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June 24, 2020 1:07 pm  #1


When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

We know that Global and the Rogers' stations (City and the OMNIs) have been testing on their new frequencies and the day is coming that they'll leave the old ones and sign on in their new spots, forcing antenna users to rescan. But here it is almost the end of June and there's been no indication of a date when that will happen. And I haven't seen any real on-air announcements recently that it's coming.  

Repeated attempts to reach a human being at any of the stations to find out have been a waste of time. Apparently, none are staffed by live receptionists anymore and you land in voicemail hell with no way out except to hang up. I know we have a number of insiders that lurk here. 

Do any of you know when the big day is? It was my understanding it was going to happen before the end of this month. That's less than a week away.

==================

[/A Brief Editorial Rant]

While we're on the topic - why is it that radio and TV stations refuse to answer calls from viewers and listeners anymore? There is an obvious and concerted effort at big companies to NOT speak to the very people they serve. Which explains websites like "Get Human.com".

I get it - it's expensive to have someone answer phones and many of the calls (like mine) are usually frivolous. Still, to me, leaving those you depend on for your livelihoods unable to reach you when it IS important, speaks volumes about how they feel about their audience.

As a kid, I remember calling into CHUM (416 925-6666 - still remember the number!) to ask a question about something. And though I was just a little guy with a high pitched voice, I recall the receptionist was very kind and treated me like gold, even though I'm sure she was very busy and I was probably asking about something stupid. As you can see, those impressions last a long time.

Today, it's all recordings - and by the way, why do they always tell you to listen carefully because the "options" have changed? Who is constantly changing these options?

I guess City may be the only one that can't make that claim - their greeting features the voice of the dearly departed Mark Dailey, which means their options couldn't have changed much since he passed away in 2010 and there's sadly no way to update the recording.

[/rant]

 

June 24, 2020 1:34 pm  #2


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I remember that 925 CHUM number and there was a receptionist there for years I think her name was Diane and she was often the greetor when I went in to pick up prizes for CHUM AM and FM.. I would call the number and ask to speak to the CHUM FM music dept and engineering. I spoke to Geets and Benji Karch a few times .

I also remember the CHUM FM on air lines 870 9131, 9121 and 9111. Q 107 was 870 ROCK and 870 ROLL, I still remember one Buffalo on air number 644-9820 but don't remember the station. All the DJ's would routinely answer the phone and in CHUM FM's case you could request something like Dando Shaft and get it played.


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June 24, 2020 2:25 pm  #3


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I believe July 3 is the deadline for all moves to be completed in this phase. If anyone gets a hold of an engineer, it would also be interesting to know if any stations plan to install ATSC 3.0 (NextGen) equipment (they all promised to do so at their last license renewals) and on the FM side, any plans for additional HD stations in Toronto... What kind of work has had to be done on the CN Tower/FCP regarding new FM and DT antennas, etc.....

 

June 24, 2020 2:31 pm  #4


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

CKFH was  923-0921 and I think CFRB was 924-5711

 

June 24, 2020 2:33 pm  #5


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Tardis wrote:

and on the FM side, any plans for additional HD stations in Toronto

As far as I know, Radio One is the only station with yet-to-be-implemented HD plans.
 


 
 

June 24, 2020 2:38 pm  #6


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I knew about CBLA but what about the others? What kind of work has to be done on the CN Tower to install new antennas for HD, or is that even possible? Do any other stations (CHFI, CHBM, CJRT, CBL-FM, etc.) even want to operate in HD? If I could talk to a Toronto Radio-TV engineer right now, I would have a million questions about FM HD and DT....

 

June 24, 2020 2:45 pm  #7


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Which may explain why they're impossible to reach! I've always found it a lot easier to get engineers in Buffalo to answer your call and to answer your questions. They've been very generous with their time in my experience. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 24, 2020 2:57 pm  #8


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I haven't tried to make contact with Buffalo engineers recently but I certainly agree that they used to be very helpful (nice to know they still are). Same with Rochester. Toronto engineers...always difficult... although back in the 70's and 80's they were pretty good.

 

June 24, 2020 2:59 pm  #9


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

mace wrote:

CKFH was  923-0921 and I think CFRB was 924-5711

Don't ask me why I still have this, but as the guy (not a hoarder, honest!) who never throws anything radio related away, I found this in an old telephone directory published by McCall Fredericks way back in 1962. It was a small brochure that used to come once a year in the mail.

