CHIC-AM, Toronto

CHIC-AM1929860100Northern Electric Co. / Left the Air
CHIC-AM1925860100Northern Electric Co.


The Northern Electric Co., a leading Canadian manufacturer of electrical and communications equipment, established CHIC in Toronto on January 31st, as an experimental radio broadcasting station, with studios in the Ford Motor Company factory at 672 Dupont Street, at the northwest corner of Christie and Dupont Sts.

CHIC’s first broadcast took place Febnary 28th, just one week after the Department of Marine and Fisheries announced that a new wavelength for Toronto was to be at 357 metres (840 kHz). The first program featured The Northern Electric Dance Orchestra.


Early in the year, CHIC boasted “one of the most up-to-date broadcasting plants in Canada”, with a suite of four rooms – an ante-room, control room, a waiting room for performers and a spacious, comfortable and tastefully-draped studio, with a grand piano in one corner.


On January 1st, CHIC was one of 28 stations across the country that comprised a network set-up to broadcast an entertainment program sponsored by the Victor Talking Machine Company, and originating in New York.

It is not clear as to whether CHIC ever had its own transmitter, but by late in the year it was utilizing CKNC’s Hillcrest Park transmitter, with which it was sharing air-time on the same frequency. CHIC’s forte was good music. semi-classical music., classical and the very best dance music. Live remote broadcasts by the Wilson Jardine Orchestra originated at the renowned Palais Royale on the lakeshore at Sunnyside.

Initial1y, CHIC’s programs had been broadcast on Monday evenings, but by the fall of 1926 began carrying the Sunday Night Vesper Choral Services from Rosedale United Church. About this time, the frequency underwent a change to 434 metres (690 kHz), The schedule was expanded to include Saturday evenings, and on Sunday afternoons,  George H. Graham at the Memorial organ of             Central Technical School.

Regularly-featured artists included the CHIC Little Symphony Orchestra under Simeon Joyce, The CHIC Trio (Samuel Hersenhoren, violin, Charles Curtis. cello and Simeon Joyce, piano), The Blue Bell (as  in Bell Telephone) Enertalners, the Blue Bell Orchestra.  For a few weeks in late 1927. CHIC picked up the famous Gene Goldkette Orchestra of Detroit, playing at Toronto’s Casa Loma.


Ear1y this year, CHIC’s programming was confined to Saturday nights. One of CHIC’s final broadcasts was a special program to mark the annual dinner of Northern Electric’s Toronto plant employees which was also fed to a network of  CKAC Montreal, CJGC London and CKCO Ottawa.

A further frequency change occurred on April 1 – to 517 Metres (580 kHz). and the writing was on the wall – CHIC would be closing down. The Northern Electric Little Symphony was heard in a broadcast over CKNC, and by December, the Blue Bell Hour was on CKNC and CKGW.

A young CHIC announcer who went on to greater things in sports moved to CFRB. His name – Wes McKnight.

(While the call-sign disappeared from the airwaves for a couple of decades, it was adopted in the 40s by a new station in Brampton, Ontario).

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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