CKFG-FM , G98.7, Toronto

Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc.

CKFG-FM201198.7446Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc.


On April 10, the CRTC approved in part an application by A. Fitzroy Gordon, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate an English-language, commercial specialtyFM radio station in Toronto. However, Gordon was required within three months of the date of the decision, submit for the Commission’s approval, an application proposing the use of another frequency and technical parameters that were acceptable to the Commission and the Department of Industry for use in the Toronto market. Gordon had proposed the use of 98.7 MHz (channel 254B1) with an average effective radiated power of 508 watts. The licence would expire August 31, 2012. The applicant was to be owned 45% by Burlingham Communications Inc. (Douglas Kirk) and 55% by Caribbean and African Radio Network Inc., which in turn, was to be held 70% by Global Communications International Inc. and 30% by Blythe Business and Consulting Inc. (Delford L. Blythe). The proposed station would target the Caribbean and African communities in Toronto with a particular focus on World Beat and Non-classic religious music. The applicant indicated that the station would serve those communities through the promotion and coverage of local events, and by providing dialogue on issues of concern affecting those communities. Spoken word programming would comprise 10% of all programming, and would include hourly newscasts. Featured programming would include discussions of health, lifestyle, investments, law, immigration, and women’s issues. Another key component of the radio service would be programming that would focus on a range of topics of interest to youth. Sports news would focus on the coverage of cricket, soccer and track and field events. Approximately 10% of all programming would consist of third-language news and entertainment features for listeners in the targeted communities with first languages other than English or French. Gordon indicated that the proposed station would operate within the Specialty format with at least 50% of its weekly music to be drawn from subcategory 33 (World Beat and International). The proposed station’s music would also feature Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel, Zouk, Cadence and Seggae, a range that would cater to the tastes of the various Caribbean and African communities in Toronto. The CBC opposed the application based on technical grounds, stating that the applicant’s proposal for the use of frequency 98.7 MHz in Toronto would be short-spaced with CBC’s Radio One station CBLA-FM which operated on 99.1 MHz. The CBC was of the view that the channel adjacency would not comply with the Department of Industry’s rules in respect of channel spacing regulations. Industry Canada advised that it does not permit the co-location of a station within the second-adjacent channel proximity of an existing authorized channel. This determination would prevent Gordon from operating at 98.7 MHz in Toronto.
In August, A. Fitzroy Gordon (OBCI) received a CRTC extension to April 30, 2007 to file an application proposing the use of another frequency and technical parameters that were acceptable to the Commission and the Department of Industry.


On June 9, the CRTC approved an application by Intercity Broadcasting Network Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial specialty FM radio station in Toronto. Intercity was controlled by A. Fitzroy Gordon through his ownership and control of Maja Media Group Inc., Intercity’s majority shareholder. The new station would operate on frequency 98.7 MHz (channel 254B1) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 446 watts (maximum ERP of 1,000 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 276.8 metres). The licence would expire August 31, 2017. The station would be targeted to the local Caribbean and African communities. Intercity indicated that its application was essentially the same as the application approved by the Commission in 2006. In that decision, the Commission approved in part an application by A. Fitzroy Gordon, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language commercial specialty FM radio station in Toronto. The applicant was required to file an application proposing the use of another frequency and technical parameters that would be acceptable to the Commission and the Department of Industry. Despite efforts to identify a frequency and technical parameters acceptable to the Commission and the Department, no application was submitted within the prescribed period and consequently the authorization lapsed. Subsequently, efforts were undertaken to find an acceptable frequency. Permission was obtained from the Department to test a signal on 98.7 MHz (channel 254), which was second adjacent to 99.1 MHz (channel 256), the frequency on which the CBC station CBLA-FM operated. Following this testing and in reviewing the proposed technical parameters contained in the current application, the Commission was advised by the Department that the application was conditionally technically acceptable as a special case. In their comments, both the CBC and the joint interveners indicated that they did not oppose the application but rather wished to express concerns regarding the way that the Department had authorized the use of 98.7 MHz, a frequency second adjacent to a CBC station, by the applicant. The CBC also indicated that given the Department’s decision to make an exception to its second adjacent policy, the ownership or control of the station, if licensed, should not be transferable. In this respect, the CBC noted that the Commission’s licence trafficking policyapplied only to licences that had been issued following a competitive process and as such expressed concern that Intercity could transfer the ownership or control of its station to another entity at any point in time and that the new owner could change the format and focus of the station. The CBC requested that the Commission impose a condition of licence that would restrict the licensee from transferring its ownership or control to another entity during its licence term. In his comment, Douglas Kirk indicated that as a result of a contractual dispute with the applicant, he had commenced legal action in the Superior Court of Ontario seeking an order granting him an ownership stake in Intercity. Mr. Kirk asked that the Commission delay the consideration of the application and reschedule it to a future hearing at a date to be determined once the court proceeding was resolved. Regarding the request by the CBC that the Commission impose a condition of licence restricting the licensee from transferring the proposed station’s ownership or control, Intercity indicated that such a condition was unnecessary because any future sale of the undertaking would require a public process and the Commission’s prior approval. In response to the intervention by Mr. Kirk, the applicant stated that actions before the civil courts should not prevent the Commission from proceeding with applications and that the intervention was an attempt to secure an advantage in a lawsuit which did not affect the control of the company that was applying to the Commission.

