CHIN-FM , Multicultural, Toronto

Radio 1540 Ltd.

CHIN-FM1992100.78,500Radio 1540 Ltd.
CHIN-FM1967100.750,000CHIN Ltd.


Radio 1540 Ltd. (Johnny Lombardi & partners) opened CHIN-FM on 100.7 MHz with 50,000 watts effective radiated power. CHIN transmitter was a non-directional signal from a 310 foot tower. Studios were at 367 College Street, in the building that house the Lombardi family supermarket, and CHIN-AM.


At licence renewal time, CHIN-AM-FM sought to have more ethnic programming. President Johnny Lombardi said that building a substantial audience among the city’s various ethnic communities could not be established with English language broadcasts that merely stressed European music. The BBG told him for such a change he would have to make a specific application to the board to increase the percentage for foreign language programming. CHIN was now authorized for 20% and could apply for 40%. The board noted that CHIN-AM was a daytime only operation and that the 24-hour CHIN-FM signal had been recently added. There had been problems with the FM operation because it interfered with some TV signals in the city. Special traps were purchased and installed to eliminate the interference. 

On May 28, Radio 1540 Ltd. was authorized to broadcast on AM and FM, languages other than English and French for periods that in the aggregate exceed 20% but do not exceed 40% of the broadcast time per week.

Richard Trotter joined CHIN-AM-FM from CKQS in Oshawa. Ralph Kirchen was program director. 

Slogan: In any language, the talk of Toronto.


On November 5, the transfer of some shares of Radio CHIN-FM Ltd. was denied. The application would have seen the transfer of 324 common shares from John B. Lombardi to John Longo and one common share from Lombardi to Antonia (Lena) Lombardi. 

CHIN-AM offered two and a half hours of news per day while FM presented three and a half hours. The difference was because AM had to sign off at sunset.


On June 17, permission was granted for a share transfer in both Radio 1540 Ltd. and Radio CHIN-FM Ltd. 25% of the shares in each company would transfer from James D. Service to John B. Lombardi. This decision however, does not change the Commission’s March 25 decision regarding reassignment of these frequencies. 

CHIN (FM and AM) promoted the fact it was broadcasting in 25 languages.


On May 30, CHIN-FM’s application to move from 100.7 to 107.1 MHz (with 50,000 watts) was denied.

On December 14, most of Toronto’s FM and TV stations were given permission to move their antennas to the CN Tower once construction is completed.


On May 24, testing began from the brand new CN Tower, 301 Front Street West. CHIN-FM began broadcasting officially from the tower just after midnight on May 31. With the increase in antenna height to 1,380 feet, CHIN-FM’s effective radiated power was reduced from 50,000 watts to 4,000 watts. CHIN-FM also switched from monaural to stereo broadcasting. The station installed two 2.5 kw AEL transmitters in a “hot standby” configuration. Either transmitter could operate as the main or the alternate. The switching system was fully automatic and actually sought out the best system components, switched them to the on-air position and signaled the information back to the studio operator. Chief engineer at this time was Paul Hunter.


Johnny Lombardi was one of several applicants for a new multilingual television station in Toronto. All of the applications were denied by the CRTC. 


To avoid power outages a new generator was installed at the CHIN studios.

The CRTC again accepted applications for a multilingual TV station in Toronto. This time there was a winner. Dan Ianuzzi’s Multilingual Television (Toronto) Ltd. won the licence on December 27. Johnny Lombardi did not participate this time around.


Bill Evanov left CHIN-AM-FM for Burlington’s CING-FM.


Chief engineer Trevor Joice reported the installation of a new stereo production console, Ward-Beck R1200, a 12-input unit with many extras. CHIN also installed a new McKay Dymek DR-33 shortwave receiver. It would be used to pick up three international news broadcasts especially for CHIN from Italy’s RAI.

Johnny Lombardi had plans for new studios and offices for CHIN Radio. Some time ago he had purchased an old Loblaw’s supermarket across the street from the stations. He had hoped it would be the home of the television station that he never got. The new facility would be a people-oriented community centre, housing CHIN-AM and FM, as well as television production facilities. The modern exterior of the new 80′ x 184′ building would be of reflective glass – a mirror of its surroundings.


Kirk Stewart left CHIN’s engineering department for CJJD in Hamilton. Trevor Joice became director of engineering at CHIN to allow vice-president Paul Hunter to be more active with PWH Electronics.


