An ornately set table. A fine bottle of pink sparkling wine. A bouquet of flowers purchased in a hurry on the way home from the office. A filter on the window to simulate a blue moon. Andy Williams crooning “Moon River” or the 101 Strings playing “Light My Fire” in the background. All of the necessary mood-enhancing ingredients for a cozy tête-à-tête on Valentine’s Day.
There’s a good chance many of these evenings from 1962 through 1987 were enhanced by flipping the radio dial to “Candlelight & Wine” on CHFI. Consisting of a mix of soft pop and string-laden instrumental covers, the show fit in with the station’s position as one of the city’s key purveyors of “beautiful music,” a format the Toronto Star recently described as “a romantic tryst between classical and jazz.” The show’s success led to a series of spin-off albums to create a romantic mood any time of day, now readily available in your friendly neighbourhood thrift shop or buried in attics across the GTA.
CHFI first provided high-fidelity (the “HFI”) background music for lovers in February 1957, when it signed on as the first station in the Toronto market to broadcast exclusively on FM. Reversing the normal pattern during this period, CHFI launched a sister AM station in 1962. Originally at 1540 AM, the station moved to 680 full-time in 1966, with its old frequency quickly becoming home to CHIN.
CHFI-AM switched its call letters to CFTR in 1971 and soon adopted a top 40 format. This lasted until 1993, when the station launched its current all-news format, allowing the city to rest easier knowing every move of Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, along with the latest piece of wisdom from councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.
Source: Toronto Life, May 1967