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June 4, 2015 4:02 pm  #1

1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

Aug. 1996

It was time to clean the basement, and in doing so, I found a cardboard box I haven't opened since 1980. It's full of spiffy clippings, et-cetera. One of the nice surprises was an old issue of "The City", a magazine that used to be included with The Saturday Toronto Star, that was far better than the Star itself.This issue of "The City" concentrated on Toronto radio, with lots of pictures, notes, et-cetera. There is a great station by station breakdown which I now present. Remember, this was done 18 years ago here in Toronto. Sadly, the vast majority of people mentioned on this page are now either dead or retired. Hopefully some of these voices will live on again, with this re-post. The stations and the people have changed.. but how much ?


(Make that 37 years ago..  Jesus, where did all that time go...)

Toronto Radio Review.
October 1978
Compiled by Andrew Weiner for
Toronto Star supplement magazine "The City".


CKEY 590
Owned by the MacLean-Hunter conglomerate, and presided over by Doug Trowell, one of the brightest broadcaster around, CKEY has been running a strong fourth in recent listener surveys, using the CFRB formula of middle-of-the-road music mixed with commentary. But while the great appeal of CFRB is that nothing ever seems to change, CKEY has lately acquired some powerful new voices. Stephen Lewis daily at %L30 p.m., and former TV backgrounder Tom Gould who offers an 8:30 a.m. commentary spot called…. The Foregrounder. CKEY also has the Pierre Berton - Charles Templeton Dialogue spot daily at 10:50 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. plundered from CFRB in the mid-sixties. But the main thing is still the music, which is no longer called ‘middle-of-the-road’ but ‘adult-contemporary’. Not Mantovani, but Neil Diamond, not Henry Mancini, but John Denver, and certainly not the Sex Pistols.

CFTR 680
A failing shadow of Ted Rogers successful CHFI-FM until 1973, when he brought in Chuck Camroux as station manager to revamp the format. CFTR is now Canada’s second biggest Top-40 pop station. And in a few years it may have the teenybopper field all to itself, as CHUM goes chasing after an older audience.

CBL 740
While CBC’s Toronto outlet competes with no one for advertising dollars, it competes strongly for listeners. Metro Morning man David Schatzky runs third in the crucial drive-to-work time slot in the BBM ratings. Space does not permit a full listing of CBC programming, but there is nothing to touch it in drama, comedy or talk. And in this sense, the CBC is the last surviving golden age radio station, even if what we have today is only a shadow of its former self.

CFRB 1010
CFRB is, well CFRB. It’s Number 1, Number 1 in listeners, and Number 1 in advertising dollars. The whole radio industry stands in awe of it. "Fantastic" says CFNY boss Leslie Allen. "Remarkable". And it’s not a station to tinker with a winning formula. Gordon Sinclair has been with CFRB since 1944, Wally Crouter since 1947, Ray Sonin since 1957, and Betty Kennedy since 1959, the same year that Bob Hesketh, was hired on as understudy to the soon-to-retire Sinclair (at 78, surely the oldest active radio newsman in the world). There’s also the music, which is more "adult contemporary."

CHUM 1050
Toronto’s Number 2 station is still basically a Top 40 outlet, but it’s a lot less frenetic than it used to be. As the baby boom generation grows up, CHUM tries to grow up with it, verging on an almost FM sound with its selection of album tracks and its new practice of playing 4-song "sweeps" (played back-to-back with no intervening deejay patter). In this setup, the deejays become interchangeable, and it is hard for the casual listener to tell them apart., let alone distinguish them from their opposite numbers on CFTR. Best known is probably morning man Jay Nelson, formerly "Jungle Jay", sometime star of American kiddies Tv.

CFGM 1320
Canada’s first country music station is owned by Alan Slaight, also boss of Q107. Country fans will need no introduction. Non-country fans will not want one. Still the station has been important in boosting Canada’s native country music scene, through shows such as "Opry North" on Sunday at 7 p.m.

CKFH 1430
Foster Hewitt’s station also plays country music, although it leans more toward easy-listening style, mild country-rockers such as Olivia Newton-John, But the main thing of course is the sports, live coverage of the big events plus Bob McCown’s daily phone-in at 5:30 p.m. CKFM has also lured John Gilbert over from CHUM to host the morning phone-in show (9 to 11) and substantially boost its ratings.

CHIN 1540
Johnny Lombardi used to broadcast to Little Italy through a series of different stations. In 1966 he got his license to serve all Metro’s ethnic communities. The AM station features Italian, English, and a little Greek, while the FM outlet serves 34 Metro cultural communities in over 30 different languages.


CJRT 91.1
A private, non-profit station, CJRT survives on grants from the Ontario government, from leading commercial radio stations, and from its own listeners. The emphasis is heavily on music. 70 hours of classical a week, and another 30 hours of jazz – much of it hosted by Ted O’Reilly, dean of Canadian jazz broadcasters (weeknights from 10 to 1). Homesick Brits will appreciate the 8 a.m. rebroadcast of the BBC world service news. Minority stuff, but it’s a growing minority. CJRT has doubled its audience in the last 10 years.

CBL-FM 94.1
Classical music, live and on record; news of the arts, and long-running special features such as ideas (8 p.m. Monday to Friday). Also, your chance to hear the Royal Canadian Air Farce in stereo (1 p.m. Saturday(.

