CHRF (980 kHz) is a French-language commercial AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec. Owned by Evanov Radio Group, the station broadcasts an adult standards radio format, along with some multicultural programming. CHRF's studios are located on Papineau Avenue in the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough of Montreal, while its transmitter is located near Mercier.
|Broadcast area||Greater Montreal|
|Slogan||Classique et mélodique|
|Frequency||980 kHz (AM)|
|First air date||February 2, 2015|
|Power||50,000 watts day/|
10,000 watts night 
|Callsign meaning||CH Radio Fierté|
|Owner||Evanov Radio Group|
|Sister stations||CFMB, CHSV-FM|
Preparing to BroadcastEdit
Between its sign-on in 1959 until 1990, AM 980 in Montreal was the home of CKGM, for many of those years, Montreal's leading English-language Top 40 station. Then from 1990 until 2012, CKGM was heard at AM 990, so it could broadcast at 50,000 watts fulltime, the maximum power permitted for Canadian AM stations. In 2012, CKGM moved to an even better frequency, clear channel Class A 690 AM, leaving 980 or 990 available for another Montreal AM station to use. Several applicants sought permission to put a new station on the air using CKGM's old frequency.
The Enanov Radio Group was awarded a license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on November 21, 2011, with the intent to air a Francophone LGBT-based talk and music format. CHRF was initially licensed to broadcast at the 990 kHz frequency previously occupied by CKGM. At 990 kHz, the new station was to have begun operations in 2013, operating with a power of 50,000 watts as a class B station, using a directional antenna at night in order to protect two Class A stations at that same frequency, Clear-channel station CBW in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and CBY in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.
On July 25, 2013, Evanov filed a request with the CRTC to relocate CHRF to 980 kHz, due to potential coverage problems using the directional antenna. There are no clear channel stations using 980 kHz, nor are there any close by that broadcast there currently. The closest ones are CFPL in London, Ontario; WCAP in Lowell, Massachusetts; WOFX in Troy, New York; and WTEM in Washington, D.C. In addition, the closest 980 allocation to Montreal has remained vacant since 1997, when CBV in Quebec City relocated to FM. The frequency change was approved on December 4, 2013. CKGM, the former occupant of 990, relocated there from 980 in 1990.
On September 18, 2014, Evanov announced that the station planned to commence broadcasting in November 2014. Testing of the 980 signal, consisting of pop music, promotional material, and invitations to the public to report reception issues, began in late October 2014.
CHRF's programming, under the name Radio Fierté, debuted at 6:00 a.m. on February 2, 2015. (It had been delayed from January 2015.) Programming on CHRF under the LGBT format was similar in style to its Toronto sister station CIRR-FM, and included morning program Les Barbus, hosted by Michel Duchesne and Sylvain Verstricht; Les matins lesbiens with Véronique Chevrier; afternoon program Marino et ses Diamants, hosted by Marie-Noëlle Gagnon ("Marino"); and drive-time program Les Pétards, hosted by Joe Bocan and Miguel Doucet. Chart programs included Doucet's nightly Ta Playlist, and two Saturday chart shows, Le Top 10 Franco and Le Top Anglo, hosted by Duchesne, Verstricht and Doucet, plus a Sunday morning music show, La Chansonnette avec Marino.
On December 1, 2015, CHRF dropped the "Radio Fierté" format after just 10 months, and began stunting with Christmas music as AM 980. Much like its previous format, the station aired Christmas music in both English and French, while the station's imaging was completely in French, per condition of its license.
Switch to Adult StandardsEdit
On December 28, CHRF adopted an adult standards format, still as AM 980 (but with branding modelled upon Evanov's Jewel soft adult contemporary stations). The original plan was to play adult standards during daytime hours, while the station would air programming targeting the Haitian community during evening hours. Under the standards format and during the holidays, when the station switches to Christmas songs (which returned in 2016), all music broadcast on CHRF was automated, without using disc jockeys or live personalities.
In the Numeris ratings for the period during December 2015 through February 2016 (when CHRF's Christmas stunt and standards/Haitian formats were in effect), the station finished in last place among both Anglophone and Francophone stations surveyed, with an average of 100 Francophone and zero Anglophone listeners each day, and a market share of 0.1% and 0.0%, respectively.
By June 2016, CHRF reintroduced hosted music programming, with weekday morning show Café Rivard (hosted by music director Alain Rivard), afternoon drive time program Le Retour de Plaisance (with program director Serge Plaisance), a Saturday night LGBT discussion program LGBT Avec Vous (hosted by Danyel Turcotte and Arlet Fara), and Sunday Italian music program Arcobaleno Musicale (with Mario Lipari). CHRF discontinued its evening Haitian programming, with lounge music block Soireés Loungy heard weekday evenings. In all cases, conditions set forth in its license in terms of music and talk content remain in force.
- Faguy, Steve. "Radio Fierté requests frequency change, one-year extension to launch". Fagstein.com. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "Making waves: Montreal broadcasters in flux". The Gazette, August 11, 2012.
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-721". CRTC, November 21, 2011.
- "TSN 990 Montreal Moves to 690 Tuesday". RadioInsight, August 31, 2012.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-648, December 4, 2013
- "Radio Fierté requests frequency change, one-year extension to launch". Fagstein, July 25, 2013.
- "Two new radio stations to launch in Montreal region by end of 2014". Fagstein, September 18, 2014.
- Fagstein: "Radio Fierté begins testing on 980 AM", October 27, 2014.
- Faguy, Steve. "Radio Fierté is now officially broadcasting". Fagstein.com. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Fagstein: "Unanswered Questions going into 2016", January 9, 2016.
- Numeris: "PPM Top-line Radio Statistics Montreal CTRL Anglo and Franco", for survey period November 30, 2015 - February 28, 2016
- Fagstein, "Radio ratings: Virgin and The Beat are tied (so both declare victory)", March 12, 2016.
- AM 980 programming schedule
- Fagstein: "Montreal radio ratings: The Beat gaining on Virgin", June 12, 2016.