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March 25, 2022 7:12 am  #1


Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

The answer is no. But it certainly looked that way for a second.

CKFM, of course, remains the longtime call letters of what is now branded Virgin Radio at 99.9 in Toronto. And then I came across an announcement about a station in Olds, Alberta, that won an award for small market country outlet of the year. Its call sign? CKFM. Its logo made it clear that's how they I.D. themselves. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7f/CKLJ_96.5CKfm_logo.png


So what happened? The answer is that Toronto still owns the calls, and that the western radio station is actually CKLJ-FM, but goes by the branding 'CK-FM' on air. I doubt if anyone will ever confuse the two, but it certainly took me back for a second. 

Not a big deal, but just a weird story that seemed impossible - and it was. 

As for the days when the real 99.9 wasn't a Virgin?

https://i.ibb.co/GpnHzy7/CKFM-Ad-March-1980.jpg

 

March 25, 2022 9:42 am  #2


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

"CK-FM" has been around forever. I remember back in the 90's being stunned by this, except I thought the call letters were CKCK, which would also work as a way to get away with being known as CK FM...
 


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

March 25, 2022 10:38 am  #3


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

It's interesting that I started my career at CKLB in Oshawa.  Once those call letters were "given up", those call letters now live in the Yukon, I believe.

 

March 25, 2022 10:40 am  #4


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

Speaking of the original CKFM.  All my friends in the business and outside the business believe that CKFM had the BEST SOUND; in the city.  An engineer could answer this; but  I understand the big reason was they had no compression?  I remember listening to them in my apartment in downtown Toronto, and you would swear that Carl Banas was in the room with you.  It was that good.

Last edited by John D (March 25, 2022 10:42 am)

 

March 25, 2022 11:12 am  #5


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

Actually it gets weirder than that.  In June 2007, or a little earlier than that, the "then" owners of CKFM changed their call sign to CFMX.  As you may recall after Moses Znaimer bought CFMX, he changed the call sign for toronto to CFMZ.  But the re-broad in Coburg had always been CFMX.  Talk about two stations having the same call sign at the same time?  This posed a problem for BBM at the time.  Eventually it was resolved and the CFMX call sign was re-assigned to Coburg 103.1 - which was considered by Industry Canada and the CRTC to be a separate broadcasting undertaking because of the split-feed commercial approval.  To the best of my knowledge CKFM returned to the CKFM call sign sometime in 2007 or 2008.  I'm not certain whether they even used the CFMX sign "on the air".   They were calling themselves MIX 999 at that time -  I'm not certain whether MIX 999 ever used the legal "CFMX" call sign on the hour back then.  Not a listener, so I have no recollection of their on-air ids.  Perhaps someone who collects top of the hour ids, has a recording from 2007/2008

Last edited by tvguy (March 25, 2022 11:15 am)

 

March 25, 2022 11:28 am  #6


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

Interesting story. I barely remember the Mix 99.9 days and I wasn't a fan of the format. The History of Canadian Broadcasting Site has this entry for 2007, noting the change you mention did not last long. But it did happen.

"For a very brief time (about a month) in the spring of this year, Standard Radio changed the call letters from CKFM to CFMX to better represent the 99.9 MIX FM name. The CFMX calls had been recently given up by Classical 96.3 (103.1 Cobourg). The classical station had become CFMZ-FM. Because of concerns about BBM ratings diary confusion and the similarity of calls (CFMX 99.9 vs CFMZ 96.3) in the same market, the Standard station reverted back to the CKFM call sign."

https://i.ibb.co/m8JKMhJ/CKFM-Toronto-T-Shirt.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

March 25, 2022 11:35 am  #7


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

Here's one that's always baffled me. Everyone here is well aware of WBEN-AM in Buffalo. But there's an FM station in Philadelphia with the call letters WBEN-FM. They call themselves "BEN-FM" on air, and the Buffalo and Philly stations are owned by different companies. I'm not all that familiar with the FCC rules, but I often wonder how in the world this was allowed to happen. 

