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City of license Toronto, Ontario
Branding JAZZ.FM91
Frequency 91.1 MHz (FM)
First air date 1949
Format jazz/public
ERP 40,000 watts
Callsign meaning C Journalism Radio Technology
Owner CJRT-FM Inc.
Webcast Listen Live
Website JAZZ.FM91

CJRT-FM is a Canadian public radio station, which broadcasts at 91.1 on the FM dial in Toronto, Ontario. CJRT currently operates as JAZZ.FM91.

The station transmits at a strength of 40,000 watts; as its transmitter facilities are at the CN Tower, however, its effective radiated power is actually 100,000 watts. It's available on Bell TV as channel 960, and on cable FM and digital cable audio services throughout Ontario.



The station was founded in 1949 as an experimental FM broadcaster, only the second in Canada, by the Ryerson Institute of Technology (later Ryerson University). The JRT in the station's call sign stand for "Journalism, Radio, Technology", which were three of Ryerson's educational mandates. The station's principal purpose was to train radio engineering and radio and (later television) broadcast students and initially only broadcast from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays during the school year. In 1964 the station became professionally staffed and extended its programming to 7am to midnight, seven days a week. Content became an eclectic mix of classical music, jazz, folk music and other genres, educational and public affairs broadcasts, children's programming and dramas, news, documentaries and quiz shows and comedies imported from the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Ryerson owned the station until 1974 when, due to financial restraints, the post-secondary institution announced it would surrender its broadcast licence. Due to a public outcry in support of the station the Ontario government of Premier Bill Davis announced that it would fund the station through an independent corporation and ownership was transferred to CJRT-FM INC, a non-profit corporation which received over 60% of its funding from the provincial government and the rest from donations by listeners and corporate and foundation support.

In 1996 CJRT-FM's government support was discontinued by Premier Mike Harris, forcing the station to restructure into a self-sustaining public broadcaster. Regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), CJRT's license is categorized under "other special FM", a third sector of Canadian radio broadcasting that provides to Canadians a style of radio that is an alternative to that available from the CBC or private commercial stations. The radio station has since had to support itself entirely by corporate and private donations and by limited commercial revenue. Its licence from the CRTC prohibits it from running more than four minutes an hour of commercials.

In co-operation with Ryerson and York University's Atkinson College, CJRT offered several on-air Open College university level credit courses a year from until 2003 when the service was transferred to Ryerson's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education which now offers distance education through the internet, print and recorded media rather than on radio. In its last years, Open College broadcasts were aired Sunday mornings from 6am to 8am.[1]

In 2001 the station switched to a 24-hour jazz format under the name JAZZ.FM91 though it also continues to air interviews and commentary, BBC news and its own educational radio documentaries on music related topics. The station also offers internship and music scholarships and an inner-city community outreach program. Today, JAZZ.FM91 is an alternative radio voice that covers 95% of Ontario (and the adjacent parts of the United States) through a combination of on-air coverage from the CN Tower, through most cable systems in the province, via satellite, and the Internet.

In 2004, Ross Porter, a former jazz broadcaster with CBC radio, was named president and CEO of JAZZ.FM91. This was made necessary because an audit of the station finances from previous years led to the dismissal of the former president and CEO. Later the same year, Porter's former CBC Radio colleague Ralph Benmergui joined the station as host of its morning program.

The station's studios remained on Ryerson property until May 2006, when it relocated to a new facility on Pardee Avenue in Liberty Village. Ryerson had established its own campus radio station, CKLN in 1983.


In 2005, allegations surfaced in Toronto's alternative press that Tabby Johnson, a former part time on-air host, resigned due to conflicts with members of the station's management over accusations of a lack of visible minorities and women on-air.[2] These allegations are a subject of debate.


  1. ^ "Radio Station History - CJRT (JAZZ)-FM, Toronto, CJRT-FM Inc.", Canadian Communications Foundation
  2. ^ "Jazz.FM hits sour note" NOW Magazine, Vol. 24 No. 34, 2005-04-21

External links



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