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February 11, 2020 8:32 am  #1


1220

Saw the following on Cdn Radio News::
It seems like CFAJ 1220 in Saint Catherines is testing now. I don’t think the signal is a strong as the signal for CHSC was but it is listenable. The music sounds pretty similar to what they were playing before they were knocked off the air.

https://www.facebook.com/rwcrn/?__tn__=kC-R&eid=ARDgY39KjUvPcW9D4SWQgx4TlCHdp3MnhtivbEJTtb5tstj3_pBTgi9sm9_y-6m2MZNdNR4zkcxGoVa4&hc_ref=ARRJVterTSc1SNxZAV_1OKLrjgmUDhLUZsTTeLkFItOkyAKG4yybFuPuR20BjRonYdE&fref=nf&__xts__[0]=68.ARC0ErsgY7Qvok8J8eYmLJXkIEQOd2k6feSuYqJU3rlhtsunWKSPjDKGZdF-IBzNz-6qVcnuVE0gxrgwfw1dm5yUynAhzwdlGeHeptqwxz6cQYJG2LARLQ38CPu2tEOkoxXGNn6ntK904ofand5oDOl03KtiaHLnQodv2Tr_MJGB1qhIT2W7jm3N3pYjfKUjdN1tISFsbCM1XwfpcdXcguoVbvPfmJTyNJe6O3ljMVw5LB_LHi7ydaPCqXj_9mg1hWvxoHlc9GzTDk3xT7opVlTrWkXZCT8JhWSRs6gJcbe8oGaY1x7H7wBVN0vQ-H_tuaHqCucgADovYSe6TIFmhpQ3xSyExroxWZLrVVOs525JEwRKdz-J
 

 

February 11, 2020 4:12 pm  #2


Re: 1220

Been monitoring the frequency off and on all day. Can't hear a thing but static or Cleveland. If they're on, the power must be extremely low, because I never had a problem getting CHSC in the past. My questions: was I listening at times when they weren't actually on? Have they been testing at all on Tuesday? Has anyone in Toronto proper heard them? I know their nighttime signal is likely to be non-existent here, but I'm curious to hear how they come in during the day in the GTA.

 

February 11, 2020 4:31 pm  #3


Re: 1220

I found their FB page:
https://www.facebook.com/CFAJ-103547634552694/
They are testing. There is a number listed to call regarding interference.


I could hear CHSC back in the day in Peterborough easily [during daylight] but all I hear now is Cleveland.

Last edited by andysradio (February 11, 2020 4:49 pm)

 

February 11, 2020 5:18 pm  #4


Re: 1220

Thanks for that link. I called the number but got only voice mail. Will retry them later this week and see if I can get any additional info about wattage and when they might be signing on for good. Frankly, I wasn't sure if this day would ever come.  

CHSC was non-existent at night in Toronto, which was a good thing because I preferred WGAR, which was on 1220 then. (Now it's on FM as a country format, and that killer 50K signal on 1220 is occupied by WHKW, an all religious station.) I suspect the pattern will be the same after dark here.

I remember sending 'GAR nighttime DJ The Real Bob James a tape of an aircheck I'd made from Toronto many years ago. He appreciated hearing it, but asked, "what's that interference on there?" I had to tell him it was CHSC St. Catharines in the way! He was surprised to hear there was another full time station on the clear channel frequency so close to Cleveland. 

Still, that Niagara-area station always came in clearly during the day. I'll be curious to find out if that's still the case or whether they're testing at full power yet.

 

February 11, 2020 6:12 pm  #5


Re: 1220

I checked as soon an I read the FB item and heard oldies type music. I'm now in downtown Toronto, not my DX site, and signal was pretty awful. But I have trouble with Buffalo and even some Toronto AMs where I live - right downtown. No IDs through several songs, and I finally gave up when work beckoned. At Burnt River DX site this has been a good channel without CHSC there. I've heard Brazil, Mexico, and once managed Boissevain Manitoba. Actually I think I had all of those when CHSC was on-air. Usually it's solid Cleveland with occasional other stuff like a country station in Salem Indiana. Maybe some of the fine folks on this board who DJed back in the day when I was growing up (I split time between CHUM and CFTR) will contact the station and sign lucrative deals.

     Thread Starter
 

February 11, 2020 7:06 pm  #6


Re: 1220

I heard it in the car around 540-6 PM. Interesting that they played Piggies from the White album. Don't recall hearing that track on AM before but maybe CKFH played it when the White album was released. Also heard People are Strange by the Doors and what sounded like a track by ABC. Am home now and the night time pattern has fully taken over but I did make out Mountain of Love by Johnny Rivers, a long James Brown track and Bad to me by Billy J Kramer.


