Ontario, Hamilton/Niagara Area

CING-FM (Vinyl 95.3), Burlington

, Corus Communications Inc.

1976
On April 6, Burlington Broadcasting Inc. received approval to operate a commercial FM station at Burlington. A licence was issued on April 9. The new station would broadcast with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts on a frequency of 107.9 MHz. The applicant proposed to offer an "adult" format. Two other applicants competed for the 107.9 frequency: Upper Canada Broadcasting Inc. and McMaster Students Union Inc. Those applications were denied. Burlington Broadcasting had 23 shareholders, none of whom held more than 17.5%. Doug Cunningham was managing director and starting a radio station was a high school ambition.

It was hoped that CING would be on the air for July but plans to install the antenna atop a new commercial and apartment complex were stalled when the building's owner went into receivership. A new transmitter site was found on the Niagara escarpment, north of Burlington. The CRTC approved the transmitter site change on September 23 at 3:30 p.m. and CING-FM was on the air at 10:41 a.m. the next day. A Collins Generation 4 8316-2 transmitter was used, along with a 6-bay Collins antenna. The antenna went up at the new site in just in one day. Dave Swallow was the station's chief engineer.

Studios and offices were located in a single storey building at 4144 South Service Road, overlooking the QEW. CING had 2,900 square feet of studio-office space, with an additional 1,800' available for future expansion.

CING-FM was an independent (stand alone) FM station - only the third in the country, after CFGL-FM in Laval and CFMC-FM in Saskatoon. The station had a bright, informative, mature sound, with a strong emphasis on news and public affairs.

1978
Canada's first radio reading service for the blind went on the air via CING-FM's SCMO service. Special receivers were available for loan without charge from the Oakville Public Library.

In September, CING began playing oldies, on the all-night show.

1978-79
Bill Evanov joined CING-FM from CHIN Radio in Toronto. CING's chief engineer David Swallow left for CJJD in Hamilton.

1979
Announcers included Rockin' Robin, Norman B., Dave Terryberry, Don Biefer (joined in the spring), and Jay Brown (JB).

1980
CING-FM adopted an oldies and nostalgia format as FM 108.

Clint Trueman, Jack Cole, Steve Mortenson and Larry Bunda were now on the air at CING-FM.

1981
FM 108 began playing The Music of Your Life from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with oldies through the rest of the day.

Earl Warren was now at CING, as were Elwood Glover, Gil Christie, and Pete Jaycock (joined from CJBQ Belleville).

1982
CING-FM decided to appeal a decision which would block the building of a new 450 foot tower at Mount Nemo, a few miles north of the existing 250 foot tower. The plan was accepted by the Halton Conservation Authority, owner of the site, but vetoed by the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Halton Region and Town of Burlington were also against the new tower.

1983
On-air line-up: Jim Paulson (6-10 a.m.), Pat Murray (10-2), Earl Warren (2-6), Pete Jaycock (6-10), Rockin' Robin (10-11:30), and Russ Horton (overnights). Don Biefer and Jay Brown were still here.
Doug Hall joined CING's announce staff. 

1984
On January 11, the CRTC renewed CING-FM's licence until September 30, 1985.

Elwood Glover retired from his free-lance work with CING-FM and Toronto's CKO-FM.

1985
On-Air: 6:00 John Mitter, 10:00 Jim Paulson, 3:00 Earl Warren, 6:00 Pete Jaycock, 10:00 Rockin' Robin, 12:00 Russ Horton. Weekends: Don Bieffer, J.B. (Jay Brown), Dave Whatmough, Ritchie Yorke, Mark Eustace, Mark Panopoulos. Pete Jaycock later moved to mornings.

1986
On May 8, Burlington Broadcasting's application to change the frequency of CING-FM from 107.9 MHz to 102.9 MHz, with reduced power, was denied by the CRTC. The 102.9 MHz frequency was awarded to Armadale Communications, owner of CKOC-AM in nearby Hamilton.

Bert Thombs and Mike Spicer were heard on CING.

1987
Pete Jaycock (mornings) left. Con Chung was CING's operations manager.

1987-88
Dr. Ian McIntyre became president of CING-FM, succeeding Bill Evanov.

1988
On April 25, CING lost another bid to change frequency, this time to 96.3 MHz. The licence was awarded to CFMX Cobourg for a rebroadcast transmitter at Mississauga.

