A pioneering Canadian station has been given special recognition

Radio broadcasting began in the early 1900s but was relegated to amateurs and experimenters. When the Great War came along, the technology was deemed too important to leave it in the hands of civilians, so it became the domain of the military. It wasn’t until about 1922 when things were declassified and commercial radio was born.

During the 1910s, though, there were baby steps. The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company opened an experimental station in Montreal known as XWA. The government granted the company a license to fiddle with the technology in December 1919. Along with KDKA in Pittsburgh, XWA was one of the very first proper radio stations anywhere in the world.

XWA went mainstream on November 4, 1922, as CFCF, broadcasting the Canada Cement Building with a 500-watt transmitter on the 440-metre band. It was soon joined by 39 other commercial stations across Canada. Less than a decade later, there were 77. And things just kept growing.

It would later move to 1030 AM in 1928, 600 AM in 1933, and finally, 940 AM in 1999. CFCF stuck around for 90 years (changing the call letters to CIQC in 1991 and then CINW in 1999) before changing listener habits caused owner Corus Entertainment to shut it down on January 29, 2010.

The Canadian Government has officially bestowed a little commemoration on the station with a historic plaque on Williams Street in Old Montreal. You can read all about that here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “A pioneering Canadian station has been given special recognition

  • September 27, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you Alan for many years of relaying so much of your wonderful, fascinating knowledge! Also, the Leaf games just feel lessened since your departure.


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