|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Format||Jazz - Public Radio|
First air date
|88.3 MHz (1949-1950)|
Call sign meaning
|Canada Journalism Radio Technology|
|HAAT||420.5 meters (1,380 ft)|
CJRT-FM (91.1 MHz) is a Canadian public radio station and charitable arts organization in Toronto, Ontario, known as JAZZ.FM91. The studios are on Pardee Avenue in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto. The station describes itself as Canada's only 24-hour all-jazz radio station, with evening and weekend specialty shows devoted to jazz-influenced R&B, blues, big band and Latin jazz. It has a professional staff of on-air hosts, with more than 90 volunteers assisting. It is listener-supported and holds periodic on-air fundraisers, seeking donations to support the station.
In 1949, the station first signed on as an educational FM station. It was owned by the Ryerson Institute of Technology, which later became Toronto Metropolitan University. The JRT in the station's call sign stands for "Journalism Radio Technology." The station was operated for the training of students, supervised by professional instructors. It broadcast from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays during the school year. CJRT-FM originally broadcast on 88.3 MHz until it moved to its current 91.1 MHz frequency in 1950.
In 1964, a professional staff was hired, with the broadcast schedule increased from 7 am to midnight seven days a week. A few years later, training of students ceased. It played classical, jazz, and folk music, with educational and public affairs programming, children's shows, and comedy from the BBC.
In 1965, Ted O'Reilly began hosting The Jazz Scene and remained with the station for 37 years.
In 1973, Ryerson, announced its intention to surrender the broadcast licence of CJRT-FM due to financial restraints. A year later in 1974, Ontario Premier Bill Davis announced that the provincial legislature would pass legislation to create a corporation to run the station and buy the license. The station received money from the Ontario government and from companies and listeners through fundraising.
In co-operation with Ryerson and York University's Atkinson College, CJRT offered several on-air Open College courses from 1971 to 2003. In 2003, the service was transferred to Ryerson's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, which offers distance education through the internet, print, and recorded media rather than on radio. In its last years, Open College broadcasts aired Sunday mornings from 6 am to 8 am.
In 2001, the station switched to an all-jazz format and rebranded as JAZZ.FM91. The transition saw the addition of several long-time hosts, including Brad Barker and John Devenish.
After nearly 14 years occupying Ryerson University property at 150 Mutual Street, CJRT moved to its current street-front facilities at 4 Pardee Ave. in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto. By this point, the station had added several more on-air personalities including Heather Bambrick, Bill King, Jaymz Bee, Walter Venafro, Danny Marks, who remain with the station to this day.
Then-president and CEO Ross Porter stepped down in June of 2018, following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct and creating a toxic work environment, and was replaced by Charles S. Cutts. Porter stated that his resignation as CEO was in order to spend more time with his ailing wife, and he continued broadcasting with the station, as well as being given the title of president emeritus.
The conflict resulted in the departure of a number of on-air staff and a decline in donations to the station. An opposition group, called Save JAZZ.FM91, was founded in July 2018 in an attempt to overturn the station's board of directors. After a legal battle over whether or not the opposition group should be allowed access to the station's membership list, a general meeting of the membership held on February 15, 2019, succeeded in removing the board by a vote of 446 to 435, electing a new board composed of the dissident group. The new board changed the station's management, appointing Lorie Russell as vice-president and managing director. The board reinstated a number of broadcasters who had been ousted by the previous management, while Porter ended his program.
Following Russell's departure, Dana Wigle was named general manager of JAZZ.FM91 in December of 2020. Under new management, JAZZ.FM91 won several broadcasting awards and expanded its digital presence with the addition of podcasts, specialty channels and virtual concerts.
