- For the CKOI radio network, see CKOI (network).
|Broadcast area||Greater Montreal area|
|Slogan||Changeons le monde un hit à la fois. (Changing the world one hit at a time.)|
|Frequency||96.9 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||December 6, 1976 (as CKOI-FM)|
|HAAT||276.7 meters (908 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||CKOI is an homonym of "C'est quoi?", meaning "What is it?".|
|Former callsigns||CKVL-FM (to 1976)|
(Cogeco Diffusion Acquisitions Inc.)
|Sister stations||CHMP-FM, CKAC, CFGL-FM, CKBE-FM|
Owned and operated by Cogeco, CKOI-FM broadcasts on 96.9 MHz with its transmitter on Mount Royal with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 148,000 watts (Class C1) using an omnidirectional antenna. It was one of the few Montreal FM stations not to use the Mount Royal broadcasting tower, until it moved there in late 2018. It is one of North America's highest-powered FM stations. Its studios are located at Place Bonaventure.
CKVL-FM, the station's original call letters, was founded by Jack Tietolman and Corey Thomson and probably went on the air at some point between 1947 and 1957. Sources disagree on the date, and at least seven different years (including three post-1957 ones) have been reported as the station's first air date. The confusion is increased by the fact that there is no known report suggesting that the station went silent for any noticeable period of time after getting on the air, despite this phenomenon being relatively common among 1950s FM stations. In any case, the Canadian Communication Foundation reports the station's first signed on in 1947, and that CKVL-FM was confirmed as being on the air in 1957.
By 1962, CKVL-FM increased its power from 10,000 watts to 307,000 watts omnidirectional from the rooftop of the CIBC Tower in Downtown Montreal. It is often believed that this unusual high power was granted as the result of a clerical error by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), but that government organization did not exist at the time as radio was still regulated by the CRTC's predecessor, the Board of Broadcast Governors. Regulations limiting effective radiated power to 100,000 watts on FM, which came into force that same year, did not apply to stations which had already received approval for a higher power.
The simulcast of CKVL ended in 1970, with CKVL-FM launching an automated oldies format, calling itself "VL-FM." The station played French-language Top 40 hits of the 1950s and ‘60s, as well as remakes of English-language hits translated into French, as well as a few original English-language songs. There were no DJs.
On December 6, 1976, CKVL-FM became CKOI-FM, and the station's format was changed to progressive rock, with a full-time DJ staff. It evolved into a largely new wave based format in 1979 and moved to a rock-leaning contemporary hit radio format in 1980.
The Fall 1991 Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ratings were a defining moment for the station, as it found itself in first place in Montreal with over a million listeners in full coverage. It was the first time that an FM station finished in first place in the Fall ratings, which are the most important for the radio industry as they are used to determine prices charged for advertising. CKOI-FM would have over a million listeners in 32 consecutive books (excluding Summer ratings starting in 2001 which were only done for the central area of the market), from Fall 1991 to Fall 2002 inclusively. (The station had already managed to get a million listeners on a few occasions during Summer ratings before 1991.) The station's best-ever results under the old diary system were obtained in the Spring 1995 ratings, in which CKOI-FM got 1,341,300 listeners. By comparison, 730 CKAC, which was had been Montreal's usual #1 station, had 775,500 listeners.
CKOI-FM, along with sister station CKVL, was sold in 1992 by its founder Jack Tietolman to Metromedia CMR, a company owned by Pierre Arcand and Pierre Béland. Both stations would be sold again in 2001, this time to Corus Entertainment.
On January 1, 2002, the station's city of licence became Montreal. Until then, it had officially been Verdun. But as a result of a forced municipal merger, the City of Verdun became a borough of Montreal.
CKOI-FM long had the highest power output of any radio station in Canada, and the second highest power in North America, only exceeded by 93.7 WBCT in Grand Rapids, Michigan which operates with 320,000 watts. Unlike other North American superpower FM stations which have lowered their power since the 1990s, CKOI-FM always protected its 307,000-watt signal. As a result, when Industry Canada advised the station in 2004 that it was not compliant with updated Code 6 safety regulations (which deal with acceptable levels of radiation), owner Corus Entertainment invested in making the transmitter compliant, instead of taking the "easy way" out, which would have been in this specific case to reduce power to "only" 122,800 watts.
