Canadian Broadcast History:
One of Marconi's famous early wireless telegraphy stations was set up in Glace Bay Nova Scotia, in 1902.
The first station to broadcast in Canada was XWA in Montreal (later called VE9AM, CFCF, then CIQC and CINW)).
- First Broadcast: May 20, 1920.
- XWA was owned by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company.
- The first experimental transmissions were in late 1919, according to Canadian historian Professor Mary Vipond, who wrote a book on early Canadian broadcasting called "Listening In".
- The first thing broadcast was a concert by a female vocalist, Dorothy Lutton.
The second station appears to have been CJCE, Vancouver, BC, opened March 14, 1922.
Other early stations include:
A good look at early broadcasting in Canada can be found at the Hammond Museum of Radio in Guelph, Ontario.
By 1929, there were over 60 stations in operation in Canada. Few were high power or gave full service. One major owner of stations was Canadian National Railways (CN), which experimented in using the wireless to send transmissions to moving trains. CN first opened CKCH in Ottawa on February 27, 1924. In July, CN began "renting" the CNxx prefix from Morocco, so its stations could be CNRO, CNRA, etc.
With the Aird Commission (below) and the CRBC, there was an attempt to convert all broadcasting to State owned facilities. While the CBC became a major force, commercial broadcasting continued.
FM Broadcasting started just after World War II ended. The CBC's first FM outlets were built in Montreal for English and French service (two stations), and one each in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. At least one station, CKOI-FM in Montreal, is licensed for over 300 kW (307,000 watts).
A Canadian television service was authorized in 1949, and opened in 1952.
One of the more contentious parts of Canadian Broadcast History is the Canadian Content (Cancon) requirements. Launched in 1970, to maintain a sense of Canadian stations being "Canadian," it required 30% of all broadcast content be of Canadian origin. (In 1994, CJCA was shut down for violating this rule.)
With music, a special system was created to clarify what is
considered Canadian Content and what isn't. Last modified in 1991, most compact
discs and cassettes in Canada come with the MAPL symbol on them. It's a simple
circle divided into four parts (M, A, P and L) Two of the four parts must be
shaded to be considered Canadian Content.
M = Music
A = Artist
P = Producer
L = Lyrics
In the late 1990s and into the new century, there has been a real migration of Canadian AM stations onto the FM dial. In some cases, the AM channel is left idle, in others "specialized" stations have taken over.
In the 2000s, the attrition rate on the AM dial continued, with many stations, even 50 kW allocations being turned off. In late January 2010, Montreal's CINF (Info 690) and CINW (AM 940) off their 50,000-watt transmitters, saying in a statement that the stations were no longer able to support themselves.
The Wireless Telegraph Act of 1905 in Canada, named the Department of Marine and Fisheries as the licensing agency. In 1913, amateurs using voice transmission were brought under WTA regulation.
In 1913, Canada passed the Radiotelegraph Act which rested the power of licensing in the Federal government.
The Radio Branch of the Department of the Naval Service:
The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and extensions:
The ITU originally assigned the call letter blocks VAA to VGZ to Canada.
Today, Canadian station normally use call letters from the CFAA-CKZZ block.
Some histories of Canadian stations appear here. More will be added as received.
My appreciation to Donna Halper, Mike Laverdiere and Joseph Wilfred John FitzPatrick III for their assistance on this page.