Is CTV Destroying Hip Hop In Canada, Specifically FLOW 93.5 FM Radio?

radioSomething major went down at FLOW 93.5 yesterday. I knew it was happening because of the commenters who had found my entry from earlier this year in which I openly asked if CTV could change FLOW 93.5's format.

Denise contacted me via Twitter last night, and I asked her to write something for this blog. Here's what Denise sent me via email.

So CTV has done it again! It's recent takeover of "The New Flow 93.5 fm" URBAN radio station in Toronto has RUTHLESSLY FIRED OVER 75% of the DEDICATED FLOW STAFF! Today 36 out of 50 ppl were told they were unemployed as of today!
Are we going to sit by & let this media monopoly happen so we only have 2 points of view in the media -- CTVGLOBEMEDIA/BCE & ROGERS??
Are we going to sit by & let the CRTC get away with systematically deconstructing the hip hop community in Canada by restricting its airwaves to hip hop music from all over the world INCLUDING the much touted "CANADIAN CONTENT"??
Enough of this stranglehold over OUR AIRWAVES - including the Internet & Satellite - it's time to step up and organize to stop this slow, stealth censorship mission!!!
That is exactly what this is!  It looks to be a stealth move by CTV, et al to continue gobbling up Canadian media outlets (to the point where local television stations are in danger) until we, as free thinking Canadians who have bragged about the transparency of our government and objectivity of our media, are reduced to being exposed to only TWO POINTS OF VIEW -- CTV's and ROGERS'!
This is so far beyond the issue of helping to destroy Canada's teetering hip hop industry, although, you must question the timing of such a move by CTV.  They chose the second day of Black History Month to summarily FIRE 36 out of 50 employees at Toronto's #1 "Urban" (meaning hip hop/rap) radio station serving a large black community demographic.
It deeply saddens me, a public relations and government relations consultant retiree, to see today's society as a bunch of sheep needing prodding by its shepherd, for in the 1960s and 1970s, people STOOD UP and DEMONSTRATED in various NON-VIOLENT ways to end such monopolies and fight against censorship. 
It is a crying shame to see today's youth (who the FORMER FLOW 93.5 fm staff serviced HAPPILY EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YEAR), sit by and let this happen.  Where is the passion in today's society that permeated the very air we breathed in the 60s and 70s??
Shame, shame, shame on CTV and shame, shame, shame on anyone who doesn't share this note and boycott THE NEW NEW FLOW 93.5 FM!!!
Citizen Against Censorship & Media Monopolies!!

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Comments (20 - click here to join in!)

Flow Listener

This is bullshit.

February 3, 2011 @ 4:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Denise sent me another email:


Flow's already been "watered down" with pop replacing emerging hip hop by upcoming AND established Cdn hip hop artists AND international artists. NOW CTV comes in and CLEANS HOUSE...???

I'll be listening to Michael Bolton singing Otis Redding within the next month!!! Does anyone else think this resembles the 50s & 60s, where good R&B by black artists was released by white POP performers?? Elvis & Ricky Nelson singing Chuck Berry & Little Richard!?

If you don't have Satellite Radio, you can't find any great hip hop on a Toronto area radio station!!! It's bloody ridiculous!!! I'm an effin' BABY BOOMER and I LOVE MY HIP HOP!!!!

Look at EVERY successful "Canadian" artist working today - regardless of genre. They had to go to the U.S. to gain that deserved success. Celine Dion, Sarah MacLaughlin, Alannis Morrissette, Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Nickelback, Kardinall Offishall, Drake, Nelly Furtado and I could go on and on!!!


What is up with youth today??? NO ONE FIGHTS NON-VIOLENTLY FOR SHIT ANYMORE???? Many of y'all will pull out guns & vandalize cop cars, but NOBODY REALLY ORGANIZES NON-VIOLENT PROTESTS and RALLIES FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN ANYMORE!!!

Let's get it together!! This goes WAY BEYOND A HIP HOP ISSUE!!

We basically have two points of view given to us in our media today -- CTV/GLOBE/BCE (Bell) & ROGERS. Local tv stations have been forced shut and we are hearing ONLY TWO POINTS OF VIEW. What is this the USA?????

There are laws against this kind of thing but no one investigates it and lobbies for justice!!!

This is the SLIPPERY SLOPE TO CENSORSHIP my fellow FREE Canadians!!!

When is the last time you listened to one radio station all day and didn't hear the same play list repeated every hour? That's what I thought. I can't remember either. When is the last time you heard your favourite Canadian artist on the radio (not including the artists with US commercial success like Justin Bieber and Nickelback)??? Again, I can't remember either!

We have the National Post or the Gobe and Mail. The Toronto Sun or The Toronto Star. Those are our choices. TWO CHOICES.

