3 Hours of CFNY From 1983

My buddy Andrew passed these audio treats along, so I thought I'd share them with the masses.

This is how CFNY 102.1 sounded in 1983.

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Ryan G / hobogauntlet.blogspot.ca

Interesting how cfny has morphed from sounding like a college station back then to it's current iteration. Definitely a much more free-flowing open format, which I do recall when I first discovered the station around the time these were recorded. I scrubbed through portions of the first file. Some of the music wasn't as great as we all seem to think it was something something rose coloured glasses. The dj even spun california girls (not the david lee roth version either). He even spent what seemed like an eternity taking call after call about whether or not people lost money on the superbowl played that day. Not terribly interesting, but interactive nonetheless.

One funny thing I noticed too. Some guy called in and said that he bet money on a hockey game that day but he didn't know the result, and asked the jock to announce it if he finds out, which I assume he'd have to dig up from the newswire or some other old fadgadgetry. Just goes to show how much we take the internet for granted.

December 21, 2015 @ 10:29 AM


Glad people are liking them...

ps: I've still got to find a cassette I have of me helping out Dani Ellwell on Christmas day in 89 or 90.

December 21, 2015 @ 4:38 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I have audio of Dani Elwell quitting on the air, but I'm waiting for her to come on my podcast to play it. :)

December 21, 2015 @ 4:43 PM


Awesome... those were dark days... dark days indeed.

December 21, 2015 @ 6:29 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Won't play on my Z10 will need to wait until I get it on my laptop. Thus was around the time I discovered CFNY, with Howard Jones's poppish type music. Wish the Spirit of Radio Sundays were still going, thought Indie88 might pick it up and run with it.

December 21, 2015 @ 7:46 PM


Wish I could listen to some Reiner Schwartz....any of this quality out there?

December 22, 2015 @ 9:15 AM


Ah yes, the "nocturnal earthworm stew". Fond memories. I .

December 22, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

Ryan G / hobogauntlet.blogspot.ca

@Rick C - I agree - i thought Indie would definitely create something similar to scoop that 102.1 SRS audience which was revealed to be sizeable after the show was cancelled.

I host an open dj night at a local bar so I'm constantly scouring the playlists from both Indie and 102.1 to help me select and download new tunes I'm going to play along with the classic alternative I already own. What I see is a missed opportunity for Indie as I'm amazed at how much repetition there is of the indie/alternative "hits" and lack of deeper cuts from the classic bands of the 80's and 90's. I don't like the repetition of say, the new coldplay song, but I get it from a business perspective. But Indie's promos mention classic alternative, but they only seem to have 10 of those tracks in their library.

December 22, 2015 @ 1:23 PM

James Edgar

Some good memories there but some of the music does not hold up at all for me. And what's with the beach boys?

December 22, 2015 @ 1:40 PM

Javed Jafri

The Live Earl Jive played the Beach Boy's Cal Girls and he would often play the band- both the hits as well as their less well known creative "art music". Nothing wrong with that. Part of the free form ethos that he subscribed to.

I have some Reiner S. on my web site. Click on my name to go to the site and then make your way to the Radio Corner for RS. You can also use the search functionon the site to find other CFNY content. The quality is not great on some of my early NY uploads but over time I have gotten better with the digital transfersand may go back and upload revised versions, time permitting.

Thanks for posting these new clips !

December 25, 2015 @ 3:56 PM

Javed Jafri

@James Edgar
The Beach Boys get slagged as mere bubblegum but from the mid 60's to 1974 they put out a whole body of very creative music that not many are familiar with and it was quite regularly featured on some of the best progressive free form stations at the time. Granted cal girls is not from their progressive period but so what. Earl Live would often play oldies along with alternative. That was part of the charm of the station.

December 25, 2015 @ 4:17 PM


@RyanG Indie has been playing more 'classic alternative', though still not a lot of variety, but interestingly I've caught The Edge in recent weeks playing "Love Song" by the Cure, "Shout" by Tears For Fears, Simple Minds, even The Violent Femmes, U2, REM and Spirit of The West again they introduce it as "Vintage Edge."

December 25, 2015 @ 9:50 PM


@ K

I wish they introduced it as "Vintage 'NY" - Vintage Edge never played that stuff on a regular basis :)

Glad people are enjoying the clips. I owe a lot of "Live" Early Jive. He gave me my start in radio, which led me to where I am today. I will forever be grateful.


