CBM-FM, CBC Music, Montréal

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

CBM-FM1966100.724,600Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
CBM-FM1957100.73,860Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
VE9CB-FM1946100.7250Canadian Broadcasting Corp.


The CBC was operating the only FM transmissions in Montreal at this time. The broadcasts were originating from the CBC Engineering Headquarters in the Keefer Building, where a low powered 25 watt FM transmitter was in operation. It was in operation daily and carrying FM programs. The FM service was being given so the CBC engineers and local radio manufacturers could have available at all times, FM transmissions for testing receivers. The corporation also had plans by this time to build an FM station on Mount Royal as soon as the equipment was available. The CBC did conduct tests from Mount Royal last fall (1944). A 3,000 watt transmitter was on order for use at Mount Royal. The building for the new transmitter was in the works and plans called for space to also house television equipment. 


The CBC announced plans for an experimental FM station at Montreal.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation opened experimental FM station VE9CB on March 13. It operated on a frequency of 98.1 MHz with 250 watts of power. The transmitter was on Mount Royal. This station would evolve in to CBF-FM.

On November 14, the CBC opened FM station VE9FD on 100.7 MHz with a power of 250 watts. The transmitter was on Mount Royal. The station would evolve in to CBM-FM. 


The call letters changed to CBM-FM on March 5.

Late in the year the CBC started work on remodeling the Ford Hotel which would become the Radio-Canada Building. It was not expected to be completed before the fall of 1949. It would contain studios and offices for the International Short Wave Service, CBF, CBM, the networks (Dominion, Trans-Canada and French), and the general headquarters of the CBC technical services. 


W.J. O’Reilly was manager and all sales work for CBM was handled by CBC Toronto.


Montreal’s Radio-Canada Building opened May 18. Dr. J.J. McCann cut the ribbon that officially opened the building, before more than a thousand guests. Speeches by Dr. McCann, CBC general manager Dr. Augustin Frigon and CBC Chairman Davidson Dunton were delivered during a 15 minute coast to coast broadcast. The building was the former Ford Hotel, purchased by the CBC in September of 1948. It took over two years to modernize and adopt the building to the demands of radio and television. The 12 storey building would be home to the French network, International Service, CBC Montgreal television, and the national offices of the personnel and administration division, the engineering division and the executive. Over 600 CBC employees and another 600 radio artists were required to produce the 18 hours of programming that would leave the building each day. The programs were in two languages for home listening, and 14 languages for the international service. When finished, the building would have 26 modern radio studios and three for television. Four 50,000 watt transmitters had already been installed – two FM and two for shortwave. The news rooms, recording rooms and large master control were already in place. The control room could handle five transmitters, eight outgoing and seven incoming networks and the 26 studios. It was an automatic operation to a great extent. 

The CBC confirmed that it would use Mount Royal for a transmitter site and was submitting its plan to municipal officials. The transmitter building would have a basement and one story and would house the TV transmitter and two FM transmitters. The tower, less than 300 feet high, would have the antenna of the city’s first TV station at the very top. The two FM antennae would be underneath and there would be room for TV expansion. Engineers felt Mount Royal was the only suitable location for TV transmission following almost a year of study of all possible sites. They said the mountain was the only location to guaranty complete coverage of the metropolitan area. Tower height would be limited by civil aviation authorities in order to avoid interference with air traffic. 


By this time, CBM-FM 100.7 was operating with 3,860 watts. The transmitter was on Mount Royal.


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, CBM-FM would simulcast CBM-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.


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.


On October 1, the CBC FM network reopened.


By this time, CBM-FM 100.7 was operating with an effective radiated power of 24,600 watts.


The CBC had 22 different owned and rented buildings throughout the city of Montreal. All of these facilities would come under one roof when Place de Radio-Canada was completed and in use by 1972. The building would be a 23 floor office tower, covering an area of 900 by 510 feet on a 25 acre plot of land in east-central downtown. New radio facilities would include 11 production studios (3 would be stereo-equipped), 8 presentation studios and 7 tape editing rooms. 


CBM-FM began broadcasting in stereo after a swap of frequencies with CBF-FM. CBM-FM moved from 100.7 to 95.1 MHz. Effective radiated power remained at 24,600 watts.


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


CBM-FM was authorized to change frequency from 95.1 MHz to 93.5 MHz. The station would also use SCMO to provide an emergency CBM-AM feed if required.


The Stereo network went to 24 hour a day operation February 6.


From January 9 to 18, CBM-FM gave up its Radio Two programming to allow CBM-AM’s Radio One service to use the frequency. CBMs transmitter was damaged in the ice storm of ’98.  

CBM-AM (940) moved to the FM band as CBME-FM.

On November 19, the CBC was granted a licence for a transitional digital radio undertaking to serve Montréal. The transmitter would be installed at the Mont Royaltower and employ the EUREKA-147 digital audio broadcasting system. CBM would operate on frequency 1458,048 MHz with effective isotropic radiated power of 11,724 watts.


On October 14, CBM-FM received approval for the addition of a transmitter atSherbrooke, operating on frequency 89.7 MHz with an effective radiated power of 23,400 watts.  


On August 21, CBM-FM was given approval to add a transmitter at Quebec City, operating on 96.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 308 watts. 

As of 2001, CBM-FM operated one rebroadcast transmitter: CBM-FM-1 Sherbrooke. Most of CBM-FM’s programming originates with the Radio Two network. The station also broadcasts local arts billboard information.

CBM-FM-1 Sherbrooke received approval on October 1 to increase effective radiated from 23,400 watts to 25,000 watts. The CBC planned to relocate the transmitter at its existing TV and FM transmitter site located in Fleurimont near Sherbrooke.


CBM-FM received approval December 14 to add a transmitter at Iqaluit, Nunavut. It would operate on 88.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 800 watts. 


Because of a total lack of interest in digital radio by all parties involved, the CBC advised the CRTC that it would cease operation of its Montreal digital radio transmitters CBME-DR-1, CBM-DR-1, CBF-DR-1 and CBFX-DR-1. On June 15, the Commission revoked the broadcasting licence issued to the CBC for these transmitters.


On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CBM-FM Montréal and its transmitters CBM-FM-1 Sherbrooke, CBM-FM-2 Québec, and CBM-FM-3 Iqaluit, Nunavut, 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.

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 May 13, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to increase both the average and maximum ERP for CBM-FM from 24,600 watts to 100,000 watts. 

On October 8, the CRTC approved a decrease in maximum ERP for CBM-FM-1 Sherbrooke from 25,000 to 16,900 watts and an increase in antenna height.


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 September, CBM-FM received approval to broadcast in HD with 1,991 watts of power.

In the fall, the CBC announced it had selected the Broccolini group to build the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal and Groupe Mach to purchase the western part of the large property (René-Lévesque Blvd. & Papineau Ave.) occupied by the broadcaster’s facilities. The transactions still required Treasury Board approval.


Radio 2 became CBC Music.


In May, the CBC received CRTC approval to increase antenna height for CBM-FM 93.5.

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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