It had a great CKEY ad in the back, which is likely why I saved it all these years.

It appears all the stations had "WA" (which I think stood for "Walnut") as the first two numbers. It translates to "92." I've always wondered whatever happened to all those pronounceable phone prefixes and why they died out.

CFTO, you'll notice, has "EM," which was "Empire." My grandparent's phone number began with those two letters/digits. Notice they were listed as being on McCowan Rd. at the time.  

As a completely useless aside, I have no idea what the "HU," "AV," "CH" or "RO" prefixes stood for in the movie theatres. "RU" was definitely "Russell" - my phone number when I was a kid began with those two letters. 

This was before the phone company created the "870" (and later, "872") exchange to handle all the incoming traffic from listeners. IIRC, CFTR's "The Last Contest" blew out the system when they finally announced the special phone number to call and win.  

https://i.ibb.co/BwgdzCF/Toronto-Radio-Phone-Numbers-1962.jpg
  
https://i.ibb.co/86Ry9Tv/CKEY-Toronto-Ad-Dec-1962.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

June 24, 2020 4:47 pm  #10


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I think the "HU" stood for Humphrey. Bell began experimenting with all number calling as early as 1958. It took until 1965 for the switch over to be completed. A group called the Anti-Digit-Dialing-League unsuccessfully tried to stop Bell's plans.

 

June 24, 2020 4:49 pm  #11


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

It also seemed to be place specific. If I'm not mistaken the same "WA" that stood for Walnut here was "Washington" in the U.S.

     Thread Starter
 

June 24, 2020 5:18 pm  #12


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

mace wrote:

CKFH was  923-0921 and I think CFRB was 924-5711

Good old C-8-ch-mel.  Liberty 7-0121 or (as Tom Cherington always said, “If you’re calling from the beauty spots,”) Zenith 9-9240. Then at some point they changed to 645-3221 and Zenith 9-9-900. Before 1-800 numbers, I think.

Last edited by Hamiltonboy (June 24, 2020 5:19 pm)

 

June 24, 2020 5:21 pm  #13


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Old telephone prefixes



http://jbb.poslfit.com/Pages/416.html

Last edited by Calhame (June 24, 2020 5:22 pm)

 

June 24, 2020 5:37 pm  #14


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Thanks for the link. I was just thinking about this last week. I still remember EMpire and OXford (for example) being used in the early to mid 60's in radio ads, despite the fact this system apparently came to an end in the late 50s. Time to go back and review some airchecks!

 

June 24, 2020 6:04 pm  #15


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

What a great link! I've been looking for that list for a very long time. I thought I was the only one interested in this kind of arcane history. Apparently not! 

     Thread Starter
 

June 24, 2020 8:01 pm  #16


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

As of last year, Bell owns the only FM-HD combiner, transmitters, and antenna at the CN Tower. Other stations could use that combiner.. but all CN stations are supposedly working on plans to upgrade/replace the Marconi Master FM combiner so it can be used for HD.

The problem is, all stations financially support Master FM, and stations like CBC and CHIN may not want to pay for something they don't plan to use. Whereas at FCP, stations can do whatever they're technically capable of. 

I believe Bell utilizes mast space that was originally used by CBC. CKFM is up there now, CHUM hasn't been on HD since the fire in 2017 and is still on Master FM. 

Perhaps somebody has updated info on these situations? 

 

June 25, 2020 12:59 am  #17


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Thanks torontostan. Yes, any updated info would be great. It would be nice to know what all is going on at the CN Tower and FCP regarding FM HD and DT.

 

June 25, 2020 10:20 am  #18


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

The prefix CH, as in the number for the Biltmore theater in Weston stood for Cherry. Our number back the the 50 s has the prefix CH. It was CH 1, that was printed on the center part of the dial from Bell  Telephone when the phone service first came to Weston. For a number of years we were on the party line system. One short ring, and two long rings was our home. Over 60 years in the past, I may remember it incorrectly

 

June 25, 2020 11:58 am  #19


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

I remember party lines. When I was attending McMaster in the mid 70's, my landlady and her husband had one. Bell charged a few dollars less per month for a party line than a private one. And when was the last time you heard a busy signal?