The station's studios were moved for the first time ever in July 2006, after decades at 211 Gordon Avenue in Verdun. The new studios are located at Place Bonaventure in Downtown Montreal.
On April 30, 2010, Cogeco announced it would purchase Corus Quebec's radio stations, including CKOI-FM, for $80 million, as Corus's Quebec stations were less profitable than its stations in other parts of Canada. On December 17, 2010, the CRTC approved the sale of most of Corus' radio stations in Quebec, including CKOI-FM, to Cogeco.
On November 24, 2011, the CRTC determined that CKOI-FM had abusively used musical montages of English-language songs in order to get around the French-language music quotas, and imposed a condition of licence on the station limiting the broadcasting of montages to 10 percent of the broadcast week.
In 2016, Cogeco applied to the CRTC for permission to move the transmission site to Mount Royal, as space had become available there after the digital TV transition. Moreover, the move would allow Cogeco to colocate all its Montreal FM stations, and the superior location would require lower power to achieve the same reception range. The transmitter was moved in late 2018. Effective radiated power is now limited to 148,000 watts, still much higher than the usual maximum.
In recent years, the station has been known especially for pranks by the Masked Avengers, a duo composed of Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, against internationally-known personalities such as Jacques Chirac, Britney Spears, Sarah Palin and George W. Bush. The duo appeared on the program's afternoon show Les Cerveaux de l'info, along with co-host Richard Z. Sirois.
Comedian Pierre Brassard, also known for prank phone calls, was also previously associated with the station.
CKOI-FM lost its longtime morning host Normand Brathwaite on March 17, 2006, following a conflict with former co-host Jean-René Dufort. Dufort became the station's morning host until June 22, 2007. Braithwaite joined CITE-FM in August 2011.
- 1980s-1990s: Le son de Montréal (The sound of Montreal)
- 2000s: Plus de hits, plus de fun (More hits, more fun)
- 2009-2011: La puissance musicale de Montréal (The musical power of Montreal)
- February–August 2011: L'ultime radio (Ultimate radio)
- August 2011-August 2012: La puissance des hits (Hit power)
- August 2012 – 2015: Mes hits. Mon fun. (My hits. My fun.)
- 2015–present: Changeons le monde un hit à la fois. (Changing the world one hit at a time.)
- According to the Canadian Communications Foundation, CKVL-FM opened in 1947 ; according to a 1992 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision, it was in 1950  ; according to the Phonothèque québécoise, it was in 1951  ; according to Gilles Proulx's 1979 book "L'aventure de la radio au Québec", it was in 1954, and according to his 1986 book "La radio d'hier à aujourd'hui", it was in 1958; according to Broadcast Dialogue, it was in 1962 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2006-10-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) ; and according to the "éphémérides" service used by CKAC, it was in 1970. The website of CKOI-FM does not acknowledge the pre-1976 history of the station.
- "Canada's Corus Entertainment sells all its stations in Quebec, including Montreal". Radio-Info.com. April 30, 2010. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011.
- St. Petersburg Times, "Canada Report" column, May 9, 2010.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-942: "Transfer of effective control of various commercial radio programming undertakings from Corus Entertainment Inc. to Cogeco inc.", issued December 17, 2010.
- "French radio must limit English song montages, CRTC rules", cbc.ca, November 25, 2011.
- "CRTC Press Release: "The CRTC takes radio stations to task for their inappropriate use of musical montages", November 24, 2011". Archived from the original on December 11, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-726, November 24, 2011.
- Faguy, Steve (2019-01-17). "Cogeco completes radio stations' transition to new antenna on Mount Royal". Fagstein. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- "CKOI Pranks Sarah Palin". CBC.
- "En bref - Dufort quitte CKOI", Le Devoir, June 2, 2007.