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English Radio in Quebec

A Brief History of CFOM


by Jack McLaren



A Brief History of CFOM, Quebec City's private English Radio Station


Reproduced by permission and courtesy of archivists Pierre Tremblay, Marc Denis and Dale Patterson


Very few people are aware that Quebec City used to have its own English-only, private, radio station.  Everything began on January 24, 1949 when the CBC’s Board of Governors recommended that a license be issued to “CJNT”.  The Board said that it was “of the opinion that there is a place for an exclusively English language station in Quebec City.”[1] The license was granted to “Goodwill Broadcasters of Quebec Incorporated”.  Some two years later, the licensee asked the CBC’s Board of Governors for the authorization to operate “CJNT” as a bilingual station.  This request was denied, the Board stating that “The recommendation for the license to establish this station was on condition that it would be an exclusively English language station.[2]  In 1952, the licensee asked the Board of Governors to be able to operate its service in the French language.[3]  The Board denied that request.[4]  The following year, CJNT had its call letters changed to “CJQC”.  The licensee, in 1963, made an application to the BBG (Board of Broadcast Governors) for an amendment, on a temporary basis, of the condition of license which required it to operate using the English language exclusively. The BBG denied the application saying that the licence “carried the express condition that its service be provided exclusively in the English language.  No reasons of public interest have been presented to the Board to convince it that this condition should be revoked”.[5]  The Board maintained its decision pursuant to a rehearing of the application held later that year.[6]


The station’s call letters were again changed in 1964 when it became known as “CFOM”.  In 1967, the station’s frenquency was changed from 1340 kc/s to 1350 kc/s and its power from 250 watts to 1000 watts.  The Board reserved its decision regarding the proposal to broadcast in the French language.[7] 


In Decision CRTC 74-59, dated March 29, 1974, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) stated that it was “not satisfied that the programming provided by the licensee has fulfilled the programming commitments made by it.”[8] It went on to say that it was not “satisfied with the amount of CBC programming carried by this affiliate.  While the Commission notes the economic problems which the licensee has encountered in providing the only English language radio service in Quebec City, it nevertheless stresses the importance it places on adherence by licensees the programming commitments made by them.  The Commission is also concerned that the licensee will have difficulty in achieving the programming commitments now made by it, particularly regarding the carriage of a suitable amount of CBC programming. CFOM has a special responsibility to provide, both in its verbal and musical components, a balanced programming service for all segments of the English community in its licensed area.  Accordingly a short term renewal is granted in order to enable the licensee (a) to demonstrate its ability to meet the programming proposals made by it and (b) to provide, in cooperation with the CBC, more of the national service to its licensed area by, as a minimum, fulfilling the reserve time requirements which the CBC expects of its affiliates.”[9]  CFOM’s license was therefore renewed from April 1, 1974 to March 31, 1976.[10]


In Decision CRTC 75-306, dated July 18, 1975, the CRTC denied an application to transfer all of the common shares to “Deljean Inc”.[11]  The latter had expressed its intention to broadcast not more than 24.6hours of CBC programming per week if it became the licensee.  The Commission was of the view that CFOM should strive to carry more CBC programming than the current 25 hours.  The CRTC noted that at the May 24, 1975 public hearing it was made aware of the CBC’s intention to file an application for a CBC owned and operated station to serve the Quebec City area.  The CRTC acknowledged that the “economic problems of CFOM would become insurmountable if the CBC were to introduce its own station thus further reducing the proper audience base of CFOM.  It said that these considerations should be taken into account by the CBC before applying for another English language radio station in Quebec City.  The CRTC made it clear that “if the English population of Quebec City can support only one radio service then it should be the national service either through a CBC affiliated station or through a CBC owned-and-operated station.[12]


At the December 9, 1975 public hearing, the CBC’s Director of English Services for the CBC in Quebec, Mr. Eric Koch, told the Commission that CFOM had announced, in August of the same year, that it was unable to continue its operation.  “To avoid a break in continuity of service the CBC, with the approval of the Commission , signed in August, a short-term agreement with Goodwill Broadcasters of Quebec, licensee of CFOM, under which CFOM continued in operation carrying the full service of the AM network.[13] 


CFOM thus continued to re-broadcast CBM’s signal until the CBC was granted its own station. In Decision CRTC 76-489, dated July 29, 1976, the CRTC approved an aplication, by the CBC, for an English language FM radio station at Quebec, expiring March 31, 1980.[14]  it also suggested that the full CBC AM service continue to be made available on the AM band on the frequency presently used by CFOM.  Therefore the CRTC renewed CFOM’s license for a period of one year only, until September 30, 1977 so as to permit the CBC to continue to use the facilities of CFOM.[15]

[1] Board of Governors, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Public Announcement No. 24, January 24, 1949


[2] Board of Governors, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Public Announcement No. 46, March 19, 1951


[3] Board of Governors, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Public Announcement No. 64, October 6, 1952


[4] Board of Governors, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Public Announcement No. 65, November 10, 1952


[5] Board of Broadcast Governors, Announcement, February 11, 1963


[6] Board of Broadcast Governors, Announcement, September 9, 1963


[7] Board of Broadcast Governors, Announcement, September 28, 1967


[8] Decision CRTC 74-59, March 29, 1974


[9] Idem.


[10] Idem.


[11] Decision CRTC 75-306, July 18, 1975


[12] Idem.


[13] Audience Publique, CRTC, Volume II, 8 décembre, 1975, page 286


[14] Decision CRTC 76-489, July 29, 1976


[15] Decision CRTC 76-713, September 29, 1976

For more CFOM and Canadian Top 40 radio memories, visit Dale Patterson's Rock Radio Scrapbook

For some great Montreal Top 40 radio memories, visit
Marc Denis ' 980 CKGM Super 70s Tribute Page


Projets réalisés
English Radio in  Quebec

CFCF: The Early Years of Radio (see also Anecdotes...)

CFCF before the Massey and Fowler Commissions of the 1950s

In the Name of the "Public Interest": CFCF and some Controversies...

A Brief History of CJAD

Relations among the English Stations in Montreal

Chronological Master List of Quebec's English-Language Radio Stations

Galerie d'images / Gallery Extraits sonores / Sound Clips  


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© 1997 Phonothèque québécoise / Musée du son.
Mise à jour le 29 juillet 2004

URL http://www.phonotheque.org/Hist-radio-anglo/CFOM-history.html