Then again, there's a cross between call letters for a prominent radio and TV station. KCBS-AM is a powerful 50K radio station in San Francisco while KCBS-TV is in Los Angeles. The former is owned by Audacy while the latter is a CBS O&O.  Different mediums, yes, but same call letters. 

https://stg-images.radio.com/aiu-media/RDCStationMigrationLogorectangleWBENAM-ef71713a-224a-469d-a5b6-fda9f309636d.png?&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&height=200


https://957benfm.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2016/04/957-ben-fm-philadelphia.png?width=308&height=176&anchor=middlecenter

     Thread Starter
 

March 25, 2022 1:04 pm  #8


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

According to the info at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTSS, the Buffalo WBEN-FM changed its call letters to WMJQ in 1987 (and then to WTSS in 2000). The article on the current WBEN at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBEN-FM states that they switched to those calls in 2005 to go with the adoption of the "Ben" branding. I don't know if a non-affiliated FM station having the same calls as an AM station would be an issue if they were in the same market, but with them being in different markets I can understand this being ok. 

 

March 25, 2022 5:01 pm  #9


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

I have to admit ignorance on this (as on so many things!) but I just can't understand how this is possible.

WBEN-AM has had those calls since 1930. How a station in another city - even if they are on another band - is allowed to assume them when someone else is already using them makes no sense to me. I'd be really curious to know if this has happened before and what the rules are around this Stateside. I have to believe it would never be permitted in Canada.

Stations can have similar formats, similar branding, play the same music and take the same syndicated shows. But your call letters, even if you don't use them, are the one thing that's totally unique and exclusive to you. How can there be two WBENs in different cities in the U.S.? I can't really see how it's allowed. 

     Thread Starter
 

March 25, 2022 7:08 pm  #10


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

WBEN and WBEN-FM are not seen as the "same" call letters. The FCC considers the FM suffix enough to make them separate calls.

The AM is just WBEN - there is no AM suffix.


 
 

March 25, 2022 7:14 pm  #11


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

According to the info at https://www.radiodiscussions.com/threads/can-more-than-one-radio-station-have-the-same-call-letters.555912/#post-4945457, this is how it's allowed.
 
Until the 1980s, a call sign could not be duplicated in two completely different locations. Then the rules were relaxed in the first stage to where the same owner of two stations in different locations could split a call sign. A good example is when KNXT(TV) Los Angeles became KCBS-TV, sharing the call sign with commonly owned KCBS San Francisco. Until the 1980s when that change was made, the FCC would not have allowed that.
A few years later, the FCC relaxed that rule even more to allow stations under different ownership in different locations to split call signs. As has been noted, it would be necessary to obtain the permission of the current holder of a call sign if a different owner in another location wanted to use the same call.

 

March 25, 2022 7:23 pm  #12


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

A Canadian example, CKY-FM is Kiss 102.3 Winnipeg, owned by Rogers. CKY-TV is CTV Winnipeg, owned by Bell.


 
 

March 25, 2022 11:08 pm  #13


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

And also CFPL-TV, whose sister radio stations compete against CFPL and CFPL-FM.

As noted earlier, the FCC considers WXXX-FM to be a separate callsign from WXXX on an AM station.

Here in Rochester, WHAM and WROC on the AM dial are owned completely separately from WHAM-TV and WROC-TV.

In Boston, WBZ, WBZ-FM and WBZ-TV are three separate owners.

The FCC considers callsigns as something of a vanity thing. The unique identifiers it uses internally are facility ID numbers, which are tied to an individual license and which never change.

 

March 26, 2022 3:55 pm  #14


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

This has happened within the CBC as well. At one time, there was CBZ in Fredericton (Radio One) and CBZ-FM in Saint John (CBC Stereo).

There’s also CBYT-FM, the Radio One transmitter in Campbell River, BC; there used to also be CBYT, the CBC TV station in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Another one I can think of is CBLN, which was the Radio One AM repeater in Nakina, Ontario; there was also CBLN-TV, which broadcast CBC TV in London from 1988-2012.

 

March 26, 2022 9:38 pm  #15


Re: Two Cdn Radio Stations With The Same Call Letters? Is That Possible?

Thanks to all who cleared this up. I find it hard to believe call letters are interchangeable, but it seems they are. I learn something new here every day, thanks to our posters!

     Thread Starter