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February 11, 2020 8:20 pm  #7


Re: 1220

Not bad at all for testing music. Moody Blues, Sting, John Lennon, and not all the biggest of the group's hits. Quite a few I didn't recognize. Finally heard IDs as "CFAJ 1220 AM Look us up on Facebook" and 1220 CFAJ St. Catharines" - along those lines. Signal became a bit garbled by Cleveland after sunset, and 1210 WPHT Philly was stronger on the adjacent channel. So I guess that means no Toronto sales office or multilingual programming.https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png

     Thread Starter
 

February 11, 2020 8:36 pm  #8


Re: 1220

Told that they are not likely running anywhere near full (authorized) power daytime.  

 

February 12, 2020 12:15 am  #9


Re: 1220

From DX posts, they made it out to west Michigan (Grand Rapids area) tonight. Barely, but we paralleled tracks...
 

     Thread Starter
 

February 12, 2020 12:16 am  #10


Re: 1220

tvguy wrote:

Told that they are not likely running anywhere near full (authorized) power daytime.  

Will they? What's the plan? Get on now and improve signal later?
 

     Thread Starter
 

February 12, 2020 9:06 am  #11


Re: 1220

The transmitting site was in very poor condition due to neglect by previous owners.  It will take time to remediate the site, so that the pattern conforms to the technical requirements.   That may mean running lower daytime and nightime power while repairs are made.  I understand that they have a new transmitter as well.  But getting on air while repairs/proofing is done is one way to meet the CRTC's deadline in order to keep the licence.

 

February 12, 2020 9:57 am  #12


Re: 1220

Music has varied. I heard a Mersybeat track that I was not familiar with and thought it was maybe the Rutles but I believe it was the genuine article. Also heard Jolene by Moon Martin.

Daytime signal is acceptable in the car but hard to get inside. You need a good antenna. I recorded the sample below and it was the best signal I could muster in my basement in Pickering. Will try again and maybe post if I get a better signal or record some interesting music.

Have heard tracks ranging from the 1950's to 80's. Recorded on reel to reel and I did not edit out the pause pops.. There are two station ID's. One around 3:43:

AM Test

Last edited by Fitz (February 12, 2020 11:32 am)


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February 12, 2020 10:23 am  #13


Re: 1220

The station was approved by the CRTC back in April 2016, so it's taken almost four years to finally hear it. I'm still having trouble in North York but heard it very weakly for the first time on Wednesday. They were playing Bob Dylan. I wonder how much of the test music noted here will actually wind up as part of their playlist? 

So what did they promise the CRTC? From the approval announcement:

"The station would offer a musical format consisting of classic hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s and would broadcast 126 hours of locally produced programming each broadcast week, including 2 hours of news, weather and sports.

In addition to local, regional, national and some international news, the station would offer community-focused programming, such as weather and traffic reports, community billboards and talk shows promoting local events from charities and not-for-profit groups, for a total of 10 hours and 25 minutes of spoken word programming each week."


No answer at the reception reports phone number and I'm pretty sure there's no one there. There's also no web presence for this station beyond the single FB page for now. Is it still owned by Sivanesarajah Kandiah or do I recall hearing it had been sold off to someone else?

Also, the approval noted that it would operate at 10,000 watts day and night. I'm not sure if that's possible after sundown. Not only do they have to protect WHKW in Cleveland but there could be interference with WECK at 1230 in nearby Cheektowaga, N.Y. Even with highly directional signals (and on that local frequency, WECK is a very low powered station) I'm surprised both once existed side-by-side with so few problems.

 

February 12, 2020 12:44 pm  #14


Re: 1220

I somehow doubt they will keep the same playlist. Southern Ontario seems to have become averse to trying new directions in radio but I guess we can hold out hope for a non cookie cutter classic hits.

BTW I tried upstairs and the reception seems marginally better than on my bsmt sample above but a good antenna is still needed. 

Last edited by Fitz (February 12, 2020 12:53 pm)


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February 12, 2020 1:58 pm  #15


Re: 1220

They are coming in very well in Ajax/Pickering. I am very impressed at the depth of the musical selections. Hopefully they won't revert to the standard 300-song playlist when they launch.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

February 12, 2020 4:58 pm  #16


Re: 1220

Another sample of short song snippets and the quality does improve on this at least in the second half. A bit of everything. Old CHUM FM faves like Blue Canoe by Elton John, South City Midnight Lady by the Doobies, Firefall, Loggins and Messina's version of House at Pooh Corner. A few CFNY era tracks the most surprising of which was Bang and Blame by REM. Bubblegum and the garage rock of the Castaways. Some Rockin Robin era FM 108 stuff.

