|City||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Broadcast area||Halifax Regional Municipality|
|Branding||Hot Country 103.5|
|Slogan||Halifax's New Country|
|Frequency||103.5 (MHz) FM|
|First air date||June 28, 2006|
|HAAT||185.1 meters (607 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||CK Halifax's Z (Former format)|
|Affiliations||Premiere Networks (Bobby Bones Show)|
Evanov Radio Group |
CKHZ-FM is a Canadian radio station, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, broadcasting at 103.5 FM. It is owned by Evanov Radio Group (HFX Broadcasting Inc.) and airs a country music radio format branded as Hot Country 103.5. CKHZ's studios are located on Cogswell Street in Halifax, while its transmitter is located on Washmill Lake Drive in Clayton Park.
CKHZ-FM competes for country listeners with 101.9 CHFX-FM.
Early Years as CKO
CKHZ occupies the 103.5 FM frequency that was once Halifax's home to the all-news radio network CKO, which began broadcasting in several major Canadian cities, including Halifax, in 1985. In 1989, CKO ceased broadcasting. The frequency remained dark until 2006.
In 2003, the CRTC awarded the vacant frequency license to Evanov. On November 26, 2004, CKMW Radio Ltd., a subsidiary of Evanov, received CRTC approval to operate on 103.5 MHz. After several days of fine tuning it began on-air testing on June 28, 2006. The official sign-on date of the new station was August 14, 2006.
Top 40 and Rhythm
When CKHZ signed on the air, it sported the moniker and handle Z103.5 The Beat of Halifax. It patterned its contemporary hit radio (Top 40) format after sister station CIDC in Toronto, with an emphasis on local content. Z103.5 targeted adults 24-44 with a secondary demographic in the 18-49 range. The station leaned heavily on dance until 2009, when CKHZ moved to a mainstream Top 40 sound.
By 2010, as with all Evanov stations, CKHZ dropped the "Dot" from its branding identification. It also changed its logo to match CIDC's, except the .5 was omitted. (The logo read only "Z103.") It also used a modified slogan, "All The Hitz." However, the move to a mainstream Top 40 sound did not produce significant ratings.
On January 6, 2012, at exactly 1:03 PM (AST), the station played "Neva Eva" by Jhevon Paris. At that point, CKHZ relaunched with a dance-intensive Rhythmic Contemporary direction as "Energy 103.5." The first two songs to herald the transition were Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" and David Guetta's "Turn Me On." The station mirrored its sister station in Winnipeg, CHWE, by focusing on mostly dance-pop hits. Four CKHZ staff members were dismissed ahead of the station's rebranding.
On March 4, 2013, CKHZ-FM transitioned to Hot AC, but by the summer of that year, the station returned to a mainstream Top 40 format, though without the Dance-intensive lean that "Energy" initially had. The station's slogan at this time was "The Perfect Music Mix."
On February 12, 2014, after continued low ratings against rival top 40 station CJCH-FM, CKHZ-FM transitioned back to Hot AC, this time with the new slogan "90's and NOW", and aimed at playing more songs from the 90s and 2000s, as well as current popular music. "Energy" performed poorly in the Halifax market, with ratings significantly below close competitors 101.3 CJCH-FM and 100.1 CIOO.
Switch to Country
On September 3, 2015, at 4 PM, after playing "Bye Bye Bye" by N'Sync, CKHZ-FM flipped to a country music format, branded as Hot Country 103.5. The first song on "Hot Country" was "This Is How We Roll" by Florida-Georgia Line. CKHZ's general manager, Trevor Romkey, explained that unlike its new competitor, CHFX-FM, his station's country format would have a slant towards newer material.
The station has seen a gradual increase in listenership according to Numeris ratings. At the same time, CHFX has seen a drop in ratings.
On December 4, 2017 Hot Country 103.5 announced a partnership between Evanov Radio Group and iHeart Radio Canada. This agreement brings CKHZ-FM, CKHY-FM, and 17 other Evanov-owned stations to the popular streaming service along with Bell Media group of stations which includes CIOO-FM and CJCH-FM.
Current on air hosts
- Ian Robinson (Hot Country Mornings)
- Dana Thompson (Hot Country Mornings)
- Lexi (Middays, Weekends)
- Cruise (Afternoons)
- Denyse Sibley (Hot Country Skinny)
- Bobby Bones and co-hosts (The Bobby Bones Show)
- DJ Sinister (Hot Country Fried Mix)
- Coop (RedCup Country)
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-514
- from Mediafire
- "Halifax Gets Energy Boost" from Radio Insight (January 6, 2012)
- Energy 103.5 Becomes Hot Country
- "Halifax gets second all-country radio station as Energy 103.5 changes playlist". Metro Halifax. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Evanov Radio Group joins iHeart Radio Canada".
- Official website
- LISTEN LIVE
- CKHZ-FM history – Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC's Canadian station database for CKHZ-FM