Canada's First FM Station

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Canada's First FM Station

Postby jon » Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:39 pm

While none of the following comes from Wikipedia -- I didn't even look there, as their Canadian radio history is generally pretty poor, at least in comparison with most of the U.S. station history they have -- I didn't do any original research either, relying mainly on what Bill Dulmage did a decade or more ago.

I'd be interested in knowing if anyone has found any seemingly reliable contradictory claims to the following.

From what I can piece together, what was to become CFRB-FM in Toronto, first was signed on by Ted Rogers, Sr., as VE9AK, with an experimental license and 50 watts, in 1938 on the original FM band, around 42 MHz. It was off the air from 1942 until sometime in 1945, considered a unnecessary waste of resources during the last half of World War II.

It did not become CFRB-FM until 1947 when it moved to 99.9 MHz in the newly-defined FM band, with 750 watts. Power increased to 200,000 watts late in 1960. Until April 21, 1961, the FM had been a full-time repeater of CFRB-AM; on this date, it switched to separate programming except overnights, which remained simulcast. The call letters changed to CKFM-FM in 1963.

Meanwhile, CBL was simulcast on 250 watt VE9EV-FM beginning on October 9, 1946 as an experimental license, becoming CBL-FM sometime in 1947. I'm not clear if VE9EV operated on 99.1 MHz right from its beginning, but, if it did, that would actually make it the first Toronto station on "today's FM band".

CBL-FM was simulcast until April 4, 1960, at 7:00 p.m., when the CBC FM network first began. But on November 1, 1962, all CBC FM stations went back to simulcasting their AM counterparts, until 23 months later, when the CBC FM network reopened.

The CBC had been doing daily, but not full-time, FM broadcasts in Montreal in 1945, to allow the CBC and private companies to test FM receivers they were manufacturing. The station went full-time, with an experimental license, as VE9CB on March 13, 1946, on 98.1 MHz with 250 watts. The assumption is that the FM receivers being manufactured were for the new FM band that a North American treaty had set to start in 1947. Which would have meant that the CBC's 1945 daily broadcasts in Montreal were on the new FM band, not the old. Making the Montreal CBC station both the first daily FM broadcaster on the new band, and the first full-time broadcaster on that band. In Canada. Rogers' VE9AK would still be Canada's first FM station.
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby jon » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:06 pm

Turns out the initial signon day, for the station that would become CBL-FM, was October 7th, 1946, according to the Globe and Mail article the next day.

As you will see, the article confirms that VE9EV, as CBL-FM was then known, did indeed start out life on 99.1 MHz on the new FM band where no receivers were yet available to the general public.

The article also indicates that VE9EV was not a direct simulcast of CBL-AM, but a hand-picked set of programs from CBL's locally-produced shows and the CBC's network programming.

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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby PMC » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:39 am

Probably find better info if you did a search on Ted Rogers... the RB for Rogers Broadcasting and his work in/on FM development.
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby jon » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:23 am

PMC wrote:Probably find better info if you did a search on Ted Rogers... the RB for Rogers Broadcasting and his work in/on FM development.

A much slower process, I'm afraid, if I want reliable historical information, like the article above, which was published the day after the event.

I started work on it last night, but didn't find anything relevant. I'll keep chipping away at it.
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby PMC » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:37 am

Newspaper archives would be the best... but they don't exist online.

Here are some links I got from a `Ted Rogers FM radio' search

A law firm http://www.dww.com/?p=2655

Engineering sites http://www.engineeringhistory.on.ca/index.php?id=25
and
http://www.ieee.ca/millennium/alternati ... tions.html

Omni tv did a show http://www.omnitv.ca/on/cmn/docs/ted-ro ... adcasting/
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby jon » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:31 pm

Interesting links. They will help.

I am going to stick to newspaper archives this time around for definitive answers. Although Google does not have any Toronto newspapers of the period, I still have free access to the formerly free-to-everyone Globe and Mail archives, which is where the article pictured above came from.
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby yycroof » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:46 am

All the Montreal Gazette's newspapers are available on Google:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=Fr8DH2VBP9sC
I looked on Oct 8, 1946 and found nothing.
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby PMC » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:12 pm

yycroof wrote:All the Montreal Gazette's newspapers are available on Google:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=Fr8DH2VBP9sC
I looked on Oct 8, 1946 and found nothing.


Did not know Google archived this paper... interesting stuff...
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby yycroof » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:21 pm

There are many more available here:
https://news.google.ca/newspapers
including Calgary Herald and Vancouver Sun and Windsor (Ontario) Star, St. John's Telegram and Ottawa Citizen.
The earliest Canadian paper being the Halifax Gazette 23 Mar 1752.
https://news.google.ca/newspapers?nid=4 ... page&hl=en
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Re: Canada's First FM Station

Postby Neumann Sennheiser » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:52 pm

You could lose hours, DAYS! browsing through these. In The Calgary Herald archives, for example; I found a review of a Uriah Heep concert I attended in 1972 and, in The Vancouver Sun; my little brother's birth announcement from 1956. Awesome.
"You don't know man! I was in radio man! I've seen things you wouldn't believe!"
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