CHFI 98.1
Ted Rogers was still in law school when he bought CHFI in 1960, just in time to cash in on the boom in sales of FM receivers. CHFI was the first station in Toronto to broadcast in stereo in 1961, and later the first to beam out from the CN-Tower. The slogan is still "Beautiful music" but there have been changes in recent years. The old CHFI easy-listening sound can still be heard nightly from 7 to 11 p.m. on Don Parish’s Candlelight and Wine, but during daylight hours, CHFI has switched to the dreaded "adult contemporary", a change that competitive stations in the same market have not much appreciated.

CKO 99.1
"Not so much a radio station, but a service… like having a teletype machine in your living-room" according to owner David Ruskin. CKO is Canada’s first all-news station. So far, not too many people are aware that the station even exists, but CKO hopes to improve its visibility with tits newly acquired rights to play-by-play of the Maple Leafs.

CKFM 99.9
CFRB’s sister station describes its programming as "contemporary MOR"", which is just another way of saying – you guessed it – "adult contemporary". But there are also special features such as Henry Shannon’s very popular brass band show, "Men of Brass" (Sunday at 6 p.m.) Phil MacKellar’s authoritative "All that Jazz" (Sundays at 10 pm) and – a sop to the disco generation – Saturday Night Disco (Saturday at 8 p.m.)

CFNY 102.1
Booming out of Brampton with 100,000 watts of power since July 1977 this new entry in the FM rock market has yet to cause CHUM-FM or Q107 any sleepless nights. Originally under the direction of former CHUM-FM deejay Dave Pritchard, the station sounded like a complete throwback to the free-form "progressive" radio of the late Sixties, mixing rock with jazz, classical and blues. Pritchard left, refusing to, as he put it, turn the station into a conduit for "shallow hit-oriented Pabulum – a carbon copy of CHUM-FM or Q-107". Things have tightened up a little lately, but not by much. CFNY is still the most refreshingly erratic station on the FM dial. Progressive radio isn’t dead, it just moved to Bill Davis’s hometown.

CHUM FM 104.5
The original FM rock station is still the greatest – at least in terms of listeners and advertising dollars. But things have changed a lot since the old free-form days of 1968 when the station first switched from its money-losing classical format. The emphasis is still on "new music" but these days the music is chosen by a central committee. "Our audience expects unpredictability" says station manager Warren Cosford, but it’s a rather calculated kind of unpredictability. Still, the station deserves full marks for its promotion of more live radio concerts than any other station in North America. And it has begun to collaborate with CHUM owned CITY-TV in radio/TV concert ‘simulcasts’ featuring Canadian artists.

CILQ FM 107.1
When CILQ – or as it is better known Q107 – came on the air in May 1977, with a heavy representation of e-CHUM personnel, it was widely regarded as a CHUM-FM clone. Owner Alan Slaight, who bankrolled the project to the tune of $500,000 is himself a former CHUM programming wizard. Since then, the station has been struggling to establish its own identity – although perhaps not struggling that hard. The station has grown very fast through careful research into the kind of music that people want to hear. If Q107 differs from CHUM-FM, it is in the direction of sounding even more slick, polished, and hit-oriented. Still the station does have Ritchie Yorke, dean of Canadian rock critics and a man of nearly impeccable taste (Saturday at 8 p.m.) and regular morning man Ted Woloshyn on The Comedy Bowl (Sunday at 10 p.m.).

Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.

June 5, 2015 12:08 pm  #2

Re: 1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

CFTR 680
>> A failing shadow of Ted Rogers successful CHFI-FM until 1973, when he brought in Chuck Camroux as station manager to revamp the format. CFTR is now Canada’s second biggest Top-40 pop station. And in a few years it may have the teenybopper field all to itself, as CHUM goes chasing after an older audience <<

Make that 1972, when Ted Rogers brought in George Johns. George introduced that "dreaded 'adult contemporary'" format that eventually put CHFI at the top of Toronto ratings. I arrived shortly after the change at 'TR; the boppers were certainly welcome to come along for the ride but we were aiming much wider.
Ah, those exciting days of yesteryear -- three-hour shifts and the whole 9 yards! 


June 5, 2015 1:54 pm  #3

Re: 1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

I popped into the scene at CHFI in 1982/ 1983 as PCW was trying to change anything and everything Ted Randal had ever done with the station.  The cusp of the Montreal Mafia getting a grip at Rogers radio .   At times it felt like WKRP before anyone knew what that was .   I'll never forget Dolan going hammering into her office with an offer to teach her how to read a BBM ratings book.  He even promised to speak very slowly.

Last edited by ig (June 5, 2015 1:59 pm)

Madness takes its toll.  Please have exact change.
     Thread Starter

May 24, 2023 8:39 am  #4

Re: 1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

With the morning show being THE most important time slot for a station to generate audience numbers, it's amazing to view the annual share erosion of 1010 over the last 14 years with Johnny Moore as lead in.

Last edited by peter (May 24, 2023 8:40 am)


May 24, 2023 8:57 am  #5

Re: 1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

It was actually in what was then a new publication, the Sunday Star. I remember reading it!

Unfortunately the City Magazine supplement only lasted for a year or two.


May 24, 2023 9:06 am  #6

Re: 1978 Toronto Radio Review.. From my 1996 website!!

Terrific snapshot Iain.  Thanks for sharing and yes, where did all of that time go