CHIN-FM installed a Uni-Tel remote control system that linked the studios with the transmitters on the CN Tower.

CHIN was making use of satellite technology by broadcasting daily transmissions from various parts of Europe. CHIN could also communicate with the point of origin, or relay their own transmissions.

CHIN had plans to build a bilingual newsroom that would combine the existing two newsrooms into one, for the use of newscasters skilful in two or more languages. 


In March, the CRTC held public hearings across the country to establish an ethnic broadcasting policy. CHIN had been a mini United Nations for a long time and the new Ethnic Broadcasting Policy that came about from the hearings, brought recognition to what CHIN has been all about, and encouraged similar services across the country.

Johnny Lombardi received a civic award of merit from the City of Toronto. Among his achievements: founding of ‘Italian Days’at Ontario Place and Canada’s Wonderland.


CHIN-FM was authorized to increase the amount of ethnic programming aired to 97.2%.


Carl Redhead was vice president at CHIN-FM-AM.


In May, CHIN-AM and FM moved to a new studio location at 622 College Street, almost right across the street from the old facility at 637 College. The new six storey building featured 50,000 square feet of boutiques and professional offices. A senior’s residence was built next door. CHIN Radio occupied floors four, five and six. The radio studios were on the fifth floor with FM on the east side and AM on the west side. McCurdy 8800 series consoles were used in the control rooms. Ward-Beck 1200/1400 consoles were used in production studios B and C. Production studio A was an eight-track recording facility, using a Soundcraft 600 console. The new studios featured Studer and Otari reel to reel tape decks, and ITC and BE cart machines. Construction of the actual studios was started prior to Christmas 1990 and the bulk of the work was done in June of 1991. CHIN-FM was able to begin broadcasting from the new facility on May 8 and CHIN-AM followed on the 16th.

David Lee was named chief engineer for CHIN-AM and FM.


CHIN-FM increased effective radiated power from 4,000 watts to 8,500 watts. Antenna height (EHAAT) remained 420.5 metres. The omni-directional antenna pattern was also retained.


On May 26,  CHIN-FM was granted a licence for a transitional digital radio undertaking. The transmitter was installed on the CN Tower and employed the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system. The transmitter operated on a frequency of 1465.024 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts. 


Lenny Lombardi became president of CHIN Radio/TV International. His father, Johnny Lombardi, had held the joint titles of president/CEO and retained his CEO status.


Johnny Lombardi died after a short illness on March 20, 2002. He was 86.


On August 22 the CRTC renewed the licence for CHIN-FM until August 31, 2011. This short term renewal would permit the Commission to review at an earlier date the licensee’s compliance with its condition of licence relating to Canadian content development.


On August 28, the CRTC renewed the transitional digital radio licence of CHIN-DR-1.


Theresa Lombardi became Vice President/General Manager at CHIN-AM-FM. Dario Amaral was now Vice President Sales, Adriano Cremonese was Retail Sales Manager and Walter Pastorious was Director of National Accounts. Amaral had been VP Programming/ Operations and Production.

Trevor Joice, a long-time member of the Applied Electronics sales team in Toronto, retired following the 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas. He began his 40-year broadcast career as a technician at CHUC Cobourg, then moved to CHIN Toronto where, in the course of 18 years with the operation, he became Chief Engineer. Joice then spent some time at CJRT Toronto before moving to Applied.


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHIN-FM until March 1, 2012. The licence for CHIN-DR-1 was renewed (administratively) to April 30, 2012.

Jai Ojah-Maharaj left CHIN to be News Director at the new CKFG-FM in Toronto.


On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHIN-FM to August 31, 2012.

On April 23, the CRTC administratively renewed the broadcasting licence for digital radio programming undertaking CHIN-DR-1 until August 31, 2012.

The CRTC approved the change in the effective control of Radio 1540 Limited, from John Lombardi to Lenny Lombardi, following the death of John Lombardi in 2002. Radio 1540 Limited was the licensee of CHIN, CHIN-FM, CHIN-DR-1 and CHIN-DR-2 Toronto (Ontario), as well as CJLL-FM.

On August 28, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence of CHIN-FM to March 31, 2013.


On March 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CHIN-FM to August 31, 2019.


On June 24, the CRTC gave approval to amend the condition of licence for CHIN-FM that stated the minimum number of cultural groups served and the minimum number of languages broadcast be reduced from from 20 to 17, while continuing to serve at least 23 different ethnic groups.

The story continues elsewhere…
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