Jay Brown (JB) left.
 
1989
CING began using the Canadian Radio Networks satellite service during overnight hours on March 3.

In September, CING became “Rhythm Radio”.

CING announcers included Wes Atkinson (mornings), Jim Paulson, Michael Spicer, Clint Trueman, and Earl Warren. The news department included Esther Bartkiw, Peter Murray, Frances Niblock, and Robert Sheppard. Management included Norman Blakely (program director), Mike Ellsworth (production), and Glen Russell (sales manager).

1990
On March 2, the CRTC denied the application by Burlington Broadcasting Inc. for authority to transfer effective control of that company, licensee of CING-FM, through the transfer of all of the issued and outstanding common shares of BBI from present shareholders to Regional Broadcasting Inc. CING-FM, an independent Group I FM station, was first licensed to serve Burlington in 1976; the licensee was now owned by 21 shareholders, none of whom held more than 17.5% of the voting shares. Regional was a new company formed for the purpose of purchasing the shares of BBI. While Regional had no broadcast holdings of its own, its shareholders included Douglas G. Cunningham and Jonathan Fitzgerald (33.3% each), who also owned 33.3% and 30%, respectively, of Dufferin Communications Inc., licensee of CIDC-FM Orangeville. According to Regional at the hearing, an important task confronting the prospective new owners of CING-FM would be the establishment of a comprehensive business plan to expand the station's audience share and boost its revenues and, as an integral part of that plan, the implementation of an effective solution to ongoing operational problems associated with the station's existing technical parameters. The Commission considered, however, that the business plan and related technical proposals advanced by Regional were not sufficiently developed or concrete enough to give the Commission confidence that the prospective purchaser would be able to effect the long-term remedies it indicated were so necessary to the station's viability. These shortcomings, together with various other flaws and inconsistencies in the application were such that the Commission was unable to conclude that the application was the best possible proposal under the circumstances. Regarding the technical issues, Regional advised that, because of uncertainty as to whether the present antenna site would be available beyond the expiry of the current lease in three years, it would "... not be practical to build a new high tower" at this time. The applicant indicated that it was negotiating with at least two other parties for access to a suitable alternate antenna site. In the meantime, it proposed "... initially just to go, at a cost of $28,000 or $29,000, put up a new six-bay antenna, irrespective of the fact that it may only be in service for three years". This measure could only be considered a partial and temporary solution to CING-FM's technical problems. The Commission was also concerned by the lack of clarity in Regional's programming plans and in its overall approach to the task of providing a high quality FM radio service relevant to the Burlington area. Its intentions with respect to the establishment of a community advisory board, for example, were particularly vague and unstructured, leaving considerable doubt as to the board's potential effectiveness. Given the fact that two of Regional's principal shareholders also shared in the control of CIDC-FM Orangeville, there was discussion at the hearing as to whether approval of this application would run counter to the Commission's policy against permitting two broadcasting undertakings, of the same class, in the same market, to come under the control of the same person or persons. The applicant's position was that Orangeville and Burlington constituted distinct markets and that approval of the application would not run counter to the policy. In the Commission's view, however, policy concerns regarding common ownership were indeed raised in this case.

On-Air: 6:00 West Atkinson, 10:00 Jim Paulson, 3:00 Earl warren, 7:00 Rhythm Radio. Wayne WIlliams was also at CING.

Former CING personality Elwood Glover died November 14 at age 75.
 
1991
On September 1, CING-FM changed to a dance music format, as "Dance 108". The format was targeted to an under 35 audience, and was chosen to fill the demand for such a format in the Toronto-Hamilton market. The existence of some 500 dance clubs in the region was the proof of the impressive popularity of the music. The change coincided with the relaxation of the CRTC's FM regulations. While no change in ownership of CING was expected, the format change was masterminded by a trio from CIAO-AM in Brampton - Angelo Cremisio (president & general manager), his partner Bill Evanov (a former manager of CING), and John Dukelow (general sales manager). Evanov and Dukelow initiated the successful Oldies format on CING in 1980. They left the station in 1986-87, but remained as major shareholders. Con Chung was now manager and program director at Dance 108.

Dave Smith was now morning host.

CING adopted a dance music format on September 1, as "Dance 108."

1992
Skot Turner joins from CFNY-FM in June (on-air, music director and assistant program director). Chris Sheppard joined from CFNY-FM on September 18.