December 27, 2015 @ 3:54 PM


Damnit... Live Earl Jive... stoopid fingers...


December 27, 2015 @ 3:55 PM


@Andrew I wish they introduced it that way too, and allowed the personalities more say in what they played of course. Cool story to hear that Live Earl Jive helped you get your start. What station are you at now Andrew?

December 27, 2015 @ 4:06 PM


@Andrew Damn, that takes me back. Thanks, brother! I remember when rock radio still had its rebels. I wish I could find some clips from CHUM-FM in the early seventies (yes, I remember that too lol), when it seemed that the DJs simply walked into the studio with an armload of their favorite vinyl and a good buzz on. Talk about some deep cuts. I heard whole album sides that I have never heard again since.

I wouldn't mind hearing Q107's sign-on again, either. I remember their first day. I think I was fifteen. Awesome.

January 14, 2016 @ 12:44 PM


It's great to hear this. I always particularly liked Ivar's import show. In those days of course it would have been impossible to hear most of what Ivar played other than to listen to CFNY, or to go to Europe -- no Internet or MP3 goes without saying, and maybe you'd hear something interesting on college radio but with the same amateurish (a.k.a. awful) announcing as today. I think these snippets are from after the station was already broadcasting from the CN Tower, if I'm not mistaken, but I remember listening to it in the late 1970s while living in Alliston, when it was still transmitting from Brampton and it was just this low-volume station you had to tune carefully to get.

It was exciting back then to listen to CFNY, and it's funny how it still comes through in listening to these snippets. CFNY was an oasis, your place to hear something interesting, unique, and it didn't matter where it was from. I would never have heard Tom Robinson or Annette Peacock or the Motors or Howard Devoto or Japan or so much Kraftwerk, certainly no Chain Of Fun or Scot Merritt or Corky And The Juice Pigs, not to mention Iggy Pop and Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, without CFNY on. Not all of it was destined for the Rock And Roll Hall OF Fame, but it was great because of the attitude behind the station at that time. You never knew what to expect but you knew there would be some good music, interesting personalities who seemed to actually like and value what they were spinning, and a sense also of them continually breaking some barriers by what they were doing.

But it's a thing that can't really happen today, because of how open the world is now. But back then the station was truly one of a kind, warts and all, for those hungry to hear music that was new and interesting, rather than only popular. Thanks for the memories of that rather special time.

February 1, 2016 @ 8:00 AM


I'll just add that if you think "California Girls" was odd for CFNY to play, I once phoned up when James Scott was on in the afternoon, and requested "It's A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock & Roll", by, yes, AC/DC. James dutifully played it, God bless him, cheerfully announcing that it was, "For Peter in Alliston". I still have it on a cassette somewhere (of course I taped it).

That was CFNY back then: a stray AC/DC tune, followed maybe by Nobby Kleg's "My Old Man", and then maybe "Warm Leatherette", by The Normal, then a commercial, while I did my homework.

February 1, 2016 @ 3:09 PM


@ K

I no longer work in radio - I am a full time TV mobile sound mixer. I basically mix live sports and other events for television. However, that being said, I would jump back into radio in a heartbeat if I could make it work.

@ Toneman

Thanks. A buddy of mine who lives in Edmonton now was cleaning out his basement when he came across the old cassettes. He knew that I worked there in the past and was a fan of the old station and so he digitized them for me and sent me the MP3's. Mike was kind enough to house them here on his site. That's pretty much what it was in the old days... not so much anymore :(

I'm still trying to find some cassettes I had of air checks I did in the day. Haven't been able to find them yet.


February 2, 2016 @ 2:46 PM

Jody Thornton

If anyone could clarify something about "Warm Leatherette" by The Normal.

I heard it played quite a lot for a few weeks on CFNY and 101.1 FM in Fort Erie during the late spring of 1987, and promptly went and found a 12" single. But I understand that the song actually came out in 1978 (sounds way more modern that the late 70s ... lol). So was the record re-serviced to stations in 1987? What happened there?

February 3, 2016 @ 11:15 AM

Richard Scott

Thanks for sharing this. I was into CFNY from summer '79, but by 82 the spirit had left the spirit of radio. It was all 12" remixes and endless synth hand claps.

July 14, 2016 @ 9:04 AM

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