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City of license Vancouver, British Columbia
Broadcast area Metro Vancouver
Branding 103.5 QM/FM
Slogan Today's Soft Rock
Frequency 103.5 MHz (FM)
First air date August 10, 1960
Format adult contemporary
ERP 100 kilowatts
HAAT 617.6 metres
Class C
Transmitter coordinates 49°21′15″N 122°57′30″W / 49.354252°N 122.958308°W / 49.354252; -122.958308 (CHQM-FM Tower)Coordinates: 49°21′15″N 122°57′30″W / 49.354252°N 122.958308°W / 49.354252; -122.958308 (CHQM-FM Tower)
Callsign meaning Canada's Highest Quality Music
Owner CTVglobemedia
(CHUM Radio Network)
Sister stations CKST, CFTE, CFBT-FM, CIVT-TV
Webcast Listen live
Website 103.5 QM/FM

CHQM-FM (identified on air and in print as 103.5 QM/FM) is a Canadian radio station in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia. It broadcasts at 103.5 megahertz on the FM band with an effective radiated power of 53,000 watts from a transmitter on Mount Seymour. It is Western Canada's oldest and most-listened-to commercial FM station (although sometimes, it could be beaten by its sister CHR-pop station CFBT-FM). While basically still using the "Soft Favorites" in its slogan (like the station's only similarly formatted AC sister stations CJMJ-FM Ottawa and CFJR-FM Brockville, which still use the "Soft Rock" slogan), the station leans very hot AC, like most AC stations today, while basically a younger-skewing adult contemporary station. It is owned by CTVglobemedia. In terms of sound, QM/FM is the softest of CTVglobemedia's AC stations, whereas its Majic 100 sister in Ottawa has got a more hotter presentation. Although most AC stations in the United States and Canada flip to all-Christmas music during the November-December season, this station does not do so, with a similar situation done at similarly formatted AC station CFQR-FM in Montreal until 2008. As of 2009, CHQM-FM is once again the largest non-Christmas adult contemporary radio station in Canada during November & December since CFQR-FM (The Q) decided to play all-Christmas songs in December 2009. As of 2010, Toronto adult contemporary radio station CHFI-FM (owned by Rogers Media) began to have an identical playlist to 103.5 QM/FM. Like CHFI-FM's sister top 40 station is CKIS-FM, CHQM-FM's sister is also a top 40 station, which is CFBT-FM.


CHQM-FM signed on the air on August 10, 1960 with a mainly instrumental easy listening format, several months after its original AM sister station, CHQM 1320 (whose programming CHQM-FM mainly simulcast), first went on-air on December 7, 1959. The original owner of CHQM-AM and -FM was Vancouver Broadcast Associates Ltd., headed by Bill Bellman and Jack Stark, with the stations' studios and offices then located on 1134 Burrard Street.

On November 4, 1961, CHQM-FM began broadcasting in stereo, and was authorized by the Board of Broadcast Governors (predecessor of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC) to increase its transmission power from 18,950 watts to 100,000 in 1963. The transmitter site was moved from Grouse Mountain to Mount Seymour at this time. CHQM-FM was the second private radio station in Canada to transmit in stereo (after CFRB-FM Toronto), and it was the first in the nation to transmit an SCMO subcarrier ("Q Music"). This subcarrier was used to transmit background music to stores and businesses throughout the Lower Mainland, and it helped support the FM station during the difficult first two decades, when FM audiences were small. Parent company Vancouver Broadcast Associates changed its corporate name to Q Broadcasting Ltd. on August 23, 1969.

The two owners had a falling-out, and each struggled to control Q Broadcasting through the mid-1970s. In 1979, Stark assumed complete control of the company. Bellman moved on to become a major shareholder in fledgling CKVU-TV, also in Vancouver.

CHUM Limited acquired CHQM-AM and -FM on October 17, 1990, on condition from the CRTC that CHUM sell either CHQM-AM or its other Vancouver AM station, CFUN (regulations of the time allowed media companies to own only one AM and one FM station in a particular market in Canada); CHQM-AM was sold, and CHQM-FM made a gradual switch from its longtime beautiful music format to its current format over a six-month period between March and September of 1992, giving Vancouver two adult contemporaries (CKKS, now Jack FM as CKLG-FM, and the new QM/FM). However, despite CFQR-FM in Montreal changing from a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist to an easy listening playlist with vocals by 1988, only to go adult contemporary by 1992 (the same time it joined CHQM-FM to flip to their current AC formats), CHQM-FM eventually had a mainly instrumental beautiful music playlist, even though it was one of the last stations in Canada having that type of beautiful music format. Vancouver ended up with three ACs by 1996, when Star 104.9 was expanded to Vancouver. The three-way AC battle ended in 1999, when Rogers acquired the station and changed to alternative rock as Xfm, which became AC/smooth jazz as Clear FM (Clear FM went to fulltime AC by 2006). CKKS-FM switched formats to Jack FM on Boxing Day 2002, leaving QM as the sole AC in Vancouver (with an exception from 2006-2008). On July 12, 2006, CTVglobemedia announced it would acquire CHUM Limited, which includes CHQM-FM. The transaction was approved by the CRTC (on condition that CKVU, which had also been acquired by CHUM in 2001, be sold to Rogers Communications) on June 8, 2007, and CHQM-FM became a CTVglobemedia station on June 22. On September 21, 2008, in order for the Jim Pattison Group's later launch of 100.5 The Peak, rival AC station CKCL-FM (Clear FM) became classic hits as FM 104.9, making Vancouver once again the largest market in Canada with only one adult contemporary station (many AC stations in Canada are either owned by Astral Media or Rogers Media), eventually surpassing Edmonton in that category (and from 2006-2008, Calgary). Although KAFE in Bellingham, Washington has an adult contemporary format, and is easily receivable in Vancouver, the station itself does not target the Vancouver area. Most recently, the station dropped several classic dance songs to distance its playlist closer to Rogers' former AC station, Clear FM. This is the reason why almost every British Columbia market would have only one AC station. Out of CTVglobemedia's 3 AC stations, Brockville is another market with CFJR-FM serving as that market's only AC station.

A similar situation happens in the United States, whereas Los Angeles, California (the second-largest American city) operates only one adult contemporary outlet, which is Clear Channel's KOST (also on 103.5).

It is one of three Canadian callsigns with "QM" in the name, and the adult contemporary format (CIQM-FM in London, Ontario is another station sharing the same "QM" and AC format). CFQM-FM Moncton, New Brunswick used to be another station, but that station is now classic hits as Max FM. Another "QM" owned by CTVglobemedia is CKQM-FM in Peterborough, which plays a country music format instead.

The most recent BBM ratings (March 2010) saw QM/FM remaining the most-listened-to FM radio station in Vancouver.


The most famous contest on 103.5 QM/FM is their game "Beat The Bank" in which players will call in. The lucky caller would get to open "vaults". When they choose to open the "vaults", they hear the sound effect of a creaking door. Once they open the very first door, they have a voice saying an amount of money, in which they get to choose or say that they would like to keep opening vaults to get a larger amount of money. Each door gives a larger sum. If they open a vault with the alarm sounding, they lose all their money and therefore receive nothing. After the player either loses or chooses an amount of money, every vault is explored until the alarm sounds. The last vault opened before the alarm is discovered is announced as the maximum possible prize that could have been claimed during that session.

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