CBL-FM, CBC Music, Toronto

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

CBL-FM199794.138,000Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBL-FM197694.138,000Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBL-FM196894.111,900Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBC-FM196694.111,900Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
VE9EV-FM194699.1250Canadian Broadcasting Corp.


The CBC announced it would install an FM station on the top of the Canadian Bank of Commerce building in Toronto. The call letters would be VE9EV and the station would be used to further FM research and to encourage the buying of FM receivers. It was believed VE9EV would be heard within a 35 mile radius. 

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation launched experimental FM station VE9EV on October 9. It operated on a frequency of 99.1 MHz with 250 watts of power. Studios were at 354 Jarvis Street in Toronto. VE9EV simulcast the programs of CBL-AM and CBY-AM.


VE9EV was now operating as CBL-FM.


CBL-FM used an RCA transmitter.


CBL-FM’s effective radiated power was now 5,580 watts.


Parliament was expected to be asked for $2,000,000 with which to build a new radio headquarters for the CBC in Toronto. The building was to be built on Jarvis Street to take the place of the former Havergal Ladies College purchased by the CBC 10 years earlier. It could be completed in 2 or 3 years. Overcrowding of the present quarters in the old and unsuitable Havergal building was given as the reason for proposing the new building. 


Before CBLT opened in 1952, the CBC seemed able to get by with its converted girls’ school at 354 Jarvis Street and two or three concert studios as its Toronto home. Since television came along, two studio buildings were constructed on Jarvis Street and up to 17 buildings had been rented across the city. As of now, there were 13 buildings used at 11 different locations. There was still hope for a single establishment in Toronto but it would be some years yet according to press reports.


In February, the CBC announced plans for its FM network. It would be bilingual and start up on April 1. The network would link up the existing CBM-FM (100.7 MHz) Montreal, CBO-FM (103.3 MHz) Ottawa and CBC-FM (99.1 MHz) Toronto. High fidelity recorded music and regular Trans-Canada, Dominion and French network concerts and recitals would constitute the main programming fare during the initial 18 month test period. The CNR and CPR were now setting up the necessary lines and equipment to link the three stations. The FM network would operate during the evenings – Monday thru Friday, and noon to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The CBC’s bilingual FM network launched on April 4 at 7:00 p.m. The schedule emphasized live and recorded music, both popular and classical, but also carried news, talks and commentaries in depth, and dramatic works. During non-network hours, CBC-FM would simulcast CBL-AM.

Laurence Grant Wilson of Toronto and Paul Roussel of Montreal were named program officers for the CBC FM Network. They were in charge of all programming on the bilingual network. Keith Morrow was director of CBC English networks and the Toronto area. 


On October 31 at midnight, the FM network was closed and the CBC FM stations went back to simulcasting their sister AM stations full-time. 

The Dominion and Trans-Canada networks were merged into a single service. 


On October 1, the CBC FM network reopened.


CBL-FM 99.1 now had an effective radiated power of 11,900 watts.


On November 4, CBC-FM moved from 99.1 MHz to 94.1 MHz. effecitve radiated power remained 11,900 watts. The station broadcast from an antenna height of 403 feet from the CBLT-TV tower at 354 Jarvis St. 


On October 28, CBC-FM officially became CBL-FM.


On July 31, CBL-FM 94.1 was granted an increase in effective radiated power from 11,900 watts to 39,800 watts. The CBC had applied for this increase in 1968 but a decision was delayed until now. The increase became effective later in 1970 and at that time, the station began broadcasting in stereo.


On April 21, CBL-FM was granted an increase in effective radiated power from 39,800 watts to 55,700 watts. Antenna height was 389 feet with a non-directional signal.


On December 14, most of Toronto’s FM and TV stations (including CBL-FM) were authorized to transmit from the new CN Tower once it is completed.


On November 3, the CBC-FM network was re-launched as “CBC Stereo”.


On May 24, testing began from the brand new CN Tower, 301 Front Street West. CBL-FM began broadcasting officially from the tower when it signed on the air for the day, May 31. Effective radiated power was now 38,000 watts. Antenna height was 1,380 feet.


The CBC began extending the FM stereo service to other parts of Ontario. CBBL-FM (100.5 MHz) London was the first of these stations, signing on October 1.


CBBK-FM (92.9 MHz) Kingston launched on May 20.


The Peterborough area began receiving CBC Stereo service on September 21, via CBBP-FM (103.9 MHz).


On February 6, the CBC Stereo network went to 24 hour a day operation with the addition of an overnight show geared to young listeners.  

On October 22, CBL-FM received authority to operate a transmitter at Sudbury. It would broadcast on 90.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 48,000 watts. Because of antenna height restrictions, at the request of the Department of Communications the CBC was requested to reduce the effective radiated power originally proposed from 49,200 watts to 48,000 watts.


CBC Toronto operations moved to the new Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West.


When CBL-FM (along with CBBK-FM Kingston, CBBL-FM London and CBBP-FM Peterborough/Cobourg) had its licence renewed, it was noted that the station broadcast programming originating from the CBC Stereo network as well as a weekly regional performance program.


The CBC Stereo network was renamed “CBC Radio Two” on September 1.


