CHUM (AM)CHUM, broadcasting at 1050 kHz, is a Canadian radio station licensed to Toronto, Ontario. The station is owned and operated by Bell Media. CHUM's studios are co-located with TSN at 9 Channel Nine Court in the Agincourt neighbourhood of Scarborough (with auxiliary studios located at 250 Richmond Street West in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto), with its transmitter array located in the Clarkson neighbourhood of Mississauga (near CFRB's own transmitter array). TSN 1050 is simulcast on Bell TV satellite channel 989.
Long known as 1050 CHUM, from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s, the station played current Top 40 hits. In 1986, the station switched to an adult contemporary format.
For two decades beginning in 1989, CHUM began playing oldies, featuring music mainly from the 1950s and 1960s, except for a brief stint as a sports radio station, The Team 1050, from 2001-2002.
In March 2009, CHUM switched to a news format known as CP24 Radio 1050, which operated primarily as an audio simulcast of CP24 before reverting to a sports format as TSN Radio 1050 in April 2011.
Station historyCHUM AM has been broadcasting continuously since 1945, through a variety of format changes. The station's history can be broken into eight distinct eras, as follows:
The "full service" era: 1945-1957CHUM AM was founded by four Toronto businessmen, including Al Leary, a former sportscaster, who had been the station manager at CKCL for 14 years. CHUM received its licence in late November 1944 to operate a station with 1000 watts. CHUM launched as a dawn-to-dusk radio station on October 28, 1945, with John H.Q. "Jack" Part, an entrepreneur in the business of patent medicines, as its president. The station, operating from 1947 in studios at 225 Mutual St., broadcast a format typical of the late 1940s, with a combination of information, music, and sports. When CHUM was about to debut, Leary told the press that the new station would be known for community service and in-depth news, in addition to live talent and the most popular phonograph records.
CHUM was taken over in December 1954 by Allan Waters, a salesman from Part's patent medicine business. Waters' first major move was to secure a licence for 24-hour-a-day broadcasting for CHUM, along with a power increase to 5,000 watts.
The Top 40 era: 1957-1986Less than three years after Waters acquired the station, and soon after bringing the new full-time transmitter online, a major programming change was made. On May 27, 1957, at 6 AM, Waters switched the station to a "Top 50" format that had proven itself popular in some U.S. cities; Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" was the first song played. "1050 CHUM" pioneered rock and roll radio in Toronto, and was noteworthy for hosting many noteworthy rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and the Beatles (1964, 1965, and 1966).
The station rose in popularity in Toronto in the late 1950s and early 1960s; though it never supplanted perennial Toronto ratings champ CFRB at the top of the ratings chart, it was still a major broadcasting powerhouse with a particular appeal to the teen market. As the station became more successful, it also built yet another new transmitter in Mississauga, Ontario (a few miles west of the current Toronto city line) along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and raised its power once again to its current 50,000 watts around the clock.In the late 1950s, CHUM was calling itself "Radio One", as its ratings continued to increase. An important part of CHUM's success was the station's unpredictable morning man Al Boliska, who joined CHUM in October 1957, after working at station CKLC in Kingston, Ontario. By 1959, Boliska had made a name for himself as a disc jockey who got listeners talking. He also made them laugh, and became known for telling what he called the "World's Worst Jokes". Boliska also did a number of stunts, such as taking part in a professional wrestling match with Whipper Billy Watson. When he lost, that led to another stunt, where Boliska stayed away from his show for several days, saying he was now too discouraged by the loss to do his show. A hypnotist was called in, and Boliska's self-esteem was restored. Boliska left CHUM in late 1963 to go 'across the street' to CKEY. He was replaced by WKBW Buffalo radio & TV personality Jay Nelson, popularly known as "Jungle Jay" from his role as host of a children's show on Buffalo's Channel 7 which was also popular among Toronto youngsters. He would be followed by housewives' jock John Spragge; singer/DJ Mike Darow; Pete Nordheimer, replaced in 1961 by Bob McAdorey, teen DJ Dave Johnson, and all night DJ Bob Laine. Later additions to the CHUM DJ lineup included Duff Roman and Brian Skinner, both of whom came from rival Toronto rocker CKEY (then owned by Jack Kent Cooke).
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, CHUM DJs included Duke Roberts (also known as Gary Duke for a time), Johnny Mitchell (better known today as Sonny Fox), J. Michael Wilson, Tom Rivers, Scott Carpenter, Jim Van Horne, John Rode, Don Reagan, John Majhor, Mike Cooper, Daryl B, Terry Steele, Mike Holland and morning man Roger Ashby. Among their later night-time hosts was J. D. Roberts, who joined CHUM for a time in 1977, eventually becoming known across North America as White House correspondent for CBS News, then was co-anchor of CNN's morning program American Morning and is currently White House correspondent again now with Fox News. Rick Moranis, later famous for his work on SCTV and Ghostbusters, was briefly a late-night CHUM DJ in the mid-seventies under the name "Rick Allan".
