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Toronto to get new indie radio station at 88.1

Posted by Derek Flack / September 11, 2012

Indie Toronto Radio 88.1Back in April we reported that Toronto might get a new indie radio station on the wavelength formerly occupied by CKLN, whose licence was revoked by the CRTC in January of 2011. Well, I'm happy to report that there's good news for those who want to punch themselves in the face when they hear Matchbox 20 or, worse, old Alannah Myles songs used to fulfill Canadian content quotas (let's not even mention the always humble Nickelback). Earlier today, the CRTC announced that it had granted a licence to Rock 95 Broadcasting, who plans to launch Indie Toronto at a currently undisclosed future date.

The content requirements for the new station stipulate that 40 per cent of the music featured will be CanCon, of which 60 per cent must represent so-called emerging artists. If that doesn't give you a picture of what the station will actually sound like, it's not hard to suss it out based on its website, which has been up and running for a while.

Some of the artists currently featured on the site include James Blake, Paper Lions, Rich Aucoin, Stars, Tegan and Sara, The Dears, Tokyo Police Club, etc. — pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a radio station that calls itself Indie Toronto in 2012. But who's complaining? Most times that I make the mistake of trying to listen to music on the FM dial, I cycle through every station at least three times before I realize that I won't escape the exercise with any bit of satisfaction.

The new 88.1 might just change that.



RS / September 11, 2012 at 03:54 pm
Possible competition for 102.1?
Nicole / September 11, 2012 at 04:00 pm
I would probably bail completely on 102.1 for this station. For one thing, no cawk rawk. Second, there is no way that an indie station would have a morning show even half as obnoxious as the Dean Blundell Show.
Alex / September 11, 2012 at 04:17 pm
I'm not too familiar with Radio laws. Does this mean Ryerson is out of a station permanently? Or can they apply for a different frequency? The FM band doesn't seem particularly congested, so I am confused as to why a new station needs to bid for an existing frequency, rather than apply for a new one.
john / September 11, 2012 at 04:17 pm
tried their player on the website -- really choppy/unlistenable... anyone else?
hendrix / September 11, 2012 at 04:33 pm
oh great.. just what we need, a station to feed hipsters.

cock rock sure beats it's-good-just-because-it's-new-and-nobody's-heard about-it. Sakamoto in the Star is the leader of this crowd.
Nerves / September 11, 2012 at 04:47 pm
This is great news! Now, I usually listen to Radio 3 while at work, but this will make a nice alternative to Radio 2/ 102.1, which I cannot stand listening to anymore.
Sunny / September 11, 2012 at 04:49 pm
Uhh... Matchbox Twenty isn't Canadian. C'mon guys...
m m / September 11, 2012 at 04:50 pm
Depends on who owns it. Any info on that? Is it a fully commercial station or are they required to carry some community programming?
Damien replying to a comment from hendrix / September 11, 2012 at 05:13 pm
Thank You for taking time of your day to present to the readers of BlogTO of one of the miseries in your life.

Everyone hates to hate Hipsters because everyone is doing it, but everyone is a sheep and no one thinks for themselves.

Maybe if you had an original thought about anything other than what society tells you then you'd be on to something.

Tommy replying to a comment from Alex / September 11, 2012 at 05:20 pm
Have you even ever used an FM radio in Toronto?!
Derek replying to a comment from Sunny / September 11, 2012 at 05:44 pm
No one said they were. Sunny send me at least one thoughtful comment..
Shawn / September 11, 2012 at 05:57 pm
Isn't indie music played on the radio an indie music fan's worst nightmare?
gorgonzola / September 11, 2012 at 06:12 pm
this is awesome news
john / September 11, 2012 at 06:41 pm
Sadly like some others who have tried this in other markets, it's going to be very HARD to run this as a business and make money. There will have to be commercials to pay the bills, which most of this audience is deadly against... It will be hard to please this small audience who will put up with commercials... Not to mention hard to get clients willing to pay enough money for their commercials to make it worth it. I predict it will be into a mainstream format after 1 to 2 years when they realise it's economically not feasible.
Matt Y / September 11, 2012 at 07:55 pm
This is good news. Looking at their playlist for the past hour looks pretty good. I never thought I would hear The Dudes on Toronto radio in my lifetime. I also see they play Metric. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that I hope they don't overplay the "commercial indies".
Dan_The_Man / September 11, 2012 at 07:55 pm
Hey John,

Some people count their chickens before they hatch, but it seems like you don't even think they'll hatch and have already thrown the towel in.

Lighten up and support the radio station and spread the word instead of listing all the reasons why it won't work. UGH!

Chester Pape / September 11, 2012 at 08:06 pm
Because the radio footprint from Toronto crosses the border the allocation of FM frequencies is a matter of treaty between the US and Canada and assigns some frequencies to the US even if they don't use them. Right now there are NO available slots in Toronto except for the vacated 88.1

If you've ever tried to use one of those in car low power FM transmitters there is basically no single frequency that works everywhere in the GTA, every spot on the dial has something on it somewhere in the GTA or coming from the other side of the lake.