On May 26, the CRTC approved the application by the CBC for a licence to carry on transitional digital radio undertaking. The transmitter for CBL-FM would be installed on the CN Tower and employ the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system. The frequency would be 1461.536 MHz with effective isotropic radiated power of 5084 watts.

The late Clyde Gilmour’s 13,000 record albums – CDS, 78s, scrapbooks, scripts, books and personal papers – were moved from his basement to CBC Toronto’s Broadcasting Centre. Gilmour died in November (1997) at 85.


CBL-FM was given approval to add a transmitter at Paris, to serve Kitchener-Waterloo, Paris and Guelph. It would operate on a frequency of 90.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 4,000 watts.

On June 28, CBL-FM-2 Paris signed on the air.

CBL-DR-1 began broadcasting on November 1.


CBBS-FM Sudbury began broadcasting on March 29. (It holds a separate licence from CBL-FM)

At licence renewal time, CBL-FM Toronto operated the following transmitters: CBBK-FM Kingston, CBBL-FM London, CBL-FM-2 Paris and CBBP-FM Peterborough. It was noted that most of CBL-FM’s programming originated with the Radio Two network. The station also broadcasts local arts billboard information.


On August 24 after years of not being used, the old CBC TV/FM tower at 354 Jarvis Street was toppled to make room for a new building.

CBL-FM received approval December 18 to operate rebroadcast transmitters at Owen Sound (97.1 MHz with effective radiated power of 17,500 watts), Orillia (90.7 MHz with ERP of 4,800 watts) and Huntsville (104.7 MHz with ERP of 70,000 watts).


CBL-FM-1 Huntsville signed on the air on November 2.

On December 2, CBL-FM-3 went on the air in Orillia.


CBL-FM-4 Owen Sound was opened on May 8.


On June 28, CBL-FM-1 Huntsville was given approval to change frequency from 104.7 MHz to 106.9 MHz. When the Huntsville transmitter began operation in the Fall of 2003, interference was identified between the signal of that transmitter and that of CFBK-FM Huntsville, which operates on 105.5 MHz. The CBC was unable to reach an agreement with CFBK-FM to resolve the interference, and the CBC consequently decided to apply for a new frequency. 


In 2010, the CBC had the licences for its Montreal digital radio transmitters revoked. On January 21, 2011, the CRTC revoked the licenses for the rest of the CBC’s digital radio transmitters across the country – at the Corporation’s request. The revocations included CBLA-DR-1, CBL-DR-1, CJBC-DR-1 and CJBC-DR-2 Toronto. There had been a total lack of interest in digital radio by all parties involved.


On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CBL-FM Toronto and its transmitters CBBK-FM Kingston, CBBL-FM London, CBBP-FM Peterborough, CBL-FM-1 Huntsville, CBL-FM-2 Paris, CBL-FM-3 Orillia, and CBL-FM-4 Owen Sound, for a five year term, to August 31, 2018. The Commission considered that it was appropriate to impose conditions of licence on Radio 2 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 Radio 2 was for a three-year trial period from September 1, 2013 until August 31, 2016.

The CRTC approved an amendment to the licence for CBL-FM Toronto to modify the technical parameters of rebroadcasting transmitter CBL-FM-2 Paris in order to change its antenna’s polarity to circular, to decrease the average ERP to 2,731 watts (maximum ERP to 8,237 watts), and to increase the effective height of antenna above average terrain to 249 metres.

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 April 19, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to reduce the power of CBBL from 22,500 to 9,970 watts (22,500 to 13,700 watts maximum ERP). Antenna height would rise from 215.5 to 267.2 metres (EHAAT). The radiation pattern would change from non-directional to directional.

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.


In March, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application for CBBK Kingston to reduce ERP from 1,600 to 1,200 watts and raise EHAAT from 120.5 to 139.5 metres.

On May 11, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to change the authorized contours of CBBP-FM Peterborough, by modifying the antenna from a circular to an elliptical polarization, decreasing the average ERP from 17,300 to 5,831 watts (maximum ERP decreasing from 26,000 to 12,438 watts), increasing the EHAAT from 200.6 to 272.2 metres and correcting the coordinates for the location of the tower.

On May 26, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to change the authorized contours of CBL-FM-3 Orillia by increasing ERP from 4,800 to 5,500 watts and decreasing the EHAAT from 169.3 to 148.1 metres. The CBC stated that the changes would allow it to combine the Radio Two service with its Radio One service CBCO-FM Orillia on a single antenna and would maintain coverage in the Orillia region and its vicinity.

In September, the CRTC denied the CBC’s application to use one of CBL-FM’s SCMO channels for Tamil language programming. The Commission agreed with CJSA-FM Toronto and CJRK-FM Scarborough when they expressed concerns the new SCMO station would have a negative financial impact on their existing Tamil programming.

On November 24, the CRTC approved the CBC’S application to change the authorized contours of CBL-FM-4 Owen Sound by installing a new circular directional antenna, increasing the maximum ERP from 17,500 to 20,220 watts, decreasing the average ERP from 17,500 to 7,939 watts, decreasing the EHAAT from 212 to 210.6 meters and correcting the existing coordinates.

Radio 2 became CBC Music.

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

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