1995
Scott Turner, Richard Correll, and Wayne Williams were among the voices heard on CING. Chris Allicock left CING on August 31 to work in television. He had been Operations Manager.

1997
On April 9, a power decrease for CING from 50,000 to 26,100 watts was approved. Also granted: a relocation of the transmitting facilities to a new site approximately eight kilometres northwest of Burlington and an increase in antenna height.

On June 10, the application by Shaw Radio Ltd., Margot M. Micallef, Ron D. Rogers, Hal E. Blackadar, Bob Lang and J.T. Strain to acquire 65% of Burlington Broadcasting Incorporated was approved. Shaw would be responsible for managing CING operations.

Later in the year, Shaw acquired 100% of CING-FM.

Rob Haswell was news director.

Paul Fockler became general manager of CING, replacing Manuel Canales. Fockler had been with Barrie's CHAY-FM.

1998
Two Shaw stations - Energy 108 Burlington and K104 Woodstock - teamed to form "Energy Radio". The two stations simulcast programming to their combined audiences in Toronto, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, Woodstock and London. Five of 20 CKDK Woodstock staffers lost their jobs, four full-time and one part-time. One was an announcer. General manager Dean Sinclair, based in Burlington, said Woodstock and Oxford County couldn't generate enough ad revenues to keep the station in a profit position. The simulcasting began in June but CKDK still offered local programming between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

1999

Corus Entertainment Inc. was formed September 1, 1999 from the media assets of Shaw Communications Inc. Corus became a separate and distinct, publicly traded corporation. The Shaw family continued to hold the majority of voting shares in Corus.

Bob Callahan left in the fall. R.J. (Bob Wallace) joined for middays then left for CKFM.

CING promotions director Karen Steele added responsibilities as assistant program director. Bruce Gilbert joined the station as assistant promotions director, from CHTZ-FM St. Catharines.

CING Promotions Director Karen Steele added the responsibility of Assistant Program Director to her title. Bruce Gilbert joined the station as Assistant Promotions Director. He had been with CHTZ St. Catharines.

2000
On November 15, CHAY-FM Barrie officially became Energy @ 93.1, simulcasting some programming from sister station CING.

In November, 21 people lost their jobs at Corus Radio in Hamilton. Among those to leave, CING's evening guy Mastermind.

2001
On-Air: 5:30 Stu and Mary Ellen, 9:00 Mike Devine, Bob Callahan, Rory O'Shea, 3:00 Big D, 7:00 Wayne Williams / Axel Live (Wed/Thu/Fri), 11:00 Mike Devine (11-2 Thu) / Scot Turner (Fri), 12:00 Richard Correll (Tue / Wed /Thu). 1:00 American Top 40 (Mon) / Mike Devine (Tue), 2:00 Richard Correll (Fri). Weekends: MC Flipside.

Nicholas Picholas joined in February from WKSE-FM Buffalo.

On February 16, CKGE-FM Oshawa joined the Energy network, receiving some programming from CING.

Carter Brown left in May.

On August 31, Energy FM at 107.9 (CING) and Y95.3 (CJXY) swapped frequencies. CJXY moved to 107.9 MHz as Y108 and CING moved to 95.3 MHz as Energy FM @ 95.3.

2002
On May 3, CKGE Oshawa dropped the Energy format and returned to full-time local programming.

On July 15, Energy 103.1 in Woodstock went back to full-time local programming, keeping the “Energy” format.
 
In August, CING “Energy 95.3” with a dance/CHR format became “Country 95.3”. The country format was previewed for a week or so before officially launching on August 19. The “Energy” format continued on CFHK Woodstock/London and CHAY Barrie (CHAY changed to a new format in 2003).

Former on-air personality Earl Warren died October 19. He was 69.

2006
On June 22 the CRTC renewed CING-FM's licence until August 31, 2013. 

2009
In November, Country 95.3, billed as Canada's most listened to Country music station, dropped the 7-year old format on November 13 in favour of Greatest Hits. The country format ended with "The Dance" by Garth Brooks. That was followed by 30 seconds of dead air, then vintage audio, including a famous Martin Luther King clip to provide context to the new format. "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones was the first song played in the new format. The temporary branding for CING-FM was "The New 95.3". The announcer line-up was not announced at this time but morning show hosts Paul McGuire and Lea Cater, and mid-day personality Laura Dunseith were no longer with the station. McGuire did remain with Corus though - at specialty channel CMT in Toronto. CING management said that after seven years of country music, audience numbers had flat-lined. They said Greatest Hits was doing well in other parts of Canada and the U.S., so the decision was made to appeal to the 25-64 demographic, skewing slightly towards females. A few weeks later, "The New 95.3. Southern Ontario's Greatest Hits," adopted the name "Vinyl 95.3".

