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|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area|
|Slogan||Welcome to the Party (primary)|
Today's Best Music (secondary)
|Frequency||95.3 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||September 24, 1976|
|Format||Hot adult contemporary|
|HAAT||305 meters (1,001 ft)|
|Call sign meaning||derived from the word "sing"|
|Former frequencies||107.9 MHz (1976-2001)|
|Owner||Corus Entertainment |
(Corus Premium Television Ltd.)
CING-FM is a Canadian radio station, which broadcasts at 95.3 FM in Hamilton, Ontario. The station airs a hot adult contemporary format. CING's studios are located on Main Street West in Hamilton, while its transmitter is located atop the Niagara Escarpment near Upper Centennial Parkway. CING is owned by Corus Entertainment.
CING was launched in 1976 by Burlington Broadcasting, at 107.9 FM in Burlington, Ontario. Initially an easy listening and then an oldies station, the station switched to a dance music format in the summer of 1991, which garnered a huge audience, after several months of adding new-age music to its mixture of classical and middle-of-the-road music. The station applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) a number of times in the 1980s for frequency changes in the hopes of better reaching the more lucrative Toronto market, but was denied each time.
CING is one of the most powerful radio stations in Southeastern Ontario. Its signal can be heard in Hamilton, the Greater Toronto Area, the Niagara Region, and even Buffalo, New York. The station is marketed towards both Hamilton and Toronto.
FM 108 era (1976-1997)
CING-FM began on September 23, 1976, as a beautiful music format featuring mostly instrumental versions of pop favorites. The first song heard on the 107.9 FM frequency was "Sing" by The Carpenters. The station began experimenting with playing oldies during the overnight period in 1978; the response was positive, and by 1980 oldies shows constituted the majority of the program schedule. During the 1980s, FM 108 divided its programming between oldies and middle of the road music, and was known for its personable oldies announcers, including Glen Darling, Norman B., Steve Richards/Mortenson, Wes Atkinson, Burt Thombs, Clint Trueman, Jay Brown, Dale Patterson (webmaster for Rock Radio Scrapbook), the Shadow, Dave Terryberry, Larry Smith, and the infamous Rockin Robin.
CING began to phase out its oldies programming in the fall of 1989 with the addition of dance music programming ("Rhythm Radio") in evenings and overnights; the station continued with its soft AC/MOR format during the rest of the day on weekdays, as "Daytime Lite and Rhythm at Nite." Oldies programming was relegated to Saturdays. The last oldies show on FM 108, hosted by Dale Patterson, aired on September 29, 1990. "Daytime Lite" ended on September 2, 1991, and the dance format expanded full-time (first as "Dance 108", and then to "Energy 108" in the mid-1990s).
Energy 108 era (1997-2001)
In 1997, the station was acquired by Shaw Communications. Following the change in ownership, Energy's format shifted from dance music to mainstream CHR. Dance, rap, hip-hop, rock, and pop all received equal airplay. A minor name change also took place, with Energy 108 changing to Energy Radio. Under Shaw's ownership, several other stations in Ontario, including CKDK-FM in Woodstock/London, CHAY-FM in Barrie and CKGE-FM in Oshawa/Toronto, also adopted the Energy Radio format, rebroadcasting CING much of the day. Shaw's radio operations were, in turn, spun off to Corus Entertainment in 1999.
Modern history (2001-present)
On August 31, 2001, CING and CJXY-FM swapped frequencies. CING moved to its current 95.3 frequency, and CJXY took over the 107.9 FM frequency. The frequency switch brought with it a change in the network's sound, with the mainstream CHR format making way for a hot adult contemporary format. With CING now available over a wider geographic area, the other stations dropped their CING simulcasts in 2002. The new format mirrored the format of Toronto's market leader CHUM-FM, which resulted in very low ratings.