CHUM began to have zany contests. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was contests such as 'The Walking Man', where listeners had to spot CHUM's mystery walking man using only clues given out on the air. The 1970s' "I Listen to CHUM" promotion had DJs dialing phone numbers at random and awarding $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase. In 1976, there was the CHUM Starsign promotion. Listeners wore a button featuring their astrological sign. If CHUM's 'Starsign spotter' saw a person wearing his or her Starsign, that person won prizes such as money or concert tickets to major events.
The CHUM Chart was, for many years, the most influential weekly Top 40 chart in Canada and has been hailed as the longest-running continuously published radio station record survey in North America. (This claim is disputed by Hamilton's CKOC, which published weekly charts from 1962-1992.) The first CHUM Chart was released on May 27, 1957, with Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" the first Number 1 song.
From top 40 to gold-based AC: 1986-1989
By the mid-1980s, CHUM had lost ground in the Toronto ratings to competing Top 40 station CFTR and FM-based music stations. On June 6, 1986, at 3 p.m., after playing Starship's "We Built This City", CHUM dropped its Top 40 format for a gold-based adult contemporary format ("Favourites of Yesterday and Today"). The first song after the relaunch was "Beginnings" by Chicago. The change also discontinued the CHUM Chart, which ended the week of June 14, 1986, with Madonna's "Live to Tell" as the final Number 1 song. By 1988, the station had evolved into a brighter AC format ("Toronto's Soft Rock"), focusing on pop hits from the past decade and dropping much of the older music. While starting off with modest ratings, CHUM began to slip further over the next few years; in the last book as an AC, CHUM was ranked 11th and held a 2.9 share of the Toronto market as of September 1989.
The first "Oldies" era: 1989-2001On September 1, 1989, CHUM adopted an oldies format, drawing heavily on its previous Top 40 reputation to cater to the fans of that era's music.
During the 1990s, the on-air lineup included Daryl B, Bob Magee, Kori Skinner, Andy K, Russ McLeod, Roger Kelly, Marc Chambers and Dan Michaels. In 1989, the station acquired the broadcast rights for the Toronto Argonauts. Led by play-by-play man Marc Charbonneau and colour commentator Peter Martin, the CHUM broadcast team helped to celebrate the team's Grey Cup victory in 1991 in Winnipeg. By 1997, much of the airstaff was replaced with voicetracking. Only the morning show was live.
In 1998, CHUM obtained the radio broadcast rights to Toronto Blue Jays baseball from CJCL, resulting in a shift towards sports programming on the station.
The Team 1050: 2001-2002
On January 23, 2001, CHUM's owners announced the launch of a national sports radio network, titled "The Team", with CHUM serving as the network's flagship (to be called "Team 1050"). As part of the synergy, Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts were available nationwide on the Team Radio Network. This also meant the end of music on 1050 CHUM, which occurred on May 7, 2001. Duff Roman and Bob Laine hosted a farewell party, ending with Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" (the station's first song as a Top 40 station in 1957) and an audio montage of CHUM memories. Then, at 3 p.m., "The Team Radio Network" was launched on CHUM and CHUM-owned stations across Canada. Noted Canadian sportscaster Jim Van Horne, who had recently left TSN, was the network's marquee host. (In the 1970s, before he turned to sports broadcasting, Van Horne had been a rock jock on 1050 CHUM.) The Team 1050 morning show was made up of former TSN host Paul Romanuk, longtime CHUM sportscaster Brian 'Henny' Henderson and Mike Richards. While the station retained the CHUM call letters, on air the station was not referred to as 1050 CHUM, but rather as Team 1050. Nevertheless, "1050 CHUM" wasn't entirely put to rest, as the oldies format continued on a 24-hour webcast at the 1050chum.com website.
The Team network did not prove successful, especially in Toronto, where CHUM struggled against long-time sports station The Fan 590 (CJCL). On August 27, 2002, the network was closed down, and while a few affiliates nationwide retained the sports format, most reverted to their pre-Team formats — including CHUM, which reverted to oldies.
The second "Oldies" era: 2002-2009
At 3 p.m. on August 27, 2002, the montage that closed down "1050 CHUM" reintroduced the oldies format, followed by the Elvis vs. JXL Remix of "A Little Less Conversation" and Presley's "All Shook Up". The station reverted to a playlist of music (along with occasional liners and identifications) that were popular in CHUM's 50s-to-80s Top 40 heyday. The station also featured The Morning Show with Gord James and the James Gang, as well as call-in lifestyle programs during weekend mornings. Like the first incarnation of the oldies format, the morning show was live while other air shifts were voicetracked. In addition, the station also lost rights to broadcast Blue Jays games after the 2002 season, where they moved back to The Fan 590, coinciding with that station's purchase by Rogers Communications, which by that time owned the Blue Jays.
In 2007, CHUM and the rest of the CHUM Limited stations (with the exception of Citytv) were sold to CTVglobemedia. That same year, CHUM commemorated the 50th anniversary of the launch of its rock and roll format, the highlights of which included vignettes and specials throughout the year, as well as anniversary celebrations on May 26, 2007 that included an open house at CHUM's studios at 1331 Yonge Street, in conjunction with Doors Open Toronto, and a concert at Nathan Phillips Square.
