CIRV-FM, Multicultural – Red FM, Toronto

CIRC Radio Inc.

CIRV-FM201688.91,880South Asian Broadcasting Corp.
CIRV-FM200188.91,880CIRC Radio Inc.
CIRV-FM199688.91,000CIRC Radio Inc.
CIRV-FM199388.9413CIRC Radio Inc.
CIRV-FM199388.9330CIRC Radio Inc.
CIRV-FM199088.7250CIRC Radio Inc.
CIRV-FM198688.722CIRC Radio Inc.


On March 20, the CRTC approved the application by CIRC Radio Inc. for an FM radio station at Toronto on the frequency 88.7 MHz, channel 204, with an effective radiated power of 22 watts. It would be an ethnic station as defined in the Radio (F.M.) Broadcasting Regulations. The licence would expire September 30, 1990. The Commission noted that the station would be operated in the “Group I” music format, which encompassed international pop songs, popularizations of folk idioms and popular music reflecting Canada’s various cultures. The Commission considered that CIRC Radio Inc. demonstrated that it could “fill a niche between the existing multilingual stations and closed-circuit stations”. It also took into account the applicant’s financial viability and the broadcasting experience of several of the principal shareholders who had been associated with the Canadian Portuguese Radio Club, a successful closed-circuit radio operation in Toronto. The licensee indicated that CPRC would cease operation upon issuance of the new FM licence and that its financial and creative resources would become available to the new station. CIRC would devote 114 hours (90%) of the broadcast week to ethnic programming of Types A and B, and provide programming directed to a minimum of six cultural groups in six or more different languages. CIRC indicated it would expand its services “as the needs of various communities demand, as the Commission requires and as our circumstances allow”. The Commission noted that CIRC specifically excluded the Italian community, a major cultural group in the Toronto market, from its target audience on the grounds that it was “the base of many existing systems and existing stations”. The new FM station would provide over-the-air radio services to various ethnic groups by means of a low-power transmitter which, in the applicant’s view, was the most cost-effective means of serving ethnic neighbourhoods. The Commission noted that this proposal was predicated on the use of a “drop-in” channel and represented an efficient utilization of the broadcasting spectrum, given the scarcity of frequencies, both AM and FM, in the Metropolitan Toronto area. It considered that the applicant should be able to provide an interference-free service to northwestern Toronto and the surrounding area enclosed by the 3mV/m (primary) contour and an adequate signal to a much larger area, including parts of Metropolitan Toronto and Mississauga. The channel approved by this decision was an unprotected channel. Accordingly, the applicant would have to select another channel for the operation of the station should optimum utilization of the broadcasting spectrum so require. The Commission took note of the applicant’s commitment to provide its listeners with a comprehensive news and information service. It undertook to broadcast 45 hours 6 minutes of Spoken Word programming per week, including 13 hours and 21 minutes of News and 20 hours 40 minutes of Enrichment material. The Commission also noted the applicant’s plans for children’s programming, including Chinese and Greek presentations from Monday to Friday and a Portuguese program every Saturday. These presentations would feature music and stories focusing on the respective traditions and cultural heritage of each language group.

CIRV-FM signed on the air on June 1. Studios and offices were at 1087 Dundas Street West. 


Alex Franco was general manager.


On August 28, the CRTC approved an increase in effective radiated power for CIRV-FM. Power for the ethnic station serving the northwest area of Toronto, would move up from 22 watts to 250 watts. Radio Communautaire Francophone de Toronto opposed the increase, saying it planned to apply for a number of low-power FM transmitters in the area.


CIRV-FM finally succeeded in its efforts towards city-wide coverage. On February 25, the CRTC approved a frequency change for the station – from 88.7 MHz to 88.9 MHz. Effective radiated power would also increase – to 413 watts from 250 watts. In addition, the antenna would move from 380 Dixon Road in Weston to First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto. On 88.7 MHz, CIRV-FM has experienced co-channel interference from WBFO-FM in Buffalo. CIRV would now increase the number of language groups served from six to nine, a plan opposed by CHIN and two Greek broadcasters, but supported by CIAO in Brampton.

The technical changes approved in February were put in to place later in the year.

On October 29, the CRTC granted a reduction in effective radiated power for CIRV-FM, from 413 watts to 330 watts.


On January 24, CIRV-FM was granted an increase in effective radiated power – from 330 watts to 1,000 watts.


CIRV was granted a transitional digital radio licence on March 22. The DRU operated on 1,466.768 MHz with an effective isotropic radiated power of 5,084 watts.

On April 17, CIRV was granted a power increase, from 1,000 to 1,880 watts.


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


On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CIRV-DR-1 to April 30, 2012.


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


On May 20, the CRTC gave CIRV-FM approval to use its Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast a 100% Portuguese-language radio service.


On October 12, the CRTC approved South Asian Broadcasting Corporation’s purchase of CIRC Radio Inc., owner of CIRV-FM. South Asian was the owner of CKYE-FM Vancouver and CKYR-FM Vancouver.


In September, CIRV began broadcasting in HD.


In April, CIRV rebranded as RED FM.

The story continues elsewhere…
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