With respect to the interventions by the CBC and the joint interveners, the Department of Industry advised the Commission that the application for a second adjacent frequency was conditionally technically acceptable as a special case. The Department also clarified that it was the applicant’s responsibility to solve any valid cases of interference caused to the affected stations identified in the technical certificate of acceptance. The Commission therefore acknowledged the limitations on the frequency use as indicated in the technical certificate of acceptance. The Commission noted the concern expressed by the CBC regarding the possible transfer of ownership or control of the licensee during its licence term. However, the Commission noted that the licence trafficking policy did not prohibit changes in effective control, but rather set out certain considerations to be taken into account when an application was filed with the Commission. As noted by the applicant, any change in effective control would require the Commission’s prior approval and would likely result in a public process. Because an application for a change in effective control had not been filed and the documents on the public record of this proceeding did not provide any evidence that such an application was forthcoming, the Commission considered the CBC’s request for a condition of licence restricting the transfer of the proposed station’s ownership or control to be premature. The Commission noted the request to defer consideration of the current application pending the outcome of the litigation by Mr. Kirk. The Commission noted that the litigation could extend over a long period of time. The Commission was of the view that the resolution of the court proceeding was not likely to alter the effective control of Intercity, but noted that any outcome resulting in changes to Intercity’s ownership must be reported to the Commission. In light of the above, the Commission did not consider that the status of the litigation impacted the Commission’s ability to render a decision on the Intercity application at this time.

On October 3, CKFG Radio 98.7 FM (formerly referred to as CARN Radio) turned on its frequency and went live with its vibrant mix of R&B, Soul, Reggae, Soca, Hip Hop, Worldbeat, Gospel, and Smooth Jazz. As part of the required signal frequency testing process mandated by Industry Canada, Radio 98.7 began broadcasting a music-only playlist for several weeks. Full programming, including the addition of announcers, station promotions, commercials, and a robust news & talk format would commence in November. 

CKFG became known as G98.7.

G98.7 CKFG held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its studios and offices at 34 Kern Road in the Don Mills – York Mills area. Founder, president, CEO & station manager Fitzroy Gordon and program director Wayne Williams (formerly with CFXJ-FM) also revealed the on-air team that would be heard on the Urban Adult Contemporary station starting November 14. Mark Strong & Jemeni would host the morning show. They had not been heard together since leaving FLOW 93.5 (CFXJ) in August, 2006. Jester would host the drive home show while Peter & Candice would handle evenings. Kerry Lee Crawford would be heard weeknights from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Other program hosts: Dr. Jay, Spex, and Carvin Winans (of the Winans family). A Sunday slate of talk shows would include Insight (a magazine-style show featuring a weekly news round-up of international and local stories), Grapevine (call-in show covering current affairs, politics, health, finance, youth, legal matters, and other relevant topics), Community Round-Up (covering a broad range of local community issues and events), and The Travel Show (featuring tourism information on the Caribbean and other worldwide destinations). General Sales Manager was Adriana Steele, who had a background that included General Sales Manager at FLOW 93.5 and the Evanov Radio Group in various markets and The CanadianTraffic Network. Jai Ojah-Maharaj, formerly with CHIN, was News Director.

CKFG targeted 25-54 year olds with R&B, Soul, Reggae, Soca, Hip Hop, Worldbeat, Gospel and Smooth Jazz. 


Peter Platinum Phillips and G98.7 parted ways.


Shereen Sheriff (Red) joined G 98.7 to host mid-days.

Aisha Wickham, the former Director of Communications at G98.7 and who worked at FLOW 93.5 FM before that, was appointed as director, communications & operations at Nia Centre for the Arts in Toronto.


On November 5, the CRTC denied CKFG’s application to add an FM transmitter at Scarborough, operating at 102.7 MHz with an average ERP of 442 watts (maximum ERP of 1,500 watts with an EHAAT of 54.6 metres).


On August 28, the CRTC gave CKFG a short-term licence renewal to August 31, 2021. The Commission was gravely concerned over the station’s unprecedented levels of non-compliance in terms of the number of instances and their severity, and over its ability to operate in a compliant manner. Intercity was warned, should it continue to be in non-compliance with its regulatory requirements, the Commission might consider recourse to additional measures as part of the next licence renewal process, including the issuance of mandatory orders, or the revocation or non-renewal of the licence. The Commission also denied CKFG’s application to amend its licence in order to reduce the portion of musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week that must be drawn from content subcategory 33 (World beat and international).


Fitzroy Gordon, CKFG’s founder passed away on April 30. For many years he also hosted the show Grapevine on the station. Following his death, Gordon was saluted by the media and politicians as a visionary who acquired the first licence for a Black-owned and Black community focused radio station in Toronto. Mayor John Tory said Gordon’s radio station became known not only as the radio voice of Toronto’s black and Caribbean community, but also a voice that spoke powerfully to urban issues and even to sports like cricket, which was growing in the diverse city.

The story continues elsewhere…
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