An important update on the CFNY Spirit of Radio documentary: How you can be in the movie.

Back in November, a group of us began work on a documentary that will detail the Spirit of Radio years of CFNY-FM/Toronto (now known as The Edge), that period between 1978 and 1992 when the station was part of the birth and rise of alternative music. Basically, we were sick of seeing American stations take all the credit for establishing this music as a force in North America.

Here’s an update on our progress:

  • Numerous interviews with former staff members going back to 1978.
  • Interviews with artists whose careers were helped by CFNY (As well as shoots in Toronto and through Southern Ontario, we’ve been to London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas–so far.)
  • Talks with people who were involved in the music industry (Toronto, Canada, US, international) who worked with CFNY back then to break artists in North America.
  • Chats with contemporary artists who grew up on the station.
  • Our deadline for handing it in to the production company is November 4.
  • The goal is to have a premiere sometime next March.

At one point, we had more than 65 hours of interviews. That’s been cut down to about 4.5 hours, but we still need a few to fill in some blanks in the narratives. And then we still have to bring it down to 90-120 minutes. Tall order, but we’ll get it done.

Here’s where you might come in. We have four shooting days in June reserved for fans to tell their CFNY stories. If you have an A+ story involving your experience with the station (good or bad) between 1978 and 1992, let me know. We’re looking for superfans.

If that’s you, send a quick description of your story to [email protected] and put “CFNY Story” in the subject line. We’ll collect them all and pick the top few. Those people will then be called in to tell their stories on camera.

What kind of stories? Here are some possibilities.

  • Why was CFNY important to you? Did CFNY play an important part in your life somehow?
  • Did you go to any interesting CFNY-related event? (Canada Day festivals, the U-Know/CASBYs, the Video Roadshow, Heat Wave, Police Picnic, individual concerts, etc.)
  • Do you have a collection of CFNY merch? (We called it “paraphernalia” back then.)
  • Any notable encounters with staff or CFNY artists?
  • Why was CFNY important to you?
  • Any cool memories that you’d to share?

We know that there are still thousands of hardcore fans out there who would love to be able to tell their CFNY story. Bring ’em on.

Deadline is May 31 at 11:50 pm EDT.

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.

Alan Cross has 38466 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

4 thoughts on “An important update on the CFNY Spirit of Radio documentary: How you can be in the movie.

  • Mine is quick. I was going to college at Buffalo State and working at their radio station WBNY and through that my friend had met Live Earl Jive. We went up to T.O. to see 808 State on Oct. 5, 1991 at the Opera House. We hung out with Earl and he and Beverly Hills invited us up to CFNY the next morning because they were doing a shift. Not only was it the very first time I was inside a real commercial radio studio, but it was also one of, if not the first, times I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit. The video had just premiered on 120 Mins the week before and it was about to EXPLODE!!!!!! I specifically remember hearing it, in the studio at CFNY, and all of us just loving it and saying over and over…. This is going to be huge!!!

    I also was heard on the air on CFNY when Earl and Beverly did some bit around Doris Day’s Whatever Will Be… for some reason we were singing along with it on air for a hot second.

  • CFNY’s evolution from Brampton is historic. Great music and a brilliant crew. My Ram Ranch project which is number 20 in Rolling Stone’s top 25 news stories for 2022 … certainly touched base at CFNY in so many ways …!

    Alan Cross … who is a music legend … has written several great articles on my fortitude in my music career … which I really appreciate.

  • Alan, is there any plans to enter the documentary into any film or music festivals? Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca, SXSW, NXNE?

  • I literally listened to every live to air broadcast while working brutal shifts in the Automotive Repair Industry. Going up to places like Whiskey Saigon and the Phoenix were like vacation time for me. I miss Martin Streek and his talent but am thankful for Dwight Hennings (Hybrid) and Paul Dhingra for carrying on and doing a great job.


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