I think Brian Master would enjoy doing this type of show as it encompasses his entire career in radio, Yes there was some corporate rock/pop blandness but quite a bit less than the usual classic hits tune outs and fun listening to tracks not heard on the radio for a long time.

Test of the Test 2.

Last edited by Fitz (February 12, 2020 5:01 pm)


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February 12, 2020 8:49 pm  #17


Re: 1220

Fitz: Thanks for posting the test signal. It's great to hear the 1220 signal from St. Catharines is back on air.

I believe it was the end of September 2010 when the transmitter was silenced. I bet it was no small job to restore the functionality of that 9 tower array. Especially this time of the year.

I wish them much success.

 

February 12, 2020 11:34 pm  #18


Re: 1220

darcyh wrote:

Fitz: Thanks for posting the test signal. It's great to hear the 1220 signal from St. Catharines is back on air.

I believe it was the end of September 2010 when the transmitter was silenced. I bet it was no small job to restore the functionality of that 9 tower array. Especially this time of the year.

I wish them much success.

You're welcome but I take back what I said about better quality on the second clip. Sounded better as I was listening but perhaps the end product suffered as I recorded it on to a cheap cassette tape as opposed to reel to reel the first time.
 


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February 13, 2020 1:49 pm  #19


Re: 1220

They may be using CHSC's old TX site, but they're definitely not in the old 1220 H.Q. I found this vintage newspaper article on the St. Catharines Standard site, from back in Jan. 2015. It features comments from one time stalwart staffter Ted Yates, who would eventually wind up at CKOC. 

CHSC's fortunes face final crumble

I hope the Standard will do a story on the newcomer, the first new over-the-air station in that city in years. 

 

February 13, 2020 2:41 pm  #20


Re: 1220

RadioActive wrote:

They may be using CHSC's old TX site, but they're definitely not in the old 1220 H.Q.

Here's the current 36 Queenston Street "Residence" (now an apartment building?)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/36+Queenston+St,+St.+Catharines,+ON+L2R+2Y9/@43.1626609,-79.2384654,3a,75y,136.91h,91.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sIln6e3KTP-xBINgp9SrbJA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x89d35051407e5aa9:0x7be7920b8cd0b113!8m2!3d43.1624819!4d-79.2380802

 

February 13, 2020 3:37 pm  #21


Re: 1220

Fitz, Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I second Dale Patterson's comments.  I added it to an empty pre-set in my car today and had a good signal throughout Whitby and Ajax. 

Like Dale,  I enjoyed the music and it's nice to have two stations in the area (the other being CKDO) that play an older and more diversified playlist.

 

February 13, 2020 3:59 pm  #22


Re: 1220

Media Observer wrote:

Fitz, Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I second Dale Patterson's comments.  I added it to an empty pre-set in my car today and had a good signal throughout Whitby and Ajax. 

Like Dale,  I enjoyed the music and it's nice to have two stations in the area (the other being CKDO) that play an older and more diversified playlist.

Actually it was Saul that brought it to our attention. I have been recording the test signal sporadically and have had better results today so I will post one more sample. Have been using an AM stereo receiver and I got a false stereo indicator a few times. I doubt they broadcast in AM stereo. Does anyone know for sure ?
 


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February 13, 2020 5:03 pm  #23


Re: 1220

The main reason I am posting these samples is because tracks which have not been heard on the radio for years are being played perhaps temporarily so catch em while you can.

I will call this edition the 1970's FM edition, I have let the full tracks play and this time I believe I have manged my best results sound quality-wise. The signal is great in the car but not at home.

Tracks you will hear are :

Loggins and Messina  - Jim Messina had been in Poco and the last Buffalo Springfield album and Loggins had not turned mega-commercial.

The Doobie Brothers - pre the very commercial Michael McDonald era

Firefall - had a pedigree which included  groups like the Flying Burrito Bros, Byrds and Spirit

Elton John from Tumbleweed Connection. An album which was heavily played on prog rock stations

REM - how cool to hear this song on AM radio. The track is actually from 1994.

FM Rock on AM Radio

Last edited by Fitz (February 13, 2020 5:14 pm)


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February 13, 2020 5:26 pm  #24


Re: 1220

DO keep on mind that a testing period does not require 35-40% Can con.
THAT is where the difference in sound might be when they officially launch...unless anyone can confirm that there already IS 35-40% Can con playing in the current test mix...?

