Queen's University Archives

Queen's University
Search Type

Queen's University

ARCHIVES

site header

The 1990s Until Today

After three weeks of successful testing in January 1990, the Department of Communications and the CRTC granted CFRC the use of 101.9 MHz. After 25 years and $125,000 raised for the equipment, CFRC would finally "Go Stereo" on FM.

Fax from the CRTC authorizes 101.9 FM
Fax from the CRTC authorizes 101.9 FM

On Saturday, February 3, 1990, CFRC shut down its frequencies at 1490 AM and 91.9 FM and began broadcasting exclusively on 101.9 FM, in stereo. Volunteers and alumni of CFRC, as well as local politicians gathered at the Donald Gordon Centre to celebrate the historical event. The new and stronger signal allowed CFRC to broadcast seven days a week. The station adopted a new logo, to recognize the new frequency.

CFRC Logo - 1990
CFRC Logo - 1990

In 1997, CFRC celebrated 75 years of broadcasting as Queen's Radio, but by then it had also become truly a community radio station, by opening its doors to Kingstonians unaffiliated with the university. Community members have since become an essential part of the station's day-to-day functioning and character, and as of 2012 represent approximately half of the station's volunteers.  This photo shows programmers at work in CR2 in 1997.

Programmers at work during CFRC 75th anniversary
Programmers at work during CFRC 75th anniversary.

By 2001, CFRC was on the air 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Two years later, transfer of CFRC ownership and operations to the Alma Mater Society, Queen's undergraduate student government, was begun. Stuart Mills was hired as CFRC's first Operations Officer.

In 2004, CFRC launched its internet audio stream at cfrc.ca, entering a new era of broadcasting history. A "high-tech" logo reflecting the excitement over internet transmission was used briefly, and a computer became a standard tool in the control room. Vinyl records were still in use, but the last reel-to-reel tape deck would soon be removed.

Eric Beers was hired as the second Operations Officer in 2006, and the AMS Transfer Agreement was finalized. Sayyida Jaffer stepped in the following year as Interim Operations Officer. A new website was launched in 2009, and Kristiana Clemens was hired as the third Operations Officer.

CFRC Logo - 2003
CFRC Logo - 2003

Community volunteer on the air, 2010
Community volunteer on the air, 2010

In 2012, as CFRC celebrated 90 years of broadcasting at Queen's, the AMS and Radio Queen's University signed an agreement to transfer control of CFRC operations to RQU as an independent non-profit corporation within 2 years.

Since 2005, CFRC has used a logo designed by Kingston-based graphic artist Ben Nelson.  The circular design has been used in different colours and contexts over the years. 

CFRC Logo - 2005

CFRC Logo - 2005

CFRC's 90th anniversary logo, seen here at the entrance to CFRC's studios in Carruthers Hall in 2012, was also conceived by Ben Nelson, maintaining the features of the station's most modern signifier while hearkening back to the colours and proportions of CFRC's vintage 1960's logo.

CFRC Entrance
CFRC Entrance

CFRC Radio Residents' Doumentaries Launch poster

CFRC Radio Residents' Doumentaries Launch poster

CFRC has grown far from its early roots as an experiment on a lab bench in the basement of Fleming Hall. With over 100 Queen's students making up more than half the station's active volunteer base, CFRC has among the highest levels of student involvement for a campus station in Canada.  It provides national and international outreach for Queen's, with an internet audience including many Queen's alumni.

CFRC is also Kingston's only community radio station, a not-for-profit media outlet that provides music, art and spoken word programming not broadcast elsewhere in the city.  "Queen's Radio" is a crucial positive association for the broader Kingston community's impressions of Queen's.

With 100 community volunteers and 48,000 listeners in the Kingston area, CFRC arguably has even greater impact off campus than on it. Community investment in CFRC is also revealed by the station's annual Funding Drive, which raised more than $24,000 in listener donations in February 2012. No other campus/community station in a market the size of Kingston comes close to raising that level of funds.

CFRC has never turned a monetary profit, except perhaps in the short-lived commercial period with the Whig-Standard. But it has supplied incalculable benefits to Queen's students in developing self-expression and culture, expanding their range of interests and talents, building self-confidence, developing technical skills and confidence, and improving writing and public speaking abilities.  Many careers in broadcasting and communication began at CFRC over the past 90 years.

Please visit CFRC's website at cfrc.ca for volunteering and donation opportunities.

Acknowledgements

CFRC would like to thank Queen's University Archives for providing historical documents, and publishing this exhibit. Thanks also to the many photographers credited.  Photos of buildings and artifacts by Derek Redmond, 2012. The exhibit was curated and written by Derek Redmond and Arthur Zimmerman, with assistance from Andrea McPherson.

Back PageCFRC 101.9 FM