 

June 25, 2020 12:01 pm  #20


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Bell Media did start broadcasting again in HD briefly on both CHUM HD-1, 2 and CKFM HD-1, 2 back in 2018. However, apparently some listeners of CHUM complained of poor sound quality when listening to the non HD signal so they ceased broadcasting in HD on both stations. Then in Sept 2018, CKFM resumed with HD-1, 2, 3, 4 and Bell shelved plans for CHUM HD.

 

June 25, 2020 2:27 pm  #21


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

From what I remember reading on this board, it would be quite the task to switch all the CN tower stations to HD due to the expense now, if the marconi combiner is all that needs to be changed and not the master antenna, then that might be feasible.  Its also surprising nothing ever fails to stop working up there especially for its age!

 

Last edited by markow202 (June 25, 2020 2:28 pm)

 

June 25, 2020 2:32 pm  #22


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

An article from Corus in 2017 regarding HD radio:  https://www.radioworld.com/tech-and-gear/corus-ventures-boldly-into-hd-radio

=18px“Unfortunately, the 40-year-old Marconi signal combiner is not capable of handling HD Radio, and since the unit is well out of date, no one is making parts to make this possible,” said Coldwell. “As a result, we had to find another way to serve HD Radio via FM into the Toronto market, and we did.”
 

 

June 25, 2020 6:02 pm  #23


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

My guess would be that the Master FM combiner replacement will only come when it's no longer capable of running the analogue signals. At that point, HD capabilities would merely be a bonus. 

Ah yes, you're right Hrick. I believe back in 2018, CHUM-FM and CKFM were still using Master FM for the analogue signal, and using the (higher up) HD antenna only for HD. Hence all the interference when in the downtown core. Now I assume CKFM is totally on its own up there, leaving only 7 stations on MasterFM. 

 

June 25, 2020 6:19 pm  #24


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Hrick wrote:

Bell Media did start broadcasting again in HD briefly on both CHUM HD-1, 2 and CKFM HD-1, 2 back in 2018. However, apparently some listeners of CHUM complained of poor sound quality when listening to the non HD signal so they ceased broadcasting in HD on both stations. Then in Sept 2018, CKFM resumed with HD-1, 2, 3, 4 and Bell shelved plans for CHUM HD.

The complaints would have been about the sound quality on the HD signal. Analog sound quality isn't affected by the addition of HD.
 


 
 

June 25, 2020 7:11 pm  #25


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

RadioAaron wrote:

The complaints would have been about the sound quality on the HD signal. Analog sound quality isn't affected by the addition of HD.

Actually the way Bell did it was unique, so the analogue signal was impacted only if you were close to the tower. The digital and analogue signals weren't technically co-located on the same antenna... so it caused a lot of interference on the analogue. Now CKFM must be using their new antenna for both HD and analogue FM, whereas the two stations weren't in 2017-18. 

If anyone is past KW or Oshawa, tune 99.9 and 104.5 (in analogue) and see if 99.9 is noticeably weaker. They would have to turn down their analogue power at the HD antenna height. 

 

June 26, 2020 9:36 am  #26


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

torontostan wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

The complaints would have been about the sound quality on the HD signal. Analog sound quality isn't affected by the addition of HD.

Actually the way Bell did it was unique, so the analogue signal was impacted only if you were close to the tower. The digital and analogue signals weren't technically co-located on the same antenna... so it caused a lot of interference on the analogue. Now CKFM must be using their new antenna for both HD and analogue FM, whereas the two stations weren't in 2017-18. 

If anyone is past KW or Oshawa, tune 99.9 and 104.5 (in analogue) and see if 99.9 is noticeably weaker. They would have to turn down their analogue power at the HD antenna height. 

Didnt all of this cause the fire in 2017 apparently?  The new antenna must be above the master FM section however I beleive thats where the old analog CBC-5 antenna was.  How would you even remove antennas from the mast now?  It seems all closed up.

All I notice with those two stations listening in analog in the past two to 3 years is a much higher quality of sound than any of the other stations.

Last edited by markow202 (June 26, 2020 9:38 am)

 

June 26, 2020 5:53 pm  #27


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

torontostan wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

The complaints would have been about the sound quality on the HD signal. Analog sound quality isn't affected by the addition of HD.

