|Broadcast area||Greater Toronto Area|
|Slogan||70s, '80s, '90s|
|Frequency||97.3 MHz (FM)|
|First air date||May 18, 1987|
|HAAT||420.5 meters (1,380 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||CH BooM|
|Former callsigns||CJEZ-FM (1987-2009)|
CHBM-FM is a radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada broadcasting at 97.3 FM. The station currently broadcasts a classic hits music format branded as boom 97.3. CHBM's studios are located at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue in Toronto's Deer Park neighbourhood, while their transmitter is located atop the CN Tower.
The station's playlist contains songs from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with a core focus on music released in the 1980s, while also playing select songs from the 1960s and early 2000s.
The station was launched at 9:00 a.m. on May 18, 1987 by Redmond Broadcasting, with the call letters CJEZ-FM, and carried an easy listening format under the branding Easy 97. Staff for the new station included many long-time Toronto personalities, such as Jay Nelson, Russ Thompson, Bill Anderson and Carl Banas. In the early 1990s, it changed its moniker to Lite 97, but soon after, it changed its format to classic hits as Z97.3. In February 1995, Redmond sold the station to Telemedia and on June 30, at 5:30 AM, the station changed monikers to 97.3 EZ Rock. The slogan was The Heartbeat of Toronto, and aired an adult contemporary format. EZ Rock launched with the intent of having an audience of mainly women ages 25–44, and the Toronto station became the flagship when several other stations owned by Telemedia at the time broadcasting a similar format also gained the "EZ Rock" branding.
The station went through several slogan changes during its tenure with the AC format, including My Music at Work, which inspired the title of The Tragically Hip's 2000 album Music At Work. (It also had a modified version of that slogan, Toronto's Music @ Work.) In later years, the station had other taglines such as Toronto's Soft Rock Favourites, Today's Soft Rock with Less Talk, A Better Variety of Yesterday and Today, and Toronto's At Work Station. The station had never really broken through using the Telemedia philosophies and product design/marketing between 1995 and 2000. It had one good ratings period in the Fall of 1998, and then fell back to its previous levels. In 2000, there was a change in philosophy and direction. A new programmer was hired, and the station was completely re-vamped. There were new jingles, imaging, marketing campaigns, syndicated shows, and a totally different approach to programming the adult contemporary format. The station began to show gains in evenings and mid-days, and started to grow in the Toronto ratings. At the time, attacking the perennial format leader CHFI seemed like a fruitless pursuit, but in fact, "EZ Rock" began to grow and challenge CHFI. In addition to adding KJ in afternoons, the station added the very successful Delilah show in evenings, and John Tesh on weekends. Both of those shows saw strong ratings improvement over their predecessors.
In June 2003, CHFI fired long time morning show host Erin Davis, perhaps in part due to the pressures and competitive gains of CJEZ, and replaced her with Mad Dog and Billie, who were moved over from CISS-FM. This was a bold move designed to shake off some of the baggage the station was tagged with, which included being perceived as old and out of date. In September 2004, CJEZ hired Davis to partner alongside Mike Cooper (who had been at the station since the flip to EZ Rock in 1995) because long time co-host Christine Cardoso left due to maternity leave. This resulted in immediate further ratings improvement for CJEZ (including being #1 for one ratings book), and also caused CHFI's ratings to decline. However, when Davis was rehired by CHFI in September 2005 (and returned to mornings, with Cooper going with Davis to that station as well), CHFI's ratings skyrocketed back to #1, causing CJEZ to slip. Despite the erosion from this change, CJEZ remained a top 3 station in Toronto, which was still very strong growth from its previous position in the market. To solve the loss of Davis and Cooper, EZ Rock hired Stu Jeffries (who returned to the station in 2011 for morning drive) and Colleen Rusholme for mornings. During its latter days as "EZ Rock", the station removed songs from the 1960s.
In 2007, Astral purchased Standard, resulting in the Standard-owned EZ Rock stations across Canada (including CJEZ) become Astral-owned.
In 2008, Humble Howard and Kim Stockwood joined Rusholme and took over EZ Rock's morning show in August, replacing Stu Jeffries. In June of the same year, Rick Hodge (formerly a long time morning co-host on CHUM-FM) joined EZ Rock and sister station CFRB.
