Can CTV Change FLOW 93.5's Format?

radioCHUM Radio, a division of CTVglobemedia, has acquired CFXJ-FM b.k.a. The New FLOW 93.5. They're wondering at SOWNY whether changes are imminent.

Even though I've never listened to FLOW 93.5, I'm intrigued. FLOW 93.5's license specifically states they play "urban music". Here's one of the conditions from Decision CRTC 2000-203.

The new station will offer an "Urban Music" musical format, targeted to an audience aged 25 to 44. Milestone stated that the format would be a "modern-day reflection of the rich musical traditions of Black musicians and Black-influenced music over at least the past century". The new station will add diversity to the musical genres available to Toronto audiences by exploring rhythm & blues (R&B), hip-hop and all the sub-groups of R&B, plus reggae and calypso, both of which are popular in the Toronto market but not currently heard to a great extent on any local or out-of-market commercial stations.

CTV's acquisition of FLOW 93.5 was just approved December 23rd in Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-964. In this decision, the CRTC reiterated that the original conditions still apply.

The Commission approves the application by CTV Limited for authority to acquire, from Milestone Radio Inc. (Milestone), the assets of the English-language commercial radio station CFXJ-FM Toronto and for a new broadcasting licence to continue the operation of the station under the same conditions as those in effect under the current licence.

It seems clear to me that FLOW 93.5, as owned by CTV, still has to offer "a modern-day reflection of the rich musical traditions of Black musicians and Black-influenced music". They can't just go country or modern rock or indie here... they have an enforced mandate, even if that means copping out with rhythmic top 40 a.k.a. lots of Usher, Rihanna and Drake.

What will CTV do with FLOW 93.5?

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Comments (36 - click here to join in!)


And what would the CRTC actually do to CTV if they went and changed the format on 93.5 to oldies, or a simulcast of CP24, or C&W?

January 2, 2011 @ 4:36 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Can't the CRTC take their license away for blatant violation?

I honestly don't know, which is why I wrote the entry. What if CTV wanted FLOW to go country... that's clearly not "urban", so what would happen? A fine? A test pattern? Forced simulcast of CP24?

January 2, 2011 @ 4:52 PM


Does this allow them to change the stations name? E.g.: Jack fm to kiss 92.5
Maybe they're doing a whole makeover. Hopefully they are, because it doesn't sound to me like they're doing too great. They could change the format to top 40, and get some new djs. And for the morning show... Biggs and Barr perhaps?

January 2, 2011 @ 5:27 PM


CHUMfm has long been a defacto 'black urban' station yet with an older white weekday and morning show lineup.
I can agree with some of the radio rules re: Canadian Content but when it gets to the extended points of before-1981 hit songs or allowable non-hits or genres (er, Motown?) or current broadcasting strength differentials ... give it up.

The CRTC will do whatever CTV /Bell-now not with Bell asks of them. It's been this way ever since the Batonions received their free & clear #9 while sticking Global with a VHF 6/22 signal jammed against CBC & ABC plus an additional refusal to brand as Toronto.
Remember the TalkTV mandatory carriage and monthly $1 fee increase? Any bets on an injunction brought against Shaw's foreign genre infringement with OWN? And I'm still waiting for SunNews to air. And a phone bill rebate.

January 2, 2011 @ 5:27 PM


Their conditions of license in terms of music: 35% CanCon, and "popular."

That's it.

January 2, 2011 @ 5:50 PM


CTV has never done anything creative. Anything with any bit of creativity or ingenuity on CTV has been CP24, or Space or TSN etc etc etc. They are the worst generic network anywhere who cannot come up with any good ideas on their own.

January 2, 2011 @ 8:01 PM


Well, you're in luck, they bought an unsuccessful radio station!

And, again, the only "enforced mandate" is to play a certain percentage of CanCon and pay out money to Canadian talent.

The CRTC doesn't regulate race on the radio.

January 2, 2011 @ 8:28 PM


From the link Mike provided :)

5. The intervention in comment submitted that CFXJ-FM originally proposed an urban music format to serve the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area but that the station has shifted from its original format. The interveners proposed measures, such as imposing conditions of licence relating to the music genre, to ensure that CTV would maintain the original programming orientation of the station. CTV responded by stating that CFXJ-FM is not subject to a condition of licence relating to the percentage of music of a particular genre that must be broadcast by the station. Furthermore, CTV highlighted the fact that the Commission does not regulate the percentage of music from particular genres that must be broadcast except for stations operating in a specialty music format.

January 2, 2011 @ 9:08 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

With the exception of AM talk radio, I have given up on hearing a station that represents what I Want in a radio station, radio in general has become stale, way too commercial and pleasing to the masses instead of a pathway for new and interesting music to reach the listener.

January 2, 2011 @ 9:52 PM


The key word is "Music". It hasn't played music in ages.

