CBFX-FM, ICI Musique, Montréal

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Societe Radio Canada
Societe Radio Canada
Societe Radio Canada
Societe Radio Canada

The CBC was operating the only FM transmissions in Montreal at this time. The broadcasts were originating from the CBC Engineering Headquarters in the Keefer Building, where a low powered 25 watt FM transmitter was in operation. It was in operation daily and carrying FM programs. The FM service was being given so the CBC engineers and local radio manufacturers could have available at all times, FM transmissions for testing receivers. The corporation also had plans by this time to build an FM station on Mount Royal as soon as the equipment was available. The CBC did conduct tests from Mount Royal last fall (1944). A 3,000 watt transmitter was on order for use at Mount Royal. The building for the new transmitter was in the works and plans called for space to also house television equipment.


The CBC announced plans for an experimental FM station at Montreal.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation opened experimental FM station VE9CB on March 13. It operated on a frequency of 98.1 MHz with 250 watts of power. The transmitter was on Mount Royal. This station would evolve in to CBF-FM.

On November 14, the CBC opened FM station VE9FD on 100.7 MHz with a power of 250 watts. The transmitter was on Mount Royal. The station would evolve in to CBM-FM.



The call letters changed to CBF-FM on March 5. The station was now operating on 95.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 4,200 watts.

Late in the year the CBC started work on remodeling the Ford Hotel which would become the Radio-Canada Building. It was not expected to be completed before the fall of 1949. It would contain studios and offices for the International Short Wave Service, CBF, CBM, the networks (Dominion, Trans-Canada and French), and the general headquarters of the CBC technical services.


Marcel Ouimet was manager and M. Valiquette was commercial manager.


Montreal's Radio-Canada Building opened May 18. Dr. J.J. McCann cut the ribbon that officially opened the building, before more than a thousand guests. Speeches by Dr. McCann, CBC general manager Dr. Augustin Frigon and CBC Chairman Davidson Dunton were delivered during a 15 minute coast to coast broadcast. The building was the former Ford Hotel, purchased by the CBC in 
September of 1948. It took over two years to modernize and adopt the building to the demands of radio and television. The 12 storey building would be home to the French network, International Service, CBC Montreal television, and the national offices of the personnel and administration division, the engineering division and the executive. Over 600 CBC employees and another 600 radio artists were required to produce the 18 hours of programming that would leave the building each day. The programs were in two languages for home listening, and 14 languages for the international service. When finished, the building would have 26 modern radio studios and three for television. Four 50,000 watt transmitters had already been installed - two FM and two for shortwave. The news rooms, recording rooms and large master control were already in place. The control room could handle five transmitters, eight outgoing and seven incoming networks and the 26 studios. It was an automatic operation to a great extent.

The CBC confirmed that it would use Mount Royal for a transmitter site and was submitting its plan to municipal officials. The transmitter building would have a basement and one story and would house the TV transmitter and two FM transmitters. The tower, less than 300 feet high, would have the antenna of the city's first TV station at the very top. The two FM antennae would be underneath and there would be room for TV expansion. Engineers felt Mount Royal was the only suitable location for TV transmission following almost a year of study of all possible sites. They said the mountain was the only location to guarantee complete coverage of the metropolitan area. Tower height would be limited by civil aviation authorities in order to avoid interference with air traffic. 


By this time, CBF-FM was operating on a frequency of 95.1 MHz with power of 3,860 watts. The transmitter and antenna were located on Mount Royal.



CBF-FM now had an effective radiated power of 24,600 watts.


The CBC had 22 different owned and rented buildings throughout the city of Montreal. All of these facilities would come under one roof when Place de Radio-Canada was completed and in use by 1972. The building would be a 23 floor office tower, covering an area of 900 by 510 feet on a 25 acre plot of land in east-central downtown. New radio facilities would include 11 production studios (3 would be stereo-equipped), 8 presentation studios and 7 tape editing rooms. 


CBF-FM began broadcasting in stereo after a swap of frequencies with co-owned CBM-FM (CBC English FM) and an increase in power. CBF-FM moved from 95.1 MHz to 100.7 MHz. Effective radiated power increased from 24,600 watts to 100,000 watts.

In November, the CBC/Radio-Canada Montreal stations began broadcasting from the new Maison de Radio-Canada at 1400 Dorchester Boulevard (now 1400 Rene Levesque Blvd.). 


Maison de Radio-Canada was opened to the public in June and was officially opened on December 5, by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. 


Rebroadcast transmitter CBF-FM-1 opened on July 21 in Trois-Rivieres.