In November 2009, Hodge and Stockwood left "EZ Rock". A short time later, midday announcer Darryl Henry was gone from the station as well (he is now at CHFI). Henry had been with the station since 1997 and has hosted evenings and afternoons before moving to middays.
As boom 97.3
On December 24, 2009, during its standard Christmas music run during the holidays, EZ Rock's website was changed completely by hosting only a countdown clock and a posted message urging listeners to tune in on December 26 at 9:00 a.m. On December 26, at 6 a.m., after playing EZ Rock's final song (which was Christina Aguilera's version of "This Christmas"), the station began stunting with a recorded message on how to "view" the launch of the new station.
Finally, at 9 a.m., the station ended its 14-year run with AC, and flipped to classic hits with the branding boom 97.3, Toronto's Greatest Hits, adopting the Boom FM branding used by some of Astral's small-market French-language stations in Quebec. The first song played on "boom" was "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. CJEZ's call letters were changed the following day to CHBM-FM. The station's airstaff remained intact for a time, but in May 2011, Humble Howard and Colleen Rusholme were let go by the station.
The flip to "boom" put the station in direct competition with CING-FM, which became a classic hits station a month earlier in November 2009; that station later switched formats to Hot AC in 2013. Currently, CHBM competes with classic rock/hits station CILQ-FM. Also, the flip left CHFI as the only adult contemporary station in the Toronto radio market.
During the first book of "boom", it debuted with a 9.3 share, slightly higher than what it was in EZ Rock's last book and one of the highest-rated books since 2005. Since then, "boom" has become one of the highest rated stations in the Toronto radio market, according to Numeris, usually placing within the top 4 (next to CHFI, CBLA-FM and CHUM-FM, respectively).
On May 28, 2010, Astral Media launched CJOT-FM in Ottawa as the new flagship station of EZ Rock, and took over CJEZ-FM's former website, EZRock.com. The Boom FM branding was cloned on CJOT-FM on June 30, 2011, replacing adult contemporary with classic hits.
In March 2013, the Competition Bureau approved a proposal by Bell Media to acquire Astral Media, under the condition that it divest itself of several television services and radio stations. Following the closure of the merger, CHBM was placed in a blind trust pending its eventual sale. On August 26, 2013, Newcap Radio announced it would acquire CHBM, along with four other former Astral stations, for $112 million. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 19, 2014 and the sale closed on March 31, 2014.
The station's on-air lineup hasn't changed dramatically since boom's launch: in a strange turn of events, Humble and Colleen (who replaced Stu Jeffries in 2006 when the station was still EZ Rock) were replaced in May 2011 by Stu Jeffries, making him the only "one person morning show" in the market. Maie Pauts hosts Middays, KJ (Kris James) hosts Afternoon Drive and Troy McCallum hosted evenings. Jeff Spindel eventually took over evenings as Troy McCallum moved towards music and programming. Weekends are covered by Matt Storey, Jeff Chalmers, Stacey Thompson, and Drew Ferreira. Former DJ's include Vanessa Murphy, Vanessa Thomas, and Lea Miller.
There have been a few changes with Program Directors of boom since 2009: Rob Farina was the first PD, followed by Chris Ebbott from 2009 to 2012, Steve Parsons from 2012 to 2014, and Troy McCallum is the current PD.
- CJEZ sets up shop on dial's last FM spot, Craig MacInnis, Toronto Star, April 25, 1987
- CKFM's Carl Banas defects to new station, Craig MacInnis, Toronto Star, May 8, 1987
- EZ Rock radio woos women, Peter Goddard, Toronto Star, June 29, 1995
- Keep it soft, but be smart and hold the Bolton, Peter Goddard, Toronto Star, July 8, 1995
- Humble and Colleen Fired from Boom 97.3
- Biblic, Mirko. "Re: Voting Trust Agreement between BCE Inc. and Pierre Boivin, the trustee Application No. 2013-0243-9 – Approved". CRTC. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "Competition Bureau OK's BCE-Astral deal, with conditions". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Bell moves closer to Astral with sale of TV assets". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Newcap signs agreement with Bell Media to acquire five radio stations in Toronto and Vancouver". CNW. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-129
- "Newcap Radio receives CRTC approval to purchase stations in Toronto and Vancouver". Canada Newswire. March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- boom 97.3
- CHBM-FM history – Canadian Communications Foundation
- Query the REC Canadian station database for CHBM-FM