January 3, 2011 @ 8:35 AM

the way it is

If you actually read the conditions of license attached to the decision there is nothing in there that is any different than any commercial radio station would have. I would suggest to you that CHUM is free to make the format whatever they would like as long as they maintain 40 percent Canadian content.

January 3, 2011 @ 8:37 AM


he CRTC is a paper tiger that is LONG past being even remotely relevant and is, behind the scenes, a laughing stock to most Canadian broadcast power brokers. You tell the powers that be - lobbyists, Cabinet ministers and so on - what the decision will be and - miraculously, that's usually what it ends up being. The funny thing is that our private broadcasters want it both ways - they want the blatant protectionism (such as the "simulcast law" that forces cable companies to carry only the Canadian output of the Superbowl (for example) despite it being on both Canadian and American channels) but they also don't want to be held accountable for dollars (not) invested in Canadian content and so on.
Sorry for the ramble. Bottom line, Mike, is that CTV will do whatever the heck it wants with FLOW. End of story.

January 3, 2011 @ 9:03 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

It's 9:57 am... has FLOW 93.5 changed formats yet?

January 3, 2011 @ 9:57 AM

crtc crap

this is one of the great fallacies of our time

the crtc forces you to pretend you're catering to an urban audience so you get the licence and then you can do whatever you want except maybe deny the holocaust

flow is done - rip

January 3, 2011 @ 11:13 AM


I am not into "Active rock", as programmers call it, but CTV has done a decent job with 89X Detroit, er, Windsor. In a very heavily-served market (Arbitron shows 46 stations with ratings, "Ethnic Composition: Black 22.0%"), 89X has a 3.4 share in Detroit (no idea what their ratings are in Windsor). That's pretty good.

As for what will happen to 93.5 in Toronto? I predict more "LCD" programming, irregardless of what music format prevails.

January 3, 2011 @ 11:31 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm glad I asked this question, because it taught me a lot. And if I'm confused by some CRTC "conditions", others are likely equally confused.

From Jim Slotek, columnist for the Toronto Sun:

"Once you have a licence, anything goes. But beforehand, the licence goes to whoever does the best dance, sings O Canada and bakes the best Nanaimo Bars for the commissioners.
I used to cover these hearings when the city across the river from Ottawa was called Hull instead of Gatineau. The pay-TV ones were especially hilarious. Apparently, the as-yet-unlicensed movie channel would program nothing but Canadian movies and Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot concerts. "

Fascinating. Within reason, CTV can do whatever they want with FLOW. I wonder what's in store...

January 3, 2011 @ 3:44 PM


Within reason??? More like within profitability, which Flow never was going to be.

January 3, 2011 @ 5:46 PM


"Urban music" as synonymous with hip hop and R&B seems so remote and American. The supposition there must have been that only poor blacks would live in the urban parts of cities, and here's the "urban music" they've innovated. In Toronto, urban music is pretty much the only music and it's rather diverse (how many great music venues are north of Bloor, let alone north of Eglinton?). What's Broken Social Scene to an American? "Suburban Music"? Ha.

Canadian content should be mandated at at least 50 percent. Just rebroadcast American radio stations if you don't care about the growth of your culture.

January 3, 2011 @ 11:09 PM


Wow Mike, you've never listened & don't give a shit about the format but you're intrigued? Or maybe you should just admit that you figure it's a good way to bring up "interest" in your "Toronto blog".

Had you have actually followed Flow you'd have realized a few things. First of all, David Marsden was once the PD of Flow. The station was with the street & with the community but has become as white bread & stale as the rest of radio. I seem to remember the station had better numbers back then too. Hmmm.

But hey man, you're afraid to go to the Danforth. When's the last time you were out for Jerk Chicken anyway? Assuming you even know what it is yo.

*rolls eyes and walks away laughing*. Go back to your Nirvana and Edge 102 ass kissing.

January 3, 2011 @ 11:14 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Calm down, Irvine.

I'm not going to lie and pretend I'm a FLOW listener when I'm not, but I'm sincerely intrigued whether they can change formats since they came in to serve a specific audience. And no, I don't think I'm that audience.

January 3, 2011 @ 11:52 PM


Whoa. Quite an overreaction, Irvine..

January 4, 2011 @ 2:07 AM


CTV will make sure that Flow 93.5 fits their white bread strategy that they put on to everything.

January 4, 2011 @ 2:36 PM


They can do whatever they want. Read the license

January 6, 2011 @ 9:39 PM


So the sh*t just hit the fan.

2 of the most Ethnic shows on Flow 93.5, Soca Therapy & Riddim Track (Soca & Reggae music respectively), have been dropped from their lineup. This was reported by the Twitter accounts of both hosts Dr Jay (@socaprince) & Spex (@spexdaboss).

I'm an ACTUAL listener of the station (compared to everyone else who seems to have commented on this post) and this is a huge blow to the Black community. Both shows only play once a week and showcase the music we want to hear, but don't get to. The only other option would be to listen to college radio.