Actually the way Bell did it was unique, so the analogue signal was impacted only if you were close to the tower. The digital and analogue signals weren't technically co-located on the same antenna... so it caused a lot of interference on the analogue. Now CKFM must be using their new antenna for both HD and analogue FM, whereas the two stations weren't in 2017-18. 

If anyone is past KW or Oshawa, tune 99.9 and 104.5 (in analogue) and see if 99.9 is noticeably weaker. They would have to turn down their analogue power at the HD antenna height. 

Right. But that's the difference between signal quality and sound quality. 104.5 lost analog signal quality, but also sound quality on HD since they had two sub-channels.
 


 
 

June 26, 2020 7:12 pm  #28


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

RadioAaron wrote:

104.5 lost analog signal quality, but also sound quality on HD since they had two sub-channels.
 

Not totally how HD works...   It depends what bitrate is assigned to each sub channel.   This is is set by the broadcaster.    Some/most dedicate the most bitrate to their main signal's HD.    Then cuts on the sub channels.   It also depends if the HD subchannel is MONO or Stereo.    From the sounds of things, Virgin has HD setup with a high bitrate on HD1, Mono/lower bitrate on HD2 and HD3 and Stereo mid quality on HD4. (I have not got the equipment to verify this... just based on what I hear)

It depends as well how the sub channels are fed.   Sometimes broadcasters will use internet streams to feed sub channels, which could be set lower and not helping quality, when it's re-compressed.

Normally 1-2 STEREO sub channels are ok without any real noticeable quality issue..   Once you get into 4 sub channels, quality decisions have to happen.

As for analog on FM... it's not really noticeable like on AM analog when running HD.   I doubt 99% of the listeners would notice if things are correctly tuned.   AM HD as well is slowly getting perfected from the start of the technology, but it's not 100%.   

Myself, I do notice the main HD sounds broader/wider and cleaner than analog.   It's very noticeable when it flips to HD from analog on almost every station.    (ELEMNT is the exception... they may need to fix something.. it sounds very FLAT on HD vs analog)   

I personally think Canadian broadcasters need to look at HD more than they do... Push car manufacturers to put HD in STANDARD, like in the US, offer unique content that could never be profitable as a main signal perhaps, but allow you to get interest.   I good example is Durham's efforts with smooth jazz on HD2 of their country stations. Hosts, promos just like a full station, only on HD!.    Just putting something already available on HD like your AM signal isn't going to create interest.   As well promo of the HD sub stations needs to happen to make people aware.     I also feel radio as a industry needs to work with HD radio manufacturers to make the use of HD easier.    Some radios are great.. others are not.    Mine does allow me to save HD sub channels on presets and scan only HD or Analog.   It really helps.. but there also should be a way to populate the HD signals on the dial automatically, making tuning faster and perhaps make the radios more APP like to find stations much easier.

Last edited by radiokid (June 26, 2020 7:31 pm)

 

June 26, 2020 7:37 pm  #29


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

radiokid wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

104.5 lost analog signal quality, but also sound quality on HD since they had two sub-channels.
 

Not totally how HD works...   It depends what bitrate is assigned to each sub channel.   This is is set by the broadcaster.    Some/most dedicate the most bitrate to their main signal's HD. 

Yes, it is. And I'm not talking about the quality of the sub-channels themselves. If sub-channels exist at all, the HD1 feed gets less than maximum possible bitrate. This is noticeable on both 92.5 and 99.9. There are some elements of the sound quality that are better, but there are others that are noticeably worse. The high-end distortion on both stations is pretty bad. In the end, it depends on the listeners' receiver and how they hear certain frequencies, but to say HD sounds better than analog is false. It sounds "different." It's an improvement to some, but not to all. 

Last edited by RadioAaron (June 26, 2020 7:41 pm)


 
 

June 29, 2020 9:43 am  #30


Re: When Will The Repack Hit City, OMNI & Global?

Here is a sample of an HD2 signal from 107.7 The Lake. Rare day when I was able to receive this and the signal held for almost 25 mins until the end when it started to drop and I ended the recording

A kind of lite Triple A format with no ads and I think it would be nice if Indie 88.1 did something similar with their HD2. They went with active rock for a while and now they are running a music mix that's close to their main channel and I don't really see a point in that.

107.7 The Lake HD2


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