former CHIN sales representative Bill Evanov.[11][12] Additional ethnic stations are now found on AM 1320, 1430, 1610, 1650 and 1690, all serving the growing immigrant communities in Greater Toronto.

FM rebroadcaster[edit]

With so many large buildings in and around Toronto, CHIN 1540 was experiencing reception problems in some neighborhoods. To help listeners having trouble with the AM signal, the station set up an FM rebroadcaster in 1997 at 101.3 FM with the call sign CHIN-1-FM. On April 17, 2003, Radio 1540 Ltd. was given approval to change the frequency of CHIN-1-FM to 91.9 MHz and to increase the effective radiated power from 22 to 35 watts.[13][14]

On November 28, 2016, Radio 1540 Limited applied to operate a separate originating FM station under CHIN-1-FM's current technical parameters, specifically, at frequency 91.9 MHz with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 1,850 watts (maximum ERP of 5,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 86 metres).[15] The CRTC approved Radio 1540 Ltd. application on May 5, 2017.[16]

On January 14, 2011, CHIN received approval to increase the effective radiated power for the CHIN-FM-1 transmitter from 161 to 1,850 watts (maximum ERP from 350 to 5,000 watts with an antenna height above average terrain of 86 metres).[17]


CHIN's lineup on 1540 AM consists primarily of Cantonese & Mandarin Chinese in the daytime and Brazilian Portuguese in the evening. It also airs Albanian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Filipino, German, Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Russian, Somali, Ukrainian and Yoruba programming on Saturdays and Sundays.

CHIN-FM-1 carries mostly South Asian programming, with some shows aimed at Italian, Jewish, Malayalam and Spanish-speaking listeners.

On February 10, 2016, CHIN stopped carrying "China Radio International" in late night hours and replaced it with dance music-formatted programming originating from internet broadcaster "DJFM Toronto".

Sam Yuchtman was the first producer hired by CHIN in 1966 and hosted The Jewish Hour until he retired in 1976. His daughter, Zelda Young, took over the program and continued as host of the show, later called The Zelda Young Show, until her death in 2023. The Jewish program is now hosted by Martin Abels.[18]


  1. ^ Maglio, Antonio (19 January 2003). "23 - Respect through much hard work". Spotlight. Tandem (Corriere Canadese), Multimedia Nova Corporation. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  2. ^ FCCdata.org/CHIN-AM
  3. ^ a b "In 1540 Slot: Lombardi Approved In Radio Proposal", The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]25 June 1965: 15.
  4. ^ "CHIN-FM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  5. ^ "Radio program called incitement to assassinate", BLAIK KIRBY. The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]12 Feb 1970: 11
  6. ^ "'Generally poor service' cited: CRIC orders CHIN and two other radio stations to go off the air", BLAIK KIRBY. The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]01 Apr 1970: 1.
  7. ^ "CRTC stays out of owners' feud, warns CHIN improve performance", The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]12 Feb 1970: 11.
  8. ^ "Lombardi buys out Service", Staff. The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]18 June 1970: 10.
  9. ^ "Four-way contest for CHIN frequency at CRTC hearing", BLAIR KIRBY Globe and Mail Reporter., The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]07 Oct 1970:
  10. ^ "Lombardi keeps CHIN frequency", The Globe and Mail (1936–2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]07 Nov 1970: 29
  11. ^ "CHIN-AM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". Archived from the original on 2021-05-15. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  12. ^ "CHIN challenged by Brampton station", Toronto Star (1971–2009); Toronto, Ontario [Toronto, Ontario]23 Jan 1984: D3.
  13. ^ Decision CRTC 97-539
  14. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-119, CHIN Toronto – Technical Changes, CRTC, April 17, 2003
  15. ^ Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-465, CRTC, November 28, 2016
  16. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-136, Ethnic FM radio station in Toronto and licence amendment for CHIN Toronto, CRTC, May 5, 2017
  17. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011–30, CHIN and its transmitter CHIN-FM-1 Toronto – Technical change, CRTC, January 14, 2011
  18. ^ "Sign Offs". Broadcast Dialogue. October 5, 2023. Retrieved January 16, 2024.

External links[edit]

43°38′33.00″N 79°23′13.92″W / 43.6425000°N 79.3872000°W / 43.6425000; -79.3872000