Liz replying to a comment from Derek / September 11, 2012 at 09:29 pm
I think the Matchbox 20 comment was in relation to this: "...when they hear Matchbox 20 or, worse, old Alannah Myles songs used to fulfill Canadian content quotas" which I think can easily be read as Matchbox 20 being Canadian. It can also be read that only Alannah Myles is Canadian, and Matchbox 20 is just annoying, but I think it was a fair comment for someone to make.
Derek replying to a comment from Liz / September 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm
Of course it was in relation to that. I had hoped the "or worse" would keep the distinction clear...oh well.
moi / September 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm
Hmmmm... Sounds a bit like what the Spirit of Radio was all about way back before they got 'edged' out. I might be tempted to turn my radio back on!
b / September 12, 2012 at 01:28 am
**Tegan and Serra???? TEGAN AND SARA!!!!!!!!
Spike / September 12, 2012 at 01:38 am
Great news, hope that this station's format can become popular, and even help to kill off the classic rock (or as I now like to think of it, 'classic rot') radio format.
ng / September 12, 2012 at 07:42 am
So this'll be an "indie" station for about two years, then switch formats?
Brock / September 12, 2012 at 09:56 am
Tegan and who?
Aaron / September 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm
So, this new station will be run by the Rock 95 Corporation (or something like that)... That's a station in Barrie that plays all classic rock.

You all might not care, but it's one of the few things that I love when I get back up into Barrie! They play a lot of pretty great music (even though they sometimes play some shitty top 40 rock stuff)

I'm looking forward to some quality programming with the likes of stars, bss, the dears, and tegan & sara! Go CanCon!
Bobby / September 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm
I'll stick with CBC Radio 3 probably. I would Radio 3 to broadcast over the airwaves and not just through streaming.
music fan / September 12, 2012 at 02:40 pm
i think a commonly overlooked ratio station is 106.5fm
they usually have a great mix of solid music.
Joshy / September 12, 2012 at 02:46 pm
CKLN 88.1's programming serviced two incredibly underserviced forms of music in Toronto's radio landscape - hip-hop and the assorted subgenres of electronica. It's unfortunate that the new station granted this frequency will not showcase any of these styles/communities.

I won't argue that indie rock is fully represented on the airwaves in Toronto, but the artists mentioned in this article do appear on CBC and some cross over to mainstream rock radio. It's unfortunate that we've lost a main outlet for styles of music that are increasingly popular and feature artists with breakout international success stories that call Toronto home.
Alannah Myles / September 12, 2012 at 02:51 pm
Cancon content could do a whole lot worse then to play "old Alannah Myles songs". Alannah's music reflects classic solidarity on radio for two decades regardless of meeting Cancon requirements. Something Canadians have never shown any objection to with the exception of this reviewer who remains out standing alone in his field.
Spike replying to a comment from m m / September 15, 2012 at 04:34 am
It's a commercial station only.
Spike replying to a comment from Alannah Myles / September 15, 2012 at 05:45 am
FWIW, I still think that you're cool, Alannah, as well as beautiful and sexy.
Bocbocmeow replying to a comment from Alex / September 15, 2012 at 10:55 am
The FM dial in Toronto is full. Any empty frequencies are there because there are radio stations in nearby cities on those channels, and there would be too much interference. 22 broadcasters applied for the old CKLN channel... An open channel in Toronto is a huge deal. Sadly, CKLN will likely never have a "full power" station, which means most of metro can hear it, but it might find a low-power channel to broadcast to a few dozen blocks.

High-Definition radio, where a few stations can occupy the same channel will open up more choice in all Canadian cities, but it will take years, maybe decades, for the audience to acquire the equipment to listen.
raymi / September 15, 2012 at 08:33 pm
Evan / September 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Agree about 106.5. Just turned it on and Tegan and Sara are playing. Happy coincidence. Looking forward to this new station though. I'll tune in.
Wayne / December 26, 2012 at 09:16 pm
Was searching for stations that play indie music. drop by and have a spin. This article is impressive. Now that would be a great thing if it occurred.
Boris / May 14, 2013 at 08:58 pm
Toronto needs an electronic music station. Sure Indie rock is great and all, but we need a showcase of good underground dance music on the FM airwaves. Melbourne Australia has one, Mexico City got one; even Auckland NZ got it! (And I'm not even talking about Europe). Some may argue, "but we've got Z103.5. How's that not Electronic?"
Here I'd just have to laugh in their faces and silently walk away...
mitch replying to a comment from RS / July 28, 2013 at 08:58 pm
U are playing the same song since before yesterday night, what is it?
Mike / August 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm
Finally! I was getting sick of having a back-up CD in the car because of all the crap that's being played on the radio. I love this station. Listening to it for one week and I've already used SoundHound for ten songs. The Edge is done! Sick of hearing the same cycled songs over and over.
Norman Bloom replying to a comment from Nerves / September 27, 2013 at 05:33 pm
I have noticed that this station plays lots of alternative pop with no commercials. Is ther no DJ's to be heard?
Where is the station located?
i do like it.
Jess / June 16, 2014 at 04:13 pm
Love this station, great music, however, the morning show is very had to listen to.
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