CFRA 75th Anniversary


iHeartRadio Canada’s NEWSTALK 580 CFRA marks a milestone on Tuesday, May 3, celebrating 75 years on Ottawa’s airwaves. Featuring special programming throughout the day, including interviews with on-air legends Steve Madely, Lowell Green, and Ken “The General” Grant, the station also features archival audio from the past, highlighting the station’s deep-rooted history in Ottawa.

CFRA officially signed on-air on May 3, 1947 at 8:05 p.m. ET, with the station’s first home in the Ottawa Auditorium at 413 O’Connor Street. Originally operating from 6:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. on Sundays, the “FR” in CFRA represented Frank Ryan, the Ottawa entrepreneur who applied for, and received, the license to operate the station.

“First and foremost we want to thank our dedicated listeners, who continuously tune in to CFRA,” said Peter Angione, Director News & Information Programming, Bell Media Ottawa. “We would not be here today without those loyal listeners, and we look forward to celebrating this milestone with them.”

A series of renowned radio hosts have been featured on NEWSTALK 580 CFRA’s airwaves, including Gord Atkinson, Hal Anthony, and Ernie Calcutt. Today, the station continues that tradition with veteran hosts including Bill Carroll, Leslie Roberts, Evan Solomon, and Kristy Cameron.

“For so many people, CFRA is Ottawa and Ottawa is CFRA,” said Bill Carroll, host of THE MORNING RUSH. “I was already aware of the great history I was joining when I came to work for CFRA six years ago, and it continues to be an honour to wake up with a new generation of Ottawa listeners.”

NEWSTALK 580 CFRA listeners can share their favourite memories of the station through a special “Listener Line” at 613-562-6700, with select messages airing as part of the anniversary programming.

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1960s 1970s-1983 1983-1987 1990-1993 Current







Ottawa entrepreneur Frank Ryan applies for an AM and something new, an “FM” licence to serve the Ottawa valley. Ryan received a licence to operate the licence to operate CFRA.


May 3 at 8:05 p.m., CFRA signed on the air. The station's first home was in the Ottawa Auditorium at 413 O'Connor Street.  CFRA originally operated from 6:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. Sundays.


The “FR” in CFRA was for Frank Ryan.


CFRA hosts the first Christmas Cheer Broadcast


CFRA's power increased from 1,000 watts day and night to 5,000 watts day and night


CFRA music programming was a blend of up-tempo popular AC hits and standards lightly sprinkled with a taste of country music.  The CFRA ‘house band’ through the late 50s and 60s was the “CFRA Happy Wanderers” fronted by local country music superstar, Joe Brown.


CFRA moved to 150 Isabella Street.


CFRA’s Gord Atkinson welcomed Elvis Presley to Ottawa and the Auditorium.


Ottawa native Paul Anka’s hit single “Diana” first aired on CFRA’s Campus Corner show.


CFRA-FM changes to CFMO-FM and launches separate programming.


June 23 – Ken "the General" Grant joined CFRA from Montreal. Grant hosted the morning show from 1961 to 1996.


CFRA moved up the dial from 560 kHz to 580 kHz, increasing power to 50,000 watts during the day and 10,000 watts at night.


Frank Ryan died while on vacation. The company was taken over by his wife and partner in the company, Kathleen Ryan.


CHUM Limited purchased CFRA and CFMO from Kathleen Ryan.


Lowell Green joins CFRA for news and host of the open line show.


CFRA programming evolved from a blend of up tempo recent-based easy listening to a current-based AC format to widen its appeal.


CFRA and CFMO moved into a newer facility at the same 150 Isabella Street address.


Hal Anthony joins the CFRA news team.


CFRA debuts AM stereo.


CFRA changed formats to “Favourites of Yesterday and Today.”


The CFRA-CFMO studio moves to 1900 Walkley Road.


CFRA switched to an All Oldies music format.


Newsman Hal Anthony retired. The CFRA studio at 87 George Street is named the “Hal Anthony Studio.”


In June, CFRA adopted a News and Talk format.


Ken, the General, Grant retires from the morning show.


Steve Madely begins hosting Madely in the Morning.


CFRA marked 50 years on the air.


CFRA broadcasted continuously when the “The Great Ice Storm” hit the Ottawa region on Jan. 4, 1998, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people. Some residents were without power for weeks.


CHUM limited announced it purchased Rawlco's Ottawa stations – CFBO and CJMJ-FM (Majic 100).


CFRA marked 55 years on the air. Former Mayor Bob Chiarelli proclaims “CFRA Day in Ottawa.”


Longtime CFRA newsman Hal Anthony passed away.


CFRA supports the “Wear Red Friday” movement, started by family members of soldiers serving from CFB Petawawa oversees.


Bell Globemedia purchases CHUM Ltd., including Newstalk 580 CFRA.


CFRA celebrates 60 years serving the community raising money during Food Day Day at the Canaa Agriculture and Food Museum. A special broadcast is held at the Chateau Laurier on May 3 with old-time live radio.


Bell purchases CTVglobemedia, including Newstalk 580 CFRA.


CFRA increased its night-time power from 10,000 to 30,000 watts.


Steve Madely retires on Nov. 16 after 21 years as CFRA morning host.


Lowell Green retires from CFRA. Green began his broadcast career in 1960.


Veteran journalist Evan Solomon joins Newstalk 580 CFRA as the new afternoon host. Solomon now hosts the nationally syndicated show “The Evan Solomon Show”


Bill Carroll debuts on March 7 as the new host of “The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll.”


Kristy Cameron takes over as host of “Ottawa Now” on Feb. 10.


Sources: CFRA’s 60th anniversary timeline, and