Coordinates: 43°37′03″N 79°22′46″W / 43.61750°N 79.37944°W / 43.61750; -79.37944
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Broadcast areaGreater Toronto Area
Frequency1430 kHz (AM)
BrandingFairchild Radio
Fairchild Television
First air date
May 5, 1925; 98 years ago (1925-05-05)
Former call signs
  • CKCL (1925–1945)
  • CKEY (1945–1991)
  • CKYC (1991–1996)
Former frequencies
  • 840 kHz (1925–1931)
  • 580 kHz (1931–1964)
  • 590 kHz (1964–1995)
Call sign meaning
Canada Hong Kong Toronto
Technical information
Licensing authority
ClassB (regional)
Power50,000 watts

CHKT (1430 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The station, owned by the Fairchild Group service, airs mainly Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese programs as well as weekend shows in the following languages: Cambodian, Filipino, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Lao, Macedonian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese. CHKT's studios at 151 Esna Park Drive, Unit 26 in Markham.

CHKT is powered at 50,000 watts, the maximum for Canadian AM stations. It uses a directional antenna with a six-tower array, to protect other stations on AM 1430. The transmitter is on one of the Toronto Islands.[1]


Announcer Mickey Lester at CKEY in 1955

CKCL and CKEY[edit]

The station that was the indirect forerunner of CHKT first signed on the air on May 5, 1925. Its call sign was CKCL, broadcasting at 840 kilocycles, and owned by the Dominion Battery Company. As with many radio stations in the early years of radio broadcasting, the station changed frequencies a number of times in its first years of operation. It settled on 580 kHz frequency in 1931.

In 1945, the station was sold to Jack Kent Cooke's Toronto Broadcasting Co., and adopted the call sign CKEY. It was acquired in 1961 by Shoreacres Broadcasting, a consortium that included Westinghouse and The Globe and Mail. CKEY changed its frequency to 590 in 1964 as CKWW signed on at 580 that year in Windsor and CKAR, (known today as CFBK-FM), in Huntsville had to change its frequency from 590 to 630 kHz.

Top 40[edit]

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, CKEY was the leading Top 40 competitor to 1050 CHUM. One of its DJs was later CFNY staple David Marsden, known as Dave Mickie at CKEY (and later at CHUM as well). Another notable broadcaster was Bryan Fustukian, broadcasting as Vik Armen. The station dropped its Top 40 format for middle of the road music in 1965, now going up against CFRB, and was successful in that arena for a time. Shoreacres, in turn, was acquired by Maclean-Hunter in 1966.

A transmitter for CKEY was once located on Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East in Scarborough. This site was sold to the Scarborough Board of Education in 1964 to build Tabor Park Vocational School for the area's redevelopment.[2] From 1972 until the 1990s, CKEY's and then CKYC's offices and studios were located in the Toronto Star building at One Yonge Street.

MOR and Oldies[edit]

From 1970 to 1984, CKEY featured Charles Templeton and Pierre Berton on the commentary show Dialogue with Templeton also reading the morning news for several years. The station also had Stephen Lewis as a commentator in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Final CKEY logo
CKEY Key 590 logo

On January 1, 1984, CKEY flipped from its long running MOR format to soft rock/oldies as "Solid Gold CKEY."

On April 25, 1988, Key Radio Limited was denied a license to move CKEY from 590 kHz to 99.1 MHz as well The CKO Radio Partnership (CKO) was also denied to move the all-news radio station CKO from 99.1 MHz to 590 kHz.[3]

On June 20, 1988, the station became Key 590, moving from its Soft AC and Oldies mix to all Oldies, once again competing directly with a re-formatted CHUM.

At 7 p.m. on March 14, 1991, CKEY signed off and began stunting with the sound of a heartbeat. The following morning at 9, the station adopted a country format, changing its call sign to CKYC.[4][5][6] The CKEY call sign was subsequently picked up by a station in Fort Erie.

Frequency swap[edit]

After Rogers Communications acquired Maclean-Hunter in 1994, CKYC was sold to Telemedia. Telemedia subsequently swapped CKYC's frequency with that of its sports outlet CJCL. On February 6, 1995, at 10 AM, CKYC ceased airing country music, and after stunting with a ticking clock for two hours, CJCL and CKYC swapped frequencies.[7][8]

CKYC subsequently aired only syndicated programming until it went off the air permanently in late 1996.

CHKT signs on[edit]

CHKT was launched as an ethnic, multilingual radio station by Fairchild Group in 1997, over the 1430 AM frequency that had been occupied by CKYC immediately prior to its signing off for the last time.[9] The CKYC call sign was subsequently picked up by a station in Owen Sound in 2001.

Original Fairchild Radio logo, used until 2012.

In October 2019, Fairchild Radio gained public attention when it fired a Toronto radio talk-show host allegedly because of his questions during an interview perceived as critical of the Chinese government's stance on the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests.[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-05-23. Retrieved 2020-04-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Decision CRTC 88-294
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2017-07-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Sound bite". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  7. ^ "Sound bite". Archived from the original on 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) (October 9, 1996). "ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 96-659". Archived from the original on October 9, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Blackwell, Tom (October 8, 2019). "Host on Chinese-language station in Toronto says he was fired for criticizing Beijing". National Post. Retrieved October 8, 2019.

External links[edit]

43°37′03″N 79°22′46″W / 43.61750°N 79.37944°W / 43.61750; -79.37944