2010
Vinyl 95.3 (greatest hits) announced its weekday line-up starting January 4: Bob Magee and Corrie Miller (5-9 a.m.), John Novak (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Gord James (3-7 p.m.) and Derek Rivers (7 p.m. to midnight). 

Derm Carnduff was no longer program director at Y108/Vinyl 95.3. Jim McCourtie became PD for the stations. He had been PD at FM96 and Fresh FM London.

There were a number of changes at Corus Entertainment related to its organization review to streamline decision-making and clarify roles and mandates. Among the changes: Reporting to Hal Blackadar, Executive Vice President and interim President of Corus Radio - Chris Pandoff, VP/GM, Corus Radio Toronto and Hamilton (was VP/GM for Corus Radio Toronto only but now added Hamilton duties held by Suzanne Carpenter).

Corus Radio decided to sell Vinyl 95.3 as a Toronto station. The station now originated most programming from Toronto although a studio was maintained in Hamilton.

Ted Townsend, the Director of Engineering at Corus Radio Hamilton, retired. Townsend began with CHML almost 40 years ago and had been with it and the acquired stations throughout his career.

Chris Pandoff became Executive Vice President and President of Corus Radio effective December 1, responsible for the radio stations and the division's interactive arm. He succeeded Hal Blackadar, the interim President of Corus Radio, who announced his retirement earlier this year after four decades in broadcasting. Pandoff was most recently Vice President/General Manager of Corus Radio Toronto and Hamilton.

2011
Dave DeRocco left Corus Hamilton as promotion marketing director on March 14. He took up the same post at Astral Radio Hamilton. Lars Wunsche, director of sales for Corus Radio Toronto, added the Corus Hamilton cluster to his sales responsibilities. Hamilton GSM Carolyn Thorn would report to Wunsche.

The morning team of Bob Magee and Corrie Miller at Vinyl 95.3 was released. Carolyn Thorn, general sales manager at Corus Radio Hamilton, was no longer with the cluster.

Darrin Laidman returned to Hamilton as the new morning co-host at Vinyl 95.3 (CING) ...joining Colleen Rusholme. Laidman had been with CFHK London. The morning show was on the air from 5:30 to 9:00 a.m.  

Suzanne Carpenter, vice president and general manager of Corus Radio Toronto also become responsible for Corus Radio Hamilton as of mid-August. 

2012
Michael Cassar was the new general sales manager for Corus Entertainment Hamilton, moving to radio from outside the industry. He'd been with Grand & Toy and Canon Canada as Sales Manager/Director.

Monica Lapajne left Corus Radio Hamilton for CKWS-FM Kingston where she became midday announcer and Music Assistant.

David Meikle, Retail Sales Supervisor/Manager of Interactive Sales at Corus Hamilton, was no longer with the cluster. He moved to CUE Digital Media in Toronto as the National Digital Account Manager.

2013
Vinyl 95.3's Greatest Hits format was replaced April 10 at 9:53 a.m., by The New 953 Fresh FM with a Hot AC format. Gone from the station were Gord James, John Novak and Bob Saint. Remaining in mornings were Darrin Laidman and Colleen Rusholme. Emily Szabo was new in middays and Kelly Cutrara did PM drive. Fleetwood Mac's Landslide was Vinyl's swan song while Get the Party Started by P!nk ushered in the station's new face. CING-FM was the fourth to see Corus's Fresh FM branding. The first was 1031 Fresh FM London (2005), followed by The New 99.1 Fresh FM Winnipeg (2012) and The New 92.5 Fresh FM Edmonton earlier this year. "We are very excited to bring this successful Fresh format to our Hamilton listeners," said Suzanne Carpenter, General Manager, Corus Radio Toronto and Hamilton. "There is an appetite for this format which is currently underserved in Hamilton and we are certain that The New 953 Fresh FM will resonate with our listeners."

                                                     Bill Dulmage - Updated July 2013