CBF-FM-1 Trois-Rivières received approval to relocate transmission facilities from Drummondville to Trois-Rivières and decrease effective radiated power from 50,000 watts to 47,000 watts. This approval was conditional upon the CBC selecting one of the frequencies available in the Trois-Rivières area, in accordance with the Department of Communications' FM Allotment Plan.  Following discussions with the CBC, the Commission accepted the CBC's proposal to establish CBF-FM-1 Trois-Rivières on the frequency 104.3 MHz. The Commission noted that there were no suitable non-commercial channels available for this station. It also expected the CBC to fulfill its commitment to implement this proposal concurrently with the change in frequency for CBF-8-FM (mono network) Trois-Rivières, within the next twelve to fourteen months.  


On May 9, CBF-FM was given approval to add a transmitter at Sherbrooke. It would operate on a frequency of 89.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 678 watts.


On October 1, CBF-FM-1 Trois-Rivières was authorized to decrease effective radiated power from 47,000 watts to 38,400 watts.  The CBC indicated that the station's coverage area would be slightly reduced as a result of the power decrease. However, service would continue to be provided to any area which might no longer receive the CBF-FM-1 signal through CBF-FM Montreal or CBV-FM Quebec City.  


On September 19, CBF-FM-2 Sherbrooke was given approval to increase effective radiated power from 678 watts to 25,000 watts and to change frequency from 89.7 MHz to 90.7 MHz. 

CBF-FM-2 which was licenced in 1985, finally went on the air on October 20.


On August 17, the CBC was authorized to offer some separate programming over CBV-FM Quebec City and CJBR-FM Rimouski. Until now, these transmitters rebroadcast, in its entirety, the programming of CBF-FM Montréal. Under the new licences, CBV-FM and CJBR-FM would add local programming consisting of weather reports and a cultural events billboard.  CBV-FM operated on 95.3 MHz with effective radiated power of 100,000 watts while CJBR-FM broadcast over 101.5 MHz with ERP of 50,000 watts.


The Radio-Canada FM stereo network became known as La Chaîne culturelle on September 1.


CBF-AM (690 kHz) moved to the FM band, becoming CBF-FM. As a result, CBF-FM changed its name to CBFX-FM.

On November 19, the CBC was granted a licence for a transitional digital radio undertaking to serve Montréal. The transmitter would be installed at the Mont Royal tower and employ the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system. CBFX would operate on frequency 1458,048 MHz with effective isotropic radiated power of 11,724 watts.


On November 25, CBFX-FM received approval to add a transmitter at Amos, operating on frequency 88.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 32,400 watts.


On February 25, CBFX-FM received approval to add a transmitter at Gaspé, operating on a frequency of 90.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 2,160 watts.

CBFX-FM-3 Amos signed on the air on July 27.


CBFX-FM-5 Gaspe began broadcasting on April 30.

As of 2001, CBFX-FM operated the following transmitters: CBFX-FM-1 Trois-Rivières, CBFX-FM-2 Sherbrooke, CBFX-FM-3 Amos, CBFX-FM-4 Rouyn and CBFX-FM-5 Gaspé. CBFX-FM broadcasts approximately 20 minutes of local arts billboard programming each week from Montréal. CBRX-FM Rimouski broadcasts approximately 20 minutes of local arts billboard programming each week from Rimouski. CBVX-FM Québec & CBVX-FM-1 Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré broadcasts approximately 20 minutes of local arts billboard programming each week from Québec. CBJX-FM Chicoutimi broadcasts approximately 20 minutes of local arts billboard programming each week from Chicoutimi. 

On October 1, CBFX-FM-5 Gaspé was authorized to increase effective radiated power from 2,160 watts to 4,110 watts.



On April 30, CBFX was given approval to add a transmitter at Mont-Laurier. It would operate on a frequency of 91.1 MHz with effective radiated power of 72,000 watts.
On September 11, approval was granted for CBFX-FM-1 Trois-Rivières to move its transmitter to a site 1.9 kilometre northeast of the authorized site and to increase its effective radiated power from 38,400 watts to 43,000 watts.


On September 1, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. received permission to acquireCHLM-FM Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitter CHLM-FM-1 Amos/Val d’Or from Radio Nord. CHLM-FM had been broadcasting in its entirety since February 2000, the CBC’s regional network programming and that Radio Nord has not broadcast any local programming on this station. The CBC made a commitment to produce 27 hours and 30 minutes of local programming in each broadcast week. The remainder of the programming would originate with the CBC’s La Première Chaîne radio network, received from CBF-FM Montréal.

La chaîne culturelle was renamed Espace musique in September. 