On August 9, 2002, at 6 p.m., the station dropped its troubled Hot AC format (and the "Energy" moniker), and began stunting with stand-up comedy bits. The final songs on "Energy" were "Rhythm is a Dancer" by Snap! and "Happy Trails" by Roy Rogers. On August 19, 2002, at 7 a.m., the station flipped to country, branded as Country 95.3. The first song on "Country" was "Small Town Saturday Night" by Hal Ketchum.
On November 13, 2009, at 3 p.m., CING-FM switched formats from country to classic hits, branded as Vinyl 95.3.[dead link] The final song on "Country" was The Dance by Garth Brooks, while the first song on "Vinyl" was Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones. The station's playlist featured the greatest hits of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and was considered to be the first oldies/classic hits station in the Greater Toronto Area on FM after the CRTC permitted the oldies format to be heard full-time on FM for the first time. Locally, the station competed against AM station CKOC; after Christmas of that year, the station also competed against adult hits station CHBM-FM in Toronto, which lost their oldies outlet on CHUM, which flipped to a simulcast of CP24 in March of that year.
In its latter months, the station broadened their playlist to include 90s and current tracks. With this change, however, the station's ratings began to slide.
On April 10, 2013, at 9:53 a.m., the station changed its format back to Hot AC, now branded as 95.3 Fresh FM. After the format change back to hot AC, the station became the fourth radio station owned by Corus to adopt the "Fresh FM" branding. While most of the previous format's airstaff (including Toronto market veterans Gord James, John Novak and Bob Saint) was let go, Darrin and Colleen remain in mornings with their producer Mike moving to evenings after a brief jockless period.
On February 13, 2015, CING-FM rebranded to 95.3 Fresh Radio, in conjunction with Corus rebranding all of their "Fresh FM" stations to the new branding on the same date and time.
On March 26, 2019, at 8 a.m., CING-FM rebranded as Energy 95.3. The last song on “Fresh” was “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida, while the first song on the revived “Energy” was “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco. The change brought with it a new morning show, Tucker and Maura, formerly of CKFM in Toronto. Former morning hosts Colleen Rusholme moved to afternoon drive, while Darrin Laidman decided to leave the company. Later that year, Rusholme departed for Ottawa sister station CJOT-FM, and was replaced with the syndicated Brooke & Jubal, based out of KQMV in Seattle. CING is the second station in Canada to air the syndicated Brooke and Jubal show following Ottawa sister station CKQB-FM, and the first to air it in afternoons.
In 2012, CING signed on HD Radio operations. Initially, their HD-2 subchannel was testing mostly with traffic and weather reports, as well as gas price reports. CING is the first Canadian radio station to utilize the technology. Multicultural station CJSA-FM in nearby Toronto signed on their HD technology in December 2013. On September 8, 2015, CING began simulcasting sister CFMJ on 95.3-HD2. On February 4, 2016, CING-FM added a simulcast of sister station CHML to their HD radio feed on 95.3-HD3.
- (CRTC), Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 86-434".
- (CRTC), Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 88-292".
- Larry LeBlanc (25 May 1996). "Dance Compilations Moving in Canada". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 68–. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Dance radio a wild success story, Greg Quill, Toronto Star, November 21, 1991
- "Hamilton's Energy 95.3 crosses over to country".
- "Oldies back on 1090 AM".
- "Country radio goes quiet".
- Corus expands FRESH FM to Hamilton Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Radio News - RWCRN, April 10, 2013
- "Corus Launches National Fresh Radio Brand Across Canada - RadioInsight". 13 February 2015.
- "CRTC looking at bringing HD Radio to Canada". 17 January 2014.
- "Talk Radio AM640 and 95.3 Fresh Radio Now Offered on HD Radio - Corus Entertainment".
- "Corus Radio Hamilton's AM900 CHML Now Available on HD Radio - Corus Entertainment".
- http://hdradio.com/canada/find-hd-radio-canadian-station HD Radio Stations in Canada
- Energy 95.3
- CING-FM history – Canadian Communications Foundation
- Project Dance: Remembering CING-FM
- FM 108 Remembered
- CING-FM in the REC Canadian station database