This is a massive blow to what the station was created for in the first place.

We can only hope that the last non-mainstream show "The Real Frequency" doesn't go under as well. If it does then we have just another Kiss 92.5 or z103.5.

February 2, 2011 @ 3:21 PM

Tereka T

I'm curious: how many people who have commented here even listen to flow? I'm getting this idea that everyone thinks they play the same things any other pop station play. Not so. However CTV obviously doesn't give a fuck. It goes against everything to remove Riddim Track and Soca Therapy, when those are the most ethnic shows they offer. And the majority of black people who listen to that station are of West Indian heritage. They play Canadian artists just coming onto the music scene as well as Canadian Urban staples. And they have a quality urban mix everyday. If they're trying to turn Flow into an oldies station, good luck. It'll go under in a second. Personally, I'm disgusted.

February 2, 2011 @ 3:45 PM


Tereka- I'm an avid listener. Let's not pretend that station didn't play its fair share of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

With that being said, I agree with the rest of your points. I am in shockkk that they got rid of Riddim Track and Soca Therapy. I have seen the quality of Flow's programming slowly degrade over the past few years. I remember when Sundays weren't the only day that Soca and conscious Reggae could be heard. What a shame...

February 2, 2011 @ 4:35 PM


I guess the radio is gonna suck again :( Thx god for internet radio where Dj's can play music that not played 100 times a day like it is on radio and TV today

February 2, 2011 @ 4:49 PM

Tash H

I'm disgusted by the whole thing to be honest I live just at the Westend of Mississauga and I can get WBLK at home but on the road forget it! Flow was my absolute last resort when the cd's get old in the car. Soca therapy and Riddam Trax was my two reasons for even listening to flow and now they lost another listener. I just find it even more disgusting that it happened during black history month! How are we suppose to celebrate our culture if they take cultural things off the radio!!!!! So much for teaching our children

February 2, 2011 @ 6:00 PM

Angry Supporter

If something is perfectly fine why do people always want to change it? How are you going to come and take the only urban station left and make it even more commercial then it already is? I only ever listened to flow on Sundays when spex was on, well now they can kiss my behind cause I won't be tuning in at all! All the jobs lost because you want to make some whack changes. I hope the station flops and they realize they were wrong. Good luck to everyone that lost there job because of the changes. When one door closes another opens best of luck with your future endeavours xo

February 2, 2011 @ 6:43 PM


Its the white man's world, rule and word.

Nothing ever changes

back to generic, untalented artists . . .

February 2, 2011 @ 9:47 PM

Ron R

Flow has made a steady 'decline' since Mark & Jem left years ago. Bringing in mc's from z103 was a sign of things to come. The content slowly (and more rapidly recently) has become more top 40/ pop; you can turn on flow now and hear Justin Beiber more times in 1hr, then you can Bob Marley in one week. Anyone remeber when they came on the air in 2001...what a pathetic shadow the station is and has been the last few years.
The MC's of the last few years aren't witty and the majority of the conversations they hold seem juvenile and mind numbing. I've been listening to WBLK, CIUT & CKLN as much as possible again.

Unfortunately business is business; friends and 'what the ppl want' mean very little in the corporate world.
Best of luck to the Dj's that made that station what it is/was (Dr.J and kos, scratch, Spex, p-plus..).

February 2, 2011 @ 11:15 PM


hmph, I've been complaining that flow was becoming way too mainstream. But now?

Im pretty sure most of the West Indian community will boycott this frequency because of CHUM or whomever's removal of Soca Therapy, Riddim Track & OTA live???!!!
listen to the track...
Dead Prez - Turn off the radio.

February 2, 2011 @ 11:31 PM


CTV slaughtered FLOW today. At 1pm all employees were SHOCKED to hear 36 out of 50+ were FIRED IMMEDIATELY

February 2, 2011 @ 11:35 PM

Micheaux Spencer

Urban music has lost its identity completely in the city of Toronto with the sale of Flow93.5 to conglomerate CTV..

I am asking that people lose their profile pics as symbol of "LOST IDENTITY"

Please LIKE this page and suggest it to your friends.

February 2, 2011 @ 11:48 PM


It's the day after and the Flow website only shows 4 on-air personalities on the site.

Check out this post by Mark Strong (another one who was fired years ago from Flow) and his take on what happened

February 3, 2011 @ 12:01 PM

Shy Girl

I am a listener to flow, I do have my issues with it, but supporting ethnic/black dj's and artist is what i'm all about. There are enough outlets for alternative listeners so i'm not sorry for them.
If anyone is interested in listening to authentic reggae music from all eras, log online to: REALREGGAERADIO.COM
It is a 24 hrs radio station and you can get back to your ROOTS or learn a bit about yours. I've got an iphone and am/fm car transmitter and can listen while driving. Good luck to all dj's who have lost their jobs.

February 3, 2011 @ 2:26 PM

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