On May 12 the CRTC renewed CBFX-FM's licence. The renewal included the following rebroadcast transmitters: CBFX-DR-1 Montreal, CBFX-FM-1 Trois-Rivieres, CBFX-FM-2 Sherbrooke, CBFX-FM-3 Amos, CBFX-FM-4 Rouyn, CBFX-FM-5 Gaspe, and CBFX-FM-6 Mont-Laurier. 


On February 5, the CRTC approved the application by the CBC relating to CBF-FM to increase the effective height of the antenna above average terrain from 242.7 to 298.9 meters. All other technical parameters remain unchanged. The CBC indicated that the changes were aimed at improving La Première Chaîne's service in the greater Montréal area. 

Because of a total lack of interest in digital radio by all parties involved, the CBC advised the CRTC that it would cease operation of its Montreal digital radio transmitters CBME-DR-1, CBM-DR-1, CBF-DR-1 and CBFX-DR-1. On June 15, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licence issued to the CBC for these transmitters. 

On August 9, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CBFX-FM (and its transmitters) to August 31, 2011.


On August 25, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CBFX-FM and its transmitters to March 1, 2013.


On February 22, the CRTC administratively renewed the licences for CBFX-FM Montréal and its transmitters to August 31, 2013.

On April 25, the CRTC approved two applications filed by the CBC for broadcasting licences to operate new French-language FM radio programming undertakings at Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke. The new stations would replace the transmitters CBFX-FM-1 Trois-Rivières and CBFX-FM-2 Sherbrooke of CBFX-FM Montréal. The Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke stations would offer at least 20 minutes of local programming in each broadcast week. Local programming would include regional cultural features and, for certain programs, a local host who would cover regional news, including regional cultural news. The local content broadcast by these stations would be different from that broadcast by the other stations on the Espace musique network. The remainder of the programming for the Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke stations would come from the Espace musique network. The Commission also approved the CBC's applications to amend the broadcasting licence for CBFX-FM Montréal by deleting the rebroadcasting transmitters CBFX-FM-1 Trois-Rivières and CBFX-FM-2 Sherbrooke from this licence.

On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CBFX-FM Montréal and its transmitters CBFX-FM-3 Amos, CBFX-FM-4 Rouyn, CBFX-FM-5 Gaspé and CBFX-FM-6 Mont-Laurier, for a five year term, to August 31, 2018. The Commission considered that it was appropriate to impose conditions of licence on Espace Musique that: permit the broadcast of a maximum of four minutes of national paid advertising, as currently defined by the Commission, in any clock hour; and limit the number of times that programming can be interrupted for advertising to no more than twice per clock hour. The broadcast of advertising by Espace Musique was for a three-year trial period from September 1, 2013 until August 31, 2016.

On December 5, the CRTC gave approval to the CBC to introduce advertising on the Radio 2 and Espace Musique networks. Advertising would be limited to four minutes every hour. The CBC would need to seek permission to continue airing commercials on the two networks after three years.


On October 8, the CRTC approved the application by the CBC to change the polarization of the CBFX-FM antenna from horizontal to circular and an increase in antenna height. 


On July 3, the CRTC approved the CBC's application to change the authorized contours of CBFX-FM-3 Amos. It proposed to relocate the transmitter to Malartic, to change the transmitter class from B to C1, to modify the polarization of the antenna from horizontal to elliptical (directional), to increase the average effective radiated power from 32,400 to 47,750 watts (maximum ERP from 50,000 to 100,000 watts) and to increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain from 150 to 189.1 metres.


On August 31, the CRTC denied the CBC’s application to continue commercial advertising on Radio 2 and ICI Musique beyond the initial three-year licence amendment. The CRTC found that CBC had failed to maintain satisfactory investment in radio and failed to meet ad revenue projections.

On September 30, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to change the authorized contours of CBFX-FM-4 Rouyn-Noranda by relocating the transmitter, changing from a directional to a non-directional antenna, and decreasing the average ERP from 17,200 to 10,912 watts (max. ERP decreasing from 26,700 to 10,912 watts) and the EHAAT from 204.2 to 110.2 metres. The CBC stated that these changes would allow it to combine its FM services in Rouyn-Noranda and thus reduce its costs.

In the fall, the CBC announced it had selected the Broccolini group to build the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal and Groupe Mach to purchase the western part of the large property (René-Lévesque Blvd. & Papineau Ave.) occupied by the broadcaster’s facilities. The transactions still required Treasury Board approval.


In October, the CBC received CRTC approval to increase the ERP for CBFX-FM-6 Mont Laurier from 72,000 to 83,800 watts and to lower antenna height.

The story continues elsewhere...
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