WAKE UP CANADIANS!!! Write the CRTC and demand some more transparency into their processes so these takeovers are not done quietly beneath our noses, NOT giving us a an adequate chance to provide input!!!


STEP UP AND BE HEARD!!! Call CTV today and express your extreme DISPLEASURE at their RUTHLESS ACTIONS of FIRING MOST OF THE STAFF from the #1 URBAN RADIO STATION IN TORONTO on the SECOND DAY OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH OF ALL TIMES!!! They should at least get a sensitivity chip!

They need new communications executives!!!


For more info:

Denise C. Byers, BA
Communications Consultant

February 3, 2011 @ 4:40 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Denise actually sent me a third email, which got stuck in my Gmail spam filter. Here it is:

Under the guidance of the great Mr. Denham Jolly with the input from music industry legend, Mr. Wayne Williams, Flow was the answer for Canada’s hip hop community — specifically the Greater Toronto Area.

Many friends of mine lost their jobs today and were genuinely SHOCKED! CTV had been very reassuring in their takeover. The staff was NOT expecting the slaughter that awaited them at 1 pm today.

36 out of just over 50 people were summarily fired effective IMMEDIATELY. The same people that had been working tirelessly during weekends to move the company to its new “home”.

Well, the FLOW home is empty. It’s just a group of offices and a studio now and will be filled with a bunch of strangers as only 4 of the on air personalities retained their positions and the entire sales team and office staff was fired.

What is truly shocking is that music industry LEGEND, Mr. Wayne Williams, Flow's long time Program Director and huge force behind the Flow Vision, was also fired today.

This is a huge loss to the hip hop and rhythm & blues & reggae/soca/calypso/etc. community. It is a sad sad day indeed.

We, the fans of these genres, have already been struggling to hear a wide spectrum of “black music” meaning music that reflects the wide spectrum of the black culture, as The New Flow changed more and more from a hip hop format to a pop format as the CTV takeover came closer.

This will not mark the end of Hip Hop in Canada, because our artists are stronger than that, but it does land us on a slippery slope to censorship.

Ask yourself how many local radio stations you can listen to hip hop music. Exactly. Not many. Even College radio is being hijacked.

Hip Hop may be today’s target, but alternative rock could be next.

The point is, Canada’s media outlets are being controlled by very few large conglomerates that care more about advertising revenue than objective news reporting and exposing us to new music and television.

We should ALL be worried. We are getting fewer points of view from the media that informs our choices. They are even controlling the music we can hear and are doing their best to regulate the WORLD WIDE WEB!

This isn’t merely a black issue or a hip hop issue, it is an issue of GOVERNMENT and BIG BUSINESS controlling our airwaves and what we and our children can hear or watch!

Let the CRTC know how you feel about this situation and DEMAND changes before Canadian music is stifled completely unless you are a Canadian artist who has achieved commercial success already in the U.S.

We want to hear OUR ESTABLISHED artists like Choclair, Sense, Bishop Brigante, Mike Moves, etc. and OUR NEW EMERGING artists!!!

Thank you Mr. Jolly and Mr. Williams and the rest of the great staff at Flow who have kept us entertained and informed over the years!



February 3, 2011 @ 5:33 PM

Ajax Mike

Nice to see that Denise is passionate about the issue, but her messages read as long, unfocused rants. The SHOUTING doesn't help much either.

Oh, and I can name at least one band that we hear tons of, that has never been big in the States. I think Toronto Mike can too...

February 3, 2011 @ 5:40 PM


The reality is Flow 93.5 ceased being anything more than a Rhythmic CHR some time ago. I'd argue that Hot 107 Edmonton is a far more progressive in the realm of hiphop and dance music. And if you're reading this Denise, I heard far more new Canadian urban music in rotation at Hot 107 Edmonton than I did on Flow 93.5. Maybe you're just a bit too Toronto centric.

Before you go pointing fingers at the new owners of Flow, take a look at what the old owners promised and what they delivered to their own community. They let down the "black" community far more than some conglomerate has by firing staff dude.

February 3, 2011 @ 6:46 PM


A quick look at ratings shows Flow with a 1.7 share. That's not good at all.

Perhaps that has a little something to do with the change?

February 3, 2011 @ 9:42 PM


Don't worry. Edge will be a hip-hop station within a few years.

Maybe FLOW can explore bringing us alternative rock artists?

February 4, 2011 @ 12:26 AM


Doesn't matter whether comments are viewed as rants or valid. Multi-ethnic Toronto was missing a mainstream radio station that focussed on "real" hip hop, r&b, carribean music, etc. The fight was on for a very long time to fill this void and this was accomplished. Unfortunately the deomographics being served count on others to fight battles for them - win or lose. When we won everyone heard and was aware. This process does not happen overnight and it appears (with the untrained eye) changes were and continue to be hidden. We have lost (as a community), and only less than a few are aware. So many are still listening to flow and not realizing that a MAJOR shift has taken place. Where do we go from here, how do we educate the masses (our less fortunate brothers and sisters and youth), who continue to get "hoodiwinked".

