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CJRT-FM is a Canadian public radio station which broadcasts at 91.1 FM in Toronto, Ontario as JAZZ.FM91. CJRT's studios are on Pardee Avenue in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Tornoto. Its transmitter is on top of the CN Tower. The station is available on Bell TV as channel 960, on cable FM, and digital cable audio services in Ontario.

CityToronto, Ontario
Frequency91.1 MHz
First air date1949 (1949)
FormatJazz, public
ERP40,000 watts
HAAT420.5 meters (1,380 ft)
Transmitter coordinatesCoordinates: 43°38′33″N 79°23′14″W / 43.64250°N 79.38722°W / 43.64250; -79.38722
Callsign meaningCanada Journalism Radio Technology
OwnerCJRT-FM Inc.
WebcastListen Live


The station was founded in 1949 as an educational FM station by the Ryerson Institute of Technology (later Ryerson University).[1] The JRT in the station's call sign stands for "Journalism, Radio, Technology".[1] The station was operated by students supervised by professional instructors.[1] The station's purpose was to train students and broadcast from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays during the school year.[1]

In 1964 a professional staff was hired, while programming was increased from 7 am to midnight seven days a week.[1] A few years later, training of students ceased.[1] The schedule included classical, jazz, and folk music, educational and public affairs programming, children's shows, and comedy from the BBC.[1] For financial reasons, Ryerson gave up ownership of CJRT in 1974.

Canadian Premier Bill Davis instructed the Ontario legislature that it would create a corporation to run the station and buy the license.[1] The station received money from the Ontario government and from companies and listeners through fundraising.[1]

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 supported itself by corporate and private donations and by commercial revenue. Its license from the CRTC prohibits it from running commercials for more than four minutes an hour.

In co-operation with Ryerson and York University's Atkinson College, CJRT offered several on-air Open College courses from 1971 to 2003. In 2003, the service was transferred to Ryerson's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, which offers distance education through the internet, print, and recorded media rather than on radio. In its last years, Open College broadcasts aired Sunday mornings from 6 am to 8 am.[2]

Following Ryerson's loss of ownership of CJRT in 1974, CKLN-FM was licenced as Ryerson's campus radio station from 1983 to 2011[3] followed by CJRU since 2016.[4]

Jazz formatEdit

In 2001, the station switched to a 24-hour jazz format under the name Jazz.FM91, although it continued to air interviews and commentary, BBC news, and music documentaries. The station offers internships, music scholarships, and a community outreach program. The station covers 95% of Ontario and adjacent parts of the United States through the CN Tower, cable systems, 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 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. Benmergui left the station in 2010 to join the communications staff of provincial MPP Glen Murray and was succeeded by John Donabie, who left the station after nine months. In 2011 the morning shift was taken over by Heather Bambrick, who was succeeded by Garvia Bailey from 2014 to 2018. Other people associated with the station include Brad Barker, John Devenish, Laura Fernandez, Danny Marks, Terry McElligott, Glen Woodcock, and Joe Sealy.

Programming includes the BBC Radio Show hosted by Jamie Cullum, Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, and Ronnie Scott's Radio Show hosted by Ian Shaw. From 2005 to 2008, blues guitarist Jeff Healey hosted My Kinda Jazz. Terra Hazelton hosted a program devoted to jazz from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. The station also carried several syndicated programs in the evening, including Jazz with Bob Parlocha, Riverwalk Jazz, and Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis. The radio station creates special programming content by recording live performances and concerts presented and produced by the organization. The station's studios remained on Ryerson property until May 2006, when it moved to a facility on Pardee Avenue in Liberty Village.

Leadership changeEdit

Ross Porter stepped down in June 2018, following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct and creating a toxic work environment, and was replaced by Charles S. Cutts. Porter stated that his resignation as CEO was in order to spend more time with his ailing wife, and he continued broadcasting with the station, however, as well as being given the title of president emeritus.[5][6][7][8][9][10] The conflict resulted in the departure of a number of on-air staff and a decline in donations to the station. An opposition group, called Save JAZZ.FM91, was founded in July 2018 in an attempt to overturn the station's board of directors. After a legal battle over whether or not the opposition group should be allowed access to the station's membership list, a general meeting of the membership held on February 15, 2019, succeeded in removing the board by a vote of 446 to 435, electing a new board composed of the dissident group.[11] The new board changed the station's management and reinstated a number of broadcasters who had been ousted by the previous management, while Porter ended his program.[12]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • Best Radio Station in Toronto, Now Magazine readers' poll, 2016
  • Best Radio Personality, runner-up Laura Fernandez, Now Magazine readers' poll, 2016
  • Bronze award, Best Jazz Format, New York Festivals, 2016
  • Bronze award for Station Campaign and Silver for Copy Writing, 52nd Annual Crystals Radio Awards, 2017
  • Gold award, The Sound of Jazz, New York Festivals, 2017
  • Silver award, Music to Listen to Jazz By with Ross Porter, New York Festivals, 2017
  • Bronze award, "Tribute to Leonard Cohen" hosted by Ross Porter, New York Festivals, 2017
  • Silver award, The Sound of Jazz, New York Festivals, 2018
  • Silver award, Music to Listen to Jazz By with Ross Porter, New York Festivals, 2018[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "CJRT-FM | History of Canadian Broadcasting". Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Radio Station History - CJRT (JAZZ)-FM, Toronto, CJRT-FM Inc." Archived 2005-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Communications Foundation
  3. ^ "A timeline of Ryerson's radio history, 1949-2014". Ryersonian. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Van Paassen, Kevin. "Toronto's JAZZ.FM91 CEO steps down in wake of probe into sexual-harassment allegations". Globe and Mail.
  6. ^ "JAZZ.FM91 members call on board to resign as station defends its decision to keep former president and CEO Ross Porter on air".
  7. ^ "Former morning host of Toronto's JAZZ.FM91 sues station, alleging years of bullying by former CEO".
  8. ^ "Major donor accuses JAZZ.FM91 of mishandling sexual-harassment allegations against former CEO".
  9. ^ Comments, Posted: 06/8/2018 6:32 PM (8 June 2018). "Ross Porter steps down as CEO of Toronto jazz station in wake of sexual-harassment allegations". Winnipeg Free Press.
  10. ^ Vincent, Donovan (30 August 2018). "Former JAZZ.FM host Garvia Bailey sues for wrongful dismissal".
  11. ^ Houpt, Simon (February 15, 2019). "JAZZ.FM91 board overthrown by dissident member group". Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Crawford, Trish (June 13, 2019). "Jazz.FM91 gets its voice back after the upheaval of 2018". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  13. ^ "JAZZ.FM91 Wins two silver trophies at the New York Festival Awards". JAZZ.FM91. June 19, 2018.

External linksEdit