 

February 13, 2020 6:00 pm  #25


Re: 1220

Thanks, Fitz. I learned about this from Cdn Radio News FB page saying Mathew Sereda (who I don't know) reported it to them. So credit gets passed up the chain. I'm sure one of us dial twisters would have noticed it eventually.

Goddo nlyknows there's no shortage of CanCon that's had little airplay...

I can't imagine anyone taking AM these days is driven solely by the profit motive. Let's hope they're innovative. Maybe folks here - who really care - can latch on... 
 

     Thread Starter
 

February 13, 2020 7:12 pm  #26


Re: 1220

Fitz wrote:

Media Observer wrote:

Fitz, Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I second Dale Patterson's comments.  I added it to an empty pre-set in my car today and had a good signal throughout Whitby and Ajax. 

Like Dale,  I enjoyed the music and it's nice to have two stations in the area (the other being CKDO) that play an older and more diversified playlist.

Actually it was Saul that brought it to our attention. I have been recording the test signal sporadically and have had better results today so I will post one more sample. Have been using an AM stereo receiver and I got a false stereo indicator a few times. I doubt they broadcast in AM stereo. Does anyone know for sure ?
 

Saul...a sincere and personal Mea Culpa.  

I am guilty of not reviewing all of the facts (in this case the Thread you started) before posting.
 

Last edited by Media Observer (February 13, 2020 7:16 pm)

 

February 13, 2020 10:59 pm  #27


Re: 1220

No big deal, MO, everybody starts something or other here...https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png

 

     Thread Starter
 

February 14, 2020 10:31 pm  #28


Re: 1220

Just saw this on their FB page from two days ago. Wonder how long it will be until they get to full power. Also my am stereo indicator has been going on sporadically but not long enough for me to determine if it's really a stereo signal. Does anyone know if the old station that shut down in 2010 was in stereo ?

CFAJ Right now we are just broadcasting with one tower at 1000 watts. we are working on getting the other eight towers on line. Once the full array is working we will up the power to 10,000 watts

Edit : got my answer on FB. They said it will be a "while" before they reach full power and no to the stereo which is too bad as I would love to hear some of the music on their test broadcast in stereo. Maybe they will have a stereo internet stream but by that time they may sound more like a typical classic hits format and also the internet streams are usuallly at a low bit rate and do not sound good.


 

Last edited by Fitz (February 15, 2020 6:04 am)


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February 16, 2020 4:01 pm  #29


Re: 1220

Some interesting new info has emerged from whoever is looking after CFAJ’s Facebook page. My friend messaged them a series of questions. Here are the responses he got. (Italics are mine.)

------------------------------

 
Q: Will the music mix be the same as what’s being played during testing?
 
A: My understanding of the music mix is 70's 80's and 90's. (Note that it leaves out the 60s. More of a Boom-like orientation.)
 
Q: Will you still be using the planned “Grapevine Radio” I.D?
 
A: I don't know what Grapevine Radio is.
 
Q: When will you be officially signing on?
 
A: There's a lot of work that needs to be done, including building studios. (They still don’t have studios yet? I find that a bit surprising. Sounds like things are still a ways off.)
 
Q: The station is supposed to be 10,000 watts day and night. Is that still the plan? If so, how do you plan to protect WHKW Cleveland?
 
A: It'll be 10,000 watts night and day with a pattern change to protect Cleveland. (So maybe it will be aimed this way after dark and we won't lose them here like we used to after pattern change in the CHSC days.)
 
Q: Are you hiring? If so, what positions are needed?
 
A: Other than the engineer's staff, hiring hasn't commenced yet.
 
Q: Do you still plan to adhere to the promise of performance that guarantees 10 hours and 25 minutes of spoken word programming per week. Does that include talk shows and/or news?
 
A: I don't know the exact details of the promise of performance other than it's oldies music. That's the licence the owners have for this station.

------------------------------

So there's some intriguing info there, for whatever it's worth. Thanks to my friend for passing it along and whoever is running the Facebook page for answering. 

 

February 16, 2020 6:11 pm  #30


Re: 1220

RadioActive wrote:

 
Q: Will the music mix be the same as what’s being played during testing?
 
A: My understanding of the music mix is 70's 80's and 90's. (Note that it leaves out the 60s. More of a Boom-like orientation.)
 

Absolutely not. More like the Zoomer radio of Niagara.  It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Zoomer ends up buying the station down the road... I don't see why not.