Move from the CHUM Radio building
In 2008, CTVglobemedia announced they had sold 1331 Yonge Street to a condominium developer and had acquired a new property, 250 Richmond Street West, to serve as the new home of CHUM and CHUM-FM. On August 18, 2009, CHUM left 1331 Yonge Street, ending 50 years at its historic home. 1331 Yonge was demolished in September 2016, in order for a condominium complex to be built on the site. The new building is adjacent (and connected) to Bell Media's Headquarters at 299 Queen Street West.
A similar move was made in May 2014, when CFRB left their longtime location at Yonge and St. Clair for 250 Richmond Street West after Bell's acquisition of Astral Media, which brought CFRB and CHUM under the same ownership.
CP24 Radio 1050: 2009-2011
Almost seven years after the demise of The Team, and amidst other cost-cutting measures at CTVglobemedia and other Canadian broadcasters due to the global economic crisis and the 2007 Canada broadcast TV realignment, CTV announced on March 25, 2009 that CHUM would again drop its oldies format. The station was converted to an all-news radio format as "CP24 Radio 1050" effective at 5:00 a.m. the following day, after playing "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck and "Black Magic Woman" by Santana. Unlike other CHUM Radio news talk radio stations in Canada such as CFRA Ottawa and CFAX Victoria, 1050 AM was the only radio station in Toronto and in the CTVglobemedia family which acted as an audio simulcast of its co-owned 24-hour television all-news channel, CP24. The move coincided with the launch of CP24's new morning program, CP24 Breakfast (which was launching due to the realignment, as CP24 was no longer simulcasting Citytv's Breakfast Television). Unlike the sendoff the station received upon its switch to The Team, the switch occurred without ceremony and with minimal publicity. Moreover, no webcast of the former oldies format was offered on this occasion, as 1050chum.com redirected to the CP24 website. Although CP24 television's operations remained housed at 299 Queen Street West where many of CTVglobemedia's other speciality television channels such as MuchMusic are located, technical operations and studios for the minimally unique radio-only weekend talk shows on CP24 Radio 1050 continued, first at 1331 Yonge Street, and then at 250 Richmond Street West.
The change came a few weeks after the CRTC revised its formatting regulations to permit oldies music on FM radio for the first time, although at the time of the change no Toronto-area FM station had performed such a flip (CHBM-FM and Hamilton's CING-FM both adopted a classic hits format later in the year). CKOC in Hamilton retained a more traditional AM oldies format, while pop standards station CFZM marketed itself as an alternative as well.
CriticismA number of media critics, including Toronto Sun columnist and former radio personality Ted Woloshyn, criticized CP24 Radio 1050 as a poor substitute for a true news radio format. In his column on the format change, Woloshyn noted a number of instances where he could tell he was listening to content that had been prepared for television, not radio, presentation:
RatingsAccording to quarterly BBM surveys of Toronto radio, in 2010 the station's audience share never rose above 0.1% of radio listeners, and CP24 Radio 1050 consistently placed dead last in the ratings in the Toronto radio market.
TSN Radio 1050: 2011-presentShortly after the re-acquisition of CTVglobemedia by Bell Canada was announced in the fall of 2010, and with CP24 Radio 1050 not proving to be successful, media analysts began to speculate that CTV would be converting many of its existing AM radio stations including CP24 Radio 1050 into a national sports radio network co-branded with its sports television channel TSN sometime in 2011, which would compete against rival Rogers-owned Toronto radio station, The Fan 590, as the two stations previously did from 2001 to 2002.
The plans were unveiled on February 17, 2011, when CTV announced that CHUM would drop its CP24 simulcast and flip to sports radio as TSN Radio 1050 on April 13, 2011, the first station under the newly formed brand. TSN considered the flip to be a "soft launch" for the TSN Radio brand, expecting a full launch with more local programming by September. This change came just days after Bell Canada completed its acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares in CTVglobemedia it didn't already own, on which it renamed the company Bell Media and likewise renamed the radio division CHUM Radio to Bell Media Radio.
Live sports programming
TSN Radio 1050 shares the official broadcasting rights of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. It is the official radio broadcaster for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League as well as Toronto FC, the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, Men's World Hockey Championship (Ice Hockey World Championships), NFL, NBA, Summer and Winter Olympics, 2022 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA_Euro_2020.
StudiosStudios for TSN Radio 1050 are located at 9 Channel Nine Court in Scarborough, Ontario where TSN's television operations are based. This allows for programs broadcast on TSN Radio 1050 to simultaneously air on TSN or TSN2. TSN Radio 1050's secondary studios are located at Bell Media Radio Toronto's studios located at 250 Richmond Street West in Downtown Toronto (which also houses sister radio stations, 104.5 CHUM-FM, Virgin 99.9 and CFRB Newstalk 1010) which is adjacent to 299 Queen Street West (where Bell Media's specialty channels such as MuchMusic and CP24 are based, as well as CTV's The Marilyn Denis Show, etalk and The Social).
Home of CHUM AM
CHUM has had several homes since 1945: