A Brief History of Toronto’s Indie 88

I’ve been a part of Indie 88 for almost a year now–I first signed on last April–and it’s been fantastic to see how the station has grown to become a part of Toronto’s cultural fabric so quickly.  Damn, I’m proud of the place. thought it would be a good time to offer a quick history of the place.

n July 25, 2013 when Toronto-based radio station Indie88 went live upon the FM frequency and began playing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” on loop, listeners could tell that the station meant business. Correct that – I’d venture to guess that listeners really didn’t know what the station meant.Soon enough, the picture would gain some clarity when on July 31 the Astley chain was broken, and Indie88 officially began its ‘soft launch’ with Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start.” A symbolic choice, naturally, but not just because of the song title – let’s think of the band behind it.

Arcade Fire is one of those polarizing bands that have deep indie roots, but at the same time win big-time awards; sell a bunch of albums; and fill arenas. Some indie circles hold them in high regard for where they came from and what they do, while others would argue – based on whatever evidence makes sense to them – that the band is notindie. This is the same uphill battle being fought by Indie88.

On a weekly, daily, hourly, minutely, secondly basis, those at Indie88 are doing their best to cater to a market that, in the opinion of station Guidance Counsellor and renowned Canadian radio stalwart Alan Cross, has been “underserved in certain segments,” especially music with the indie spirit.

When spoke with Cross, as well as Indie88 Program Director Adam Thompson, both agreed that classifying indie in a way that appeases everyone isn’t an easy feat.

Keep reading.  Here’s a shot of me and fellow employee, Dave Bookman.

Me and Book at Indie Party

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 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “A Brief History of Toronto’s Indie 88

  • Awesome article. Its a shame I can only listen online right now, as I cannot pick up this station in Kitchener. Bump up the signal some more! 🙂


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