February 4, 2011 @ 9:25 AM


For a guy that hates Toronto, Irvine sure does have a lot to say about it.

February 4, 2011 @ 9:55 AM

Craig Burgen

WTF!! What a MAJOR shift in reality!! I listen to FLOW 93.5, well, atleast I used to, until the music content completely changed!! I had to look at my station setting to be sure I was listening to Flow!! I would schedule my lunches with the midday mix and my drive home with the traffic flow mix and even way back, my drive in with SFS at 7:00am!!! Now all has changed :( The MAN has once again, stepped in to try to control our freedoms... Can you say Air Wave Revolution??

February 4, 2011 @ 11:47 AM


I think any question that starts out with "Is CTV destroying...?" can usually be answered with "Yes."

February 4, 2011 @ 12:09 PM


For the Flow fans, as long as you have a reasonably good radio, just tune up 200 kHz to 93.7 for Buffalo's WBLK (#3 rated station in their market, which is not as "urban" as GTA stereotyping would have you believe). You won't get any GTA-local content, but you'll probably like the music better than any station whose call letters start with "C".

February 5, 2011 @ 10:11 AM


The changes are horrific! First Ckln gets shut down and now this!?! Its ridiculous! College radio is where up and coming artists really gain exposure-not Flow! But in anycase we need to do something! Keeping scratch for his mix show-which doesn't even sound like him playing. I have never heard more fist pumping music! I feel like I'm on jersey shore! Its Bull! Turn your radios off! Ratings mean money! Apparantly money means more to these people!! Its sad. As for Wblk, not everyone gets it clear-or we would of changed long ago. As for Spexx and Dr J- they're International!! Such a loss! When I have people in fr out of town for Caribana what station am I telling then to listen to?? Really??

February 6, 2011 @ 2:44 AM


Irvine you're a joke. How are you going to bring an Edmonton station into a Toronto focus radio station issue. Can i turn my stereo on and hear ur Edmonton shut up. If you read what Denise said, FLOW was castrated from promoting TRUE urban music from what I remember that was like 3 or so years ago. maybe less. However as we all noticed the New FLOW 93.5 was new consistently for at least the last two years just wondering when it was going to stop being new. Who cares about dance music, FLOW was never introduced to be a promoter of Dance music. that's what 103.5 in the boonies is for. Denise is Toronto centric and well she should be in pertaining to a station that primarily services Toronto, if the other regions get it, well all I can say is they get a bit of Urban culture in dey backside. we are pointing the fingers at the New owners. it's interesting that a Caucasian owned and run industry(CTV) fires all the blacks and 1 drop theory blacks that worked for the station including Wayne Williams. the only reason they couldn't fire Mr. Jolly is because he is loaded and well established, but they will phase him out soon enough, and Yes I am Ranting and pissed off cuz now I actually have to leave my house on the weekend to hear my Soca music and my reggae, two genres that are not represented on any other Canadian radio station in a prominent manner in prime time. Now there is community station 105.5. and I'm not staying up til 12 to hear Jai on 100.7.

February 6, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

jason |

Hey Kevin, get the internet and then maybe you wouldn't sound so freaking angry. Or, if you really love the "old flow" that much just play the Black Eyed Peas over and over and repeat an you'll have pretty much the same thing.

February 7, 2011 @ 2:04 PM


At quick glance, changes made are not too good. Needs to be reviewed again.

February 8, 2011 @ 6:38 AM

Thomas in Durham

When I found out that CTV bought Flow and changed the name to "Toronto's hip Hop Dance RnB Station" It was the confirmation that this was not the radio station I fell in love with 11 years ago, the one that played mostly Canadian music.

As for the CKLN issue, I was also disappointed about that. It was really nice to have a station that played lots of multicultural music, however, I also thought that some of the personalities on CKLN were a little to American-centric (maybe it was just me).

The nice part about Z103.5 is that they never tried to change who they are. Dance and techno aren't as popular here as in the rest of the world. But they continue to promote it. I don't know who owns that station, but I think maybe if the original had a similar philosophy, they would wouldn't have given up and become "the new flow" two years ago.

Thank goodness for Youtube, which hopefully will never drop Canadian content.

March 20, 2011 @ 9:57 AM


FYI Ctv is owned by Bell not Rogers

March 13, 2016 @ 4:04 PM


Ummm, no one said or stated that CTV is or was owned by Rogers, it was presented as them being competitors and Bell and Rogers holding a monopoly. The radio station had been watered down with pop music for the last few years, Internet Radio is where it's been and where it's at, emerging artists, listen when and how you'd like......

May 21, 2016 @ 1:52 PM

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