Awards and honors
- Silver award, The Sound of Jazz, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2018
- Silver award, Music to Listen to Jazz By with Ross Porter, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2018
- Gold award, The Journey to Jazz and Human Rights, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2020
- Winner, Campus or Community Station of the Year, Canadian Radio Awards, 2021
- Winner, Sound of Success Award, Canadian Radio Awards, 2021
- Finalist, Music Director of the Year, Canadian Radio Awards, 2021
- Finalist, Black History Month Vignettes, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2021
- Finalist, The View From L.A., New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2021
- Winner, Best Radio Station, NOW Readers' Choice Poll, 2021
- Finalist, Best Radio Personality, NOW Readers' Choice Poll, 2021
- Gold award, Best Jazz Format, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2022
- Finalist, Black History Month Vignettes, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2022
- Finalist, Caribbean Christmas Mixtape, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2022
- Finalist, In the Land of the Misty Giant, New York Festivals Radio Awards, 2022
- "Weekly Program Schedule". JAZZ.FM91. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "List of Bell Satellite TV channels – TVCL – TV Channel Lists".
- "Streaming". JAZZ.FM91. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "About JAZZ.FM91". JAZZ.FM91. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91". CanadaHelps - Donate to any charity in Canada. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "CJRT-FM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". www.broadcasting-history.ca. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
- "Radio Station History - CJRT (JAZZ)-FM, Toronto, CJRT-FM Inc." Archived 2005-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Communications Foundation
- "A timeline of Ryerson's radio history, 1949-2014". Ryersonian. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "CJRU-AM | History of Canadian Broadcasting".
- Van Paassen, Kevin. "Toronto's JAZZ.FM91 CEO steps down in wake of probe into sexual-harassment allegations". Globe and Mail.
- "JAZZ.FM91 members call on board to resign as station defends its decision to keep former president and CEO Ross Porter on air".
- "Former morning host of Toronto's JAZZ.FM91 sues station, alleging years of bullying by former CEO".
- "Major donor accuses JAZZ.FM91 of mishandling sexual-harassment allegations against former CEO".
- Comments, Posted: 06/8/2018 6:32 PM (8 June 2018). "Ross Porter steps down as CEO of Toronto jazz station in wake of sexual-harassment allegations". Winnipeg Free Press.
- Vincent, Donovan (30 August 2018). "Former JAZZ.FM host Garvia Bailey sues for wrongful dismissal". TheSpec.com.
- Houpt, Simon (February 15, 2019). "JAZZ.FM91 board overthrown by dissident member group". Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
- Crawford, Trish (June 13, 2019). "Jazz.FM91 gets its voice back after the upheaval of 2018". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
- Thiessen, Connie (2020-09-23). "JAZZ.FM91 searching for next GM as Lorie Russell exits". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- Ink, Radio (2020-09-23). "Russell Leaving JAZZ-FM Toronto". Radio Ink. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 appoints Dana Wigle as new General Manager". JAZZ.FM91. 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 documentary wins gold at NYF Radio Awards". JAZZ.FM91. 2020-04-21. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 Wins two silver trophies at the New York Festival Awards". JAZZ.FM91. June 19, 2018.
- "Winners Gallery - New York Festivals". radio.newyorkfestivals.com. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- Radio, H. D. (2021-11-16). "Announcing the winners of the 2021 Canadian Radio Awards, presented by HD Radio". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 wins two 2021 Canadian Radio Awards". JAZZ.FM91. 2021-11-16. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "Winners Gallery - New York Festivals". radio.newyorkfestivals.com. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 named a finalist for two NYF Radio Awards". JAZZ.FM91. 2021-10-12. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- Trapunski, Richard; Ritchie, Kevin (2021-11-11). "Readers' Choice 2021: Toronto's best music". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 named Toronto's best radio station in NOW Readers' Choice". JAZZ.FM91. 2021-11-11. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- DiMatteo, Enzo; Trapunski, Richard; Ritchie, Kevin (2021-11-11). "Readers' Choice 2021: Toronto's best activists, politicians and public spaces". NOW Magazine. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "Winners Gallery - New York Festivals". radio.newyorkfestivals.com. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
- "Category: Podcasts". JAZZ.FM91. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "JAZZ.FM91 adds specialty streams dedicated to Oscar Peterson, vocal jazz". JAZZ.FM91. 2021-08-31. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- "Thank you for supporting JAZZ.FM91 during our on-air fundraising appeal". JAZZ.FM91. 2021-10-27. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
- Society, Toronto Downtown Jazz. "TD Toronto Jazz Festival Summer Concert Series - A Weekly Live-To-Air Series on JAZZ.FM91". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved 2022-04-22.